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Early Morning in the Garden of Good and Evil
Rene watched Sleepyhead rise from his slumber. She also watched him walk right past them and out of the cabin, eyes lingering on the door for a few moments after he was out of sight. She had no explanation for this, nor any clue what Sleepyhead's own reasoning could be. At a loss for words, she did her best to noiselessly react to whatever had just unfolded. She pointed a finger towards the door of the cabin and turned her head back to Noah and Blair with a look of very justified confusion and a thought process to match.

This is a weird day.

Awkward silence followed as Rene's eyes moved from Blair, to Noah, and back and forth once more while she tried to think of something to say. Noah had already laid out a couple of options, but Rene hadn't really thought of anything else to bring to the table. She had a feeling that the others were expecting her to say something, so she decided to just say the first thing that came to mind.

"Uh... shit."

Wonderful. Thought-provoking.

Once she was done mentally berating herself, she shook it off and tried again. "I mean... yeah, I guess I wouldn't mind staying around here for a little while. If we have a plan for it, I mean."

So, so tired...
Bart raised his arm to wipe his forehead with his sleeve. The fabric that had been a light gray when he boarded the bus however long ago had been tinted much darker by the collected sweat from both that day and the last. It was starting to stick to his skin periodically, and felt warm and damp to the touch. He had just bought this shirt about a week before the trip, and this had been his first time wearing it, yet now it felt more worn than anything in his closet.

Kizi and Jennifer both floated the idea of searching for something useful in the warehouse while they were there. Bart agreed with the plan, but he was far too exhausted to make an active effort at the moment. He weakly raised his hand and spoke out with his tired voice. "Yeah, that sounds... uh... pretty good." He was breathing pretty heavily, and had to pause between forcing words out to inhale. "Just give me a... a couple minutes, and I should, uh... I'll help too."

As Bart sat there, slumped on his crate, his mind wandered back to the announcements from that morning. However, he was particularly disturbed by one specific detail... or rather, a bunch of specific details that were missing. Aside from the announcement of the supply depot being unsafe, he couldn't remember a thing about it. He had no clue who was dead, who had killed, or anything else that had been told to them. He wasn't sure whether he had not been paying enough attention or his brain has blocked it out, but he was at a severe loss for information, and that bothered him.

"Hey..." Another statement fought its way out of his mouth. "Do you guys remember anything about the, um... announcements? You know, this morning?"

Early Morning in the Garden of Good and Evil
Rene's newly tense demeanor loosened up upon discovering that Blair was all right. Well, disregarding any injuries that had come as a result of collapsing furniture, anyway. Rene had initially assumed that the new guy had broken the chair over Blair's head when she heard the noise, so this was one time that she was very glad to have been proven wrong.

Of course, even if all was well and good, there was still the very obvious question of who this guy was, and why he was taking a nap through all of this. Or more impressively, how he was a heavy enough sleeper to not be woken up by a chair collapsing loudly enough to echo through the cabin.

But back to the topic at hand, Noah proposed that they take a break. After the particularly crappy morning they had just had, Rene was all in favor of this plan. She very cautiously sat in a nearby chair, taking great care not to put all of her weight on it at once. She raised her hand to address the group.

"Hey, I'm all for doing nothing." She declared before pointing to the room that Blair had just walked out of. "But seriously, we're gonna figure out what the deal is with sleepyhead over there, right?"

So, so tired...
((Bart Cappotelli continued from Little Pig))

There was no way to describe the day Bart had just been through aside from one word: Miserable.

He, Jennifer, and Kizi had been headed for the supply depot, but had to stop moving after nightfall and camp out in the woods for the night. They somehow managed to wake up before announcements and hike the rest of the way to their destination, only for the announcements to reveal that they were standing right in the middle of a Danger Zone. All of their hard work was for nothing as they had to clear out as fast as their legs could take them.

Once they had successfully fled the Danger Zone, the rest of the day was spent hiking across the island in search of shelter. Frequent stops to rest were required, mostly because they were running on limited energy due to the fact that they were trying to conserve their food and water as much as possible. However, Bart's poor physical condition necessitated a few more stops than planned so that he could restore his poor reserves of stamina.

He couldn't help but feel responsible for their day of prolonged hiking. If he hadn't had such awful conditioning, then they might have actually reached the supply depot before nightfall the previous night. They still would have had to rush out after the morning announcements, but at least they could have slept in a sheltered area rather than in the bushes, at the mercy of whatever organisms were living therein.

They had turned down every other shelter they could find, either because they could hear something coming from inside that sounded a bit too much like other people, or there was something else about it that just didn't feel right. But now they were essentially out of options. They had walked all the way across the island, and the warehouse before them was the only new area they would find without crossing the bridge back to the asylum. In short, it was this or go right back to where they started, and Bart was far too tired to consider the latter. The sun was already on the verge of setting, and he just wanted to get off his feet.

He walked into the warehouse, took note of a nearby crate, and immediately sat on top of it. He didn't care that it wasn't a chair or even a piece of furniture. It was something that could relieve his legs, and that was all that mattered. He let out a heavy sigh, both from disappointment and exhaustion. He had accomplished almost nothing that day, and yet he felt more tired than he had ever been, at least to his knowledge.

Early Morning in the Garden of Good and Evil
What happened next was pretty damn surreal, even considering how bizarre their current situation already was. While they were trying to deal with how to approach the realization that Sandra wasn't with them, some guy showed up out of nowhere. The guy didn't even say anything, he just walked right past them and went into the cabin. Blair tailed the guy for reasons completely unknown to Rene, who had a personal policy of specifically not following creepy people into enclosed spaces.

Noah, for his part, looked confused as all hell, and Rene couldn't blame him one bit. He gave her a look that implied a desperate need for an explanation. Rene, who could provide nothing of the sort, responded with an exaggerated shrug.

But seriously, what the hell was that?

She followed her friend into the cabin, wondering if she had seen any horror movies that had begun exactly like this. Before she could evaluate all four of the horror movies she had seen in her life, a loud crash commanded her attention. She turned on her heel to face the direction of the noise. "Blair?" She called out into the depths of the cabin. Her usual facade of calm snarkiness cracked, and she was clearly uncomfortable now.

She placed her hand on the zipper of her bag. She knew that she had a gun because she had done some searching through her bag while on watch the previous night, and at this point in time, she was wishing that she had kept it at the ready.

Little Pig
Bart gave a thumbs-up to the girls while he returned his map to his pack. "All right, so, um... I guess we've got a plan now. That's good, right?" With a quick zip, his map was safe and sound once again.

Jennifer and Kizi moved onto the topic of what they should do with Kizi's gun. Pretty reasonable, since that was going to be their main source of protection until further notice. Bart didn't really feel like be belonged in this particular part of the conversation. Outside of the realm of video games, he had absolutely no knowledge of guns, and he certainly didn't know how to handle them. He doubted that Jennifer or Kizi had much more experience with them either, but he felt that they would probably be able to pick it up quicker than he would. Outside of art and writing, he had never really had many other skills.

"Okay, so, um..." Bart followed Jennifer's previous statement. "I think I'm gonna check outside to see if, y'know, everything's clear? So once you know what you're doing with the gun we can, uh... head out, right?" He jabbed a thumb in the direction of the doorway before walking out slowly, hoping that the girls wouldn't abandon him once he was out of sight.

He had a direct line of sight towards the asylum door. He knew that attempting stealth would be more than likely pointless thanks to his condition, but that didn't stop him from softly stepping towards it, sticking close to the wall like a character in some old spy movie. He didn't see anyone nearby, and he couldn't hear anything that suggested it either. From a brief glance, everything looked good. He took a few steps back towards the door and cupped a hand around his mouth, trying to catch the girls' attention.

"A-all clear, I think..."

He looked back at the asylum door. He hadn't set foot outside of the building since waking up, and now he was about to face the world outside.

He hoped that everything would somehow turn out okay.

((Bart Cappotelli continued elsewhere...))

Early Morning in the Garden of Good and Evil
Looking back gave Rene a good view of Blair emerging from the greenery, looking just a bit like absolute misery before dropping to the ground. Her first reaction to this was surprise at the fact that she wasn't the last one to reach the cabin. She had been pretty positive that Noah, Blair, and Sandra could all outrun her easily. Speaking of Sandra, that brought her to her second reaction, which was the realization that Blair was the only one who appeared. Sandra should have been right behind or, more likely, just ahead of them. Her absence was not part of the plan.

From the looks of it, Noah had come to a similar conclusion. Rene could tell from the way he had started shouting Sandra's name at the trees apparently completely forgetting that they had moved away from the bell tower because they wanted to avoid attention. She cringed a little bit watching him panic, and couldn't completely hide it before he turned to ask her if she knew what was happening.

She tried to scramble to recollect her memories, but between her lingering grogginess and the intense stress of the scenario, everything from the past few minutes sort of faded out aside from the part where she was running and trying not to die.

"Sorry, I got nothing" She answered truthfully with a bit of a shrug. "Everything just got crazy really fast."

Little Pig
Oh, they were discussing their weapons. That seemed pretty reasonable. Kizi had a gun, which was... admittedly intimidating, but it provided some sort of comfort to know that one of them had some capability to defend the others if a problem arose. Jennifer's chain was a bit out of the ordinary, but Bart figured that it could have some practical use. But even if the chain couldn't be used to fight, both of the girls had still had far better luck than he did.

"Um, I don't think that I'm gonna be so useful in that regard." He said, slightly downtrodden. "All I got was a book. It's not that thick, and it's paperback. It doesn't even look like it would be a good read, to be honest..."

Wait, he was getting off topic. They needed to figure out where they needed to go. Jennifer had even said so. Bart checked out his map once more to get a better look at their options. The relative lack of locations to the south made this task much quicker than his previous scanning o the whole map, so he took little time before reporting his findings.

"There's a crematorium not too far from here." He pointed out both figuratively and literally. "It's off to the east while the bell tower is to the west, so there probably won't see to many people going there." He moved his hand further down the map. "There's also a supply depot, but it's at the far southern part of the island, and there's not a whole lot between here and there. Probably not too many people, but it'll be a real long walk."

He folded his map and looked up. "So which way do you want to go?"

Early Morning in the Garden of Good and Evil
((Rene Wolfe continued from Why Y'all Gagging?))

A night sleeping on the rocky shoreline had not done wonders for Rene's stamina, nor did the fact that she had to sleep in shifts with the rest of her group. If it had been up to her, then she would have hidden somewhere in one of the supply buildings and taken a nap so that she could actually have a chance to regain some strength. Unfortunately, life seemed to have other plans, and that was why Rene was charging through the untamed foliage while half-asleep while under threat of her neck exploding if she didn't run fast enough.

Rene would have given more thought to what she had heard on the announcements, but at the moment she was trying her damnedest to keep up with Noah, who had the advantages of being in much better shape and having not been freshly awoken by a screeching loudspeaker. Thanks to what Rene was assuming was some sort of miracle, she managed to keep Noah in her line of sight. Well, more or less. She could see him once the trees were no longer blocking her vision at every turn, so she considered herself to have successfully kept up with him through their wild dash to safety.

With her collar ceasing to give her a warning of impending explosive decapitation, she slowed her stride to a walking pace as she approached Noah. He was waiting in front of a conveniently placed cabin, asking if any of the others had made it. Since Rene had been too busy worrying about her own safety, she hadn't noticed if Sandra or Blair had managed to follow them all the way there. However, she could still answer for herself. She raised her hand and called out to Noah. "Present."

Carry the Fire
Jane and Louis Banks stood near the front of the crowd at the vigil, their tall frames unfortunately becoming a bit of a hindrance to the attempts of those standing directly behind them to see the stage. Normally they would not have put themselves in such a position, but this was not a time for them to worry about that sort of thing. At this time, the only thing on their minds was their son.

It was just that morning that they had seen Barry being his usual self. He wolfed down his breakfast with the enthusiasm that one would expect from a teenage boy before practically running out the door to make sure he got to school early. It had just been another morning for them, with no indication of what horrors were to come.

Partway through the speeches from the holy men, Louis broke down and started to cry openly. His sobs were soft, but could still be heard by those around him. Rather than feeling embarrassed by her husband unintentionally creating a scene, Jane put a hand on his shoulder to show her support.

There was so much that she wanted to say to her husband. Things that would make him feel better. Barry was strong, smart, and kind. He was the kind of person that one would think could be relied on in a crisis. Not only that, but he had too much ahead of him in life for something like this to happen. She wanted to tell him that Barry would be okay, but she couldn't. There were no words of support that she could give her husband with confidence. She just silently wrapped an arm around him as he wept, overcome by despair.

Nick and Lorna Cappotelli stood in the middle of the crowd with their candles, not really knowing what to say or do, but just going along with the proceedings. This was a situation that they had never prepared for, because they had never anticipated that it may actually happen. Now that it was here, they felt clueless and afraid.

However, no matter how badly they felt standing there at the vigil, they knew that it was nothing compared to how Bart had to be feeling wherever he was. Bart had always been a sensitive, skittish young man. He was awkward and unsure of himself in his daily life. More than anything, they just wanted him to find comfort in who he was and face the world with a confident smile. They wished that was the only problem that their son had to deal with, but they knew that was not the truth. While they had no clue about their son's current situation, they knew that he wasn't in a good place.

Nick's thoughts wandered to Bart's notebook. Bart had left it at home, and it was full of his sketches and stories Nick dared not look at it, though. He worried that if he read it, then he would be overcome with sorrow and dread stemming from his fears for his son. Lorna seemed to have the same idea, since the notebook had sat untouched on Bart's desk since that morning. But at the same time, it was the only part of Bart that had remained at home, so they felt conflicted about whether they should read it or leave it.

Regardless of what they decided, now was not the time to worry about that. Now was the time for them to pray that, wherever he was, Bart was okay.

The Wolfes, despite their daughter's penchant for the theatrical, were not a very dramatic or overly expressive family. Even at the vigil, they were dressed in their Sunday best and did not make a spectacle of themselves by crying or even speaking to their neighbors.

Their faces, however, told a very different story. Fred and Sarah Wolfe looked like two of the most crestfallen people on the planet as they listened to the speakers. Both of them had their heads tilted downwards and their eyes closed, their facial expressions frozen in the form of sad grimaces. They did not care to look at the candles of their fellow mourners, nor their own. They were dwelling in their own minds at the moment.

They were stuck on one major thought, and that thought brought one emotion with it: regret.

When Rene was growing up, there had always been a bit of a distance between them. Their jobs meant that they were away from home a lot, so Rene was by herself a lot of the time. While this helped her grow into a highly independent person fairly quickly, they worried that the lack of time that they spent together had done damage relationship. Rene never behaved in a way that suggested that was the case, but since she had grown to have a personality was so wildly different from theirs, and had almost no shared interests with them to boot it made them wonder what impact, if any, they had really had on her growing up.

The worst part was that there was no other way they could have made things work. They needed the income from both of their jobs in order to sustain their lifestyle and make sure that Rene could grow up comfortably. Her many afternoons and evenings alone had been a necessary evil so that they could give her the best upbringing they could. But even though they knew that there was nothing that they could have done differently, they still felt regret.

More than anything, Fred and Sarah wanted to be able to tell Rene how much they loved her, even if they only got one more chance to do so.

At the back of the crowd, where there were few candleholders and a lot of community members who had not lost children in the abductions, Heavy L observed the ceremony. Normally he would have been working to set up his club for the night, but tonight was not a regular night, not by a long shot. He sent all of the performers home with their pay for the night's work and came to the vigil to pay his respects.

Heavy L didn't have kids, but that didn't mean that it he didn't feel anything when he found out about the abduction. He didn't need kids to know that a group of high school students disappearing like that was all kinds of wrong. But even though he hated to think about what had happened, he knew that whatever he was feeling was nothing compared to what the parents whose children had been taken must be feeling.

He may have made people laugh for a living, but there was nothing that he could say or do to ease these people's pain, and he was entirely aware of that. In a strange way, he felt powerless. All he could do was bow his head, hope for a miracle, and knowledge that it was a sick, sad world that they were living in.

Little Pig
Bart opened his bag and searched for his map. If they were going to travel, then they needed a clear destination in mind, or at the very least a general area they wanted to aim for. He pulled it out and finished unfolding it before holding it up and scanning their options. He slowly steadied his breathing. If he wanted to be helpful, or more importantly, survive, then he needed to calm himself down and act rationally.

He studied the map, trying to find a good path for them to take. He glanced over a few areas multiple times before setting his sights on one specific part of the island. He moved the map about an inch closer to his face and his eyes opened a bit more. He had an idea. It might even be a good one.

"So if we want to avoid people heading for the bell tower..." He narrated verbally, broadcasting his thoughts to Kizi and Jennifer in the process. "We'll want to leave quickly, since the asylum is very close to it." he pointed to the area east of the asylum. "There's a whole lot of areas across the bridge that look like they would attract people, so we can probably expect a lot of foot traffic coming from that direction."

Bart raised his head and turned his map around so the girls could see it. "But there aren't a lot of high-traffic areas to the south, see?" He directed his finger to the area of the map that he was referring to. "If we want to stay away from people, then the best way to do that is by going where there probably won't be many people to run into, right?"

He moved his map so both of the girls could see it. He hoped that he had managed to make a good point somewhere along his train of logic. However, in his zeal to explain his idea, he hadn't noticed Jennifer's attention falling to Kizi's bag. Bart's eyebrows drooped as he surveyed the increasingly tense scene.

"Hey, is everything all right?"

V6 First Announcement
Wha.... again? Already?

I'm going to be honest here. I've really enjoyed writing for Rene so far, and I would love it if I could continue doing so. If anyone would be kind enough to spare a Hero Card to save an arachnid-loving comedienne, then I would be extremely grateful.

Why Y'all Gagging?
With the rest of the group filing out of the tower in an orderly manner, Rene decided that it was in her best interests to follow along. They had a fraction of a plan, a vague destination, and pretty much nothing else of note. But hey, at least Rene didn't have to go it alone anymore. That had to be worth something.

She stepped out and followed behind her newfound crew. As she ran to catch up with the rest of the group, she took one last look at the tower that she was leaving behind. It had given them no tools, secrets, or any actual advantages aside from being a place for her to meet her new group.

It still looked kind of cool, though.

((Rene Wolfe continued elsewhere...))