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Five Finger Death Punch; B015 - Start
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 05:07 PM (1,689 Views)
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And I am still hungry.
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((Min-jae Parker continued from デビュー))

Normally, when Jae was in a foul mood, he could turn to art. Whether it was just a series of quick sketches or a full painting, he could lose himself in the process of creating, channel whatever he was feeling into his tools and come out with something worthwhile, if only for the effort he'd put into it. Failing that, cooking was always relaxing and you got to eat whatever you'd produced when you were done. If neither of those outlets were available to him, he could always lock himself away in his room, turn his music up and stare at the ceiling, and drown out the outside world for an hour or two.

In the asylum, all of those things were out of the realm of possibility, so Jae had to turn to his fourth-favorite pastime: complaining.

"Fucking stairs," he grunted as he followed Vanessa up. "We are the species that invented space travel and a smallpox vaccine and microwave burritos, why the hell haven't we figured out a better alternative to stairs yet? Like, besides escalators and elevators. I wouldn't trust either of those things in this shithole." There didn't appear to be any in the parts of the building that they'd seen so far, but Jae filed it away in his mind that any elevator they encountered was probably as good as a death trap, given the condition of the place.

He and Vanessa had decided the first order of business was to get a good look at wherever they were, and that meant heading up and out. They'd found the stairs leading up, but it remained to be seen whether they would lead out. Vanessa had gone first, since she had reasonable command of both her legs and would be less likely to fall and harder to push off-balance as a result. Jae losing his footing and falling would mean disaster for both of them if he was in front.

The makeshift splint they'd gotten together for his leg was working well so far, no signs of coming apart, but it was still slowing him down considerably and the painkillers hadn't quite kicked in. Jae figured that his grumpiness could be excused, given all that he'd been through today. Vanessa didn't seem to care about his complaining, or at least hadn't gotten irritated enough yet to tell him to shut the fuck up.

He was a few steps down, so there was no danger of running into her when she stopped to wrestle with the door they came to. "What's up? We find a way out?" Belatedly, he realized that there were voices from somewhere on the other side of the door and that maybe it would be smarter for them to keep quiet.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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And I am still hungry.
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"Existing's not bad," Jae replied to Cass in lieu of a greeting. "Better than the alternative, probably." He knew people who might argue that point, jokingly or not, but he didn't know if Cass was one of them. They didn't talk much, though he saw her frequently in the art wing and was just as frequently envious of her painting skill. She was quiet and had never caused him trouble; given that Vanessa was currently his favorite encounter so far on the basis of not stealing his stuff and leaving him for dead, Cass not being the sort to cause trouble was enough to elevate her a fair bit in Jae's estimation.

Either way, she had ample opportunity up here to remedy the issue of existing and evidently hadn't done so, which was as good an indication as any that she was still stable and sane.

Travis was more of a mystery, but he seemed chill. Probably all that they could ask for. Hell, for all Jae knew, Trav and Cass had a thing going on and he and Vanessa had just interrupted a moment between them. Should he apologize just in case that was what had happened here? That might just make things awkward whether his guess was right or not.

Jae hobbled further out to stand next to Vanessa so that he wasn't leaning halfway out of the stairwell in order to talk to everyone. "Yeah, you could say that," he said to Travis. "I think I'd have liked it better if it was boring." He glanced out over the sloping roof tiles and debated the merits of trying to sit down with his immobilized leg. "Nice view," he remarked absently.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"Looks like it. Too bad it seems like the clouds are coming in." Jae maneuvered himself to sit on the nearest flat surface with a grunt. Just sitting here for a while sounded alright. The lingering fatigue from everything that had transpired before hadn't been helped by the difficult climb up the stairs, fresh air was nice, and nobody here seemed inclined to try and push him off the roof. It was as good as anything.

Jae liked sunrises; he tended to be an early riser, and his bedroom window had a pretty nice view of the backyard and the treeline beyond it.. Getting up early, pausing his morning routine for just a moment to watch the light creep up and spill through the leaves and over the rooftops of neighboring houses in a soft wave of orange and peach and gold... If he closed his eyes, he could picture it as vividly as if he were still standing at the window at home.

Home.

There was a jolt and a sudden squeezing in his chest and everything hit him all at once all over again. God, he wanted to be home. Did anyone back in Kingman know they were missing yet? Had the authorities been notified? Did his parents suspect what had really happened to him?

Were they seeing this?

Jae had a fleeting, terrible vision of his parents' faces when they got the news. No crying, no arguing. Just pale, waxy masks of shock, the same way Dad had looked back during the earliest, worst onset of Mom's illness, back before they had a sure diagnosis. At ten years old, Jae had known a kid or two who had lost a parent, and he'd held a terrified certainty that he was about to experience the same. Even after they knew what they were dealing with and Jae's parents had sat him down to explain what exactly multiple sclerosis meant and why he shouldn't worry too much, the fear had lingered. Every now and again, when his mother had a particularly bad flare-up and was reduced to taking time off work and being pushed about in a wheelchair, it would come back. The episodes were irregular, with no one thing pinpointed as the cause. Stress made it worse, though.

Say, the stress of knowing that your only child had been abducted and you'd probably never see them again. The stress of following a link on a shady website to a probably-illegal video stream and seeing that child attacked and bloodied and beaten, and knowing how much lower their chances had just become.

Maybe they weren't watching, though. Maybe they hadn't dared, had instead retreated, Mom to her meditation room and Dad to the office, and they wouldn't know anything for sure until some news outlet or betting list or fuck knew what popped his name up as another casualty.

Or until he came home.

Jae hadn't realized that he'd even opened the inside pocket of his jacket and fished out his pack of cigarettes until one was between his lips and he was fumbling with his lighter. Mom had her meditation room and Dad had work. Jae had his own methods of stress relief. Mm, nicotine.

Even as he lit up and took a drag, he was vaguely aware of the cameras near them, zooming in on his movements, putting his illicit substance use out there for the whole world to see. He hoped that if his parents really were watching, they still had it in them to be at least mildly outraged at the sight of him smoking. Moral outrage was better than being sick with worry or resignation.

Jae held the pack of cigarettes up in the general direction of Vanessa and the others. "Smoke?" He offered to nobody in particular, seeking to put himself back in the midst of conversation to distract from his tangled thoughts.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"Vans..." Vanessa's nickname was hardly more than another exhale full of smoke, all the things Jae wanted to say wrapped up in the fact that he didn't know how to say any of them. Her harsh, humorless laughter was unnerving, though it didn't rattle him as much as it seemed to affect Travis and Cass. He had already screamed and fought and bled today. Vanessa letting on that the situation was actually getting to her was hardly the most distressing thing he'd seen or heard so far.

Not that it was helping him get his thoughts straight, either. Jae supposed that he envied Cass and Trav their little rooftop sanctuary and the short-lived peace it had brought them before he and Vanessa and the ugliness of the real world invaded it. They were a reminder of what this place was and what they'd been put here to do. Hell, he was going to be a (barely) walking reminder of that forever now, wasn't he?

"It is a fucking sick joke, isn't it," he said finally. And wasn't it, really? If someone had told him even yesterday that he was going to wake up in an abandoned mental hospital, he'd have called them crazy. If someone had tried to tell him that he would get the shit beaten out of him by fucking Alvaro Vacanti of all people, wouldn't he have laughed at the utter ridiculousness of it all? "Just... shit, man."

Before he knew it, something like a laugh was trying to work its way up out of his chest and throat too, though it came out as more of a wheeze. His parents could be watching this, watching him unravel. Of course if they were seeing him sitting here, then they'd probably already seen him get the beaten, and seen him wake up and freak out before that. His life was a series of events captured on video now, episode one to the season finale.

Just like a bad sitcom. Tune in next week for the life and times of Min-jae Parker, assuming he's still around next week! Damn, he needed to come up with a catchphrase if he was going to star in a sitcom.

That thought was what really set him off, it was so stupid and bizarre. Jae's hacking laughter joined Vanessa's, loud and discordant even as he doubled over and curled in on himself to try and contain it. The smoke drifting from the lit end of his cigarette changed from lazy swirls to jerky trails as his body shook. He brought it to his lips again, shakily, barely able to contain his hysteria long enough to inhale.

To anyone nearby, it probably sounded like the inmates of the asylum had never left. Jae supposed that there was a brand new round of inmates now, though.

Just another sick joke.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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They weren't welcome here. That much had been obvious from the start, and Vanessa was only making it worse.

Not that Jae was much help, still giggling inappropriately as Vanessa launched into her rant. He bit down on the knuckle of his free hand to stifle himself, which muffled the noise somewhat but did nothing for the hysterical shudders that wracked him. He'd never really liked the sound of his own laughter when he was conscious of it.

Okay, alright, breathe. Breathe in deep, let it out. Count backwards from ten, even though you're not pissed right now, just hurt and scared and failing to deal with it. Jae tried to follow his own advice, but he couldn't stop being aware of how high-strung everyone was and how easily a fight could break out, and how useless he'd be if it did. The slope of the tiled roof suddenly seemed menacing. He wanted to get to his feet but he had to go slowly, while every part of him was screaming for some kind of action. He hadn't realized you could feel claustrophobic in such an open space.

On an impulse, Jae flung his half-smoked cigarette away. He watched it drop over the edge of the roof, and part of him hoped that it might land on a particularly dry bit of wood and catch the building on fire.

"Vans, we should go," he spoke up once he'd gotten hold of himself again. "Let's get out of here."

Jae carefully got to his feet, watching the sloping edge of the roof warily, like it might somehow come towards him and send him over after his cigarette. He didn't want to argue with Travis and Cass about what did and didn't matter. He could barely even think straight, much less start sorting actions into meaningful and not meaningful in the context of where they were now. Philosophy had never been his strong suit anyway.

He let his fingers brush the collapsed baton where he'd stuck it through his belts to carry. He didn't give a shit if Vanessa wanted to argue or not. Fuck, he'd argue with her the whole way back down the stairs if she wanted, but he didn't care to sit here and watch this unfold any longer. "Let's go."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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