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Forget About What I Said; 'I'm older now and I know you hear me.'
Topic Started: Sep 16 2016, 12:15 PM (1,605 Views)
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Mr. Danya
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Nate Turner continued from Dear God))

Nate and Matt’s hike from the chapel to the asylum had managed to be quiet, which was quite impressive in itself considering where they were. There had been the unmistakable ringing of the Asylum’s bell, not that Nate had ever heard it before, but the two had more or less glossed over it. Nate was far too wrapped up in his own panic to think too hard on such things.

He still felt nauseous and horrible, failing to stop gripping his arms as needles pressed on the back of his eyes, but the fresh air was helping. The two didn’t really talk about very much, but that was ok. As long as Matt was next to him at the time, someone to keep him company and share his emotional burdens, that was enough to help Nate. How much he could help was relative given the circumstances, of course, but Nate appreciated it oh so much all the same.

They’d finally decided to enter the asylum itself, rather than hang around outside forever. Nate really wanted to sit down somewhere, and a look at the asylum map had lead them to consider the staff area. There was a lounge up there, and doctor’s offices, so maybe they had aspirin (of which Nate was unaware that there was a supply in his medkit) which he could use to alleviate panic-induced pains that were coursing through him.

So the two had trekked up to the second floor, the asylum appearing just as creepy as you’d expect an old building full of the mentally ill to be. He might’ve thought on all the patients and what living there might’ve been like for them, but he was far too exhausted for imagining much of anything. Checking the map as they walked, Nate called Matt to stop outside the storage closet, a likely home for medicine.

“Should we look in here? Maybe we’ll find something useful.”
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
“Really?” Nate replied, looking past Matt at the now closed door. “Who is it?”

Nate returned Matt’s alarmed expression with a quizzical one of his own. Matt clearly hadn't expected to find someone else in the supply cupboard, but why did he look so freaked out by it? Someone else didn’t seem like something to be nervous about to Nate; quite the opposite in fact. He reached past Matt for the door handle, when the room's inhabitant called back out to them.

The voice sounded familiar, Nate realised, as he pulled the door open, calling back an “Ok!” as he did so. At this point, he was thoroughly distracted from any concerns Matt might’ve still had.

His eyes squinted in the darkness as the door swung open, the ill-lit room being just as advertised. The air was musty, something that Nate's nostrils picked up on straight away, and from what he could see the contents looked cluttered. Never the less, it didn’t take him long to spot the room’s sole occupant, and it took him no more time to recognise the familiar face.

“Ben!”
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Nate looked at Ben for a moment, processing his question, then shook his head. No, he hadn't seen anything ‘bad’ yet; he’d only really seen Matt and the asylum, after all. Did that make him lucky? It was unpleasant to think about.

Deciding not to dwell, Nate took the conversation back a question. “Well, I wasn’t in Hamlet.” He replied, stepping into the room and looking around the inside. “They did that when I was a Freshman, and I hadn’t joined drama yet.” He was still adjusting to the school at the time, after all, and had only joined soccer at that point. Bit of a shame, since Hamlet was a good play; he wasn’t sure who he would like to play in it, but it would’ve still been fun to take part.

It dawned on Nate that this wasn’t really the right time to be thinking about such nostalgic things: Ben had just asked them if they’d witnessed anything horrible, after all, and here he’d decided to think about what theatre he liked? He couldn't help but feel a little guilty.

Remembering that he hadn’t been travelling alone, Nate turned back to Matt. “Matt, if you don’t know him, this is Ben. Ben, this is Matt. He found me in a little chapel, and we basically just came here from there.”

In the moment of finding a familiar face, Nate had forgotten about the aches and pains that had brought them looking for medicine in the first place. Realising this only brought them right back, though thankfully they were dulled as his tensions had eased just a little.

“Is there any aspirin in here? I’m not feeling so good.”
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
All things considered, Nate had actually slept well.

When Nate first had a bedroom to himself after spending so much of his life sharing with Simon, it had been horrible. The room was so quiet and empty without his big brother around; it had taken him so long to actually fall asleep that the sun was practically shining through the curtains. Eventually he’d gotten used to it, and it was nice to have his own space when he absolutely needed it, but on some level he’d always wished that he could have gone back to sharing.

That was probably why he’d been able to get such a good night in the situation they were in. The exhaustion probably played a factor, but the fact that he could hear Matt and Ben, make small talk with them as the day went to its end, wish them a good night as he was the first to hit the hay, made all the difference. Having a cold floor for a bed was nothing to be glad about, and he had had a hard time keeping his eyes open when it was his turn to take watch (he had in fact dozed off for a half hour, unbeknownst to anyone including himself) but he lay in the morning ambience feeling all the fresher for his friends’ company, and realised that he was quietly thankful that he’d found them so fast.

He was just stretching out the nightly stiffness when the announcements made themselves known.

The audacity of it caught his attention straight away, as he listened in a submissive silence, only taking the moment to try and read Ben and Matt’s own faces before it really got going.

It would’ve been hard enough to hear that people were in fact killing each other, but the inescapable truth made it unbearable: he recognised so many of the names.

Jennifer who he knew from cooking class, even if she did keep to herself; Barry from soccer who wouldn’t hurt a fly; Conrad from the swim team who was just as friendly; Joshua whom he’d shared a brief study session with in the library, who was so switched on and confident.

All dead.

He turned back to Ben and Matt. He tried to speak, wanted to say anything, but instead he just started crying again.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Nate looked up at Ben as he felt the reassuring hand on his shoulder, trying to nod in agreement with his words. Instead, he found his face buried in Ben’s chest as he gripped at his shirt, the tears still flowing and the cries not ceasing.

This really was real: they really were going to die. His friends were dying, his friends were killing, everything that he’d heard about this nightmare was coming true in less than twenty-four hours, and there wasn’t a thing he could do about it. He felt so helpless and small; it was no wonder that he was reduced to drenching his company in his tears.

"Why? Why's this happening?"


Time passed, and eventually Nate calmed down. He hadn’t really said much, apart from muttering an apology to Ben for having such a dramatic, childish response, but he’d since taken to quietly huddling in the corner. He occasionally glanced aside to make sure that his friends were still there, that he still had someone he could talk to, but he couldn’t bring himself to reengage. He didn’t like sitting out, but he was too embarrassed to do otherwise just yet.

He’d taken the time to think about all the people he knew who had died, their familiar faces greyed out as they passed on to the afterlife. He hoped that they’d go to Heaven, although of course not everyone shared his beliefs about life after death. That was ok, but at the same time, by his faith people had to do enough to get into Heaven; it wasn’t fair that those people killed had had their lives cut so short, so fast, before they’d had a real chance to save themselves. Still, he clung to the hope that whatever they had managed had been enough.

It wasn’t really helping.

On the other hand, there were people out there who had killed them, and they were his peers too. They’d done something bad enough that they’d go to Hell usually, but surely these were exceptional circumstances? Would God really damn them for being forced to kill?

He didn’t want to think about what would happen if he actually met one of those people, either. Not yet.

And what about Conrad, whom he'd cried for but at the same time was responsible for someone else's death (at least, that’s what the announcements had made it sound like). Once he’d calmed down enough to realise what he had heard, what it meant, it just made it even worse. How could he grieve for him, when Harold had been his victim? Conrad was his friend, after all, but Harold had been other people’s friend and probably hadn’t done anything to deserve it. If he forgave Conrad, said he understood given the circumstances, what was that saying to Harold?

He wished he could ask his mom, like he’d often done when faced with these moral quandaries. He wished he could say a lot of things to her right now, but more than anything he wished he could be with her instead of where he was.

He continued to sit there in his silence, still gripping his knees, as he tried to make just a lick of sense of what was going on.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Nate rubbed at his eyes, not really paying much attention to Ben or Matt. They were so sore from the non-stop agitation they'd been going through, and the dusty atmosphere of the storeroom was only making them worse. He had enough things bothering him without having to add aching eyeballs to the list.

He looked to the door, still shut as it had been for the whole night, that separated him from a comparatively fresher hallway on the other side. Obviously it made sense not to show the whole world they’d been sleeping in there by leaving it wide open, but what was the harm in him going out for a few moments just to find a bit of fresh air (and to stop looking so stupid in front of his friends)?

Matt and Ben were in the midst of their conversation, so Nate opted to head out without a word. He thought for a second that maybe he should’ve told them what he was doing, in case there was a reason that he shouldn’t, but he didn’t want to distract them from more important stuff.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Light poured in as the door swung open, forcing Nate to shield his eyes for a few moments as they took in the light. After spending the night stuck in a dark old room, the ventilated air of the hallways smelt like daisies, but at the same time there was the undeniable presence of something else mixed in with the freshness. He saw, when his eyes had finally readjusted, that he had in fact opened the doorway to someone new.

“H-hi…”

He was starting to feel stupid all over again.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Nate stared at Henry as he rambled on about nothing, trying to think of the appropriate response to being reassured that Henry wasn’t about to try and jump him. “Thanks, I guess?” He finally said, as he tried to to crack a smile, with mixed results.

Nate wasn’t overly familiar with Henry, their interests putting them pretty far apart from each other. They were in the same grade, he knew that much, and Henry had never given him any particular reason to be wary. He didn’t seem to be the most outgoing person, but that was fine as far as Nate was concerned, as long as he wasn’t aggressive about it or anything.

“I’m not alone, though.” He started, before Ben cut him off from behind by appearing in the doorway. Nate turned back to his companion, stepping out from between him and Henry so that he could talk to them both at once. “Matt Moradi’s with us too.” He continued, turning into the room to point out his other buddy in a perfectly casual manner.

“Do you want to come in?” There wasn’t any reason Henry had to stand around in the doorway, after all. Ben seemed to know him and he seemed friendly enough, so there was no reason Nate couldn’t relax his guard. Besides, it was probably safer in the room with them than outside where people were starting to lose it.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Nate looked between Matt and Ben as Henry asked about the food, feeling a pang of sympathy for his situation. It couldn’t have been easy being stuck in a situation like this and also starving all the while. He would’ve been the first to offer him some protein bars if Ben hadn’t cut him off.

“It’s ok,” he butted in, not wanting to miss the chance to help and not wanting his own generosity to go unnoticed. “he can have some of my stuff. I don’t eat that much anyway.” That was something of a lie, all that exercise did leave him quite hungry, but it was a reflexive fib to make the offer more palatable.

He smiled at Ben and Henry, though not at Matt, who’s reluctance to help out hadn’t gone unnoticed. It made Nate feel just a little bit disappointed that his friend wouldn’t be more selfless, but he chose not to dwell on it for too long. It wasn’t like Henry was out to do any harm, though, so it wasn’t really cool of Matt to hold out on him.

Ben had raised a good question though. Maybe Henry was a klutz who had just lost his stuff, but Nate supposed that was probably unlikely. If his classmates had started attacking, no, killing each other, then taking their food wasn’t exactly a huge leap. Henry was alive and looked well enough, but what if he had avoided danger by the skin of his teeth? Not nice to think about.

“Yeah, are you ok? Did someone try to-” he caught himself. He didn’t really want to ask it out loud and openly discuss the reality that they were trapped in; it was hard enough accepting that his classmates were out for each other in the first place. “You’re not hurt or anything, right?”
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Nate listened patiently with his sympathetic ear, but gave Ben a look of concern when he suggested looking for the people who’d robbed Henry.

On one hand, he supposed, it would be great if Henry could get his stuff back, but they were in the midst of such a dangerous situation. What was the point of going out looking for trouble? It would’ve been much better to stay out of harm’s way as long as possible, after all, and maybe something would eventually happen to save them.

Wishful thinking, he knew, but giving into despair wouldn’t have helped at all either.

He did agree with Ben that it was time to go, however. He’d had his fill of this gloomy cupboard, and his legs were itching for a stretch. There was no knowing what they might find out there where everyone was losing it, and Nate was still a bit terrified of the whole idea, but he was getting restless all the same.

Grabbing up his bag and staff, he waited on everyone else before they headed off.
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