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Hemochromatosis; Day 5, tagging VoltTurtle and Cicada Days~
Topic Started: Feb 6 2017, 05:23 PM (860 Views)
VoltTurtle
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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
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((Penelope Fitzgerald continued from See The Needy Greedy Me We Bleed To Feed So Easily))

Penelope and Ben slowly climbed up the rickety, noisy stairs leading up to the top of the helipad.

The plan required meeting people, preferably out in the open, and preferably in large numbers so as to gather a big group all at once. Yesterday's events had lead to a massive fire on the helipad, visible across the island, a signal for all far and wide. The duo had planned to move in that direction, in the hope that others would have also seen the signal and gone that way, even if the person who created it had died, as told by the announcements.

The announcements had inevitably lead to more pain, more tears, and more grief from Penelope, especially with the news of Irene's death. Penelope had fortunately recovered quickly, and had quietly soldiered on in pursuit of their goal. The only thing that mattered now was finding her friends and getting the fighting to stop, even as the bodies slowly piled up.

The burnt stench grew stronger as Penelope and Ben made their way up, hoping to find someone, anyone, who thought similarly to them.

Then, as the faded marking of the helipad came into view, familiar blue hair came into view, and Penelope stood, stunned.

"Raina!" Penelope screamed in excitement, dropping her bag on the steps and running towards her friend.

"Raina! Raina! Raina!" Penelope kept shouting, waving her hand excitedly as she sprinted along the helipad, her joy impossible to contain.

It wasn't long before Penelope nearly tackled Raina in an attempt to hug her, holding her friend tight and nuzzling her head affectionately against her.

Her whole body relaxed as she felt her best friend embrace her in response, Raina's comfort having been sorely missed as the days went by. "Raina oh my god I was so worried about you. I'm so so glad you're safe I can't... I can't even express how happy I am to see you and I... I just..."

Penelope tightened her hug. "I missed you."
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"I... uh..." Penelope began, unsure of how to word everything that happened. "Lots of crying, for one."

Penelope let out an intentionally awkward laugh, before trailing off. Her time on the island had been hard, but that wasn't the focus right now. She was together with her best friend, and perhaps more pragmatically, she had the chance to win over another ally. "...I guess, more importantly, I've been trying to put a pretty neat plan together."

She eased herself off of Raina slowly, just enough to be able to actually make eye contact with her. "The basic idea is just... showing the terrorists what for... so to speak, I was thinking we could-"

Penelope was able to get a good look at Raina's face, and she wasn't happy with what she saw. The bags under Raina's eyes were evident, and the problems she had with insomnia immediately came to the forefront of Penelope's mind, shoving out all other thoughts in favor of extreme concern. "Oh... oh gosh, Raina. You haven't been sleeping have you?"

She resumed hugging Raina tightly, before the girl even had a chance to respond. "Oh man I'm so, so sorry. You probably don't have your medication on you and... and..."

Penelope looked for the words. There wasn't much she could say to make up for what Raina had likely been going through. She spoke up anyway, trying her best to offer condolences. "I can't imagine how terrible it's been. I'm... sorry for all of this, really. I wish I could help."
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"Well... first and foremost... it's not an escape plan." Penelope began, looking down at the ground to avoid the inevitable look of disappointment from her friend.

"I don't think I'm smart enough to figure out how to break out of a game designed by the best, most evil minds of a generation." She said, her tone somber. "Basically... you know how they told us that if none of us hurt each other for an entire day, they would just detonate all of our collars?" The collar sitting around Raina's neck and her own neck became all the more difficult to just ignore as her words slipped from her lips. "My idea is... get everyone together, and have everyone just... stop fighting. For a full day, and then... well..."

"...We all die."

Penelope bit her bottom lip. Saying her plan out loud without all the embellishments made it sound so much darker and so much more pointless. She needed to state the point, in order for Raina to get it and not just find it unacceptable. "But!" She started up again, acting more triumphant. "If we do this, we'll have shown them that they can't just take a bunch of innocent children and force them to kill each other, or at least not every time. We'll have shown them that we're better than them, and... even if we'll all be gone..." Her voice gained a tinge of hopefulness. "...I-I'm certain that our solidarity in the face of oblivion would inspire the world into doing more to... to fight these guys. So this never has to happen to anyone... to anyone ever again."

She took hold of Raina's hand with both of her own, in an attempt to show solidarity. "Th-the way I see it... if these terrorists had been regular, old fashioned terrorists... we would all already be dead, vaporized before we even knew what happened to us. A-and... and that's okay. Some lives get cut short tragically, we got unlucky. At least this way we get to make the best of it."

"And in the end..." Penelope lightly squeezed Raina's hand. "...we'll all be travelling into that dark void after life, together." She smiled softly, still averting her gaze. "Nobody will have to die alone."
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As far as Penelope was concerned, that answer was more than good enough.

"Okay!" She declared triumphantly, throwing her arms up in the air in excitement before catching Raina in another brief hug. "I knew you'd at least understand... and hey, if you figure out a way to get us out of here, I'd be glad to go back home rather than stop existing, even if..." She cast her eyes down, taking her hands off of Raina and grabbing her elbows. "E-even if stuff won't really be the same again..."

Penelope clenched her teeth, doing her best to stay strong in spite of the death happening all around her. She was the leader, if she broke down, how could she expect everyone else to stay strong. She looked back up at Raina, before resting her head against Raina's shoulder. "What's important right now is that we're here, together. And whatever happens..."

Penelope lifted her head off of Raina's shoulder, and took hold of her hands again, smiling and doing her best to be cheerful. "...I'm sure that with you and I together, we'll get the good ending, for everyone."

Her attention immediately turned from Raina over to Ben, who had helped affirm her just moments before but was still keeping his distance. "Yo, Ben!" She called out, waving one of her arms in the air. "Get your dumb ass over here and stop being lame! Or are you going to just brood by your lonesome?"
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Penelope tapped her chin in contemplation.

"Yeah, I know Lili, kinda. We haven't talked that much but I know her."

Penelope continued tapping her chin while looking at the charred roof of the helipad, contemplating what her friends wanted to do and how they should go about it. Ben wanted to go scavenge for supplies on his lonesome. Raina wanted to go find her presumable ally Johnny, a boy whom Penelope vaguely knew existed but had never really talked to.

"Okay so... Ben," Penelope turned her attention towards him. "You go ahead and try to scavenge a bit, if that's what you want to do. Raina might have some extra herself, but more stuff is never a bad thing. And then..." She paused for a moment. "...once you find whatever you can just meet us back at... wherever Johnny is."

"As for us..." Penelope squeezed Raina in another brief hug, nuzzling her head against Raina's shoulder again and doing her best to ignore how she smelled. "...we'll go get Johnny."

Penelope paused for a moment, taking her head off of Raina. "Now that I think about it... where even IS Johnny?" She asked, before continuing on, "...And also, why did you guys get separated? If it's okay for me to ask, that is."
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Penelope glanced out into the distance, searching for whoever was screaming.

She hoped they were okay, whoever it happened to be. Before she could move to really investigate, her attention was turned back towards Raina as she spoke. Johnny was in the warehouse, and Lili was presumably heading to or at least nearby the library. Not locations she particularly wanted to visit, but the warehouse could serve as a fairly easy place to gather up as many people as possible for the plan, or potential help for Raina's escape plan.

Penelope held her hand over her mouth, thinking about what they could do. Get as many followers of either plan together as possible. Searching around and grabbing people one by one was probably never going to work. Even seemingly stable and reasonable people might decide to wander off and then end up killing someone else, like Will.

They would need a signal. Fire would be seen as an attempt at getting help to come to the island, and it didn't seem like anyone had really come to Tara's signal fire, so that was out. The bell tower could put out a massive noise that you can hear all across the island. Perhaps if they went there and fortified the area they could slowly amass the following they needed, or at the very least get as many people behind the plan in spirit as possible.

"Okay... so... here's an idea. We need friends if we want to get out or go out with our middle fingers up, right?" She motioned in the air with her hands. "Well, maybe after we go and get Johnny, we could try heading over to the bell tower near the asylum and like... keep ringing the bell until people come around."

Penelope stopped as her leg suddenly cramped up, sitting down with a slight hissing noise. She had almost forgotten how much the muscles in her legs ached. She had done more than enough walking in the last few days, what with trying to find her friends and... boyfriend...

...

She took a deep breath to calm herself. Regardless, she had found a friend, her best friend in the whole world even. She probably needed to take some time to rest and recuperate. "Say... Raina..." She looked up at her friend, who sat down herself to meet at eye level. "Would you mind if we just... stayed here for a little while?"

As much as she didn't want to be in close proximity to the charred body of Tara, it was either waiting here or walking even more without rest, she didn't have much option. She shook her head to clear her thoughts, continuing on with her words. "I've probably walked around this whole island twice over at this point. I think I could use... maybe an hour or two of relaxation? If you don't mind, of course."
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Penelope quietly nodded at Raina's comment about the helicopter while motioning for her friend to sit down completely alongside her.

Her head soon found it resting on Raina's shoulder, her arms tucked around her body. It was chilly, with a breeze gently blowing over the top of the helipad, but for the first time since she got here she felt true warmth. She was here, with her friend. The person she had wanted most to find after her boyfriend. They were together again, even if it was only for fleeting moments in the grand scheme of things. In this moment, it was like they were back home. This was all that mattered, it was all that needed to matter.

Her eyes closed. The world around her slowly grew distant, her mind slipping away from this wretched place, its denizens, her troubles, and the best laid plans of mice and men.

She soon found herself lost in a wild, beautiful ocean of thought, her boat of consciousness sailing onward through it, with no true destination in mind. The sun glowed over the horizon as the warm, shimmering waters of knowledge rippled and hummed in response to the winds of perception catching her sails. Her chest of memory sat idly in her boat, waiting eagerly to gain new passengers.

Part of her had forgotten how much she missed these chances to simply think to herself. To let anything come to mind. Some of her best game ideas came during these moments of true clarity.

A small bottle with a note inside floated towards her boat. Picking it up out of the water, Penelope unfurled the message contained within.

"ARE YOU REALLY OKAY WITH THIS?"


Her eyelids twitched.

The boat rocked back and forth, as the waters grew slightly rougher, almost as if in response to the message. She didn't quite know what the message was talking about, or why she had found it. A second bottle was slowly approaching the side of her boat, waiting to be picked up. Placing the first bottle into her chest of memory, Penelope reached down and pulled the new bottle out of the water before glancing once again at the horizon. Small, wispy clouds could be seen over the horizon. She quickly unfurled the note, an uneasy discomfort starting to take over her thoughts.

"DO YOU EVEN UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS WOULD MEAN?"

A wave rolled underneath her boat, jostling it slightly and requiring her to hold onto its rails. Her head suddenly felt painful. She looked again at the horizon, the clouds having seemingly grown larger. The sun was slowly sinking below the edge of her ocean of thought.

Penelope reached down for another note, wanting to put these strangely uncomfortable, cryptic messages out of her mind. The new bottle was cracked, the note soggy as she pulled it out.

"I'M SCARED."


Her fingers curled more tightly around something that she was holding onto.

The waters grew fierce as black, billowing clouds took over the horizon. The sun was no longer shining, the waters were no longer inviting.

Notes in bottles seemingly swarmed her small vessel as lightning lit the void of her mind moment to moment.

She pulled bottle after bottle out of the waters, hoping to find something that would calm the increasingly violent sea.

"YOU HAVE TO STOP."

"PLEASE THINK OF OUR FAMILY."

"THE WORLD NEEDS US. WE ARE TOO IMPORTANT FOR THIS."

"WE CAN DO BETTER. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE"

"THINGS DON'T HAVE TO END THIS WAY."

"PLEASE STOP."

The next note she pulled out was devoid of words, covered in only what seemed to be mindless scribbles.

Every note thereafter was similarly garbled and impossible to read. The storm grew closer to her boat as the ocean grew even more wild and dangerous.

Finally, a seemingly unique bottle was pulled from the now icy, vicious waters. It was cracked, and filled with waterlogged black sand, the note was as slimy as the sand mixture viscous, and Penelope spent several moments cleaning it of debris before she was able to read it.



"ARE YOU REALLY SURE YOU WANT US TO DIE?"



A wave crashed over Penelope's boat, knocking over her chest of memory, spilling thousands of bottles out of the seemingly bottomless box. As she sorted through these bottles trying to get them back inside, as the clouds twisted themselves into images of a small girl and her mother.

The clouds spoke in echoed, garbled tongues that were nonetheless intelligible.

"Mommy, where do people go after they die?"

The images of the mother contorted, becoming wild, twisting, spiral-like shapes.

'Well... sweetheart... I guess you can say that you don't go anywhere after you die.'

"But... how can someone not be anywhere? I thought... I thought everyone would always have to be somewhere."

The spirals twisted less violently, its swirls becoming gentle, possibly even thoughtful.

'Well... You weren't anywhere before you were born, right? Being dead is like that. Like... sleeping for a long time, with no dreams. Doesn't that make it sound nicer?'

"No... mommy that sounds scary."

The clouds began repeating the last few words that they echoed out, repeating over and over again only to become a deafening chorus.

Was it trying to tell her something? She understood that she was going to die soon. Raina's escape plan would never have a chance of succeeding, even if Penelope helped as much as she could manage. The end was nigh, no matter what the two of them did. Penelope was okay with th-

Waves crashed over the side of her boat as rain pounded her sails, the winds growing malevolent and tearing holes in it.

Another wave hit the boat, washing a bottle onto it and directly in front of Penelope. She picked it up and pulled out the crumpled, damp paper inside.

"WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO PROVE?"


Penelope twitched where she was, blatantly disturbed in her thoughts.

The voice of the clouds spoke up again, in a veritable symphony of vocal octaves of all kinds.

"WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO PROVE?"

It was shouting at her, angry. It wanted answers. It wanted blood.

She called out into the darkness, doing her best to make the storm cease. "I just want to make the best of a bad situation! I can't leave here, I'd never be able to live with myself!"

"WE ARE SCARED. YOU ARE SCARED. ADMIT IT."

Penelope curled up into a ball, her clothes getting soaked. She hid her face away from the dire clouds. She was okay with dying. She was okay with dying. Death wasn't scary, if anything it was just-

"ADMIT IT!" The clouds screamed at her, somehow even louder than before.

Tears rolled down her face, becoming one with the waters sinking her boat. "Fine... I'm scared... I don't... I don't want... I don't want to die. I want to live."

"I just... I just want to be back home." She said, her hands covering her face. "I want to see my sisters and my mom and my dad and I want to be able to spend time with Sam and I want to edit together silly meme images with Raina again and I want to message Emilia about my games and art again and..."

The clouds swirled down towards her, ominously enveloping her ship.

"I just want to go home."




Penelope opened her eyes with a start, her breathing heavy. She was lying down, her head resting on Raina's lap and being gently stroked by her friend's hand. Her own hand was clutched to Raina's leg, holding on fairly tightly.

She felt the urge to speak.

She stayed silent.
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Penelope rolled her head back to look up at Raina.

"Uh, well..." She said, before sitting up and rubbing her eyes. "I guess I dozed off for a bit there... I'm okay, don't worry."

She looked down at the ground, noticing that her skirt was slightly messed up and brushing it back down into position. She turned her head back towards Raina, before speaking. "R-really, I'm fine. H-honest."

She slowly fell into her friend, wrapping her arms around her once again. "Just a bad dream, is all..."

Her eyes once again drifted to the ground, unable to hold a solid gaze. She didn't want to acknowledge the deeper feelings that she had been repressing, only brought to the forefront by the dream. She needed to stay calm, for everyone. She was supposed to be the leader, even if she wasn't all that capable at it. She had to remain strong, and focused.

"...Were you guys okay while I was out?"
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"Y-yeah..." Penelope said, her voice slightly shaken. "I'd... rather not talk about it."

Penelope shook her head, as a symbolic attempt at shaking off her worry. "Really, I'm fine." She pressed her head against Raina, nuzzling her slightly. "Honest."

She stayed briefly quiet, considering what she wanted to say before she spoke. "I guess..." She began, her voice calmer and slightly more alert. "Since I got some time to rest, we could go get Johnny, right?" She tightened her hug around her friend, not quite wanting yet to let go. Being in close proximity to Raina was too comforting for her to really want to stop, even if the two of them would remain together afterwards. She nuzzled her head against Raina again before continuing, her voice quiet. "If you want to wait a little longer though, I wouldn't mind."
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"Yeah, I think so, " Penelope began, her voice still quiet. "We might want to rest a little more when we get there but... otherwise I'm okay."

Walking around would probably do her some good after that relatively traumatic nightmare. Taking her mind away from the monsters from the id that were slowly gnawing away at her psyche could only be a good thing.

She stood herself up off of Raina, taking a moment to dust her skirt off before helping her sleep deprived friend to her feet. She looked at Ben after scooping up her bag, before giving him a warm, knowing smile and patting him on the shoulder.

"Let's go!" She chirped, before moving over to the stairwell leading down to the ground, doing her best to ignore the nearby charred body. She turned to face her friends, waiting for them to grab their belongings and join her while keeping a smile plastered on her face. She was doing her best to and keep spirits as high as they could realistically be kept in a situation like this, but she wasn't sure if her true feelings were shining through her positive facade.

Once they were all ready, Penelope began carefully stepping down the aged stairs. It was time to move on and accomplish as much as they could with the remaining daylight, in spite of the id that wants her to give up in her quest.

((Penelope Fitzgerald continued in Haemolacria))
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