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Tea Party with Death at Dawn; Early Morning Day 7: Open
Topic Started: Mar 30 2017, 01:36 PM (1,247 Views)
Espi
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((Alice Baker continued from Can You Hear Me Calling Out?))

Somehow, she kept coming back here. And every time was worse than the last.

Alice had awoken before the now-familiar buzz of announcements, and now found she was unable to sleep. She was having trouble falling asleep too, but that was for quite different reasons. Anxious fear about what might happen while she slept, the unnerving notion of simply never waking up again, kept her from resting.

When she did rest, however, she'd had a disturbing dream about being inside a glass jar, climbing out and discovering herself in some sort of woodshop. She'd miraculously grown to full size as she walked through the room, which was full of various tools on the walls. She'd gone through a door, but on the other size was a large, pink mass of fleshy substance in a vaguely human shape, seated at a table with its head an array of tentacles slowly squirming across the surface.

The horrible thing had sudden moved, and startled Alice awake with such force that she bolted upright from the bench she slept on, much like she had under the pews almost a week ago inside the church she lay outside. A strange, circular turn of events.

She'd sat awake on the stone bench for some time, staring with a disturbed fascination at the nearby body. The church had been their chosen sleeping location, but now Alice sat in the garden outside, looking at the corpse of Rene Wolfe.

It was a puzzle to Alice, in a demented way; The corpse was difficult to identify, and had red, swollen skin around her arm, but was clearly dead from a gunshot wound to the head. What had happened here? Had she been wounded, committed suicide to escape the pain of a slow death? Was she bitten by a snake, and shot post-mortem for reasons she couldn't fathom?

This was what death had become to Alice Baker. A simple cause and effect. These people she knew, in varying degrees, had to be prioritized to keep herself from despairing. If people had to die, she selfishly thought, let them be people I don't know or don't care for. Don't let them be Sandra, or Bryony, or me or-

Unaware of her surroundings, Alice continued to stare. She didn't want to die. But she was inevitably doomed, barring a heroic intervention or an unfathomable amount of luck. How could she reconcile these two things without going mad?

She didn't know. So she stared at the body and tried to figure out who she was despite the bullet wound and blood.
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Damn her, damn her for being so numb and devoid of empathy. Alice should have considered that the others might be upset by the corpse. Poor Sandra had seemed so resilient to the horrors of the island, but Alice should have anticipated that she couldn't hold out forever. Poor thing.

Alice stood and moved toward Bryony, a look of concern on her face. As she stepped forward, though, the distinct sound of the morning announcements played.

Alice listened. By the end, she had deduced three things. One: Rene had been killed, but it was hard to say why, looking at the corpse. Two, none of the people she was truly close to had died or killed. Three, Alice was a terrible person for feeling relieved at that.

"Okay, so where-" Then, a thought occurred. Alice glanced at Bryony, suddenly alarmed. Alba had killed someone. She had no idea what would happen to Bree, or how she'd respond. "Bryony?" She asked slowly.
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"Yeah."

Alice wasn't sure what to add. Comforting her companions seemed an insurmountable task, with her shyness being only one factor in the way. She was numb, true, but her numbness was almost a shield, a persona she'd adapted to protect herself from despair.

To lower that mask was dangerous. She had to be strong, especially when others were weak. Not weak, that was a callous term, but vulnerable. Bryony was vulnerable, her gentle soul susceptible to the horrors of this damned place. Still, Alice couldn't bear to see Bree on the verge of breaking down. She had to say something.

"It could've been self-defense. Kaitlyn was going to play a game, it said. Alba might have just been protecting herself. I'm sure that's what it is."

Alice smiled weakly and reached out to Bryony to put a comforting hand on her friend's shoulder. "She's not a bad person, I'm sure. You have good taste in friends, after all." An attempt at a joke, to ease the nerves. Danger could be anywhere, but Alice thought they were safe for now. "We should keep looking for her, though. Where to now?"

It occurred to Alice that she was talking much more than she usually did. Normally, she was somewhat quiet, preferring her art and music and stories to conversations. Oh, to be home again, and drawing, or writing, or playing her cherished violin..

No, wistfulness got her nowhere. Strength and courage would have to be her tools. She needed to be supportive while she could. That was how they'd make it home.
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Alice nodded. Finding Alba was a good plan, a way to find some stability and security while they could. Survival, as callous as it seemed, was the priority. She had no idea if there'd be some sort of rescue, but the longer the class lasted, the morel likely that they would be found. The more likely they'd get to go home. "Yeah, let's go look."

Movement in the corner of her eye. Alice turned her head to look. Who was that guy over there? What was he hold-

"Aaaaah!"

Alice hit the ground hard onto her side, searing pain shooting under her red-stained hands as she gripped her left calf. The sound of gunshots echoed in her ears, deafened by her own gasps of pain.
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Panting, Alice sat up with a grimace and looked at Bryony. As she felt at the wound, she felt more reassured. The bullet had grazed her calf and despite the relatively deep wound wasn't embedded in her leg, and though it was bleeding a fair bit, she was pretty sure it hadn't hit something too vital. It hurt like hell, but she'd probably live.

"I'm okay, it's not so bad." Alice forced a smile. That smile quickly diminished when she looked at Bryony though, and realized that there was blood on her that wasn't Alice's.

"Oh my god, Bryony!" Alice moved instinctively, and needed to stop herself from leaping onto Bryony protectively. It wouldn't help, the shooter having already left, and right now she needed bandages. Sandra had her bag open and was holding first-aid supplies, but looked unsure.

"Sandra, grab disinfectant and put it on, then use that gauze. Bring the whole thing, please." She looked at Bryony. She was bleeding from her left hand. Alice suddenly couldn't remember if Bryony was right-handed or not, and because of the blood she couldn't tell how bad the wound was.

"Bree, stay calm, don't freak out. Uhm, hold your hand in the air, like, above your hair, and then we'll get a closer look after we clean it."

It struck Alice how ironic it was that her little wallflower self was taking charge here. Who knew crisis could be good for your self-confidence?
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Okay, okay. Alice had to think. The whirlwind of frightful images and chaotic ideas was overwhelming her. She needed to take care of Bryony's wound as well as her own, though luckily Sandra seemed unharmed. This was really, really bad, though, and the tight grip of fear kept distracting her from her task.

Bryony's concern was enough to help her focus. "Yeah, it'll be okay." Of course, Alice had no way of knowing whether or not it'd be okay, in any sense. Realistically, even if it didn't become infected, the wound could prove a major hindrance, depending on much damage there was. And that assumed Bryony lived long enough to face adversity because of it.

"We'll get you patched up, and once we go home you'll be alright. Alright?" Alice smiled reassuringly and patted Bryony's unharmed hand with her own. It was a tall promise, to be sure. She couldn't really guarantee anything of the sort, but she wasn't going to give up hope yet.

She couldn't let Bree despair.
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