DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 54: Breakfast
animated
arc_wrench wrote in damned
For once, HK was working very hard to hide a giddy facial expression as he met his nurse at the door. He'd already hidden his scalpels in his clothing. The wonderful, sharp implements of doom would be needed today. “Statement: Despite my reticence towards all processed meat and plant products, I am experiencing intolerable levels of hunger,” he informed his nurse. “I require an especially large meal.”

It was the easiest and best excuse to load his food tray with several of these 'inglish muffin sandwiches', and two glasses of white milk. He then found a table strategically located in the center of the refueling area, and waited. He needed the room as full as possible before the Evil Plan could begin.

[Free, but planning doom upon all.]

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There was something amiss, so amiss that even a man without a working brain could tell. It wasn't that the Scarecrow hadn't found his missing friends the night before- actually, he'd found a lead in the file room, granted he could remember the "real names" of those missing. If nothing else, he now knew he needed to keep track of such things. It wasn't his spending another day in the Institute and being no closer to either having his body back or finding a way home and rescuing Dorothy. And it certainly wasn't the events of the evening: aside from the strange writing on the ceiling in the Possessions Storage, the night had been oddly (but thankfully) uneventful.

Still, it was easy to tell something was amiss when the nurses were anxious and had their own escorts, ones far less friendly than the staff. Apart from the small mention on the morning announcement, the Scarecrow couldn't put together why the Wizard Landel would have guards watching the nurses, and that was if he'd sent them at all. And if not... then who? Given the way they acted, it was hard to imagine they were sent by someone who was anything but wicked.

After stuffing everything he'd found during the night under his mattress and stopping by the bulletin board, the Scarecrow waited patiently for the nurse to leave him alone at a table before retrieving his journal from his pocket, finding his maps and pen. At least if Mele had a map, that'd be one less person to get lost during the night.

[Mele~]

Mele woke up from a nightmare with her heart hammering. Probably a combination of things: the lingering negativity from those shadow things, the message on the ceiling last night.... Mele put a hand over her eyes and exhaled slowly. She couldn't even remember the nightmare anymore, but she also couldn't remember the last time she'd dreamt. Stupid institute.

Preoccupied, she nearly didn't notice the new escorts until she turned to the nurse specifically to try to torment her so Mele could relieve her feelings. "If you're bothered by me taking my journal...thing, just say so." Mele followed the nurse's gaze when she glanced away, and finally noticed the new additions. "Who are th—"

She barely got the words out before the nurse was pulling her along. That was interesting; the nurse was always more likely to push Mele along than to actually grab her arm. Mele made a note of the nurse's nervously tight grip, and glanced behind them at the men, suffering another jerk on her arm as she did so.

Mele was tempted to say something about them just to annoy the nurse, but the additional escorts didn't make Mele feel any better, either. Nothing for it but to get away from them both as soon as possible. She rushed through the food line, not caring what she plopped on her plate, and scanned the sea of patients quickly for Scarecrow. "Any idea what they're there for?" she asked, jerking her head vaguely toward the black-garbed additions as she sat.

"Why, no," the Scarecrow answered, looking over Mele's shoulder to the nurses lining the wall behind her. There were more than just a few of the new orderlies- it seemed that almost every nurse had one keeping an eye on her. "It does seem awful strange that the staff is being watched so carefully. I suppose this has something to do with what Landel was saying last night about behaving, but I can't imagine what he meant by that."

He shook his head, sliding his maps from under his tray toward Mele. "Better copy these quick while they don't seem to be too interested in us. There's one for each floor, including the roof."

The Scarecrow paused a moment, thinking. If there was a map for the roof, that meant someone had to have been up there- and crossed through the third floor- at some point, but didn't mark down the way for some reason. But why?

Edited at 2011-01-12 06:28 am (UTC)

Mele quickly whisked the maps under the table. The theory was that you were a suspicious person if you acted suspicious—like, say, moving something quickly under the table—but Mele didn't want a nurse passing by and seeing a map. If the nurses were distracted enough not to pay as much attention as usual, they were distracted enough to let Mele's subterfuge go by unnoticed. Hopefully.

No one came marching toward their table making accusations, so it seemed to have worked. "Be on the lookout for me?" she said as she opened her journal and scanned the maps for a general idea before she started copying.

"He lies," she said in response to their earlier topic. "He could have said anything, and we wouldn't know. Still, suspicious.... Wonder if we can talk to those people in black, nurses don't seem to want us doing that," she muttered without focus as she started making marks in her journal.

"Now that's an idea," the Scarecrow replied, keeping his eyes on the nurses around them while attempting to cut his muffin into squares as nonchalantly as possible. "They don't look like they're much for conversation, but it can't hurt us to try. Or I don't think it can, at least." There was a lot more he was unsure of without his brains, but most awful stuff happened at night: the Sleep Studies, the Special Counseling, the staff and patients being brain-

Oh! His thoughts turned to an awful possibility. "You don't suppose these guards will still be here at night, do you? I mean, if the nurses are changed at night and patients can be bewitched, what if it's the same for them? I've got to say that the thought of running into one of them in the dark doesn't sound very promising."

Actually, it could hurt them to try, if the black-garbed escorts were enemies of Landel and were waiting for a chance to sabotage him. As little as they knew about Landel, they knew even less about this other group. Eagle or whatever. But Landel had taken pains to warn them, so maybe talking to these new guards was worth the risk. "Hmm...maybe."

Mele looked up when Scarecrow voiced his concerns about night. "That's—"

Her attention was drawn away when someone started yelling. And throwing food. Food wasn't exactly dangerous, but Mele didn't want to find out if they would be allowed to go to the showers after this or if they had to make do with towels (napkins, even). Her first instinct was to get out of the line of fire, so she ducked under the table, careful not to drop the journal, pen, or maps.

Just as the Scarecrow was thinking of ways they could interrogate the new guards and not be suspicious (somehow, the thought of knocking one out, borrowing his outfit, and attempting to blend in didn't seem very plausible in this situation), the room erupted in noise. A patient stood up, yelled, then started hurling food in every direction. Or was the food actually coming from other directions?

The Scarecrow turned back to Mele, only to find she wasn't across the table anymore. He only had a second for his surprised before a second patient in his line of sight joined the first one, then another and another. A bright smile crossed his face as he was reminded--

He never finished that thought as a glass of milk landed sharply against his back, its cold contents spilling across him and the table and giving him quite a shock. Having things thrown at you certainly felt a lot worse when one wasn't made of straw and therefore could actually feel it.

Mele had dropped the pen, and was fumbling around awkwardly for it (this was making her legs really uncomfortable) when she happened to glance up. Was Scarecrow still up? She pinched his pants leg and tugged. "Duck!"

Oh, there was the pen. Mele picked it up, stuffed it into a pocket, then shifted the chairs so there was more room. She didn't want to sit down on the floor, but she'd sat on concrete before, so this wasn't bad, really. And at least the nurses would be really too distracted now to notice Mele copying a map.

Too bad the chairs weren't adequate protection, though. Mele grumbled as food—she couldn't discern what it had been—splatted on the floor nearby. "What do they think they're doing?"

The Scarecrow slid under the table with Mele with her tugging, following suit and sliding chairs to create both room and a barrier between them and the flying food. It also served to block the view of the maps from the nurses, though he had a feeling they wouldn't be paying much attention to that anymore.

"That's what I'd like to know," the Scarecrow said quietly, as though he'd draw nurses to them if he raised his voice any louder. "Maybe they think these strangers aren't working under the Wizard Landel and figure now is as good a time as any to fight back, given what he said about behaving and all." He sat on his knees and peered around the room for a moment, watching as the men in black moved toward the unruly patients. More were joining in the fray now, some going after the nurses directly. Oh, this didn't look at all well.

And speaking of things that were not at all well, the feeling of the cold milk soaking through his shirt was one of the more unpleasant ones he'd experienced. He shifted uncomfortably as said feeling trailed down his back. "Better hurry up with those maps, just in case something else gets thrown our way that could ruin them."

"But they have weapons," Mele hissed. "At the least, send the cannon fodder out first—" Oh right. She could consider this a cannon fodder run. Possibly this little display was just that, but she couldn't imagine what getting everyone in on it would do. There had been food fights before, sure, but none in the presence of these new guards, and this couldn't be a test of their strength without them—which meant the ringleader couldn't be lounging in his room waiting for a report, since he couldn't have known the guards would even be present.

Besides which, the patients were the patients, the nurses were the nurses, and the guards were the guards. The patients were like the rinshis; Mele could tell them apart, but Rio couldn't—he was too far up the ladder of superiority. What was to say that Mele and Scarecrow would be safe even if they didn't participate in the attack? This situation didn't strike Mele as very thought-out.

Never mind that Mele hated feeling like a mere grunt in the scheme of things. She bit her lip, but there was nothing she do, for now. Nothing but observe and use this chance to copy the map. She took a breath and forced her writing hand to be still. Drawing wasn't a skill she'd deigned to master, but this was just a bunch of lines. Just had to make sure she could understand it— "The entrance to the basement is in a refrigerator?"

The Scarecrow peered from behind the chairs again, the men in black now engaging the patients with more than just words. Were those weapons? They certainly didn't look like spears, axes, or anything of the like, but he decided Mele probably knew more on the subject than he did. If she said the guards were armed, then they were armed.

It was apparent that whoever had sent the men in black- Wizard Landel or otherwise- wasn't making empty threats. Those facing the new guards were met with commands to back down; those who refused were met with the needles the nurses carried- or worse, violence. The Scarecrow felt his middle churn in the worst way from the sight.

"Depth Charge- he's my roommate- said it was under a loose tile in there," he answered Mele quietly, his eyes still transfixed by the ongoing chaos as food flew in every direction and other patients made for the exits. "It looks like some people are trying to leave, but I don't know how far they'll get. Oh, this is just awful!"

Under a loose tile. The heck was with this place? Couldn't they install some stairs to the basement? It wasn't like the Institute was some secret base in the mountains or anything—

Mele looked up at the mention of people trying to leave, and then back down to her journal. "Why can't they get far? What are the guards doing?" Copying the map was more important; she could observe after she was done. Which would go faster if she weren't making so many mistakes. Mele bit her lip as she made another wrong mark and had to scribble it out. At this rate, it would be easier to memorize it...!

She winced as something landed on the floor near her again, throwing up droplets of...what? Eugh. She was wiping a cheek with the back of her hand when her gaze happened to stray by Scarecrow. "Hey, did you get hit by something?"

It took a moment before the Scarecrow found his voice and could answer her. "They're, well..." He faltered again, looking away from the confrontation occurring across the Cafeteria toward the doorway to the Sun Room. "Nurses are stopping people at the doors. I don't know if they're going to let them through or not. And there are some people attacking the nurses, and the guards are, um..."

He trailed off a second time as one of the patients attacking the nurses was tackled and thrown to the ground while two more were surrounded. The former strawman flinched at the brutal sights that followed, wondering if it was possible to feel another's pain simply by watching what was happening to them. The sensation was simultaneously fascinating and horrifying.

The Scarecrow forced himself to look away as Mele questioned him again, turning to face her. "I did, just before I joined you under here. I'm pretty sure it was a glass of milk that came flying across the room. It hit me here." He touched his back between his shoulders, feeling the cold residue on his hand as he pulled it away. Wiping it on his pants did little to alleviate the unfavorable feeling. "And it spilled all over the table. This whole thing is such a mess."

Edited at 2011-01-16 09:43 pm (UTC)

"The guards are...? What?" Something horrible? Mele peeked out to see for herself.

...Oh. Hmph. At least they weren't using those guns to shoot. Mele turned back to the map. "Why don't you think the nurses aren't letting them through?" That sounded a little like a trap. Mele, at least, had always found the nurse who attended her to be surprisingly patient. It was one of the reasons Mele liked to taunt her, to see how far the nurse's patience actually went. "They're supposed to be helpful and stuff like that, to get us back to our 'real' lives. Don't think this is going to help that goal along."

Maybe she was thinking too narrowly. Nights had a completely different goal, after all. Mele's pen slowed as she frowned, thinking of the time in the town. That time, everything had changed in the blink of an eye. And the townspeople had changed. "Maybe... Nighttime hasn't really ended?"

But how was that even possible?! Too many thoughts, too many theories. Mele flipped the page in her journal and began copying the map for the first floor. "Grab a few napkins. Just in case."

"I suppose I should," the Scarecrow said with a nod and a sigh, reaching through the chairs to the table top and feeling around for a napkin. None up there as far as he could tell. He could only hope his nurse would let him grab a few on the way to the next shift. One thing was for sure: she wasn't going to be happy his clothes were covered in milk.

Mele did have a point though: what if Landel's trickery usually reserved for nighttime had somehow continued into the day? "I don't see how it could still be night," he reasoned. "Not unless Landel can control the sun, too. After all, the nurses are back to normal, and all the rooms look just fine- well, aside from the new guards, that is."

The yelling from the men in black continued, and the Scarecrow found his attention drawn toward them once more. He couldn't help but feel he needed to do something about what was happening, but what could a former strawman with no working brain really do? He shook his head- that feeling of helplessness wasn't going away anytime soon, and it was far worse than any amount of milk running down his back.

He checked on the Sun Room again. "Looks like a few patients are being let into the next room," he noted, trying to keep his eyes off the soldiers. "You probably ought to finish copying that in here. I know the nurses would take it up."

Okay, it wasn't night, Mele conceded. And it sounded like the guards' motives weren't in line with that of the nurses. That was problematic. "Let's...not talk to them until we know more," she said. It might have been a good idea before this fight broke out, but not anymore.

Spotting something at the corner of her eye, Mele managed to snap up a few napkins from the floor. They were a little soggy, but better than nothing. "Here," she said, handing them to Scarecrow, and added to it by ripping a few pages from the back of her journal.

Turning back to the map, Mele shook her head—I'm getting there, don't rush me. She'd be faster if she didn't keep trying to look up— "Are they rounding up the patients now? Or still trying to control it?"

Though the Scarecrow nodded with what Mele said, he wasn't so sure they could learn much else without talking to the guards directly. He was torn between satisfying his own curiosity or taking the advice of someone who probably knew more than he did. He shook his head in frustration: he knew better than to try to manage things without a brain; however, he'd left that sort of thing to Abe, too. Abe was gone now, and all the professional knowledge in the world hadn't kept him from being released. What if the same happened to Mele?

He took the napkins Mele offered him, deciding he could at least wait until the next shift when things had calmed down before trying to talk to the nurse again. If she didn't give him any sort of explanation, then he could try questioning one of the men in black himself. It was an intimidating prospect, given the sights he was still seeing in the far reaches of the room, but he had to try. After all, if the men left the next day, he'd miss the opportunity entirely. He was not about to let that happen, not when his friends were disappearing. Any bit of information was better than nothing at all. He'd risk anything for it.

Scooting to the end of the table, the Scarecrow tried to see what was happening. "They've let some people into the Sun Room now, and a few went outside to the Courtyard. It looks like some of the nurses and guards are getting ready to leave, but they're not rounding up the patients."

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