DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Night 55: Waiting Room/Lobby 2
[incredulous]
scarefaux wrote in damned
[From here.]

Thankful the door opened without hassle, the Scarecrow waited for Carter to get through before slamming it shut. He then moved to the opposite side of the room, putting as much distance between himself and the Burning Man as possible. He recognized the area- it was one of the rooms where they met with visitors.

Well, he had more important things on his mind than being homesick at that moment. In good news, the flames on his arm had gone out- perhaps the Burning Man's magic didn't work through walls. Though he couldn't feel it yet, he had an inkling his arm wasn't in such good shape, given that the skin on it was in shambles: it was almost like patchwork with patches of red, black, pink, and brown, though looked more like rust in the way it crawled along the surface of his arm, eating through the layers like a flame would eat through the cloth of his shirt before reaching the stuffing inside. Aside from that, it was still attached, so maybe it wasn't that bad of an injury.

Flesh must not burn the same way as straw, he determined, or he certainly would have been nothing more than a pile of smoldering ashes within a minute. Despite having slapped the flames with it, his other hand looked okay, save for a little singeing on his palm.

The Scarecrow was silent for a moment, staring at his arms before him. He could see himself trembling, but couldn't feel the usual tingling down his back that he associated with it. "I... I don't suppose we're getting out that way," he said finally. "Are you all right, Sergeant?"

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That hadn't been a robot. Carter wasn't sure what he was, alien or superpowered or magic, but he was a living person. Carter's voice stuck in his throat as he stared near-cataonic at the closed door, barely aware of what was going on around him.

"I...I think I killed him." He'd blown up cars and factories before but that wasn't the same as caving someone's skull in with your own two hands. Carter held the crowbar tightly, shaking all over and staring at the residual blood on the end of the hook. Never with his own hands. That was something he'd never thought he could do. He rarely even carried a gun except to threaten people or maintain a disguise, and he'd never even thought to bash someone up with a blunt object.

He'd seen people die. He'd killed, and gleefully. But not up close and not near enough to see the look on his face and the smell of him and the melting flesh and...Carter squeezed his eyes shut and felt like he was going to be sick.

Killed him? The Scarecrow blinked in surprise- he had been so wrapped up in the fact that he was on fire that he hadn't even seen the blow Carter had delivered to the Burning Man. One second, he was still a threat, and the next? Carter was running over with his weapon still in hand, and the fire had seemingly turned itself on its creator, leaving him not much more than a smoldering heap. The sight had been terrible, and the smell worse, but had he really been killed? It was so fast!

The Scarecrow looked from his arm to Carter, ready to ask what he'd done (in order to avoid it himself, of course), but the question died in his throat at the sight of his companion, his eyes shut and body shaking. He'd seen that moment of dread once before- coincidentally, from someone else who had accidentally killed another in order to save him from a fiery demise. The moment had passed quickly for Dorothy, given that they'd accomplished what they'd set out to do, ensuring both the Wizard of Oz's help and Dorothy's safety in one go; Carter, on the other hand, looked frozen where he stood, horrified at what he'd done.

Then again, Dorothy really hadn't meant to kill the Wicked Witch. She'd just wanted to put out the fire. How could she have known water would cause the Witch to melt away? The Scarecrow figured that Carter had actually attacked the Burning Man. Even if he didn't mean to kill him, the fact was that he'd made the attack on purpose. Maybe that was the difference.

The Scarecrow crossed the room, putting a hand on Carter's shoulder. "We can't know that for sure," he said, unsure of what to say, but knowing he probably needed to say something. "And even if you did, you didn't mean to. You know, you probably saved my life in there." He really didn't know that either, but when it came to fire, he was sure it was dangerous, whether a man was made of straw or flesh or anything else.

Carter clutched his crowbar like a teddy bear. "I know. I mean, I've done it plenty before, with my bombs. They were all people who had it coming, and if I hadn't done it the Germans would have done a lot of nasty stuff to us Allies. But it was always from real far away. I never broke a guy's head with a crowbar before, or made him melt down like that." Was that what it was like when he blew people up, when they got caught in the fires and shrapnel instead of just the blast radius? Up close it seemed a horrible way to die.

He couldn't do it. All his targets had really, really deserved it, especially the up close assassinations, but Carter made a personal resolution that he'd never do it to someone who wasn't pure Nazi deep inside. The murderers and the Gestapo deserved to burn but no decent person deserved to die that way.

Pull yourself together, soldier. Carter took a deep breath and opened his eyes. "So how do we get out now?"

That was a good question, wasn't it? The front door really had seemed like a good idea at the start of the night, and given that other doors opened with little to no effort, he'd expected it would do the same. Alas!

He wouldn't make the same mistake twice by assuming the Entry Room would be safe. Well, a third time, anyway. It was clearly a room to be avoided when it was usually inhabited by those who could conjure fire. Even with the attack on his arm, the Scarecrow couldn't help but wonder who the Burning Man really was. He'd said he wasn't brainwashed; then again, Mele hadn't recognized a friend when she'd been in that position. Not knowing something was wrong was probably an effect of being bewitched.

"Well, we're not going anywhere that way," the Scarecrow said with a shake of his head. Even if there was a chance they could get the door open, he could tell neither of them was ready to face that particular room again. He looked at his arm, starting to get some feeling back into it.

He turned, eyeing the other door. "Unless I've gotten turned around, that door ought to lead to the hallway. I don't know of any other way to get outside beside the ones near the patient blocks and the ones in the cafeteria, but even then, we'd have to get over the wall that surrounds this place."

"Last time I went to the cafeteria there was a brainwashed guard out in the Sun Room. We should probably go the other way." He'd gotten away from Scott Pilgrim without any casualties, but he'd really had enough fighting for tonight. He just wanted some food, and maybe a future book or two from the store.

A horrified thought struck Carter. "Do...do you really think he was a brainwashed patient?" he asked, wide-eyed and horrified. Killing an enemy was one thing but killing someone who couldn't control what they were doing was just flat-out wrong.

He didn't want to be a murderer.

The Scarecrow frowned as he looked to the ground. "I'm not sure," he admitted. It was one thing to kill someone who was truly wicked, but the brainwashed patients weren't themselves when they were doing the attacking. Even though Carter had only tried to help, the uncertainty of knowing whether or not it was a patient they'd left melting in the other room instead of an evil wizard was enough leave the Scarecrow's middle churning. Truth be told, it seemed that the witches and somethings that wandered the halls weren't much for chatter. The fact that the Burning Man had actually spoken to them wasn't encouraging.

Not that he told Carter that- the Scarecrow certainly didn't want to make things any worse for his new friend, especially when it was clear the incident had left them both shaken and ragged. There was a pause as the former strawman put his words together, trying to come up with the best way to tell the truth, but with tact. He fumbled for his map for a moment, returning his eyes to Carter once he'd thought of something to say.

"I think you did what you had to do," said the Scarecrow with a strong nod. "If you hadn't done something, he might have gotten us both, and that wouldn't be any better of a situation, now would it? If he is a patient like us, I bet he'll be fine come morning, just like all the others. You'll see."

"Y-yeah." Carter's confidence began to pick up. "I got my hand smashed and they fixed me up in three days flat. I bet they can fix whatever happened to him too." And he was a man who could set people on fire. Maybe he was used to melting.

Carter was aware that it might all still be a mistake but he clung tightly to the more optimistic possibility. If he had to deal with any more doubts tonight he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to make it outside without breaking down like a little girl and curling into a ball. He forced a smile onto his face.

"Then let's get going, then! You lead the way."

But he'd take the lead back into the hallway. Just to be sure.

[To here]

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