DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 57: Cafeteria
So... you're single?
gald_digger wrote in damned
Edgar's charming company had raised Anise's spirits enough that not even the Head Doctor's voice could bring them back down. Besides, she was feeling pretty sure that Landel wasn't actually around. To begin with, it wouldn't make sense, and secondly, his announcements sounded suspiciously like ones she'd already heard before. While Anise wasn't very familiar with Earth technology, she'd seen the little devices in the Music Room that could play recordings of people's voices. This had to be something like that.

It wasn't long before Anise was escorted to the Cafeteria, and then to the section where edible food was being served. As she filled her plate with waffles, fruit, and sausages, she looked to the other side of the counter with a look of sympathy. It was hard to enjoy her own meals while knowing what the other patients had to suffer through.

She wasn't about to refuse her meals just out of guilt, though. Anise needed her strength for tonight. There was still a bit of a nervous twist in her stomach whenever she thought about what could happen down in the basement... but she wasn't going to back down. Not after promising her friends they'd go together.

With her tray in hand, Anise seated herself at an empty table in the middle of the room. She preferred to have company while eating, but it looked like she was one of the first patients there, so there was no one to sit with. Maybe if she minded her manners and tried to look her cutest, she'd attract someone handsome! Holding her utensils delicately, she began to cut her waffles into smaller pieces.

[For Battler.]

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Why had she even gotten her hopes up? She should have known by now that anyone who spoke from the ceiling about anything, it wasn't good, even if it sounded that way. No matter how much she pouted and pleaded and made adorable green puppy dog eyes, the staff weren't letting Rapunzel have anything from the spectacular-sounding buffet.

"No fair." A puff-like sigh pushed past Rapunzel's lips as she carried a tray of pink gruel back to a table with her. Somehow, the idea of eating it while wearing the drab, grey uniform made it all the worse.

At the very least, she thought, she could look forward to a sugary treat come dinnertime. It was small, but Rapunzel had no doubt that the Mars bar that Claire had helped her buy in Doyleton would make up for all the tasteless pink gruel in the world. ...Well, mostly no doubt, anyway.

For now, she sucked it up and started in on the gruel. Come on, the faster you eat it, the faster it'll be over with, she told herself while holding her nose and keeping an eye out for familiar faces.

[Scarecrow]

Edited at 2011-06-27 05:30 am (UTC)

Though the chat with Mele hadn't gone in a very uplifting direction, the Scarecrow found himself in a better mood nonetheless. She never failed to make the day brighter, and if there was ever a day for it, this one was it. The aching in his arms had died down for now, but his body still felt sluggish, his limbs moving as though they were being dragged through the mud.

His mind wasn't much better: it must be those pills from the nurse, he reasoned as he rubbed his eyes. As much as he disliked pain, he wasn't very keen on being unable to think well, either. The brain was just so important, after all. He could only hope the effects were temporary, and that like his limbs, his brain would somehow work itself out.

Following his soldier to the next shift (and he was still fairly certain it was the same soldier as before in a nurse's outfit, unless there was someone who looked a great deal like him simply playing a part, like the Scarecrow in the movie), the Scarecrow was disappointed to find himself led to the line for the gruel. With the tantalizing smells of the original selections only a skip away, it was hard not to complain about what he was given. He supposed after several seconds of thought he ought to be grateful he was able to taste at all, and leave it at that.

Trying to keep that thought in mind, the Scarecrow headed for an empty spot near a familiar face. "How do you do, Rapunzel?" he greeted, easing into the seat across from her.

Rapunzel was in the middle of a bite when she heard Scarecrow's voice. Instinctively, she let go of her nose to greet him properly. Bad idea. There was that pasty taste hitting her tongue all at once. Bleeeeeeegh.

She made a very awkward-looking smile as she tried to swallow as quickly as possible. "Hi there, eugh, Scarecrow! H-how do you do?" she asked back, inviting him to sit across from her with a gesture. She shook her head, the last of the stuff going down her throat. "Sorry. Still haven't gotten used to this stuff. How have you been? Have the nights..."

It was about then that Rapunzel registered the bandages on the man's arms, and her expression fell. "Oh no, how did you do that? Is it very bad under there?" she asked, nodding toward the injuries.

It was no surprise that Rapunzel found the food as unappealing as he did, or at least that was what the Scarecrow got from her reaction. Apparently, the goo hadn't gotten any tastier from when they'd had it the other day- it certainly didn't look any better, but he always tried to keep in mind that appearances could be deceiving. He knew that very well.

There was a moment of hesitation before he moved his arms on the table: though the pain had been dulled, he knew bending his arms to get his elbows on the table was just asking for trouble. Deciding it'd be easier to just go with one arm rather than try to get both into a position where he could eat, he left the burned arm in his lap, wincing as he bent the right one enough to get it to his tray. It wasn't so bad once it was up there and he had the spoon in his hand; hopefully, the worst was over.

Oh, that was right. Now there was the actual part where he had to eat the gruel. He still wasn't looking forward to that.

"It's not so bad, I promise," the Scarecrow answered in spite of his unsure smile. "Well, at least I hope it isn't. I've not seen what's under the right one yet, but the nurse comes by every now and then and changes the bandages on the left one, and it does look awful under there."

He shook his head, adding quickly, "But I'm sure they'll get better, so long as I avoid the bewitched patients at night. They can be very dangerous, you know."

Rapunzel winced as she watched Scarecrow attempt to maneuver his arms. In combination with his description of things, she was almost tempted to wrap locks of hair around the man's arms right there at the cafeteria table. That this Institute could cause so many people so much pain, both physical and otherwise, made Rapunzel's chest burn. Or maybe that was the gruel disagreeing with her. Either way, it was not fun.

"Bewitched patients?" She had been about to make him a healing offer, but that term caught her unawares. "What do you mean by that?" She pressed her teeth down on the inside of her bottom lip, not sure if she wanted to hear the answer, but knowing she probably ought to.

"You haven't heard?" the Scarecrow asked incredulously, as though that exact question might somehow jog her memory. There was always the chance she was relatively new, but she'd spent at least two nights in the Institute, which was plenty of time to find oneself in trouble.

However, rather than let her discover the dangers lurking in the dark for herself, the Scarecrow decided it was best to tell Rapunzel as much as he could. He knew he'd feel just awful if she ended up as wrapped up as he was because he hadn't bothered to give her some warning.

He leaned closer to her, keeping his voice low. "Sometimes, at night, they take some of the patients away from their rooms- I'm not sure where, but I've heard to the third floor. There, they put a spell on them that makes them attack other patients if they don't go back to their rooms. They won't remember if they know you, or even if you're friends. I met one on the Recreational Field last night, and I've seen one in the front room of the Institute twice now. They're sometimes upstairs, too. You oughta be careful wherever you go at night, just in case."

Rapunzel shook her head. She had seen horrors of the Institute in the form of monsters, but nothing related to the patients yet. At least, not as far as patients attacking other patients went. She had to wince when she remembered the red-haired woman using the horrible metal beast to attack a monster. Self defence or not, that had still been... brutal, to say the least.

She leaned in, still apprehensive, but willing to listen. And as she feared, "bewitched patients" seemed to mean exactly what she had expected it would. Patients kidnapped, forced to do evil against their wills. She didn't want to believe it, but she couldn't disbelieve the words coming out of Scarecrow's mouth, either. It was all she could do to force herself to remember the locations he was spouting off. "That's...! Oh my gosh, 'awful' is the only word I can think of, but it's still not strong enough! That's terrible! Horrible! How could anyone do something like that to a person?"

The Scarecrow shook his head sadly. He agreed with her- he honestly couldn't see how could or why would someone do something so awful, so malicious as to set the patients at each other's throats. Maybe it went along with the brainwashing element the Institute had overall, where people supposedly recovered from whatever the staff claimed was afflicting them and were then released, thinking they were someone else entirely. Perhaps some, after the night ended and they'd chased away every fellow patient in sight, never recovered.

No, that didn't make a lot of sense, since when Mele was bewitched, she'd had powers she seemed to indicate she had before her arrival. He couldn't see them giving someone their magic back, only to take it away again and convince them they were someone else. There had to be a reason behind it all- he just couldn't think of it. Not yet, anyway.

"I don't know how anyone could stand to do that to someone," the Scarecrow said, taking an uneasy bite, "but it only gets worse from there, what with the experimenting on people and all. You have heard about that, right? Because that's somethin' you really oughta know!"

Rapunzel shook her head vigorously, expression contorting all the more into horror. "No, no! I haven't heard about any of this stuff! Why has no one told me yet? I know about the visitors, but nothing like that! This is my third day now! I haven't run into anything like bewitched patients, or heard of anyone being experimented on— What does that even mean? What kind of experiments are they?"

She had only just seen Soma, but she had half a mind to go find her again sometime soon and demand to know why the other girl hadn't mentioned any of this to her.

The Scarecrow had to stop himself before he continued, feeling more and more awful for being the one to drop this kind of information on such a sweet girl. He didn't want to leave her in the dark- oh, it'd be terrible if she were one of the ones taken at night, trapped in a room on a table, all alone and with no one to help her and no idea of what was going to happen- but at the same time, her reaction to just learning such things occurred made him feel badly.

"There are a lot of kinds of experiments they run," the Scarecrow answered, "and I think it varies for each person, so there's no telling what to expect, except that it probably won't be an experience you'll enjoy."

There was a beat as he put together his next statement. "As for why you haven't heard about any of this until now..." the Scarecrow said, putting it as delicately as possible. "Well, people might not've told you because they didn't want to worry you. That's happened to me a few times, after all."

He fiddled with the spoon between his fingers, trying to think of something to say that would make Rapunzel feel better, all the while kicking himself for making her upset in the first place. What kind of a friend was he, going and getting a girl all worked up like that?

Yeah, Rapunzel could think of one other person who had kept something from her because she "didn't want to worry" her, so to speak.

But even as that thought came to Rapunzel's mind, she scrunched her eyes shut and forced herself to quash it. She wasn't doing herself any favours by comparing Soma to her. Scarecrow was right — it wasn't necessarily a bad thing that Soma might have tried to spare her the stress. All she had to do was... Rapunzel breathed in through her nose slowly. All she had to do was explain to the girl next time they met that she wanted to be told about things like that next time. Then maybe they would understand each other a little bit better.

Rapunzel opened her eyes again, looking back to Scarecrow. "Well how can I avoid running into things like that, then?" she asked, a shakiness in her tone, but also a willingness to make the most of this new information. "If there is any way at all to keep myself and my friends safer at night, I want to know about it."

"I'm not sure there is any way to really avoid running into them, to be honest," the Scarecrow said, trying not to make the situation sound so hopeless. He could understand her feelings, especially the desire to keep those dear to her safe at night. The inability to actually do so was terribly frustrating, but maybe not as much as the thought that he was the one who was being worried about so often. He sighed to himself: he owed Depth Charge an apology for the way he'd acted last night.

"Even if you can't avoid them altogether, it's best just to not travel alone, just in case." He gave her an encouraging smile. "Go in numbers wherever you go, so should you run into trouble, you can watch each other's back. Even a guy like me with only half a brain can do that much. You're just going to have to trust that your friends can take care of themselves in the way they trust you can take care of yourself."

Now if only he could take his own advice! He'd learned his lesson the previous night- going alone just wasn't a good idea, no matter how close to his room the wall to the outside was. The part about trusting his friends to take care of themselves... well, he'd work on that.

Rapunzel winced at the inevitable "you can't avoid them" answer, but was receptive to the advice that followed, at least. "Yeah, I'm definitely starting to see why people shouldn't travel by themselves," said Rapunzel with a shake of her head, remembered all too well just how easily Ippo had mistaken her hair for a monster and then tripped over his own feel while travelling on his own. She was sure that Ippo could take care of himself to some degree, even if he did travel alone, but something told her that a presence at his side probably helped at least a little. Probably the same went for her, too.

"Do you know any people in particular that are good to travel with?" she asked, hoping to jot down some names to chase up on in the future.

The Scarecrow put a finger to his head, thinking. He'd recommend some of the people he'd befriended, but he had to say that some- notably Mele and Depth Charge- were not the warmest individuals. Others who were helpful were ones he'd not seen in some time: Remy, Sergeant Carter, Kibitoshin. Sangamon took some getting used to, but he wasn't so bad, either.

Perhaps rather than rattle off a list of names, he thought, something else might be a simpler solution. "Well, you can always check the bulletin board for folks lookin' for help at night," he said. "That might be a good place to start, if you've not already. And if you're really in need, you're always welcome to come with me, though I'm not much help at night, I'm afraid. Still, there's something to be said about safety in numbers, and I always enjoy the company."

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