DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 60: Cafeteria
Get out.
gald_digger wrote in damned
Anise had been lying snug in bed, only vaguely aware that she was awake, when her rest was disturbed by the one sound in the world she'd never wanted to hear again.

"Good morning, everyone!"

The girl's eyes shot open and she immediately sat up straight. There was no doubt about it. That was the Head Doctor, that bastard, and he was back! Now that she was wide awake, Anise realized she was wearing the institute's old uniform again, and that the decorative items in her room had been left alone.

It was hard to contain her frustration at hearing the man run through the breakfast menu as if it were any other day, and she ended up throwing a pillow against a wall before pulling herself out of bed. Didn't Marc get a chance to kill that guy? What about the army? Landel had to have pulled some dirty trick to end up back in the Head Doctor's seat.

Seething was only going to get Anise so far, though, and she knew she'd have to go out and face the day. She wasn't surprised when a clueless nurse came to pick her up, though she wasn't any less annoyed that the hag was carrying on as if nothing had happened. At least she had Tokunaga back with her...

Finally, she reached the Cafeteria, where Anise instinctively moved to line up at the real-food counter... before realizing they weren't divided anymore. More importantly, though, the food looked and smelled not only edible, but delicious. Whatever happened yesterday seemed to be over, thank goodness. She loaded up a plate full of waffles topped with strawberries and made her way over to a seat.

There was a lot to think about, but she needed to take things one at a time. Since she'd gone all of yesterday with nothing to eat but candy and chocolate (something she may not have objected to if she were a little younger), getting some real food into her body was Priority Number One. And Priority Number Two was... oh! Luke had to be around somewhere. He promised he'd meet her that day, so she had to keep an eye out for him!

[for Luke]

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She'd say Thayer's plan had been a success, if she'd known what Thayer's plan had been in the first place. Still, now that Maya was thinking less selfishly, she had the space to wonder if Thayer and Prescott hadn't merely wanted to depose the General. Even if Thayer had wanted to 'rescue' the patients, it might have been advantageous for her to reinstate Landel in preparation for what she wanted to achieve in the long run.

Given that Maya had overheard (or, perhaps, was made to hear) Landel in collusion with the Radio Man, that idea was not far-fetched, based on what she knew. Yet... A quick glance at Rose's side of the room confirmed Maya's feelings: she wanted to know if Thayer was okay.

My, how sentimental, she thought as she was escorted to the cafeteria. Truly in contrast with the cheer of the nurses. Was this what they called 'dramatic irony'? Hmm. Smiling at her little joke, Maya took a quick look around the room, confirmed the presence of her roommate and last night's travel companions, and took a seat near the outer edge of the cafeteria so she could people-watch.

[free]

[Hope you don't mind! ♥]

The Scarecrow awoke with a start, the familiar voice of the Head Doctor on the announcements a surprise. It wasn't the only one- he immediately noticed the change in clothing: the tight uniform the military had forced them to wear was gone, replaced by what appeared to be their original outfits. Looking down at himself under the covers, he saw he was right as the shirt he wore smiled back at him, happy as the day it had disappeared.

Startled again as the nurse knocked on the door, the Scarecrow got to his feet, giving his sleeping roommate a cautious glance before going to open the door. The woman greeted him warmly.

"Good morning, Mr. Howard! And how are your arms feeling this morning?"

He looked to his bare arms- well, bare save for the bandages that covered both of them from his elbows all the way to the wrists. Burns on one, cuts on the other; he supposed he ought to be lucky they didn't fall apart as easily as his old ones had. "Very well, thank you," he replied quietly. "But what's going on?"

"It's time for breakfast, of course," she said, her smile still bright. "Don't forget your slippers today. I've seen how you leave them everywhere whenever you get the chance."

He looked over his shoulder at his slippers, which were indeed sitting by the bed, unworn. "But where are the guards? Not that I'm complaining, though other outfits we wore weren't at all comfortable."

The nurse's smile stayed, though her tone took on a quality of confusion. "I'm not sure what you mean Mr. Howard, but if you keep talking like this, I'm going to have to mention it to Dr. Venkman to discuss with you during therapy. Would you like that?"

The Scarecrow shook his head. "Oh, no. I won't bring it up again. I must've just been imagining things with this half-a-brain I've got." If there was one thing he'd learned from his mission with Depth Charge, it was that discretion was needed at times.

She gave him a pitying smile. "Well, put on your shoes and I'll take you to breakfast. That should bring up your spirits."

Doing as he was told, the Scarecrow followed the nurse through the hallways toward the Sun Room. Everything seemed to be back to the way it was before the military took over: nurses wandering the halls, patients in their grey garb checking the bulletin board, the smell of food— wonderful, delicious food, not the pink slime they'd been fed for the past several days— wafting through the room. Had it all been some sort of a strange figment? Or a dream? He couldn't think of having dreamt before his coming to Landel's, being that he was made of clothes and straw, and never slept; while he was sure he'd done it once or twice since his becoming human, it was hard to tell what was real and what wasn't.

A small glimmer of hope appeared in his mind's eye. Perhaps if it had all been some creation of his mind, that meant everyone he knew was still there, that his keeping the Major's name a secret hadn't cost him one of his dearest friends. The nurse was surprised as he ran past her into the cafeteria, his feet unable to carry him fast enough.

He looked around the room, expecting to see familiar faces; however, he was met with only a few, and none of them those he knew to be gone. Surely if things were back to the way they were before...

His mind trailed off as he caught sight of his arms, still bandaged, still wounded from his encounter with the Burning Man and the birds. If that had been real... the rest must have been, as well. He frowned, that empty spot in his chest aching again in some way he couldn't fully comprehend. What was that feeling?

His thoughts were interrupted as the nurse handed him a tray stacked with waffles. With a reassuring smile, she directed him to a seat and encouraged him to make friends so that he could recover quickly. Once she'd walked away, he did take the seat, looking from the stack on his plate to the person across the table from him.

As hungry as he was— and his stomach let him know to what measure— he remembered his manners. "How do you do?"

[♥♥]

"Well, I suppose," Maya answered with a smile. "And you? I hope those weren't from last night?"

Though... if the bandaged injuries weren't from last night, they would have been from some other night, yes? What a silly question. Though one had to consider that so-called 'abilities' had been returned last night.... "Did your ability help at all?"

What that ability might have been, Maya didn't know, but the asylum seemed to have a preference for those with abilities not befitting normal humans, or were human at all, from what Maya had observed. She now knew the asylum was being used to test something, with the heavy implication that that 'something' was combat-oriented. ...Well. What with the talk of monsters, that bit was fairly obvious, yes?

"Ability?" The Scarecrow gave the woman across from him a bewildered look before his gaze fell to his arms. "Oh! Oh no, these aren't from last night."

He looked to his left forearm, having a second thought as he recalled the birds from the night before. "Well, most of them. This arm was the only one that was injured last night, and I'm lucky for that, what with the click-clickers and somethings wandering the halls. I've been here for some time, and never seen anything quite like that!"

"I'm afraid I must ask you to be more specific," Maya answered. Even if 'Click-clickers' and 'Somethings' were actual names, Maya had no idea what they referred to. Though it did seem as if names would naturally be invented by the patients; they certainly did not have any monster-raising authority to ask.

She would clarify what she meant by ability, but quite honestly, she wasn't interested. She'd simply assumed everyone had one, but if not, it wasn't a sensible approach to whatever investigation she'd mounted, as she'd gathered much information but couldn't connect any of it. She was certainly no scholar of any sort.

On to more interesting questions. "'Some time,' did you say? How long would that be, if I may ask?"

"Specific?" The Scarecrow couldn't think of anyway to describe the somethings or click-clickers aside from those names, though he did have an idea. He dug through his pocket to find his pen and pulled one of the napkins to him.

As he drew, he went on to answer her other question. "Let's see... It certainly feels like I've been here an awful long time, though I don't keep up with days well at all." His concept of time, like his concepts of death and mortality, was vague at best, though he had learned how long certain spans were. It seemed so trivial as a man made of straw and cloth, but when his body did age, he felt he ought to keep track of these things. "Why, it must be over three weeks by now. I do hope everything is all right without me."

He shook his head sadly at that thought, though his expression brightened as he finished his work. He slid the napkin across the table for her perusal.



"That's them," he said, remembering the click-clickers from the night before, the clicking of their feet on the tile still playing in his ears, "or as best as I can put them on paper."

This Something seemed a mite fantastic, but the Click-clicker was recognizable enough. However, there was something to be considered... "How big were these?"

Not seeing a scorpion for three weeks was not unusual in a normal asylum, she would wager. But even a normal scorpion (not, say, Fangire-sized, for example) would classify as a 'monster', would it not? It was very like the asylum to do such a thing.

The issue was the mindset of the patients. A scorpion, referred to as a monster? Not many would do so. And as she could not recognize what the Something might be... If Maya assumed the drawings to be accurate, she could surmise there were things scurrying around at night so unfamiliar as to be called monsters. The Aozora Organization had most certainly viewed Fangire as such, for instance.

But as for the asylum, three weeks was not a terribly long time to see them all (here she was, talking about it as if it were a jaunty sightseeing tour), but if they were truly terrifying, it might have seemed longer. But to assume something was wrong? "What do you mean? Do you feel unwell?"

He's not much of an artist, but at least his pictures are appropriate. :D

The Scarecrow put a finger to his head in thought, bringing his hand back to the table as he recalled his experience with the somethings. "These," —he pointed to the picture— "weren't very tall, from what little I saw of them in the dark. They were low to the ground, even shorter than a Munchkin. They clawed at our legs- I think that's about all they could reach from down there."

He pointed to the click-clicker next, gauging the size on the table and holding his hands out appropriately. "And these I saw last night. They were bigger than a small dog, but smaller than, say, a lion. And they attacked with this sharp point on their tails, but we got away before they could hit us."

He took back his drawing, staring at it idly for a moment. They'd never had anything like either creature in Oz, but that wasn't to say the land didn't have its share of frightening beasts. And who was there to take care of the Emerald City in his place? What if said beasts were causing all sorts of trouble in his absence? He was sure the Tin Man would help, though Lion— even with his courage— wasn't known to stand his ground.

He shook his head. "I feel well enough, I suppose. I'm just concerned, is all. I may have been here a while, but I'm still not used to seeing things like this." And he wasn't sure he ever would be, not being human.

Giant scorpions it was. Prototype test subjects, perhaps? Re-appropriating them for new use as some manner of test for the patients? It was difficult to tell; for all she knew, the giant scorpions and other creatures were simply ineffective against what the General and company were fighting, and the creatures were merely a convenient method of some sort.

"I would imagine it would be a shock to anyone unused to the sight," Maya responded, faintly amused. "Unless you mean to assemble a catalog?" It was a perfect explanation for the drawings.

"A what?" the Scarecrow asked immediately, piecing together what she meant. There were a lot of times he simply didn't understand the terms the other patients were using, but context helped him along the way on most days.

"You mean...? Oh, I don't intend to try and see all of the creatures Wizard Landel has here. These were bad enough on their own! And there were these birds outside that were even worse than the crows back home. Just terrible!"

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