DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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DAY 52: BREAKFAST
➳  that you can't squeeze around
nobleobliged wrote in damned
How one's body could maintain a waking schedule when sleep came unnaturally and in a room without windows, must surely be a mystery. Yet, as if working on cue, Natalia stirred well before her nurse arrived. That was normal. Less so, the weight that sought to press her eyelids closed again, the heaviness of her limbs that made lifting her hands to her face an effort. She put her wrist to her forehead with a frown, then attempted a jolt of energy – to swiftly dig her hands into the mattress and shove herself into a seated position, and from there, to her feet.

Not to overexert herself once again, but to refuse that it could be possible after sleeping. Happily, though all still felt leaden, her head did not swim. Encouraged, Natalia put on her slippers, rearranged the bedding, and waited. There came the announcement (reminding her, suddenly, of what she had last heard, and the guilt that had twisted in her gut, Jill--), and her face wrinkled with disgust at the hacking sound. Therapy and breakfast. Food would surely help.

Natalia did not wait long before her nurse opened the door, and after exchanging cursory “Good Morning”s (with rather more enthusiasm on the other woman's part), they began the walk to the Cafeteria. With, of course, the essential rest room stop, where water was splashed and scrubbed over her face, and her hair toyed with to no great satisfaction. At least the shower had renewed its body.

Separating in the Cafeteria, Natalia took her place in line and loaded her plate: eggs, fruit salad, fried “tater tots” (potatoes?), and curious meat wrapped in cooked dough. Some of everything, with juice and water. She thanked her servers, collected utensils and napkins, and found a seat at an empty table. It was early yet.

Sparing a brief look around to be sure no one she recognized had arrived – though she remained eager to greet every patient, at the moment she chose to focus on the possible strength gained from the meal – Natalia began to cut up the items and eat with a refined gusto. Entirely possible!

[Claude!]

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After another tense dinner with that stupid...with her roommate, Claire had curled up on her bed and waited for the lights to go out. She had been clutching her stomach in an effort to stifle the grumbling. She hadn't eaten a bite since she had arrived here. Living as she did meant that Claire had no choice but to get used to sparse meals, but she hadn't eaten much in the few days beforehand, either. Things had gotten crazy after Jin popped up, and meals were never guaranteed when you were on the move.

She must have put a bit too much effort in ignoring her hunger. She had tried meditating again (she had done a lot of that back when she had first gotten into mystical things like astrology, but it was only a half-remembered skill now). Then the next thing she knew, she was stirring awake under the static of the morning intercom. Still hungry, and the whole night wasted. A grimace overtook her and she rolled over to press her face in the pillow, groaning. She hadn't even been tired, so why did she let herself fall asleep?

There would be no repeat of that tonight, she decided firmly. If she ever wanted to get out of here, then sleep was going to have to wait.

Her venture to breakfast was much calmer than the previous one. The nurse kept a stern eye on her, no doubt expecting a repeat. Yet Claire stayed silent. She had nothing to say to this woman. The only time her pace slowed was when they passed the windows of the Sun Room again. Perhaps it was silly, but she needed to check the view again. Needed to see the trees and convince herself all over again that they weren't a dream. She let herself smile in secret at the evergreens, tilting her head so the nurse couldn't see.

I'm still in America.

She reluctantly took the tray and pretended to ponder her choices in line. At least from the back, it would seem that way. The woman in the hairnet behind the counter frowned at her expression and muttered something to her partner as Claire stared down the buffet as if it were full of snakes instead of food. She pick up as little as possible and scuttled over to a table, scowling. The cafeteria was too empty to try dumping the food in the garbage like last time. The nurses would spot her right away. She cast them furtive glances and hunched over her meal, hoping they wouldn't approach if they noticed she wasn't eating yet.

[EDWARD COME AND DAZZLE ME.]

Edited at 2010-09-23 09:17 am (UTC)

Edward did not want to wake up. Despite the fact that he was surprised he had woken up at all, moving was simply not an option when he had realized that he was still alive. The pain wasn't going to let him forget how alive he was for a very, very long time. The burns he had accumulated on his first night from the explosion had been nothing to sniff at, but they were quite gentle in comparison to what he had unleashed last night. Rugged, raw skin was all that was left of his legs, torso, and the left side of his face - and he was lucky with that. He hadn't had any open wounds for venom to seep out of, and that had saved him.

Vampires did not mix well with fire... and being almost-human certainly hadn't helped.

Consciousness was accompanied by many short groans of pain as he tried to roll off of the burning hot shotgun lying underneath him. His skin still felt like it was on fire, the bandages feeling too constricting and the friction feeling like a cheese grater peeling his skin away.

"Good morning, Christopher!" his nurse announced her arrival, and he pushed the covers frantically over the gun with as much speed as he could muster. She didn't seem to notice. As he turned his head to watch her, he heard the distinct squeaking of metal wheels on the tile. "I hope you're ready for breakfast."

... that was it? No mention of his wounds. Already prepared with a way to move him, as if she had known about the burns. As if she had been there when they occurred. Had she been the one to wrap the gauze around him, or someone else? He felt the blankness in her mind was more than just a defense - that was all that was there. She didn't bat an eye against the sheer amount of deformed skin on him, wrapped as well as a mummy, nearly unable to move. The nurse acted as if he had always been this way.

"I've brought you something to stave off the pain, dear," she continued, rolling the wheelchair right next to his bed. Edward took the proffered pills without complaint, eager for a way to reduce the pain, then accepted her help into the chair. It wasn't as if he had any way to turn away from her.

Her help extended into the cafeteria, pushing him through the line and placing a tray full of food he wasn't going to touch into his lap. "How about some new company, mmm?" She moved him next to a blonde girl who wasn't touching her own food, but was in much better condition than he was. "Say hello to Charlotte. Be nice. I'll be back once breakfast is over."

Edward didn't say a word until the woman was gone completely from the room. He could have moved away, but... there wasn't much point.

"You're not eating?"

She heard the pair approaching before she saw them. Even here, in a cacophony of sounds so different than the stillness of the island, Claire was able to tell when someone was sneaking up on her. She turned to look when the set of footsteps began to head her way. One was a nurse, obviously. The other was a very tall, very badly injured man. Boy. Her brows furrowed as they drew closer. Yeah, he was a kid. Late teens, early twenties if he was lucky. Or he just looked young.

What she was more worried about was the mass of bandages covering his body.

She shrunk back when the nurse addressed her as 'Charlotte', giving her a feral, wary glare. The woman did not say a word about her food. Good. Claire didn't let her out of her sight until she was on the far end of the cafeteria with the other nurses, then turned back to her breakfast partner. The steel never left her eyes.

In spite of what it might look like, she truly did pity him. Whatever had happened must have been a really nasty thing. He looked like half a mummy. There was no escaping scarring with injuries like that - which was a real shame, because the good side of his face showed that he had once been pretty cute. Claire didn't have much of a mind for that sort of thing these days, but she wasn't blind.

But in the end he was still a stranger. All pity was to be put aside until he had earned it. The injuries could easily be his just deserts, for all she knew.

"Why should I trust anything they give me?" she answered flatly. "Easiest way to drug someone is to put it in their food." Like Ethan had done when he kept her at the Staff Station. Sometimes it was needles, other times it was in the water. In her breakfast. Whatever was the most convenient.

She pushed her tray towards him a few centimeters to illustrate her point. If he wanted to eat her share, he could be her guest. In the meantime, it was her turn to ask a question.

Her eyes narrowed again. Not with hostility, but distant curiousity. "What happened to you?"

"There aren't drugs in the food," he said, but it came out in a mumble; it was strange how his lips seemed a lot harder to move. He would have attributed that to the pills the nurse had given him if he believed they would have accomplished anything. Of course, half of his face felt like it was still melting away, so that could have been the cause as well. Regard the drugs, however, was something he was absolutely sure about: any thing natural or man-made would have been something detectable even to his near-human tongue. It was the same with the blood in the patients he had tested - nothing.

It was rather disheartening, really. Drugs would have been the easy explanation. It worried him that he hadn't considered that possibility before insisting Bella eat some of the food... but then again, the result would have been the same. He was absolutely positive of there being no drugs in the bloodstreams of the patients, whether through their food or forced upon them in their moments of helplessness.

When she asked on his condition, he lifted a hand to look at it disconcertingly, as if he had forgotten he had a hand. (Actually, he had two. It was quite remarkable he still could move them, though actions were limited. Luckily, his nurse hadn't offered to feed him.) "There was a very large fire. I got burned."

millions of years later, the tag awakens

"Oh, and you know that for sure, do you? You checked everything in the fridge, in the water, in every can? " Claire replied. Her tone more than made up for any lack of eye-rolling she had. "Because I'm not falling for that again. Not until I've checked every last scrap in the kitchen myself." And that, frankly, would be a humongous waste of time. She needed to get out more than she needed to eat. Food could be found on the run. Now that she was back in some semblance of civilization, it would be easier than ever to snitch some from houses and stores.

The answer to her own question was a short one. Simple and just a bit sarcastic. At first she felt offended - she was only asking, after all, no need to be so curt. But a moment later she was scolding herself. Whatever had happened, it probably wasn't a happy thing. Something he didn't want to talk about, especially since it looked pretty new. Claire had her own fair share of silent stories. If nothing else, she'd respect the boy's privacy and move along.

"Sorry to hear that." She came off just as curt as he had, but her eyes lingered a little too long on the bandages for simple apathy. "I haven't gotten burned quite like that, but I got branded once. Had to treat it myself. If you want, I can look for something to help along with it."

And really, she did mean it. She wanted out, but she didn't like the idea of boys his age being wrapped up like mummies. Or getting hurt that badly in the first place.

"I'm Claire, by the way. Littleton. I heard there's another Claire here. You?"

Edited at 2010-10-08 06:30 am (UTC)

And he had always thought he was paranoid. "Unless I'm wrong, there isn't a way to drug food in a can." He never had particularly thought about it, however, being something that didn't eat food. It could be possible, maybe. He didn't keep up with the drug trafficking and contaminating of the world. But as far as blood went, he could tell. A few unrelated patients, despite the small number tested... it was a good indication.

If he was feeling optimistic. (He wasn't.)

Edward didn't linger very long on the lack of empathy in her tone, mostly because he wasn't in the mood for caring about the arbitrary conversing mechanisms when dealing with injury or tragedy. He wasn't looking for pity, anyway -

Branding? He looked up at her with renewed interest. "Edward," he started, just to get the introduction out of the way. She mentioned another Claire, perhaps the one that was roomed with Bella, but for the moment his curiosity lay elsewhere. "You were branded? For recreation or for punishment?" It was as nosy a question as hers had been, but for him it didn't matter whether she answered or not - if he could focus his floating thoughts enough, her mind would answer for her. It was surprising how hard it was to actively use his telepathy when drugged.

Who would have thought?

cthulhu tag has now driven you insane.

His remark was met with a shrug. Claire was not to be undermined. "It could have had something in it before it was canned."

Those weird Dharma people had had their own food brand. Dharma beans, Dharma cereal, Dharma oats. Everything that you could imagine. And with all those creepy hatches they had built on the island and the experiments they had supposedly run in them, who knew what sort of things they could have done to the food? (Not to say they had, no one had issues with it on the island. It was more the fact that they had their own brand and their own private packaging plant that got her thinking.) Poisoning something in a can wasn't completely impossible if you controlled the origin of the food and the final destination. And Landel's struck her as far too similar to Dharma to rule that out.

"Anyway, it wouldn't matter. We don't see the food until they give it to us, and by then it's too late, isn't it?"

Edward. It was a simple name, and a familiar one too. Quite unlike Muraki or Goku. She would remember it a hell of a lot easier than the foreign ones, for sure.

She fixed him with an unreadable gaze when he asked about the branding. It was only fair, she supposed. She'd been asking about his burns, and it wasn't often that people got branded outside of the middle ages. Some backwards period in history. "Punishment." The answer was blunt and unabashed. It wasn't a happy story, but it was one she'd long since come to terms with. "I was taken in by these people a year or two ago. They gave me shocks and stuck me with needles. Kept me in a pit. At the end of it they took a hot poker to my shoulder. They said they were marking me. I never knew what for."

Edward tried desperately to sort through and pay close attention to the details and images that were floating through the girl's mind, but the hampering effect of the day combined with his distinct unfamiliarity with her made it hard to keep up; many of the images slipped past his fingers and he only heard the general gist.

Dharma, at least, was a reoccurring theme he had caught on to, though he hadn't caught the importance of it. She was a practitioner of Hinduism, perhaps? Buddhism? Sikhism? Jainism? At this point, he could only guess. He was going to keep it in mind, though, as he had decided to relinquish his argument on whether the food was drugged or not. Couldn't exactly state his evidence and how he had come across it, could he?

Even if images were moving by too fast for the telepath to hold on to, he could catch the emotion: unhappiness may have been putting it lightly. Never really knowing pain as a vampire - physical pain, at least - and being too old to remember human pain, he would have been unable to empathize with her past plight if he hadn't ever visited Landel's Institution. Now, he understood perfectly. The thought made him shiver, an ill feeling in the pit of his stomach that had nothing to do with hunger sweeping out into his limbs. "I'm sorry that happened, Claire," he said, and it wasn't a mere formality or a sentence to move ahead in the conversation. Now that he knew pain like that, he couldn't help but apologize. He was almost light-headed enough to think no one deserved it.

And when he thought of the pain he had inflicted in others, his disgust doubled.

Tying it up here if that's okay? Since NS has fallen upon us and flsd;a so behind ;;

"Why are you saying sorry? It was't you." Claire cooly rolled her head back straight. The rest of her followed suit until she was as close to sitting upright as she had come all breakfast. Whether it was because she was finally relaxing or distancing herself was up for debate. "You didn't kidnap me. You're not one of them."

She knew most of the Others by now. There were a few timid ones tucked away in the temple that she had never crossed paths with, but ever since John tore that group apart she'd been able to count each and every one of them. Aside from that, Edward was far too pale to have been living on the island at all. He would have fried himself maroon in a week.

That familiar sense of urgency began to trickle its way through the cafeteria. Even without a clock in sight, the patients had seemed to grow a little restless, pushing away their trays and sipping the last of their juice. It was no surprise that the intercom blared to life a moment later, sending the nurses scattering into the thick of the crowd and herding the patients to the door.

Claire scowled at the scene. She hadn't had a chance to toss out her breakfast. If the nurses began to notice she wasn't eating, she could soon find herself with her mouth pried open and food shoved down her throat. Hastily, she snatched the pigs in blankies (whatever they were called) off her plate and tossed them under the table. They rolled underneath a neighbouring chair, collecting lint and hair in the crepe-like covering on the way.

"It was good to meet you, Edward," Claire muttered darkly, eying her own nurse closing in with a frown on her face. "I hope you get better soon. For your sake."

He wouldn't last long if he stayed like that. Cripples were easy targets for hungry things.

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