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Nightshift 60: F-A Block Hallway
ninelivesonce wrote in damned
[from here]

Taura's legs were long, and the hallway of the women's block was short.

[to here]

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And now to wait, Lust supposed.

She had the flashlight from her room and that was all. The darkness wasn't frightening itself, and the hallways showed no sign of battle or blood. Everyone had told her last night had been different, but she hadn't quite believed them. Of course, she hadn't quite believed other things at first, either.

The homunculus swept her flashlight over the hall, wondering what sort of man Frank was. He seemed kind - really that was why she had actually asked him in earnest. She had assumed him an idiot at first, but... well, he seemed quite sweet. Why couldn't she choose a sweet man to keep her company tonight? She'd never really known too many of those.

At least not as anything other than pawns.

[For Scarecrow!]

[From here.]

Having taken a moment to check for Depth Charge in the main hallway (as to why, he couldn't exactly explain- it wasn't as though he could convince his roommate to not go heading into danger as he so often seemed to do, but after the missed opportunity with dinner, he felt compelled to at least try, if given a second chance), the Scarecrow had taken to a quicker pace through the next hallways, his bare feet padding along with little noise. He finally reached the hallway that led to the rooms where, according to his map, the women were housed, immediately picking out a lone figure in the dim light from the flashlights. He supposed that had to be the Lust he was looking for- oh, he should've thought to get a description of her, but there was nothing to be done about it now.

He approached her, giving her a bow with a flourish as he did. "I beg your pardon! I do hope you're Lust, and that you'll forgive me for keeping you waiting. That was awfully rude of me."

The man who approached her out of the darkness brought one word to Lust's mind: weathered. In the weak glow of the flashlight, she could see the roughness of his skin and a certain...homespun aura. Had they been back home she would assume him a farmer or something similar, but here...

"Mr. Westerning, I presume?" Lust stepped forward, her lips curving into a small smile. She honestly didn't know what to expect of him. He had seemed kind - if perhaps a bit simple - on the board, and she needed someone with her. And he still seemed kind, and terribly polite.

"Yes, I'm Lust. I haven't been waiting long. And there's no need to stand on ceremony here." She brushed a comma of hair off of her face and flicked her eyes about the darkened hall a moment. "Thank you, for offering your help this evening. I was out and about last night, but not for long. A pair of corridors and then..." She shrugged and gestured back towards the dormitories. "And I don't really understand what we do at night, other than...fight against our jailers?"

"Oh, well that depends on you," the Scarecrow said with a smile, rising from his low bow. He hadn't given one of those in some time, especially since he stopped using his title in its full capacity. Having such a long name did seem bothersome, and it seemed to raise even more questions when paired with the fact that he was a strawman.

"Some people do try to fight as best they can," he continued, "while some of us just try to explore and try to find a way out. There's a lot that isn't known about this place, and it's dangerous to roam alone." He held up his bandaged arms. "Trust me on that one, ma'am."

"Does fighting make any difference?"

Lust hadn't heard any reports of that, but she had only been gathering information for 24 hours. And still wasn't certain what to believe and what to dismiss as fancy. It didn't matter. She had no taste for bloodshed now, no desire to keep throwing herself upon that wheel.

"I've been fighting a very long time. I'm tired of fighting," she went on, shaking her head. "I'd rather find a way out of this place. And as you said 'some of us', I'm going to assume that's your own goal as well?"

Dangerous at night, dangerous alone, danger danger everywhere. It was the only untouched truth Lust had found in this place. She tapped her fingertips against her hip as she spoke, an almost nervous gesture. So many things she'd learned refused to be put into any coherent order or sense!

"I've never liked roaming alone even when monsters aren't trying to eat me. And I think they can kill me here..." She didn't like thinking of the implications of that. Not quite human, not quite homunculus. What was she?

"And I've heard they can, if you're not careful," the Scarecrow returned, trying to finish her thought. For the most part, all he knew about death came from his time at Landel's; only the wicked could die in Oz, but it seemed all humans were susceptible to it elsewhere, whether it was due to injury or age. Abe had told him that much. He supposed there were other ways to die, but he didn't like to dwell on it too much. He'd always thought once he had his brain back, he'd know all the ways and just how to avoid them- until then, he was doing a bit of wandering in the dark, but hiding in his room and avoiding everything that could possibly lead to death didn't seem like an option, given he didn't know what those things were.

"I don't know much about dying myself," he said with a thoughtful look, "having never done it before, but I don't imagine it's a very pleasant experience at all. On the other hand, it's not very productive to stay cooped up in my room all night just to avoid it. I'm not much of one for fighting, so I've been trying to explore and find another way out, or at least some clues as to how we can defeat Landel. There certainly are dangers out at night— witches and creatures and other spooks— but I'd face a whole army of 'em if it meant finding a way home. There's got to be a way!"

"I've died a few times. It isn't pleasant." Though Lust supposed perhaps only the last one, the one that had felt like an ocean from which there was no way to surface, had been a true death. Her regeneration had always kept her from truly dying. Now she was without it, and without the stones that gave her strength. Was that how they had weakened her?

"But you've found yourself in luck, Mr. Westerning." Lust turned a predatory cat's smile to the worn man she had found for her current companion. "I'm very good at fighting." And she still had her claws, though she knew from what she had been told that they wouldn't be as strong. "I should warn you now, I'm not entirely human. I hope that isn't a problem."

Better to lay it out there now, before she simply showed her true nature when something that went bump in the night attacked them. Perhaps he was a farmer, from some small and quiet place that had never seen war or violence. Or perhaps he was just one of those perpetual innocents.

Either way, it was a welcome change from what she was used to.

There was a lot in what Lust said that caught the Scarecrow's attention. She'd died a few times before, and it was as unpleasant as he'd expected. He thought to ask her about it, but decided it might just be something from the world she came from- after all, there was practically no death in Oz. Perhaps in her home, death happened all the time, and it was as common as singing and dancing. Probably not as enjoyable as either of those, though.

Then there was the part where she was good at fighting. She certainly didn't look intimidating, unlike someone of Depth Charge's build; however, there was the possibility she was a witch of some kind, someone with magic like Mele. They came in all shapes and sizes, from the lovely like Glinda to the horrible like the Mangled Witch of the 2nd floor.

And that tied in with the part that stuck with him, and the one he eventually did address after half a second's thought. "You're not human? I never would've known." Of course, that was often the case with those who'd been stuck into human bodies upon arrival- most, save for a few people like Abe, couldn't tell he'd been made of straw only a few weeks before. "I'm not either, to be perfectly honest. Or I wasn't until I got here."

"Then we're in good company," Lust said, her smile growing more honest. She liked this Frank Westerning, she decided. At least for now.

"From the bulletin, I gathered there were a lot of us. Who aren't human, I mean. But I suppose I'm the next best thing. I was supposed to be human."

And she still would be. It was closer now than ever, really. This was as close to human as she had ever been. It wasn't quite there, but this place could finish what it began. Before she left it, she would make sure of it.

"What are you, if you don't mind me asking? I wouldn't have guessed you were anything else, either. Though maybe talking and walking at once? I'm afraid you're going to have to take the lead, I don't know anything much beyond this hall here."

She had spent the previous night on information rather than exploration. She had copied over the map, but the names of places meant little to her at this point.

"Oh! Yes, we ought to get going," the Scarecrow agreed, deciding to save her question for once they were on their way. "Night doesn't last forever here, which is a good thing if you ask me. On the other hand, morning often seems to come right as you're getting somewhere you really want to go, so we should get a move on."

He paused, thinking. "If you've not got anywhere else in mind, there is a hallway on the second floor I haven't looked into yet." It was mostly due to the fact getting to said area was doubly intimidating: not only did he have to cross the Horrible Hallway, but it was just past the corridor leading to the Sleep Studies rooms. He hadn't been in that place since the event, as even thinking of it rattled his nerves; however, if he was traveling with someone who claimed to be very good at fighting, perhaps all the witches of the second floor would simply avoid them.

That did bring to mind another idea: maybe if he was in such safe company, they'd be okay to investigate the basement. He knew it was dangerous, and as much as he trusted Depth Charge, he couldn't fathom asking his roommate to accompany him down there. He was certain he'd be reminded of how dangerous it was, and that it was no place for someone like a former strawman. There had to be something down there, though, something surely related to Landel and how they could go about defeating him. It wouldn't be so hidden or dangerous otherwise, now would it?

Deciding that saving the basement for once he'd thought about it a bit more was the best option for now, he started back down the corridor. "This way!"

[To here.]

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