The First AnnouncementEdit
On the other island, deep within the organization's base, in the brightest-lit medical office, there sat a middle-aged, portly man wearing a full-length doctor's coat with a golden pen clipped onto his chest pocket like a badge of honour. His face displayed all the features of a man in a senior position; his deep set eyes sat behind a pair of silver-rimmed glasses, his moustache had been trimmed to within an inch of its life, and his skin showed all the signs of a life lead laughing and eating and flaunting his once dashing visage. Now that all his youth had escaped his body, he was left wondering how he managed to find himself in a place like this, surrounded by notes on the human condition and the abilities of those injected with the very same serum his father had helped to develop before him.
Struggling to concentrate after being forced to work for several days with little to no sleep, the good doctor removed his glasses with one hand while rubbing his eyes with the other. This situation wasn't new to him, they'd often have to work for up to 18 hours a day to meet their deadlines, but it wasn't as though he enjoyed it. Staring blankly around his office just to see how bad his eyesight had really gotten lately, he was suddenly met with a shadowy mass standing outside his door before he heard the familiar tapping of bone on glass. Quickly placing the glasses back onto his face, he made a feeble attempt to clean up his desk while the dark figure entered without need of permission.
"Do you have a minute?" The figure didn't have to ask, of course, as he swept into the office, but he always felt it was generally necessary when addressing one of his subordinates. Under the harsh fluorescent light, one could make out the peculiar birthmark on the right side of the man's face; a pale patch of skin where the pigmentation obviously hadn't developed, leaving him with a strange contrast of white on bronze. He made no attempt to conceal it like he did growing up, since it was one of the tamer sights within the organization, but it left him with the nickname "Patches", which many preferred to call him only when he seemed out of earshot.
Remembering not to call him by that name, the doctor stood away from his desk, gesturing at the only other chair for the man to sit in while making mumbled apologies for the state of the room. "You know why I'm here, Marshall, don't you?" The doctor, George William Marshall, took a moment to gather his thoughts before landing on the most problematic one he'd had all day.
"Ah, yes, I think I do. We've... well, we've had no luck figuring it out, I'm afraid, even with the numerous tests we've ran we still can't figure out why he won't wake up. Polion seems to think there must be some kind of defect with his ability, like the others', but I think it's a little different."
The other man, dressed in a sharp, pinstripe suit, calmly folded his hands together as he listened to the doctor's explanations with quiet amusement. "You see," he continued, "I think there may be a... a limit on his ability. Namely, the amount of times he can regenerate."
"And you think that's why he won't wake up?"
"Yes- well, sort of. Do you remember the last time this happened, and it took him almost two hours to recuperate?" The man nodded. "It's been over five hours this time, and I'm beginning to wonder if it's going to take longer and longer for him to revive himself the more he's killed until perhaps one day, he might not wake up at all, depending on the severity of the injury."
The man said nothing as the doctor finished, leaving him unsatisfied as he slunk back into his seat while the other sat silently in his chair, the gears in his head visibly turning as he came up with an idea which caused the strangest of smiles to spread across his wiry lips. "Keep running the tests, Doctor Marshall, and if you can, try to keep him asleep a while longer."
Cautious of his intentions, the doctor's brow furrowed as he asked: "Sir?"
But without another word, the other man quietly left the office, leaving the good doctor with a bad feeling in his stomach.
"Morning campers, it's 00:00am here in - hah, like I'd tell you! - and that means it's time for the first announcement! Alright!"
The wild, untamed hair of Lizzie Nolan flew wildly as the tiny woman practically bounced on the edge of her seat, almost unplugging her headphones in the process. At 4'7, she was the smallest member of the organization, but she had more than enough energy to make up for it, much to the chagrin of her co-workers. During lunch she'd often announce whatever food she'd picked from the always homely cafeteria (she particularly loved the cheap, plastic taste of the processed hamburgers with the somehow even more plastic cheese and pickles), and whenever someone had the "good fortune" of working on a research project with her, she'd let them know how grateful she was to be their partner by giving them one of the thousands of mixed tapes she'd created at home.
Characteristically, it was odd to see such enthusiasm within the organization, especially when everyone knew what kind of game was being played on the opposite island, but nonetheless Lizzie remained surprisingly upbeat for someone about to list off the names of those who had recently died.
"Okay, first up - wow! You guys have been busy, haven't you? Hah! Look at this! Hey Carl, did you see this? Three! Three whole deaths already! What is this, Omaha Beach?"
Sitting across from Lizzie as she spoke, a young sound engineer shook his head at the off-colour remark.
"I mean - what? What's that look for? Oh! Whoops, I forgot your grandpa was there! Silly me! Better wrap this up quick before I end up filled with shrapnel! Haha! (I'm only half-joking, by the way.) So let's see... first up! Take a bow, Mister Billy-Jay Clarke who... ew, really? Well, you guys don't need to know, but it was gross, seriously. I mean, really, really, really gross. Oh well, guess that's the luck of the draw, or something, what's the phrase? I dunno, let's get on with the next one.
So - okay, lemme just - okay, sorry about that, dropped my pen. Okay, here we are, victim number two iiiiiis... Connor Bromwell, who, woah, got shot, but not just shot, he was shot a lot. Like seriously, that Cristo guy is a total nutjob, damn. Sneaky Mexicans, right? What? He's not Mexican? Oh, er, sneaky Latino? That doesn't really work though. Hey, alright, I'm going as fast as I can, stop shushing me! Ugh, okay, fine, last one then. Um... awww, but he was kinda cute! Sorry guys, looks like Jay Harland won't be joining me for dinner after all 'cause another girl got to him first. Stupid banshee.
Well, that sucked, see you guys nex- what? OH! Almost forgot! Danger zones! Excited? I know I am! Let's see, drum-roll please! ...Come on, play a drum-roll. Please? Fine, you guys don't know how to jazz things up at all. The Church, the ravine, the shack and Black Forest are all gonna kill you guys if you don't get out within the hour! Have fun everyone, and stay safe! Huh? Oh, er, or not!"
The Second AnnouncementEdit
"Alright, you take that one."
What's going on?
"Hey, is he waking up?"
"Yeah, looks like it. Did you bring the thing?"
"Right here. Be careful though, we don't know what this one can do."
Are they... talking about me?
"Yeah, I know."
What're you doing...
"Hurry up, he's starting to open his eyes!"
"Don't rush me, Matt."
Get off my-
"Allllright, there we go. Easy now, don't struggle."
Step, step, step, step, step. The sounds of panic clicked through the corridors, beats of sweat rolling down the flustered face of a nameless doctor. Before this life, he had kids, a wife, a home; all the trappings of a well-off man, but now? Walking through the halls of a run-down military complex, trying to find his boss so that he could tell him a piece of news which would probably end up killing him.
Reaching the office of a Dr. Julian Cavery, he hesitated. If he walked in there, he would die. If he walked away, he had nowhere to go. If he stood there any longer, someone would eventually find him. His knuckles quietly rapped at the glass. A moment of silence. Then a voice.
He gulped down the rising fear, and took a deep breath. Cool, calm, collected. He gathered his thoughts, then stepped inside. There was very little light in here - the doctor had the blinds down to block out the harsh rays of the midday sun - and it had a strange sort of smell to it, like something was growing in the walls. Fighting every urge to pull his collar up over his nose, he began to take in stifled breaths as he stood nervously in Cavery's eyeline. He could feel his cold stare, but he forced himself not to look at his face, choosing instead to look blindly ahead at the wall above the desk.
Keep it together now, don't wanna get killed. Not here, not by him.
"Did you need me for something in particular, or...?"
"Er, yes sir! I-I um, we've had a little, er-"
Oh God. Those eyes. He couldn't look away from them any longer, they were drawing him in, like a whirlpool. It didn't matter how hard he tried to swim away, they were just too powerful, dragging him under without mercy. It might not have been so bad if he could only see his face, but that mask... the one he insisted on wearing, even when he was all alone in his office, like now.
"Look, I'm very busy, so if this isn't urgent-"
"He's gone, sir!"
Cavery sat perfectly still. No reaction, not even in his eyes. The doctor tilted his head a little to the side.
Did he hear me?
The masked man jerked suddenly in his chair, apparently surprised at the sight of his subordinate inspecting his face. The other man jumped.
The leather gloves around his hands tightened; his fingers curling themselves around both arms of his chair.
"I heard you."
This was it. He was going to die, he just knew it. The doctor could feel his legs shaking uncontrollably - he was going to die a blithering mess like he always imagined. At least his family couldn't see him now. Little Wendy, little Drew. His wife, Tracey, holding both their hands.
Oh well. He'd made the most of his time here, hadn't he? They'd accomplished something wonderful here, however barbaric the process they used to create it. He could die knowing he'd played a part in bringing humanity into the future. How many people could say the same?
"...Are you going to stand there all day?"
"Y-you're not mad? Er, sir?"
The man leaned back in his chair, relaxing his shoulders. It sounded like he chuckled, but the mask muffled it too much. He looked up at the man in the lab coat with - a grin? It was impossible to tell.
"No, I'm not mad."
Okay, now he was just confused.
"But... wasn't he important?"
A darker look now - time to stop asking questions.
"It's fine, Young. Go back to your station."
Cavery didn't have to tell him twice. Nodding awkwardly, he rushed over to the door and gripped the handle in his palm.
"Oh, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone about this. Keep it to yourself for now."
And with that, he left the good doctor to contemplate this news.
For now. Young told himself.
Lizzie cleared her throat.
"Gooooood afternoon! This is your host, Lizzle Badizzle Nolan, with your second announcement! How was that? Awesome, right? 'Course it was, I'm down with you kids and your crazy lingo."
A tired sigh in the background.
"Alrighty, so, I've got a lot of work today and I've been told to keep this one nice and short - like me! - so let's get this rolling! First up is a double-death, which by the way, is really fun to say over and over, trust me. Listen: double-death, double-death, double-death, double-death, dubble-feff - AW, I did so well! What? Oh yeah, well I'd like to see you try it. Oh, oh, what's that? Nothing? Yeeeeah, thought so. He's never been good at tongue-twisters, just ask his mother. OHHHH! BUUUUURN! Hey, where are you- hey no, that's not- No, it's my show, stop it! Hey-"
"Uhhh, is this- oh, okay. Since Lizzie can't handle the responsibility, I'm gonna read this - can you get those pens away from her? That really hurt! - one out today.
Like she said, the first death was a double one, with both Judith Vibert and Fredrick Slagenger getting themselves caught in the black forest after it became a dangerzone. Around the same time, Cristo Ruiz was killed down on the cove after shooting Otis Adelaide who died shortly after.
As for dangerzones, the previous ones have now been cleared and travel through them is safe again, while the Holding Cells, The Great Divide, the Settlement and the Radio Tower are the new ones. You have one hour to escape, otherwise you will be eliminated.
How'd I do? What? I'm still - dammit."
The Third AnnouncementEdit
Rhythmic drumming, steadily playing inside the young man's body as he slept. He didn't know it yet, but out in the world of the awake he was being watched, monitored, observed. There were people checking his vital signs, poking at him with needles and prodding him with knives. They were busy working out how every inch of his body worked, what made it tick. The good doctors were doing so many tests, drawing so much of his blood, all the while thinking he was just another specimen, infused as he was with that ever critical serum of theirs. What they didn't realize - and this was key - was that this boy wasn't just another specimen; he wasn't just a sample. No. This boy was special. Much more special than they first thought, and much more special than those babies over there, on that ridiculous island.
And yet, conscious as he was, he couldn't seem to move. It felt like there was something missing, like something very important had left his body. Funnily enough, that was one thing the doctors actually did know. It was really very obvious, at least to those who saw it. But the boy couldn't see. He was trapped in a strange and ominous darkness, like his mind was asleep but his consciousness wasn't. Familiar feelings of isolation returned, but he had no idea why. He'd died several times before, and it always felt the same - long, painful, terrifying - but something was deeply wrong this time. It was as though he was trapped between the two planes: one of the dead, and one of the living. But then, surely he would awaken soon? It was impossible for someone to survive like this, wasn't it?
These questions would haunt the boy for an age, as his mind slipped deeper into unconsciousness - the hours dribbling by. Fortunately though, his rest was about to come to an unforeseen end, courtesy of the men on the other plane. Their cunning words and unchallenged authority allowed them to stop proceedings, to halt the hands of the many busy doctors who hovered constantly around the patient. The leader of these men was a familiar man, whose presence alone shot down any quiet protests the flies may have had concerning the state of the boy on the table, who now began to stir. This brought a rare and disturbing smile to the patchwork face of the man, and after a few orders were given, the boy was drugged once more, before a handful of masked men entered the room and stole the boy away into the night.
"You do realize what he's done, don't you?"
Doctor Marshall squirmed in his seat, trying to direct his attention away from the man in front of him. He busied himself with the files on his desk; sorting them into neat little piles while Cavery stood in front of him, leaning down to face the old, cowardly man. Fluorescent light dripped from the eyes of the mask, making the other man squint whenever he tried to look up at him.
"Marshall, look at me."
He froze. He didn't want to look at his superior, not now. Not with those eyes of his.
"I said look at me."
"Where has he taken the boy, Marshall?"
Cavery was losing the very last of his patience now, he could feel himself boiling beneath the leather. The other doctor could feel it too, the air changing with the emanating belligerence the two of them were beginning to exude. Patches of sweat swelled up around the old man's back, dampening the air. If he didn't answer soon...
He didn't want to think about it.
"I don't know, I assure you. Connelly, he- he only asked if the boy was stable. Nothing more."
The eyes behind the glass narrowed at the end of his answer. Such lies. Even children could tell that he was lying, so why was he insisting on making this so much harder than it needed to be?
"I'm not asking you again, Marshall. You've got one last chance."
Fingers tightening, he leaned in closer, resting his balled-up hands onto the desk below.
"Where did he take the boy?"
"Hey gang, guess who's back for the third announcement? Oh right it's totally me! Haha! How've you all been? Good? Great! Me too! Well, better than last week, no thanks to mama's boy over here. Now- don't even start with me Carl. Do not even start with me. Hey! Hey, I saw that! You want me to throw another pen at you? Huh?! Yeah, that's what I thought. Dick. Diiiiick."
Lizzie stuck her tongue out at the sound technician who'd usurped her position the last time, then turned back to the microphone, missing the two fingers he now stuck up at her from behind.
"Alrighty-roo, so, death time. My favourite time~! After lunchtime, that is. Ooh! And bedtime! I loooove my bed, seriously. So comfy. So cozy. I could literally lie in it all day long if I didn't have so many dead kids' names to read out. See guys, you're such a hassle and yet I still come up here and do this for you. I'm like... Hm. Oh! I'm like Princess Di! You know her, right? Princess of Wales? Stunningly beautiful, like me? Oh, snap, you can't see me, huh? That's okay, I'll send you all a picture of me after you're all- y'know what, never mind.
On to the deaths! Yay!
Okay so first up waaaas-" Lizzie snorted. "Joel Deitrick , who like, died of blood loss? Or something? He just sorta... died. Fun times. After that there was a crazy-assed confrontation in the black forest, which resulted in poor Pippi- what? Shit, right. Penelope Rivers getting shot right in the boob. As a girl, let me tell you- painfullll. Last of all came Keira MacDonald who made a very pretty dead person with all that smokey stuff. Is it bad that I totally wanna get some of that for my birthday party? I dunno if you guys saw, but it looked super pretty.
As for danger zones, all the ones from last time are now cleared and whatever, so here's your new ones!
The Church, Black Forest, The Ravine and The Settlement have all become no-nos, so stay the heck away from those if you wanna keep being not-dead!
Annnd, that's all we've got for today, so make sure you survive another twelve hours of family fun to hear the next announcement, okay? Have fun kiddies, and make sure one of the guys stays alive long enough to receive one of my super special mixed tapes!"
The Fourth AnnouncementEdit
12:00 - 48 hours after the game's beginning. That meant two days had passed already, leaving the subjects with only one more to go. Would one of them make it even further? Or would they all die before their time was up?
In the next 24 hours, everything was going to end.
Down the darkened halls the good doctor stepped. He walked with a feverish pace, determined to find the one responsible for Khalid's escape. They were meant to be treating him, testing his body to find out the cause of the delay in his awakening, trying to help him. After all, the boy was one of them, gifted. He had an ability, just like them; just like Cavery himself. In some perverse way, he considered the boy to be an adopted son of sorts - his power a particular fascination.
Who else could claim that they had cheated death as many times as he? The boy could walk through a battlefield and step out on the other side with little more than a ringing in his ears. That was a true gift, a talent coveted by the world and all who lived in it. They might lie, and tell their friends that they wouldn't like to live forever, but everyone knew the truth. Who wouldn't want to be immortal? Really? To Cavery, the mere thought of a life everlasting was enough to send him wild. He'd never hurt the boy to release these secrets, but knowing that the only one with the key to his dream was now fated to die like those other, lesser, children... it was too much.
Now he wandered through the dark, searching for the only ones who could help him retrieve the boy safely, without disrupting their experiment. The room he sought after, found deep within the bowels of the base, with the most locks binding it shut; the one room only a few of their members knew about, and even fewer had even entered. Approaching the doors, he slipped off his glove and pressed his palm against the cold light of the scanner on the wall beside them. He felt the energy press up against his skin, sharp and tingling, then wash away with a loud and sudden beep.
Opening up with a grinding screech, the doors spread apart, letting the cool air gush out around his body. The leather he wore kept him warm, and after a quick adjustment of his mask to reaffirm its tightness, he invited himself in.
Once inside, the entrance sealed itself back up, and the doctor was left to observe a sight he hadn't witnessed in an age. From where he stood, he could see the entire room spread out before him - almost large enough to be considered not a room, but a warehouse, like a containment facility. And since this place was situated beneath the very island they occupied, the only light therein was harsh and artificial, with red bulbs glowing in every corner to remind him that this place wasn't meant for idle visitors and clusters of computer screens shone brightly at every turn.
Tightening his glove as he slipped it back over his hand, he headed over to one of the many monitors that were lined up across the wall to his right. There were readings of vital signs, and unmanned screens displaying satellite footage of the main island, where those children played with their new-found powers like the very babies that they were. If they weren't here to further their cause, he might have felt a tinge of sympathy for them, but as it was, there was only one person he was remotely worried about. Glancing about the room again, he watched as the few people there - high-level scientists, so wrapped up in their work they didn't even notice him enter - went about their business, as the click-clacking of keyboards and steady beats of heart-rates went on interrupted.
Although he tried not to look, his eyes kept slipping back to one part of the room in particular; one of the few things he regretted inventing. In the very center of the room, accompanied by a handful of men in white coats who would observe and read it, sat an unsettling white dome. Made of many metals and full of many wires, which snaked throughout the room and tripped many an unlucky foot, it rested, unopposed, breathing in the life around it and the sounds of the men outside. To stare at it for this long, like he was doing now, was never a good thing. It often sent people mad, especially if they had no idea what lay within.
It was alright though; Cavery knew. He knew because, yes, he invented it, and planned it all out, but he also knew what sat inside... and why.
The doctors called them the Fates.
He called them monsters.
"Gooood afternoon, folks!"
Coffee in one hand, Apple Danish in the other - it was that time again.
"So hey, you know what's great about you guys? No, no, not your crazy crazy bloodthirst you nuts! No! I love that you guys can get so emotional after hearing me on the radio! I'm honoured! I'm touched! And maybe if I wasn't so pepped up on caffeine, I'd shed a little tear or two! Sniff! And so- mmph, oh man, you guys, this is like, the best Danish- mmmm - you guys really gotta try these when you get out 'cause they're freakin' awesome. Er, where was... oh! Right! Hah! Can't believe I got so wrapped up in Danish! Seriously though, this is like the best thing to have for lunch - can anyone say "deeee-lish"~?"
Taking a sip of her coffee, and returning the glare sent to her by her colleagues, she gave a sweet giggle and then continued.
"Alrighty-roo, that's enough sugar for one day. Let's get on with this!"
Hair bouncing with every breath, she chucked the last of her drink in the trashcan by her feet, followed by the napkin she held her pastry in, and settled down to work. Well... as settled as Lizzie could get.
"Soooo, who's up first? Okay, I've got a good one. What do you call a guy with no skin? Anyone? No? Johnny Marsh ! Hahaha! What? What do you- well I know he hadskin, but like- no, he- SHUT UP, CARL. THIS IS WHY NOBODY REMEMBERED YOUR BIRTHDAY."
Slumped down in his chair, the sound technician turned back to his desk, defeated, taking down the tiny party hat from his head.
"Great, now I'm lost. Umm, oh, right, here we go. The girl who took him down was the mighty Supergirl herself, Ms. Holly Chapman , everybody! Let's hear it for for her guys, woo! Yeah! Dead! And, er, so on. I guess Chris Richardson died last or something, I dunno. I think I need more coffee. Starting to flag like a biiitch.
Oh, and as for dangerzones, The Shack, Radio Tower, The Cove and Cable Car Station are off-limits, so like, don't go near them. You know the drill by now, right? Good, okay, that means I can go make some more mixed-tapes, yay~!"
The Fifth AnnouncementEdit
"Cavery? Is that you?"
An alien voice; an echo of a darker time.
"Yes. Hello, Botchi."
He ripped his gaze from the Fates and focused his attention now on his former colleague - one Doctor Amarant Botchi, of the First Pacific Division - watching on from the shadows with an intense curiosity.
His voice was shrill, unaccustomed to chit-chat.
"What're you doing here? We're not scheduled for an inspection 'til the 15th. I checked."
His spindly fingers twitched with agitation; the tips clicked together as he held them up in front of his chest, as though he was forever thinking, or planning. An old habit of his which equally irritated and amused the good doctor as he moved over to a monitor displaying the same vital signs as the ones by the wall. He didn't like speaking with Botchi at the best of times, but right now he didn't have time for his questions, nor the patience to strike up a full conversation with someone who would stare at people with such wild eyes that one would think he must've been possessed.
It was... unnerving.
"These aren't your machines, Cavery. Not any more. You can't just come down whenever you like and disrupt everything we're working on. I won't allow it."
Behind his mask, the doctor smiled, speaking coyly;
A footstep closer.
"No." He said flatly.
"You washed your hands of these things. They're not yours to toy with now."
His attention wavered, the doctor's fingers clenched around the computer mouse in his hand. A moment of contemplation, and then he rose from the desk, letting the device fall to the mat. The red light bathed them both as they watched each other in the silence. Scoping for any sign of their true intentions.
Botchi looked noticeably more disturbed than usual. His eyes were bloodshot and dark, and he looked as though he'd lost a lot of weight since the last time Cavery had spoken to him. In addition, he was as pale as a sheet, and the liver spots on his hands stood out like painful bites on his cracked and broken skin.
Analysis: Too much time spent down here in the dark. Cavery didn't remember a time when he'd seen him up on the surface. He wondered, for a fleeting second, if the man had ever even seen the sky.
And then he remembered why he was here at all.
"Look, I don't have a lot of time, so if you could start the sequence that'd be-"
"I'm not starting anything."
Botchi looked disgusted.
Cavery pressed on.
"...I don't have time for this. Start the se-"
"I'm not starting anything!"
Still, the others worked, unperturbed by the outburst. They were used to it. If he hadn't chosen a life of science he would've easily wound up the same, miserably bitter creature they were so comfortable around some other way. Amarant Botchi was a man of great wisdom, far beyond his years, and had he made better decisions in his life, he might have made a name for himself in the academic world. But as it stood, he didn't make those decisions, leaving him on an island out in the middle of nowhere, working in the darkness on things which, had the common man known about, would've condemned him to an eternity of fire and pain.
Though he was quite confident that would never happen, and so he became twisted by his own sense of supremacy, looking down on the rest of the world with utter contempt as he devised new ways to make them all "better".
His fingers had stopped clicking; his face contorted into a mad half-grin.
He salivated excessively.
Cavery took a step back.
Holding out his hand, he spoke a quiet calm.
"You're not yourself, man. You're not well - but you could help me again. Like before."
The grin widened.
"Oh, I could, couldn't I? And what a treat that would be. One flip of the switch, and you get to play the action hero for that child."
His figure hunched as he walked forward, closer and ever closer with his hands twitching outwards, reaching for the doctor by the desk.
"I could be so helpful, and so noble. A prince- an island prince. Or better yet, a king, helping out his citizens with a small and seemingly simple task yet laced with repercussions far outweighing the very reason for the request."
Cavery glimpsed at the monitor. If he could finish inputting the commands, he could run over and turn off the dome's power manually. It would leave the Fates' weak, but only for a short time. All he needed were a few minutes to get over to the island. That was all he needed. Just a little time to set things right.
Botchi lurched suddenly, almost keeling over. Cavery took another step back, gradually slipping away from his mission. If he could just distract him-
His train of thought screeched to a halt.
Botchi was on his hands and knees, vomiting a vile black consistency all over the floor. It seeped around his body, pooling out over the edge of the walkway down onto the machines below. The colour of it perplexed the doctor, as much as it terrified him, and as it crept up to the soles of his boots he realized why it appeared the way it did. Parts of it shone with a sickly metal sheen while the greener parts looked crumpled, almost like fabric. Except, it wasn't almost, and it wasn't like.
It was fabric.
It was belts, and leather and cotton, and most importantly, it was a distinctive gold pen.
It was a good friend of his.
Kneeling down, he scooped up a pair of silver-rimmed glasses and cleared them of the goo they were covered in. They were cracked and bent, with the lenses all but missing bar one or two shards clinging on to the insides of the frames. Everything stank with an abominable stench, made worse by the cold hard fact that his best lead was now swimming in pieces around him.
His breath came fast, filtered by the mask, but it gave him the wind he needed to spring up from the ground, run up to the still-heaving body and gift him with the hardest kick to the jaw he'd ever given a living person-
-had it actually connected.
The doctor found himself on the floor now, his spine cracking instantly as it fell back against the desk before he crumbled to the ground. He cursed his frail body silently, his lips unable to form the syllables and sounds for the man about to die. Instead, they hung open, leaking out a long and agonising groan as he felt himself slide across the mess on the floor. The soup splashed about his body, and the clothes stuck to his limbs as he was pulled further and further in to the gaping crevasse that once upon a time used to occupy the space of Dr.Botchi's torso. A gaping abyss of blood and bone, it sent out slithering organic appendages which wrapped themselves around Cavery's useless legs and sucked him inside, one cruel inch after the other.
He could hear them lapping all around him, the tendrils coiling up along his chest now, and soon enough, his neck. His eyes rolled back in his head, always hidden as they were behind that trusty mask of his, and in his final moments, Cavery thought of the island, and a certain boy who sat there now, awaiting the inevitable.
Lizzie's joints made cracking sounds as she stretched them far out behind her back, while her loud and squeaky yawn made her workmates giggle amongst themselves. Once she was ready, he popped her knuckles together, then slipped on her headset.
It was that time again.
"Good evening, and welcome to your 5th and final announcement! I'm your host, Lizzle Badizzle Nolan, and boy, what a night we have in store for you!
But before I get to the good stuff, here's the mandatory blah blah shit that I guess I have to do since I'm like, the professional here."
A scoff from Carl.
A crude gesture from Lizzie.
"Welp, this'll be easy anyway, since both Iris Landon and Samantha Reynolds bit the dust by... wow, that is the stupidest- what's wrong with these kids. Are they retarded? Do they even have brains? I mean, I spent three days over there too, not too long ago, and I gotta tell you guys, I did soooo much better than you have. I mean seriously. DANGER ZONES ARE NOT FOR PLAYING IN.
See, they're called danger zones because, hey, they're dangerous. One step in there and you're all "Wah! I'm totally dead now! Shit! Shoulda listened to ol' Lizzy-pie 'cause she actually knows what she's talking about. Dayum.", haha!
Haaah, oh well. Your losses. No skin off my delightfully perky nose.
No, you shush. It is perky. What? It is! Try and flick it. Go on. I dare you. Fliiiick it. Come on, fliiiick it. You know you want to, Carl. Don't even try to hide it. You wanna flick my nose so bad, don'tcha. I can smell it. You know what it smells like, Carl? It smells like- woah, what're you- mmph! No! I don't- mmm... o-okay, just- mmph..."
The sounds of muffled tongues found their way to the small microphone that was now sitting sideways on her desk, as she and Carl shared an intimate, albeit surprisingly so moment together in the middle of the studio.
Which... went on for far too long and had to be interrupted by a nauseous co-worker, who tried not to get pulled in to the kiss-fest by poking at them with his pencil.
"Oh- oh! Right! The, er, the announcement! Right! Gotcha! Hah. All... er... alright then. I'll er, I'll get back to you on that one."
And as she cleared her throat and sat back down, Carl slunk back to his chair, wearing the most satisfied look upon his face.
"And... um, ah, fuck, sorry about this, I'm er, a little, l-lost. Ahem. Right. Ray Pietrowski was the last to die, killed off by a very an... gry-"
She went quiet as her eyes scanned over the name of his killer.
Took it in slow.
She stopped reading, and didn't notice at first when Carl came back over to read off the last part of the list.
She noticed the hand on her shoulder though.
"Hi. Um... the boss wants you all to meet in the Black Forest for the final part of the trial. You've got two hours to get there, and after that everywhere else will become a danger zone, so make sure you're gone by then.
And er, oh, Khalid, if you're listening?"
They shared a look.
"Stay safe, buddy."