paranoia

Who: Kales and Addison
When: About midday
Where: Streets

Addison felt pretty good about the day's activities so far. She'd went and collected Important Supplies from the hardware store, and gone to the grocery store for other things (which was generally things that lasted forever but would probably be the last one everyone's list of things to get, like oatmeal, fruit leather, beef jerky, and vitamin supplements - which meant she could grab more while everyone went for the canned stuff). And now she was sitting on the porch of the house she lived in, sketching with pencils. She'd lucked out and gotten a corner house, too, so she could see more. But there was only so much she could see from the porch, so Addison went to go sit on the very corner of the lawn that went along with the house, to watch people and the odd random car meander past.

Jason was out planning on getting a few supplies as well. he figured Dave would be getting medical ones, he could grab food. It was fair. As he walked past a girl who seemed to just be hanging out in her own lawn (or someone else's, he supposed. She might just be standing arbitrarily) he recognized that strange sensation of not knowing if he walked the fuck by and said nothing, or what. He wasn't overly versed in all things social, after all.

Addison glanced up at him, sort of almost flinching back slightly, but not quite, and she gripped her sketchbooks closer to her chest. But she looked him over, up and down. Memorizing him so that she could immortalize (at least until the books were either taken away or rotted or whatever) him in pencil lead. She hesitated, then offered him a little duck of the head. A nod. Mostly acknowledging his presence, if nothing else.

Well if she was going to nod at him, he could nod back. Which he did. "Hi." he offered. And again, was thinking he didn't generally do this. It felt too fucked up. In the house, at least, they were all living in the same fucking building so there was a bit of an idea that you ought to at least know the people you were sharing space with. He supposed right now, it was that just on a slightly larger scale. And it wasn't as if the town was full.

Okay, he was talking. She could deal with that. She was 'home', and therefore she had more things with her than she did earlier. She tucked her sketchpads under her arm and patted her pockets until she came up with a little notebook, and her pencil, and she flipped through pages until she found a blank one. Hi. And then she turned the page so he could see.

He stopped, and wondered just how many people in this small ass town were struck mute. Apparently two, at least. He walked somewhat closer, and read the note. He almost repeated himself again, but they'd established greeting already, hadn't they? "You look lost." he pointed out.

Addison shook her head. Then she pointed at the house, and then at herself. She'd gotten reasonably good at playing basic charades over the last while; who wouldn't if they suddenly found themselves unable to speak and with zero knowledge of American sign language? Well, there was no sense in being rude. She untucked her sketchbooks and pointed to her name on the cover of one of them, then pointed at herself.

"Addison, huh?" he observed. "I'm Kales." he introduced himself. "And apparently you live here. You still look lost. You just get here or something?" he asked. Or maybe she just liked hanging out in yards with...what were those, sketch books? Something. He was guessing she had to be another participant, not one of the volunteers, or interns. That haunted look was pretty much reserved for the experiments.

She nodded. She tucked the sketchbooks back under her arm again, and started scribbling in the little notebook. Today. This morning. Woke up here. You? And again, she turned it around so he could read it. He obviously wasn't from her experiment, and she wondered where he was from - if he was even one of the participants. Victims. Same difference.

Great. So it was just like the house. People randomly getting dropped in. Perfect. Just fucking perfect. "I've been here for...I don't know. A few days, I guess. A week, maybe." His sense of time was still completely fucked up. "...did you need anything?" he asked, then internally rolled his eyes at himself for even asking.

Thinking about it, Addison nodded slowly. Know anyone who can teach first aid? That was something Addison didn't know - well, she knew the theory, but she didn't know anything about it in practice - and in her experiment that would've been of real value. For when people start getting really hurt..

Well, he couldn't fault her that. Couldn't fault her the paranoia or wanting to know. "My friend Dave could probably teach you." he said. "I'll have to ask him, but...it's a good thing to know. I'm sure there are books on it in the library..." he said, glancing in the direction of it. "Did you want me to go with you to get a book?" She looked small. Kind of too small. Rabbitlike.

Addison looked at him suspiciously, just for a moment, then nodded. She held up a finger and darted back to the house, where she got her broken off broomhandle to go with her knife and flashlight at her hip. Her sketchbooks were still under her arm, and she pointed up the street, down the street, and then shrugged at him. She didn't know which way the library was, and getting the map from inside the house would end up taking more time.

Jason waited, again sort of wondering what the fuck he was playing at. Then he nodded in the direction of the library. "Going around armed...not the worst idea I've ever seen." he said. He wasn't entirely unarmed himself. His was just more subtle, in the form of a pocket knife. But then people might take issue if the murderer was walking around with his machete in plain view.

Better them then me. Addison wrote, and flashed the note to him. She stayed out of striking distance, but started meandering towards the library. Every once in a while she'd look at him, head to foot, like making sure that he wasn't planning on anything.

It was weird being next to someone who seemed even more paranoid than he was. Trippy. Or maybe he was just slightly more relaxed in his paranoia. He didn't know. But he didn't push anything with her walking a bit farther away, and continually eyeing him like he might do something. He knew the mentality. He understood it far too well. So, he just walked, instead, also not trying to continue conversation considering she'd have to stop and write down what she was going to say in return. But, it being a small ass town, it didnt' take long to get to the library, and he walked up the steps, going first out of habit, just in case.

It suddenly hit Addison that he didn't realize just how dangerous doorways could be. Or maybe he knew nothing was there, but she didn't want to take that chance. Either he was very lucky, ignorant, both, or other. Maybe whatever he did before wasn't as dangerous as her house. Maybe maybe maybe. She darted in front of him anyway; she could've let him go first and take the brunt of any badness that happened, but she didn't think she would be able to deal with that kind of suffering so soon. She raised up the wooden dowel, turning around in front of him and using it to block his way. In case that didn't get the message across, she shook her head (though she didn't take her eyes off of him), and bared her teeth. A little growling noise for emphasis - it was a reasonable approximation of a dog's growl. Y'know, for a human trying to sound like a growling... well, anything, really.

Jason stopped and stared. "....okay I don't know what the fuck you're doing? But...whatever. If you didn't want anyone with you, that's fine, but...yeah." That was behavior he liked to call 'batshit fucking insane'.

Lucky bastard. Addison sighed and scribbled in messy writing on the notepad the word Traps. before pressing the little book into his hand and going up to the door (occasionally glancing over her shoulder at him). And she proceeded to do the entire Door Evaluation Thing, which involved a lot of examining and poking with the stick. She didn't touch the doorhandle directly. But you get good at that kind of thing after months of practice so a couple minutes later, she nodded to Kales.

He watched her. He wasn't sure what to say there. One, that she wasn't in whatever situation she was before. Or just let her do whatever because it probably could get that bad. In the end he just let her do whatever the fuck she was doing, and wondered yet again why he bothered. Ever. "Fine." he said, walking in. He flicked the lights on, and glanced around the place. He'd been there already. Jason spent a lot of his free time reading, so he'd gone to get books and to see if it was the same kind of fucked up system that had been at the house. But it wasn't, really. It was just a library.

She actually physically cringed back when he flicked on the lights - barehanded. But there was no yelp of pain or sudden spark or smell of singed human skin. Addison was almost tempted to try it herself, but it had been so random at the experiment, you never knew if you were about to suffer or not. And the library in general made her nervous - April hadn't been all that long ago, after all, so she stuck as close as she dared to Kales. But she'd always liked books. More than liked. Loved. She actually had to pause for a second to run her fingers gently over the spines of The Dark Tower series by Stephan King.

Jason wasn't paying that much attention to her at current, though still had her on his radar so to speak. He was looking for books on first aid. Which after a good five, ten minutes of searching, he found. "Here." he said, pointing out the section. He crouched down to look over the books, trying to find the most up to date one. And possibly the most thorough. First aid from the 1950's would be less than helpful, after all.

Addison went over and began to look, too. There was one she rejected out of hand thanks to a rather nasty shade of pink and hippie-inspired bubble writing on the cover, but the rest she actually pulled from the shelves and looked at the dates inside.

Jason hung back when she started doing that, figuring she'd take what she wanted. For him, he started glancing around the books on the neighboring shelves, ticking his gaze over titles. he paused on a book on abnormal psychology, but the date on it was a good twenty years past. Maybe he could find another one. Just for the hell of it.

She delicately picked out two of the books - though one was more like a pamphlet than a book in her opinion - and Addison set them on top of her sketchbooks, which she kept very near by. Like, continuously touching her. She stood, dusted off her knees, and picked up all the books again. In fact, with the stiffer book there now, too, her writing in the little notepad was much more tidy. Thank you.

He glanced over at the note. "You're welcome." he told her. Paranoid little thing, but polite, he supposed. That was something. "You got what you needed then?" he asked.

Addison nodded hesitantly. She thought she did, but she really wouldn't know until she read the books in question. Sorry for the trouble. She thought for a moment. Can you still ask your friend to teach, please?

"No trouble." Jason said. Yeah, you go out of your way all the time to help frightened little rabbits cross the street. Right. he thought. "And yeah, I can ask him." he agreed. He couldn't promise Dave would do it, but he figured Dave might. It'd make his job easier.

Addison underlined the previously written 'thank you' a couple times, and offered him a little half smile. It wasn't much of one - too nervous and flighty - but it was sort of there, at least. May I draw you? Usually she didn't ask, but it seemed more appropriate under the circumstances. Most people would never knew she'd drawn them anyway.

He quirked a half smile in return to her. Then arched a brow. "Draw me?" he asked. "Um..." he'd never been asked something like that. So, it was a bit of a weird request, in his eyes. "Sure?" he suggested. "What's that entail exactly?"

She pulled out one of the sketchbooks - the tame one, without all the gore and honesty - and flipped it open to show him some of the drawings of people. Just random people she'd met or seen. And they were very detailed, and very realistic, if uncolored. A couple of the early ones were even self portraits, drawn from a mirror. Then she flipped to a blank page, pointed at him, and then pointed at the book again.

"Sure, you can draw me." he said. "Does this require my presence? Or do you draw from memory?" he asked. Since he didn't know. "You're good." he added belatedly, considering she was. Very good, even. He hadn't known a proper artist since Rosemary. Thinking about her gave him a pang, though he was glad she wasn't stuck in this town. From what he knew about her...it would freak her the fuck out on a full time basis.

Memory. Almost all of them are memories. I remember everything. Addison wrote down. It wasn't a secret, so she made no effort to hide the fact. I wanted to draw for graphic novels.

"Your style is a little better than most graphic novels I've read." Jason observed. "But interesting. And yeah. Go ahead and draw me, if you want. Not sure why you'd want to, but...whatever floats your boat, I suppose." he said. "Can I ask what the hell happened to you?" he asked. "The thing with the door...you're staying out of range, I've noticed. I'm paranoid, but...you're even a step above me and that's kind of a feat." he said.

Addison chewed her bottom lip for a moment, and then sat down on the floor. It was going to take a while to write. I don't know if I'm supposed to tell. The door happened to a roommate. Another roommate put a bucket of acid on top of it. Lots of other things happened. Most people in my group died. From the house, from each other. We had a low survival rate. Don't tell anyone about the acid. I don't know if I'm supposed to tell. Then she held the notepad up from him to take and read.

Jason paused then sat down on the floor with her, though he paid attention to what her comfort range was, and stayed outside it so she wouldn't feel crowded. He read the note, and frowned. "A few of us died as well. I'm not sure any experiment actually had a good survival rate." he added. "But I won't tell about the acid. From the house?" he asked. "Explain, please."

Electric shocks, book shelves, bear traps. Lack of medicine or training. They wouldn't take the wounded for help, they let them suffer, and let them die. Addison pushed the notepad over, and looked away, rubbing the back of her neck uneasily.

Reading that over, he was thinking it sounded a lot like their own experiment, only possibly even less functional. "We had a doctor. They only removed one person due to injury, or that's what they told us. I don't actually know what happened to her. She was a friend of mine." he said. "How many of you died?" he asked. Sure most of their people were MIA, but not confirmed dead. Even if half the time he figured they were.

Twenty four in. Ten came out. Only one body unrecovered; it went missing early on. Addison honestly believed that one guy was dead; maybe he wandered off into the woods and got eaten by wolves and no one knew to look and his room was cleaned out. But no one else got out. Dug graves for all of them in the back yard.

That was definitely grim. He nodded. He would say he was sorry, but he knew that was pretty empty. "Yours sounds worse than ours was, at least in death rate." he explained. "I can see why you're so paranoid." He would be too. "You aren't there anymore though. I think this is..." he paused, trying to figure out how to word it. "A new level. So I wouldn't be looking for the same old things, I'd be looking for new ones. They've shoved all of us together here. I'm sure it's a whole new ballgame."

Ever play a Mortal Kombat game? When we got here, that's all I could think of. A quote from a game. Round 2. FIGHT! She sighed. Shadows of Amn? 'Suffer. You will all suffer.' She shrugged, like she could continue. Doors are the worst. You can't see around them unless there's windows, and there never are. You don't know what you'll find on the other side.

Chuckling, that actually amused Jason. "Yeah, that sounds about right." he agreed. "The mortal combat thing. And yeah, I suppose. I just doubt they're going to pull the same trick twice. And you said you died from each other, too. Tell me about that." he said. Then again paused to add in: "Please."

We killed each other. One was worse than the rest, but we killed each other. ...we stopped being victims, I guess. We became participants. It might've just been one person for the vast majority of the experiment, but in the end? It wasn't just one person who killed someone in that house.

"Killed each other. Because of squabbles? Because of other shit?" Jason asked, wanting more clarification than what she'd given him. "You say you stopped being victims...were you before? What happened?"

Addison had no idea why she was telling him. Maybe she just wanted to unload everything on a total stranger. It wasn't making her feel any better, but she didn't want to stop, either. There was an accident. A bad one. He was suffering. He suffered for weeks, and we couldn't help him, and sometimes he'd beg just to be put out of his misery. So someone did, and he kind of broke, I guess. He started killing people, torturing them first. Like... Saw? Or those other movies. And we just took it, until just before the end. We killed him instead. Maybe it was self defence. I don't know. It doesn't feel like it.

Jason thought about that long and hard before he said anything more, thinking about that. "So it was one guy, then you took him out so he would quit killing the rest of you. Sounds like self defense to me." he said. But then again, he was a premeditated murderer himself, so...his opinion was probably a little fucked.

There were probably other ways of dealing with him. We still had the bear trap, after all. Addison was perfectly serious about that one, too. But the scientists in charge probably would've rescued the bastard. Doesn't feel like self defense. It just... doesn't. I don't know what else to write about that. She considered letting him very briefly see the other sketchbook - the one with the scenes of each death as she'd seen them, but rejected the idea. He'd probably think her more fucked up than he already did.

"Technically if you'd crippled him or something then he would have still been a problem, epsecially because you had no medical professionals. And keeping him locked up would have meant you'd have to constantly be on watch for the guy and take care of him for who the fuck knew how long. Not very practical. Also probably dangerous." Jason said. Then he wondered if that was just him, and that was a massively messed up point of view.

Addison shrugged. Maybe. Didn't really matter now. What was your experiment like?

"A lot of people shoved into a mansion in the middle of nowhere. There were a lot of 'tests' that would come about. People were put in and taken out all the time with no warning. Shit would appear overnight too. Like whole wings to the house. Buildings outside. Sub-basements, everything. People died. People went missing. They liked to fuck with everyone's head. Like any skeletons hiding in your closet was getting aired to the house at some point." Jason explained.

We didn't get to quit. We knew that from the start. And no one ever replaced us. Just sometimes there would be one less person and one more unmarked grave. Addison knew which experiment she would've preferred to be in, given a choice. A higher chance of survival was always better. Sounds weird, though. Spooky. I was told that half the town was boarded up overnight, and half the population was just gone.

"And whoever told you that would be right." Jason said. "As for the quitting thing...it was strange. We were told from the get go we couldn't, but then people did. For a while. I think the first month. Then we were told no one was allowed. And still, all the time, people were put in and taken out all the time. Much like you. You just showed up."

Addison nodded in agreement. That was about as accurate as it got. Poof, there she was, in an unfamiliar bed. Again, she was tempted to show him the other sketchbook, but again decided not too. Do you really think this is the next level?

He took a few moments to think about that. "Probably. I don't know for sure. I know that I think this is all fucked up. I know I hadn't felt like it was over, but I think that I'm going to feel like that for the rest of my life, so that wasn't much indication. I know that I really think that we're all going to be fucked with again, just on a different scale." Jason decided. "But who knows how heavily it'll be put in. For us, the scientists let messages for us on the computers, shit like that. But from what I understand, and from what you were saying, there wasn't really any word from them?" he asked, to clarify things.

Addison shook her head this time. We were given the impression we were going to be driven in. We woke up here instead. While they talked, Addison flipped open the portrait book again, to the blank page, and scribbed the date and Kales' name in the corner with her pencil. We went for supplies first. You saw me just after I got groceries. Aren't first days fun?

He laughed a touch. "Yeah, just peachy." he said. "I was going to get some shit too. Sate the paranoia a little, as it were." Not like that could be done properly. Especially now. Nothing was going to stop that itch between his shoulderblades like there was a target on his back. But oh well. There was also something almost relieving about it at least being known again that shit wasn't over. He could deal with that more effectively than the constant wonder about it.

If this is the next level, when do you think we're going to meet the end boss? Addison asked, then began to sketch, very roughly, Kales - from when she was outside her house. Not here in the library. It was of him walking by on the street.

"I don't know, the music hasn't inexplicably started speeding up or anything." Jason commented, going with her video game reference. "Though unfortunately I doubt that we'll ever get there. I'm pretty sure the majority of the people around here would take a shot, after all. Wouldn't be wise to go provoke a bunch of people who probably want you dead."

Addison barked a harsh sounding laugh. As far as she was concerned, everyone quite possibly wanted her dead. But she offered him that half grin once more, and shrugged, and started to work on his eyes - in the portrait. Just the shape of them. Think we could use the Komani Code on 'em?

"Something tells me 'no', but it might be worth a shot." Jason told her, leaning back against the book shelf behind him. "I think right now the main concern is being ready for everything. Like getting first aid knowledge down. But you're starting on that so you're good."

Thank you. Addison wrote, and put a smiley face beside it. Then she turned the sketch she'd been working on for the past couple minutes to show Kales - it didn't look much like a person, but it had his basic shape and very general facial features were in the right locations. There were even some shapes in the background, serving as reference points for her to draw with.

"You're welcome." he said. "You doing anything else for preparations for things?" he asked. And sort of felt like he was interrupting her drawing when saying anything considering she had to write back to him. But he was continuing the conversation anyhow.

Tomorrow sometime I'm going to get a warmer coat and mittens and things, I think. Winter prep. Addison wrote back, though she was deliberately vague on the time in spite of the fact that she was planning on getting those things as soon as she woke up. It was just one of those things. And a wind-up clock, if I can find one.

"I'm pretty sure you can find all that." Jason said. "...might want to try and find a propane heater or something, too, not sure about that though." He hadn't looked himself yet. "Not sure what else I could suggest, though you seem to have a good idea so I'm sure you've got a pretty thorough list." She seemed to have her shit together, honestly. At least in some respects, which Jason could appreciate.

Need to find a solar recharger. Addison wrote, closing up the sketchbook. She'd work on it some more at home. For the batteries in the flashlight. She definitely didn't want to be caught in the dark without the flashlight. If something was going to kill her, she wanted to see it coming.

"Good luck with that." Jason said. He didn't know if there'd be anything of the kind like that. They'd see, he supposed. It of course would be nice if there was. "If you find any, let me know." he added. But it seemed like she was off for now. So, he pushed himself to his feet, figuring he'd get heading as well.

Addison nodded seriously. She only needed a couple. She'd run to the hardware store and start going through it again, looking for things she'd missed, and then wander off to get a thick coat and other stuff, and really she couldn't think of anything after that that she might need - which was a sure sign that she was forgetting something entirely.