Breakfast Soothes The Mind

Who: The residents of 9 Park Road (Cam, Janie, Addison and Indira)
When: Morning
Where: 9 Park Road

Something woke her extremely early in the morning – a sense of wrongness. Maybe it was the nightmare that she’d been having. It was something about being bound in a strait jacket and running through an asylum, being chased down the hallways by demons of the mind and a whopping great dog with teeth sharp as daggers. Or perhaps it was the creeping cold sinking into her bones and making them ache. Then again, maybe it was just the angry growling of her stomach.

Of course, when she opened her eyes there was a new ceiling. Again. She sat up so fast that her head went spinning. The only thing that kept her from screaming was that she couldn’t seem to find air to breathe.

Brianna had practically bolted out of the new bedroom like a bloody flash. The same initial sense of panic brought her downstairs in the farm house and to the kitchen in search of a weapon... Which is how she discovered their stock of food. And that was exactly why Brianna had begun making pancakes because baking (even if it were baking in a skillet) soothed her soul. Honestly, she had no bloody clue whether there were other people in the house but she couldn’t seem to stop making pancakes.

Maybe if she recited poetry from memory she might feel a little better. Of course, the only thing she could think of was terribly foreboding and she couldn’t even remember the rest of the poem. Still, she spoke it anyway as she stared as some cooking batter, “I do not stir. The frost makes a flower. The dew makes a star. The dead bell, the dead bell. Somebody's done for.”

 - .

Janie didn't have a panicked reaction when she woke in an unfamiliar place. No, she just looked around after putting her glasses on, sighed, and got out of bed. Pulling her robe on, she started to wander through the house quietly--not that there was a huge amount of house to wander. And there was the smell of pancakes. That was a good siren's call. So, Janie wandered into the kitchen, hearing poetry. "Morning." she said to the girl she'd never seen before, as if she saw her every day and this was normal.

 - .

Pancakes were a very good panic food as they were fairly filling when made right although Brianna wasn’t entirely certain there was syrup. When someone spoke up behind her, she shrieked in surprise and whirled around to face the speaker, wielding her spatula like a weapon. What was she going to do – flip Janie to death? Bri took a deep breath and exhaled rather quickly. Okay, nobody scary... “Um, m-m-morning. Th-th... W-w...” Another deep breath though slower on the exhale this time... “Would you like a Panic Pancake?” There we go. Get those words flowing.

 - ...

Janie arched a brow at Brianna's reaction, but didn't seem to startle herself. "Sure, so long as you haven't put arsenic in them or anything." she said. "Also, I really don't think that spatula's loaded, you should pick something else to brandish at people, if you're going for intimidating. I'm sure there's a butcher's knife in a drawer or something." she commented, going to the fridge to peer into it, trying to find juice. "What's your name, oh jumpy pancake maker?" she asked. "I'm Janie. Want some juice?"

 - !

“Please, you’re hardly on my list of people I would poison,” she said before she could stop herself. Great, now she sounded like a psycho. Bri flipped the pancakes in the pan then went to fetch a plate having found them already. Fetching one (as she already had one to set pancakes on), she set two pancakes on the extra as a start. If Janie wanted more, all she had to do was ask. “I’ve never been very good at weapons,” Bri admitted a bit sheepishly, “I’m Brianna. Since I don’t think there’s any tea... Yes, please.”

 - mmpancakes

Camber woke later than the other two, stretching and then freezing as she opened her eyes to find herself in a new room. Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck. It wasn't so much the abrupt movement from house to house, as it was the idea that she'd been screwed with again. Then she panicked for another second and a half, jumping out of bed, before she located her journal, her knife and most, but not all, of her other belongings in the wardrobe in the room. The mask was still there. Something about that was comforting, in a horrifying way.

Well, at least blue-on-blue checkerboard wasn't too horrific. She wondered vaguely if being drugged this often had any long-term effects on the mind.

Cam pulled on clothes automatically; she expected to walk out and find the same, sterile house she'd woken in last time, but when she stepped out, she saw a hall and several other bedrooms, and...was that the smell of pancakes? It wafted, ethereal and vanishing as if it were from very far away, and for a moment she thought she was hallucinating from hunger. No. There it was. And...talking.

Camber ducked around the corner and spotted the stairs, curiously examining the large rooms. Was that Bri's laugh she heard? She followed the voices.

"Seriously, are those pancakes?" she said when she spotted Brianna and Janie in the kitchen, before even processing oh hey, someone I don't really know or I should probably introduce myself.

 - .

"I'm told they're panic pancakes." Janie said, glancing back to Camber. "Want some juice?" She'd just poured herself and Brianna some, might as well get some for the new girl here too. "And before you ask, I don't actually know what differentiates panic pancakes from regular ones. But they smell good, and I've been assured that they aren't poisoned or anything."

 - .

“Camber knows what panic pancakes are... Sort of,” She smiled a little at the familiar sight of what was perhaps her very best friend in the whole bloody world. Still, she explained for Janie’s sake, “Panic pancakes come from when I’m panicked and feel a deep need to bake or cook something. Since it’s breakfast time, I just started making pancakes. Good thing I made so many apparently. We’re just streaming down the bleedin’ stairs.” With Cam present, she spoke easier though there were a couple of moments when her voice had faded but no more stuttering.

She took it upon herself to act as hostess since she knew Janie’s name... As she took the two pancakes out of the pan and poured two more, she began the introductions, “Camber, this is Janie. Janie – Camber. Cam, if you could do us a favor and search for syrup?”

 - .

"Yeah, thanks," Cam nodded at Janie, and grinned as Brianna explained her stress-induced cooking habits; they were just a part of the girl's personality to her but admittedly, might seem a bit odd to a stranger. "Unless Bri's taken up poisoning as a hobby during her time in the wilderness, no worries," she added, taking a plate from Bri gratefully. "Just wait until it's dessert instead of breakfast. This is my food goddess over here."

The back of her mind was screaming that this was such a bad idea; that now that they had food they should be rationing, they should be counting calories and measuring fucking ounces. But she hadn't eaten properly in a few days, and man, who was going to say no to Brianna's pancakes?

"Nice to meet you," she said, nodding at Janie, and started searching for syrup, peering into upper cupboards. "So, um. Do either of you know where the hell we are, incidentally?"

 - .

Addison had woken up a little while ago, but she'd been busy having a very quiet (even silent) panic attack, until she counted all the pages in her sketchbooks several times over to make sure each and every one were still there. Hey, it was a strange room in a strange place - it was a kind of a shock (just like it was every day) that she woke up at all. In any case, once she'd managed to pull herself together she'd dressed, gathered her books, and clipped her flashlight, knife, and wooden dowel to her belt, just like she did every day. What else was she going to do? Sitting there in a room she didn't know was very potentially a deathtrap, especially since she assumed the scientists put here there.

With the wooden dowel, she opened the door carefully and peeked out. Seeing no one, she crept her way to the stairs, and down them.

 - ...

"Well, after spending minutes of thought over it, I'd have to say that we're in a house. With food. And random people." Janie said firmly, nodding her head. "Definitely a house. if it isn't a house, and is a submarine or something, then they've done a damn good job with things like light and not making everything sound like we're under fucking water." She poured another glass of juice, and held one out to Cam. "Here you go."

 - .

Brianna smiled at Camber a bit, “You flatter me. I’m just a girl with an extremely picky sweet tooth.” Only picky in the sense that the food actually had to be good which might explain her natural talent for sweet making.

She had to laugh at least a little bit at Janie’s initial words. Minutes of thought might be all they’d had but she’d had quite a bit more. Now all her theories were out the window because more people kept streaming down the stairs. “I’m fairly certain it’s not a submarine... If it is, I only pray that it’s yellow and we’re off to fight the Blue Meanies.” Okay, now she was just a nerd. She flipped the pancakes and was almost out of batter but it didn’t matter because there were like twenty more pancakes already set on a plate. “Well... At least I was wrong about my cannibalism theory... For now,” she added as an afterthought. She'd meant it to be internal but that hadn't exactly gone as planned.

 - .

"Obviously we are becoming the pawns of the scientists' little games," Indira said, catching the end of the conversation as she entered the kitchen. "Again. Not that it ever stopped." That was accompanied with a scowl, though all but her eyes were hidden beneath a headscarf and veil in a warm amber color shot through with threads of gold. A small nod to what little vanity remained.

She'd woken up in an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar house, fighting down panic for long moments before dragging up the courage to get out of bed. Thankfully, the tools she'd had in her old home were with her here - the wooden dowel for pushing open doors and flicking switches, a square of rubberized potholder for touching knobs. She'd need to find all new doorstops, though, as well as several other measures she didn't see replicated here. "The question is," she continued, using potholder and dowel to open cabinets looking for sealed, packaged food, "how long before they try to kill us again?" She shot a glance over at the stove and evidence of pancakes. "I'd think twice about using appliances in here without checking the cords and wiring."

 - .

With Indira's voice, Addison felt much better about entering the kitchen and peeked in, then walked in and stuck close to the wall, but she nodded in agreement. Indira was safe. Well, safer than the other people, and besides that, Addison liked Indira. She said all the words that Addi couldn't, or wouldn't.

That, and the pancakes smelled really good. That was another good reason for entering the kitchen.

She glanced over the people and eyed Janie - she remembered her, and offered a very small nod in greeting.

 - .

Cam allowed herself a real grin at Janie's assessment, taking the juice and setting it down on the counter, and then frowned again at the newer voices, behind her back now as she looked through the cabinets.

"Syrup," she announced, finishing one task before she would let herself even start to deal with the other. She opened the bottle of store-brand maple syrup, twisted off the lid, unpeeled the seal, and sniffed it pre-emptively. It smelled like...syrup. Fake maple syrup. Nothing else. She knew cyanide smelled like almonds and peaches - thanks to having tossed the name "Cyanide Fruit" around as a potential band name - but other than that she was trusting the printed seal. "Seems okay. If I die, you'll know." She squeezed a perfect circle of it onto her pancakes.

Then she raised an eyebrow, assessing the two newcomers. "Well, so far so good." She took a tiny, measured bite of pancake and chewed it slowly. "Yeah, they're probably corralling us...or grouping us for some reason." She looked around at Janie, Brianna, Addison, Indira. "Some of us are friends. Some of us aren't. Why would they put us together? Don't know that yet. But we can't sit around waiting to be fucked with. We can fuck them right back. If we want to." It sounded crazy even to Camber, but she was adamant, even in her head that it was true. She was not about to let some freak higher power control her life. She wasn't afraid of God and she wasn't going to fucking fear science either.

 - .

"Hey. You're the girl that drew a weapon on me." Janie noted as Addison nodded in greeting. She didn't sound upset about it per se, more just--well, that's how it had gone. "Not really planning on doing that every time we cross paths, are you? That kind of sucked the first time."

 - .

Addi gestured to the knife at her hip and shrugged as if to say it was nothing personal. Then she thought about it for a moment, and flipped through one of her sketchbooks (one of the safe ones) until she found the picture she'd drawn of Janie in the hardware store, and held it up for her inspection. She hadn't drawn it right there, obviously - Addison had drawn it back at her house once she'd gotten there. But nothing about her memory appeared particularly faulty, and it was almost completely realistic.

 - .

Bri glanced at the newest speaking voice rather sharply then quickly turned away. Time to take up a very firm No Staring policy, clearly. She smiled a little to herself at Camber. Always willing to sacrifice for the sake of... pancakes. There really wasn’t enough batter to do anything with so she simply set the bowl on the counter. The advice was appreciated but, “I’ve already used the stove with no issues but in the future...” After all, she and Camber had gotten off easy. The rest of them – not so much.

She glanced over at Janie. Who was she – oh. Another girl. This one hadn’t spoken yet or... at all really. Well, Brianna wasn’t going to assume anything and just got the pancakes out of the pan and turned off the stove. “Help yourselves,” she said to the lot of them and picked up the glass of juice Janie had poured for her. “Excuse me,” Brianna slipped out of the kitchen and into the dining room to find another window. The kitchen was feeling a bit crowded. Time to check the outside world and see if they were at least where they had begun.

 - .

To what Camber said, Janie shrugged. "Those wacky scientists." she said, tsking. "And I think so far I'm the odd woman out. Looks to me like you lot know someone else at least, but I don't know any of you. Unless you count chick here with the knife." she said, gesturing to Addison. But hey, she still didn't sound like she was holding it against the girl.

Then she took the notebook Addison offered, and saw the drawing of herself. "That's pretty spiffy." she noted. "...Not entirely sure what it's supposed to mean, but spiffy." Holding it back, she glanced around again, then took her plate, and sat on a countertop, starting to eat them. "And chick gets points for making good pancakes." she continued thoughtfully, watching to where she'd disappeared. She looked back to Cam. "She shy, or not like crowds?" she asked. "...or I could smell funny, I'm not sure. Do I smell funny?"

 - just sneaking this in sort of backdated-ly.

Camber paused, pressing her lips together. That didn't make a lot of sense in her theory. Which wasn't much of a theory. More like a wild goose chase.

"Shy," Cam said with a nod towards where Brianna had left. "...and sort of a spaz. She gets an idea and follows it and we all catch up three hours later." She shrugged, but her mind was working; it didn't seem like a great idea for Bri to wander off by herself in a new place. She glanced back at Janie and smiled a little. "But uh, no. No weird smell. I promise."

 - .

Indira was all too familiar with the look she'd just received from the cook - she'd seen it on too many faces upon their 'rescue.' "You used the stove today with no issues," she corrected. "That doesn't mean it won't be trapped tomorrow or even three hours from now. So be careful, because I'd like to avoid any unnecessary explosions or maimings." She found a wrapped energy bar and slid it into her pocket - she wasn't going to eat in front of them, then gave Addison a nod in greeting. "I don't think you understand yet," she said, eyes fixing on Camber, one dark and intense, the other milky grey and useless. "This is their game. The best we can hope for here is survival. Everything you do is being watched, recorded, analyzed. They know your habits better than you do, and if you don't think they can use them against you in the worst possible ways, you're wrong. Now, there can be safety in numbers, but if you've got some idea for vigilante rebellion in your head, let me know now and I'll find a new place to stay. You're welcome to get yourself killed, but I'll be damned if I go down with you."

 - .

Just to punctuate what Indira was saying, Addison drew a finger across her throat - the classic slitting motion - and then went over to investigate the pancakes curiously. She poked at one, then used a fork to pick it up onto a plate. From there, she put a little jam on it, and rolled it up like a burrito. Plate in the sink, and she retreated to her place by the wall to nibble. All of it she did virtually one-handed, because she wasn't letting go of those sketchbooks.

 - .

Janie looked at Indira, and Addison, then glanced around at everyone else. "...okay, I'm not going to say that I know what happened to everyone, because I don't. But that's the second time you've talked about the stove being 'safe' and both of you come off like you have to check everything before you even touch it. So I'm assuming you were in a very dangerous situation." she said reasonably. "However. Seems to me like this is a whole new ballgame. Whatever happened to anyone in the experiments that they'd been in before--it's not happening now. They're at new shenanigans, to mess with all of our heads and deny the previous status quo." she munched on her own pancakes, and sipped some juice. "So...if you're all about still remaining in the same mindframe even against evidence to the contrary, that's all fine and good, and go right ahead. But you don't really need to project it onto us. I appreciate the warnings and everything, I'm sure you want to avoid cleaning up bodies, but still."

 - .

Addison had to do a bit of a juggling act involving holding her pancake burrito thing in her mouth and tucking her sketchpads under her arm to get her notepad out of her pocket, and a pen. I'm Addison. That's Indira. We were in the same experiment - B. We were dealing with killer appliances for a few months. Okay, well, one death for sure was by killer appliance, but you never knew about the rest. She tore the note out of the pad and offered it to Janie. Not being able to speak was a pain in the ass.

 - .

Janie read the note aloud so the rest of the class could be let in on what was being said as well. Then she looked between Addison and Indira. "Okay, well since you got to town, have you come across any?" she asked reasonably.

 - .

Cam looked at them with curiousity, attempting to quell the note of alarm. If it weren't for Indira's clear injury and Addison's more subtle trauma -- though whether that was physical or mental Cam couldn't tell -- she would hardly believe "killer appliances". But something had happened to them and they both agreed on it, were reacting to it the same way.

And if that was happening here, they were fucked. Although...she saved her thought until the others spoke.