Elle Joyner

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Pandora was well aware of what the dear warden thought of her... of all of them, really. Dogs. It was amusing, really, because as far as Pan was concerned, the only bitch was the woman harping on about the lot of them - but she didn't care. Couldn't care. There were lines you didn't cross, and Romana made a habit of tap dancing over about twenty a day. She was a salty, conniving, dried up prune of a woman, and if a good lay wouldn't fix her, well... maybe someone would finally put a bullet between her cold, soulless eyes.

Shaking her head, she said nothing but when Hana voiced her disapproval, Pandora turned and without a word, stepped closer to the woman. She held River and Chiko behind her, and Pandora wasn't going to argue that it was a terrible plan... that it would likely get them all killed. When in Hell... right?

"You'll be alright, kids..." She muttered, with as much emphasis in her eyes as she put on that final word.


Rage fueled the part of his brain best left dormant, and as the guards pressed in on him, Luca was fairly certain in that moment, he probably could have ripped both of them to shreds with his bare hands, just to get his fingers around that lying , pinch-faced hag's throat. He didn't care if he was tossed in the cage until the day he died.. he didn't care, in that moment, if he was put down right there. He was a pool of anger, and he was going to protect his--

But something happened then that was not expected, and for a few split seconds, his fury was overrun by confusion as the sudden influx of guards swarmed, and they were lined up...

Briefly, he wondered if she wasn't going to have them gunned down, then and there, but no... Romana would bore herself to death without people to properly torture. Instead, she had a device brought to her, and with its appearance, Luca was suddenly not so surprised by all that had gone down in the last few minutes.

Of course.

The Dog Fights.

It was almost enough to make him roll his eyes, except that he was far too pissed off to find amusement in the situation. No doubt, she'd manipulated the whole damn thing - from boiler burst to now - just to get the people in the ring that she wanted. The ones she stood to gain the most entertainment from. He fists balled, and as he device made its way down the line, he continued to hold his eyes on the warden, gaze boring into her like sharpened daggers. To his side, he watched as the skinny young woman, still humming to herself, tapped a thumb to the screen as though she were signing up to win a pony. Pandora, as well, unhesitantly obliged, muttering a few choice words before hand.

They would play. They would all play. Because there was no other choice... Not to was death, anyway. Not just for River and Chiko... because anyone stupid enough to resist, was going to find enemies on both sides of the line.

When it was his turn he continued to stare, before extended a finger... the middle one, at Romana, pointedly. After a moment, he twisted his hand towards the screen, and with a shake of his head, pressed his thumb to the device.


Skittish Beaver
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Malcolm Archer

The wench wants us to line up...maybe she will shoot us all one by one. Wouldn't that be fun? Make an example of those who speak out against the system. Heh. Heh. It's gonna be enjoyable...until the piercing pain rips through my own skin. Would it hurt to pass? To be Put Down? I never understood the concept of heaven and hell. Would it all go black? Or would Georgie dearest grasp my hand, lead me to our bed, slice me open. I don't think I want to know. I hope it's the alternative. Relieving memories. Over. Over. Over again.

Archer did as he was told, however, standing in line next to Bear. He glanced to his left, noting the young children who seemed more than relieved to be alive. Yet, he figured what came next would be worse than the vision of his wife slicing his neck open. Oh, he knew it would be far worse. The excitement grew.

"Hmm, do I want to?" He questioned to himself, realizing now that the Dog Fight would be in his future. He was not here for long, nor did he care much for the idea. He liked the idea of watching others fight and rip open each other's bodies, but himself doing it was another story. Too much effort. Too much clean up. It wasn't personal. It wouldn't be enjoyable. Yet, at the same time, the idea of separation from possible victims brought new possibilities. A near smile grew on his face.

I suppose it wouldn't be a bad thing to try out. Something new is always lovely.

It was his turn now to place his thumb over the device. He held his fist out, pretending to muse over the situation.

"Don't you think the Put Down would be more amus-"

Bear grasped the man's wrist gently, extending out Archer's thumb with his own. "Go on." Bear asked, patient. Archer sighed softly and did as he was told, placing his thumb over the device. He smiled sweetly at Romana.

Bear was next. there was no hesitation in his touch, the man seeming content with the compromise. Archer knew why. Bear was huge. He could easily crush Archer or the younger pups if he wished. He was surprised that Bear hadn't already been apart of a Dog Fight, although, he was fairly mellow. Almost like an oversized cat. With the muscle strength able to crush a someone's throat.

Blondie came a little bit later, the young woman seeming somewhat unnerved. There wasn't hesitation with her, either, but Archer could get a whiff of her fear. The aroma was sweet, if not a little bit intoxicating. She wants to help out those children. How sweet. She's not gonna last a day in the arena. But that's okay. It'll still be amusing to watch.

Archer turned his attention to the other two who had accepted their fate. The woman with fire for hair, and the man who Archer could assume had a permanent scowl for staring at Romana for so long. Again, a hint of a smile built at his face. I think this rowdy group of people are going to do just fine. If not...at least I get to see them squirm. He licked his lips discreetly, a shiver traveling down his back.

He could use a cigarette.
  • Nice Execution!
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consistently inconsistent
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"Ow - hey - excuse me, the fuck?"

Abe hissed as the guards shoved him forward, lining him up among the rest of the sad sacks that Romana had chosen to torture, anger rising in him. He hadn't said a peep! Automatically, Abraham's head snapped over to Pan, teeth bared at the shorter woman who he believed had incriminated him. Damnit. Bloody fucking hell! He'd survived this long only to be thrown to the Cage for standing next to someone who got sad for the little kids?

"Son of a...." Abraham snarled, staring at the tablet held in front of him. "I didn't do fuckin' shit!"

River let out a cry as he was pushed away from Hana's comforting embrace, forced to line up beside her. Just press his thumb against the tablet, and no more Put Down? No more cage, for Luca or Hana?

"You'll be alright, kids..." River blinked, trying to slow his panicked breathing, staring towards this woman. River was quite accustomed to feeling small. But now.. now he felt minuscule. Raising his thumb, slowly, uncertainly, River pressed it against the pad. It felt like sealing fate, a fate he didn't even know about. He thought the moment they'd slapped the handcuffs on him, the moment he'd been shot into outer space... that was it. But now... a whole new destiny had been rewritten.

River turned to look at Abraham, a man he had barely come into contact with. His eyes were pleading, and Abraham had only seen that look once before. When his hands had gripped West's neck, squeezing the life out of his body, and his eyes had turned cold. Before they froze over, they were begging. Just like River's.

"Fuck you." Abraham spat, jabbing his thumb onto the tablet. He wasn't a loser anyhow. Game on.

Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
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Romana Bellamy | Interactions: Inmates Elle Joyner Elle Joyner , KatSea KatSea , CloudyBlueDay CloudyBlueDay | Location: South Wing

It warmed Romana’s heart to watch her pets cooperate, forced by the hands of something as frugal and insignificant as morality. Morals never got anyone anywhere, except crushed under the heel of your superior, twisting and grinding your pathetic merciful soul until the wind scattered your remains. Pathetic. The whole lot.

And yet, they were perfect. Oh so perfect.

She smiled icily at each Tribute, not even batting an eyelash at the reproachful comments, though she found Luca’s childishness to be as amusing as always. He was such a fascinating form of entertainment, along with Abraham’s whining. Perhaps, one day, she could make the man twitch so hard that he would pop a vessel--on could only hope. Or wait patiently.

Chiko approached with Hana practically clinging to her, glaring down Romana like a bristling pitbull...Fitting. Her hand curled around the younger pup’s wrist firmly, helping her to keep balance as she moved on shaky feet. Ah, yes...it was a treat to rattle the cage of the sunny nuisance and watch her crumble. However, Romana knew a snort or needle would have her bouncing around the damn ship again, which nearly forced a sneer out of her.

The guards down in Cargo would answer to her later.

After Chiko pressed her thumb to the pad, Hana did so swiftly, nearly a second after; as she did so, her bloodshot eyes locked with Romana’s, delivering a silent message. It was heated, angry, predatory, a promise that something would shatter if any lines were crossed...Well, that was what Romana would’ve gathered, if she had bothered to decode the look. But she didn’t care.

A few prisoners after Hana, Amit came up with a thumb already raised. He looked as if he had seen a ghost; pale, eyes wide and downcast, hand shaking beyond belief and palms sweaty...A fucking wimp. Romana almost wished she could have the spineless turn neutered, but knew that resided outside of her jurisdiction. But, then again, she could always...make suggestions down at the clinic. Again, she would answer to that possibility later.

“Your thumb, Hound,” Romana hummed patiently.

Amit could’ve sworn he was going to vomit. Nothing about this situation was ideal. All he had to do was keep his mouth shut; that was his fucking specialty. And yet, like an idiot with a death wish, he opened his big mouth and dragged himself into the Dog Fights. Gods--he would die in the first round. He couldn’t die. Not yet. Not like this…

He pressed his thumb and with a smug smirk, Romana nodded before saying, “Excellent. I appreciate all of your obedience, dogs...Back to your cells.” Shooting the prisoners one last smirk, the guards circled around her like a meat shield and she strutted down the corridors.

Purely excellent.

Elle Joyner

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Romana was such a stone cold bitch...damn, it was almost impressive how far removed that harpie could be. Maybe, if Switch kissed her bony
ass enough times, she could unveil her secrets. Man, the things Switch could pull off if she could be that detached...but, then again, there was the assload of fallbacks that came with it. Like, being hated. And having everyone plan your death or downfall behind your back.

...Okay. Nevermind. Romana could keep that coldness all to herself.

Switch allowed the guards to nudge her along back to her cell with a calm smile, her thumb still tingling from basically giving up her soul to a witch. Welp. Fuck it. Wasn’t as if she was saving it for anything better. Bungee would’ve gotten all edgelord pissy at her if she didn’t sign up anyhow. She loved that giant emo like a brother, don’t get her wrong, but by God did he know how to whine stealthily.

When the guard gave one last harsh shove towards the cell, she muttered a low, “Ouch” before stepping inside. Now there was the issue of figuring out how to entertain herself until dinner… “Meh, wall watching it is,” she chuckled before plopping onto the bottom bunk and, quite literally, staring at the wall, chin resting on her fist. Hell, wasn’t as if she could do anything else.

“Swear to God.. First chance I get… I'm lacing that bitch's morning coffee with antifreeze…” Pandora muttered, as she slipped through the cell door. The events, from escaping the fog of death, to the sudden but inevitable visit from Hell's mistress, to the equally unsurprising rope into the Fight Club of the Damned, had left Pandora with more than a smidge of tension, and sent right to their rooms by Mean Mom, she was left without the most functional method of decompressing. It was probably for the best, since Amit was benched for his naughty deeds, and Abe seemed pissed… Angry sex was fun… grumpy, sulky sex was a drag.

Instead, she spun round the small chair that occupied the shared space and looking to Switch, she frowned, “Don't suppose you got any unauthorized playing cards stashed in here?”

It wasn’t exactly a challenge to hear Pan enter, especially when her aura screamed “pissed”. Heh, she could understand why. That little showdown with Romana was quite the spectacle for all of the Tributes, but Switch could understand her emotions. Manipulation never really left a good taste on the tongue. Smirking, she shifted to face her fully and sighed, “Nah, don’t have any unauthorized playing cards on me. But…”

Eyes twinkling with amusement, she pointed lazily at their shared dresser. “Bottom shelf might have ‘em though.”

Shifting, leaning over, Pandora searched the shelf, producing a pack with a coy smirk, “You're a beauty queen, Switch. Wanna play?” Pulling open the deck, she shuffled, letting the cards slide through her fingers effortlessly, “Cards, that is.”

“Damn, and here I thought you meant Hide n Seek,” Switch chuckled as she sat before Pan, eyeing the shuffle finesse with appreciation. “You know I’d never turn down a game. And come off that beauty queen crap; flattery won’t make me go easy on you,” she teased lightly. Switch loved games like it was nobody’s business, especially strategic ones; it helped to keep her mind sharp and stable.

With a chuckle, Pandora finished the shuffle and dealt out the cards necessary for Gin, “What'd you make of this crap… Feel to you like Mommy Dearest staged the whole show to force sign ups, or have I been spendin’ too much time with Abe?”

“I mean you do look a little twitchy right now...but I think that’s just the homicide rolling off you,” Switch said, sucking her lips into her mouth to hold in a laugh. It wasn’t really wise to let Pan know how much her anger entertained her sometimes, especially when said woman was your cellmate. Switch studied her cards lazily, racing mind coming to an immediate conclusion that she was going to lose the first round. The statistics weren’t in her favor. “No doubt she set up the whole damn thing, Pan...Just makes me wonder why the hell she’s doing it now. She never pulled anything like that last year, you know?”

“Bored, no doubt.” Pandora said with a shrug, “And how else is she gonna get Prime Meat like Lucky and Goliath to sign up? Never had much interest in it before, but hell if either of them can resist protecting the little Pups.”
Slapping down a card to the discard pile, she leaned forward in thought, “That… or she just like pissing people off.”

Bored? Well damn, if that was the case for Switch, she’d be slaughtering people twenty four seven; either way, it wasn’t her place to question Pan’s emotions. Better than breathing fire, she guessed. “That’s gonna be their downfall. Sure hope they know that,” Switch muttered, brow furrowing in fake surprise. Yep. This game was not in her favor. Not a single match. She drew a card. “I think the Warden’s got, like...a fetish for watching us squirm. But she’s got a serious sweet tooth for fucking with Mr. Green and the giant.”

“Can't blame her, there. Goliath, anyway. Somethin’ too damn precious about Lucky. Hurts my teeth, that guy.” Flopping down another set, she plucked a card, then discarded it, “We get too many folks like River or Chiko and they're bound to run into trouble, those two. Hell… Lucky spends more time in the cage for other people's crap than his own. Half think you're right about that fetish…”

“Nothing wrong with preciousness,” Switch said, grin widening a tad, “But hey, if that’s not your cup of tea, it’s not.” However, her features fell a little as she remembered River and Chiko; she didn’t know the kids that well, but from what she’d heard and seen around the ship, they clearly didn’t belong on Hagur. And now, they were in the Dog Fights. Talk about getting dealt a shitty hand...pun totally intended.

“Yeah, you’re not wrong. Those kids probably won’t last long...I don’t like admitting that, but it’s true. And hell yeah, it’s a real fetish. Serious as a heart attack, Pan.” She draw another card, then immediately slapped it down. “Helps that she’s not the only sadist around her. Still got AM’s crazy ass.”

“Damn shame. Cause it ain't my kink.” Pandora dropped another set in front of the first, “Ain't sorry to see the creeps like Archer or Hannibal get the crap end of the stick, but she don't seem to wanna play with those sorts. Damn.” Discarding again, she sank back a little, foot bouncing beneath her, “No offense, Switch… but there are times when I wish you were a properly equipped gent… How long till dinner?”

“To each their own,” Switch hummed dryly, only for her gaze to snap up from the game and back to Pan. “Amen to that. I don’t want anyone to die or anything this year, but I won’t be sad if either of them happen to fall onto and trip their own gun...Just saying.” However, Switch’s mood lifted somewhat with a laugh at her cellmate’s comment, eyeing her bouncing leg momentarily. Someone was getting restless.

“First of all, I’m not offended nor surprised to hear that from you, Pan. Second...we’ve been playing for five minutes. Think you’ve got a little more waiting to do.” Switch had zoned out of the round almost completely by now, merely running on autopilot since she knew the outcome already. It was fun enough chatting up Pan anyway. “So...on the bright side, we might be able to duke it for real in the arena. Sounds fun, right?”

Chuckling, Pan nodded, “Yeah. Sounds fun. So long as you ain't lookin’ to score yourself a solo cell. Fair play… cause you're my roomie and my friend, I won't take kill shots, unless Jumbo's in our round…” She mused, though with an edge that suggested she wasn't entirely joking, “Either way, it'll be interesting…”

“What? And give you up as a roomie? Don’t insult me, Pan. You know I’d go crazy in this box on my own,” Switch said, her voice lilting a tad with playfulness. “Nothing to worry about though. I’m not into that needless killing and shit, especially not for the entertainment of rich pigs.” She shrugged. “Just wish I could say the same for everyone...Watch your back, Pan. I can’t always do it for you, got it?”

“Same, Switch.” Pandora noted, and her expression was oddly serious, “I don't want a different celly, either. Even if you're no good for a roll in the sheets.” With a wink, she dropped her last few cards and the final discard, “How fast you figure out I had you beat?”

“I resent that,” Switch muttered in faux offense; besides, her growing smile didn’t help at all in the deceptive department. She glanced down at the cards, lips pursed in a moment of thought before she hummed innocently, “I have...no idea what you’re talking about, Pan. I thought I had a chance too, dammit.” She scratched the back of her head, huffing.

Laughing, Pan shook her head, “Hell… My boys keep makin’ dumbass decisions, like Amit today, and you may just have a chance, there, I’m runnin’ out of viable distractions.” Her leg bounced again, and she crossed one ankle around the other, “...Think Goliath’s full of it with the shy act?”

Again, Switch’s gaze took note of the leg bouncing. “Your inner Abe’s showing, careful. And Amit? Meh…” She shrugged, features somewhat hesitant and conflicted. “He’s cute and all, but way too quiet. And like you said, a dumbass. And unstable...Not on my list of preferences, I guess.” When Pan mentioned Bahram, Switch bit the inside of her cheek, forcing back a grin. “Honestly? No. I don’t buy the shyness. That bag of muscle and everyone else in here can pull whatever act they want though, as long as it doesn’t bother me,” she said.

“Amit was fun for a while… Lot of angst. But I don’t like ‘em squirrely like that. Don’t mind a little inner-Abe, though… if you catch my drift.” With a sly grin, she shrugged, “Bahram’s intriguing, is all. I’d like to see what he’s up to, you know?”

Switch’s visage twisted. “...Alright. I walked into that one, I get it.” She laughed off the rest of her discomfort; she had grown mostly accustomed to Pan’s flirty commentary and sex jokes, but at the end of the day, she was nowhere near as...courageous as her cellmate.

She gathered the cards and and started reshuffling them. “I mean, Pan...if you wanna know so much about the guy, you already know what I’m gonna suggest. Not exactly the safest option though. Efficient? Sure. But dangerous as hell.” For the briefest moment, steel seeped into her voice. “Best to keep their skeletons in the closet and leave it be.”

“Ha… Not sure I’m that desperate yet, Switch.” Pan noted, with a small, sly smile, “I think I could charm him… but only if it’s for sure worth it. Pretty sure he’s straight, at least. And he ain’t a cold-blooder. And that’s all that I care about..”

“Yeah, if you’re a snake charmer,” Switch muttered, nearly rolling her eyes. Regardless, it wasn’t her place to make Pan think otherwise. Suddenly, a sharp throb bit at her temple and two fingers flew up to massage the area; yeah, she had reached her limit for now. Stacking the deck neatly and slipping them back into their box, Switch handed Pan the cards and said, “Well, don’t know about you, Pan, but this gal needs a power nap. Wake me for dinner, yeah?”

“Will do, Switch.” Pandora said, with a small nod, brow quirked in thought, “Will do.”

Switch noticed the shift in Pan’s expression, but refrained from saying anything about it. That bed was calling out her louder than the pounding in her skull and that was all that mattered right now. “You be the best,” she chimed casually before climbing into the bottom bunk. She rolled onto her side, placed the pillow over her head, and fell silent.


Skittish Beaver
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Vibrating. His skin was vibrating. It was all tingly and annoying. Maybe if he hit harder, it would go away…


The world doubled. It made Jumbo giggle goofily. The cell was so dang small, especially for his big body, but it was funny watching it spin. He reeled back, a thin string of crimson connecting his forehead to the wall. It hurt. A lot. But the tingles were way worse. This wasn’t working. He knew what would work. Food. Eating. He was hungry.

But Fritz said to wait. So he did. And did what he could while waiting.


Chloe made sure that the trip back to her cell took longer than necessary. It wasn’t that she didn’t love her cellmate, nor was it that she feared him, nor was it every time she sat down in her cell she feared she would wake up to him gnawing her arm. It was an awful mixture of all three. Her feet continued to guide her, despite the worries, the gentle yet sickening noises emitting from the cell stopping her in her tracks. Slipping inside because she knew that she must, she swallowed at the sight of him banging his head against the concrete wall. Hesitantly, and with an incredibly gentle voice, she asked.

“J-j-jumbo? S-s-sweetheart?”



Jumbo heard her, but didn’t really react. It was just Chloe. He wanted food. She never brought the food. He gave out a grunt in response, but that was about it. And went back to banging his head.

Chloe blinked, fear threatening to flood through her. “P-please d-don’t h-hurt yourself.” She asked of him, gently making her way over. She didn’t dare to touch him, deciding to slide into her own cot. She pulled her knees to her chest, closing her eyes and ignoring the crackling thumps. She didn’t want him to hurt, and the sound was stressful, but touching him or restraining him was a no go. She may have known she was a weaker soul among the ship, but she wasn’t foolish.

“Gotta,” he muttered in between smacks, showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. His cellmate was quiet. Mousy. Stuttery. Not loud, the important part. He could handle not loud, could ignore it even better. Dinner was such a long time away, but Jumbo knew how to obey. He was a good boy.

Another smack made his legs wobble, energy draining from them as he slid down to his knees. The motion left a bloody streak in its wake. Looked like he did it too much, so he probably needed to stop soon. Maybe. But the tingling was still there. He had to distract himself with something else…


He switched to punching the wall now.

“S-s-stop.” Chloe pleaded, tempted to place her hands over her ears and allow the behavior to continue. She slowly made her way to her feet, heart jumping into her throat as he began to punch the wall. She hesitantly reached out to him, before retracting her hand into her chest. “Y-you a-a-are g-gonna b-break your f-f-fist.” She warned him, not sure how much this would do. She just wanted the noise to stop. She pictured the possible flash of pain she could receive, taking a step back from him but keeping a decent distance. “P-please.”

The smell got stronger. That flowery weird one his cellmate had. He didn’t really like it. Didn’t hate it either. Just didn’t smell like food and if something didn’t smell like food, he didn’t want it. But still, she got closer and he saw the hand that was about to touch him, only to run away at last second.

Not unusual.

“Gimme food then,” he said, his bruised fist falling to his side as he glanced up at Chloe. His eyes were dead, simple. Perhaps a shaky step above empty.

“I…” Chloe trailed off as his eyes met hers, goosebumps bubbling against her skin. She dragged her nails down her arm anxiously, taking yet another step back. “I-I d-don’t have food o-on me s-sweetheart. D-d-dinner is almost r-r-ready.” She promised, patting her chest with her fist as her throat threatened to constrict. She shouldn’t have feared him by this point, she had known him awhile, yet the creeping anxiety remained, crawling up her back. Slithering beneath her skin. “I-It s-shouldn’t take t-too long.”

Jumbo watched her nails peel away at her arm. Oh. She was hungry too, then. They were both hungry. He couldn’t satisfy her hunger for her though, because he cared more about his hunger. Stupid slow Fritz. Stupid slow time. It needed to move faster; if not…

“Sweetheart…” he echoed, slowly rising to his feet. “Sounds tasty right now.”

Chloe prayed her soul could jump straight out of her body, her shoulders hunching in an attempt to grow smaller. Slowly she reclined back onto her cot, pulling her feet on and holding her knees to her chest. She didn’t respond to him, merely nodding as her eyes shifted over to the door. She wondered if the prisoners were placed like this purposely. So they could squirm.

Now Jumbo was confused. She just said sweet heart; he thought she had one for him to eat...but she hadn’t given him anything...She lied to him. She was a liar. That wasn’t nice at all. Now he was hungry and annoyed. Slowly, he took a step closer, voice no louder than a rumbling whisper. “You lied to me...Why? I want my sweet heart.” His fist still throbbed. “I want a sweet heart.”

“W-w-what?” Chloe questioned, eyes wide as he approached her. She backed up until her torso met the wall, eyes flickering back and forth between him and the cell door. She shakily gained a breath. “I-I d-d-don’t h-have a h-heart f-f-for y-you. I-it...I-it’s a n-nickname.” She explained, face pale. Keeping herself composed, however, she kept a straight demeanor, biting her lip underneath the cover of her arms that were crossed above her knees.

“Wha...what?” Jumbo said, face twisting with deep confusion. She never made any sense to him. Words were too many and chopped up, and his brain was too distracted to keep up. Annoying. So, basically, she wasn’t gonna give him a sweet heart. And he didn’t know what a Nick name was. She was getting smaller, curling up...He was still hungry.

Jumbo came closer. More and more until he propped a foot on the edge of her bed, both hands grabbing the top bunk. He almost caged her in. “You don’t have a sweet heart...You lied. And I’m hungry. And…” He winced as blood ran down his nose, plopping to her sheets. Eyes screwed shut, he grunted and roughly wiped at his face, foot meeting the floor again.

“Get me a sweet heart,” he muttered, now both hands over his eyes.

Watching him come closer sent nausea into her mouth, bile decorating along her teeth as she attempted to swallow down whatever nerves threatened to jump. He splayed his body along the two bunks, damn near trapping her within the confines of her cot. Slowly, she uncurled herself, straightening as much as she could. She wanted to meet his eyes, to tell him to get away from her, to be as confident as she was when she was in the basement. But then again that led to problems

“I c-c-can’t.” She stammered, eyes locked beyond the door. Time was passing by slower and slower, coming to a halt. “I-I can’t l-leave. J-just g-g-et back. P-please. I-I will m-make s-sure y-you get my f-f-food tonight. J-just get b-back.”

“Don’t want it,” he growled, blinking as the blood smeared across his visage, much less than before. He couldn’t get all of it though--the cut wouldn’t stop bleeding. Fritz was gonna be mad when he saw that. He wished he remembered that earlier. He didn’t really hear her. Didn’t understand what she was saying. All he heard was “get back” and in turn, he yelled, “You! Get! Back!” It was followed by another scream, his voice husky with hunger.

Then he was clambering onto the cot.

Into the top cot. Above Chloe. He shifted restlessly overhead, seizing the pillow and angrily tearing away at it. “I want sweet heart! I want sweet heart! I WANT SWEET HEART!”

Chloe threatened to scream as he yelled at her, her heart hammering helplessly in her chest. She whimpered and put her hands over her face, turning away as she shook. She heard shuffling. There was no contact against her. No teeth into her skin. No fist against her jaw. Hearing him shift and scream, however only increased her tremors.

Once again, she curled into herself, figuring that what she did all those years ago really did lead to her deserving this. Yet she couldn’t help but feel horrified. It was pathetic to her, that after all this time, she still found herself afraid. “S-shut up!” She eventually exclaimed, pressing her hand over her mouth, “S-shit I-I d-d-didn’t m-mean…” She stammered, praying he didn’t hear. Praying that enough time had passed.

Jumbo was restless. His hunger was overwhelming. He wanted to eat, right now, and he couldn’t. It was Fritz’s fault. He didn’t feed him. He forgot to feed him. He didn’t feed him. He didn’t feed him he didn’t feed him he didn’t feed him he forgot to get food he didn’t feed him there wasn’t any sweet heart or fried liver or boiled lung and he couldn’t eat--

Then the man stilled. So abruptly and stiffly that his joints popped. She yelled. At him. That wasn’t good. That meant he was in trouble. And being in trouble meant…

Jumbo gulped. And didn’t dare move or utter a word anymore.

Jumbo became quiet. He didn’t jump down and threaten her. He didn’t do the classic response which she had prepared for. No. He didn’t utter a word. He didn’t shift in his bed. Her breath caught in her throat, surprised by the new found power coursing through her veins. She hated herself for wielding it.

“I-I’m sorry.” She stammered, over and over again until her voice became nearly inaudible. Stress was beginning to flood from her shoulders and she grabbed her own pillow, holding it over her face. She figured one thing. If she couldn’t handle her own roommate the games were going to be hell in a handbasket.


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Crazy Pants and Captain Puppy
Collab w Elle Joyner Elle Joyner

Wick had no reason to linger in the corridors. As far as she was concerned, the others could chatter and fuss, worry about their fate and moan about the warden. Wick knew better. The circumstances might've been different than she anticipated… but the end result was the same. Romana would get her show. And so be it…

Gladiators… that's all they were. And if their fate was to die in the arena, so be it. She's established her role efficiently… and while it wasn't always fun pretending to be completely out of her mind, no one would underestimate her out there. No one.

In her cell, she climbed up onto the top bunk and sat with her legs curled beneath her, expression blank and distant as she waited for the inevitable return of Chicken Little. The others protected him like a toddler in traffic, but Wick would do no such thing. If he was going to survive Hagur 343… he needed to learn to survive her.

Small victories. It was all in the small victories.

After assuring that Hana, Luca, Chiko and Chloe that he was alright, and they were alright too, River had no choice but to head back to his cell and attempt to prepare for whatever Romana was about to throw him into.

His cell wasn’t the most relaxing place. Wick was.. not as endearing as the rest of his very protective friends, but she wasn’t all that bad. He had come to expect that a lot of the people here would show kindness, like Luca or Hana, so he tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. River would be lying if he’d said she didn’t freak him out at all.

“Hi, Wick,” River murmured, head bowed as he walked into the cell, trying to smile weakly at her. It was a little hard too, after all the events that had transpired.

“Hello, Puddle.” Wick chimed, voice empty of enthusiasm. Still, it was more of a greeting than she normally offered, “Quite the spectacle. You made wonderful bait.”

River blinked, sitting on the bunk below her. Puddle wasn’t particularly the nicest greeting, but he’d take it. “Bait?” He asked.

“You think it was a coincidence that she called you out for Put Down, Little Pup?” Wick asked, flipping onto her back. Her head lay over the edge of the bunk, her feet up in the air, swinging back and forth like a metronome, “The Warden is smaaaart. And she knows just what’ll set the dogs a’barkin’. Got herself a fine show, didn’t she?”

River frowned, brows furrowing as she spoke. “A show..?” He echoed. Wick spoke as if she were telling riddles. It got a little aggravating. “I.. I wasn’t trying to put on any show.” The Warden did always seem to have plans… but he didn’t imagine Wick wise enough to know of them. “Have you watched it? The Dog Fights?”

“Not you…” She answered, grinning, “Warden. She’s a real puppet master, isn’t she…” Dropping her feet to the wall, she shrugged, “Never watched… but I hear it’s brutal. They’re gonna eat you alive, Puddles. Shame, shame.”

Paling, River bit his lip. “Th-that’s not true,” River protested. “I’m g-gonna f-fight. I know how… and my friends will protect me, too.”

With a hum of a laugh, Wick shook her head, “How you gonna fight? You even now how? Everyone here knows you’re full of it.. Serial killer. Prolly never even sneeze without covering your mouth. Tiny Tim… you don’t stand a chance.” Rolling onto her stomach, legs swinging behind her, she looked down at him from the bunk, “Wanna know a secret?”

Recoiling away from Wick, River scooted to the edge of the bed, eyes wide. “I-I know enough,” He argued. He knew… very little. He knew how to hold a gun… he knew how to throw a punch… it ended there. While Wick was absolutely right about him never hurting a fly, he refused to confirm it. “What?” River whispered, refusing to look her in the eye.

“I ain’t half as crazy as people think.” Still staring at him, she smirked, “But you know why I do it? Cause folks like us… we gotta protect ourselves. The big ones? They draw too much attention to themselves. Makes it easier to find excuses to cut them down. You think they’ll protect you forever? How they gonna do that when they’re bound to burn…? So I put on a good show… let them run like ants from a magnifying glass, and no one bothers me.”

Gripping the edge of the bed, River frowned. He’d been told quite explicitly to keep on edge around Wick… but apparently, all she was doing was pretending. While he has much more faith in his protectors than she did, he didn’t see the point in trying to change her mind.

“So… let’s protect each other.” He proposed. “While the big ones make scenes…” He tried to echo her words, put confidence into his voice, “We’ll watch each other’s backs. I’ll watch your back. And I won’t tell anyone you’re not crazy.”

“Oh… I know you won’t.” Wick said, with a tiny laugh, “Because if you do, I’ll cut out your heart with a spoon… and put it in a package for Jumbo.” Her eyes flickered to River again, and she shrugged, “No one watches in here, River. Not really. We pretend to care, but in the end, will they really die for you? Really?”

With a gulp, River looked up at Wick. He was trying desperately to ignore her words (and her threats), to stop seeing the truth in them… but he couldn’t help but think of his own brother, the very person who’d abandoned him.

“I don’t want them to die for me.” He murmured. “Dying for someone doesn’t mean you care about them…” River shook his head. “I.. I didn’t kill anyone. It was my brother… he… he killed those women. I got caught standing over…” River shivered. “But Luca, Hana, Chiko… They’re different. They’re good people.”

Laughing softly, Wick shook her head, “Confession don’t make us friends, you know. Not that it really matters.” Canting her head to the side, she grinned, “Do you think anyone in here really believes you’re a serial killer? Not that it matters… You’re in prison, Puddle… No one’s ‘good people’. What? You think they got in cause they lied about what they did? Mmmnope.”

River gritted his teeth. “The jury seemed to think so.” He muttered ruefully. Not like he’d denied it.. “If I’m in here… and I don’t deserve to be… then there are others like me too. Good people do bad things… and you’re just scared. You’re just lonely. Maybe if you stopped acting crazy you’d actually see that they are good people… and they might actually protect you too.”

“The jury probably just got bored of your whining. Easy to do, honestly.” Sitting up, she rolled her neck in a circle, “Scared? Lonely? You really don't know what the real world looks like, do you? You even know what I'm in here for?”

River paused. No, he definitely did not know what Wick was in for. Being crazy, he’d assumed. Guess not. “Uh.. b-being too nice, maybe?”

Laughing, she leaned forward, “Guess that depends on if your definition of nice is killing a man and his whore wife and burning down their house…”

“N..n...no…. That’s not exactly m-my definition of nice.” River squeaked. “W-Wick, w-what do you want from me? T-trying to s-scare me into submission?” Because it was definitely working…

“I’m proving a point, kid.” She stated, quietly, “That you don’t stand a damn chance in here. And the minute you recognize that, you can do something to change it.”

River froze, biting back the angry response he had planned. “Ch...change it?” He whispered, finally turning to her fully, searching her eyes for the truthfulness that he hadn’t expected to hear in her voice. “What do you mean? How?”

“Learn to stop being such a pretty little beyotch…” She shrugged, flopping back onto her cot, “...They call you a dog, River. Show them teeth.”

River looked down. Show them teeth. Frankly, he’d never shown anyone teeth. But he couldn’t help but agree with her… even if he wasn’t sure how to exactly show teeth. “Why… are you telling me this? Why are you helping me?”

“Hm…” Tapping her fingertips along her arm, Wick shrugged, “Maybe I just wanna watch you crash and burn when you try to act like a tough guy.”

Paling, River shook his head and laid down on the uncomfortable mattress. “Wh-whatever.” He mumbled. “You’re still crazy. Even if you think you aren’t.” River chastised himself for listening to her at all, curling up into a ball and closing his eyes.

Grinning, she shrugged, “And you’re gonna be Jumbo’s toothpick.”


Skittish Beaver
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Two Men and Teenie Box, Luca Elle Joyner Elle Joyner

Breaking through the crowd as they were dismissed, Luca caught sight of the young blonde he'd helped escape the smoke, and pushing through bodies, he came alongside her with a small frown, “They ain't gonna pick you…” He stated, softly, with what hoped was a note of reassurance, “For the fight. Romana just what's to scare everyone. But they ain't gonna pick you…”

Chloe stiffened as a familiar voice greeted her from behind. Her tense muscles began to relax, sheepishness flooding her features as she realized she had flinched. Bobbing her head, she anxiously began to pluck with a lock of her hair. She did not regret her decision one bit, and knew very well that there was a possibility she could go into fight. She did not recall the last time someone died, but there was still nervousness burning in her chest. She was no fighter, that was for sure, but she did recall how one’s head could bend and crack. A soft breath escaped through her mouth. “T-t-thank y-you L-luca.” She stammered, slowing herself down to clear her speech. “I’ll be okay. I-if t-they p-pick m-me i-i-it w-would w-w-well be w-w-worth it.” Her eyes caught sight of Bah Bah nearby, his eyes inspecting both her and Luca, analyzing them carefully. “I-if i-it m-means t-t-those k-kids d-d-don’t die...and y-you and B-a-ahram d-d-don’t h-hurt.”

“Don't you worry about me, Clo. Or Bah. He can take it… we both can.” He was certain… almost positive in his thoughts that Romana didn't want a quick, easy show… she wanted a brutal fight, and if it meant keeping the others safe, Luca would give just that, “I'll make sure you're not dragged into this.. Alright? That's a promise. Hang tight… and get some rest. And if that dickhole Jumbo tries anything, you remind him I'm a man of my word. Yeah?”

“I-I d-d-do not g-g-get w-why y-you a-are so w-worried. D-did y-you not s-see my g-guns?” She patted her arm pridefully, although understood the sentiment. If Romana truly wished to be cruel, she would put the weaker and watch the strong like Luca and Bahram put a brutal front to protect them. It made sense to her, as much as it scared her. She didn’t get her hopes up about escaping this, and felt horrid that innocent prisoners were dragged into this. River and Chiko did not deserve to go into the arena. “T-t-thank you, t-though. I-I trust y-you. A-a-and I’ll be s-sure to t-t-tell you. I-I d-doubt a-anything w-w-will happen.” She tried to offer him a little smile.

“All the same… keep an eye on him, Clo. Watch your back. See you at dinner, right?” The guards continued shoving from behind and swearing, je glanced back, giving her a nod before heading for him own cell. Inside, Luca gave a low growl and smacked his palm into the wall.

Bahram had cozily made himself at home in the small cell, knowing now how easily the human body could be compacted into a small space. The cell sure as hell wasn’t home, but he could make it cozy. Noting the expression upon his cell mate’s demeanor, Bahram sunk to his cot and leaned back against the wall. “Not an exactly fair decision this year, eh?” He mentioned casually, relieved that it was this fate over the Put Down for the Pups.

“She can't just pick who she wants and leave it at that, can she? Bitch has to play games…” Fingers raking through his hair, he moved to sink into a chair, “She's gone too far…”

“It is better than having to watch Koko or River end up getting killed.” Bahram muttered under his breath, brushing stray hair from his face. “That broad is way over her head, and if hell does happen to be more than a happy pipe dream, she is gonna get what’s coming.” He claimed, although sorrow was blocking the way of any anger that could have festered. “But for now we cannot do anything about it, except play her game. If it’s most of us playing, I doubt the pups are gonna get too seriously injured.”

“We don't deserve this… being turned into some side show act for that lunatic. Maybe we messed up, down the road, but the crap she pulls is twice as bad as what most of ever did.” Rubbing his hands down his face, he sighed, “Someone oughta put her down…”

“Fair enough, a lot of the things the runts have been convicted of seem to be over exaggerated.” Just because Bahram had a suitcase filled with drugs did not mean he was planning on selling or using it, yet it did count as possession and...well, here he is. On top of the assault charge, which he really couldn’t fight against. He made himself smile sometimes. “She’ll get what is coming at some point. Maybe not in my life time, but she will.” He pursed his lips. “I wonder if our pain is what makes her sleep well at night. I don’t know who in their right mind would sentence two nineteen year olds to death. I was with Chikko when the whole thing went down. The only thing that she did that was punishable by death was be horrible at Battleship.” He waved his hand dismissively. “She did nothing else. Honest, if she didn’t offer to spare those pup’s lives, I would have tried to get my hands on her.”

“You and me both, Bah.” Fingers curling into his fists, he shook her head, “Worth a trip to the Cage, just to get in one, good hit.” Unballing his hands, he rubbed his palms on his pant legs, before he pushed himself unright, pacing back and forth, “Every damn day in this place, I dunno how it’s possible it gets worse. Best part is, I’d’ve signed up anyhow. All that crap, and it wasn’t even needed.”

“I can agree. I do not like the cage a lot, but I am willing to dive head first in if I can go toe to toe to her.” He smiled thinly. “I don’t think she’d last long in the arena. I could easily dropkick her. Heh. If there’s one thing I miss about being a free man, it’s the dropkicks.” Bahram was surprised he hadn’t offered himself for the Dog Fights before, but internally he knew why he did not do it. The people who were involved could be young and irrational, and he didn’t necessarily want to hurt the pups. But beyond the sentiment, he knew it was because he did not wish to satisfy the warden. This year he would have to. “That’s how this place runs, Lucky lad. It gets worse. But at the same time, you get some hardened balls.” He patted his chest. “And it isn’t horrible when you’ve got people to talk to. Even the psychopaths have an interesting life perspective.

“They can lick a live wire, for all I care. Perspective or not, the sooner someone takes them down, the better.” His eyes flickered to the door of the cell and he frowned, “Only a matter of time before one of these bastards…” His mind drifted to the conversation he’d had with Chloe only a little while ago and his knuckles tensed again, “...How the hell you keep your head on your shoulders, Sheepdog?”

“Hmm? Before one of those spineless bastards what?” He questioned, head tilting now as he realized the second question at hand. “I like time to think. Prison gives me that, even if it is a hellhole. Besides, I’ve met rougher people in the ring. I’m used to the chaos. Besides, it is better to remain calm in a loveless situation. I don’t get sent to the cage very often, I don’t speak up very much, and I live as usual. It’s not heaven, but I live.”

“...Nothing I can’t prevent.” Or avenge.. “I wish I could be that way. But I just… I dunno. I got a lot to atone for, Bah. And keepin’ it together isn’t always in the cards.”

“I understand. I do. I hit my rough points, too. It’s hard to keep cool.” Bahram bobbed his head in sympathy. “Honestly, if you feel like you are havin’ a hard time keeping it together, look down and think about someone you care about. Now imagine them smacking the back of your head. Is your action gonna get you an affection rooted smack?” he offered a teasing smile towards him.

“That’s kind of the trouble, Bah. I care. I never wanted to… not in here, but damn if I can help it.” Moving to the cell door, he hooked his fingers around the bars, staring out into the corridor, “And if I start thinking that way, I’m gonna get a headache...”

“It helps, though. And it is alright to care. Keeps your humanity in check.” Bahram reassured, leaning his head against the concrete wall. “And if you feel like you can’t always keep cool, well, there is an optional therapist. It couldn’t hurt to talk once in a while.”

Laughing, Luca shook his head, “Therapy ain’t gonna help me, Bah. Not when those creeps out there are sleepin’ in the same room as people who got no business being in a place like this. Not when I gotta worry about…” Releasing the bars, he frowned, “...It’s why I gotta win… Ten years off, Bah. I can cut her sentence down another ten years.”

“Ten years. Does sound like a miracle, hmm?” Bahram chuckled. He didn’t need it, which is another reason he didn’t consider doing the fights. He didn’t receive a life sentence like most, even if he did argue that his sentence was a bit longer than he would have liked. “Her?” Bahram’s head tilted. “You thinking about cutting down Clo’s?”

“...She shouldn’t be here.” He murmured, shaking his head, “Every damn day, I look at her, and it kills me, knowing what she’s dealing with. What they put her through. If I can shorten that… I’d do the fights till they put me down.”

“You know what she’d say if you won and offered your reward to her.” Bahram’s brow raised “And while I do agree with what you are saying, I am curious as to where this sentiment came from. Why not River or Chikko?” He asked, not as a means to be angry, but much rather curious. He leaned further own upon his cot.

Tongue pinched between his teeth, he stared out into the darkness, “That’s why I don’t intend to tell her I’m doing it. And you best not, either.” Looking back at him, he frowned, “I got my reasons. If I can, I’ll help River and Chik, too. And Hana. Hell, Bah… I’ll get you outta here if I got the time.”

“Reasons?” Bahram’s head tilted. He didn’t want to pry too deeply, yet an amused smile threatened to pull at his lips. “Well alright, if you insist you have concrete, logical reasons.” He cooed playfully, bobbing his head in appreciation. “Thanks...for the afterthought.” He smirked. “How would you propose getting the others out? You’re plan that would most likely would work would only work with one person.”

Eyeing Bah - the amusement evident in the older man’s eyes, Luca rolled his, “Shut up.” He said, with a small chuckle, “It’s not… It’s not like that, I just… She’s… she’s … Shut up!” Rubbing his arm, he turned back to the cell door, “I’m gonna just have to keep winning, I guess. And stay alive, in the meantime. That… or break the hell out of this place.”

“She’s ~” Bahram cooed playfully, rolling onto his back. “You sound like a broken record player. Eh. It’s not my right to dig into what ya feel, lad. Although, I find your flustered demeanor rather adorable.” Bahram snickered. “Heh. You are gonna burn yourself out doing that. Aren’t we only allowed to fight once?” His brow shot up “If you wanna break out, I recommend a lot of fire power, because that is gonna lead to Put down if you aren’t careful.”

What he felt. Ugh. Feelings weren’t something Luca was entirely keen on talking about, ever. Particularly when, in a place like this, they could get you into more trouble than they were worth. “You really think Romana ain’t gonna put us all down some day, anyway. Might as well make it interesting. I’ll figure something out…”

“Mmhm.” Bahram drawled. “I am sure you will. In the meantime, you should behave so you can live to see the day. Or you know, figure out exactly how you are going to win in the first place.”

“Nah… Behaving only makes Romana bored, Bah. I keep pissin’ her off every once in a while, she’ll keep me around, out of spite.” With a smirk, he shrugged, “Just gotta make sure I can take down whoever I’m up against.”

“I can give you a few tips as a former fighter, Lucky. Sometimes it’s alright to play dirty. It’s alright to not feel sympathy for a moment or two.” He crossed his legs, bouncing his fingers against his thigh. “Just don’t lose sight of what you are doing, and in all cases, be sure to know your enemy like you know yourself. Know their style, because I can promise you, there will be moments where they repeat themselves. Where one tactic works, they reuse it. Expect it. Use it.”

Chuckling dryly, Luca nodded, looking down at his hands, “Trust me, Bah… I don’t underestimate a damn soul in this place. Pandora’s got the body of a fifteen year old girl, but you ever seen her spar?”

“I don’t mean this as head over heels, but she could kick my ass anyday.” Bahram grinned. “She’s a fighter, that one. I recommend, Luca, you start noticing how people move. It’ll help. Trust me, even if I am as big as I am, a woman like Pandora can take me down. If she knows my movements, and she knows my open spots, she can overcome. I recommend finding excuses to spar. If you’d like, I can assist and show you examples of movements people might commit to memory.”

Laughing, Luca shook his head, “Something tells me Pan ain’t interested in that kinda throw down with you, Bah. I may take you up on that offer, though. I know how to work a Blazer, and I’m not half bad with a gun… but in the arena, chances are, it ain’t gonna be that cut and dry.”

“I don’t want to know the other throw down she’d be into. My guess is Twitchy Abraham would know.” His brow furrowed. “I don’t know what it is going to be like in the arena. If you are able to use a gun, it would be worthwhile, but I have a feeling your opponents would get other various weapons as well. You need to prep for just about anything.” Bahram hopped to his feet. “From what I remember, there are recordings of the Dog Fights we could review to see what it is like. My guess is each year is different, but it’s worth a shot to see what sort of patterns there might be.”

“...Good point.” He said, with a small nod, “Might have to check that out.” Moving to the chair, he sank onto it, hands running through his hair again, “I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna win.” He murmured, half to himself…

“I will try to help you in whatever way you need me.” Bahram offered, seeing how much this seemed to mean to him. “For whatever reasons you may have. You have my support. Just don’t curse me when I punch you around for the first few spar sessions.”

Grinning, Luca shook his head, “Thanks, Sheepdog.”

“No problem, Lucky. Just don’t get yourself killed, okay?”

“Ain’t dead yet… don’t plan on changing that, any time soon…”

Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
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Collab Post: Smokin' | Interactions: Angelique and Archer KatSea KatSea | Location: Prison Cell

Archer found himself rather calm as the guards returned him to his cell. He wasn’t dying today, much to his own surprise. He wasn’t sure if it was gratitude or annoyance piling in his chest for such a thing. Fingers trembling at his side, he slumped into the upper cot. He laid down, eyes glued to the ceiling in silence. He did not care if his roommate had returned. She was merely another noise among the sea of nothingness within the room. Sometimes he fantasized about hanging sheets from the ceiling, but he didn’t have anything to hook the sheet too. Stressed, he would consider it. Bored, he’d finalize it.

He yawned lightly, skimming his fingers along the solid ceiling. For a moment he thought he saw bloodspatter, but he knew it was false. He sighed longingly. He missed Georgina in his arms.

Well...Angelique figured she could just keep still like this all night. Frozen. In her cot. Barely breathing. Muscles tense. There was no way in hell she wanted to trigger her cellmate tonight. Not after the drama she had witnessed. She never really found out the details behind Archer’s sentence, but two minutes alone with the man had confirmed that he committed some fucked up shit.

So, uh. Yeah. Angelique was perfectly fine with lying prone and uncomfortable like this until dinner. She was a fighter, after all. And maybe, just maybe, by some stroke of luck, this psycho would die in the Dog Fights and she’d be rid of him. A woman could dream.

“I see you are still breathing, Angel.” Archer mumbled, in the silence small sounds becoming more clear to him. He couldn’t hear her very well, but he knew she was there. A chuckle travelled through his lips. “Glad to see you didn’t fall earlier today. It would have made this little cell a lot more lonely.”

“Fuck,” Angel whispered, disgusting tightening her gut into knots. So much for stealthing. “Err, just pretend I’m not here. You can handle being lonely, right? Right. Good talk.” She didn’t want to admit that she was sweating...but she might be able to fill a bucket at this rate. No. A tiny swimming pool.

“Mm. I don’t know if I can handle it.” He cooed softly, chuckling once again. His fingers traced along the side of the cot, dropping it down so it hit her line of vision. “Glad to see you are still chit chatty as always, Angel. Soothes the damned soul.”

A violent shiver instantly shot down Angel’s spine. This fucker...Christ. Dinner couldn’t come fast enough. “Keep that creepy ass finger above the cot, sir,” she muttered sternly, fighting to keep the shakes out of her voice. “Or I’ll have my friends chop off all twenty one of them.”

“I’d bet they’d like that.” Archer mumbled, doing as she said and placing his hands in his lap. “I’m not incredibly threatened by that proposition, it sounds like a fun afternoon.” Fingers shaking, he brushed his knuckles against his lips. He exhaled shakily. “Think you can ask your friends to do other things with me, little Angel?”

“They’d have a fucking field day with your ass,” Angel growled, her discomfort fading in the face of bubbling annoyance. She hated when he got like this, feeding off her threats and shit. It was like an endless loop of her losing and him winning. God, she couldn’t wait to see this prick die on screen. However, she took of the shakiness in his voice. Breathy...Excited? Gross.

“Do I literally have to climb up and knock you unconscious to get any peace today? Besides, save that nasty fetish for the Dog Fights. That’s when my friends can slaughter your ass.”

“I’d like it if you came up here.” He mumbled, not meaning it but knowing he would get a reaction. He wasn’t as perverse as most people thought, although, he had to admit, he did get excited. People just assumed it was...He chuckled softly. “Oh, I can’t wait to see that happen to me, sweetcheeks. The Dog Fights...I’m going to have fun with that. You know those bastard pups, Lake and Cheeky, were almost Put Down today. I almost wished it could have happened, but my own life was in the balance, so I suppose I had to sacrifice the spectacle.”

Just as Angel was about to roll her eyes, she seized up. She had endured many emotional switches within the past few minutes; first it was fear, then it was annoyance. And now...now her nostrils flared with anger. Her foot snapped up, kicking the underside of Archer’s cot with a rattling thud. “You touch her or come near her and you’re fucked royally, you bitch!” she spat. If she could morph into any creature in that moment, she’d be a dragon burning down the entire ship.

“Ha! You give a good bark Angel, you sound like my wife’s whore.” Archer leaned his head against his pillow, ignoring the thud underneath his back. He let his body twist and turn until his head peeked past the mattress. He offered her a pleasant smile. “If you were a little bit stronger...I could assume you’d get a little bruise onto me. But hell, you’ve got the bark. Now you need to learn how to bite, because after all, we are nothing more than prison’s bitch. Might as well embrace it, little Angel.” He pulled back up onto his cot. His eyes scanned the ceiling again. “You are too entertaining.” He mumbled, once again skimming the ceiling with his fingertips to get a feel of where he could hang a sheet. Not with her, of course. She made him laugh.

Angel gnashed her teeth, absolutely stewing in a cauldron of smoldering fury. She hated this man. She hated his fucking rotten guts. Most days, he only annoyed her enough to spout two or three colorful threats a day but as of right now, she wanted nothing more than to drown him in a tub of arsenic and jam a flamethrower past his teeth…

She needed to breathe. She needed to calm down. This was exactly the sentiment Archer fed from and she refused to let that asshole gorge himself. “Whatever,” she growled, crossing her arms and ignoring him completely. However, the next time he dared to speak that way about Chiko...she would plot that man’s downfall--to his very last breath.

Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
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Collab Post: Cold Shoulder | Interactions: Snowman and Abraham CloudyBlueDay CloudyBlueDay | Location: Prison Cell

Wow. He was doing it. He was really doing it.

The Dog Fights. The spaceship equivalent of gladiators in the Coliseum. Or...or...or something. Snowman wasn’t good with history. Never was. He lived in the present, barely paid attention to the past. Was kind of a waste. Definitely a waste. Well, his high school teacher would have a lot of protests if he heard that or, maybe, he’d just pee his pants and flee at the sight of him...Snowman wasn’t sure. And he’d never find out.

Anyways. Romana was being a butthole. Again. Like always. Man, Snowman wished he could just...scream in that woman’s face. Give her a giant piece of his mind and, and, and...and...probably punk out and go scurrying back to Gram. Or Switch. Or Bungee...But Gram first. Gram for sure.

Snowman wasn’t really ready to go back to his cell. He wanted to hang around a bit more, catch some more of that spicy drama unfolding around those other Tributes. They were a tight bunch, sort of, and it was always entertaining to hear what was going on in their little circles. But, unfortunately, there wasn’t anymore chit chat once Romana was gone, so he listened to the guards with a sulk. Next time, he guessed.

Snowman entered the cell on fast, featherweight feet, though there was no reason for rushing. What was waiting for him? The bed? Oh, wait. No. The super rigid plank of Satan disgusted in sheep’s clothing mattress...wrap...thing. Yep. That was it. Feeling aimless, he just stood in the middle of the cell, blinking slowly at his surroundings. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting for some sort of idea to strike him, to give him a way out of this boring bind.

Radiating with anger, Abraham stomped back to his cell, fingers dancing along his thigh at his side as steam poured from his ears. Somehow, he’d been thrown into the Dog Fights, and he was not happy about it. Apparently, that was what being a quiet side spectator earned you! A one way ticket to death! Great! Absolutely fuckin’ fantastic!

“Would it kill you to stand anywhere other than the middle of the bloody cell?” Abraham shouted at Snowman as he stomped in, heading for his bunk.

Snowman nearly jumped out of his own skin, Abe’s shout snapping him from his reverie. At first, fear seized his gut, only to melt away like ice caps as the recognition hit and his eyes brightened. Oh yeah--the entertainment was here. He liked messing around with Abe; always made out for a fun time, in his opinion.

Like a spritely squirrel, Snowman followed after Abe, lowering into a crouch next to the man’s cot and flashing a tiny smirk. He waved casually in greeting.

Collapsing onto the cot with an angered growl, Abraham stared up at the frame above him. Of course, Snowman couldn’t take a hint, and turning his head to meet the annoying grin of the young man, Abraham grabbed his pillow and smacked it across Snowman’s face. “Sorry. Twitch.” He drawled, grabbing the pillow back and turning away from Snowman, facing the wall.

Getting hit in the face was like a trigger for Snowman. As soon as it happened, he let himself get whacked, but the caught the same pillow and whacked Abe back, his smile so wide and excited that it showed teeth. Oh snap, was this a pillow fight now? Kinda flowery, but he’d take it!

Hissing at the thwack of the pillow against his face, Abraham sat up. “Alright, fine, Frosty. You got one free shot. Now I’m taking a fucking nap.” Abraham spat, snatching the pillow out of Snowman’s hands and returning to his curled up position on the cot.

Snowman blinked. Wait...that was it? One each hit and then call it quits? That was...lame. Insanely lame. At this rate, he was going to die of boredom and Snowman couldn’t let that happen. He glanced up. Then back down at Abe. Up again…

Yeah. Let’s do it.

Quickly, he reached up and snagged the pillow from his top bunk. Then whacked Abe again.

Abe growled. Snowman seemed to think it funny to tick him off. Didn’t matter. He’d been stuck in a cell with him long enough that all he had to do was ignore the childish man… so Abe pretended not to have notice the whack of the pillow, and stayed facing the wall.

And so Snowman continued whacking Abe. Over and over again. Sometimes he would take a few seconds pausing between hits, giving his cellmate the false hope that he was done...before jumping right back into it.

The anger only rose within Abe, and though he tried his hardest to ignore Snowman’s incessant thwacking, it wasn’t working so well. Just.. just had to wait him out a little longer. Abraham kept still. Maybe he’d still just go away.

Yeah, no. Snowman wasn’t going away anytime soon. He could do this non-stop, until dinner period rolled around. Hell, maybe even come back for round two afterwards. He could literally feel the annoyance within his cellmate building more and more by the second, and all it did was feed into his own excitement.

Suddenly, Snowman stopped, pillow raised mid-swing as the cogs in his brain turned...One more hit. But instead of remaining where he was, he jumped back, holding up the item as a terrible makeshift shield.

That one more hit did him in, and Abraham shot out of the cot with an intense fury, batting away the pillow that Snowman held up as a shield and pinning him against the cell wall, an arm bracing his neck. “You think this is funny, huh? How funny you fuckin’ think it’ll be when I actually get the chance to kill you for real in the Dog Fights?” Abraham hissed.

Snowman heaved a silent wheeze of surprise, eyes wide as he was pinned against the wall. He dared to glance to the side, seeing if any of the guards would intervene but, of course, any that had been loitering near their cell slinked away, pretending as if nothing was happening. Yeah...he should’ve seen that coming. His gaze locked with Abe’s again, opening his mouth to say something...failing. Then closing them again.

Frantically, he held his hands up and signed, “It’s funny when you’re pissed, not when I’m dead.”

Abe rolled his eyes. He’d unwillingly picked up a bit of sign language during his time on the Hagur thanks to Snowman and his damn refusal to talk. With an angered grunt, Abraham let go of Snowman, retreating back to his cot. “Right. So… you don’t piss me off, you don’t die. Capiche?”

Snowman nodded, a smile already in the process of replacing the fear. He massaged his neck, feeling out the damage. Eh...he’d survive but, knowing how much of a fragile stick he was, a beautiful bruise would show up soon. Not good. But still, he didn’t want to be tossed into the clutches of boredom. Quickly, he scrambled over to the dresser and pulled out a tiny journal from the top drawer, flipping to a clean page. It came along with a fancy pen--well, fancy in his opinion. It was a gift. Something that Gram shipped in for him through Cargo. It was transparent, kind of hard plastic material, and the body was shaped like a snowman. The top hat was the cap.

He scribbled down a message before handing it over to Abe. It read: “Dude I think you bruised my neck. You’ve been lifting more?”

Reading over the note with tired eyes, Abraham crumpled it within his fist, sighing angrily as he tried to reposition himself as comfortably as possible on the cot. Why Snowman didn’t talk was beyond him, but he wasn’t funny on paper or in sign language. Escaping the leaking boiler, dealing with the drama of the Dog Fight reaping, it had all worn Abe out.

“Sure. Yes. I’ve been lifting more.” Abraham muttered, burying his face in the pillow. Only way he was going to get any peace was to keep Snowman entertained.

Snowman blinked as Abe crumpled up the paper...Rude. But expected. He wrote another note. “Cool cool. Keep doing that. You’ll need the muscles for Dog Fights, yeah?”

This time, Abraham didn’t crumple the note. Instead, he read it over more than once, brows furrowing, before passing it back up to Snowman so the paper could be reused. “I won’t need to fight to win.” He said slowly, confidently. “Didn’t need to fight to play and win out there in the real world.”

Snowman pursed his lips, not entirely believing Abe’s words. Well, he could believe that the man handled himself just fine on Earth, but as for here on Hagur...he wasn’t so sure. He wrote again.

“Well, yeah. But this is a different world. A whole new game. New rules. New morals. Who’s to say the same method will work?” he asked, eyes glimmering with curiosity.

Staring up at the bed frame, Abraham dragged the tips of his fingers along the markings he’d scratched into the metal. It had become a large blue print of plans, diagrams, and ramblings. “Didn’t say I wouldn’t be using a new method…” Abe humed. “But I know my way around games. That’s all it is.. And games can always be won.”

Snowman didn’t have an immediate reply. His pen stilled against the journal, studying Abe with eyes colder than his name. Biting the inside of his cheek, he wrote again, quickly, just two or three flicks of the wrist. “This isn’t a game, Abe.” ...But then he scribbled it out and filled in a different message underneath. “Yeah, you got a big ass brain and stuff. I’m sure you can win the whole thing.”

Abraham listened to Snowman scratching out a previous thought. Whatever. He was probably going to say something that would have ticked him off, so. Better this way. Abraham smirked. “Mhmn. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Frosty. I’m sure you’ll last long enough to watch.” He said pridefully.

A silent chuckle shook Snowman’s shoulders. “Eh...not really. Might make it second round, but will probably die at that point. It’s cool. You thought about your team yet?” Redirecting was the best option right now. Besides, he was curious to know if Abe had any preferences or predetermined partners in mind.

Swiftly ignoring Snowman’s self deprecating comments, choosing not to linger on who would and who wouldn’t make it, Abraham shrugged. “I’d rather not kill Pan, and she’s a fierce one, so.. Wouldn’t mind her on my team. Bahram is a tank… wouldn’t be opposed… don’t need none of the pups, unless Luca’s with us, and then we’ve got ourselves a rabid dog.” Abe mused.

Pandora...intimidated the crap out of Snowman. She was a huge flirt, which wasn’t that bad, not really. He knew how to handle that kind of behavior from someone, but he had heard a lot about her skills from certain resources. And man...heavy shit. Heavy shit. Bahram and Luca weren’t anybody to scoff at either. They had so many strong contenders in their little friend circle--it was kinda insane.

“So like...Luca’s the rabid dog. Bahram’s the bulldog. Pan’s a freaking wolf. You the poodle or the chihuahua?” he asked, mirth pulling at his lips.

“Ha ha. Very funny. Frosty. So fuckin funny.” Abraham muttered. What dog was he, though? No dog that was good at laying down plans exactly came to mind. “I’m… er… somethin’. Whatever.” Abraham said with a pout.

D’aw. Abe was pouting--precious. Snowman didn’t show any hesitation gently poking one of his pouty cheeks, though his muscles were coiled in case he decided to violently lash out again. Regardless, he retracted because he needed both hands to write. Sort of. That and he didn’t want to push his luck too much. “I know, Abe. I’m such a riot. And since you’re so precious...I’m labeling you as a Corgi. Cool? Cool.”

“Cool. Cool, time’s up. Done being nice. Leamme alone.” Abraham snapped, delivering one last death glare at the cheek poke and turning away from Frosty. He was fed up with baby sitting.

As soon as Abe’s back faced him, Snowman sloooowly stuck his tongue out at the man. Freaking party pooper. But hey, he got a fair dose of fun and was able to weed out a decent conversation from the little butthole, so he counted this interaction overall as a success.

Shrugging, he stowed away the journal and pen into their rightful place back inside the drawer, meandering his way back to the bunkers. As he climbed up to the top bunk, he made an intentional effort to “accidentally” nudge Abe with his foot, a smirk permanently etched onto his lips. Man, he loved his cellmate. Well, fucking with him, at the least.

“Dick.” Abraham muttered.
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Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
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Collab Post: My Guardian Angel | Interactions: Amit and Chiko | Location: Prison Cell


He was such an idiot. An idiotic disgrace who was royally fucked. For so...so many reasons. Amit never intended for the day to take such a grave and unexpected turn. He liked to live according to schedule. Attending and leaving every block at the exact time. He liked order. Liked knowing.

But this? The Dog Fights? This was unacceptable.

Amit wondered what would’ve happened if he had ignored the Blazer and left the Courtyard exit open. Would that change anything? Would Romana still have roped him into the tournament? Well...more than likely, yes. Because that wasn’t the true mark of his downfall. Oh no, his true mistake was the lapse in judgement and self-control. The moment he raised his hand, opened his chickenshit mouth, and actually defended--


...Speak of the annoying Devil.

Rolling his eyes, Amit glanced at Chiko from his spot on the top bunk, who was busy gripping the bars and shoving her face into a gap between them. She seemed to be glaring and sticking her tongue out at an inmate directly across the hall from her, which wasn’t surprising. Chiko always had to harass someone. “Yo, Ami! Tell this shorty poser over here that I’m def two inches taller!”

Amit’s head fell back to the pillow with a groan.

“See?!” Chiko yelled, pointing back at her cellmate. “He totally agrees--IN YOUR FACE LUCKY CHARMS HA!” She could’ve sworn the equally as short prisoner was launching a long series of curses and insults her way, but she was already in the process of tuning him out. Instead of responding to the angry shouts, she double-checked her hold on the bars, then carefully planted both feet on them, hanging onto the door like a monkey. The young prisoner proceeded to unleash a massive and mocking laugh, obviously meant to rile up the random prisoner ever more…

In good fun. All in good fun. Besides, Amit knew this wasn’t the first time Chiko bothered that one man, so he figured they were mutually entertaining one another...And then the terrorist heard a sharp noise. Like boots slipping against metal. Against his accord, his head snapped back up...Chiko was still laughing in that same ridiculous pose.

Assuming that he was merely hearing things, Amit settled back into his cot with a long, tired sigh--


“Uhhhh...Ami? Buddy? Slipping, slipping, slipping, slipping slipping slip--SOS!” Chiko released a squeak as her grip finally gave out and she went down, hard and fast.

Except that the landing was cushioned by her bruised and annoyed cellmate. Amit laid sprawled out underneath the small woman, his face an entirely new shade of red as his lips peeled apart to snarl lowly, “Sit...down.”

“Heheh...my bad,” Chiko said with a sheepish and guilty smile. She quickly scrambled to her feet and helped him up, then proceeded to launch into a long monologue of apologizing. “Dude, am I sooooo sorry! I almost squashed you like...like a ladybug for some shit, but man you really saved my ass just now. Like, freaking, Superman style! Just went all like “whoosh!”, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, naw biatch, it’s Amiiii to the rescue! Like damn man you literally came out of nowhere--weren’t you on the top bunk like 0.2 seconds ago?? How in the fuck did you defy physiques just now and do that without, like, popping your ankles or some shit--”

Amit slapped a hand over her mouth. Chiko fell silent, watching him with wide eyes. The terrorist pressed a finger to his lips. “...Shut up. Sit down.” He didn’t even wait for a response as he released her and started climbing back up to his bunk. If he wasn’t aching before for the small bruise on his face, then the one blooming down his back did it. He hated his life. As the man settled face down into the mat, he vaguely caught the sound of movement...and the beds creaking. What in the--

A weight settled down next to him.

“So, uh, crazy day, right?” Chiko asked. Amit groaned again and she took that as a sign to continue. “Yeah, yeah...me too, Ami. Me too. That whole bullshit with Romana, man. Just...like, fuck. You know? I can’t words with this shit.”

Amit toyed with the idea of shutting her out and slipping into a much needed nap, but something told him that she wouldn’t let that happen. Especially not right now. Something about the latent quiver in her voice told him that she needed to talk this out...Fuck. Crying on the inside, Amit slowly sat up, hissing at the prickly pain invading his spine and scooted until he sat next to Chiko, both of their legs hanging off the edge. He just stared ahead, but she at least had his begrudging attention now.

“It’s just...I feel like my brain’s fried man. Romana, she...d-dude, I really thought...Fuck,” the last of her words dwindled into a hush and when Amit glanced her way, he was thrown off to see her wiping at her eyes. He couldn’t spot any tears, but she must’ve known they were coming to rid of her eyes of them that quickly. Some heat flooded her face, all of the pent emotion clawing its way to the surface as she bit her bottom lip. “I-I thought that was it for me, you know? Was gonna die. J-just...just like that and I wouldn’t have…shit!” She swept her hair back in visible frustration, struggling to find the right words.

An aimless silence hung between the cellmates, one too far gone inside her head to straighten herself out, while the other was struggling to comprehend the shift in atmosphere. This wasn’t for Amit, nowhere near his specialty of quiet avoidance. This was...foreign. Like everything else. The people here. Their weird American foods and cultures and gestures. And now this...odd conversation. Why did she have to put this on him? Was it merely because he was unlucky enough to be her cellmate? Likely. Probably.

Lost, Amit went out on a limb and muttered, “Wouldn’t have...what?”

However, rather than answering, Chiko shook her head with a shaky, congested laugh. “Nevermind. It’s, uh...stupid. I’m just glad I’m alive man, Dog Fights or whatever. I’ll take it.”

Amit watched the woman’s feet swing back and forth. “...We’re likely to die,” he whispered, a grave weight to his voice.

Chiko laughed again, this time with a hint more positivity than before. She gently nudged the terrorist. “Naw, doubt it. I know I’ll make it.” Amit quirked an eyebrow at her--so what? Was she assuming that she was more competent at combat than he was? Well...that was probably true, but it still somewhat annoyed him to hear it from Chiko of all people. However, she seemed to read the message behind his look and rushed to finish, “Oh, dude! No! Not what I meant! I just...All I’m saying is, if you’re in this too, then I know I’ll be alright.”

Amit blinked. Great, now he was more confused than before. “I don’t understand.”

“Ami, come ooooon,” Chiko sighed in faux exasperation, an exaggerated eye roll to boot. She smiled softly at the man. “Don’t think I didn’t hear you stick up for me.” She raised a single hand and attempted to impersonate Amit--he hated to admit how scarily accurate she sounded. “I...d-do not...accept. Boom! Just like that! Like, I just knew we were both gonna piss our pants, but…” She nudged Amit again. “Even with all that scary shit going on, you protected me. Just like Hana and Bah Bah and Luca and...All of guys are the best man.”

He didn’t want to be grouped with the rest. Amit devoted a hefty percentage of his thoughts towards imagining other prisoners’ deaths, of convoluted and twisted and vile schemes, of starting his work once again and creating the perfect flesh-eating super virus. Whatever “good person” light Chiko was casting onto Amit was...poorly placed. Naive. “I wasn’t scared,” he protested.

Chiko gave him a look.

...Amit avoided eye contact.

“Riiiiight. Okay. Tell yourself that, Ami. We can pretend for a bit, that’s cool.” She leaned back, propping up her weight on both hands as she studied the ceiling mere inches away from her face. “I’m serious though, Ami. Dude...you’re always there for me. I mean, I know you’re not there constantly or whatever. That’d just make you a stalker.”

“I am not a--”

“But when I need you there? Like, if I’m in trouble or some shit? Man, it’s like...it’s like you got, “oh shit, Chiko’s being a dumbass, gotta go fix it” senses. You’re like an emo Spidey!”


Chiko’s lips pursed. “Err...Goth? Dark? Full of hormones and “I hate my parents and I’m misunderstood only my blood oath god understands me” syndrome? Keep up, Ami!”

Amit couldn’t keep up, no matter how hard he tried. Again, his intelligence was thwarted by Chiko’s nonsense babbling and his pride took yet another blow today. Accursed senseless woman. Regardless, Chiko didn’t any signs of slowing down.

“Look, point is...Just wanna say thank you. Like, I seriously mean that, from here.” She patted a fist against her heart, smile softening. “You’re like...my guardian angel, Ami. No joke.”

Amit...wasn’t sure how to respond. He felt a slew of unidentifiable emotions, though the ones that stood out grossly to his senses were bafflement, uncertainty, surprise, and doubt. Chiko said a lot of grandeur things without thinking, so what assured that this declaration could be considered genuine? Besides, Amit had no need to be her “guardian angel”. It was a sappy concept, really, and just a product of feeble minds protecting themselves with escapist fantasies.

Biting the inside of his cheek, Amit merely nodded and whispered, “I’m tired.” It was a codeword he used often between them; simply put, it meant, “I am done talking with you at the moment, I require sleep”.

Chiko’s features fell a tad, but she nodded and started descending. “Uh, no prob Bob! I’ll just chill down here and--!” Her foot slipped again.

And Amit caught her again, a hand wrapped tightly around her wrist.

“F-fuck these slippery prison shoes,” Chiko breathed, her heart racing a mile a minute. Smiling, she glanced up at Amit, who was glaring down at her in pure, unfiltered annoyance. “Heh...Like I said, guardian angel!”

Amit rolled his eyes.
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Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
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Year: 2813
Location: Hagur-343 | Cafeteria
Time: 8:15 PM | Dinner Period

As soon as the clock struck 8:15 PM, a sharp whistle pierced the air, high-pressurized steam spewing from pipes overhead and screeching at a pitch that would set any human’s ears ringing. An idea suggested by Romana personally as one of many nuisances dispersed throughout the ship to drive her dogs mad. Cell gates slid open two rows at a time, guards immediately slapping shackles around the prisoners’ wrists and shoving them down to the cafeteria.

The tables filled quickly, spots and areas reserved by cliques and internalized gangs among seniority levels. Most Mutts avoided seating themselves with Hounds and Pups, a sort of unspoken hierarchy, though a few broke that mold, such as Hana and a few others. Dinner consisted of indescribable slop, steaming hot like a tray full of farm animal waste. But, to some degree, it had to be edible or else the prisoners would’ve died of starvation or food poisoning ages ago.

On the western end of the massive cafeteria, a table held three inmates, two of three eyeballing the table holding Chloe, Bahram, and a few others. Of the trio, one just so happened to be Jumbo; he had both fists pressed to the metal surface of the table, face lowered as if he was fending off waves of sleepiness. A man with short ginger hair and gentle eyes scratched the back of Jumbo’s head comfortingly, almost like a pet. He murmured some words to the cannibal, but his blue eyes remained transfixed to Chloe.

Meanwhile, their third member Angelique sat in her own seat, one leg crossed over the other and bouncing them impatiently, a heavy sulk upon her visage. She made a conscious effort to avoid all forms of eye contact, gaze glued to the floor as her dinner sat next to her untouched. However, she snapped out of her reverie when the ginger addressed her next, giving Jumbo one last pat while pointing in Chloe’s direction. There was a moment of hesitation. Two more. Then, Angelique conceded with a nod, though she didn’t look the least bit happy about it.

Flashing a smile, the red-head man hopped off the table and approach the group’s with a casualness to his step. Light, even. Non-threatening. He hovered at the edge of the table and cleared his throat before waving at the bunch politely.

“Good day, all of you. Well,” his head cocked a bit, in a so-so manner, “Started off a tad rough for all of us. Boiler explosion and all, but I’m certain that fallacy was merely a break from the monotony around here, right?” Struck with realization, he perked up and held out a hand to Chloe. “Pardon my manners. I’d lose my head if it wasn’t on my shoulders--Fritz. And I believe you are...Chloe? That lovable fellow’s cellmate?”

He nodded back at Jumbo, who had yet to move a centimeter.

“I’m here to apologize for his behavior today on my behalf. He...told me all about it. The...sweet heart incident, yes?” His eyes softened with pity. “I’m...deeply sorry that you had to endure such a thing, dear. He’s usually not so bombastic around this time of week.”

Guards patrolled the cafeteria on slow feet, though their eyes roamed the premises like a hawk. Jaws clenched, spines erect, grips around their waist belts knuckle-white tight--there was an excess of tension. Perhaps all a result of the boiler explosion and the massive loss of lives that followed; the Corpse Dispensary would be especially backed up for the next few days, which would cause immense problems since the Dog Fights started tomorrow.

And yet, there seemed to be something more.

One guard slowed to a stop, the pause incredibly brief and easy to miss. In that second, he glanced up at a camera hovering over one of the exits and, in the blink of an eye, the light next to it died. A blind spot.

The guard nodded in the direction of four more, who also slowly congealed together and shoved prisoners aside. Three made their way up to the table holding Luca and Bahram, hands falling to the inmates’ shoulders.

“Come with us, immediately,” one guard muttered, voice firmer than steel. His free hand rested on his Blazer. Meanwhile, the other two did the same for Amit but instead of uttering a word, they started yanking the terrorist onto his feet and dragging him towards the exit where the camera was shut down.

Snowman was invisible. Yep. Nobody could see him; he was as stealthy as a, uh...a chameleon. Yep. A chameleon. Blending in with the mass of sweaty, bloodthirsty cretins and skinheads. Yeahhh, like a freaking ninja--


Nope. He was wrong.

Snowman flashed a smile though as Gram clapped a hardy hand to his shoulder. His best friend towered over him, tattoos peeking past the wrists and and collar of his uniform. An abused toothpick hung from between his lips--a poor substitute for a cigarette, but Snowman knew Gram was trying his best to quit. The pale-haired man didn’t have the best lungs around.

Gram discarded the toothpick, letting it hit the floor carelessly. “You hiding from me.” A statement. A fact. Definitely not a guess. Oh boy, here we go.

Sheepishly, Snowman shrugged, before signing, “Not at all. Was looking for you.”

[FONT=Marcellus, serif]Gram merely hummed, guiding him along through the dinner line. “Let’s say I believe that,” he muttered. As they slid their trays along the metal bars and the cafeteria lady came into view, she froze at the sight of Gram and paled. He shot her a flat look. Expecting. She answered the order quickly and momentarily disappeared under the counter, producing a Tupperware holding pre-microwaved macaroni and cheese. She dumped the contents onto Snowman’s tray, who smiled gratefully at the woman.[/FONT]

She ignored him and went back to work.

“Anyway,” Gram continued, “Let’s say I believe that and we go on our merry fucking way.”

Snowman pouted. “Language.”

“Fuck off with that,” Gram muttered, “But I know you, Snowman. I know you’re a little…” He tapped the side of Snowman’s noggin. “Distracted.” Then he pointed at the apparent bruises around his neck. Gram’s eyes darkened. “Who’s dick am I chopping off and feeding to Jumbo?”


Without thinking, Snowman’s gaze snapped in the direction of the table holding Abraham, before forcing himself to look elsewhere. However, Gram had been studying the man like a hawk and followed his trajectory readily, realization seeping into his bones instantly. “Ah...that twitchy bastard.” He started after Abraham, only to stop briefly when Snowman snagged him by the arm, shaking his head in protest. Regardless, Gram shook him off and signaled a handful of his muscle-bound bitches to scatter, manning the exits.

Slowly, with a drawn out sigh, Gram seated himself across Abe, posture aloof. None of that sentiment seemed to reach his eyes. “Twitchy, my man…” He smiled robotically. “How goes it?”

Tags: KatSea KatSea , CloudyBlueDay CloudyBlueDay , Elle Joyner Elle Joyner


consistently inconsistent
Posting Speed
1-3 posts per week, One post per week
Online Availability
I check as often as I can.
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
Male, Female, No Preferences
Fantasy, Realistic/Modern, Magic, Scifi, Romance
Twitch Who Cried Wolf
Collab with Mobley Eats Mobley Eats and Elle Joyner Elle Joyner

Eating lunch alone was pitiful, but he didn’t have any other option. He’d been ditched by his main dinner buddy, so Abraham was left to pick at the slop dejectedly, chin rested on his palm. Building a team for the Dog Fights suddenly looked a lot harder from his very lonely dinner table perspective. It was risky to bring his notes here, but he’d used the scraps of paper that Snowman had written on to spill ideas, plans. He felt almost as if he were back in his prime, on earth, sketching maps and planning heists. The promise of the Dog Fights invigorated him. He was desperate for something to do.

Perhaps he’d been a little too desperate. Watching Gram slide into the seat before him, Snowman standing pitifully behind him, Abe’s posture tensed. Fuck. Instantly Abe’s gaze flickered to the exits, which were ever so suddenly and conveniently occupied by Gram’s men. His next option: Making eye contact with Pan a ways over, silently begging.

“Doin’ just fine,” Abraham said smoothly, fingers bouncing across the table, lip curling. “Somethin’ you need, pal?” Shoulda known better than to lay a hand on Snowman… even if he had entertained the kid afterwards. He suspected Gram didn’t care to hear it. Shit, shit, shit. This was bad.

Without tearing his gaze from Abe’s, Gram pointed back at Snowman. “See his neck? See that bruise? Explain.” The fingers of his free hand drummed against the table, slow and patient, but barely holding back a wave of something violent.

Not too far off from that table, Switch exited the line with her own tray, Pan by her side. She eyed the slop with lazy distaste. “Hey, Pan, wanna bet how long I’ll live after ingesting this?” Her voice was half-joking, half-considering writing a will. However, when she glanced up and caught sight of Abraham...sitting with Gram...

Dead man walking. Well, sitting. And twitching.

Switch leaned over to whisper to Pan, “So, uh...Did Twitch leave you a heartfelt goodbye note recently or…?”

“Is it the grey slop or the brown? Cause you’re definitely toast if it’s the gr--” Switch’s change in tone, the note in her voice of caution drew Pandora to a pause and her eyes shifted across the cafeteria, a frown dropping to her lips, “Oh, Hell. Abe. What did you do? Comin’ Switch? Might be less life threatening than whatever the hell dinner is.”

Gritting his teeth, Abraham looked back at Snowman, avoiding Gram’s very pointed gaze. “We were having a friendly pillow fight. Right, roomie?” Abraham cooed. If Snowman didn’t vouch for him, well. He was out of luck. “Things got a little out hand… You know me, sometimes I get a little twitchy. Snowman knows I’m sorry.” His voice didn’t betray any hint of fear; mostly, it was laced with regret, which he hoped Gram would buy.

Gram’s tapping ceased. His head tilted, the ghost of a smirk tugging at his lips. With amusement or something else, it was hard to tell. “Pillow fight? Cute…Wha’chu say, Snowman?” He nodded to the spot next to him and Snowman sat slowly, gaze switching back and forth between his best friend and cellmate. Ahhhh fuck, this was escalating--he could tell by the tightening of Gram’s jaw. At first, his hands froze, brain failing to find the right response, before he rushed out, “Yeah, he’s sorry. Boys will be boys.” He tried to squeeze in a muted laugh, but Gram didn’t seem impressed in the slightest.

Snowman shrunk, taking a bite of mac ‘n cheese.

Slowly, Gram sat forward, closing some distance between him and Abe. “I get that, Twitch...I get that. Things get...out of hand. Crazy.” He made a loose circling motion near his temple. “So fucking out of hand. We just...forget what we’re doing sometimes.”

Another lackey was suddenly slinking through the crowd behind Abe, towering over him like a chiseled skyscraper. He seized Abe’s wrist, slamming his face to the table and forcing his hand out. Gram grinned, borderline sadistic. “Let’s get out of hand, yeah?”

Switch pulled her lips into her mouth. Glanced at her dinner. Shrugged. Then tossed the whole tray aside, not caring in the slightest as it doused a stray prisoner in slop. “Yeah. You’re probably right.” At the sight of a prisoner forcing Abe down, she cursed softly under her breath. Shit. Fuck. Times ten. She quickly set off with Pan.

It didn’t take Pandora more than a few seconds to cross the floor, but as she approached the table, she slowed. She slowed, because rushing made people sloppy… rushing made them look disorganized… chaotic… nervous. And she was none of those things. When they arrived, she slipped up onto the table as if Abe and Gram were having a chat about playing Go Fish later, and hooking one leg over the other, she grinned.

“Boys… There a problem here?”

He’d sensed the presence of another lackey behind him too late - before Abraham could even whip around, duck, do anything at all, his wrist was grabbed and every signal of panic went off in his brain. Pain exploded in Abe’s temple as the oaf from behind smashed his face in. Lips curved in a snarl as his face was lifted from the surface, trying to focus on the sadistic face before him despite the aching throb.

“Problem?” Abraham muttered, looking up gratefully at Pan as she cooly slid over, biting back a groan as he futilely tried to free his arms from the grip of Gram’s lackey. “Whatever do you mean, dear Pan?” He spat sarcastically.

“Pandora,” Gram muttered, grinning at the addition to their fun time. “No problem. Just…” His cold eyes rolled over in Snowman’s direction. “Boys being boys.” He already had one hand fingering the cuff on his left sleeve, something clearly sitting inside of it.

Switch was quick to match Pan’s calm pace and seated herself the opposite side of Abe, expression flat. Was she sweating? Man, only a little and that was because of the ship’s horrid ventilation system. Obviously. Honest. Her eyes briefly fell to Gram’s wandering hands; she knew all about the man, especially of his love for carrying his… “toys”, as he put it many times before. “Man, Twitch,” Switch muttered, “If only I had some fries to go with that salt of yours.” A dumb attempt to hide her nerves, but she needed to try anyway.

“See… I wanna believe you, Gram. Cause you know you’re my favorite little sociopath. But honey… Ya kinda got my boy’s face here, smushed up on the table, and well… I’m not entirely sure how friendly-like that is.” Uncrossing her legs, she leaned forward, just slightly, smiling coyly, “I would really hate to go and mess up your nice dinner… and that pretty face of yours, cause you’re havin’ a difficulty lettin’ go of a little misunderstanding.”

Abe’s gaze caught the subtle motions Gram made towards his sleeve, and recoiled as much as he could in the lackey’s grip. Ah, shit. Shit shit shit. Though his heart threatened to beat out of his chest, his demeanor relayed no such thing. Shooting a lopsided grin at Switch, then Pan, then back to Gram, Abe chuckled lightly under his breath. “Would be a shame,” He echoed, trying to jolt out of the grip that kept him down, tugging helplessly.

“I’m your favorite?” Gram shot a grin Pan’s way, mirth rolling off him in tepid waves. His fingers still fiddled. “Guess what...Snowman’s my favorite too. And he’s bruised. I can’t let that go over a...misunderstanding.”

“He’s a hot head, Gram,” Switch interjected with a sigh, “You know this. And you also know that Snowman,” she cut a brief glare at Snowman, who recoiled from the look and hung his head in guilt, “Is impulsive. This doesn’t need to get messy.”

“Oh, no, no…” Gram held up a finger, clicking his tongue. “It’s okay. I’m good at cleanup.” Then, his gaze snapped up to the man holding Abe down; receiving the look, he reaffirmed his grip on Abe’s wrist and in the blink of an eye, Gram retracted his blade and started bringing it down.

As Gram moved, so did Pandora - faster really, than a person had much right to. Her arm came over Gram’s as he swung down and catching him under the armpit, braced, hard. Her other hand came up, gripping his wrist and sliding down hard and fast with her palm, she pressed against the joint in his thumb, to dislocate the digit. When the knife slipped free, Pan shifted again and catching it, flew up off the table, swung and brought the blade up, stopping mere inches… inches from Snowman’s neck.

“...The girl said it didn’t have to get messy, didn’t she?” She half-growled, voice a warning.

A wild grin found its way onto Abe’s features as Pan swung into action. Ah, what a woman. He could feel the grip on his wrists slip, obviously the shock of Pan’s little stunt registering, and Abe took the opportunity to harshly elbow his assailant in the stomach, whipping around and freeing his hands, prepared to lunge when Pan’s voice made his head turn. With a blade to Snowman’s neck, Gram sure as hell wouldn’t do anything stupid. Not quite yet, at least. Abraham made eye contact with the scared little thing, eyes dancing with excitement. “Missin’ that pillow fight now, huh Frosty?” He said, voice low and threatening. As if he was the one with the knife to Snowman’s neck. Which he very much was not.

As soon as the blade stopped at Snowman’s throat, the pale-haired inmate froze and his eyes widened like a fear-riddled saucer plates. He didn’t dare swallow, afraid that the motion would make his skin bite into the blade. Gram fell still as well, expression unchanging even as his thumb hung dislocated at his side.

“That smarts,” he muttered, studying Pan like a puzzle for children. “You gonna slice my Snowman?” Snowman’s eyes widened even further, nostrils flaring with a cacophony of protests and messages residing in the back of his throat, begging to be released. Was...Was this asshole throwing him under the bus??

A long tongue slipped out, running over Gram’s top teeth. “I kinda...wanna see you do it.”

Despite being naturally fair-skinned, Snowman paled even further, betrayal and shock bubbling up his gut.

Meanwhile, the prisoner had taken Abe’s blow to the gut fully, but had also fallen still like the rest, unsure of Gram’s next orders. The men he had dispersed from earlier had cleared decent distance between them, mere feet away from the table and fists brandishing blades.

Among the burst of movement, Switch had slid behind the man holding Abe down, fists raised as she locked onto a prisoner that was nearing to throw himself into the fray. However, she had blocked his way, hands raised, palms facing forward, as they stared down one another. She grinned at the inmate. “Ah...the calm before I whoop your ass. Gotta love it.”

Red flooded his face, visage tightening. He wanted to say something; it was clear as day, but his apparent loyalty (or fear) of Gram seemed to cement him in place.

Without moving her arm even a fraction in either direction, Pandora smirked, shaking her head, “No, Gram. Because unlike you, I actually possess a shred of self control. But I don’t think you really want me to ice your boyfriend, Sugar. And I don’t think you wanna make this uglier than it’s already gotten. Cause see… the one thing you got going for you in this joint is people think you’re big and scary. And getting your ass handed to you by a woman who doesn’t quite measure up… is probably not the best, most ideal thing for your cred. I really don’t wanna have to embarrass you, in front of all your friends… I am, however, gonna keep your knife. Cause I like shiny things. Try to remember that, Abe.” Without looking away from Gram, she flipped the knife inward, and tight to her wrist joint, “Now, then. Why don’t you… and the rest of your friends head back to your table and enjoy the rest of your dinner. And what’s say we don’t have anymore problems…??”

Gram listened, raptly, entirely, like a fascinated and twisted child, the faintest smile upon his lips. He crossed his arms, a near chuckle escaping him. “Wrong...all wrong. You did good though, Pan.” She didn’t split Snowman’s throat in two...Surprising. And a tad disappointing. Only a tad.

Then his gaze cut to Snowman. Ah, his precious Snowman. So scared, still shaking. Trembling. Quaking. Eyes threatening to spill over with tears...Enough of that.

“Snowman,” Gram hummed, “Melt.”

In an instant, Snowman stiffened, his eyes dried, and all traces of fear literally melted from his being. One hand wrapped around Pan’s wrist and the blade, the edge biting into the skin of her wrist and his palm, before the other wrapped around the front of her neck into a headlock. With a powerful snap back, he started to yank down in an attempt to crush her skull into the tiles.

Now that was the signal. With Abe’s attention still snagged onto Pan, the prisoner pounced on him once more, both hands wrapping around his neck as he tried to strangle the life out of him.

“Son of a--” Switch’s curse was cut short as she nearly dodged a hook cracking against her skull. She answered with a series of jabs nailing him in the sensitive pit of his arm, ribs, all the way down to his kidney. He doubled over from the rapid fire hits, blinking away stars as a knee smashed into his nose. The prisoner stumbled back, catching himself against a table and righting himself.

Switch slowly danced side to side, a slight grin peeking through. She taunted him with a wave of two fingers. “Make my day, twinkie.”

Once, in her entire life, Pandora's reactions had been slow. One time. And it had cost her far too much. In the few seconds of silence that ticked between the chaos that erupted, she could hear the echo of Moses in her mind…

Nobody likes losing, Pan. Don't let your guard down. Not for one damn second… and if you got nothin’ left in you, you find it somewhere else…

Snowman melted, alright. Straight into crazytown. And it was his unfortunate mistake, because he could've walked away with a little bruise and called it a day. His fingers looped around her wrist, the blade skimming flesh, and his arm came around her neck, but the sudden sting of pain was drowned out by pure concentration. It didn't matter, because she would never get caught off guard again. Snowman leaned just slightly, to shove her into the floor and instead of fighting it, Pan buckled slightly. Wielding the momentum, Pan gripped his arm around her knife-hand with her free hand, hiked her leg up and with the heft of a pissed off bull, she snapped backward, the arch of her foot slammed hard into the soft space just above his knee cap. The resounding crack was enough. Using the remainder of his momentum, she yanking the arm she held, and flipped the pasty boy with the wobbly knee overhead. Then switching from one foot to the other, she jammed her heel into his collar bone, pulling back on his arm at the same time, to all but sever shoulder from socket.

With a glare, and just the note of amusement, she eyed Gram, but not before barking to Abe, “Use your head, honey.”

One word. That was all it took for the person he’d been sharing a cell with for ten years to become something quite different. Abraham watched with wide eyes as Snowman shot out at Pan like a truly trained beast, and to think, Abe believed him to be harmless. He didn’t have much more time to reminisce on it, as a pair of meaty hands snaked around his neck and began to squeeze.

Use your head, honey. Ha, ha. Good one. He was gonna have a hell of a headache after this.

Snapping his head back, Abraham harshly headbutted his assailant, and as the man stumbled back, Abraham cocked his hand back to deliver an excruciating upper cut, about to be followed by another left hook.

Snowman’s pained yell would never reach ears, trapped behind an invisible barrier as he hobbled on one leg. However, he barely had a chance to recuperate as Pan flipped him over and he landed hard, the air rushing from his lungs. Painfully, he rolled onto his side, cradling his knee with one hand, as the other prickled painfully. Feeling and agony came in waves, alternation erratically and starting at the severed socket in his shoulder. Trembling, Snowman’s eyes burned with tears.

Gram bit the inside of his cheek--fuck. He should’ve known his Snowman wouldn’t be able to keep that up for long. Either way, it just meant more time and practice. Practice, practice, practice. With a sigh, he walked his way over to the man, blatantly ignoring Pan and crouched over him. He pushed pale bangs back, taking in the petrified gaze fully. “We’ve got next time.”

Then his dead gaze rolled over in Pan’s direction. “You’re always...so damn fun, Pan. And handy.”

The prisoner grunted from the impact of Abe’s skull smashing into his face. His grip around his neck gave way and stumbled back even further as his head snapped back from an uppercut. The world briefly doubled, his brain struggling to put two and two together. There was a glimmer of clarity in the fog, just enough to let him see a hook coming, and he blocked the punch with one arm, delivering a blow of his own to Abe’s gut.

Switch’s opponent...didn’t take well to being called twinkie. Puffing up like an enraged bull, he charged forward, all forms of caution tossed aside in the face of broiling annoyance...Goddamn, these meat heads were too easy sometimes. Smirking, Switch stepped aside a mere second before he reached her, caught his right arm in a twisted wristlock, while her other arm slid along his shoulder and wrapped around the back of his head. With his own momentum, it all boiled down to a simple trip and tug to flip the idiot onto his back.

“Omg, you almost had me…” Switch yawned.

Eyes not moving from Gram, Pandora smirked, shaking her head. Her hand hung down by her hip, blood slinking from her wrist, spiraling around her fingers like snakes. Switch could handle her beautiful self… Abe, well… Abe would probably be alright, and really, she was annoyed enough at him that he’d earned a punch or two. The moment wasn’t what mattered. The future was, “Call off your boys, Gram. While most of them can still walk away. I meant what I said. You’re my favorite sociopath, really. But you mess with me and mine, and I promise… I will make you feel something.”

Recoiling from the hit to his gut with a grunt, Abe hissed as he shamelessly brought his leg between the man’s crotch, growing tired of the gruesome fight. As he was bent over after Abe’s blow to his private parts, Abe reared that left hook that had been previously blocked and sent it driving home.

“C’mon Gram,” Abraham said, panting heavily, though his posture held an air of nonchalance. “I think we’re done here.”

Gram barely glanced the others’ direction, still sweeping back Snowman’s hair soothingly, though it did nothing to lift the man’s agony. “That’ll do me no good,” he said, a bemused smirk slithering across his visage, “Your contribution...is fruitless, Pan, but the thought is...cute.” Ignoring Snowman’s yelp, he hefted the mute up into his arms and nodded at his servants. They responded like well-oiled machines, abandoning any (apparent) hostility in their demeanor and scattering.

At first, Gram just stood there, studying Pan, Abraham, and Switch with blank contemplation, before continuing, “...I like you. All of you. A lot...Let’s play again soon.” Without another word, Gram walked out with Snowman, exiting the cafeteria without a single protest on the guards’ parts, who parted for him like the Red Sea.

Switch didn’t dare breathe until that psycho and his little boyfriend was gone. Okay, fine, even a few seconds after that, but once she did, the relief that struck her was accompanied by a wave of pain skewering her temple, wrapping all the way around to the back of her skull. Fuck. “Well, that was...riveting,” she grumbled, plopping down at the table and letting her forehead meet the surface with a gentle thud. “Thinks for the near-death experience, Twitchy. Well...promised death, now.”

Turning swiftly, Pandora’s eyes fell on Abe and narrowing slightly, she stepped forward to grasp the man’s collar, tugging him in close, “...You tell me right now, Abe… that that is the last damn time you so much as sneeze funny in Snowman’s direction. Cause the next time you screw around and get yourself into trouble like that, it’s gonna be my knife you’ll be worried about, and I won’t aim for your fingers.” Releasing him, she smoothed the front of his shirt, and shaking her head, a small smirk appeared, “That punch was pretty sexy though… You can show me how you did it, next free time…”

Her eyes flickered to Switch and she nodded, “Thanks for the backup. I think I like fighting with you, better than sparring…”

A prideful smirk grew on Abraham’s face, watching Gram pick up and go, even when he hadn’t done much except fight a lackey. It was a victory in his eyes, and meant he’d live another day. The grin melted away into a slightly more worried smile as Pan stepped up close. Frankly, he was a little more afraid of her than he was of Gram, but it only made their time together more exciting. Chuckling, Abraham shook his head. “Won’t touch Frosty again… I swear it. Looks like he won’t be bothering me for a long time anyhow.” He said through an easy smirk, brushing off her threats as he swiped a thumb across her cheek. “And you can show me those moves you pulled on Snowman, love.” He purred, before flashing a wink at Switch. “Thanks for the help.”

“Y’all and your sexual tension is gross,” Switch groaned from her spot, unmoving. There was still the hint of amusement though.

Laughing, Pan looked to Switch and shrugged, “So gimme half an hour bunk time tomorrow and it won’t be a problem anymore. I’ll even ask the guards to find me another chess piece for your collection…” Abe was generally more affectionate than her usual pals... and normally that might’ve set her off in the wrong way, but after all that had gone down, she couldn’t be mad at it, “Meantime…” Looking at her wrist, she frowned, “I need to get this wrapped…”

“Yeah, yeah,” Switch sighed, finally lifting her head. The pounding persisted, but she held her traditional serene expression with little difficulty. “Welp...just uh…” She climbed onto the table, laying down on her back, hands folded over her stomach and feet crossing at the ankles, “Guard my body while I get a nap in, yeah?”

Eyeing Switch with a raised eyebrow, Abraham shrugged. “Uh, sure thing, Switch.” He said lightly, frowning at Pan’s wound. He’d certainly be purple and blue tomorrow morning, but he hadn’t earned any bloody scratches. “Let me help you with that,” Abe told Pan. “Thanks for coming to my rescue.”

“Knock yourself out, Sugar…” Pan noted, holding her arm out before giving Switch a chuckle, as she climbed up onto the table. Better than eating, anyway… “But I mean it, Abe. Don’t make it necessary again, okay? I got too damn much to worry about in this place, without having to worry about you. Either of you.” She added, giving Switch another glance, though fully aware she was probably out by now, “And keep your eyes open. Gram’s not gonna forget this, any time soon.”

It was then that Romana’s lovely shrieking warning bell began, and Abe groaned at the sound of it, his already pounding head protesting at the awful noise. “Sorry your nap was cut short, Switch.” Abraham said with a weak laugh. “I don’t plan on doin’ it again, promise, but uh… might be best if I stow away in your cell for a little while…”

“Mmhmm.” Pan noted with a small smirk, “For safety, right?” Shaking her head, she gestured to Switch, “Gonna need to carry her. When she's out she's out. Come on.”

Abraham blinked. Ah. She was.. definitely fast asleep. Frowning at Pan, Abraham let out a grunt as he pulled Switch into his arm. At this point he was very aware of all the bruises forming where he’d been struck, but he would have preferred to look as tough in front of Pan as possible. “Why… is she so damn heavy?”

Grinning, Pan gestured to the doors, “She works out. C'mon, Twitch… You can make it.”

Rolling his eyes, Abraham made no further protests as he followed Pan out of the dining hall and brought the sleeping woman to her cell. Plopping Switch in the bottom bunk, Abraham pretended to wipe sweat from his brow. “Probably gonna get shivved in my sleep tonight, so, if you got anythin’ to say, love, maybe you wanna say it before I’m in a body bag.” Abraham said with a gruff chuckle.

“Not funny.” Pan muttered, eyeing the gash on her wrist, “You need to watch your back, Abe. I'm not… I can't always be there, and Gram's a nutjob and a half. I'm not big on burying friends, alright?”

Gaze falling on Pan’s gash, Abraham reached for the thin sheet beneath Switch and ripped off a piece of the cloth. “She’ll be fine without it.” Abraham said, slipping his hand under hers and beginning to wind the makeshift bandage around the gash. His touch was fairly gentle, despite his fingers lightly dancing across her arm, mostly unintentional. “Aw, c’mon, Love. Don’t get all sappy on me. You’ve got ten other boys to hop around to. Only person who’ll miss me is Frosty, and I’m not even sure about that anymore.”

“Ten's a hell of an exaggeration, there, Twitch. And I'm runnin’ out of reliable options these days. What is it about prison that makes men so damn… terrible.” Her mind flickered back to Amit and she shook her head, “But you know I'd miss you.” Looking up from hooded lids, she smirked, “Some parts more than others.”

“Aww. Sweet.” Abraham said with a teasing smile, tying the bandage tightly, and with a smirk, pressed a kiss atop it. “It’s my charming smile, isn’t it? Or my darling bed head?”

“Hmm… sure. Definitely one of those things.” She teased, with a wink, “C'mon. We can go back to your cell and let Switch sleep. She's a log, but no one sleeps that heavy. Snowman's likely to be in the infirmary for… Well… for a while.”

“Means I’ve got the place all to myself.” Abraham hummed, taking her good hand and leading her forward. “After you?”

Grinning, she moved to the cell door, looking back with a wink, “You just wanna watch me walk away…”

Gaze lowering, Abraham whistled. “Maybe a little…”


Skittish Beaver
Invitation Status
Posting Speed
Multiple posts per day
Online Availability
Generally online in the afternoon eastern time
Writing Levels
Give-No-Fucks, Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
Male, Female
Fantasy, mystery, magical, modern,
Collab: Chit Chat, Luca Elle Joyner Elle Joyner , Amit and Guards Mobley Eats Mobley Eats

Bahram mentally counted what he could have done to be pulled aside, although he couldn’t quite get a full grasp upon it. He figured that his Cage sentence(for which he was still unclear about) and agreement to participate in the dog fights would have cleaned his slate. He could tell Amit was forcefully brought along, and that Luca was in no means content with this time and place for a meeting. Bahram politely kept his hands in his lap as they were pushed along quickly, the Blazer in his back no more intimidating than when it was holstered. His eyes flickered over to Luca unsurely, discreetly giving him a thumbs up.

They were fine. Most likely. If he was put to the Cage, Bahram didn’t care. He just didn’t wish to be put into more trouble. These two, as much as he appreciated one of their friendships, could indeed cause trouble. He remained silent, distracting himself with thoughts of sleep later.

Normally, Luca would have been at least slightly more inclined to cooperate where guards were concerned. He didn’t make it a habit to intentionally get himself into trouble, after all. He had a reputation, but normally that was because he didn’t tolerate people picking on those below them, and he sure as hell wasn’t gonna let the guards screw over one of his friends out of boredom. But overall, he kept pretty passive…

But Fritz had come to the table for a simple chat, and whatever he was doing, it involved Chloe. It involved Chloe, and had to do with the freak she was cell mates with, and it took everything in Luca not to crack the heads of the two guards behind him together, and rush back to her side. He knew Chloe was capable of getting herself out of trouble - she’d survived two years in Hagur before he’d come along, but it didn’t take a genius to see she meant something to him, and if anything happened because he’d been deterred… especially if it was just a bunch of bored idiots trying to start trouble.

“So… we gonna have us a conversation, or you just takin’ us for a walk?” He finally growled, irritation leaking in his tone.

Amit was going to die. He knew he was. This was it, wasn’t it? His actions were finally catching up with him; that damned Blazer, that damned heavy guard, the one who ate far too much dew nuts--fuck. He should’ve left her there to die...but, then again, that still would lead him to now, wouldn’t it? And to think...his corpse would fall next to Bahram and Luca, the self-proclaimed “knights” of Hagur. Gods, the mere thought coated his tongue in bile. Idiotic.

He stumbled forward as the guards shoved him with another jab of their Blazer, doing the same to Luca in response to his question. “Keep. Walking,” the guard growled, not a hint of patience in his voice or body language.

Amit had been observant. He always was, a result of the nagging paranoia and thirst for another’s downfall, and he took note of how each camera they came upon...shut down. One after another. Lights off. Lights off. Lights off...fuck. His fists trembled.

Soon, the trio could see their surroundings change. Steel rails and thin walkways changed into a narrow hall with concrete walls, the occasional metal door popping up on their side with only a peek slot and keyhole on them. Amit knew these rooms. All three inmates did.

The Dog Houses. Not as horrific or taxing as the Cage, but an awful punishment all the same. Amit had only ever experienced the Dog House and Cage once, and he had made a vow to never experience them again. Against bubbling protest, Amit was shoved into a room with one guard in tow, while Bahram and Luca were forced into another by their own respective guards. The doors locked.

Bahram’s blood ran cold as the sight of the Dog Houses came into view. Bahram was never a true trouble maker like the men beside him, but he had been acquainted here once before. Bahram had never been so horrid as to make his way to the Cage, but the Dog Houses, in his humble opinion, concerned him more. Isolation was something Bahram could handle. He liked the quiet. He liked to think. But to be there for so long was enough to make his mind go numb.

Allowing himself to be forced into the room, Bahram inhaled and glanced to the guards he was locked in here with. He had a bad feeling he wasn’t going to be back in time to eat any more dinner, or to make sure River and Chloe were still alive. He knew they would be fine. He tapped his fingers anxiously against his torso.

“Why are we here, sirs?”

The Dog Houses… It almost made Luca laugh. He’d spent enough time in these rooms that he could almost map it out in his head by pure memory… How many tiles… cracks in the wall… If this was their idea of intimidation, it wasn’t exactly the toughest punch they could pull. Somehow, though, he imagined it wasn’t gonna be that easy.

“Yeah… Inclined to agree with Bah here. The hell is this about?”

At first, the guards merely stared the inmates down, as if their thoughts were turning aggressively in sync with one another. They didn’t move a muscle until one cut a look at the other, some sort of silent message, and he answered by calmly raising the Blazer at both of them. His partner was the one to speak as he crossed his arms, “Luca Vargas. You’re currently under surveillance and held responsible for the death of fellow guard Monroe Silverman...Bahram John Jones…” His gaze rolled over to the massive man in question. “You and Luca are also responsible for the deaths of several more guards and prisoners alike. Due to your reckless acts of “heroism”, we are now suffering a severe shortage of employees.”

Bahram squirmed at the use of his full name. For the large man, nothing truly scared him as much as this. It didn’t matter, however, the discomfort overcome with guilt as it was revealed to him that many guards and prisoners had perished. Bahram had figured this was true, but he wasn’t sure of what else he could do. He knew he had to get Chiko and River out of there, and there was no way he could have survived the carbon monoxide for much longer than he already had. He brushed back some of his long hair as he bit his lip, brow furrowing in thought. “Many apologies, sir. We did what we could for the remaining crew. It is not very possible to hold the door and remain conscious for very long.”

“John… Jones? What are you… a pirate?” Shaking his head, Luca looked to the guard, and he had to fight to keep his eyes from rolling back into his head, “I don’t remember killin’ anyone. Last I checked, I wasn’t the one who blew up the boiler. Bah? You blowin’ up boilers, friend?”

“Not from what I remember, no.”

“Well… There ya have it. Got the wrong guys. No harm, no foul. Happens to the best of us.”

“Regardless of how or why the boiler exploded, it doesn’t defer from the fact that lives were lost once you two had triggered the gates’ override function. It snapped clean shut and we were unable to rescue the rest in time…” The guard’s eyes hardened. His partner’s trigger finger twitched, almost restless and itching to roast both prisoners alive. “If you’re bound to spend decades on this ship paying for your dues, then you’ll pay for this as well.”

A beat.

Which morphed into an extensive silence...then, the Blazer was lowered and holstered. The guard who spoke before pinched his brow, soft laughter escaping him. “But, of course, that is what protocol permits me to say, but we didn’t shut down surveillance for fun, now did we?”

“We want to thank you, actually.” It was finally the other guard’s turn to speak, his voice holding far more gravel than what his youthful appearance suggested. The coldness had lessened significantly in his gaze, glazed over with a business-like indifference.

Luca's eyes shifted to Bahram, a brow raising just slightly, as he studied the pair in suspicion. He'd fully intended, a moment prior, to have to fight for his life. Now he was being… thanked?

“Thank us? For what?”

The chattier guard of the two shook his head, almost annoyed by their cluelessness. “For smoking out the competition. Us guards...we gotta keep ourselves entertained somehow and trust me, babysitting you fucks isn’t on the list. However, betting on the Dog Fights? On who gets in and who wins?” His grin widened a tad. “That’s what we’re all about. You knuckleheads just now wiped out half of the gambling pool; sure feel bad for the suckers that betted on Gram getting in…”

He shook the thought off--they wouldn’t know or care about that anyway. “Point is, you boys just earned us big money and...we’d like to make an offer with you.”

Bahram’s brow furrowed in confusion. He thought the prisoners were cold blooded, but these men were thanking them for their assistance in getting them possible winnings. Bahram for certain had met men like this outside of the ring, and to be fairly honest, the older guard was beginning to morph more and more into an old spectator Bahram had to handle when it came to paying off fighters. Sometimes to cheat, sometimes to lose purposely. “Noble work, gents.” Bahram claimed with a bored expression. “I am very curious, though, what do you have to offer us?”

“Well,” the guard crossed his arms, “It’s obvious what every inmate on the Hagur wants--to get the hell out of here. This ship is equipped with ejection pods with coordinates that’ll automatically transport you back to Earth. Of course, only guards and the Warden can gain access to them.”

The other guard jumped in to continue lowly, “We can give you guys that freedom. It’ll be quick and messy, but you’ll get there...with whoever you bring along. It’s a small pod though, so don’t drag in the whole fucking shipload.” His hand dipped into his pocket, retracting a sloppily folded up piece of paper. “In return, all you have to do, is kill the Tributes on here. No Tick bullshit. But kill them.” He held it out to them.

Staring, a solitary brow arched, and without meaning to, Luca laughed. Actually laughed. It wasn’t a feigned snort of derision, or a chuckle. It was a real, genuine, heartfelt laugh. And shaking his head, he clapped Bah on the shoulder, “I can’t speak for my brother here, but I learned way too long ago you don’t deal with the devil. No. Hell, no. No deal. Not from me, anyway.”

Bahram stiffened, even as Luca clapped his shoulder in affection. The idea of escape was one thing, he had already had a thought of who to bring with him. However, killing tributes was another thing. He knew there were risks in killing. Vengeance one, guilt another. “I may be a criminal, but I would not stoop so low as to murder for your gamble.” Inwardly, he felt it a betrayal to the fight. There was one thing about being in the arena that he respected above all else, and that was to know your partner enough to love them. Enough to break them without decimating them entirely. “I thank you for the offer, however, very considerate.”

“Not even gonna look the names over?” he asked, a hint of annoyance tingeing his words. “Maybe it’ll change your mind, peak your interest...Just mull it over a little.”

“Gentlemen I am afraid that this deal is a risky one to accept. I am more than willing to try to make sure your bets succeed otherwise, but murder is out of the question.” Bahram bobbed his head, deciding that his decision was final. He knew Luca’s decision would most likely remain the same as well, which put him at ease. “I still appreciate your offer, lads.”

“...No deal.” Luca concluded with a small note of finality. Even if the list contained only those who had earned their rightful place in the incinerator, Luca wasn’t chancing that they break the deal. Or worse, go through with it, just to get Luca and Bah out of the way in some other fashion.

“That’s...Wow,” the guard chuckled in disbelief. He stared at the inmates, incredulous and almost expecting them to reconsider at any moment...but that didn’t seem to be the case. Idiots. Both of them. “That’s a shame. And here I thought you cared about your little friend group. But fine,” with an off-hand gesture, his partner stowed the list away and retracted the Blazer once more, nodding towards the door. “We plan ahead. And no matter what you do, we’re gonna win.”

A smirk pulled at his lips. “Dinner’ll be over soon, so we’ll personally guide you back to your cells.”

Bahram’s teeth threatened to clench, but felt his body slump with relief as they directed them to the door. He was relieved they decided not to roast the two alive, although he couldn’t promise that their decision to say no was going to serve them well later. “Yes, thank you.” Bahram nodded, keeping himself tranquil in his demeanor.

The threat shouldn't have hit so hard… And yet, he felt an uncomfortable twinge as he looked to Bah. It wasn't as if his friend's loves weren't at risk already, but somehow, the threat felt so much more personal…

The guards nearly rolled their eyes--Bahram’s polite attitude had always unsettled the employee circle, even more so than the rebellious ones. It was annoying, to say the least. Either way, they didn’t spare the prisoners anymore chit chat--the fools clearly made their decision. As they guided Luca and Bah out of the Dog House, Amit and the third guard were waiting a few feet ahead. From first look, it was obvious that the terrorist had received a thorough beating; a heavy bruise rested below his eye and blood rolled down his nose past his lips, which were sealed into a tight line.

A silent message was traded among the guards with brief eye contact. Success on one end, but not so much on the other.

“Hell…” Luca breathed, taking in the sight of Amit. He was never a particular fan of the guy, but seeing him get whooped when he and Bah walked away without a scratch… didn't bode well for diplomacy.

Amit noticed the look Luca shot his way and he avoided it like the plague, seeming paler than the ghost he’d apparently seen. The guard towering over him clapped a heavy hand to the terrorist’s shoulder while chuckling, “Just a few bumps and scratches. Ole Ala lover here deserved it, anyway. Ain’t that right?”

Slowly, begrudgingly, Amit nodded, refusing to speak. The guard huffed in amusement. “Mousy til the very end…” However, his taunts were cut short by a whistle piercing everyone’s ears uncomfortably; dinner was over. Quickly, all three guards shoved the inmates back to their cells.

Elle Joyner

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Chloe couldn’t express the gratitude she had for the guards as they opened the cells. Her shudders had subsided, the man strangely quiet. Chloe felt horrid for lashing out, but it was effective and she did not need to fear him attacking her. Isn’t that what Luca had pointed out to her? Make herself the bigger dog? She puffed out her chest, but feeling the weight upon it, allowed it to slump once again as she was led out to the dining room. Relief flooded through her as she plopped with her normal group, Bah Bah black sheep, sweet River and Lucky Luca. A hint of a smile was able to be placed upon her features as she reclined, deciding that the incident in her room was better left to be ignored. Ignoring the boiler room incident seemed like a good idea as well, her hand coming to rest at her stomach.

“A-alright b-boys. Y-you a-a-are gonna n-need to h-hand o-over your f-f-food. O-o-or else, I g-guess.” She greeted lightly, her body suddenly tensing as she noted that there were eyes upon her. Shifting in her seat and drumming her fingers anxiously against the dinner table, she attempted to hum, soothing her nerves for the moment.

“Good day, all of you. Well,” Chloe blinked at the appearance of a red headed gentleman, his expression soft enough as he spoke. Chloe wasn’t sure if it was intuition or wisdom, but she felt goosebumps bubble against her skin. Nerves flickering on and off as bile threatened to rise, she swallowed and retreated her hands to her lap.

“I-I am.” She confirmed in a stammer, eyes glued to the offered hand. It would be rude not to take it, but instinct told her otherwise. She wouldn’t always get lucky with prisoners, not all of them moderately polite and eager to have her braid their hair. “P-pleasure t-t-to meet you, F-f-fritz.” She struggled briefly with his name, bobbing her head respectfully but keeping her hands securely in her lap. She felt guilt build in her chest, but she knew that it was the wiser thing to do.

“Um...P-please d-d-don’t apologize a-a-about that.” Chloe rubbed the back of her neck sheepishly, wanting nothing more in that moment than to disappear. Her eyes flickered back and forth between Bahram and Luca, only to notice a guard come place a hand upon their shoulders. Bahram, none to her surprise, pressed a supportive hand to her shoulder and got to his feet without a struggle. “I-I f-f-feel a-a-awful a-about it a-anyway.” Bahram’s hand left her shoulder and she swallowed hard, once again trying to keep a smile on her face.

Luca’s eyes flickered up at the sight of the ginger, and a brow rose when he addressed Chloe. Formality never meant much in 343, and it sure as hell didn’t mean much when it was in reference to Jumbo, “...What did that sick creep do, Cl--”

A hand touched his shoulder, and Luca spun swiftly, eyes narrowing up at the guards that stood over them, “...Pretty sure I didn’t do anything wrong, amigo... Wanna tell me what the shake down’s for this time?”

Fritz’s features faltered somewhat, a hint of hurt in his eyes as Chloe denied the handshake. Well, he couldn’t say that the reaction was a surprise; not many on the ship had a positive reaction when he mentioned Jumbo. That slobbering oaf brought bad blood (pun intended) with him everywhere without even trying. He lowered his hands, clasping both behind his back and adopting a regal posture. “Nonsense, I have every need to apologize for Jumbo’s outburst. He stepped over the line and it’s partially my fault; I had messed around with his diet recently, altered the reward system in hopes of growth but...it backfired. Royally. And where did the damage land? Upon your shoulders. And for that, I am sorry.”

Fritz cast another glance back at Jumbo, not even batting an eyelash at Luca’s response or the guards’ appearance. “Anyhow...Chloe, my dear, Jumbo has absolutely begged me to pass this message along to you. He wishes to express his apologies.” The ginger shrugged. “I may have dabbled and assisted him a tad, but he took it upon himself to form a heartfelt apology for you. He’s rather...shy, though, as I’m sure you know.” A glint in ice blue eyes. “May you accompany us to listen? You can bring whomever you wish.”

Meanwhile, the guard who had approached Luca sneered, his grip on the Blazer tightening--a warning. “No questions. Come along now or we’ll use force.” The guard who had an easier time with Bahram fully unsheathed his Blazer, the weapon whirring to life.

“I-it’s fine. I-it’s n-not a big d-deal.” She tried to defend, words getting lodged in her throat. He seemed much too formal for it to be anything good, yet he seemed somewhat sincere. She found that to be even more unnerving. “L-look I-I k-know J-jumbo i-is a l-little s-shy and h-he r-r-really d-didn’t n-need to d-d-do that. H-he didn’t. I-I s-s-screwed up.” She didn’t know if this accompaniment was voluntary or not, but having heard the guard she turned to Luca, biting her lip. “H-honey j-just g-g-go. I-It’s p-probably n-nothing. I-I’m g-g-g-good here.”

Heat rose along the back on Luca’s neck as his gaze remained fixed on the ginger, and it might’ve appeared he was oblivious to what the guards were saying, except that he was fully aware of what was going on behind him.

“Ain’t nothin’, Clo. Doubt they wanna swap cookie recipes… Don’t you leave this table. River, you don’t take your eyes off her, you hear me? Not for one second.” Pushing himself upright, he pointed a finger at Fritz, glaring, “Do yourself a favor, Big Red. Walk away. Just walk away.” Turning to the guard, Luca’s eyes narrowed, “Let’s get this over with.”

Sitting with Luca, Chloe, and Bah always made mealtimes feel a lot safer. Especially after escaping the dreadfully crammed cell with Wick.. anything was better. Putting on a brave face to eat the mush known as dinner, River paused to watch with frightful eyes as the redhead approached their table. He barely knew anything of the people that inhabited the Hagur if someone hadn’t told him previous, and this Fritz hadn’t come up. Jumbo, however… River tensed.

It only took a moment for more trouble to brew; suddenly, Bah and Luca were tapped on the shoulder by guards, and River could do nothing except let out a worried whimper in protest, nodding vehemently at Luca’s instructions and inching closer to Chloe, trying to hide himself in her presence.

Fritz’s brow arched at Luca’s blatant hostility. Dear oh dear--a hot-headed one and that was something coming from someone who had endured a lifetime of “flame head” jokes. However, he smiled politely at the man and watched patiently as the guards dragged Bahram, Luca, and Amit towards the northeast exit, shoving the barrel of their Blazers into their backs to move them along faster. Well, it seemed they were going to have fun.

He placed his attention back on Chloe, eyes weighing even heavier with plea. “I see your friend is incredibly protective of you. It’s sweet, really. I’m somewhat envious. I...I wish I had a group of friends to rely upon in moments of uncertainty; you’re a lucky soul, dear Chloe.” He then nodded at River, his charming smile absolutely radiant. “Good day to you, by the way. I didn’t mean to overlook you earlier.”

Casually, Fritz seated himself on the table, growing more comfortable. “Chloe? I...I don’t like being a pest. And I don’t wish to cause any alarm. I simply…” He heaved a sigh, rubbing the back of his neck. “Jumbo truly does feel terrible. All I need is a slither of your time. Just a slither. Jumbo cannot...express himself well without my help and he’s adamant to apologize to you. He’s downright…” Another glimmer, somewhat humorous, “Ravenous about it.”

As he said this, from across the cafeteria, Jumbo twitched, as if his senses alerted him to something. Slowly, shakily, he glanced up. And locked eyes with Chloe across the room. The message in his eyes were as clear as day. Sharp. Overwhelming.


I’m gonna get fucking murdered. The only statement in Chloe’s head that stuck and remained without a stammer repeated itself over and over again in her head. “L-luca w-w-worries a l-lot.” Placing her hand upon River’s shoulder, as if to assert some variation of strength, she shook her head. “I-I w-w-would p-prefer y-you t-t-tell J-jumbo h-how s-s-sorry I am. I-I d-d-don’t want t-t-to c-cause him a-any stress.” She grimaced at the ginger’s word choice.

Oh yeah. I’m getting Good Fella-ed She thought to herself, bitterly, the cannibal’s eyes locking with hers from across the room. Her words caught in her mouth, eyes wide at the concern in the other man’s gaze. He...he seemed to be pleading with her. Scared? What would he be scared of? Fritz?

She squirmed uncomfortably. “S-s-send m-my w-warm r-regards to h-him, p-please.”

“Blah, blah, blah. All we ever do is talk in this place.” The voice interjected, cool and calm from behind Chloe and River, and approaching, Wick’s eyes flickered from each face, staring with slightly more length than was absolutely necessary, “Where’d the boyfriends go? I always like hearing those two chatter. Like little mice in a hole.” Eyeing Fritz, she smirked, “You though? I have this thing about fire. And you kinda remind me of fire… Do you smoke if someone puts your head out?”

“A-actually.” Chloe interjected, not meaning to be rude to the woman who had come to the table and compared Fritz to a candle. She nearly shook, pressing her hands against the table as she stood up. She couldn’t get the cannibal’s fearful gaze out of her head. “I-Ill go. O-okay?” Her eyes skimmed over to River, and with a gentle smile she said. “D-d-don’t t-t-tell Luca, buddy.” She turned towards Fritz, hands in her lap. “S-s-sorry for b-being s-so rude before. I-I am j-just a little weary. T-that is all.”

Dutifully ignoring Wick’s appearance to the best of his abilities, River tried to keep his focus on the growing discomfort between Fritz and Chloe. Without Luca or Bah to protect them, River tried to puff his chest out. He was the guy, and Luca had left him in charge. And he’d heard enough about this friendly Jumbo.

River’s hand shot out, grabbing Chloe’s hand. “A-actually,” He echoed, repeating her previous words, staring at Fritz despite the tremor in his voice and hands. “I think w-we’re gonna stay r-right h-here,” He said quietly. “Th-thanks for the offer, t-though. Chlo k-knows Jumbo is s-sorry.”

“Oh dear...this is a predicament,” Fritz sighed, rubbing his brow tiredly. Well, he supposed, once again, that he shouldn’t be surprised. Of course. Of course her friends would have interjections and just as he thought he had finally convinced the woman... “Perhaps,” he offered, dropping his hand, “I should just bring Jumbo over to apologize himself, hm? I promise that he’ll behave himself as long as I am around. Jumbo? Jumbo!” The ginger raised a single hand, as if flagging down a waiter.

Like a dog, Jumbo’s head shot up completely, wide eyes trading between Fritz and Chloe almost frantically. The ginger waved him over and the husky cannibal answered without pause. He crossed the cafeteria, head hung low, refusing to look up even as he stood right next to the man. Fritz palmed the back of his neck, giving a gentle squeeze. “Now, Jumbo? Chloe here doesn’t want to be left alone with you, okay? I know you’re shy and scared...but I need you to look her in the eyes and tell her what she needs to hear. Go on, now.”

“Hey… Puddles. Remember what I said about the toothpick thing? Pretty funny, right?” Wick’s eyes, however, weren’t on Jumbo, but on Fritz, unmoving, “I just wanna… put a bucket over your head… and just see what happens.” Humming, she balled up her fingers, before miming a small explosion, “Poof…”

Like before, Fritz ignored Wick, but Jumbo became distracted by her words, watching her with a hint of confusion piercing the curtain of fear. “P...Poof?”

The grip on his neck tightened. “Jumbo,” Fritz hummed, smile plastic. “Concentrate, deary. Concentrate. Now, look dear Chloe in the eyes and…” He left the sentence hanging, waiting for Jumbo to do as he ordered.

Shaking like a leaf, the cannibal locked eyes with Chloe and struggled to form the right words. “I...m-my deep...est...apolllog...apol…” His teeth gnashed; he had the word right before, but now his brain was blanking--

“Jumbo!” Fritz suddenly yelled, forcing Jumbo to keel over with the sudden strength behind his grip. “Speak! Correctly! Like. I. Taught. You. Hm?”

Breath hitching at the terrifying scene, River’s hand gripped Chloe’s a little tighter than necessary, gaze jumping back and forth between Fritz, Jumbo and Wick. He couldn’t figure out which of the three he found more terrifying. “W-Wick,” River whispered, noticing how her extremely creepy sentence structure seemed to off put the Cannibal and his master. “....keep talking.”

“Wait a tick…” Wick continued, with a cockeyed grin, “Which one of you kids is the… you know… special meat eater? Is it my pretty candle? Or the splotchy one? I always get it mixed up.”

Chloe’s grip tightened upon Rivers at the spectacle before her, relieved that Wick had interjected quite a few times. She owed the little crazy woman a lot. “F-fritz p-please.” Chloe asked of him, attempting to make herself seem bigger as she stood. “I-I a-accept his a-apology. Y-you do n-not need t-to a-ask anything m-more of him.”

“Excuse me, ma’am?” Fritz flashed Wick a proper smile, still forcing Jumbo down lower and lower by the second. “You’re obviously a darling. I wish we could talk more and explore those fascinating thoughts of yours...Perhaps tomorrow over coffee?” Then, almost at disturbing speed, his head snapped back around in Chloe’s direction. “Now now, dear Chloe. How can you accept an apology when it hasn’t been given out yet, silly? Be patient with my Jumbo, yeah?”

Another squeeze. Jumbo released a nearly inaudible whimper, his eyes screwing shut. Both hands balled up the fabric over his thighs, trying to keep himself upright. “I! I! I...apolo...gize! F-forrr...for…” But his head blanked again, attention unintentionally straying back to Wick’s strange words. Meat? S...splotchy? He knew one of those words, not the other--

“Jumbo?” Fritz murmured. It shouldn’t have been possible, but the wattage behind the ginger’s smile seemed to brighten and darken all at once. “What’s going on, hm? We rehearsed so well. And now...Are you trying to rebel?”

Frantically, Jumbo shook his head. “N-..no, no--”

“Hm? You are?”


“Are you! Rebelling! Against! Me!” The red in Fritz’s hair traveled to his face.

Something shifted, almost imperceptibly in Wicker’s features, and a small frown crossed her face as she looked from the red head to the freckled-menace he held at bay, a brow quirked, back to the red head, “...Did you just ask me on a date, Sparky?”

Flinching at Fritz’s yells, River couldn’t believe he was finding himself feeling guilty for Jumbo. Wick’s features changed, posing a new question, and River tugged at Chloe’s hand again, trying to silently urge her to sneak away, sweat beading at his forehead.

“I’msureJumbomeansnothingbutgoodandWickisalovelysingleladylet’sgoChloe.” River whispered rapid fire, words blurring together.

“S-stop!” Chloe exclaimed, her heart hammering in her chest as she found herself speaking louder than she had meant to. Heat rising to her cheeks, she narrowed her eyes. “D-do not s-speak to him t-that way.” Despite her stammers, she kept her voice firm, the tremors threatening to return at Rivers voice. She kept a tight grip on his hand, just in case. “I-I know n-neither of u-us want a-any trouble. F-fritz. D-do n-n-not speak t-to him l-like this.”

“Ah, and here I thought I was more subtle. A date it is.” Fritz sent a wink Wick’s way, his mood suddenly sobering up out of nowhere. He had his eyes on the lovely lady for a while anyhow. However, his smile curved down into a pensive frown at River’s protests and soured even further at Chloe’s outburst. Dear oh dear...They were such a stubborn bunch. This was all such a horrid reflection upon his skills as a good leader. A good master.

“But...dear Chloe,” he said, “This is my pet. Jumbo knows this. All of Hagur knows this. And I shall speak to him however necessary...I’m only being a good master and trying to make him learn from his mistakes. What he’d done to you was...tasteless.” He lowered himself to speak right into Jumbo’s ear. “And makes me look…bad!

With a sudden jerk, Jumbo’s forehead smashed into the table and his previously scabbed over wound reopened. The cannibal yelped, slapping both hands over his face as blood streamed past his fingers. As he groaned, Fritz seized him by the collar and forced him to stand upright. He fixed his hair. “Well then, Chloe. Wick...other lad, I can see that none of you are interested in this animal’s poor excuse for an apology. So...we must be going. There’s plenty of disciplining left to do. Isn’t that right, my dear Jumbo?”

Jumbo visibly flinched as Fritz patted his cheek, though his hands refused to lower from the mess.

Watching the incident explode into a sudden frenzy, Wick’s smile grew, and her eyes shifted from the red on the table, back to the red head, “...It’s a date, then.” She murmured.

“E-excuse m-me for w-what I-I a-am about t-to say.” There were many things Chloe would have liked to call the ginger from hell, but she refrained. “I-I forgive h-him, a-and d-don’t m-mean to m-make you l-look bad. Y-you d-do t-that yourself. N-now, I-I a-am the o-one w-who caused t-trouble. I-if you h-have a p-problem w-with that, d-do n-not bring i-it u-up w-with h-him. I-I’m more t-than h-happy t-to.” She tried to keep the fear from her voice, swallowing.

“Chloe!” River whisper growled. His heart, surprisingly, ached for Jumbo, but he refused to let her fall any further into whatever twisted game Fritz was playing, and whatever Wick was aggravating. “Th-thanks for your time, F-Fritz. A-and Jumbo’s —“ River forced himself to look away from the blood seeping from underneath the cannibals hands, trembling at the sight of it. “W-we’ve — uh — g-gotta go now…” The next string of words that fell out of River were unintelligible, for both the speed and the fact that he was now speaking Spanish. “Come on.”

“Please, Chloe,” Fritz chuckled, casually wrangling Jumbo and forcing him to keep still. And yet--that smile persisted. “Don’t mind us. Clearly, dear Jumbo isn’t quite prepared to apologize, so…” He yanked the cannibal closer, his voice seething as he whispered into his ear. Jumbo nodded rapidly, finally dropping his hands and scurrying back to the table with Angelique. Fritz swept his hair back. “We’ll just need to rehearse some more...And Jumbo will get it right by tonight. No worries...Well then.”

He straightened out his uniform, nodding in the group’s general direction. “I bid you all...and lovely ladies,” another wink sent Wick’s way, “A fine evening.” With that, he left.

With a smirk, Wick watched as Fritz wandered off, shaking her head in amusement, before glancing to the pair left at the table, “...Fairy Princess, Chicken Little. Enjoy the rest of your dinner… I’m turning in early. Got a date, tomorrow.” And with a quirky half-wave, she started off, “Ciao…”

Chloe’s form slumped miserably as Fritz exited, Jumbo having retreated back to his original table. She found her free hand pressed over her scrambling heart, her grip on River lightening. “I a-a-am s-s-sorry f-f-for that, R-riv.” She stammered, aware of how bad her stutters had gotten now. She took a breath to calm down and try to compose her words. “T-t-thank y-you f-f-for looking o-out f-f-for me.”

“Y-yeah… n-no problemo, Chlo.” River whispered, watching Fritz leave with a sigh of relief and refusing to look at Wick as she sauntered off. River closed his eyes, trying to calm his trembling nerves. “N-next time, uh.. Rule of thumb is to… not interact with the scary cannibal pet owners. Got it? Got it.”

Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
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A Psycho's First Date | Interactions: Fritz & Wick Elle Joyner Elle Joyner

Fritz was a lucky man, if he said so himself.

He had done it. After having a delightful and refreshing conversation with Chloe, washing away leftover bad blood, and reminding Jumbo of his manners, he was finally able to breathe and come to a fantastic realization.

He had a date with Wick, the loveliest woman he had ever laid eyes on, during and before his time on the Hagur. Could the ginger say that his tastes were...picky? Yes, doubly so. And he welcomed that happily. Saved him the time and wasted grace interacting with those not worth the attention; but Wick...There was something about that woman. The way she spoke, the way her eyes danced a fleeting waltz of pure turpentine. Poetry. Pure poetry.

Thus, he had to make this date special. It was simple enough to set up; guards were terribly easy to sway with the right incentive, his connections allowed him to acquire a single table draped in pristine white cloth, decorated with the finest dishes the employee lounge could spare, and a few friends of his had enough power to reserve him freedom beyond the strict schedule. And finally, but not the least, he thought it’d be quaint and funny to have a few candles decorating the area, dimly lighting a small sector of the ship tucked away into a cozy little corner.

Alone time. Alone time was important.

Fritz took a moment or so to press and smooth over his...uniform. If only he could’ve snagged better clothing, but at least the lunch he prepared was of quality taste. Roasted duck with a citrus pan sauce and baked sweet potatoes on the side, with a spiced butter pecan topping. Was it a tad much? No, of course not. Fritz was an overachiever. A perfectionist. And a date with perfection required nothing less.

Thus, he sat and waited, watching the entry with a forcefully calm gaze.

Wicker had meant what she’d said to River. She wasn’t as crazy as people thought. It was easy to play off the lunatic routine around a boatload of mindless idiots… and she enjoyed it from time to time, watching their faces pale, their eyes widen. There was a certain thrill in control, and she was good at it. She’d always been good at it - though she supposed she owed that to her upbringing.

But where she wasn’t -exactly- one screw short of a toolbox, she definitely knew better than to call herself ordinary. There was something to say about being able to admit that you were a little unhinged. She was proud of herself, really, for being able to come to terms with the notion that she’d never be like the boring, average folk…

And maybe that’s what she found so fascinating about the walking matchbox that was Fritz. True, she’d seen him about before, but until she’d seen him interacting with the Fairy Princess and Chicken Little, she’d never really imagined he could be half as interesting as she found herself, and so she’d never bothered.

It was plain to see, quickly, that she’d been wrong. She could admit she was wrong, as long as she was the one saying it. She’d been wrong, but Fritz hadn’t held it against her. Instead, he’d done something quite surprising. A date. A real, honest to God date. The guarded escort made her feel like something special - though admittedly that was largely to do with it being the first time she’d ever had such attention when they weren’t dragging her along to the Dog House or the Cage - and she’d gone as far as to steal a flower clip from the journal of some fluffy airhead in the courtyard and pin it into her hair. It wasn’t much, but a little effort went a long way.

When she stepped across the threshold, her eyes took in the sight before her, and a smooth smile flickered up at the corner of her lips. Fire. Real, legitimate, intimate fire. Now he was just being a tease…

“...Smells like Christmas in here, Sparky. Not half bad.” `

Again, Fritz had to maintain his composure, only allowing a tiny, pleased smirk to break through as Wick arrived. He was on his feet instantly, hands clasped before him, and openly admiring her. He knew it. She looked stunning in candlelight.

“You came,” he noted, voice light as always. “I must admit, I had my doubts as to whether or not you’d actually show. I suppose I did ask without giving you much preparation…” His eyes cut briefly to the pin in her hair. “But, I can see you don’t need much time or action at all to show up as breathtaking as you have.”

He walked over to her chair, pulling it out for Wick. “Please.”

A brow lifted as he pulled the chair free, and crossing the floor, she sank into it, curling her legs up beneath her. His eyes had taken in the flower, and it brought a small smirk to her lips to have it noticed. As she looked at the table, her eyes wandered to the candles, dancing along with the flames, “Why wouldn’t I show? You never answered my question… About, you know…” Her fingers balled and she mirrored the small explosion she had demonstrated during the conversation with Chloe and River.

Fritz pushed Wick’s seat in accordingly as she was seated before doing the same for himself, eyes already lighting up as she repeated the explosive gesture from before. “Ah, you’re right. That was...terribly rude of me; I cannot place the blame on...distraction and heat of the moment. As for an answer?” His head tilted, smile turning coy as he considered his next words. “I am a gentleman of...fire. Perhaps explosiveness. I doubt a bucket will be enough to extinguish that passion, don’t you think?”

“...Hm…” It was a good answer. And a fair confirmation that the man was unique. Admittedly, she hadn’t expected much - the company he kept wasn’t incredibly impressive - but his words were pretty… like fire themselves, in a way, and a chill traced her spine as her eyes shifted from flame to flame, meeting Fritz’s gaze, “...I would hope not, anyway. I always liked fire better than people… People are boring. Fire…” Leaning forward, she swept a fingertip through one of the burning wicks, “Never disappoints.”

A spark of excitement raced through Fritz as Wick took interest in the candlelight. So...his suspicions were possibly true. Possibly. Either way, that flicker of confirmation was enough to make him lean forward as well, only just a tad, and he watched her finger briefly before locking eyes again. “Fire over people...Beautiful and smart. I must ask, dear Wick,” a hint of fascination peeked through, enrapture, “How is it that you, a soul burden to be among these boring pigs, can speak in the least boring fashion possible? You always say...the most mesmerizing things, without fail.” He wanted to know--needed to know. Of course, he’d met crazy individuals before, too many to count. But this woman, she towered above that. He could feel it.

“Probably has to do with not giving half a damn about any of them.” She murmured, sitting back in her seat again, “They have their purpose, I suppose. A fire needs kindling. But it’s been some time since there’s been any sort of… challenge. Anything of interest. Boring…” Lip turned in half a pout, she nodded, “That’s the word for it… It’s so boring, here .”

“Hm...are you willing to entertain this candle-headed man’s thoughts? If only for a moment pertaining to your woes?” A hint of teasing infected his tone, though his expression remained eerily plastic.

“I’m still here…. Which means you’re interesting enough…” She answered honestly, before turning her eyes back to the fire, “What’s in your head, Fireman?”

Fritz almost chuckled and murmured “you”, but knew that Wick wasn’t concerned with such aimless commentary. Besides, he could do better. Instead, his vision also strayed to the fire and the next words to escape him dwindled into a whisper. “You are a fire...the fire, and these pigs on board are your kindling. And yet, your boredom pursues because you are missing a third element, my dear.”

He looked up at her. “Breath. Oxygen. That support to fan and expand your brilliance until this godforsaken space cage turns to ash.” He had almost let the eagerness get away from him, so he cleared his throat and reeled it in, sitting back in his sat. “The only cure for boredom, my dear, is to burn it away. Don’t you think?”

“I’d set fire to the world, Sparky, if it meant feeling anything more than this unrelenting tedium.… but space is a vacuum…” She continued, with the teasing wisp of a smile on her lips, “Where am I going to find oxygen up here?”

“You agreed already that I am a man of passion. Of life,” Fritz said, “Let me breathe it into your fire. I want to see you grow and become the queen I know you can...by my side. Of course…” Some of the tenseness eased from body, forcing himself to relax. Composure. Composure. “I am one to fan, not smother. The decision is entirely up to you...but I can tell you’re a wise woman and quite frankly fed up with the stagnation around you...At least mull over my offer, hm?”

Her eyes moved from the candle and met his and as it had in the cafeteria earlier, her expression shifted. Bored contemplation made way for something of a genuine nature… real… “Queen, hm? And you fancy yourself a King, do you?” It wasn’t an accusation, or a tease… it was a question. As genuine as the glimmer in her wide-eyed gaze.

Fritz smirked, cold and flaming all at once. “I only fancy myself as the other half to whatever title you hold, my dear.”

“I would look fantastic in a crown…” She mused, and reaching out, her fingertip grazing the body of the candlestick, letting the wax drip onto her nail, “The last man I trusted hurt me, Fritz.” She murmured softly, drawing her finger away, staring at the wax as it hardened, “He was passionate, too, but he was fickle, and wandered. So I shot him six times… him and his whore of a wife, and I let them burn...” Eyes dancing up to him, she studied him, “...Are you going to hurt me?”

Fritz found himself entranced by the wax, entranced by everything radiating from the woman. He was a man that trusted his instincts and his alone, and in that moment, it screamed at him to claim her as his queen. He chuckled softly, amusement piercing the desire in his eyes. “A merciful fate for a fool unable to sense royalty. Wick, my dear...I will never hurt you. Cannot hurt you. For I will be far to swept up in worshipping you.”

Head tipping to the side, she watched him through the dancing flame, and a smooth smile flashed as she nodded, “I admit you appeal to me in a fashion unlike most. I find the way you talk doesn’t annoy me so much… and you’re not difficult to look at. Everywhere fire, but your eyes are stone.” Straightening, as if it were the most ordinary, normal thing in the universe, she extended the wax-coated finger towards him, “Very well…”

Fritz stared at her finger. Silent. Mulling over the exquisite appendage before him. Then...his gaze lifted to her’s and without breaking eye contact, trapped the tip of her finger between his teeth and drawing back, allowing some wax to fall to his tongue. He swallowed it without pause, smirking. “Very well, indeed...Now then, my queen,” he gestured to the dinner before them, “I hope roast duck suits your tastes?”

A brow arched, before a smile spread, as Wick shook her head, and drawing her hand back to her side of the table, she shrugged, “...Some of my tastes, anyway.”

Fritz bit the edge of his lip, just taking a moment to admiring that smile. “Well...I’ll see to it that future meals undoubtedly suit all of your tastes,” he chuckled.

“Hmm....” There was a slightly sly curve to her lips, now, and she leaned forward, resting her chin in her hands as she shook her head, “...Don’t know that you can cover all of them. Not culinarily, anyway. But we’ll see.”

“Oh?” Fritz arched an eyebrow. “If I was naive, I’d almost think you were requesting a cup of that sniveling child’s tears. What was it...the Spanish-speaking friend with Chloe? But…” His coyness almost rivaled Wick’s. “I believe the context clues speak for themselves...You shall definitely see, whenever you please, my queen.”

“Hm. River?” Sitting up a little, she shook her head, “...There’s more to him than he shows. He’s no less boring, and exceptionally whiny… and if I were inclined to waste the energy, I’d probably carve out his tongue…” Holding up a finger, she wiggled it at Fritz, “That’s not a request. There’s an intrigue to his story… He’s like a project for me… I want to see how long it takes before I break him…”

Breathing in, her expression shifted again, and she looked into the flames again, “...I’ve never had duck before… I’d like to try it first.”

“I see…” Fritz murmured, brow furrowed in equal parts contemplation and intrigue. He failed to grasp this...significance that Wick apparently saw in River, but he’d rather chop off his own finger before questioning her interests. “Well, I wish you nothing but the greatest success, my dear. I’m certain your methods and devotion to this project will reap wonderful results.”

With practiced ease, he seized the knife and fork, and cut off a piece of roast duck. Gingerly, he held up the morsel towards Wick. “Please do try it. It’s a recipe that I’m rather fond of and experienced with, a favorite of mines, if one may say.”

Tipping forward in her chair just slightly, Wick’s hand lifted to cup around the one that held the fork, barely a touch.. Barely anything at all, and slowly, she breathed in, savoring the aroma of the duck, before taking the bite, leaning back in her chair.

“Hm…” She purred softly, letting her eyes shut for a moment. When they opened again, she nodded, with a smile of approval, “...Well done.”

Fritz watched her every move like a desert wanderer who had stumbled upon an oasis, enraptured, spellbound, eyes hooded. He didn’t dare move a muscle as she took the offered bite; it wasn’t until she sat down that he allowed his body to breathe and a pleased smile graced his freckled visage. “Thank you, dear Wick. I’m happy my culinary skills could please you. I can only hope,” his eyes glazed over with heat burning brighter than the candle between them, “That with my...assistance, further pleasure shall come your way.”

Oh. What a delight. Toying with a man with no intellect was dull and wasteful. But this… this carried an all new level of enjoyment that Wicker could scarcely explain. He was a worthy opponent. And she was having fun…

“Then eat, Sparky. Cause you're gonna need your strength.” She teased, the corner of her lip curved up.

Fritz obeyed immediately, absolute glee fluttering up his stomach as he ate; he couldn’t help but glance her way frequently as she enjoyed their dinner. That was pride welling up within him, he knew it was, but he couldn’t focus on suppressing that while he was busy ignoring the flush of his visage. His queen. Sitting right across from him.

He had finally found her.
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Elle Joyner

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Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
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Breakfast breezed through without much interruption on Fritz’s part. As far as he was concerned, nothing could dare to dampen his mood, Wick forever on his mind and reducing his veins to buzzing chasms of sweet, indulgent, spellbound infatuation. Aside from the routine check-ins with local guards, a trading of words with Gram over a wonderful breakfast of omelets, buttered toast and jam, and sausage links (with Snowman present, of course), and now, the whistle guided him to Cargo Loading.

It wasn’t his favorite period of the day, but he could admit that the position was integral to his success and power. It placed him directly at the sight of contraband deals, where he arranged special shipments for his meals and other items, along with fulfilling Gram’s own “shopping” list. To this day, Fritz couldn’t under why the fucking brat couldn’t order his own things...but, as much as it broiled his blood to say it, he couldn’t disappointment Gram. A serious blow to the ego, but he would rectify that issue one day. Soon.

Prisoners filed down multiple levels of the ship until they reached the cargo floor. It stretched across nearly half of the ship’s expanse, filled from wall to wall with crates and boxes, which were steadily spilling in from Import Terminals. Twin assembly belts rolled side by side in opposite directions, running down the center of the room. Prisoners manned either side of it, picking up and loading labeled packages onto corresponding cargo goats. They were roughly the size of golf carts, automated to transport loads back and forth to where they needed to be.

Fritz took up his usual position at the other belt, slipping on thick leather gloves with a casual monotony. He was in no rush; it wasn’t as if anyone would call him out on his pace. They wouldn’t dare. However, his blue gaze snagged onto a familiar sight next to him and recognition knocked at his thoughts. Ah yes, this one. The temperamental one who was with...Chloe.

A smirk pulled at Fritz’s lips as he nodded Luca’s way. “Pleasure working next to you today, my friend,” he said.

A brow quirked, as Luca looked over at the interruption. Normally, he was content to work through his shift as efficiently, and silently as humanly possible. No one bothered him, he didn’t bother anyone else, and he was perfectly content with this deal. Seeing the red haired menace who had been borderline harassing Chloe, his eyes narrowed just slightly, “Fritz, right?”

Further amusement filtered in Fritz’s visage. “Ah, you remember my name! I’m rather flattered, my friend,” he cooed.

A commentary hung on his lips, but Luca had learned a long time ago to keep his mouth shut, at least where the other prisoners were concerned - So long as no one was bugging Chloe, Hana or the kids, he was content to let people be as weird and creepy as they wanted.

“Sure. Yeah. You were talkin’ to Clo, right?”

“Clo? Clo…” Fritz’s brow furrowed, pretending to mull over the name. After a few moments of pursed lips and humming, he visibly perked up with realization and said, “Ah! You mean dear Chloe! Why yes, we had a wonderful chat yesterday; she’s such a lovely and sweet young lady. You’re both companions, I assume?”

“Companions?” Luca asked, a brow raised, “She’s just… she’s a friend.” But he seemed to think after a moment that maybe this wasn’t quite the equivalent of the answer he wanted, “Good friends. I watch her back, you know?”

Fritz blinked back. “That...Yes, that’s what I meant. Oh dear, language barrier moment, I suppose.” He laughed off the moment of confusion, though internally he was intrigued by the that reaction. That was peculiar, indeed, for Luca’s mind to jump to that misunderstanding...Quaint. He took a moment to snag a crate matching the label of the cart behind him, placing it in the truck with a light grunt. “I must say though, it’s good to have a support system the way you do for one another.”

His smile turned whimsical. “Especially now that we’re all competing in the Dog Fights tonight.”

“Yeah…” Luca muttered. He wasn’t particularly keen on the fellow to begin with - considering the oddness of his approach to Chloe, as well as the uncomfortable company the man kept, but now they were on Luca’s least favorite topic, and it put a twitch behind his eye, “Doin’ my best to win this year, but best of luck to you, I guess.”

“Now, now,” Fritz laughed, “Please, don’t waste your good luck charm on me, dear Luca. You’ll certainly need it far more than I will. I can assure you.” His smile almost turned smug--almost--but he held fast and maintained the innocent facade.

Pausing, Luca turned to the red haired man again, frowning slightly. He didn’t recall sharing more than a passing glance with the man, but there was no denying both the tone of those words… or the fact that Fritz definitely knew who he was, “...That so? And why is that?”

Fritz bit the inside of his cheek, as if considering something, before shrugging to himself and carrying over yet another crate. As he came back, dusting off his gloves casually, he scanned Luca up and down with an indifference in his eyes. “I’m merely speaking from truth and fact, my friend. The competition you and your...circle of friends face this year...The timing is rather unfortunate, on your part. And none of you even back out...A shame.” He sighed and shook his head.

Squeezing his knuckles, shoulders tensing slightly, Luca’s gaze darkened slightly, as he stood firm under the scrutiny of that gaze, “The hell is that supposed to mean?”

Catching the way his stance straightened, Fritz did the same in response, though a bit more regally and his smile widened until it flashed teeth. Dear oh dear--he seemed to be tugging at a nerve with this one. “I mean what I say and say what I mean, my friend. You’re bound to fail in the first round tonight. It’s nothing to feel ashamed about; it’s not exactly a task crafted for the triumph of ordinary prisoners.”

A small laugh escaped, and Luca’s posture relaxed, as he shook his head, “...You can talk out your ass all you want, Pretty Boy… Ordinary or not, we hit the arena, I’m not gonna have any issues shuttin’ you up, if you catch my drift.”

“Huh,” Fritz hummed, gaze straying to the side in thought, “And here I thought my mouth was located upon my visage...I’ll take your knowledge of anatomy to heart, however. You are the smarter of us two, of course.” He shrugged off the colorful mental image; it was all simply a product of delinquent language, nothing that he needed to get hung up on. However, he tilted his head once more. “And because you’re so wise, dear Luca, you’ll refrain from committing...regrettable acts tonight. Well, don’t mind me; just a bumbling fool stating the obvious.”

“Don’t think I’m gonna regret knockin’ your teeth through the back of your head there, friend.” Luca continued, coolly, “And since you’re taking things to heart, here’s another helpful hint. Stay the hell away from Chloe. Whatever game you’re playing? Find someone else.”

“Oh, your coldness wounds me so,” Fritz hissed, a hand placed gingerly over his heart. His impish expression mixed poorly with his tone, however, and the act dropped rather quickly in purchase of a plastic one. Something lethal slipped between his teeth. “I’m not playing any games whatsoever, dear Luca. Oh no. This is war, my friend and no right-minded general would dare to compromise his pawns.”

“That what you think you are, Cabrón? A general?” With a smirk, Luca shook his head, “You take me for some sort of slack-jawed idiot, but I been around the block. Ain’t my first war, and I don’t plan to lay down and let anybody win.”

“Ah,” Fritz chuckled, his amusement nearly doubling, “You consider knocking boots with street dwellers and ransacking a vehicle like a neanderthal as war? Come now, Luca. I just said you were smart; don’t disapprove my words now.”

Slowly, the ginger hauled another crate but instead of placing it on the cart, he dropped it the floor and without waiting a second, another prison was at his side and seized the cargo. They briefly traded whispers, Fritz’s eyes never leaving Luca, and with a confirming nod, the random inmate walked off with the crate. “Pardon the interruption,” he muttered, “Business never sleeps.”

“Street dwellers…? You ever been outside your Momma’s basement before you came here, Fritz?” Luca asked, a brow lifting with a thin smirk. It was easy enough to brush off the insult… It was less easy to ignore the momentary arrangement of cargo-handling. Watching the man with the cart, he shook his head, “Your shipment of high heels finally come in?”

“Close,” Fritz chimed, “But no cigar. Merely...incentive. Quite useful for myself and others. For you? Well, not so much, dear Luca.” By this point, he had grown bored chatting with the uncivilized oaf; it was not to say that the conversation didn’t reap any rewards. Oh--it reaped him plenty. But he knew he had exhausted his resources with the thick-skulled prisoner.

Sighing almost wistfully, he turned to face the belt fully. “Dear oh dear...It seems I was so engrossed in our lovely chat, that I forgot to actually work. How foolish of us,” he chuckled.

“Well, Golly Gee. Guess you better get back to it there, General.” Luca drolled, rolling his eyes, “I’d hate for you to get in trouble or anything.” Hefting a box from the belt, Luca set it with the others, dusting off his hands, “La guerra es el infierno, as they say.”

[Spanish translation | War is hell]
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A Good Little Elf
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His assistantship was, frankly, the best part of the day.

The work he did for Damien was mundane, and some would find it tedious and boring. Not River, though. He enjoyed it a little too much. It was one of the only parts of the day where he felt quite safe - stapling, paperclipping, note-sticking. There was no Wick to taunt him in his bed, no one to threaten his lunch or dinner.

And best of all, Damien’s delicious creations.

Today, a plate of something reminiscent of a cookie greeted him. Or a brownie? He really didn’t care. River’s eyes flickered to the plate of baked goods, but out of pure respect, the young boy never took a bite before he’d gone in and greeted Damien.

“G-Good morning, Mr. Nettles,” River said quietly, head bowed.

Damien had been reading over an inmate’s files, a scheduled and regular appointment. His brow had furrowed in the customary worried expression, his heart hurting for every single soul that graced his office with a bruised heart and haunting past. At the end of it all, they were all human and no humans did what they did without a reason.

Regardless, the therapist’s head snapped up, pleasantly surprised to see River entering. “Ah, River dear, glad to have you,” he chimed happily, discarding his reading glasses and tucking them into his breast pocket. He gestured to the plate of cookie brownies on the corner of his desk, fresh and hot for the taking. “Please, help yourself to a few. Once you’ve had enough, I’ve got a few documents for you to organize for me.”

At Damien’s offer, River slunk towards the plate, not needing to be asked twice. Some could say that they missed the sweet taste of their mother’s home baking, but for River, this was the first time in his life someone had greeted him daily with freshly baked goods. Hunger was a constant gnawing at the pit of his stomach, and the slop in the cafeteria didn’t do too much to quell it. It was clear in his hollowed, thin posture anyhow.

River had already demolished one cookie brownie by the time Damien had stopped talking, and was reaching for another. “Really - mmph - good,” River mumbled, and slowed only at his third, sitting before Damien once he was done. “R-ready to organize,” He said quietly, a smudge of chocolate lodged in the corner of his lip.

“Oh, um...Riv--dear? You’ve got,” Damien, holding back a laugh, motioned to the corner of his own lips. However, the man couldn’t help but cave into his own need for cleanliness and snagged a tissue from his desk--Kleenex, a traditional and long lasting brand, his childhood, essentially. He wiped the fudge free of River’s face before leaning back rather goofily, squinting, and shooting the ball into his trash bin...It missed terribly.

Damien cleared his throat. “I’ll get that. Now then, River, if you could be a dear and organize these files alphabetically for me? I can’t fathom how I’m so neat obsessed and yet my files…” He shook his head, chuckling softly, plopping the pile into River’s lap. He then gestured to a smaller desk pressed into the corner of his office. “Your station’s all warmed up and ready for you.”

River blinked as Damien neared with the Kleenex, trying to inch out of his grasp but not quite bold enough to squirm far enough away. Even as Damien shot the tissue at the wastebasket with a childish grin, River was frozen in place, eyes glassy as he reeled from the touch.

”Don’t forget what I can do to you, Hermano.”

Damien cleared his throat, and River snapped awake again. “Th-thank you,” River whispered, standing wearily from the seat in front of Damien’s desk to move to his own. He sat down with trembling hands and got to work on the files, laying them out before him. This work would calm him down, he assured himself, and started looking for the A’s…

“You’re welcome, River,” Damien said, eyes twinkling with warmth. He watched the young man sit down and busy himself with alphabetizing; as soon as his back faced him, the therapist returned to skimming the files, concern bubbling up his gut. He had taken note of the reaction...and it was worrisome, to say the least. An anxiety brought up on by physical contact, towards the face, no less...Damien locked the observation away for later.

A silence settled over the pair for a few minutes, until the therapist willed himself to ask a question that had bothering him ever since the boiler explosion. “I...River, dear? May I ask you something?” he asked, voice tentative.

He’d made it up to the E’s when Damien’s voice broke the silence in the room. The tremor in his hands had settled once he’d gotten to focusing on the work. River tried hard never to read the contents of the files, but it wasn’t so simple to avoid the little bits of information that flew past his fingertips.

River blinked and turned around to face Damien. “Um, of c-course, Mr. Nettles.”

Damien hesitated at first, as if fearing that he uttered the words, it would breathe life to them. But, of course, he had to ask, to confirm his concerns. “I obviously never go out of my way to find out but...well…” He sighed, leaning back into his chair. “I’ve heard that you’re a...Tribute this year. Is that true?”

River looked down and folded his hands in his lap, swallowing through the lump in his throat. He wasn’t very sure what he was to Damien, but either way, River liked the man’s company. He had a rather calm and inviting presence about him, and was always kind. He wondered what Damien stood to gain by confirming the fact that River was indeed a tribute. Maybe to line up his next assistant, when River didn’t make it out of the Dog Fights.

“..Yes.” River murmured. “Romana… sentenced me to the Put Down, if I didn’t sign up.” He admitted.

For the briefest moment, Damien stiffened, his fingers tightly clasping around one another until his palms burned as red as his visage. He reserved a solid twenty seconds of silence to gather himself, to let the anger flood from his system like a faucet, and exhaled. Once. Slowly. “I...I see,” he whispered, defeat making his shoulders sag, “This may sound foolish and useless of me to say, River, but I pray that everything turns out well for you. This...This sinful tournament, I could never understand the purpose or worth of it for as long as I’ve worked on Hagur.”

He shook his head. “If I could, I’d have it shut down immediately.”

River stared at Damien as the sudden shift in posture became apparent. He was no stranger to quiet anger, and watching Damien become beet red quite frankly shocked River. Damien was angry. And in his very short amount of time here, River had decided that to see Damien angry was an impossible feat. Then, just as quickly as it come, the man’s anger dissipated, shoulders sinking, leaving River to watch, wide-eyed.

“I… oh… uhm…” River mumbled. “Th… thanks, D- Mr. Nettles.” He shook his head. “I.. I plan t-to try n-not to die.”

Damien cracked a small, weak smile. “Well...would it be greedy of me to ask that you promise me not to die, rather than try? I’d...rather not see such a tragedy befall me or any of your friends, dear River. Survive. For yourself and everyone else, okay?”

To say River was taken aback by Damien’s sentimental words was an understatement. He was floored, and it was quite apparent in his open mouth and big fishbowl eyes. Eventually River regained the sense to snap his mouth shut.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Nettles.” River whispered. “I don’t make promises I can’t keep.”

Damien had to draw from deeply hidden reserves of composure not to sigh miserably at River’s response, but he understood where the lad was coming from. Sometimes...Sometimes false hope was far worse than any unsavory truth one tried to protect themselves from. “That...is fair, River. That is fair...Well,” He rolled his chair over to his shelf, more than happy to change topic now. His fingers danced through the labels, uttering them silently under his breath until he found the one needed and retracted a simple red binder. The therapist stood up, making his way over to River’s corner.

But stopping a respectable distance away. “If you would be willing, River, I need you to deliver this to Miss Biles in the…” His gaze softened somewhat, uncertainty biting at his ankles. “The Cages department. Can you handle that?” Carefully, he retracted two printed sheets, stapled, and placed them on the edge of River’s desk. “I know that area is not the most...welcoming, but I promise you have full access and rights to that area as my assistant. No one will stop or suspect you. Just drop it off to her, say it’s from me, and right back.”

Eyeing the two printed sheets with look of fear, River swallowed and looked back up at Damien. The Cages department. Oh, great. Wonderful. Thrilling. A place he never, ever planned on getting sent if he could help it. Luca seemed unphased by the place, but River… did not like what he had heard about it. “Of c-course, Mr. Nettles.” River said, throat dry as he stood and took the papers into his hands. “N-no worries. I-I’ll be b-back in a moment.” With a weak smile and an awkward nod, River moved past Darin and out into the hallway, towards the Cages department.

There was that anxiety again. For Damien, it might as well have been a homing beacon flashing across the poor lad’s face. Right before River the sheets, he was tempted to change his mind and assign him a different task, to deliver the complaints himself...He was too slow. River was already accepting and on his way out. “U-um, River! One last thing.”

He snagged two brownies from the platter and wrapped them up inside a napkin, holding it out to his assistant. “Bring her these as wells. Sometimes she can be...difficult, but usually sweets help to temper her attitude a bit.”

River looked down at the bundled cookie brownies, taking them from Damien with another forced smile. “Sh-she’ll love them,” River said brightly, even though his gaze was quite panicked and a sense of what-the-hell-did-you-get-me-into. “I’ll be r-right back.” River said once more, and started off on his quest again.

Mobley Eats

Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
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A Good Little Elf, Part II | Interactions: River CloudyBlueDay CloudyBlueDay and Anne-Marie

“Soooo Fucker McGee! Tell me what happened to your non-existent sex life again? Oh whoops, forgot to care!” Anne-Marie Biles leaned back in her chair to release a harking laugh, the tail end of her laugh cut off as her finger let go of the speaker button. She could see the prisoner screaming angrily to the ceiling of his pod, banging fists like a wild animal and screaming through the speakers until his throat burned raw. AM let the horrid symphony bounce about her precious little hovel for a few moments, before turning the volume down to a scant of a whisper.

“Heh, sounds like a mouse,” she giggled. Then, she rolled her chair to the left in a show of manic spins, cackling the whole way, before slapping the counter to catch herself at another monitor--one of several. It was a different prisoner this time, female, curled into a ball and shivering. She seemed to be on the verge of crying herself to sleep. “Aww…” AM cooed, finger reaching for a switch-- “Wake up bitch I’m bored!”

Suddenly, the poor prisoner was bombarded on all sides with blasts of white, almost like a hailstorm of fire extinguishers had set off, and she screamed in equal parts surprise and discomfort. Oh yeah, that had to have been super cold. Yikes. “Sowwwy about thaaaat,” AM drawled with a pout, her voice booming over the inmate’s whimpers. It sounded like she was trying to plead her case, to apologize for whatever act she pulled, and AM leaned into the speaker mockingly, nose scrunched up. “Huh? Whazzit? Oh, dang. I’m soooo sorry, puppers. I...I can’t. Quite. Tell. What. You’re. Saying.

Another spray.

AM muted that prisoner as well after dousing her in a decontamination shower and fell back into cackling, snagging a bag of potato chips. She crossed both feet on top of the counter. Man, this was the life.

Trying to keep himself from trembling like a leaf as he travelled down the hallway, River curiously thumbed at the documents in his hand, even though he’d promised himself that he wouldn’t look. There was nothing else to distract (especially when he was trying extremely hard not to eat the rest of the cookie brownies) however, and he read a couple lines guiltily. It seemed to be a complaint from Damien, and a rather heated one at that. River swallowed. Ms. Biles did not seem like a very pleasant woman.

Knocking on the door labeled as the Cages department, making sure to hold the treats forward first, River cleared his throat. “Ms.. Ms Biles? I-I have files from Mr. Nettles to deliver.”

By this point, AM had resorted to turning on her beloved playlist and blasting it extremely high volume; the feed also flowed into the Cages’ speakers and were nearly quadrupled in volume. While the prisoners were crumbling to their knees, shielding their ears from the offensive screech of metal grunge and monstrous shrieks, AM lazily bounced about the room, losing herself to the music.

She didn’t hear the knock.

River waited. He waited a little longer. And then he waited some more. He could hear the familiar pounding of music from within the room, and decided that he would be forced to knock much louder if he was ever going to get her attention.

“Ms Biles!” River said, raising his voice and thwapping his fist against the door a lot harder. “Ms Biles?!”

AM groaned when she finally heard a dull noise emitting from the door. She stopped bouncing, throwing her head back with a dramatic sigh. “Fuck’s sake WHAT?!” she screeched, already stomping over to the door like a giant crammed into the body of a ginger midget demon. Huffing, she pressed a hand to the pad next to the entrance, watching as it slid open to reveal...some trembling chump. Who the fuck?

“Dude! The shitter’s two doors down to your left! Now fuck off thank you don’t come again!” she screamed over the music, flashing a mockingly innocent smile.

Flinching horribly at the screaming woman behind the door, River was back to his trembling state very quickly. Holding out the napkin full of baked goods very tentatively, River spoke. “I-I h-h-h-have f-files f-f-from M-Mr. N-Nettles,” River trembled, voice horribly weak and likely barely audible above the screaming heavy metal.

“What?!” AM screamed back, annoyance building within her as she cleaned out her ear and leaned in closer. Although she didn’t catch everything River said, the words “files” and “Nettles” came through like a bell rung by the gods. Oh...Oh!


“Oh! Why didn’t you say so?! Come in!” Without blinking, she seized River by the arm and dragged him inside, the door closing behind him. She trotted over merrily to the stereo and turned it down until it was nothing more than a hum, before hopping onto the counter. The woman was so short that her feet dangled, swinging back and forth casually. “So wassup twiglet, you’ve got something for me?”

With a fearful yelp, River was tugged into the office, Damien’s fresh baked goods almost toppling out of his hands but he stumbled and caught them just in time. “C-c-cookie b-b-brownies, f-f-from M-Mr. N-N-Nettles,” River blabbered. “A-and f-f-files.”

AM cupped both hands over her mouth as she gasped loudly. Then proceeded to squeal--even louder. “Shut. The front. Fucking. Door. Gimme!” She hopped off and yanked the cookie brownies out of River’s hands, nearly taking the poor boy’s fingers with her, and instantly sank her teeth into one of the pastries.


“Ohhhhhmg,” she sighed, feeling as if she could die happily in that moment and float away...Okay, that was clearly figurative speech. No way in hell she was alright with dying yet. She nearly lost her composure and did a little jitter in place, but managed to stave off the urge and shove the rest of the brownie into her mouth. “Fhro (Bro),” she muttered around a mouthful, “Fwuffin franfasic! (Fucking fantastic)”

Then she blinked, remembering the other half of River’s delivery, and forcefully swallowed down the rest. She beated her chest. “Gah! Fuck! Jesus--wasn’t smart. Wasn’t smart. Dying, it’s cool.” Wincing, she held a hand out, silently asking for the files. “Anyday,” she wheezed.

One more yelp escaped River, this time as she grabbed the pastry from his hands and nearly took him with her. River quickly backed away, holding his hand protectively against his chest, watching with frightful eyes as he considered the possibility that Ms. Biles was having a seizure.

No, he concluded. Just… er… overly enthusiastic.

River held the files out in front of him as if AM was a caged animal who would bite his fingers off if he got too close, shaking like a leaf.

Rolling her eyes, the woman snatched the files from him and gave them a brief glance over. “Mhm...mhm...yep...yeah…Oh, getting spicy...Kinda hot. Welp.” Carelessly, she tossed the papers behind her, letting them hit the floor, before placing her attention back on River. “Hey, Twiglet, you Damien’s new servant or some shit?” She plopped down backwards into her rolling chair and, using the same maneuver of a hermit crab, she dragged her way over to the prisoner. Her chin fell to leather, eyes sparkling. “Did he cut his hair recently? Is it like, that really cute swoop thing he likes to do when he’s feeling extra sunny or some shit? Oh! Please tell me he wore the skinny jeans today. I like the slacks and everything but hot damn.

River jumped as she snatched the files from him, taking another three large steps back. “H-his a-a-assistant,” River corrected, watching the files as they plopped to the floor. His heart sunk a little with them. “Uhm,” River murmured. “He… he has h-his… n-normal… hair… and r...regular jeans. Ishouldbegoingbacknowbye.” River spun around to face the door, and his heart sank further as he realized it would only open for the terrifying woman behind him. “W-would y-y-you p-please open this f-f-for me?”

AM stared at River, clearly unimpressed by his fleeing. Fuck--this kid wasn’t going to give up a single juicy detail, was he? Figures. Damien always picked the boring ones as assistants. Rolling her eyes, she stood up and approached the door. However, as she did so, she made so to come within close proximity of River, merely inches away from him as her palm reached for the pad. “You know what, Twiglet? You’re adorable. Like some puppy or some shit.” She leaned in a little closer. “Come by anytime you want, yeah?”

The door opened.

Whimpering as AM stepped close, River pressed himself flat against the door to desperately escape her as she moved, inches away from his face. AM pressed her palm against the pad, and River fell out into the hallway, landing harshly on his ass as he scrambled to his feet. “Y-y-yep! B-b-bye!” River squeaked, and ran down the hallway.
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Fantasy, mystery, magical, modern,
Collab: Creation Nation, Pandora Elle Joyner Elle Joyner , Gram and Jumbo Mobley Eats Mobley Eats

Chloe was relieved to be back to the place she loved most in this little piece of hell. She didn’t always enjoy who it was with, but she did know one thing. She could detattach herself from reality, even if it was for a little while. Today she was going to continue the welcoming gift she had internally promised for River, knowing very well the accused serial killer was having a difficult start. She had been incarcerated around the same age, so she could sympathize. She was just relieved he had people like Luca, Hana, and Bahram to look over him. He was safe for now, and a sinking suspicion settled into her stomach that he wouldn’t be here for long. Whether it be the Dog Fights that would miraculously cut down his sentence, or for the common sense that boy couldn’t have harmed a fly.

Thinking of the Dog Fights was enough to make her uneasy, now, knowing there was a full blown possibility her or one of her friends could get slaughtered. Her chest tightened. It wouldn’t be too bad to perish there, sure, death was a horrifying concept, yet Chloe could find more comfort in eternal rest then spending her life here until she was in her fifties.

Melancholy and wracked by nerves, Chloe took her usual place with her usual things. River’s little welcome piece was a small, crocheted dolphin. It barely fit in the palm of her hand, but she was hoping to improve upon it before the fights. She had a list of things she needed to work on if she survived after this, calming her form if for but a moment. She didn’t dare to stare up at the others in the crafts room.

It wasn't exactly a strong suit of Pandora's. Arts and crafts. Truth be told, she was about as artistic as a blind, armless sloth. But it was better than the alternatives, which felt too damn much like learning. More than anything, she'd have preferred to spend the education period in her bunk, with a buddy… but it was, at least, relatively quiet and uneventful…

Or at least, that had been the thought before she'd waged war with Gram and his posse. She wasn't afraid of the man, but she was hardly keen to spend such a significant period of time in the same room as him.

Busying herself with thread and an irritatingly dull needle, she worked on the seam of a small leather book cover, her eyes straying anywhere but the hot headed serial killer…

Glancing to her left, she spotted the crochet work Chloe was doing and smiled faintly, “Nice job. Never had the patience for it, myself.”

The Arts & Crafts teacher wasn’t exactly...verbal that day. Granted, she usually wasn’t due to the fact that all she required of her students was to at least attempt to create. To allow themselves creative freedom. To participate and share their story of inspiration with her. She prided herself in how simple yet effective the method was, and it proved to be helpful for some of them. Chloe was by far her shining pupil; the darling woman crafted lovely crochets and her attitude was a breath of fresh air in comparison to most prisoners. Well, she could admit that Pandora was a relief as well; relatively well-behaved, never really...initiated trouble. The teacher heard stories of trouble following the red-head, especially as of recently, but that was entirely different topic that she’d rather not mull over.

And, of course, there the...unsettling students. One, she could tell, had...mental troubles. Something always seemed off about Jumbo; the arts teacher never took personal time to ask about him with faculty, but she assumed there was something. Something. However, the other one…

Gram terrified her. For good, good reason.

Thus, as the woman seated herself at her desk, posing nothing more than a hushed greeting to the class, one glance in the serial killer’s direction instantly reduced her to a lifeless, horrified statue. No eye contact. No eye contact…

Gram chuckled lightly at the woman’s reaction, feet resting on his own table as he merely reclined in his seat. He wasn’t particularly in the right...mindset for painting. He appreciated the arts, was a decent painter, in fact, and he often times created something snow-themed. However, he didn’t care for that today. Ever since the moment he stepped foot into the room, his gaze never left Pan. He stared at her, through her, into her...everything. Just stripping the woman down until she was nothing but blood and bones in his blank eyes.

As for Jumbo, he had yet to arrive.

“H-hmm?” Chloe questioned, peeking up from her work to see a familiar face. Pandora and her hadn’t been very close shipmates, but Chloe found respect for the fiery haired woman. She seemed pleasant enough in block, anyhow. “O-oh. T-t-thank you.” She stammered, hesitantly holding the crocheted animal for Pandora to see. She offered a pleasant smile. “O-one o-of the o-only t-things t-t-that I look f-forward t-to, t-to be honest. B-besides. I-I p-promised I-I’d m-make a g-good l-luck charm for a p-pup.” She swallowed, eyes darting to and fro across the room. She didn’t dare to make eye contact with the serial killer, having learned quickly that being silent was the best approach to those she was unsure of. Now that she noticed it, she realized Jumbo hadn’t been seated. Her throat clenched.

Fritz’s words came back, echoing against her skull. Punishment. “O-oh G-g-god.” She whimpered under her breath, shaking her head and staring down at her creation once more. She put the crochet in her lap briefly as she allowed the brief trembling in her hands to cease. “O-oh, s-s-sorry. Not u-used to c-compliments.” She brushed off to Pandora with a casual grin, although the edges of her lips threatened to twitch

Complements. The poor kid was terrified of a complement. Pan had to wonder how she survived in Hagur on a daily basis if a nice word set her off so bad…

“Hey… don't mention it.” Tipping her head to the side, she glanced across the room and shaking her head, rolled her eyes in the direction of the tattooed man, staring hard at her.

“Don't mind Gram.” She said, loud enough to carry, “He's probably a little moody today. Hard to paint with a dislocated thumb, I imagine.”

Gram’s head tilted, some life sparking in his eyes as he grinned at Pandora. “Eh…” Slowly, he lifted the mentioned them; a faint bruise marked the skin where was previous dislocated. Previously. He gave the appendage a mocking wiggle. “Not too hard...I’ll manage.” Aside from the faint soreness, his thumb seemed to be in decently functioning condition.

As soon as he said this, the door clicked. It opened a crack, just a smidgen, as if the person on the other side was waging war with themselves, before it finally opened all the way to reveal Jumbo. He had one hand pressed to the left side of his face, using the loose fabric of his sleeve to cover it completely. Gaze glued to the floor, he shuffled around to his table in the back and simply sat there.

“Jumbo,” Gram hummed, tilting back in his chair to catch a better glimpse of the cannibal, “Somebody’s late...Tsk, tsk.” Jumbo didn’t respond; the most he did was cut a quick glance at him, one eye fogging over briefly with confusion before retreating.

“D-dislocated?” Chloe questioned, concern flooding her features. Someone must have gotten handsy the night before. “O-Oh G-god. Y-you dont w-wanna do that. T-thumbs a-are v-valuable up h-here. C-crocheting. P-painting. S-shanking.” The last peace was said with a teasing tone, but she felt her color drain out of her face as the door opened to reveal Jumbo, who as she could see seemed worse for wear. Guilt gathered in her chest and she carefully placed her work in her lap. She fiddled with the yawn in her hands. “J-Jumbo? Y-you okay?” She questioned, swallowing the fear down her throat. She wanted to apologize. For not doing as Fritz had asked. She wasn’t sure if it would have made the situation any better, but seeing the cannibal worn down set concern up her back.

A day ago she would have been absolutely terrified of calling out his name, but she found a little more clarity in her voice. She resumed her work, finding comfort in the small animal. “I-I’m s-sorry about l-last night.”

Pan had dislocated just about every piece of her body she could, and she was fairly certain he was feeling it, whether he wanted to admit it or not, but whatever her response was gonna be, it was jilted as Chloe interrupted, calling after everyone's favorite human-dog hybrid in Phantom of the Opera glory.

“Goldilocks got a point…” Gram chuckled. He tilted further back in his chair. “Tried it out yesterday...had a little difficulty.” It was annoying, to the say least, but at least they died. It just wasn’t his...cleanest job. All over a dislocated thumb. Of course--of course, he had to fix the problem immediately and now his thumb was far more manageable than before. Wonderful.

Jumbo flinched as they called out to him. No. He couldn’t talk to anyone. He wasn’t allowed to anymore. Fritz said so and he didn’t want to get in trouble again for saying the wrong stuff. Slowly, hand still to his face, he ignored Chloe and got up to snag paper and markers from the supply shelf. Plopping back down into his seat, he started doodling in random shapes and colors; they could’ve looked like something, had potential to look like something, but it was mostly nonsense. Big and smooth loops intermingling with sharp corners and forceful dots. There were four or five vertical lines. Two circles side by side. Maybe even an oval and big splotches next to the vertical lines from before. Nonsense.

“A-a-ah. G-g-glad to hear my h-hypothesis a-a-about s-s-stabbing w-was right.” She claimed with a hard swallow, offering him a sheepish grin as her eyes swiftly darted down to River’s gift. She tied it off with a final loop, making sure that the figure was secure and could stand on its own. Now she had to work on another piece, her mental list beginning to shrink. She thought of something last second, however, a small laugh threatening to escape her. No. She would save that for later. Instead she figured she would work on a quick trinket for Hana, considering how wonderful of a reflection leader she could be. Getting up to get white string, Chloe had to pass by Jumbo and note what he was drawing. Her head tilted. Nonsense. Yet she could picture something it could have been. The lines could have been the bars on a grill. She grimaced at the thought before grabbing what she needed.

She figured she could try and confront Fritz about the situation later, but fear bubbled at the thought. Perhaps if she didn’t cause trouble with Jumbo...She frowned and returned to her seat, beginning to start the next piece absentmindedly, not even looking down as she worked.

Watching the scene unfold, Pandora shook her head. It was ridiculous, the way some people treated others in their little hell hole in Space. Ridiculous, but it only happened because it was allowed to happen. She'd never allow herself to be take advantage of the way Jumbo and Snowflake were… not ever.

“Eh, Gram!” She called, tying off a knot in the leather, “How's Old Abominable doing, anyway.”

With a loud and sharp clack, Gram’s chair fell to the tiles. All in under a second, his gaze hardened and kindled at once. “Snowman’s...fairing,” he muttered.

Sensing the shift in mood, Jumbo slowly grabbed his paper and markers, holding them close, and scooted his chair back.

Watching him with a lackadaisical expression, Pandora smirked faintly. She wasn't generally inclined to antagonize… but there was something… Something about the entire situation, the night prior, that just sat funny.

And sometimes the best way to get someone talking was, frankly, to just piss them off.

“Fairing. Good, good. Think he'll recover enough I can kick both your asses in the fight tonight?”

“He’ll recover,” Gram replied immediately. He turned in his chair to face Pan fully, hands resting casually in his lap. “...You won’t touch him tonight...We’re not competing.”

Chloe stiffened at the sight before her, the clatter of the chair somewhat intimidating. Her fingers managed to miss a loop, fumbling clumsily as she pulled her feet on to the seat. She didn’t want to pry in what could have been the problem, but Chloe knew that the man Snowman must have meant something to Gram. Slowly, she unfurled herself once more and let her body relax. “H-how did y-you get out of f-fighting?” She inquired, as if to be casual. Her stuttering was more slurred than usual, but she made up for it by slowing down. She may have sounded foolish, but it didn’t matter.

“Misunderstanding in the cafeteria last night. He got a little stabby with a good friend of mine, and I had to teach him and his boyfriend some manners. That about right, Gram?”

Without breaking his stare from Pandora, Gram regarded Chloe’s question in a light tone, “Injury leave...Convenient timing on...red’s part.” At the mention of her “good friend”, a gravelly giggle worked up the back of his throat, mirth peeking through his mask. “Twitchy...as a good friend. I never knew that...Glad I do now.” But, of course, he figured it made sense; why else would she waste time dislocating his thumb and dismantling Snowman’s knee if she didn’t share some sort of bond with Twitchy? Gram hummed again, fingers tapping together in slow but timed intervals. Five seconds, the index fingers touched. Five seconds, middle fingers. Five seconds, ring. Five seconds… “Five seconds,” he breathed, smiling at Pan. “Five seconds.”

“Didn't take half that long, Precious.” Pan answered, as she resumed her sewing. There was no question now… Something was up. It was a threat. A vague one, but a genuine, legitimate threat. But hell if she was gonna roll over…

“Five seconds,” he repeated, completely ignoring her words. An almost manic light seeped into his eyes. “Fives seconds. First round...Someone will die.” The last of his statement shook with excitement. “Five seconds…”

“Keep talkin’ crazy, Gram, and people gonna start to worry you ain’t right in the head.” Pan murmured, returning her gaze back to her sewing. She wanted to ignore his words… but hell if they didn’t click in her head in a way she wished they wouldn’t.

“I-injury, h-hmm?” Chloe questioned, making a mental note of such a thing. The thought that came with the internalization of this information scared her, but it was better than some alternatives she could think of in the arena. “U-unfortunate, b-but g-glad to see y-you look better.” Returning to her yarn, she attempted to ignore the remaining noise. However he began to repeat the term five seconds over and over again, wracking Chloe’s nerves as he mentioned that someone was going to die. Chloe wanted to take it as a poor man’s rambling, but she had a horrible feeling that this wasn’t just a speech of a madman.

“W-who?” She questioned, nearly without thinking.

“They don’t already…?” Gram’s lips pursed. Unacceptable; he would need to rectify that soon. His fingers still tapped at those intervals but at Chloe’s question, he finally looked at her. Studied her like a rotting carcass. Slowly, his thumbs curled down and he held up one hand. “Eeny,” the pinky twitched, “Meany,” the ring, “Miney,” then the index, “Moe...which one, which one...Exciting odds.” His thumb rose once more. “Death in five seconds, Goldilocks…”

“Watch your thumb there, Sugar. I'd hate for you to exacerbate it.” Pandora said with a small smirk. It had already clicked that the injury wasn't half as bad as it should've been… and friends in high places never bode well for the little people. But she'd dealt with worse monsters under the bed…

“H-heh. G-good l-lullaby.” She muttered, unnerved but not surprised. She could figure now it was simply a musing of a madman, but there was something that continued to bother her. He mentioned what seemed to be four, although she wasn’t sure if she could put that to heart. She swallowed. “L-let’s h-hope it doesn’t c-come to t-that tonight.”

“Hmm?” Gram raised the bruised thumb and, with his eyes trained on Pandora, licked the skin around the joint, the hint of a smile curling the edge of his lips. “I’ll survive...Can’t speak for you, though.” The muscle slipped back into his mouth, attention grasped by the stuttering one again. She said some of the most...darling things. Gram shrugged, lowering his hand. “All we can do...is hope.” Hope. That was a cute term.

As if his neck suddenly turned into rubber, his head flopped backwards, taking in Jumbo’s upside down visage. “I also hope...Jumbo can move that...hand of his.” He chuckled lowly. “I’m mighty curious…”

Jumbo grunted in pure confusion. Why was Gram talking to him? He didn’t say anything to warrant this; all he had done was stay quiet like a good boy. The cannibal shifted, avoiding eye contact with Gram at all costs. He shook his head. “I...I doooon….don’t wanna,” he muttered.

“L-leave him be.” Chloe requested, gentle but firm. She swallowed hesitantly. “L-last n-night w-was rough. He s-shouldn’t h-have to…” She stopped, averting her gaze from the young cannibal. She wasn’t sure why she was standing up for him, but she could feel pity grow in her stomach. She felt awful about the night before. She should have gone along. She offered a kind smile to Gram, squirming slightly in her seat.

“Yeah, Gram. Why don't you just… go back to your work, hm? I'd hate for you to have an unfortunate incident, again, yeah?”

“I like...rough,” Gram chuckled, taking note of the cannibal’s bafflement growing more and more by the second. He was switching his gaze between Gram and Chloe, then to Pandora, back to Gram again. The hand against his cheek twitched, as if toying with the idea of obeying, but he held firm. “I just like to...know things,” Gram continued in mock innocence. He stood up and in under a second, he had cleared the distance between his table and Jumbo’s, and slapped both hands to his table, looming forward. “What’s wrong, Jumbo? I’m...not good ole Fritz? I’m not...worthy to be master?”

Like a viper, his hand shot forward to curl around Jumbo’s wrist. It was a soft grip, barely any strength behind it, but the promise of something unsavory radiated from his touch. A barely audible whimper knocked at the back of the cannibal’s throat, falling frozen in equal amounts shock and overwhelming confusion. “Come on,” Gram cooed, “Just...one...peek?”

Pandora was on her feet as Gram moved, eyes narrowing in a glare that definitely was over the amusement of the moment. She didn’t particularly care for people who ate other people, but at least in this instance, Jumbo hadn’t done anything wrong, and it was clear the poor guy was scared…

And Pan didn’t care for bullies, “One chance, Gram. You got one chance to get your damn hands off him, before I break something they won’t put back overnight.”

“Leave.” A pause, shock entering the young woman’s tone as her voice found clarity. “Him, alone.” Another pause, the wavering threatening to return. “P-puh-lease.” Chloe slowly stood from her seat, taking a cautious step towards Gram and Jumbo. Her heart thudded. “I-I d-don’t think h-he w-w-wants to d-d-do that r-right now.”

Excitement quivered in Gram’s belly. So much intensity, so many promises for an interesting time. He could feel the temptation building, teasing the cusp of his mind and body; it’d be terribly easy to give in and just yank this beef head’s hand away… But he had plans. They did. Compromising them now, in such a sensitive stage of the grand plot, was unwise. Patience was never Gram’s strong suit, but for this...he’d make an exception.

The serial killer shrugged. “Okay...I’ll leave the dog be.” Slowly, he released Jumbo, who watched the retreat with wide eyes. As soon as Gram was comfortable distance away, the man placed his drawings down onto the table, smoothing them out with clumsy, shaking slaps.

Gram sunk back into his seat, eyeing Pan with something loosely akin to thoughtfulness. “Oh and Pan? I’ve...got a message for you.” He grinned. “From Snowman. He said...sorry. For, you know…” His fingers wiggled mockingly, the amusement making a comeback. “Melting.”

Rolling her eyes, Pandora returned to her seat, having lost the taste for arts and crafts, “Yeah… I’m sure he’s real broken up about it.” She retorted, with a tired roll of her eyes, “Tell him not to worry his pasty little head. I’ll survive.”

I’ll survive, she said...It made a laugh bubble up the back of Gram’s throat. He shrugged, resting his feet on the table once more. “Everyone shoots...the messenger,” he muttered, head falling back and eyes fluttering closed. His chest rose and fell steadily, almost peacefully, as his mind rested along the border between awake and unconscious. Nothing more escaped him.

Sloppily, Jumbo went back to doodling on the clean side of his paper. However, unlike the last drawing, there was a heavy hint of concentration in his eyes and he moved with as much grace as his fingers could allow, which still wasn’t much. Once he was finished, he slapped it onto the table and slowly, ever so carefully, he slid it to the edge towards Pan and Chloe. Then snatched his hand back quickly.

In horrid handwriting, it read: tank u.
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