CLOSED SIGNUPS Skeletons in the Closet

Discussion in 'GROUP RP IN CHARACTER' started by Fox of Spades, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. [​IMG]
    Charlotte felt awkward. Without Wendy around, she was the outsider among this group of friends. She believed they’d like some alone time right now but she didn’t have anywhere else to go. Well, anywhere safe. The maid called as little attention to herself as possible by standing next to Ella’s cupboard.

    Miss Kelsey looks awfully cold, she thought after seeing London put her jacket around the girl’s shoulders. Charlotte rummaged through the cupboard and pulled out a familiar trench coat. She presented it to Kelsey with a shy smile.

    “I believe this is yours,” she spoke very softly. “I washed and mended it for you. I didn’t get a chance to return it, because you were in the Servants’ Quarters. The main household staff aren’t allowed in there.”

    Peter never liked putting guests in that building. Kelsey had been the first in a very long time. Despite their repeated warnings, Kelsey tried to escape instead of enjoying Henbard’s hospitality. Her last attempt led her down a newly discovered corridor and that was the last they ever saw of her.

    Charlotte knew in her heart of hearts that Peter probably left the door open to tempt Kelsey. He didn’t want her to leave so soon. Joseff was the only exception! Peter felt that the greedy Shiba Inu ate far too much for them to keep up with his voracious appetite. Peter preferred avoiding Bellwoods as much as possible, so he only brought back food when they were expecting guests. This was the reason why they had food in the freezer that dated back to the 1950s. Their fridge was that old!

    She started backing away from Kelsey when the group asked her about The Rabbit Hole. She stopped to think. What should she tell them? The place was a strange part of the house that Master Paul refused to let the children visit. He even forbade Michael from entering. It was far too dangerous, he would repeat every now and then. He was so mad when Salem disobeyed him. The young master had gotten lost inside and Master Paul had to go and save him. Master Salem refused to talk about that place after that. He looked absolutely terrified whenever someone mentioned it.

    “I’ve entered twice. Each time I went there the place was different. I don’t even know how Master Paul finds his way around. He says that we can find our way around if we are wanted there.”

    Charlotte fidgeted uncomfortably. “It’s like a dream world. Nothing makes sense there. It’s like Narnia or Wonderland. You can’t tell the difference between reality and make believe. I don’t like it there.”

    She knew her answer was very vague, but she didn’t want to elaborate. Talking about the place brought back horrible memories that she’d rather keep buried deep inside her mind. She didn’t find it very comforting to know that the Garden was even more terrifying than the Rabbit Hole.

    “The entrance is on the first floor. Um, I’ll be happy to answer your questions later. I think it’s best if we head to the kitchen and have some food like Miss Marten suggested. I’m sure Miss Kelsey would appreciate a cup of warm cocoa or coffee. There’s a medical kit stored there too. You can use it to treat your injuries.”

    Her eyes fell on Ethan briefly as she spoke the last bit. She saw the dried blood caking the bandages binding his injured shoulder. The bleeding might have subsided but it would be better to get the wound cleaned. She didn’t want anyone to get sick after they escape. Well, if they escape. She added the last bit forlornly. The puzzles were going to get harder and that meant they were less likely to succeed.

    “Can someone please grab Han’s scarf? Someone will need to carry Master Kindall too,” she instructed. “After that, please follow me. I’ll lead you to the stairs.”
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    “Caw caw!” Lenore greeted.

    “Oh hi, Lenore!” Charlotte greeted.

    She stretched out her arm and allowed the bird to perch on it. She stroked the raven’s head gently. “I’m glad to see you’re okay. Would you like to lead us instead? I know you will know where it’s safe.”

    Lenore cocked her head to the side then took off again. Charlotte motioned for the guests to follow the bird. She waited until everyone had exited the room before she looked around it one last time. Good! They took everything this time. she thought.



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    The Kitchen

    Charlotte flipped the switch near the door and the whole kitchen was flooded with light. “I think we can spread out and use the dining room too,” she suggested. “We could leave Master Kindall propped up near the pumpkin display.”

    She cranked up the gas and lit the stove using a match. Warmth began filling up the room, as Charlotte filled up a large brass kettle with water. The antiquated stove looked odd considering the newer kitchen equipment on the counters beside it. Things like a shiny blender, a juicer, a panini press and a toaster oven. It was a detail that no longer bothered Charlotte. She learned to make do with whatever she could find in the kitchen.

    “I’m sure we have a waffle iron that looked like it came from frontier era in one of the cupboards. There’s also a wash tub from the same period. We have a Chinese wok too and, strangely, an actual cauldron.”

    She chuckled as she felt someone staring at the weird assortment of utensils. “I’m looking for a carving knife at the moment. I believe it appears in the fridge sometimes. He tries to help us keep organised but he doesn’t know where each item should be kept. The strangest thing I ever encountered was finding a mousetrap among the onion and garlic.”

    “Can someone help me find some ingredients? We have eggs usually. I think he brought back an ostrich egg the other day. He also brought back a nest of eggs - I think they are robin eggs? We have jelly beans somewhere, cups of instant ramen, condensed milk … spam? Um flour, yes. Probably coconut flour and baking soda. I think there is cabbage, carrots, onions, mushrooms and eggplants.”

    She frowned as she tried to remember what other items she had seen around. “There’s pudding in a cup, several bags of potato chips, chocolate sauce, honey dating back to 1985 and several french loaves. He stole a cake and some tarts the other day too. Oh and a plastic bag from Five Loaves Mini Mart. I believe it was filled with chocolate bars, canned coffee, twiggies, canned soup, bottled bolognese sauce and dried spaghetti. I’m not sure what twiggies are but Master Salem had one and enjoyed it.”
     
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    Jace had no reason to apologize. If she hadn't wandered off into the woods and gotten herself shanghai'd away to some horror house, Ana would have never found herself in this situation. Her childhood friend's disappearance was on her hands - neither London's words of comfort or Jace's brotherly hug could tell her otherwise. "I should have listened to Kindle," she sputtered quietly through her tears. The day she'd gone to look for Joseff, Kindle and Ethan had specifically told to at least wait for one of the others. She ignored them and her foolishness was the reason they were all living through literal hell at this very moment.

    If they made it out, she doubted she'd ever be able to look Ana's parents in the eyes ever again.

    It's not your fault Jace, she wanted to tell him. It's not your fault. The blame was hers, solely hers and nobody else's. She hated that her friends were suffering because of her, so she held Jace tight - and when Ethan arrived - she held onto him just as tightly. Ana was gone, but the rest were still here, still in her grasp. Jace was right, they had to try and find Ana.

    Being smothered in her friends' loving embrace seemed to do wonders, and eventually the crying sputtered out into soft sniffles. It was around then that Marten suggested food and Charlotte approached her with a familiar coat in hand. Too worn out to properly thank the woman, Kelsey settled for a nod and accepted the piece of clothing thankfully. She blocked out the rest of the talk about the feared 'rabbit hole' and puzzles. The night was far from over, but she took the chance to recover from the bad news.

    Thankfully, the others were more attentive. While some of her friends tended to Kindle, she stood up and reached for the lone scarf. Would they find Ana after they helped the residents, or was this all a lost cause?



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    The last thing Kelsey wanted to do was eat. If anything, thinking about Ana's uncertain fate left her feeling sick to her stomach. So when Charlotte began discussing food as if the whole night had been nothing but a slumber party gone wrong, she remained sitting listlessly beside Kindle's unconscious body. She was worried about him too. The last thing she remembered was seeing the orderlies pin him to the ground. They'd given him something... it couldn't have been good.

    "Kindle?" She reached for his shoulder. He was warmer now that he had the blanket around him. Marten's friction technique seemed to have done him a world of good. "Kindle." A groan, a sign of life. A wave of relief washed through her. Even though her bespectacled friend remained unconscious, it was at least a good sign.
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    As the humans lingered around, Joseff got straight to work. Charlotte had said his favorite word over a handful of times: food. And the Shiba Inu understood it well. Food meant it was time for them to eat. Whenever Matt said the word, he knew his food bowl would be waiting for him on the kitchen floor.

    Joseff stuck his nose into the air and began to sniff. It led him to a small cabinet beneath the sink. "Borf borf!" If any of the humans listened to him and opened the wooden doors, they would be greeted by the sight of a birds nest and several eggs.
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    While the Shiba Inu continued his excited barking, Castor made his way beneath the dining table and rested his head between his paws. Had he not been too upset about Ella, the Doberman would have given the noisy, sorry excuse for a dog a piece of his mind. Too tired to do that, he let out two sharp barks in hopes of getting his point across.
     
    #302 Fox of Spades, May 6, 2018
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
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    Jace released Kelsey from the embrace once her tears had dried, replaced by sniffles. He wiped his face with the hem of his sleeve and sniffled a little. While guilt and sadness over the situation remained, it didn't weigh down on them so heavily; being able to mourn with each other seemed to make them feel even just a tiny bit better. For now, it was enough. There were other, more important matters at hand than getting upset. The only one who wasn't visibly upset was London. On the contrary, she was writing in her Cryptodex almost like normal. Jace supposed that she was writing down what had happened thus far and, in spite of his curiosity, didn't steal a peek at her book.

    "Just like Alice in Wonderland." He muttered. Charlotte's description of the Rabbit Hole sounded like a nightmarish mushroom trip - the exact kind of shroom trip that Milton had suggested Henbard was. "Aren't those supposed to be psychedelic?" He wondered, dismissing the idea entirely, not that he ever believed it. This was something supernatural, other-worldly even; and it was definitely real. If the Rabbit Hole was supposed to be worse.... Jace didn't favor the thought of going in. His stomach growled at Marten's mention of food. While he wasn't in any particular mood to eat now, Charlotte was right; they needed to replenish their strength while they still had the chance.

    "Here, take this. I'll get Milton." Jace removed the backpack and handed it to Kelsey, likewise handing the golf bag to Ethan. With Ethan's shoulder in bad shape, he didn't need to carry anything heavier than that. "Help me get him up?" He addressed Marten, crouching beside the comatose Sherlock. With a little maneuvering, they were able to get Milton on Jace's back with the blanket. It trailed on the floor behind him like a long cape.

    Jace was surprised to see Lenore, who he hadn't even realized hadn't been on his shoulder as of late. Actually, he was pretty sure the last time he noticed the raven was back in the attic. Thanks to her, they safely navigated their way to the kitchen; not that there should have been any more dolls to worry about. Wasn't that over now that Ella was gone? Of course, there were still some horrors to worry about, such as the tiny pumpkin and the vines from before not to mention whatever new ones that Butzy might think up.

    The kitchen and dining room were just as they'd been left, empty of little but old food. That didn't stop Jace from checking in a few of the cabinets; however, making sure there were no atrocities waiting to jump out at them. Upon Charlotte's suggestion, he took Milton to the dining room and carefully set him down beside the pumpkin display. He propped him up against it, fixed his glasses on his face, and adjusted the blanket around him.

    "Are you planning on sleeping all night?" Jace joked dryly. "That's gotta suck, getting drugged twice in one night." He grasped either side of Milton's face, checking to see if he had warmed up or not. His skin didn't feel as cold.
     
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    Hugs. They were coming in, and quick. London watched as her friends wrapped Kelsey up in a hug, even leaning away just enough to give them room, the motion enough to withdraw her hand from the crying girl's back. She'd been rubbing circles, trying to calm her as well as her own mind. An attempt to focus on her writing more than the melancholic atmosphere. Did that make her a jerk? Probably. Was it necessary? Definitely. Documenting everything we encounter is important, she told herself. It was just an added bonus that it served as an avid distraction.

    When Charlotte spoke up about the Rabbit Hole, London's eyes shot to the maid. The description sounded... dangerous. Would Butzy be like the Queen of Hearts? The White Witch? She didn't want to acknowledge that the answer was most likely yes. If the Rabbit Hole truly was like Alice in Wonderland or Narnia, they were in trouble; the fear of suddenly seeing her own mother, or at least some demonized, goopy version of her, pouring blood out of her chest became even more tangible.

    Their worst nightmares were not so far away.

    London said nothing more as they left the room. Just gripped her Cryptodex and katana, the only two things left from her handing over Adelaide's jacket. With Hans' scarf and Charlotte's rosary as someone else's responsibility she felt relieved; one less tough decision for her to make down the line.

    The Kitchen

    Upon entering the kitchen, London stamped down the urge to help the others get Kindall somewhere to rest. He had plenty of company already, what with Jace and Kelsey trying to wake him up. Instead, she turned her attention to Charlotte and what she might need. Something about eggs of... ostrich descent? Robin eggs?

    Didn't Henbard have any normal eggs from a chicken? London wasn't exactly an adventurous eater.

    Luckily for her, though, Charlotte mentioned instant ramen. She perked up immediately, brows lifting. "Coffee and ramen?" It seemed too good to be true. Glancing around the kitchen, eyes lingering on each cupboard and drawer, London relied on Charlotte when she couldn't find the small paper cup of preserved noodles. "Um... I can make the ramen myself, so... uh, where is it, exactly...?" She could make her own coffee, too, but several of her friends already expressed a desire for caffeine and it wouldn't be going out of Charlotte's way to make a cup.

    At her feet Joseff started barking. She followed his line of sight: a small cabinet beneath the sink. Wasn't that where they first found him, munching on chicken wings? London smiled. "You must really like this spot," she mused thoughtfully before opening it.

    "Uhh..." London didn't know what to say. Inside was a literal bird's nest and several eggs. Butzy stole that whole thing? Why had he not just taken the eggs? She found its absurdity oddly endearing, like a puppy tripping over its own paws or a shy, socially awkward girl trying her best to navigate social situations.

    Wait, no. Butzy did that.
    Cabrón.


    She could forgive the Henbard residents, but she could not - would not - do the same for their master. Never. Grabbed a handful of eggs instead and brought them to Charlotte without a word, making sure to close the cabinet behind her.

    Out of sight, out of mind.
     
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    Lenore flew down and perched on a chair nearby Jace. She cocked her head to the right. The black haired human seemed different somehow. Less sure of himself and very shaken. It reminded her of her master after he chased Adelaide and Paul down the tunnel. He called it fear. The concept in itself was foreign to Lenore. All she cared about was being alert and surviving.

    “Caw!” she chided.

    Her head straightened as she fixed her eyes on Jace. She stared intently into his eyes, showing her disapproval. He needed to be like he was before. Otherwise, he wasn’t any different from the other humans in the group - useless.

    “Caw? Caw caw!”

    She flapped her wings in agitation. Jace seemed to respond too slowly for her liking. Unhappy about the current situation, the bird took flight and perched on his head. She tapped his forehead lightly with her beak as she did whenever Salem was acting silly.

    “Caw, caw!”



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    “Borf, borf!” Jo woofed proudly.

    He wagged his tail in anticipation when London pulled out the nest. He poked his nose against the nest and tried to peer within. He knew this smell! It smelled like the birds that visited Red Copper. Birds that Matt’s uncle hunted and cooked for them. Saliva began collecting in his mouth.

    Jo gave a gurgly bark. “Woof, woof, woof.”

    He pranced around as the nest vanished out of sight onto the table. The Shibe Inu sniffed the air again. He let out excited yipps as he dashed over to the oven. He pawed it energetically. Inside, he smelled a vanilla sponge cake, cookies and yummy fried chicken. The chicken smelled a little old but it was still good.

    Seeing how no one was responding to his pleas, Jo ran back towards London and nipped at her ankles. “Borf! Borf, borf!”

    He gave her ankle one last bite then bounced back towards the oven. He waited for a bit before he dashed off towards his next discovery - the cabinet under the sink. He noticed an earthy smell that reminded him of Matt’s favourite truffle fries. He was positively drooling. Truffle fries were his favourite! He jumped around like an overgrown puppy, hoping that one of the kids would hurry over. He wanted truffle fries more than anything.



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    “Here you go!” Charlotte said to Ethan.

    She handed him the first aid box she found in the freezer. She suspected that most of the ointments and creams wouldn’t be usable but the fresh bandages should help. “Now let me ask around and see if someone can help you with your shoulder!”

    The first non-distracted person she bumped into was Marten. Charlotte beamed. “Excuse me, Miss Marten! Can you help Master Ethan tend to his injured shoulder? Cleaning up the wound and binding in fresh bandages should keep nasty infections at bay.”

    She paused remembering the thumb tacks. “After that, can you please check on the others too? Help them apply some antiseptic cream on the pricks. I’ll bring a basin of warm water to help you thaw it out.”

    Enroute back to the stove, she threw open several cupboards. She managed to find cooking oil, carrots, celery sticks, onions, bullion cubes, eight cups of instant ramen and a packet of Szechuan peppercorns. She placed all these on the table.

    “Nice! Looks like you found some eggs!” She commented at London’s find. “Try the broom closet after you help Jo! Joyce found potatoes and canned coffee there the other day. Well, she found lots of scarves and gloves too. Not sure how those go together.”

    She chuckled at the thought. Life in Henbard was unpredictable to say the least. She remembered the time Master Paul fell asleep in his bathtub and woke up to find a familh of ducks swimming around him. There was also this time when Madam found several school bags inside the library. The books had been sorted according to color and slotted between Master Salem’s favourite novels. Master Salem wasn’t thrilled to be asked to read Fifty Shades of Gray to the household that evening. It was one of the most (um) memorable reading sessions to say the least.
     
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    Kelsey didn't really care about the food, but if she stayed idle she'd think about Ana and Kindle and whether or not the two would be alright. Thinking about all the what ifs was far from pleasant, so she picked herself up and nodded thankfully in Charlotte's direction. "Good find, Joseff." It didn't sound the least bit sincere, but the Shiba Inu seemed to perk up at the praise. "Let me get that for you." Joseff had already led London to... a bird's nest? The least she could do was pitch in so everyone would have more to eat. Kelsey closed the distance between Kindle and the cabinet and she wrapped her fingers around the handle just as Joseff came trotting over to have a peek.

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    "Borf borf!" Joseff spun in place as if he were a puppy chasing after his own stubby tail. The Shiba Inu had never been the most patient dog out there, especially when food was involved.

    "Wait a sec, okay?"

    "Borf borf!"

    Kelsey pulled open the cabinet, revealing what appeared to be a bundle of mushrooms. Truffles? She was far from a fungi expert, but weren't those supposed to be rare and expensive? "Hey, Jace?" She called out. "Are these safe to eat?" The last thing any of them wanted was an acid trip in the middle of an Alice in Wonderland themed nightmare.

    Deciding to busy herself, Kelsey left the original find open to inspection before making her way to the broom closet. Just like Charlotte said there were some bottles of canned coffee and some potatoes. They'd have enough for a decent meal at least. She grabbed a potato and dumped it onto the kitchen sink. "We could make hash browns and omelettes."

    All the trivial talk about food felt pointless. Simply busying herself with finding ingredients felt pointless. At the end of the day, they'd be going down some rabbit hole to deal with even more terrors. She was worried they wouldn't be able to take much more of this. Kindle was out cold, Ethan was injured, and none of them were coping too well with the loss of Ana. More of this, and she wasn't quite sure she'd be able to hold on too. She pursed her lips and tried to think of happier things. It didn't work.

    Quietly, she made her way toward Jace.

    "Do you really think we'll find Ana and make it out of here?" Not the most encouraging words, which was why she tried to keep her voice as low. "The rabbit hole, it doesn't sound... good." Nothing about Henbard had been good. "Ethan's bleeding, I don't know if he can take more of this, and we're not even sure if Kindle will wake up soon." It was unfair, asking Jace to answer something that was completely out of their control. "We're all tired. We can't take much more of this."
     
    #306 Fox of Spades, May 10, 2018
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
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    A wonderland of sorts? The fact that Charlotte didn't sound so enthusiastic nor privy to the intricacies of the whole Rabbit Hole thing left them just as stumped as they were before. With luck and a little bit of hope, the Wonderland she was speaking of could be more similar to the Disney version, and he sure as hell didn't hope it was anything like the American McGee's one. "Sounds like the Rabbit Hole is closer to the Velvet Room." A place between dreams and reality? Where the unconscious and conscious minds meet? Next thing you know there's gonna be tarot cards flying everywhere and doing magical shit.

    Ethan's eyes perked up, a small grin plastered on his face when Charlotte suggest that they all head to the kitchen. No time like the present after all, and the present stated that they needed food, pronto.

    The boy had to admit, the kitchen at Henbard was some fancy stuff than what he had back at home in the city, definitely a step up above and beyond. Idly, he wondered what kind of dish he could make for himself and/or everyone else with the ingredients and tools they had here, but before he could inspect any further, Charlotte had handed him a first-aid kit. Not exactly the thing he was hoping to get his hands on.

    Ethan sighed, he had been mustering up strength up until this point in their journey, but his wounds were just going to get worse as time went on if they weren't treated right. Jokingly, he puffed up his chest and put his hands on his hips, stating that, "Don't worry, I'm tough as nails!" all with a goofy grin on his face. It was no use though, they didn't seem to fall for it though. "Sweet of you to care, Kels." He said, jokingly. But who was he kidding? If Preston were here right now he would treat these wounds as best as he could, and that usually amounted to lots of Google searching and watching videos on his phone while simultaneously treating him. He would always make a fuss after his matches about "those other big boys knowing when to take it easy on that cute ass of yours." Visions of his boyfriend probably dead-worried about him right now wasn't going to help, and neither was Kelsey's increasingly stressful ranting.

    Maybe it was the JRPG protagonist inside of him, something that wanted to give an embarrassingly long-winded speech about friendship and hope being able to conquer the evils of the world. "Kelsey..." He said, looking at her with one of the most serious expressions he had ever done. "It's not like we have a choice. You either keep fighting and moving forward, or sit around like an ass waiting for death." He glanced around everyone currently in the room, "And I don't know about you guys, but I'd rather die trying to escape this place instead of just moping around."
     
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    At the mention of instant ramen, London was fully prepared to ditch Jo and grab herself a quick bite. The fluffy dog, on the other hand, had other ideas; before she could head towards Charlotte and watch her prepare the noodles - something London was really picky about, despite it being an instant meal - Jo had nipped at her ankle. "H-Hey!" She scowled down at him, but he didn't seem to pay much mind. Instead, he nipped again. Gently, of course, because Jo was a sweet boy. Sighing, she let him guide her to their next ingredients stash.

    Luckily for her, Kelsey beat her to it. While Jo distracted himself with the contents of the cabinet, London slipped away and headed back towards Charlotte... only to have a sense of responsibility keep her away from ramen yet again. She swiveled on her heel towards the broom closet.

    "On it," she said. Pulled the door open to reveal some more ingredients; potatoes and canned coffee, just like Charlotte described. Unable to help herself, London grabbed a can of coffee and popped the lid before chugging several gulps. It was black and bitter, her favorite, and while she usually didn't chug the caffeinated drink she was more than happy to jump start the buzz of energy. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she dropped down several potatoes on the counter by Charlotte.

    Coffee and ramen (eventually) would be more than enough for her, but she would still help feed the others. So long as she didn't actually have to cook anything; nobody wanted that catastrophe.

    Having found several ingredients already, London relaxed next to the counter with her coffee. For a little while, that is; she caught sight of Marten helping out Ethan's wounded shoulder and felt obligated to help, despite the fact she knew little first aid. Everyone was busying themselves with either finding food or tending to the wounded. If she were to just stand around, what would that make her? Lazy. Which she was, but she didn't want to be in such dire times.

    "I'll help," she said, setting down her half-guzzled can of coffee on the counter and going to Marten's aid. Ethan's shoulder didn't look too pleasant. Salem really did a number on him. What can I do to help? London wasn't versed in the processes of first aid that extended beyond ice packs, but she could maybe add some antiseptic...? Sort of...? Erm...

    Her eyes caught Jace, who she knew had fallen on several tacks during the fight. That would be an easier job than tending to Ethan. Surely Marten could handle it? Yeah, she's got this. She's Marten, after all. Still, even as London made her way over to Jace and Kindall, several first aid supplies in tow, she couldn't help but feel guilty. Way to cop out of a difficult situation, London.

    Clearing her throat to grab Jace's attention, London's eyes darted between him and the first aid supplies in her hands. "Uh... how are the pricks on your back doing...?"
     
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    "Hey." Jace snapped as Lenore swooped down over his head to perch on a nearby chair. "What are you looking at?" He said flatly to the raven as he met her gaze. She seemed to chastise him with her crows and agitated flapping of her wings, but for what, he couldn't quite comprehend. He turned back to Milton, a little annoyed with the bird. "Hey, sleeping beauty, you really ought to wake up." Jace remarked to his sleeping friend. It was a little disconcerting that he was still asleep. Kelsey had said the people in the painting gave him something. What did they give patients in asylums way back when? He frowned, eyes trained on his friend. At least he was still breathing and he had warmed up a bit. Did he need to warm up more? He was already cocooned in Ella's blanket. "If the only thing that'll wake you up is a kiss, you're out of luck... unless Marten...." Jace rambled under his breath, cheeks burning at the very thought.

    Tap tap tap.

    "HEY! Knock it off!" Jace barked, swatting at Lenore as she tapped his forehead with her beak. It felt just like when Nita would nag at him to hurry up in the bathroom. The idea that she wanted something niggled at the back of his mind, but it was bulwarked by something else. "Huh?" He turned to see what Kelsey was inquiring about. Were those truffles? As a wilderness man, Jace was well acquainted with mushrooms and which ones were edible; however, he wasn't a fan of mushrooms to begin with. That and there was no telling how long those had been there, given that there was sixty-year-old food in this kitchen. "Er, probably, but I wouldn't risk it." Jace scrunched his face up and shook his head. If Milton's mushroom theory had any merit, those truffles were not a risk worth taking. He looked up at her from where he was crouched beside Kindall.

    It was apparent Kelsey felt very much the same as he did, the same as perhaps they all did. The situation was precarious; there were no guarantees of finding Ana or making it out of Henbard, much less of both happening. As much as he wanted to remain positive, it was growing increasingly difficult to keep believing it. He wanted to hope, but hope was dim, shrouded in a cloud of guilt and grief.

    "I want to believe it, but.." Jace started, interrupted by Ethan's pragmatic words - very similar to the ones he had spoken only earlier that night. "Don't you think we all get that?" He snapped, shooting his gym buddy a glare over his shoulder. "No one said we weren't going to try, but we're kind of at a loss here. In more ways than one." Jace huffed. Where was that instinct when he needed it? A throat cleared beside him and he drew in a sharp breath through his nose, ready to blow up. It fizzled away when he realized it was London.

    "I, uh, I'm not sure. I stopped noticing." He answered tentatively, and looked down at himself. In the escape to the ballroom and the haste of trying to get Ella to sleep, Jace had completely forgotten about the stinging sensations. A few pinches returned now that he remembered. "I never really even stopped to look." He slid his jacket off and lifted the sweater over his head. His hair tumbled over his bare, broad shoulders. A few strands escaped down his back.
     
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    She felt really awful, exceedingly awful for being a Silent Susan as she was. Usually there was always something to say. Chipper this. And 'Buck up' that. Those things always worked for her. Pep talk was to Marten what food was to the excitable Jo. However, as domestic as their cozy kitchen scene appeared to be, the grunette knew that things were very tense. I should have kept my damn conscience on a leash for once.

    Maybe if she had let Ana's situation stay vague a little while longer they would have been able to find a better way to tell Kelsey. Perhaps they should have waited until the ever logical Kindall woke up. "Sorry, E... this is gonna hurt.." She offered quietly to the big guy. Just because she was aptly keeping her mouth shut didn't mean she wasn't following directions. Letting the others scope for food helped her feel like less of a jerk for mentioning it in the midst of anguish.

    So she let Charlotte hook her up with the meds to play nurse again. Of course, she couldn't leave her best friend hanging either, "Thanks, Bridge." Gently prying away the bloodied old bandages, she could help wincing knowing that they probably hurt something fierce to be tugging like that. Ugh, so mangled... looks like burgers! Burgers would be so good right now actually... and a shake.

    Poor Ethan, was he really just suffering in silence? Thankfully the wounds didn't seem horribly deep, and if they had really wrecked him, they would have known by now, considering the only way to stop bleeding from a major vein or artery was a tourniquet and surgery, both of which they had neither. Ethan was damn lucky for it too. Her heart bled for the possibility of losing a friend not to mention in a way so awful.

    The frown on her face would mirror her dark thoughts, but she brushed them away and replaced them with focus, working diligently to numb, clean and bandage up her friend. The good news was that since she actually had a big first aid kit, family sized actually, to work with Marten was able to clean up most of the blood. And with that cleared away Ethan looked more like had had a bad run in with a pitchfork as opposed to fighting off a monster boy. Plus with the novocaine, he should actually be able to enjoy some relief from any throbbing or pain. After the clean bandages were applied, she couldn't help smiling. "That should feel way better now. And look what I found!" She'd grin holding up a packet that clearly read "Smelling Salts". They might be able to wake Kindle with them!
     
    • Love Love x 5
  11. [​IMG]
    Humans were such strange creatures. They reminded Lenore of dumb pigeons milling around Bellwoods Plaza. Those dumb birds cluster together making themselves an easy target for predators. This group was no different. They were taking for too long to leave.

    She flapped her wings in agitation. Her instincts told her that He was on the prowl. He wanted those items Salem had hidden away. She cawed to warn them but her cries were lost amidst all that chatter. Lenore fell silent and took off.

    The raven left the kitchen as discreetly as she could with one goal in mind - finding Hans’ stolen ring. Seeing the small pumpkin earlier reminded her of it. That annoying creature had snuck into Salem’s bedroom, took the ring out of the drawer and poofed before she could react.

    “Caw, ca-caw,” she cried.

    Maybe if she was lucky, she’d find the ring inside the house. She hadn’t seen the small pumpkin step outside before. It always lurked around in the shadows spying on them. With that in mind, she headed back upstairs to search. The humans would probably still be in the kitchen when she returned.



    [​IMG]
    Charlotte volunteered to investigate the oven. She was pleasantly surprised to discover Joyce’s stolen cake, a bag of chocolate chip cookies, a plate of jam tarts and a strange plastic bucket with the words “Kentucky Fried Chicken”. She never knew Kentucky had fried chicken neither had she tasted it before. Out of curiosity, she grabbed the bucket first and pried it open.

    “That’s disappointing,” she commented.

    The chicken looked remarkably ordinary. Nothing she would eat in all honesty. She preferred plain old chicken soup any day over greasy fried chicken. She couldn’t say the same for the rest of the family. Michael loved fried chicken, french fries and hash browns. He would pester his grandmother to make that for dinner all the time.

    Charlotte smiled very briefly at the memory before her heart grew heavy. Thinking of her friends hurt so much! She felt very lonely all of a sudden knowing that she’d never see them again. They were gone. She sighed, replacing the lid over the bucket. She knew she can’t give in to despair just yet. She had a lot left to do and thinking about the task ahead allowed her to pull herself together.

    “There’s some fried chicken here, a cake, cookies and jam tarts,” she announced to no one in particular.

    Everyone seemed busy with something or other, so she moved the goods to the table by herself. She arranged them nicely beside unopened cups of ramen and the cans of coffee.

    “Now what do I do with the rest of the items?”

    She had a decent amount of potatoes, not very usable tiny eggs, weird looking mushrooms, carrots, celery and eggplants. She figured she’d only use the potatoes and make Sister Maria’s “roasty”. The elder nun claimed that the recipe came from her German grandmother. “Roasty” as she called them were potato pancakes made from shredded potatoes flattened and fried in a skillet. As much as Charlotte loved them, she couldn’t figure out why they were called “roasty”. Didn’t roasting involve putting things into the oven to bake?

    It didn’t take long for her to find a mandolin and a steel bowl to catch the shredded potatoes. Finding the hand guard was a different story. She searched every drawer without any luck. She winced. The last thing she wanted to do was to slice open her finger. Still, this was probably the best way to shred the potatoes. She doubted she could cut anything as fine with a knife.

    She got into rhythm eventually, shredding spud after spud. She would shave them down to the smallest piece possible then throw the stub away. She knew Joyce managed to save more of the potato but she was scared to try. Charlotte was on the last potato when she noticed Jace standing up out of the corner of her eye.

    She couldn’t help sneaking a peek. Her cheeks grew warmer all of a sudden as she caught sight of him standing shirtless in front of London. Goodness!

    Her mind was in shambles. She shouldn’t be staring so much! Charlotte tried to convince herself to look away. She tried so hard not to sin. This was so wrong! She shouldn’t be looking at him like that. It was … not right. Not right at all! She was a nun. She took a vow of chastity and she shouldn’t be thinking of men in that way. Not about how attractive they were and how she felt like blushing when she saw them.

    To distract herself, she worked harder on whittling down the potato in her hand. She was about to reach the very end of the potato when the sneaky thing slipped out of her grasp. Flesh fell against steel and Charlotte was pain! The wires bit through several fingers, leaving deep cuts down their length. She jerked back with a loud gasp!

    Tears were clouding her vision from the shock earlier. Charlotte couldn’t do much save clutch her wrist and panic. She stared as the blood began pooling inside her palm and seep between the cracks of her fingers.

    “M-Miss Marten, I need the first aid kit, please,” she finally managed to gasp.
     
    • Love Love x 3
    • Thank Thank x 1
  12. [​IMG]
    Leave it to Ethan's positivity to counter the gloomy atmosphere of the room. Him and Marten would make perfect superheroes; the ones always winning in the face of adversity and reigning victorious at the end of the day, even if they actually lost, because of their upbeat attitudes. She appreciated what they did - what Ethan was trying to do - but couldn't quite share in the happy vibes. If she did, she'd only be forcing herself. They all would, probably.

    How could they be expected to smile when Kindall was still knocked out? When he might not wake up? When Ana was somewhere in Henbard, alone and in danger if not already gone for good? The answer was simple: They couldn't. At least, London didn't think so. She did not offer her two cents, though; the doll fight had drained her of all care.

    Or so she thought.

    Abort. Mission abort! London's face grew impossibly red at the sight of Jace without his shirt on. What had she been thinking, offering to help the one person whose injuries would require the removal of clothing? Nothing, apparently, because otherwise she'd have left it all to Marten and focused on making herself a hot cup of ramen. Instead, she found herself blatantly staring. London had seen shirtless guys before, of course, but usually only from a distance (or in anime form through her computer screen). Any time otherwise, she made painfully obvious efforts to stay far away from interaction, lest she find them attractive and make an idiot of herself. Still, this was Jace! Her coffee buddy! I shouldn't stare- I mean, scare. No! Care! Who would I scare, me or him? Why even...? Crap, wait, I'm still looking.

    "U-Um I see that the-... erm, there is nothing that I-..." She looked to Marten instinctively, wide eyes screaming for an out. Unfortunately, the grunette was busy tending to Ethan's shoulder, which appeared pretty mangled. Next, she sought out Kelsey. Perfect! She had a childhood history with Jace, plus she was literally right there.

    But she had also been drugged not too long ago and was still recovering. London's heart dropped. No, she couldn't ask Kelsey. She was on her own. That was fine - she could do this. She was nineteen years old for goodness' sake; it was time to stand on her own two feet! Yet, smashing sentient demon dolls somehow seemed so much easier. Where was that damn pumpkin when she needed it?

    Clearing her throat, London spoke with only a slightly clearer head this time: "I, uh, d-don't see much... but t-there are a few red spots..." Carefully, she dabbed on some ointment and worried about what else she needed to do as far as first aid went. Would he need band-aids? A bandage? Luckily for her - but unluckily for Charlotte - the maid let out a startled gasp. London gaped: There was no way she could help with that wound.

    But it did serve as the perfect out. Jace was a naturally caring person who knew quite a bit about first aid in comparison to some of the others. Gesturing awkwardly towards Charlotte with one hand and offering him the antiseptic with the other, London spoke almost too quickly to be comprehensible. "Youshould, ah, probablygohelpher." Run. Go go go. Now! "Bye."

    Without waiting for a response, London streamlined for the instant ramen cup and canned coffee.
     
    • Rofl Rofl x 3
    • Love Love x 2
  13. [​IMG]
    Did Ethan think she seriously didn't know that? If they sat around and did nothing of course they would die. There was only one way out of Henbard and, according to all the residents, that was beating Him at his own frigging game. She knew that that. Of course she knew that... but it would have been a lie if she'd said she believed they could do it. Ana was gone and Kindle was drugged and everything was going to shit and Ethan was still spouting that power-of-determination crap.

    She wanted to yell. Her head felt like it had been trampled on and she wanted to yell until she couldn't. But Ethan meant well and he was injured. Marten and London were fussing over him in the background. "I know, Ethan." She snapped. "Of course I know, but... but Ana is gone and we don't know if Kindle is going to wake up, okay?"

    Jace wasn't sure if things would be okay either, and when he paused to address Ethan, Kelsey left to prevent herself from saying anything she might regret. Her head was still in shambles and she hated how powerless she felt. There was literally nothing any of them could do for Ana. Whether her childhood friend turned up alright, it was all up in the stupid fucking air.

    She sat down beside Kindle and took a moment to compose herself. Ana was still gone but everything continued to go on: Charlotte spoke about the items in the oven and brought them out for cooking, London went to tend to Jace while Marten fixed up the resident milkman, and Kindle continued to doze off the drugs he'd been given. The room buzzed with busyness, but it was the most peaceful situation they'd been in since they'd woken up in the Haye's makeshift cellar-dungeon. Or at least, it was peaceful until a clatter resounded and until Charlotte injured herself on the mandolin.

    It was a lot of blood for a small cut...

    "Guys, do we have extra bandages?" Kelsey jolted upright and reached for the rag on the table. It wasn't ideal, but it'd have to do until they found something better. Slowly, she stood up and closed the distance between herself and Charlotte. Kelsey wrapped the rag around the woman's bleeding fingers and applied a bit of pressure. She made sure to be gentle.

    Charlotte uttered a soft thank you and Kelsey nodded as they waited for further aid.

    [​IMG]
    As the humans did their own thing, Joseff tilted his head to the side as he watched Lenore exit the kitchen. The bird always seemed to be going her own way and doing her own thing. He didn't stop her and instead rolled over onto his back as he waited for the tasty food his friends were supposed to be cooking up for dinner.
     
    • Love Love x 4
  14. [​IMG]
    The salts seemed like a good idea, but Marten actually had no medical expertise whatsoever, just a clutzoid nature and the swiftly dying skill of reading directions in entirety. Maybe she could use them on Kindle, but she didn't know if she should. Maybe it was best to let him sleep? He had been drugged, beaten, drugged again, and was probably the human incubation sack for the worst head cold this side of Stilton Creek.

    The only person she could think to ask was Jace. He was Tarzan, so maybe he knew when it was okay to force someone to wake up, not to mention he probably knew some cool remedies for just about everything. However, asking him anything while he was half naked was not at all going to happen. What the hell?! That's not even fair! It's like he's distilled girlnip! Somewhere between feminine admiration and ab-envy, the girl just gave up, inspecting Ethan's shoulders one more time before heeding the soft call of Charlotte with no little concern.

    She took the whole kit closer to the blonde nun and Kelsey, setting it a safe distance away from the potatoes on the counter. "What happened?" The question was redundant, but what could she do? Mandolins inherently sucked and Marten had long ago decided never to let one grace her kitchen. They were more danger than they were worth in her book. Good thing this kit is family sized.
     
    • Love Love x 2
    • Rofl Rofl x 2
  15. [​IMG]
    "I didn't really think there would be much. They were just tacks." Jace glanced back at London through his dark hair, watching her face turn red. Even in his precarious state of mind, he found her reaction charming and amusing. If they had made eye contact, Jace would surely have blushed and become flustered himself. The thought, though he wasn't aware, compelled him to take a closer look at her. His eyes scanned her face and panned downwards, then back up what he could see of her while staring subtly and discreetly. His cheeks flushed with warmth and Jace could even feel the outer edges of his ears burning at the realization of his actions. Slowly, he turned his head those few degrees so he was once again looking straight at Kindall.

    Charlotte's pained gasp cleared the air; the concerned utterings of his friends gave Jace something else to focus on. Without answering London, he stood and marched over to join Marten and Kelsey in fussing over Charlotte.

    "Hold it up. It should help lessen the bleeding." He instructed as he took her hand and raised it above her head. "Relax your hand; don't clench it. Kelsey, hold that rag on there." Jace said and started to rummage through her backpack for his med bag. He grabbed an alcohol wipe and handed it to Marten to open. He didn't have any bandages that would operate well on a hand and cursed himself for not packing any wrapping bandages. As was his wont, he looked around for something he could use. The first idea to occur to him was Hans's scarf, but it was questionable if the man would want it back with blood all over it. The next idea was Ethan's cape. Actually.. that wasn't such a bad idea. Jace picked up the end of the cape in one hand, then snatched his multi-tool off of his belt and flicked it open with the other. In a crude and uneven cut, he severed the bottom three inches of the cape from the rest, which was still attached to Ethan.

    "Let me know if it gets too tight." Jace told Charlotte, wrapping the long piece of fabric around her hand. While it wasn't ideal, it would work well enough to protect the cut and stop it from bleeding much more. "It might be a little stiff. You, uh, should probably just let us cook."
     
    • Love Love x 4
  16. [​IMG]
    Ethan huffed, all those spiky-haired protagonists made it seem so easy to inspire everyone. Granted, the girls in his vicinity didn't have eyes as wide as their hips nor did the guys look like the girls. Now it was Ethan's turn to be at a loss for words, even as Marten was tending to his wounds. "If this is going to be anything like watching Kindall play through Pokemon, I should be okay..." Shame that Kindall himself wasn't really feeling too hot, maybe he heard it, maybe he didn't. The boy knew that his jokes could only get them so far, and if what was happening right now was any indication, he may be nearing rock bottom as he spoke.

    The boy groaned in pain as Marten tried her best to remove the bandages on his person as painless as possible. Before Marten or anyone else could ask, he said that he was fine, and that there was no need to worry about him. His words echo in his mind, it still wasn't as bad as watching Kindall trying his hand at a video game. When Marten was done, he gave her a warm smile, offering his sincere thanks. "At this point I'm surprised you aren't my official nurse yet." He gave a small laugh to the grunette.

    "Did someone say cookies?!" Like a dog being called to attention, Ethan immediately perked up at the mention of the sweet, succulent, desert! Eagerly, he immediately went to where they were set; neatly beside some ramen and coffee. He sighed in disappointment, "Aww, no milk?" He cried out, it would be a crime to have cookies-chocolate chip, no less!-WITHOUT milk! Deciding that it would be a waste to not eat the delicious cookie, he began to wolf down one, and then two. Relishing the taste with every bite. Not quite how mother made them, but still good nonetheless. The reverie was suddenly broken however, when Charlotte let out a gasp.

    Before he could even decipher what had happened however, he suddenly felt a tugging sensation from his back. His cape to be exact. He glanced to his side to see Jace cutting up his elaborate cape to create a makeshift bandage. Ethan pouted in mock-annoyance, "Darn, I liked this cape!" his mood however did lighten at the mention of letting everyone cook, "Master Chef: Henbard Edition imminent." He jokingly exclaimed, he looked at everyone else, asking, "So, what can you guys cook? I'm more partial to pastries myself."
     
    • Love Love x 3
  17. [​IMG]
    "I cut myself on the mandolin," she whispered shyly when Marten asked her about the incident. The truth was, she'd cut herself on the mandolin because she'd been distracted when a certain someone peeled off his shirt. It was embarrassing and she found herself blushing brightly as she tried to explain herself to the grunette. "I... I wasn't looking and the blade slipped." Now she was lying to cover up the beginnings of her innocent little crush on the resident survival expert. "Thank you."

    Speaking of a certain Tarzan of Bellwoods, Jace was quick to react to her little predicament. He closed the distance between himself and the girls - still in his shirtless state - and Charlotte burned up quicker than an egg on a very hot pan. At this point, she wasn't sure if she even wanted him to help. Hoping to protect her vow, Charlotte glued her eyes onto Jace's face and nodded repeatedly like a distressed bobble head. If anyone questioned her, she would blame it on the blood loss.

    "Thank you again... for everything." Once the words had been said, she stared at her feet and listened to his instructions. Charlotte raised her arm into the air and allowed Marten, Kelsey, and Jace to tend to her. "Oh," she looked to Ethan this time, clearly flustered but trying to cover it up by busying herself. "Thank you for your cape."
    [​IMG]
    "You should be good to go." Kelsey forced a smile. "Jace is good at fixing things and people up. He's right though, you should take it easy Charlotte. We can handle the rest." She was feeling less sluggish after their impromptu wound-wrapping session and figured that keeping moving would be the best way to beat away the tiredness... and thoughts of Ana.

    "Are you sure?" Charlotte asked.

    "Yeah." It was the first time Kelsey noticed how red the maid had gotten. "You're kind of red too. Hopefully you aren't getting sick." Could the residents of Henbard catch the flu? They'd seen Salem bleed with their own eyes so it was possible.

    "I...I am?"

    When Kelsey nodded Charlotte flew into a minor panic. "I guess it must be the kitchen heat. Yes! It's quite warm here!"

    Nodding in understanding, Kelsey turned back to the ingredients on the kitchen sink. Ethan was already one step ahead of them all in the cooking department, asking about what they could make with their meager supplies.

    "I can make some omelettes or something. Ethan, you're a good cook. We don't have a lot of things but feel free to get creative? There should be enough to feed everyone. There's still some of that cake Charlotte found too." Kelsey eyed the bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. "No one eat that... just to be safe. That could have been here for decades."

    Slowly people began to pitch in until a small dinner was ready.

    ***

    Dinner Time
    [​IMG]
    "Not bad. I'd say we did a pretty good job." Kelsey eyed the small assortment of food on the table and nodded. Kindle was still asleep, but as worrying as it was, she noticed he seemed to be stirring more often too. Every now and then, their bespectacled friend would mutter something under his breath. "He'll probably be up soon." Not the most reassuring words, but she wanted to say something that would potentially make everything just a little less crappy.

    At least they had food. It had been a horrendously long night already.

    Scooping some eggs and a cookie onto her plate, she sat down beside London. "So... Jace and Charlotte, huh? When did that start happening?" She kept her voice low. It was just a little small talk to pass the time, and it was hard not to notice how furiously the maid had blushed when Jace walked up to help her with her wound. It was cute, their sweet innocent Jace was growing up.
    [​IMG]
    "Please eat as much as you can. After we go down the Rabbit Hole, you might not get another chance to rest." Charlotte had managed to calm herself down a little and was no longer as red as a tomato. "Thank you again for helping save the young miss." She bowed her head shyly. "And for the bandages." Once the thank you's had been said. She began pouring cups of coffee for everyone seated at the table.

    Below, Joseff and Castor feasted on the chicken drumsticks. It was the calm before the upcoming storm.
     
    • Love Love x 3
  18. [​IMG]
    Having stuck to coffee and a package of instant noodles (the only thing she could confidently make), London couldn't say she helped much in terms of community cooking. The idea of non-chicken eggs put her off, but she did nab herself a small piece of crunchy bacon to soak in her ramen broth. Curious, she looked down at the strip of meat. This is from a pig... right? Part of her wanted to ask about it, just to make sure, but the bacon had already touched her food. Ignorance was bliss, so she continued eating.

    When Kelsey sat down beside her London offered a small smile. She was right; it wouldn't be long until Kindall would be waking up. London thought of all the times he'd given her vitamins (What a crappy gift-giver) and prodded her out of bed (Mom really needs to stop letting everyone in my room) in order to participate in the living world. Sometimes it had been Marten, but mostly Kindall. He was annoying and motherly but he was her friend, and she would be glad to see him again. Her gaze fell on Marten, then, wondering about Kindall's declaration when they were all chained in the cellar. It initially irritated her, as Marten's best friend, thinking that developments had happened without her knowing, but she'd since realized how childish those thoughts were in comparison to everything else going on. Now all she wanted was the two to be happy. But Kindall had to wake up, first.

    When Kelsey mentioned Jace and Charlotte, however, London nearly choked on her noodles. She hadn't expected that. Washing the cough down with a big gulp of bitter coffee, she glanced Jace's way. Immediately her face warmed with embarrassment from earlier and she stared down into her bowl, instead. "A while, I think." The maid really was quite pretty, not to mention kind, so it was natural someone would like her. They would be cute together. London wanted to be happy for them, as she was when any of her friends became involved with someone, but the thought of the two falling for each other twisted something awful in her gut.

    "I... erm... It seems like..." a bad idea? The worst of timing? An awful setting, scenario, what-have-you for romance? London poked at the noodles absently. Saying any of those things would make her seem like a downer, and the mood had just lifted. "Um... it's sweet." Heeding Charlotte's warning, London scarfed down what remained of her meal and went to dispose of it, if only to get away from the whispered conversation sooner. Normally she wasn't so averse to Girl Talk or gossip, but this felt... different.

    The stakes are higher in Hell, I guess.

    With her food bowl empty, London found herself at a loss for something to do. Perhaps asking questions would help pass the time and better prepare them for what was to come. "Charlotte," Flipping to a blank page of her Cryptodex, London pressed the red crayon to the page. She felt like an interviewer. It made her nervous. "What, uh, can you tell us about the Rabbit Hole? Erm.. tips and tricks to, uh, not dying." Or losing our minds. "Also we, like... um... Okay, so, we kind of-... we saw someone die when we first got here. A f-friend we left at home but, well, it wasn't actually him a-and..." London took a deep breath, realizing then that it may have been the first time she herself mentioned the memory at all out loud. Talking about it left a sour taste on her tongue. "He-... he turned to goop. Is that what the Rabbit Hole is like, or...?"
     
    #318 Cartoonicat, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    • Love Love x 4
  19. [​IMG]
    The young man put his arms behind his back, adopting a relaxed pose and gave a big grin to Charlotte, "As long as I don't have to pay for it!" He remarked, jokingly. Afterwards, he turned to Kelsey, who seemed to be at least lighting up, even for just a little bit. Omelettes were fine and all, but they weren't going to fill any empty stomachs. Okay, perhaps there were a scant few out there that did eat omelettes and decided that it was enough to start their day, but not Ethan.

    "You flatter me way too much, Kels."
    He gave out a small laugh, idly wondering if there was anyone in the room beyond Kelsey and Kindall who had even had a chance to taste his cooking, it gave the young man a sense of anxiety, the lingering thought of "What if they don't like it?" was creeping up on him. He shook his head, feet carrying him to the various counters and cupboards. He'll just have to make sure that they do like it.

    He looked at the random assortment of ingredients that they had lying around. Immediately, he began to gather what he needed into a neat, little corner of the kitchen. An eggplant, two pieces of carrots, three sticks of celery, some of those unidentifiable mushrooms that he hopes won't turn out to be poisonous. "You guys are in luck! I can make some Quinoa with Mushroom and Eggplant Stuffing! Should be enough to feed all of us, I hope."

    Their meal decided, the young man began to make preparations. He washed his hands and the cutlery in the nearby sink, then making quick work of the vegetables, setting them into a wooden cutting board. Chopping and dicing with refined ease, he settled into a rhythm as he did, humming some song from a game whose name escapes him at the moment. Time passed, and soon, a delectable aroma wafted around the kitchen.

    "Maybe I should've packed spices..." Idly, Ethan wondered as he tasted his vegetable stock. He couldn't find any marjoram lying around, but luckily there was oregano in stock. Making a careful note not to use too much of it. More time passed, and his dish was thankfully looking just like it did when his mother showed him. "Hmmm, could use some more salt and pepper." He took a tablespoon from the pan of sauteed quinoa and vegetables, testing if it was just right now to serve. After a few more rounds of folding, the dish was ready to be served! Grabbing a nearby serving bowl, Ethan carefully placed the contents of the pan into the bowl. And, afterwards, set it down neatly into the dining table. No doubt, his friends have waited for a while.

    ***

    Dinner Time

    [​IMG]
    "What can I say? Chez Ethan is always open!" The titular cook proudly proclaimed. This was one of the rare moments in the hell hole that is Henbard Chateau that had a sense of normalcy for once, something that made Ethan all the more anxious when Charlotte said some rather grim words. Trying to disregard such thoughts, Ethan just had to make sure that neither he nor his friends were going to be dying any time soon. "Aw c'mon, London!" He said in response to her bringing up some rather....troubling memories and visions of Matt. "Just pray that we don't see anymore people close to us sharing the same treatment as quote-unquote Matt."
     
    • Love Love x 3
  20. [​IMG]
    Oooh, Jace and London sitting in a tree..! If they weren't in the middle of this puzzlebox mansion of doom, she might have actually sang the childish rhyme. Marten may have been as equally preoccupied as everyone else in this horrifically long night, but if there were someone she had always secretly kept an eye on it had been her sophie... Ahem, that was, sophomore bestie, London.

    The last time they had really talked at all had been during their baths in the beginning of the whole debacle. Everything else had been tense as hell was expected to be! But under her dark lashes, she peered with perusing eyes the flush of her friend near the resident He-man. I ship it. I gotta get Kelsey to help me set them up. OMG! The babies! The babies would have...like hair over 9000! No, 10000! They must procreate! The world needs their children to exist..

    Okay, so her thoughts were spastic, but seriously her little heart fluttered with the amount of internal gushing she was doing, even as she nodded her head at poor Charlotte's plight. The woman was sweet- And doomed. She was pretty too... Don't forget doomed. And of course, she really was good-natured. Doom, doom, d-doomy, doom! See! Gir understands! Gosh dangit, girl, the ship has sailed! Let it go! This woman is going to turn to stone!

    Pity flashed briefly as she smiled genuinely saying, "I understand. We'll patch you up like it never happened." Well, techinically, Jace was, because it was Jace, everyone's friendly neighborhood big brother. Anyone would like him, but as his Merten she was going to make sure only viable ships sailed. Everything else was getting sunk, because friendship.

    Seeing that she wasn't much needed, she went to scan the food collection for something she actually desired. Ethan seemed to have the right idea. Cookies were safe. "Good pick, milkman..." She'd mumble around a mouth of sugary carbs. At least she'd get energy somewhere. And the coffee would make sure that she didn't crash. Eventually after everything that needed heat was cooked, she'd reluctantly eat the eggs for the B12 and silently lament the baby birds.

    And then London started making sense and she was stuck behind a growing sense of dread and being excited that Kindall was going to wake up soon... N-not that I like I want to kiss his face or anything like that though! The stress was eating away at all parts of her brain that regulated her propensity for nonsense. She would not let her confession be in a haunted house! Rejected!

    "Oh god, I hope not. It has to be a metaphor right? Maybe like a super twisted up version of this place? It's already like Pan's Labyrinth in here..." She'd look from London to Charlotte hoping for someone to agree. She didn't want to even entertain the thought of having to go through a mindrape level before getting to the end of the came. This is like Deadspace all over again... Except... I'd still rather be here than with those gross out aliens... You know what. Bring it. Bring on the Rabbit Hole. If I can make it 3/4 of the way through Deadspace, I can choke Butzy with his own tentacles!
     
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