You are a young adult female working a job you hate.
Your co-workers are people you can't really relate to at all, but you figure time would pass a lot quicker if you could find SOMETHING to relate to them with.
Today is a short day for you, and it's almost the end of your shift. There are no customers to deal with, and it's kind of slow; You figure now is the best time to try and talk to them.
There are three other people with you on your current shift.
There's Music guy cooking the food, he's always listening to music with one ear bud popped in. He likes to sing, and it's kind of funny... You don't really remember his name.
Your Manager Mark, who loves to regale all of the employees with stories about his various criminal exploits, as well as his sex life.
and Casper, who is generally an upbeat guy that probably has a knack for getting beat up. He likes to talk... a lot.
Who do you want to approach? And how do you want to approach them?
Approach music guy and ask him what genre in music he prefers. Also don't ask for his name, it is now headcanon that his name is Dublin because he looks kinda irish, might be just imagination though
>"Oh man, that's a hard one."
>"Hm. I really like a lot of Hip Hop. I mean, that's a pretty broad genre, but I think as a whole I find it a little more appealing. Shit's just catchy, you know?"
>"So how about you?"
You knew it would come to this. You reach inside yourself and prepare to answer...
Your SELF-ESTEEM is: 6
Congratulations! Your current ranking is: "I hate everything I do in life, but I guess I have some sort of personality."
You are qualified to answer this question!
>"industrial punk, Swans, The Cure when Im in a good mood (like that ever happens)"
You have a soft spot for classic music aswell, Dvorjak and Weill mostly, but you don't feel like mentioning that since Dublin's reaction to the word "punk" before didn't give you a secure sense of continuing this smalltalk.
Out of the corner of your eye you try to spot what he is preparing.
What is it and do you feel like asking him about it now that you awkwardly ended the topic before?
Dublin seems to be cleaning a fryer; You've never done it yourself, but it's a familiar sight by now, as anyone working back here is expected to do it.
>"Yo, Troy! We got two more SPECIALS!"
Mark calls out from the front.
Dublin darts back into the fridge, and emerges with a hand full of raw meat coated with seasoning; he tosses the meat into the running fryer, and drops it for five minutes.
He goes back to trying to get the fryer clean.
"That's cool, I mean, I think my uncle listens to that stuff."
He remarks in a seemingly patronizing, and dismissive tone.
"Hey, what was your name again?"
If high school taught you anything, it's that people generally giggle and laugh at your first name just because it happens to be the name of a cleaning product - slash - old timey, crude form of female birth control.
>"Uh, It's Lyz."
>"Ah, had a cousin name Liz she's gone now though."
>"Yeah, she got addicted to huffing cleaning products. It killed her."
Dublin stops cleaning the fryer and begins to reminisce.
>"Used to call her Lysol Liz... You'll have to excuse me if I call you Lysol every once and a while, we were close."
Suddenly, Mark interrupts.
>"Hey Troy, Stop hitting on the new girl and make some more damn specials. We got - like - six more."
Dublin, once again, pops into the fridge, but remains inside for a significantly longer amount of time; About a full minute later, he emerges.
>"Hey Mark, man. We're out."
>>"Oh hell no. Fucking lazy ass morning crew didn't prepare enough. Go into the freezer and grab some more, we'll have to make some from scratch."
Dublin reluctantly glances back at the fridge.
>"Didn't the GM say something about the freezer getting repaired?"
>>"The food's still good though."
>>"Look, the GM is going to give me shit if he looks at those cameras and sees me turn all these people away. The motherfucker would pick some shit off the ground and serve it just to save a buck; he would go nuts."
Mark turns his glance towards you.
>>"Since you ain't doing shit, YOU can go get it. LYSOL."
Unable to refuse, you wear an annoyed expression, but you also can't argue that you were working.
>"Hey, that caught on fast!"
You traipse back into the fridge, headed for the freezer within.
(to be continued when I wake up.)
>"Well, I'm glad we didn't waste the Halloween props..."
You remark to yourself, at the sight of the freezer door covered in fake police tape.
>"They always make the lettering goofy..."
After ripping off the poorly ripped off police tape, you grasp the handle to the freezer with both hands, and pull...
... and pull.
... and pull.
The thing seems to be stuck. Looks like it was out of order for a reason.
Your SELF-ESTEEM is: 6.
You can imagine Mark now...
>"You can't open the FREEZER? damn, you're weak, and a piece of shit; and your cat died because of you, but your mom told you it wasn't your fault because she was just being nice. Also, your parents divorce was probably your fault too, you're a bad worker, and you deserved to stub your toe this morning."
Yeah, you're pretty sure Mark would say exactly that.
No, you've got to do this yourself, and quickly. The door doesn't lock, so maybe there's something you can use as a tool to force it open.
Around you are boxes of thawed, ready to be cooked, food. You can't quite see what's on the top shelf because of your small stature, but there might be something up there...
You stack up boxes hoping your legs won't bust through the top and end up smelling of uncooked hot dogs.
Thankfully, with some careful balancing, you were able to use the boxes effectively.
On the top shelf were some of the less ordered parts of the menu, which meant half of this stuff had probably gone bad already.
Among the lonely food, a bent pipe lay on its side, one of the ends flattened. This pipe might have something to do with why the freezer is broken in the first place, but still, it might be able to help you get inside. You jam the flattened end into the crack between the door and the wall.
You give the pipe a swift kick.
You could have sworn the door opened a little and shut as if it were tied with some kind of elastic rope or something.
Thankfully the pipe seems fairly rigid, so you kick it again, this time the door flies open as if there were never any resistance in the first place. You almost stumble and fall, but you grab hold of one of the shelves to keep yourself balanced.
It's dark in here.
You scan the walls with your hands in the dark for a little bit, and happen upon a switch.
Well, this was definitely not a halloween prop.
There was a CORPSE lying on piles of french fry bags. The body had received deep scratches that must have been inflicted by an axe or something. You were completely petrified, the whole thing was incredibly surreal.
Who knew about this body? The GM surely, but what if the manager knew. What if they're hiding the body, what if this is some kind of criminal exploit that now you're a part of.
You had to do something, you had to tell someone, you had to...
Mark looks at you, bewildered.
>"You can't clock out yet, Mary's not here yet, and we're gettin' swamped now."
Despite it being a few minutes past the end of your shift, there's no one here but you to cover for Mary while she takes her sweet time getting here.
>"Hey did you get that meat from the freezer?"
That's right, you were supposed to bring back meat for the special...
>>"It's all gone."
>"ALL of it... Damn... well nothing I can do then."
Right, you've got to keep your cool, someone here MUST know you saw the body, but who?
And who do you tell? Do you call to police? I mean - yeah - right? but you need to get away for a bit. If you do though... Someone knows you saw, what if they follow you?
I mean did you REALLY see a body? was that a thing that actually happened? Is this a dream? Are you alive? What is even happening? You just want to go home.
Your brother always told you that you think too much, but now is definitely not the time to get lost in your head.
Mark glares at you as if he's not quite sure what to make of what you just said.
>>"I went into the freezer to get some more meat for the special, and there's a dead body in there."
>"You're fucking with me..."
>"Have I ever made a single joke since I started working here."
Mark's expression grows grim, as he makes his way towards the back.
>"Yo, what'd she say?"
Dublin asks, still pre-occupied with the fryer.
>"She said there was a body in the freezer."
>"Hold on, I'm going to check."
Mark spends no less than five seconds in the fridge; when he emerges, he's clutching his phone to his ear.
>"Yes, uh, there's a dead body at the Emerson's on 11th and McClarke."
>"What? It's a dead fucking body man, has all sorts of deep cuts and gross shit."
>"Okay, we will."
Mark grabs his water bottle off a shelf next to the fridge and takes a large swig.
He wipes his mouth, takes a deep breath, then looks up at you.
>"Alright here's the deal. We ALL have to stay here, but I want you to turn away all the customers Lysol. Just tell them our equipment is broken or something."
>"And where the hell is Casper? I sent him to break twenty minutes ago."
It's true, He went out back to take a break, but it's been longer than twenty minutes. He was working when you came in, but other than that Casper has been unusually like a ghost today.
What if he's involved? What if the murderer got HIM! What if...
Right, you need to stop thinking so much, and focus on the task at hand.
It's an especially dark night tonight...
Mark slumps down into a chair he brought out into the front, and folds his hands. As you look on, Mark senses your gaze and stares back directly at you.
He asks in a calm but somewhat aggressive tone.
>"Did you know him?"
>"Nah, Never seen him before."
Not long after he responds, Dublin calls from the back, munching on a pie.
>"Guy in his fifties. Used to come here during the mornings. He stopped a few months back."
The gears begin turning in your head. Who was this guy?
>"Could he have been dead this whole time?"
You ask, curious about the origins of the old man.
Dublin shrugs, mouth full of pie.
>"You playing detective now, Lysol?"
Mark asks, leaning back in his chair.
>"I'm just curious."
>>"Well, trust me,"
Mark leans forward,
>"Curiosity is probably how that guy ended up the way he is right now. That's why I'm sitting my ass right here until the cops come."
>"More importantly, "
He changes the subject,
>"Did you pay for that pie?"
Dublin stops, mid-bite.
>"Actually, fuck it. Go get me one."
You head back to the drive through window, your usual work station. This whole, strange ordeal is leaving a huge hole in your head, and hopefully by the end of the night that won't be literal...
Ah, middle school.
A simpler time indeed, or maybe it was more complex in some ways.
>"Fuck everyone, and everything, I just want to tear shit up."
You can hear your younger self chanting.
Dad put you through therapy but you didn't care. You can recall a number of sessions that were almost completely silent, the only noise in the claustrophobic, focus tested, room coming from the soft crashes of a tiny drummer banging away from inside your headphones.
Still, life was a lot easier when you made a lot of noise; drowned out what was really going on inside your head.
Hell, if your parents offered to pay for therapy these days you'd be all over that.
Needless to say, your young dreams of skateboarding professionally ended with the fact that the only moves you ever did were ollies, and a kickflips, but you only landed that second one successfully a hand full of times.
You were probably quite the poser back then, but who wasn't.
You thought of turning on the radio.
There's only one station at this place, and boy does it play some corporate sanctioned hits... from the 90's. The radio went off after you all got tired of hearing them, but anything would be better than this silence.
You make your way to the back to turn up the radio.
>"Hey Lysol, what --"
Mark is cut off by the dulcet tones of... NSYNC.
He asks, on the verge of bursting out laughing.
Dublin begins to gingerly move to the beat.
>"Damn, this shit's bringing me back."
>"C'mon Mark, dance with me."
Mark shakes his head, chuckling.
>"Oh boy, I must be the luckiest girl in school."
He says, every syllable dripping in sarcasm.
>"Man I used to turn it up back in high school, you don't even know."
At this point Dublin is damn near breaking out a full dance routine in the front.
>"Fine... Not gonna let you look like a dumb ass by yourself."
Mark says, making his way to join him.
Maybe it was your desire to be somewhere else; maybe it was because the police were taking way too long; Or maybe you all just actually forgot about the body in the back, but for a brief moment you were all enjoying yourselves. For the first time since you started you were having fun at work, and all it took was for someone to die.
Your dance session was cut short by the entrance of an unknown individual.
>"I'm here to investigate a death? Or is this a bad time..."
The man was something straight out of a pulp comic; a detective, or at least he looked the part about as much as one could.
"So, this is it? Who found him?"
You give a half wave in acknowledgement.
>"You work here as well? How old are you?"
He asks, presumably bewildered by your short stature.
The man turns toward you
"Must've been you then right?"
You, Mark, and Dublin all shoot incredulous looks toward the detective.
>"I was joking. It was a joke."
He says returning to his inspection of the body.
>"My name is Reed. I'm a cop, or whatever."
>"Tell me, were his eyes here when you found him?"
Reed gives a nod in response.
>"Well, I'd better get you all out of here."
>"If you've got any questions, I --"
>>"Who the hell are you?"
Mark cuts him off.
>"You're not with the police, right?"
Reed looks down at his tie, and tightens it.
>"I'm wearing a suit, am I not? That makes me a professional; the right man for the job."
Mark gives a particularly skeptical side-eye in response.
>"Let me just say I'm here to help you, and anyone else you meet tonight is trying to do the exact opposite."
>"If you have any questions ask them now and I'll explain to you on the way, but we've got to move while we have a chance."
Reed keeps a brisk pace as he makes his way out of the building.
>"Leave the lights on, your boss should be able to afford it."
He says, noticing Mark hesitate before exiting the door.
Now you were outside.
The safety felt from the light inside Emmerson's vanishes.
As the darkness fills your pores, it creeps into your mind filling it with any and all possible fears related to your strange situation. Reed looks back at you, his face empathetic as if he feels for your growing apprehension.
>"To address your questions quickly, Twenty-two..."
>"Because no one else will."
>"Sweeping the area within a five mile radius."
>"And only if you're good."
>"That last one was a joke. If you're 'bad' I'll probably just leave you behind. I want to help, but I'm not a very lenient man; meaning I don't deal with incompetence. I save as many as I can; It's a numbers game to me, and if you're a threat to those numbers I will cut you loose. Regardless, if we get out of here alright we can all get ice cream, on me."
>"That last one --"
>>"Was a joke, we get it man... Damn..."
Dublin chimes in.
"Where's your car?"
Mark asks, scanning the surrounding area and finding only three vehicles in sight.
Reed responds, completely straight faced.
>"I heard about the murder, looked at the time, and figured I'd get here before anyone else got to you."
Mark increases his pace to catch up with Reed.
>>"You're crazy right? Homeless? Is this some fuckin' insane plan to scoop up the food we were going to throw away, because I gotta hand it to you--"
>"My mental state isn't the issue. Going it on foot makes us more vulnerable to the suspect, but it also makes us less visible to what's coming after us."
>>"Oh? what's that?"
>"People that can, and will end your life without killing you."
All of this fear was killing you. There was going to be some bad shit going down tonight, and you have to make peace with that. From shitty job, to shitty job you've been able to get rid of the apprehension of starting by expecting the worst and working it as best as you can. This is just another shitty job that you have to get through.
>"Where are we going? What's the plan?"
You ask, increasing your walking pace.
>"The plan is to get out of the search radius. Best way would be generally up Jagged Oak ducking down some of the bigger neighborhood streets along the way."
>"Before we go though, I left something out here."
Reed leads you to a drainage ditch not too far from Emmerson's.
>"There we go."
He hops down and retrieves a bag. inside were an assortment of weapons.
>"How many of you have used a gun before?"
Mark angrily throws his hands up.
>"A gun?! For what?!"
Mark motions towards the ground.
>"We're in a fucking drainage ditch, and I'm probably - no - definitely getting fired tomorrow!"
Reed calmly reaches into his coat and pulls out a handgun.
>"If you yell again I'm going to have to kill you. It'll be loud, but that will be the only thing I regret."
With his gun still trained on Mark, Reed drops the large bag on the ground, and pulls out a rather short looking gun with some kind of hand guard.
>"Twenty-Two, I like your enthusiasm. Here's a shotgun."
He turns the gun on its side with his left hand, pointing out different parts, all while his own gun is locked onto Mark.
>"Lever-action. Means you have to push this part down to load the next cartridge. Pull the trigger, push, pull, push. Got it? Good."
Reed hands you the shotgun.
>>"Fucking shoot him Lysol, we need to call the real cops. This is some shady shit."
Mark says, annoyed.
Your youth in Texas wasn't really spent on a ranch, but with your hipster aunt and uncle in Austin when you would visit. They never taught you how to shoot, although they did keep telling you about how you need to be more assertive.
You cock the weapon, and point it at Reed.
>"Good one Lysol! Let's get him back to Emmerson's and call the --"
Everyone is frozen solid as you scan the rest of the group.
>"All of you keep calling me Lysol, or some other shit. How many times do I have to say I don't want to be called by my birth name."
>>"Your name's ACTUALLY Lysol?"
>"Dublin, I swear..."
>"... Nobody -- I was just -- The point is if a person doesn't want to be called by their birth name - as dumb as that name is - that should be respected!"
Reed asks, slowly putting his gun away.
>"What's the plan, what do you want to do?"
Fear, and irritation make a mean cocktail which you downed admirably. Where others might pass out or get inexplicably sad and irrational, you were able to stomach the emotions and come out on top.
This successful assertion increases your Self-Esteem from...
>6 to... 7
Now that you're in control of the situation, you lay the shotgun back in the bag.
>"For now, let's just stick together. Keep the guns in the bag and we'll pull 'em out if we need 'em."
Reed straightens out his suit.
>"You're right. Have to keep our cool. I was a little on edge, I admit."
He extends his hand towards Mark.
Mark glares at Reed's extended hand.
>"Tell us EXACTLY what's going on here."
Reed Throws the large black bag over his shoulder.
>"I found evidence heavily implying some authority is making people disappear using the police as some sort of proxy."
>"It's not all in the same way every time, but in some way or another these people end up gone. Held somewhere, probably questioned, then killed if you're lucky."
>"They're all related to the perpetrators; Smart beings like beasts going around eating people. The civilians who discover any body that fits certain descriptions in active search areas are taken away. They then paint a fake picture of the victims death with images, videos, all sorts of technical wizardry, or physical tampering to make the body and story 'make sense'."
>"A friend of mine and I decided to try and save the people caught in the middle of this; and if we get a chance, put down or trap the perpetrators for the authorities to deal with. This is the second time I've done this though. Don't get many chances."
Mark stares off into the distance, deep in thought. He focuses back on Reed, seemingly with his mind made up.
>"Fine, 'Reed.' What do we do."
Reed turns around and motions towards the east, into the suburban area surrounding Emmerson's.
>"We haven't encountered the perpetrator yet, so we should keep moving..."
>"Fuck this job. For real."
Your name is Casper. You're sixteen years old, a football player, a cheerleader (because that gets you points with the chicks,) and an avid pot smoker all rolled up into a joint laced with defiance.
You can't read your self esteem skill because it's behind your pretentiousness.
You hate this job. They pay minimum wage, and you'll give them seven-point-twenty-five percent too. You decided to just fuck off into the parking lot on your break, and smoke for an absurdly long time, just to make that jack-ass Mark angry. You know he's going to give you shit, but fuck him man, he doesn't own you.
You're going to wait out here until your shift is over, and then pop in and clock out. Maybe you should turn the bass way up and blast some music just to fuck with Mark. Actually, you're surprised he hasn't come out here to yell at you yet.
Oh shit. You went on break four hours ago.
Looks like you ended up inadvertently covering Mary's shift after all.
You pull your cellphone out of your pocket and discover you've gotten three messages in the last few hours.
>Why are you ignoring me?
From EX DON'T ANSWER
>I ate that sandwich with your name on it. I am older, so my body needs more nutrition. I'm not being a shit, it's just scientific.
>Whaaaaaaa? Fine. Jerk.
You finish up smoking, and head inside ready to be greeted with angry shouting.
Instead you're greeted with the sounds of... The Crash Test Dummies? Why the hell is the radio on?
Even more odd was the face peaking out from behind the counter.
>"Cass! Dude! Get in here! W-Wait! No! Lock the doors!"
It was Mary, and she actually showed up today; you were sure she was just going to duck out.
>"What are you doing...?"
You ask, approaching the counter.
>"Cass, t-there's something out there!"
>>"Yeah, cats; Dogs, probably; People, cars. The world is a huge place Mary.
The grave look in her face showed she didn't appreciate the sarcasm.
>"Look - I came in here and clocked in like normal, and out of the corner of my eye this white figure just runs across the empty parking lot super fast into the darkness. I-it was big and skinny I-I didn't see it for long."
At this point you're sure this is the drugged Mary who sent you pictures of her boobs because she thought you were a boyfriend that she isn't even with anymore.
>"You're on something, right?"
Mary furrows her brow.
>"I-I don't do that stuff anymore. Cass I'm for real."
You roll your eyes.
>>"I don't know. I was going to look for him, but I can't even move right now. I'm freaking out dude."
You pop your head into the fridge and call Mark's name; You head to the back of the store; you can't find Mark anywhere, but honestly, you don't feel like trying all that hard.
>"Alright Mary, I clocked out. I'm gone."
You say, heading back to the front.
>"Can I go with you?"
She asks, still clutching the counter.
>"Mary, you live downtown. There's no way I'm driving all the way up there."
>"I don't need to go home, just anywhere else but here."
She grabs your right hand shaking it vigorously.
You forcefully retract your hand,
>"besides, you have a car right?"
>>"Sure I DID, but some... Some asshole tried to run a red light and crashed right into my car..."
She slams a fist into her hand, acting out the scenario.
>"Wait really? That's why you were so late?
She looks away with a wry expression on her face.
>>"... And that asshole may or may not have been me, but you know. Details.
OP I'm very interested in this story and check daily for more updates. Pls post more frequently!
Thanks, I'm glad you like it! I'd really like to, unfortunately I don't have a lot of time lately. My schedule should clear up a little more in the next few days. Until then I'll try my best to at least get one out each day.
Mary asks, somewhat offended.
>"It's going to take me a solid hour to take you home . It's the least you could do."
She places her hands in her hoodie pockets, and looks at the floor, annoyed.
>"Cass, I don't just carry that stuff around, we'll have to go back to my --"
Mary's left hand emerges from her hoodie pocket, retrieving a small bag of pot.
Mary hesitates to hand you the bag.
>"Wait, Shouldn't we - you know - exchange this later?"
She looks around nervously.
You assume she's talking about the various cameras around Emmerson's, and scoff.
>>"Who cares. I was going to quit today anyway."
>>"Now hand it over."
All of a sudden, a full swat team busts through the door. They move past you, and head into the back while a few of them stay behind and secure the front.
You gaze at the police in the front who seem to pay you no mind.
>"What? It's fucking weed. Get over yourselves."
They shove you down, and zip tie your hands together behind your back.
They do the same to Mary who keeps repeating "It's not mine!" over and over again.
You try with all your strength to rip the ties apart, but these things are pretty tough.
After a few tense seconds of going room to room, the mood generally lightens as the squads converge back in the front room. After radio conversations full of charlies and alphas, or what ever they were talking about, one of the officers turns their attention toward you.
>"You're just scratching up your wrists."
She says, noticing your attempts at trying to rebel against the system. Come to think of it, all this struggling does hurt quite a lot. The officer was rather tall, completely dwarfing you.
She pulls down the scarf covering her face revealing her nose and mouth.
>"Where is he? Why did he leave you here? and is anyone working with him?"
Her face was scared on the left side, various staples and stitches holding it together. You figure this was her attempt at trying to humanize her fear inducing equipment, but in her case it back fired. She's probably seen a lot of action, and if you were in a good mood you might respect that, but you're not.
>"What the hell are you talking about, Frankenstein."
The woman opens her mouth as if she was about to say something, but stops her self. She moves her hand towards her face confirming she sees the connection, but her expression shows she doesn't appreciate your amazing wit.
>"You're pretty funny, kid. Must make a lot of people laugh."
You continue to writhe on the floor, twisting and pulling at the ties around your wrists.
>"What the fuck are you going to do, huh?"
You ask, sensing hostility in her tone.
>"Oh, I'm going to do my job. You? You're going to tell me everything you know. This little interaction goes well and we can all go home after this."
>"Now I'll ask one more time. Where is your manager?"
You might consider telling her where Mark is if you actually knew. The thing is, you don't, and her asking you something you don't know pisses you off even more.
Angrily tell her to do her job and find him herself.
>"How the hell should I know? Isn't finding people YOUR job?"
The woman looks around at the other squad members as if they're having some silent conversation using subtle gestures. Staring at her half obscured face kind of gives you the desire to see the rest, but your anger at the situation makes that a fleeting thought.
>"Alright kid, here's the situation. Your manager seems to have taken the other employees hostage, but he must have moved them somehow."
The woman lifts you up to your feet. She begins to search you.
>"For now we're going to take you into custody for your safety. The guy must have missed you, forgotten about you maybe... Either that, or you were left here purposefully."
Suddenly, one of the squad members exits the fridge, motioning the woman to investigate something; you slowly creep your way towards Mary.
>"We're boned Cas..."
You roll your eyes.
>"They don't care about the fucking weed. They said Mark went nuts and took everyone hostage."
You tell her in a hushed tone.
Mary tilts her head to the side curiously.
>"If Mark went crazy he would have put at LEAST five bullets in YOU."
You look over your shoulder at the other squad members watching you.
>"Yeah, that's what's weird about this... I think... I think Mark is trying to frame me."
Mary's face turns skeptical.
>"Frame you? For what? You don't have any hostages... Well, not that I know of."
You lower your head, deep in thought.
>"I - uh - I don't know, but something's weird about this."
You both nervously look around.
>"What do we do, Cas?"
yeah because it's not like the swat team is just going to have the outside perimeters totally surrounded or anything. Casper doesn't know of him, but I still don't fully trust Reed. I say we sit tight and at least wait for something drastic to happen before we blindly run into the firing range.
You look around the room. The swat team members seem to be distracted, but they also don't go too long without looking at you two. They'll most likely see you, but you figure you could juke these assholes and make it all the way to the end zone. You hop to your feet and begin to make a run for it. You're quickly cut off and tackled to the ground, spraining one of your ankles; Not even a first down.
>"Ah! Fuck! Get off me!"
One of the guys picks you up and shoves you back down by Mary.
>"Stupid idea, kid."
>"Police brutality, asshole."
You remark, grinding your teeth in anger.
Mary looks at you, upset.
>"What the hell! You were gonna leave me!"
>>"No, I was EXPECTING you to go with me - you know - at the same time."
In reality, you WERE expecting her to go with you, but more as bait than anything else.
Suddenly, Frankenstein returns; She begins to speak, but cuts herself off, noticing the slight winces of pain in your expression.
>"What's up, you hurt yourself?"
You click your tongue, showing your disgust with your failed attempt to run.
>"How come every time I leave the room one of the suspects gets injured when I come back?"
She asks, slightly angered.
>"Sorry about that, kid. You alright?"
Suddenly, you overhear a voice on Frankenstien's radio. You can't quite hear what it's saying, but the voice causes all of the squad members to turn their attention to the front door, and windows. They're distracted, now might be your chance to hobble away.
You didn't care what they were up to; Frankenstien's "sympathy" towards you caused your anger to boil to a point of no return.
>"You guys don't have any fucking right to hold me here!"
>"Quiet!" Frankenstien sharply barks.
The squad watches the front with their weapons raised; A few men linger in the back, covering the rear.
>"You don't have anything on me!"
You shout, as if your voice were being stolen away.
>"Kid, I swear..."
>"This whole thing is bullshit, if you're after Mark then why don't you go get HIM. That's you're fucking job right?!"
Suddenly, you hear dozens of sharp impacts coming from the outside against the asphalt. The doors fly open, unleashing a hoard of beasts.
The grotesque beings storm the restaurant in a mess of spindly limbs, and gnashing teeth.
It was mere seconds before one of them had latched onto a squad member and began ripping his face off with one fierce bite.
You yell all sorts of obscenities as you immediately shoot to your feet, the adrenaline diminishing your sprained ankle enough for you to gallop. Bullets fly as you make your way to the back, Mary trailing behind you.
The large door to the fridge seems like good enough cover to you if you could get it open. While the beasts and the SWAT were trading casualties, you turn your back towards the door and pull it open with your hands.
As you stagger into the fridge, you crash into a stack of boxes spilling hot dogs all over the floor; You collapse and quickly clamber into the furthest corner of the fridge.
>"Were they -- Was that what you were..."
You keep pushing your body back with your hands, trying to scoot as far back as possible from the fridge door.
Mary stands at the door gripping it shut using her full weight in hopes of stopping anything that may come after them.
>>"I don't know - I don't think so."
Mary replies, breathing heavily.
She looks back at the Freezer door, and then at you. In an instant you both realize two large doors are probably better than one, and the door won't lock you inside; Although at this point that might have been a good thing.
You struggle to your feet, this time taking significantly more effort, and pull the door open. Mary lets go of the fridge door and runs inside, you follow shortly after.
As soon as you enter the freezer you're greeted with a trail of blood on the floor, leading from a pile of bags filled with uncooked fries, to an ominous hole in the ground partially covered by a large box stuffed with frozen meat.
You crash into the ground, unable to take the pain in your ankle.
>"Cass, we can't stay in here..."
Mary, fearfully glancing at the hole.
>"We can't go out there either."
You reply, gripping your ankle.
Making your way into the freezer surely bought you some time, but what to do now?
The shock of everything that has just happened causes you to ignore the stench of blood in the air. You use this time to think about other things; and speaking of things, there are probably plenty more of the creatures outside. Maybe Mary knows what they are? At the very least, she can make a good meat shield.
>"Any idea what those were?"
Mary, sits down across from you.
>"Nope. There's no way they were what I saw though..."
She looks down at her shoes.
>"That thing was bigger... definitely."
The idea that there may be a bigger beast out there causes both of you to feel even more uneasy, and further convinces you two to stay put for now.
Mary suddenly breaks her zip tie, pulling her arms in front of her.
The action both astounds you, and makes you feel extremely weak.
>"How did you...?"
>>"What? The ties? Not that hard, they're just zip ties."
She replies, sensing your embarrassment.
>"I'm kidding, here."
Mary tosses you a bent pipe with a sharp, flat, jagged end.
>"It was just lying on the floor over here."
You give her an angry look, not at all appreciating her playful demeanor.
You wrangle the pipe just so as to begin sawing away at your ties, eventually you're able to rip them apart as well.
Minutes pass after the commotion died down outside. At this point the freezer became a safe haven, and both you and Mary begin to feel more comfortable within; At the same time your apprehension at the prospect of going outside continued to grow.
>"This was gonna be my last day, you know."
You state, staring off into the distance.
>"Cass, you say that every day," Mary remarks.
>>"Yeah but I was for real this time. This job sucks... Even without the face eating monsters."
Mary gives a wry smile in response to your humor.
>"I mean - Any job you can get right now is going to suck. You just have to find the one that sucks the least until you can get a good one,"
She sighs, hugging her knees.
>"Honestly, this job isn't all that bad compared to a lot of other stuff."
Suddenly you hear the fridge door open, both you and Mary retract to the back of the freezer. You grasp the pipe for defense, but the impromptu weapon feels smaller and smaller as the seconds pass.
The freezer door flies open, and on the other side an exhausted Frankenstein stands, weapon firmly in her hands.
>"Had a feeling you two were in here. Just needed to be sure nothing ELSE was."
Seriously!? A horde of fugly creepers are out there wanting to eat your face off and this bitch here is acting like is no big deal.
(That's not fair at all...)
Ignore your shaking knees and your aching ankle, demonstrate how much of a stone cold badass you can be:
>Demand some exposition of what exactly is going on here.
Following the intense violence and fear you've just experienced, you demand answers.
>"So what the *fuck* was that?!
Frankenstein briefly looks over her shoulder, then approaches you and Mary.
>"*Something* decided your work place here was a good spot for their nest."
>"What you saw were its children. This isn't the first *something* we've dealt with, and we've been looking for this one in particular for a while."
You throw out your arms in disgust.
>>"Really?! You weren't going to tell us about this shit?!"
You stumble to your feet; Mary helps you up despite your protests.
>"Ideally we would have had you out of here by now, but apparently the children got a little hungry..."
>>"You were just going to let us believe Mark went crazy?"
Mary's voice trembles with anger.
>"You, and the rest of country. If we say a human being did it, people will believe it. Doesn't matter what they did before, or what their family thought of them; Tech guys do a little bit of editing, and the story checks out. We don't even have to explain it, really."
You turn and look at the hole, realizing its implications and shudder thinking you spent any extended period of time in the freezer.
>"What about us?"
You ask, fearing you might not *fit* within their story.
Frankenstein pauses for a moment, and changes the subject.
>>"You... actually might still be a part of this."
>>"The 'Queen' usually grabs someone near a place where it wants to build a nest, and turns them into its Scout. The worst part is that they don't even know they're working under the Queen. The Scouts hallucinate all sorts of things just to give them a reason to be doing what they're doing; They probably don't even see the 'Queen' for what it really looks like."
>>"We're thinking you, or at least one of your coworkers were converted."
Both you and Mary look at each other nervously.
>"How can you tell?"
>>"Through interrogation; Most of the time we're able to catch the Scout on something they hallucinated through events that don't really add up. Other than that, I guess they tend to act a little more *human* than others."
>"More human? Really?"
You furrow your brow, giving Frankenstein an incredulous look.
>>"Yeah, if we can't grab *all* the suspects, that's all we got."
She replies, in a curt tone.
You stand there in silence, trying to recall all of the things you've done in recent memory. Despite how futile it might be to examine yourself, you're still giving it a shot out of the fear that you might be this *Scout*.
>"... So where's - you know - the King?"
>>"The *King* is already dead. We got him during our last run-in with these things."
>"Is that what happened to your face?"
You ask, out of pure curiosity and not at all as some kind of burn... Well maybe kind of as a burn.
>"No, *that* was how I got the job."
Frankenstein replies, briefly reflecting on something before glancing over her shoulder again.
>"Alright, look, we're going to move you to where we have the rest of the employees while we look for the missing people."
Mary reacts fearfully to the idea of going back outside.
>"Are there any more of those things?"
>>"We killed around thirteen. Five outside, and eight inside. A typical litter is around twenty-five, but the rest are gone for now. Don't worry, you're going somewhere safe."
This whole thing seems like something out of a movie. Maybe this is a hallucination? What if you're the Scout, Frankenstein is the Queen, everything else is a hallucination, but you're hallucinating this just to make you think that if you were hallucinating surely you wouldn't hallucinate the explanation for why you were hallucinating?
This line of thought hurts your head.
Your name is Lyso -- Liz McDerby, and you seem to have found yourself either in a very serious predicament, or following the ramblings of a mad man.
You've found yourselves in the backyard of a seemingly average two-story suburban house. Reed suggests this might be a good time to rest, and you assume he might know the home owner. Dublin quickly makes himself at home, reclining in a lawn chair while listening to his music; You decide to join him in an adjacent chair.
>>Why are we here?
Mark asks, frustrated.
>"That's a fairly large question that I'm not equipped to answer."
Reed replies. Mark simply answers him with a frustrated glare.
>"I'm tired of your *jokes* Why did you lead us here? This your house?"
Reed pauses, his expression showing confusion.
>"... I was following you all."
>>"We've been following -- !"
Mark turns and begins walking towards the backyard fence gate.
>"That's it. I'm going back to the store. The cops are probably there by now."
>>"Mark, they're going to kill you."
>"Nobody's going to lay a finger on --"
Suddenly the butt of a shotgun strikes Mark in the head, knocking him out cold. An older man steps out from around the corner outside of the fence gate.
>"The hell you all doin' in here?"
He asks, irritated.
Break down sobbing and throw yourself at Reed's feet, begging him to save you.
Then, once the old man inevitably invites you in for tea and cookies, rob him blind.
Just like you used to back during your youth spent on the mean streets of Harlem.
You didn't quite grow up in Harlem, but there was this one time in high school where you distracted a store clerk while your buddies stole a bunch of shit... Glancing at Dublin you notice he hasn't been seen yet.
>"Sorry sir, we didn't mean to trespass it's just my dog ran away, and this guy needs to use your bathroom."
You motion to Reed; Meanwhile Dublin takes this opportunity to position himself against the wall around the corner from the old man.
>"You're the one..."
The old man spaces out for a moment; Reed takes the opportunity to quickly draw his handgun and shoots the old man three times which causes him to fall; The old man fires his gun, sending buckshot directly into the ground at your feet causing you to jump back a few feet.
Dublin exclaims, startled.
>>"You didn't have to kill them!"
The man shouts, trying to lift his shotgun to shoot again.
>"You've never met this man in your lives, correct?"
Reed asks, forceibly retrieving the old man's shotgun.
>"What the hell, Reed?!"
You begin fumbling for your phone, ready to dial 9-1-1.
>>"I take it none of you have done any killing recently, or ever?"
Reed says, noticing you pull out your phone.
>>"Don't. This man's already dead. Chances are he's lost everything and he doesn't even know it."
The old man futilly tries to drag himself away, he stops and looks up at Reed who is walking along side of him.
>"Why won't you... leave us alone. I don't want to hurt anyone... But you keep comin' back... I have to... I can't..."
The old man's eyes fill with tears as he grips his wound.
>"Please... My wife..."
Reed prepares to put the man out of his misery.
Everything is happening so fast, but what Reed is doing doesn't make any sense. Who the hell is this guy, and how does he know Reed? Is this the *perpetrator*? You don't really seem too psyched about watching Reed execute this guy, but at the same time what does Reed know that you don't?
Alright, it's time to stop screwing around and take control of the situation.
Shoot Reed. It doesn't have to be a fatal shot, but just enough to establish your dominance.
Then, take a deep breath and start demanding that everyone calm down and stop shooting eachother. Get some answers.
Like you learnt growing up with gangbangers in innercity Los Angeles.
Level a weapon at Reed and fire a warning shot. He's been spouting crazy talk all night, but he hasn't shown any proof. He's either going to present some evidence or Liz is going to call the cops, again.
You grab the shotgun from the bag and aim it at Reed. He notices you, and slowly turns his head.
>"... Are we making a habit out of this, Liz?"
His nonchalant atitude frustrates you.
>>"I don't know, are we making a habit out of you never explaining shit."
He puts his gun away. Meanwhile, Dublin goes to check on the old man.
>"What do you want to know?"
Reed turns toward you, giving you his full attention.
>>"You can start with why you're about to murder this guy."
You ask, glancing over at Dublin and the old man.
>"He would've shot you if I didn't get him first."
>"Because he's being controlled something told him to keep people away from this house at all costs.
>>"People don't like other people tresspassing on their property Reed; That's kind of a normal thing."
>"No, he's protecting a nest... Maybe an escape route."
>"There was one at your job, and there might be one here. If we look inside the house you'll get your answers."
Dublin looks up at Reed.
>"Haven't we done enough, man!"
He shouts, staring at the now seemingly deceased old man.
>"We got away from the cops right? Let's just go..."
Reed's face resembles something sympathetic as he searches for his next words.
>"You don't get it. Neither of you can go 'home' any more. That'll be the first place they'll look."
>"I can ensure your safety, get you away from here, and set you up somewhere else; but we're not done here yet, and you have to trust me.
Reed made the old man out to be a misguided killer controlled by some unknown force, but who the hell is Reed; He killed a man, and is now saying the answer lies past a little bit of breaking and entering? You're not a complete stranger to the act, but it seems a little more heinous with the home owner sitting out here bleeding to death.
Reed's answers aren't good enough; Nests? 'They'? 'Trust me?
These are all things a crazed nut would use to excuse their behavior. You've seen this sort of thing before, growing up in the Oregon school system. He hasn't given a shred of evidence to support his claims so far, all he's done is arm you and shoot a man, who is apparently under the mind control of 'something'. He's clearly running from the police, he probably murdered the original guy you found in the freezer, and if there were aliens or whatever running around your fast food joint, you'd probably have noticed.
Enough is enough. Get Reed on the floor, bind him down, call the police. He's clearly delusional, and you need to stop this before it gets out of hand. You're already a witness to the attempted murder of a man, if you don't get help now you'll become an accomplice too.
Fuck Reed, the guy's a dick.
On an unrelated note, keep up the good work!
Loving it so far, and I think you're holding the record for longest running 'Webcomic' on /i/.
Most give up after a week. Hang in there!
Reed's gone on long enough. You've yet to see anything that even slightly supports the claims he's been making. You put a lot of trust in him, and the best he can give you is more vague answers.
>"Reed. We're calling the police, and you're staying right here."
Reed sighs, and lazily lifts his hands into the air.
>"This doesn't end well for you..."
>>"Is that a threat?"
>"No. A premonition.
You glance at Dublin.
>"Call the cops."
While Dublin fumbles around with his phone, Reed reflects on his thoughts for a moment, and then sparks up.
>"I get it now... It's all of you isn't it? You're all under control. Look, the only way to free yourselves is to kill the perpetrator."
You aggressively brandish your shotgun.
>"If it's controlling me, Why am I not shooting you right now?"
>>"The same reason the old man didn't pull the trigger quicker. You're weak minded. The perpetrator can push you half way there, but you have doubts about yourself, even under suggestive mind control."
Reed's face contorts into a twisted smile showing some form of excitement.
>>"It's interesting. It can't take mental conditions into account. A depressed person under suggestive mind control is still depressed..."
Dublin raises up his right arm, waving his phone around.
"Alright, I called the cops!"
Finally being in control of the situation makes you feel a little better about yourself. Your SELF-ESTEEM increases from: 7 to 8.
Your Current Rating is: "I guess I can do some stuff, but I still generally suck."
>"The Perpetrator really drew the short straw on this one... no offense."
Suddenly, Mark strikes Reed in the side of his head with his right fist. The sudden impact knocks him out, and he falls to the ground.
>"Let's tie him up. We'll wait until the cops show."
The three coworkers agree to tie up Reed and wait for the cops. Liz is curious about the house. She asks Mark and Dublin if they should investigate the house. Maybe Reed was telling the truth, to an extent. Searching the house could provide answers about Reed and their situation.
Now seems like a good time to go find something to stop the old man from dying. Also, if Reed wasn't a complete psychopath, and was actually just a really edgy anti-hero, it might make some sense to be on guard for any rustling bushes. Help everyone inside the house, assuming it's open.
Hey guys. This is the first time I'm going to try something like this. I got inspired to try my own "quest" after reading "Minimum Wage Hero," which you can find here: >>451295
I'm hoping some of you people are interested! Just letting you all know, there will be some dating sim elements to this quest. Anyway, on with the premise...
You are a young adult male who has just been hired at a fine dining establishment. This will be your first day on the job where your sous chef (and more importantly your new coworkers) will feel you out and see how comfortable you are in this environment. But before we get started, what do you look like?
[spoiler]I'll try my best to mold any replies into one outcome instead of favoring just one.[/spoiler]
Oh my fucking god, disregard this post. I totally fucked up, thought this tab in my browser was /i/ and not this particular thread. This is embarrassing and cringe-worthy. Just ignore it and move on.
Reed's insane ramblings still send a chill down your spine. What if he's right? I mean - that's crazy, there's nothing supporting what he was saying, but at the same time... What's his angle? Why bring all of you out here, or try to "help" you.
You stare deeply into the windows of the house trying to see anything, but your eyes find nothing but a dark void.
>"We gotta get him inside."
Dublin says, preparing to lift the old man up.
>"What the hell are *we* going to do?"
Mark says while binding Reed's arms around a sturdy pipe leading to the water meter at the side of the house.
>"Well we need to do *something*."
Dublin stares at the old man, remorsefully.
>"Best thing we can do is leave him right where he is until the ambulence gets here."
>>"We should go inside."
You abruptly interject.
>"What if Reed's right?"
Mark groans, irritated at your proposition.
>"If he's right about anything it's that you really *can't* make up your mind..."
You give mark an annoyed glare.
>>"I think we should do it. Maybe we can find something to at least help this guy a little.."
Dublin chimes in.
>"Don't you think it'll look bad for us if the cops find out we broke into the old man's house?"
You walk up to the sliding glass door in the back, and give the door a tug swinging it open.
>"Technically, we don't have to *break* in."
You make your way inside the house, Dublin nervously trailing behind you, and Mark now carrying Reed's bag of fun in the back. The house is spotless, aside from the black sheets covering all the windows, you'd assume the place was being sold; It was the spitting image of a department store catalog.
>"Looks like a normal house to me..."
Mark scoffs, hiding his slight relief.
>"Yeah, but Emmerson's didn't look any different either."
You say, looking around at the Old Man's family pictures.
The old man, his wife, his daughter, and his son. A picture perfect family, fit for this picture perfect house, but where *is* the rest of the family?
You seem to be in a LIVING ROOM. Adorning the walls are all sorts of photos of this family; Vacations, formal occasions, everything you'd imagine a normal family might want to document. A book shelf sits at the far end of the room packed with books on fishing, history books, and some romantic fiction. Not too far from the book shelf sits an old television atop a cabinet which looks like it hadn't been used in some time.
The Living Room also lets out into a hallway. Down the hall and to the left there seems to be a KITCHEN, there's also a HALL CLOSET in this hallway. A few feet to the side of the hall closet sits a STAIR CASE leading up to the second floor.
You search aimlessly for a bathroom, and eventually find one further down the hall.
>"There might be a first aid kit in there."
Dublin nods his head and bounds into the bathroom immediately beginning to search the cupboards within.
Meanwhile, you and mark begin your search of the kitchen. You find a chore list detailing all sorts of monotonous chores right down to dusting the attic. There are two doors, one leads to a pantry filled with the bare essentials; Beans, corn, rice, all types of canned food. The other door is locked with a padlock from the outside, and needs a key to be opened.
Mark pulls a set of keys out of his pocket which definitely aren't his manager keys. He senses your confusion based on the strange look you're giving him.
>"Found em' on the Old man. If that back door wasn't open I sure as hell wasn't going to let you two bust a window."
Eventually one of the keys opens the lock, and Mark pulls the door open.
You're greeted with a staircase descending to a basement flooded in darkness.
Not long after, Dublin rejoins you empty handed. He notices the door to the basement, and the sight of it visibly gives him chills.
>"You guys aren't seriously gonna go down there?"
You and Mark glance at each other, Mark shrugs.
>"Well there was nothing anywhere else in the kitchen, and I take it *you* didn't find anything."
Dublin motions behind him.
>"We could check upstairs, *further* away from the dark creepy basement."
Hey OP, great job. I'm really loving this story, but sometimes it can get confusing trying to tell who is speaking at any given time. Can you make it a little clearer who is talking on each line?
Dublin agrees to the purposed plan, and dashes back into the hall, determined on thoroughly searching the second floor.
You and Mark begin to descend into the darkness.
>"So... I'm pretty sure the old man's dead..."
Mark says, as you pull out your phone to use it as a flashlight.
>"He didn't have much of a chance as it was. Reed was packing hollow-points, and the old man was gut shot pretty bad." He adds.
You both reach the bottom of the steps, as Mark nervously continues to try and make conversation.
>"I swear, I'd be thankful for a fucking band-aid at this point."
You begin looking around the dark, mildew scented, concrete dungeon finding a few stray tools, and a couple of large boxes; One marked Halloween decorations, the other marked Christmas decorations.
Mark keeps going, searching a desk in one corner of the basement.
>"I guess it didn't hurt to try. I mean that's the shit you think about years from now, right? The shit that helps you sleep."
Mark continues rambling...
>"We're all probably going to need to find new jobs after this... "
>"A buddy of mine works over at a new place on Anderson and Blackwood. Says the whole operation is a hell of a lot cleaner. I could probably have him hook you up if you want..."
Annoyed at your silence, Mark grows a bit hostile.
>"Christ, Liz, after what happened tonight you *still* aren't even a *little* bit more talkative."
You've been distracted by a bookcase along one of the walls.
>"Who keeps a bookcase in the basement?"
You ask, searching its shelves.
You position yourself at one side of the bookcase.
>"Come on, help me with this."
Mark sighs and makes his way to the other side. Behind the bookcase was a rather large hole in the wall leading out into a dug in alcove which proceeds to lead even further down into the darkness.
Before you could investigate further, Dublin interrupts, bounding down the stairs.
>"Guys - uh - I found - ehm...!"
As Dublin struggles to explain, a small figure reveals itself at the top of the stairs.
>"You can't be down here. You'll wake the babies."
The figure calls out from the top of the stairs. You and Mark realize this must be the daughter, and slowly make your way up the stairs.
>"Sorry about trespassing - uh - your dad, he's hurt and we were looking for a first aid kit to help him."
The young girl's eyes dart back and forth between the three of you.
She replies, looking down at her shoes.
>"Do you have any medical supplies? Anything to help?"
Mark asks, trying to soften his tone as much as possible.
>"I do, but I can't... Is he dying?"
You, Mark, and Dublin exchange forlorn looks. You speak up...
>"Yes... but we called the cops, and there should be an ambulance here soon.
The young girl's eyes light up.
>"You have phones?! Can I see one?"
Her excitement towards your phones surprises and bewilders you. You begin to try and reaffirm more important matters.
>"Look. We really need --"
The young girl cuts you off.
>"You can have everything! All of it! For the phone!"
You motion to Dublin.
>"Hey, give her your phone."
>"*My* phone?! What do you need to use it for?" Dublin replies, outraged.
The little girl looks up at Dublin.
>"We just need it. Please."
Dublin places his hand over his pocket as if someone were trying to reach in and grab his phone.
>"I - I don't know - I mean, I might have some *pictures* on there..."
>"Just do it." Mark says.
>"Why don't you guys do it?!" Dublin yells.
Both you and Mark look at each other, and then turn your gaze towards Dublin.
>"Fine. Whatever." Dublin concedes, handing the girl his phone.
She taps the power button and the light from the phone illuminates her face. Suddenly she looks up at Dublin...
>"It's locked. What's the password?"
Dublin snatches the phone back from the girl.
>"No way. That's where I draw the line..." He says, placing the phone back into his pocket.
You roll your eyes.
>"Just give her the password," You say.
>"No man, it's my pin." Dublin replies, slowly moving further away from the kid.
>"Why would you -- Who cares, she's a freaking kid anyway." Mark comments, already irritated at the whole interaction.
Dublin sighs, and pulls the phone back out of his pocket.
>"Alright look, I'll enter it, and then you just keep tapping it or something so it doesn't lock again. Okay?"
He hands the unlocked phone to the little girl, and she immediately runs up stairs and to her room.
Dublin is petrified, his face stuck in a shocked expression.
>"You didn't see that one coming?" you remark.
>"Yeah, it was pretty obvious." Mark adds.
>"You guys are assholes." Dublin says, then promptly rushes after the girl.
You and Mark follow Dublin to the girl's room. Cans of food, bottles of water, and boxes of all sorts of medical supplies are stashed all over.
The little girl fixes a shirt to the end of a stick and props it up so it's hanging outside of her window. She holds the phone as if she's about to use it, but decides against it.
>"Here," She hands the phone back to Dublin.
>"What is all this?" You ask.
>"Food, water, and some medical stuff." She says, her gaze fixed looking outside of her window.
She quickly motions her hand downwards signaling you all to get down.
"Hi Mr. Ross!" The girl calls outside.
Shortly after, you hear an older gentleman call out...
>"Hey! What're you doin' girl?!"
>"I'm drying my shirt! I washed it myself! See!" The little girl shakes the shirt hanging off the stick around excitedly.
>The old man chuckles heartily, "Well I just heard a few bangs go off around here. Just checkin' to see you're okay."
>The little girl pauses for a bit, "...Dad found a few more possums!"
>"Ah, well, hope he got the last of those suckers... You go on to sleep girl, it's a little late for laundry." The old man chuckles again as he walks back across the street.
>"Oh. Okay! G'night!" The little girl shuts her window and puts a black sheet up over it.
>"What the hell is going on?" You ask, getting up off of the floor.
>"The parents started changing. They'd go down to the basement and start working, and if anyone tried to stop them they'd kill them." She explains, while slipping on goal keeping gloves.
She takes a rather hefty baseball bat from under her bed.
>"That's what happened to my real Mom..."
Okay, so this raises a bunch of questions. So many you would probably need a good hour of exposition.
Until then, though, you should probably get Reed inside this 'safe room' before he inevitably escapes and becomes a villain.
It's clear that you've found yourself in hicksville, considering that this girl has multiple parents, one of which was clearly also her grandfather.
However, you mustn't discount paranoia. This situation is slowly turning from Mystery Thriller to Horror, and if you know one thing about rednecks, it's that they make for great slasher fodder. That basement is clearly their butcher lab. Or Wine Cellar.
In the spirit of the occasion, christen the young girl 'Newt'. She looks like one.
Realize that when the girl says "Dad found a few more possums" she is probably talking in code and is referring to you and your team.
When you see her reach for the baseball bat, you assume she is going to try and fight you. You defecate your britches slightly before getting your gun at the ready.
>"What are you talking about?"
You ask, but the young girl who - given the circumstances - you can't help but call Newt doesn't seem too keen on explaining in further detail, she instead leaves her room, and heads down stairs.
>"Hey, where are you going?"
You call after, following the girl.
She ends up at the back door where you came in, waiting.
You hear a particular knock on the glass; One time, four times, one time. The young girl opens the back door, and standing out side are two other kids - one older boy, and another boy slightly younger - both as disheveled as the young girl.
The oldest boy begins to speak in a hushed tone.
>"Your dad... did you?"
>"No, it was them." She motions towards you and your group.
>"Oh... well... sorry." The oldest stirs in silence for a few seconds.
>"Who 're these guys?" he asks.
>"They're not from around here. I don't think they're like the others." Newt responds.
>"*like the others?* Anyone care to let us know what's going on?" You ask, irritated.
The oldest sighs, and begins to explain...
>"Our moms and dads changed. Some days they'd be just fine, but others they'd get violent if you said the wrong thing or tried to leave... They made holes in the floor or in the basement, and everyone that wasn't like them they'd feed to the monsters every once and a while."
>"Well... Whatever's going on, we called the cops." Mark states.
The oldest shakes his head.
>"Ain't gonna help. The parents just act like nothin', and the kids... Well the cops won't believe stories about monsters..."
>"...Even if they did believe us, the parents would kill 'em if they tried to take us away."
Suddenly, Reed begins to speak up.
>"The cops on their way right now are *going* to shoot first. As soon as their reason for lighting up a neighborhood is spotless, they're going to clean this place out.."
He states, still tied up at the side of the house. Funny, you half expected him to magically disappear...
Welp, you're in over your head. You can try to do something, but answers are merely more questions, so they aren't worth persuing anymore. It's time to make assumptions.
Reed is a nutter, but he wasn't entirely wrong; his claims about the police are unsubstantiated, but something is going on here.The hole back at work was suspiciously familiar to what these kids describe.
Therefore, the chances are that it was a monster that killed and mutilated the man you found earlier. If Reed were right about mind control, and these parents were slaves, then these kids must have served a purpose, otherwise they, too, are slaves, or they would have been killed.
There isn't much to do in this situation other than wait for something else to happen, so in the meantime name the two new kids Francis and Bacon, respectively.
Also, High-five Dublin, for being a good sport.