Survivors of the Outskirts - snowfalloverheaven (2024)

Chapter 1: Day 01

Chapter Text

Music plays from the tiny elevator, but the young man isn't sure what it is or where it's leading him.
He waits patiently, sitting down and looking up at the canopy.
All he sees through the glass is dirt and darkness.
"'s been forever," the young man comments.

Abruptly, the music is cut off by a heavenly feminine voice he can't place.
"Welcome to Lobotomy Corporation. I hope you enjoy your stay and be a valuable member of the family."
The young man looks around the elevator with paranoia and stands back up on his feet, fearing the unknown.
When the elevator stops and the door unlocks, he's greeted by a long metal hallway with dim lights illuminating the path.
He inspects the hallway and decides to venture through it, holding his weapon in his left hand in case something attacks him.

After what feels like an eternity, he stumbles upon a door that leads him into the main room where he'll reside.
He scrutinizes the room, clutching his weapon – which he dubbed 'Christmas' – and dots several objects of use such as chairs, a dining table, clipboards, and some other objects that he doesn't recognize.
Putting his weapon back at his waist, he strides towards the clipboards, finding three of them.
He takes the one on the far left and flips over the papers.

"This might look important, so you might as well bring it with me," he muses.
As he skims over the terms of service, he reaches out into his pockets, trying to find something to note, but can't find anything.
He scans the room for a pencil or pen.
After a little while of searching, he finds a grey pen that matches his hair color.

"If one thing my mum ever taught me well, it's that you always need a pen with you wherever you go," he comments.
"Alright, where do I sign my name for them to know that I will be here until they decide to release me... found ya, sneaky bugger."
Jaiden scribbles his name on the form and glances around, looking for any other paperwork he needs to sign.
"Jaiden, that's me, unfortunately," he mutters to himself, his voice dripping with resignation.

Sighing heavily, he leans back in his chair.
"I already despise being here and I just wonder what could be next," he mumbles under his breath, his brow furrowed in worry.
While brooding about what his next move will be, Jaiden paces around the room, his hands shoved deep into his pockets.
He can't help but wonder if it was a good idea to come down to this facility, learning what had happened here previously.
The air feels heavy with unspoken secrets and the faint scent of old fear.

Before he knows it, a thought occurs to Jaiden.
What if he went to probe the facility on his own, to see what's truly out there?
To understand what he might have to combat in the future?
With a newfound determination, he flares one of the two side doors on his left and strides upstairs, disappearing into the gloom.

He enters the room and finds a little elevator.
He starts to wonder how far it will take him.
He opens the door carefully and peers inside the cramped space.
Seeing that it only goes down one floor, he exclaims, "Sweet!"

The elevator takes Jaiden down to the next level.

Upon arriving, he looks around the hallway he's been greeted with.
He spots another door at the end and sees several other doors leading to abnormalities.

Approaching one of the doors, he notices a sign nearby: "O-02-56 Punishment Bird."
He reads the name out loud, "What the f*ck is a punishment bird? I honestly don't wanna know it."
He continues walking.

Entering the other hallway, he finds another door. Deciding to keep moving, he encounters an intermission room and sits down on the bench.

"I already hate this f*cking place why did I decide to flee here?"
"I just want that f*cking war to end but I seriously wonder who thought it was a good idea to f*cking try to assassinate the president since if they didn't do that the entire war would have ended by now, f*cking idiot"
"From what I heard, this place has some f*cked up history." "Can't be bothered to know more about it honestly."
Jaiden stands back up and takes the elevator back to the main room where he starts to pace around with the clipboard in his hand, trying to figure out what to do next with his time.
Much time later, he accumulates the bravery to check the doors in the hallways.

He heads down into the first hallway, reaching a door at the end. He approaches, feeling a bit anxious.
He opens the door slightly to peer inside.
"Come forth, child," a seraphic voice echoes.
Jaiden, holding his clipboard, steps into the room.

"What brings you to visit me, child?" a floating skull with a crown of thorns muttered in its angelic voice.
Jaiden, looking confused, tried to meet its empty gaze.
"I don't know why I decided to come here, but I want to come clean about something."

"Are you afraid?" the creature asked gently.
"I'm nervous and I want to go back home," Jaiden admitted.
"I've got nothing back there, but the only reason I came here was to find a place to stay. I regret it now."
It set the clipboard down and tilted its head up, eyesockets filled with Jaiden's dread.
"What is it that you desire?"
Jaiden looked confused.
"I don't know."
The floating skull paused, considering its next words.

"You shall be the one with me, one sin and a hundred good deeds," it finally declared.

As one sin spoke out those words, Jaiden felt his soul suddenly getting lifted from all the demons that were haunting him until that moment and allowed him to truly understand what he was saying.
"One sin and a hundred good deeds?" "Are you a god of sorts?" Jaiden ponders.
"Dont be afraid, Jaiden," the skull spoke out.
"As long as you're with me, nothing will go wrong," it added.
He nodded slightly, wondering if it truly meant that.
"Now go forth, and tomorrow something will come your way that you might appreciate," it said.
Jaiden exits the containment chamber with a slight smile on his face as he walks back into the main room.

Suddenly, all the lights shut off, plunging the room into darkness.
"Great, guess it's bedtime," Jaiden thinks.
He clutches his Christmas present close as he fumbles around the room, trying to find a chair or something to sleep on for the night.
"This is a table, better than sleeping on these floors," he decides.
He gets on the table and starts to lie down, closing his eyes and allowing his mind to rest for tomorrow

Chapter 2: day 02


another person joins the family

Chapter Text

The lights inside the facility flickered on abruptly, causing Jaiden to struggle against the brightness.
He shielded his eyes with his left hand, muttering to himself, "Great, that's not the way to wake up."
Sitting up straight and rubbing his eyes, he pondered his next move.
"I should probably figure out how to access more areas here."

Sliding off the dining table, he suddenly heard a knock at the door.
Anxiety gripped Jaiden as he clutched Christmas tightly.

"Who's there?" he shouted.
"Hello, I'm looking for a girl with brown hair," a high-pitched voice queried.
Jaiden cautiously approached the door, ready to defend himself.
"If I don't get a proper response, I'll open the door!" threatened the voice.

Jaiden remained silent.

The door swung open suddenly.
Reacting instinctively, Jaiden struck the intruder in the head, causing them to stumble back and draw a rifle.
Rushing forward, the intruder aimed the weapon at Jaiden's head. "I'm asking you one more time," he demanded. "Have you seen a girl with brown hair?"
Feeling threatened but defiant, Jaiden stared the rifleman down.

The rifleman fired a shot.
Jaiden narrowly avoided it with a swing of Christmas.
Before the rifleman could fire again, Jaiden seized the barrel.

"Let go of my weapon before I shoot you again!" the man threatened.
Jaiden overpowered the rifleman and took control of the rifle.
"Well, how the tables have turned," he remarked.
"Now I'm the one asking questions."

"What's your problem, lad?" the rifleman said, now terrified.
"I'm just looking for my sister," the rifleman admitted, on the verge of tears.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, Jaiden dropped both weapons and approached him.
"Okay, you know what? I'll help you find your sister."
The rifleman, relieved, looked at Jaiden hopefully.
". . . really?"

"Since we're both stuck here, might as well help you out," Jaiden relented.
Helping the rifleman to his feet, they walked over to a nearby clipboard.
"Why are you giving me this?" the rifleman asked.
"Look, buddy, we're in this together for now," Jaiden explained.

The rifleman found a spot on the clipboard and filled in his name.
"Here you go, mister. What's your name?" he asked politely.
"It's Jaiden."
"Nice to meet you, Jaiden! I'm Josef."

"So, Josef, you're looking for your sister, right?" Jaiden inquired.
Josef glanced at him nervously. "Well, yes. Have you seen her?"
Jaiden hesitated.
"I'm not sure, honestly. But we'll find her soon enough," he assured.

Josef chuckled and retrieved his rifle.
"Hey, I think this club next to my rifle is yours."
"Oops, sorry about that," Jaiden said, taking it back.
Josef settled down beside him, and they both rested in silence.
Suddenly, Josef stood up.
"What lives behind that doorway?"

Jaiden looked at him.
"There's nothing to worry about."
Intrigued, Josef ventured through the door, only to be met with an eerie sight.
He returned hastily.
"Have you seen my clipboard?"

"It's on your chair, you muppet," Jaiden said.
Josef laughed.
"Whoops, sorry!"
He opened the door again, this time to noise.

"What's going on?" Josef asked.
Hearing the noise, Josef pinpointed its source and fired his rifle, attempting to catch an elusive creature.
"Jaiden, I need backup!" Josef yelled.
Jaiden heard Josef's voice and hurried towards him.

"Josef, where are you, you muppet!" Jaiden shouted.
"Don't shout, the creature doesn't like it," Josef cautioned.
Confused, Jaiden followed Josef's lead.

They retreated to the main room, settling in until the lights went out.
"Looks like it's bedtime," Jaiden remarked.
Josef, terrified, lay down. "What do you mean by that?"
"We'll get used to it," Jaiden assured him.
"Goodnight, Jaiden," Josef said, as they settled in for the night.

Chapter 3: day 03

Chapter Text

Deep into the night, an enigmatic figure navigates the main room.

The intruder peers around cautiously, but only darkness greets them.
They tread carefully until their foot brushes against something solid.

"Wake up," the intruder whispers, their voice a raspy hiss.
The room fills with light as Josef is rudely awakened. He screams, rolling instinctively for his rifle.
"Who are you?!" Josef demands, aiming the weapon shakily at the intruder's head.
Fear makes his hands tremble, and the rifle wavers.

"Oh my god, Josef! Can you keep it down?" a new voice groans.
Jaiden rolls over the dinner table, rubbing his sleep-ridden eyes.
He takes in the scene and jumps to his feet, adrenaline surging.

"Who the f*ck are you!" he shouts, charging the intruder.
He grabs the man by the neck, attempting to wrestle him to the ground.

"Trying to choke me will not help you," the intruder rasps, his voice cold and unnerving.
He swipes out with a hand, and Jaiden crumbles to the floor, clutching his head in pain.

"Jaiden!" Josef cries, dropping his rifle in shock.
"You know what?! Take this!" Jaiden snarls, scrambling for his weapon. "

Open fire on the target!"
Josef fires several rounds at the intruder, but he dodges them with uncanny speed, seeming to move through a different time stream.
Jaiden grabs a nearby clipboard and charges, swinging it wildly.
the blow lands, and the intruder stumbles back, falling to the floor.

"I won't allow you to harm Josef, you sick f*ck," Jaiden gasps, panting from the effort.
The room falls silent, the only sound the ragged breaths of the combatants.
Jaiden takes a step back, lowering his makeshift weapon.

"This fight will not go anywhere," the intruder speaks, his voice less menacing now.
He stands slowly, dusting off his clothes.
Josef and Jaiden exchange glances, uncertainty etching their features.
"If we continue fighting, I will end both of your lives," the man warns, his gaze fixed on them.

Before Josef can speak, Jaiden steps forward.
"How about this?" he proposes, his mind racing.
"If you stay here with us, we'll take care of each other."
(f*ck no, I am not working together with this sicko,)

he thinks, forcing himself to maintain a neutral expression.
"I am willing to cooperate with those terms of condition," the man replies, surprising them both.
He strides to the table and pulls out a pen from his hair, writing his name on a nearby clipboard.

"Rando," Josef reads aloud, his eyes wide.
Jaiden and Josef exchange another glance, this one filled with nervous uncertainty.
"I do think this was a bad idea," Josef whispers, his voice barely audible.
"Zip it, you muppet. I know, but it's better than getting our heads torn off," Jaiden retorts, his voice a harsh whisper.

They both give Rando a thumbs-up, their expressions a mix of trepidation and resignation.

A few hours later...

The trio sits around the dining table, the tension palpable.
Rando stands abruptly, his eyes closing.
He opens them briefly, his gaze fixed on the hallway.

"Follow me," he commands, his voice cold and unnerving.
Jaiden, the only one who remains alert, grabs his weapon and follows Rando.
They enter the hallway on the left that leads upstairs, the silence between them crackling with tension.

The elevator ride is a study in awkwardness, the two men standing side-by-side in uncomfortable silence.
As the doors slide open, Rando bursts out, his energy sudden and jarring.
"Hey, watch it, you f*cking suitcase!" he shouts, his voice echoing through the empty hall.

Rando freezes, turning to look at Jaiden with a perplexed expression.
"Did you just call me an inanimate object?" he asks, his voice filled with genuine confusion.
Jaiden blinks, caught off guard.
"No," he replies, his voice barely above a whisper.

He looks at Rando, really looks at him, and sees not a menacing intruder, but a man who is just as out of place and scared as he is.
Rando turns away, his gaze fixed on a door at the end of the hall.
He approaches it slowly, his hand hovering over the handle.

"There is a bird in here," he says, his voice oddly gentle.
"Yeah, so what?" Jaiden replies, his confusion evident.
Rando ignores him, opening the door and stepping inside.
Jaiden follows, his curiosity piqued.

The room is a makeshift aviary, with a single oak tree at its center.
Perched on a branch is a small, unassuming bird.
It sings a cheerful tune, completely oblivious to the two men staring at it.

Rando pulls out a clipboard and begins writing, his focus intense.
Jaiden watches, his gaze flicking between the bird and the strange man who seems so captivated by it.

"That must be its real beak," Rando whispers, his voice filled with awe.
He throws the pen he holds in his left hand towards the tiny white bird.
As the pen travels through the air, a crocodile mouth opens up from the bird's belly, swallowing the pen whole.

"Fascinating," Rando breathes, his eyes wide with excitement.
Jaiden stares, his mind struggling to process what he just witnessed.
"Rando, what are you doing?" he asks, his voice shaking slightly.

Rando turns to him, his eyes gleaming with a strange light.
"Birds are my passion," he replies simply, his voice filled with a fervor that borders on madness.
Jaiden takes a step back, his unease growing.
Before he can speak, the bird lets out a furious squawk, its feathers turning a bright, angry red.

"J-Jaiden, get out of here!" Rando shouts, his voice filled with genuine fear.
They both turn and run, slamming the door behind them.
The bird screeches, its rage palpable even through the thick metal door.

"What the f*ck was that?" Jaiden demands, his back pressed against the door.
"The bird of punishment," Rando replies, his words coming out in ragged gasps.
"We must not let it escape."

Jaiden stares at him, his mind racing.
This strange, bird-obsessed man is their only hope against the rageful creature trapped behind the door.

"The second this door opens, run into the main room. We cannot stay here," Rando instructs, his voice steady despite the sweat trickling down his brow.
"The f*ck? Sure, whatever you say, Captain Wannabe," Jaiden replies, his sarcasm a thin mask for his growing fear.
As the two men stand side-by-side, waiting for the elevator, Josef stumbles out of the main room.

"Yawn, where did you go?" he asks, rubbing his sleep-ridden eyes.
"I can't comprehend what you're gabbing about," he adds, his confusion evident.
"Do not open any of the doors, you f*cking idiot!" Jaiden shouts, his patience wearing thin.

Josef blinks at him, startled. Before he can respond, the elevator arrives with a soft ping.
Rando and Jaiden burst out, barricading the hallway.
"Do not let the bird of punishment inside!" Rando exclaims, his voice echoing through the space.

Josef looks at them like they've lost their minds.
"What? Bird? I don't see any bird," he protests, his brow furrowed in confusion.
"Zip it, muppet. Just stay here and make sure that door stays shut," Jaiden orders, his voice hard.
The trio falls silent, the only sound their ragged breaths.
They watch the hallway with wide eyes, waiting for the inevitable.

Minutes tick by, but the bird does not appear. Jaiden peeks around the barricade, squinting down the empty hall.
" seems to have given up," he whispers, his voice filled with disbelief.

As if to contradict him, a furious squawk echoes through the hall.
The bird flashes past, its red feathers glowing with an otherworldly light.
It disappears into a containment chamber at the end of the hall, the door creaking shut behind it.

Jaiden lets out a shaky breath, his relief palpable.
Rando slumps against the wall, his face ashen.
"That was close," he whispers, his voice shaking slightly.

Josef looks at them, his eyes wide with fear.
"What the hell is that thing?" he asks, his voice trembling.
Jaiden and Rando exchange glances, their faces grim.

"Trouble," Rando replies simply, his gaze fixed on the containment chamber door.
The lights in the hallway flicker, then shut off completely.
The trio is plunged into darkness, the only sound their ragged breaths.

"Talk about a right moment to rest," Jaiden remarks, his voice shaky with forced levity.
"Bedtime already?" Josef whines, his voice filled with childlike fear.
"Oh, I see how it's going to be," Rando replies, a hint of a smile in his voice.

The trio moves slowly in the darkness, their hands brushing against the cold metal walls.
They make their way back to the main room, the once familiar space now filled with a creeping sense of unease.

"Goodnight, everyone," Josef whispers, his voice shaking slightly.
"Goodnight, muppet," Jaiden replies, his voice softening.
"Goodnight, college," Rando speaks out, his voice oddly gentle.
"Weirdo," Jaiden retorts, his sarcasm a thin mask for the fear that still lingers in his eyes.

Chapter 4: day 04

Chapter Text

As the night surrenders to the impending dawn, Rando abruptly awakens, his breaths ragged as he surveys the engulfing darkness.
"What have I borne witness to?" he murmurs into the void.
He rises, seeking solace in the embrace of a chair, only for the room to be bathed in sudden illumination as he moves.
Scanning the stillness, he realizes no one else has stirred from the abrupt flash.

"I mustn't rouse anyone," he ruminates, cautious in his deliberation.
Stealthily navigating past Josef, slumbering like a child, Rando inadvertently treads upon his comrade's hand.
"Uh oh," he exclaims, invoking Josef's ire with a sharp cry of pain.
With a swift ascent and a fiery gaze, Josef confronts him.

"Rando, what's wrong with you?!"
Apologizing, Rando is met with Josef's scorn.
"Your apology is worthless to me if you act like this," Josef admonishes, seizing Rando's wrist with a fierce grip.
"Mind your tone before you rouse Jaiden," he warns, his tone laced with a threat.

Maintaining a stoic facade, Rando quells any potential disturbance as he stifles Josef's protests.
"Your cooperation is imperative," he asserts, silencing Josef's protests with a firm grip. Pondering the encounter, Josef questions Rando's motives as they exchange confused glances.

Releasing Josef, Rando gestures towards the hallway, a silent directive.
Suspicious yet compliant, Josef hesitates within the room as Rando ventures into the corridor, disappearing into the yawning depths of an elevator.

Traversing the passageway, Rando encounters the ominous silhouette of the Bird of Punishment, its eerie presence casting a shadow over his thoughts.
Hastening past, he discovers an unexplored door beckoning him from the confines of the corridor, a harbinger of mysteries yet unveiled.

"Ah, this is intriguing," he remarked, his curiosity piqued.
Rando cautiously swung the door open, stealing a quick glance inside the room.
His eyes fell upon a diminutive machine, seemingly held captive in the room's center.

Fascinated, he pondered aloud, "What might this contraption do?" With a few firm swings of his pitchfork, he shattered the barrier encasing the small circular device.
Retrieving it from the ground, he gingerly tucked it into his pocket before returning to the main chamber.

Upon re-entering, he found Jaiden still immersed in deep slumber.
Scanning the room for Josef, he approached Jaiden's sleeping form, withdrawing the machine from his pocket.

"Hmm, how does one activate this?" he mused, placing the device carefully upon Jaiden.

In an instant, an eye materialized atop the machine, melding into Jaiden's consciousness, eliciting a piercing scream of distress from him.
Rando, suddenly apprehensive, retreated a few steps, gripping his pitchfork tightly.
"Don't you dare attack me," he muttered under his breath.

As Jaiden's eyes erupted from their sockets, he began to thrash violently, his own body seemingly at war with itself, tearing into his flesh with savage force.
Intrigued yet repulsed, Rando stood his ground, his pitchfork poised defensively.

"So, this is the true power of the machine," he observed with a faint smile.

At that moment, Josef burst into the room, his face a mask of horror.
Unable to contain his revulsion, he hastily retreated, retching violently.
"Rando, what have you done!" Jaiden's voice boomed like thunder, his wrath palpable.

With a ferocious leap, Jaiden lunged towards Rando, fueled by fury despite his injuries.
Uncertain of the machine's machinations, Rando stood firm, only to watch as Jaiden collapsed lifelessly before him.

Josef returned, his confusion evident as he searched for a means to clean his mess.
". . . Jaiden?" he uttered, his voice tinged with disbelief.

Josef falls to his knees, his silence speaking volumes as he gazes shatteredly at Jaiden's lifeless body.
"I fear this won't be the last time someone loses their life, I'm afraid," Rando comments solemnly.
"But why?" Josef's voice trembles as he struggles to hold back tears.
"This the circle of life. Everyone will die, and there's nothing we can do about it." Rando explains.

"Shut up!" Josef shouts in anguish.

Before josef can utter another word, Jaiden's body suddenly springs back to life.
Rando looks on with pride as Jaiden regains consciousness, the machine previously absorbed into him reappearing in the palm of his right hand.
Horrified, Josef finds himself unable to speak.

"Where the hell am I?" Jaiden asks, looking around in confusion.
"You're inside Lobotomy Corporation" Rando welcomes kindly.
"Yeah, thanks, Captain Weirdo" Jaiden chuckles.

Josef's smiling ear to ear as he stands up and rushes toward Jaiden.
"I'm so happy that you're still alive!" he exclaims, enveloping him in a tight hug.
"What happened, anyway?" Jaiden's shirt absorbs Josef's muffled words as he presses his face against it, unwilling to speak up.

Jaiden gives Josef an awkward look but reciprocates the hug.
After a moment, they release each other and decide to sit at the table, enjoying the peaceful silence for a while.

Before anyone could say anything, the light shut off.
"Well, that certainly was a short day," Josef remarked.
"Honestly, it's probably for the better," Jaiden spoke out ominously.

Rando and Josef glanced in the general direction of Jaiden's voice.
"Are you alright?" they both asked politely.
Jaiden didn't respond to their inquiries.

Josef and Rando decided to go to sleep as tension slowly crept up on them.

Chapter 5: day 05

Chapter Text

The light switch flicked on earlier than expected, casting a sudden brightness that momentarily blinded everyone as if they'd been caught in the burst of a flash-bang grenade.

Groans of annoyance filled the room like a chorus of disgruntled bees awoken from slumber.
"Good morning, everyone," Josef mumbled while stretching his arms backward, the stiffness of sleep still clinging to his movements.
His gaze swept across the room, noting with mild amusem*nt that Jaiden had already retreated back to the comforts of sleep.
"Hmm, I think I'll follow suit later," he decided with a yawn.

Rando's brow furrowed with a hint of confusion as he regarded Josef.
"What's on the agenda for today?" he inquired, his voice laced with curiosity.

"Considering we've already roamed a few hallways, perhaps it's time we delve deeper into the mysteries this place holds," Josef suggested, his eyes alight with the thrill of exploration.
Rando took a moment to ponder the proposition before nodding in agreement, his own sense of adventure piqued.
"So, what provisions should we bring along for our expedition?" Rando asked, practicality mingling with curiosity in his tone.
"I reckon our trusty weapons should suffice for now," Josef replied, a confident nod punctuating his statement.

"We're not exactly great with supplies, after all."
Rando nodded in acquiescence.
"Can't argue with that logic," he conceded.
"Shall I wake up Jaiden from his sleep?"

With a nod, Rando approached Jaiden, gently shaking him awake.
Jaiden's eyelids fluttered open, his gaze bleary with sleep as he slowly emerged from the depths of unconsciousness.
"Mmm, what's happening?" he murmured, his voice thick with drowsiness.

"Josef's proposing we embark on an exploration of the facility," Rando informed him, his voice tinged with a hint of excitement.
"You've got to be f*cking kidding me," Jaiden grumbled, irritation evident in his tone as he reluctantly faced the prospect of leaving the comfort of his makeshift bed.

After a few minutes of deliberation, the trio found themselves standing before a door to the left.
With a collective nod, they pushed it open and stepped into the waiting elevator, its metallic doors closing behind them with a soft hiss.
Before selecting their destination floor, Josef took a moment to scan the array of buttons illuminating the panel.

"Hmm, what about we head to the second floor on the left?" Josef suggested, his voice echoing in the confined space.
Jaiden and Rando exchanged glances before nodding in agreement.
Josef's finger hovered over the glowing button for the second floor, and with a decisive press, the elevator began its ascent.
They waited in silence as the floors ticked by, the gentle hum of the elevator's machinery filling the air.

As the doors slid open to reveal their chosen floor, Josef turned to his friends with a grin.
"You guys ready?"

"Let's just get this over with," Jaiden sighed, a hint of resignation in his voice.
The trio stepped out of the elevator and into the hallway beyond, its walls painted a muted shade of green and adorned with flickering fluorescent lights.
Two doors stood sentinel at the end of the corridor, beckoning them forward with silent promise.

Rando wasted no time in approaching the doors, his curiosity piqued by what lay beyond.
He pressed his face against the glass pane of the first door and peered inside, his eyes widening in surprise at the sight of ancient samurai armor displayed within.

"That must have been stolen from somewhere," he remarked, his voice tinged with disbelief.
Josef glanced over his shoulder at Rando's discovery, a furrow forming between his brows.
"Hey, Rando, what are you looking at?"
Caught off guard, Rando quickly tore his gaze away from the display and rejoined the group.
"It's nothing, just some old armor," he replied, his tone evasive.

Though a flicker of suspicion crossed Josef's features, he chose to let the matter drop, instead opting to lead the way down the hallway.
As they reached the end, their path was illuminated by the dim glow of a descending staircase, its steps disappearing into the shadows below.

"Is it really a good idea to go further down?" Josef questioned, casting a wary glance at the yawning darkness below.
Jaiden shrugged, his expression unreadable in the dim light. "Well, it was your idea to come here in the first place, Josef."
With a resigned sigh, Josef took the first step downward, the echoes of their footsteps reverberating through the empty corridors as they descended into the unknown.

They find a door that matches the color of the wallpaper on the walls.
The three of them get together and stand in front of the doorway. "Well, now what?" Josef questions.
"f*ck it, let's pry it open," Jaiden scoffs.

Rando signals the two to stand back as he positions his pitchfork between the doorway with maximum power.
As the door slowly opens, it gets stuck.
"Dammit, someone has to crawl through it," Rando says.
"Why can't you go?" Jaiden asks.

"I'm here holding the door open, either Josef or you have to go inside," Rando replies.
"I'll try," Jaiden says. He gets down on his knees and attempts to get to the other side.
After numerous attempts, he finally gets through the half-opened doorway and is greeted by a new room.
He looks around the place carefully to find a switch to open the doorway.

"Hold on, Rando," he yells.
He walks into the room and spots a few medical supplies.
"Wait!" he yells.

"This is the medical department!"

Rando and Josef look in shock at each other.
"Could you repeat that?!" "This is the medical center of the facility. There's so much more this place is hiding," Jaiden exclaims.
Jaiden spots the switch for the door and he hits the switch with his life.
The door opens as the pitchfork falls to the ground.

"Oh my god," the three say at once.
Before they could explore more, the lights shut off.

"This is great," Jaiden speaks out sarcastically.
The three sit down and think of a plan.

"Wait, Josef, shoot your rifle," Rando instructs.
Josef grabs his rifle and shoots in a random direction.
As the bullet leaves his rifle, it emits light for a short duration.

"Wait, so if Josef can shoot a round once in a while, we can go back to the main room," Rando thinks out loud.
Everyone agrees and they stand up.
As they go back up the staircase, Josef shoots a few rounds to show where they are going.
Eventually, they reach the elevator where they originally came from.
As the light pierces their eyes, they feel relieved.

As they enter the small chamber, they press the button to the main room.

When they arrive, Josef fires one more shot from his rifle to celebrate their safe journey.
Everyone settles into their makeshift beds.

Chapter 6: Day 06

Chapter Text

The resounding thud of aggressive knocking pierced the early morning silence, jolting Jaiden from his slumber.
Rubbing the remnants of sleep from his eyes, he grumbled beneath his breath, "Who's up this early?"
With a mix of irritation and curiosity, he stumbled towards the door, its surface rattling with each successive bang.
As he swung it open, he was met with a sight that sent a chill down his spine—a battered, lifeless body slumped in the hallway.

Shock froze him in place, the dim light of dawn barely illuminating the scene.
Then, as if on cue, the room flooded with light, revealing the ghastly sight before him in stark clarity.

"G-guys, wake up!" Jaiden called out, his voice trembling with a mixture of fear and urgency.
As he cautiously approached the fallen figure, his heart hammered in his chest.
The wounds that marred the stranger's body told a tale of violence, of a struggle fought with no mercy given.

Kneeling beside the body, Jaiden's eyes narrowed as they fixated on a peculiar mark adorning the man's neck—a sinister insignia that spoke of a darkness far beyond the ordinary.
"He's not an ordinary person," Jaiden muttered grimly, his mind racing with unanswered questions.

With a steely resolve, he lifted the battered form from the floor, the weight of it heavy with the burden of untold secrets.
Without hesitation, he embarked on a determined march towards the medical department, his footsteps echoing through the silent corridors.
Arriving at his destination, he gently laid the unconscious stranger upon a pristine white bed, the contrast between life and death stark against the sterile surroundings.

"I wonder what ever happened to him?" Jaiden murmured, his voice tinged with a mixture of concern and apprehension.
Expressions a mix of curiosity and concern as they assessed the newcomer's injuries.
"From what I can tell, he must have been in combat," Jaiden remarked gravely, his words punctuated by the somber reality of the situation.

As Jaiden cast a lingering gaze towards the canopy above, his thoughts swirled with uncertainty.
The events of the morning had left him shaken, the presence of this mysterious stranger casting a shadow of unease over the once tranquil confines of his world.
With a heavy heart, he turned and made his way back to the main room, his mind awash with unanswered questions and a sense of foreboding that lingered like a ghost in the darkness.

Josef and Rando awoke from their peaceful slumber, greeted by the soft glow of dawn filtering through the makeshift windows of their humble abode.
"Good morning!" Josef exclaimed, his voice brimming with forced enthusiasm, attempting to mask the underlying tension that hung in the air.
Morning, Josef," Rando replied, his words tinged with weariness as he struggled to shake off the remnants of sleep, his gaze flickering uneasily towards the shadows that lurked in the corners of the room.

As they rose from their makeshift beds, their eyes were drawn to a disturbing sight—a trail of crimson leading through the room, stark against the muted hues of the dawn, casting ominous shadows upon the worn floorboards.
"What in the world..." Rando's voice trailed off, his gaze fixed upon the haunting path before them, a sense of foreboding creeping into his heart.
Josef, however, seemed oblivious to the unsettling discovery, his attention diverted elsewhere, his cheerful facade faltering in the face of the creeping darkness that threatened to engulf them.

With a furrowed brow, Rando began to follow the bloodstained trail, his steps cautious yet weighted with a sense of impending doom, his fingers clenched tightly around the handle of his pitchfork, the only semblance of security in this bleak and uncertain world.
In his mind, a suspicion began to form—a suspicion that pointed an accusatory finger at Jaiden.
Gripping his weapon tightly, Rando pressed forward, his resolve unyielding in the face of uncertainty, his heart heavy with the weight of the secrets that lurked in the shadows.

Before he could reach the trail's end, he collided with Jaiden, the confrontation sparking an immediate interrogation, the tension between them palpable in the stale air that hung heavy around them, suffocating in its oppressive embrace.

"What have you done?" Rando demanded, his voice laced with accusation, his eyes narrowed as he searched Jaiden's face for any hint of guilt or remorse, finding only the cold, steely gaze of a man who had seen too much and cared too little.
But before he could utter another word, Jaiden interjected, his tone urgent yet strangely composed.
"Before you jump to conclusions, you need to see this," he insisted, his voice a whisper in the darkness, a beacon of hope amidst the encroaching despair.

With a mixture of confusion and cautious curiosity, Rando reluctantly followed Jaiden into the medical department, the weight of uncertainty heavy upon his shoulders, the shadows that danced in the corners of his mind growing ever darker with each passing moment, threatening to consume him whole in their icy embrace.

"Well, this is what I found," Jaiden said, his voice devoid of emotion as he gestured toward the lifeless body sprawled on the bed.
The body lay there as if discarded, the room's sterile environment doing nothing to mask the brutality of its condition.
Rando stepped closer, his reluctance evident in his every movement.
His eyes widened in disbelief, struggling to accept the grim reality before him.

"Where's your weapon?" he demanded, his voice sharp with suspicion.
Jaiden scoffed, a hint of irritation flickering across his face.
"Can't you see it? It's still around my waist, you f*cking idiot." He tugged at his belt, revealing the weapon still securely fastened.
"I'll leave you be for now."

Rando's mind raced with unanswered questions as he left the room, heading back to the main area.
The tension gnawed at him, but he shook it off and made his way to check on Josef.
As the elevator doors slid open, a thought struck him—a gnawing curiosity that refused to be ignored.

"What if I try to go down instead of up?" he muttered to himself.
Acting on impulse, he pressed the button for the lower floors and felt a surge of adrenaline as the elevator descended.
The ride was brief but filled with anticipation.
When the doors opened, Rando stepped into a dimly lit hallway.
He examined the surroundings, noting the eerie off-purple walls and the stark, unsettling white trim that pierced his vision like needles.

To his surprise, a doorway at the end of the hall caught his attention.
"Oh? Well, that's something new," he murmured, his curiosity piqued.
As he approached, the door swung open on its own, creaking ominously.

Rando's jaw dropped as he beheld the room beyond.
The space was vast and shadowy, filled with an array of unfamiliar equipment and strange, flickering screens.
The air was thick with an unsettling energy, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.
He stepped inside, his senses on high alert, every instinct screaming that he was on the brink of uncovering something far more sinister than he had anticipated.

Before Rando could explore more of the facility, the blaring of sirens shattered the eerie silence.
Fear struck the trio, now separated and vulnerable.

Giant worms burst from the floor, their monstrous forms writhing with a grotesque hunger.
Rando tightened his grip on his pitchfork and sprinted into the ominous room behind him.
His breaths came in ragged gasps as he peeked through a window, trying to get a clearer view of the abominations.
"What are those?" he muttered to himself, his voice trembling.

Determination surged through him as he slammed the door open and took a defensive stance.
The worms sensed his presence and lunged toward him with terrifying speed.
Meanwhile, in the medical department, Jaiden felt the ground tremble beneath him.
He glanced at the unconscious body he was guarding and made a swift decision.
"I must keep him safe at all costs," he whispered fiercely.

Jaiden rushed to barricade the door, fortifying his position against the impending threat.

The worms, however, were relentless.

One of them leaped at Rando, its grotesque form arching through the air.
Rando reacted instinctively, driving his pitchfork into the creature's midsection.
Blood sprayed in a gruesome arc, splattering the walls and floor.

With a surge of adrenaline, Rando flung the impaled worm's body aside, his confidence bolstered by the successful strike.

But there was no time to celebrate.

Two more worms charged at him, their movements synchronized and deadly.
Focusing on the one closest to him, Rando braced himself, every muscle tensed for the impending clash.

The first worm lunged, its gaping maw aiming for Rando's throat.
He sidestepped and thrust his pitchfork into its side, the force of the blow driving the creature back.
The second worm, undeterred, closed in from the flank.
Rando twisted his body, pulling his weapon free from the first worm with a sickening squelch, and prepared for another attack.

Jaiden, peering through the barricade's small window, watched in horror the worms.
The ground continued to quake with the movement of the worms, but Jaiden knew he couldn't abandon his post.
The unconscious body on the bed was too important, and the medical department had to be defended at all costs.

Rando, his every sense heightened, anticipated the second worm's strike.
As it lunged, he dodged and plunged his pitchfork into its writhing form.
The worm let out a shrill, otherworldly screech as it writhed in its death throes.
Rando, drenched in the creatures' foul blood, stood his ground, ready for whatever horrors emerged next from the depths of the facility.

Rando sprinted down the hallway, his heart pounding in his chest.
He reached the elevator and frantically pressed the button to go up, his finger jabbing at it repeatedly.
"Josef must be in deep trouble," he thought, anxiety twisting his gut.

As the elevator doors opened, Rando was met with a shocking sight: Josef, battered and bleeding, clutching his rifle with trembling hands.
"Over here!" Rando shouted, his voice echoing through the corridor.
". . . Rando?" Josef's voice was weak, filled with pain and confusion.

Rando motioned urgently for Josef to enter the elevator.
Josef stumbled across the hallway, each step laborious and shaky.
Just as he began to collapse, Rando lunged forward and caught him, easing him into the elevator.
"They seriously pack a punch," Josef muttered, blood trickling from the corner of his mouth.
"We must save Jaiden," he added, his voice barely a whisper as the elevator doors slid shut.

The elevator descended, and Rando's mind raced with thoughts of Jaiden and the horrific worms they were facing.
When the doors opened, they were greeted by the sight of more grotesque, writhing worms.
Their slimy, segmented bodies twisted menacingly as they sensed new prey.

Josef, too weak to hold steady, lay on the floor, his rifle clutched tightly.
With the last of his strength, he fired a few rounds, the bullets whizzing through the air and striking the nearest worm in the eye.
The creature let out a blood-curdling roar, thrashing in agony as it lost its vision.
The remaining worms, enraged by the attack, charged towards them with terrifying speed.

"Aim for the one in the back!" Rando commanded, his voice cutting through the chaos.
The worms lunged, and Rando moved with lightning reflexes.
He caught the first creature mid-air, his muscles straining as he held it back.
With a powerful thrust, he drove his pitchfork into its head, the force of the blow impaling the worm and pinning it to the ground.
Dark, viscous blood sprayed everywhere, painting the floor with the grotesque remains.

Josef, though weakened, managed to squeeze off another round, hitting a second worm in its gaping maw.
The creature recoiled, shrieking in pain as it writhed on the floor. But the battle was far from over.
Rando yanked his pitchfork free, readying himself for the next attack.
The worms, undeterred by the loss of their brethren, surged forward again.

Rando's eyes darted between them, his mind calculating his next move.
He sidestepped another lunging worm, swinging his pitchfork in a wide arc and slashing through its slimy flesh.
Josef, using the wall for support, fired another shot, the bullet tearing through the air and striking true.
The worms were relentless, but so were Rando and Josef.
With every strike, every shot, they pushed back against the tide of monstrosities.

In the brief lull between attacks, Rando helped Josef to his feet.
"We can't stop now," he said, determination blazing in his eyes.
"We have to find Jaiden."
Together, they moved forward, leaving the carnage of the battle behind them, ready to face whatever horrors awaited in their quest to save Jaiden.

Rando and Josef, battered and weary, descended the staircase, their footsteps echoing in the dimly lit corridor.
The doorway to the medical department loomed ahead, a beacon of hope in their bleak situation.
"Jaiden, are you still there?" Rando's voice rang out, filled with urgency and concern.

Jaiden peeked through the window, his eyes widening at the sight of Josef, blood dripping from his mouth, and Rando, covered in dark crimson.
"Those motherf*ckers actually did it," he murmured, a mix of disbelief and anger in his tone.
Hastily, Jaiden removed the barricades and pressed the button to open the door.
As the door slid open, a breath of fresh air filled the room, mingling with the metallic scent of blood.
Jaiden rushed to Josef, examining his injuries with a careful eye.

"Well, I'm not a qualified doctor, but you look like you're gonna die, you muppet."
Despite the gravity of the situation, Josef managed a weak smile.
"I'm glad we found you, Jaiden," he said, his voice strained before a fit of coughing racked his body, sending more blood trickling from his lips.

"Hey, muppet, get up," Jaiden urged, extending a hand to help Josef.
Josef struggled to his feet, leaning heavily on Jaiden as he guided him to a bed beside the unconscious body.
"Lie down here," Jaiden instructed gently.

"Rando, come here," Jaiden called, his tone commanding yet concerned.
"What is it?" Rando responded, his eyes filled with worry.
"Could you hold the scissors for me?" Jaiden asked, his voice steady but urgent.
"Are you trying to take care of his wounds?" Rando questioned, a hint of relief in his voice.

"Yeah, no sh*t, dumbass. What else am I gonna do, kill him?" Jaiden shot back, a brief moment of levity breaking the tension as he lightly punched Rando on the arm.
He then set to work, cleaning Josef's wounds with quick, practiced movements.
The room was silent except for the soft clinks of medical instruments and Josef's labored breathing.
After about twenty-five minutes, Jaiden finished, wiping sweat from his brow.
"You took quite a hit, I can't lie," he remarked, admiration and worry mixing in his gaze.

"I should be quite thankful that my mum forced me to take medical classes when I was younger."
Josef looked up, gratitude shining through his pain.
"I think for now, you should stay here for the night," Jaiden continued, his voice softening.
"All right, Jaiden, I trust you on this," Josef said calmly, his eyes closing as exhaustion took over.

Leaving Josef to rest, Rando and Jaiden made their way back to the main room.
As they took the elevator back up, the lights flickered and then shut off, plunging them into darkness.
The two navigated their way to their makeshift beds, the weight of the day heavy on their shoulders.

"Good night, weirdo," Jaiden murmured, his voice barely audible in the darkness.
"Good night, Jaiden," Rando replied, his eyes already closing as sleep claimed him.
In the silence of the night, the two drifted into a restless sleep, the echoes of their ordeal lingering in their minds.

Chapter 7: day 07


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Within the tranquil stillness of the facility at night, a shadowy figure entered the elevator that Jaiden once used.
The man, who resembled a professional hitman, waited patiently inside the tight, dimly lit space.
The elevator doors opened with a soft chime after a few tense moments.

Without hesitation, he raised his rifle and aimed at the door.
He carefully loaded a magical blue bullet into the chamber, co*cking back the piston and peering through the iron sights.
Just as he was about to pull the trigger, a radiant blue aura enveloped the gun, imbuing it with arcane power.

He fired the shot.

The magical bullet sped through the air with a high-pitched whine, striking the door with a burst of blue energy.
As it hit its target, the bullet ricocheted back, swiftly returning to its owner's hand.

The explosive impact shattered the facility’s quiet, jolting everyone awake.
Jaiden sprang up, instinctively grabbing Christmas by the waist.
"Everyone, we're under attack!" he commanded urgently.

With his weapon clutched tightly, Jaiden rushed to the door, his heart pounding.
The hitman stepped into the room, casually smoking a pipe.
He removed the pipe from his mouth and chuckled, the sound cold and mocking.
"Sorry about that," he said with a smirk, "I also hit your lamp. Hope that's not too inconvenient."

Jaiden stared at him, bewildered and enraged.
"You sausage roll! Why did you shoot our door?" he demanded, his voice a mix of confusion and anger.
The hitman’s grin widened as he relished the chaos he had caused, a dark glint in his eyes suggesting that this was only the beginning.

Josef and Rando exchanged bewildered glances, their minds reeling from the chaotic events that had just transpired.
The hitman, standing amidst the aftermath with an air of nonchalance, finally broke the silence.
"Well, I am here on a mission," he stated in a tone so casual it seemed almost out of place given the circ*mstances.
Confusion rippled through the room as everyone stared at the hitman, their expressions a mix of shock and disbelief.

"What mission?" Jaiden demanded, his voice sharp with frustration.
The hitman raised an eyebrow, seemingly unfazed by Jaiden's agitation.
"Listen, it just turned 8 o'clock in the morning, and you're already worked up over this?" he retorted with a smirk, his demeanor annoyingly calm.
Jaiden groaned, rubbing his temples as if trying to ward off a headache.
"Okay, for how long are you planning to stay here?" he asked, his patience wearing thin.

The hitman merely shrugged, a noncommittal gesture that did little to ease the tension.
"Beats me," he replied, his tone indifferent.
The room fell silent, the weight of the situation settling heavily on everyone's shoulders.
The hitman's cryptic responses only added to the sense of unease, leaving Josef and Rando to wonder what other surprises the day might hold.

After the commotion settled, Jaiden, Josef, and Rando found themselves falling back into their usual routines, albeit with an air of lingering tension.
The hitman, casually puffing on his pipe, stood up from his wooden chair, exhaling a plume of smoke that curled lazily towards the ceiling.
"Since you're going to be staying down here with us, we might as well show you to your new room," Rando explained briefly, gesturing towards the door.
"Well, alright then," the hitman responded in a nonchalant tone.
He followed Rando as they exited the main room and entered the elevator.

The small chamber felt even tighter with the silence hanging between them, the hum of the elevator filling the void.
As they descended, Rando led the way to the doorway he had opened yesterday.
"So, this will be where you'll stay," Rando announced, pushing the door open with a slight creak.
"Sick, honestly," the hitman replied, his voice calm and composed as he stepped into the dimly lit room.

Rando moved around the room, searching for a light switch.
His hand brushed against the wall, and with a flick, the lights flickered on, illuminating the space in a sudden burst of brightness.
The room was small but functional, with a simple bed, a desk, and a chair.
The hitman surveyed his new quarters, nodding approvingly.

Rando, standing by the door, glanced back at the hitman.
"If you need anything, just let us know," he said, his tone more relaxed now that the immediate chaos had subsided.
The hitman, still puffing on his pipe, gave a curt nod.
"Appreciate it," he said, his voice carrying a hint of gratitude.

As Rando left the room, closing the door behind him, the hitman took a deep breath, exhaling slowly as he took in his new surroundings.
The flickering light cast long shadows on the walls, giving the room an eerie, almost sinister feel.
He walked over to the bed, tossing his bag onto the mattress, and sat down, the springs creaking under his weight.
He took another drag from his pipe, the glowing ember casting a warm, orange hue in the dim light.

Alone in the room, the hitman allowed himself a moment of contemplation, his thoughts drifting back to the mission that had brought him here.
The quiet hum of the facility around him was a stark contrast to the chaos he had left behind, but he knew better than to let his guard down.
For now, this room would be his sanctuary, a place to regroup and plan his next move.
Marcos stood up, his eyes scanning the dimly lit room.

He walked towards the desk, noticing a pile of clipboards scattered across its surface.
He smirked, shaking his head slightly.
"Heh, kinda expected to do some work here," he muttered to himself.
Pulling a pen from the pocket of his blue and black trench coat, he scribbled his name on the top clipboard.

"Marcos, the hitman that'll take everyone out," he joked, a dark chuckle escaping his lips.
Satisfied, Marcos headed back to the main room, the elevator ride echoing with the soft hum of machinery.
As the doors slid open, he stepped out, his eyes darting around the space.
Jaiden was nowhere in sight.
"Where's that hothead with the grey hair?" he asked, his tone edged with impatience.

Josef, seated nearby, looked up and pointed down the hallway.
"Oh, you mean Jaiden? Check the medical department."
Marcos nodded, a grin tugging at the corner of his mouth.
"Do you mind bringing me there, kid?"

Josef stood up quickly.
"Sure, just have to be careful in case he isn't busy."
They walked briskly through the green-lit hallways, the tension palpable.
As they descended the stairs, the medical department came into view, its sterile lights casting an eerie glow.
Inside, Jaiden paced back and forth, his expression fraught with concern as he glanced at the battered body on the bed.

Marcos entered, his eyes narrowing as he took in the scene.
"Did you kill that son of a bitch?" he asked, his voice tinged with curiosity.
Jaiden shook his head.
"No, I found him yesterday."

"Do you need help, Jaiden?" Josef asked, his voice breaking the silence.
Jaiden sighed, running a hand through his hair.
"I’ve checked his vitals. Everything’s fine, but he’s not waking up. That’s the issue."
Marcos moved closer to the unconscious figure, his eyes catching the distinctive mark on the man's neck.

A cold realization dawned on him.
"Oh yeah, that’s a color fixer mark. How the f*ck did you ever capture a fixer in this state?" His voice was low, almost accusatory.
Jaiden's frustration boiled over.
"You muppet, how am I supposed to know?" he snapped back.

The room fell silent, the air thick with tension.

Marcos continued to examine the body, his mind racing with possibilities.
The mark on the fixer’s neck pulsed faintly.
Marcos knew they were dealing with something far more dangerous than they had anticipated.
The thought of what lay ahead sent a shiver down his spine.

"Hold on a minute," Marcos objected, his voice cutting through the tense air like a blade.
Josef, attempting to diffuse the situation, glanced at Marcos with suspicion.
"I think I recognize this man based on the mark," he continued, his tone heavy with apprehension.
Silence descended upon the room like a suffocating shroud, each breath laden with uncertainty.

But before anyone could utter a word, the lights began to flicker, casting eerie shadows across the sterile walls.
"Looks like it's almost bedtime," Jaiden remarked hastily, his voice tinged with barely contained frustration.
With a surge of anger bubbling deep within his soul, he lashed out, his fist connecting with the cabinet before storming out of the medical department.
"Good first impression, cool guy," Josef remarked sarcastically, his words dripping with disdain.

Meanwhile, Marcos remained composed, taking another hit from his pipe.
As he exhaled a plume of smoke, the lights flickered once more before plunging the room into darkness.

"Well, my job is not done here," he declared resolutely, his resolve unwavering.
Retrieving a flashlight from his trench coat, he navigated through the facility with cautious steps, the beam of light cutting through the oppressive darkness.
Returning to his new room, Marcos meticulously scanned every corner, his senses alert for any sign of danger.
Determined to leave no stone unturned, he ventured back into the hallway that led to his quarters, his gaze drawn to a door ominously boarded up.
Frowning, he directed the beam of his flashlight towards the barricaded entrance.

"Why would they randomly board this up?" he mused aloud, his voice echoing faintly in the empty corridor.
With a sense of foreboding creeping over him, he stowed away the flashlight and retrieved his rifle, his movements deliberate and calculated.
Loading a magical blue bullet into the chamber, he braced himself as the bullet tore through the wooden boards, splintering them with explosive force.
With bated breath, he cautiously pushed open the door, the creaking hinges protesting against the weight of time and neglect.

"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" Marcos spoke, his tone laced with nonchalance, though beneath the surface, his heart pounded with adrenaline-fueled anticipation.
His flashlight swept the dimly lit chamber, illuminating the shadowed corners with flickering beams.
Amidst the eerie silence, he detected the unmistakable sound of shivering breaths, sending a shiver down his spine.
With cautious steps, Marcos advanced further into the room, his senses on high alert.

Suddenly, his beam of light fell upon a grotesque sight—a towering humanoid figure, its form contorted within the confines of a straitjacket adorned with numerous restraining belts.
Without hesitation, the deranged creature lunged forward, its movements erratic and unpredictable.
Marcos, caught off guard, stumbled backward, his pulse quickening with each frantic heartbeat.
With adrenaline coursing through his veins, he instinctively reached for his rifle, his fingers closing around the familiar grip.

"I will not go down without a fight!" Marcos roared, his voice reverberating through the chamber as he steadied his aim.
With a steady hand, he fired off a shot, the deafening echo reverberating off the walls.
The room was momentarily bathed in a cerulean glow as the magical bullet pierced through the darkness, briefly illuminating the chaotic scene.
The creature recoiled in agony as the bullet found its mark, its unearthly wail echoing through the chamber.
But even as pain shot through Marcos's fractured leg, he refused to yield, his determination unwavering.

Summoning every ounce of strength, he swung his rifle with ferocious intensity, striking out at the looming threat.
"Get your filthy hands away from me!" Marcos bellowed, his voice filled with a potent mix of defiance and desperation.
With his fractured leg throbbing with agony and blood slowly trickling down his brow, he fought on, his resolve unyielding even in the face of overwhelming odds.

"Komm schon, du verrückter Psychopath!" he taunted in a blend of defiance and fury, his words echoing defiantly in the chamber's dimly lit confines.

The elevator door slid open with a soft chime, revealing Jaiden, Josef, and Rando with their weapons drawn.
Their eyes widened as they took in the scene before them: a deranged humanoid figure in a straitjacket, its body restrained by numerous belts, yet exuding a terrifying presence.

"Watch out!" Marcos shouted, his voice strained with urgency.
Josef and Rando reacted instantly, rolling to the sides to evade whatever horror awaited them.
Jaiden, however, was a split second slower, his eyes locking onto the humanoid creature in a moment of dreadful realization.

Time seemed to slow as the events unfolded.

Marcos, battered and bloodied, aimed his rifle, his face a mask of determination and pain.
With a sharp crack, the rifle discharged, the blue aura from the magical bullet illuminating the dark corridor for a fleeting moment.
The bullet tore through the air, its path unwavering.
It pierced the humanoid figure, a spray of dark, viscous blood erupting from the exit wound.

The creature's head snapped back, but the bullet didn't stop there.
It continued its deadly trajectory, finding its second target.
Jaiden barely had time to register what was happening before the bullet struck him.
His head jerked violently as the bullet passed through, his skull shattering with a gruesome, wet explosion.
Blood and fragments of bone splattered across the elevator's interior, painting a macabre scene of destruction.

Jaiden's body crumpled to the floor, lifeless, his expression frozen in a mix of shock and pain.
The humanoid figure, equally ravaged, collapsed in a heap, its deranged breathing silenced forever.
Josef and Rando, now covered in their comrade's blood, stared in horror and disbelief.
The elevator's once sterile environment was now a chaotic tableau of gore and violence, the echoes of the gunshot still ringing in their ears.

Marcos, leaning heavily against the wall, lowered his rifle with trembling hands.
His eyes, filled with a mixture of sorrow and grim satisfaction, surveyed the aftermath of the brief yet brutal encounter.
The once oppressive silence of the facility was now filled with the sounds of heavy breathing and the distant, eerie creaks of the old building settling.

"Verdammt," Marcos muttered under his breath, the German curse slipping out as he struggled to process the bloody scene before him.


the reason why it takes so long for new chapter for SOTO is mainly because of i have my exam's coming up and i don't have much time to write sorry ;-;
btw ty for the 99 hits

(this was written on 27/05/24 18:08 EST)

Chapter 8: day 08


Just a heads up, I apologize if the chapters take a long time to come out. I often tend to rewrite a lot of things to fit what I like. I'm sorry if you're enjoying the series and are concerned about the long time between chapters. I'll try to be more consistent.

Chapter Text

"What the hell is going on here?" muttered a mysterious man clad in a black and white trench coat.
He strode through the dimly lit halls with an air of ownership, his sharp eyes scanning every corner.
"If they could just stop making so much noise, that would be greatly appreciated," he grumbled to himself, irritation lacing his words.
Noticing a door wide open, he narrowed his eyes.

"Something's off," he murmured.
Stepping cautiously into the main room, he inhaled deeply, nostalgia hitting him like a wave.
The room, surprisingly lived-in, bore silent witness to lives disrupted.
A sudden, loud gunshot echoed through the building, yanking him from his reverie.

"Gotta investigate what's going down there!" he exclaimed, urgency sharpening his tone.
He sprinted through the hallways, drawing his dual pistols—one black, one white, both adorned with intricate butterfly markings.
He reached the elevator, the metallic doors closing around him as he steadied his breath, his mind racing.
When the doors slid open, he was greeted by a gruesome sight.

Blood spattered the walls, and the air reeked of violence.
Jaiden lay crumpled, his head blown open by a powerful shot, rendering his face unrecognizable.
"Holy sh*t, what happened here?" the man whispered, his voice tinged with horror.
Marcos, leaning against the wall, shook uncontrollably, his breaths ragged and uneven.
The man in the trench coat glanced at him, but received no response.

He then turned to see Josef and Rando huddled together on the floor.
Josef sobbed softly, clinging to Rando, who murmured, "I'm sorry, Josef," in a voice barely above a whisper.
The man sidestepped the mournful pair and moved further down the gore-streaked hallway.
Blood pooled on the floor, and chunks of flesh clung to the walls.

He spotted the deranged humanoid in a straitjacket, its body still bleeding profusely from multiple bullet exit wounds.
"Talk about gruesome," he muttered, a hint of grim admiration in his voice.
"Good job on that—it’ll come back sooner or later." Approaching the corpse, he placed a gloved hand on the cold, lifeless body.
"Oh, forsaken murderer, rest in peace," he intoned solemnly.

Suddenly, the lights flickered back on, bathing the carnage in harsh, clinical brightness, signaling the start of a new day.

Forty-five minutes later...

Everyone was still recovering from the events of the previous night, their nerves frayed and tension palpable in the room.
"Well, looks like you guys discovered my works," the man in the trench coat declared with a disturbing enthusiasm, his voice cutting through the silence like a knife.
The room remained deathly quiet. Everyone sat tensely in the main room, Jaiden's corpse lying still on a makeshift bed.
The gruesome sight served as a grim reminder of the previous night's horrors.

"You!" The man in the trench coat pointed directly at Rando. "You're coming with me, and bring the corpse. I'll show you a cool trick," he added with a menacing grin.
Rando stood up, gripping his pitchfork defensively.
"No need to get violent," the man chuckled.
"I forgot to introduce myself. Excuse my behavior." He bowed with exaggerated elegance.
"My name is Dwayne. I was the architect of this facility ten years ago."

Marcos stood up, a smirk of confidence playing on his lips.
"The name's Marcos," he declared.
Rando, still wary, introduced himself as well.
"I'm Rando, captain of this department, if you can call it that. Over there is Josef," he said, pointing to Josef, who was fast asleep.

"Glad we can all introduce ourselves in such a delightful manner," Dwayne pointed out with a hint of sarcasm.
"Anyway, Rando, bring that corpse with you. I'll show you something," Dwayne commanded, his tone leaving little room for argument.
Rando hesitated, his mind racing.
With a deep breath, he moved to Jaiden's body, lifting the corpse with a mix of reverence and horror.

The room felt colder, the air heavier as they prepared to follow Dwayne.
"Come on, let's go," Dwayne urged, turning on his heel and leading the way out of the room.
The sound of their footsteps echoed ominously through the hallways, each step a reminder of the night's brutality.
As they walked, Rando couldn't shake the feeling of unease.

Dwayne's presence was unsettling, his demeanor too casual for the circ*mstances.
The fluorescent lights above flickered, casting eerie shadows on the walls.
Finally, they reached a small, dimly lit room.
Dwayne gestured for Rando to place Jaiden's body on a metal table in the center of the room.

"Watch closely," he said, a twisted smile spreading across his face.
Rando stepped back, gripping his pitchfork tightly, ready for anything.
The tension in the room was suffocating as Dwayne began to perform his "cool trick," the air thick with the promise of more horrors to come.

"Do you see the lever over there?" Dwayne spoke with a dark tone, his voice echoing in the cold, dimly lit room.
Rando scanned the area, spotting the lever on the far side.
"Pull it down for me," Dwayne demanded, his eyes gleaming with a sinister anticipation.
Rando approached the lever, a sense of dread and uneasiness gnawing at him.

With a deep breath, he pulled it down.

Suddenly, Dwayne dashed backward to the wall.
"Cover your eyes!" he shouted. Rando instinctively raised his pitchfork in a defensive stance and squeezed his eyes shut.
Dwayne used his trench coat to shield his face.

In an instant, Jaiden's body started levitating above the metal table.
His limbs twisted and contorted as if an unseen force was mutilating and annihilating them to replace them with something new.
Jaiden's screams filled the room, raw and agonized as he regained consciousness, the pain of his injuries flooding back.

The machine embedded in Jaiden's palm reassembled itself, reattaching to his flesh.
Blood flowed freely from his wounds, knitting tissues and bones back together as if time was reversing the damage.
His head throbbed with the same unbearable pain from the bullet wound, now healing as though it had never been inflicted.

Slowly, Jaiden's mutilated form descended back onto the metal table, the transformation complete.
The room fell silent, the gruesome spectacle over.
Rando dared to open his eyes, lowering his pitchfork, and stared in horror at the revived Jaiden, breathing heavily on the table.

Dwayne stepped forward, lowering his trench coat.
"Marvelous, isn't it?" he said with a twisted smile.
"The wonders of science and sorcery combined. Your buddy is back, and better than ever."

"I have a name, you broomstick," Jaiden groaned, his voice raspy and filled with pain.
"Well, let's get you back to your room," Dwayne replied elegantly, as if this macabre resurrection was a routine procedure.
Rando stepped forward, offering his hand to Jaiden.
"I'm happy you're back, Jaiden," he said softly, helping him up.

"Yeah, no, I'm not happy to see you," Jaiden retorted, his tone sharp with lingering pain and confusion.
"And since when do we have a crazy scientist inside this facility?" he added, glaring at Dwayne.
"I'll explain everything," Rando assured him as they walked out of the dimly lit room, Jaiden still unsteady on his feet.

The trio made their way back to the main room.

Josef was still asleep, and Marcos was meticulously cleaning Josef's rifle.
"Oh, welcome back, Dwayne," Marcos said nonchalantly, not looking up from his task.
"Introducing this fella!" Dwayne announced with enthusiasm, gesturing to Jaiden as he walked into the room.
Marcos looked up, his eyes widening in shock.

"What the f*ck," he muttered, seeing Jaiden alive and walking.
He grabbed his pipe and took a quick hit, trying to steady his nerves.
"So you brought him back to life. Neat," Marcos noted with a grim undertone, the words hanging heavy in the tense atmosphere.
Jaiden, still pale and shaky, glanced around the room, his eyes filled with a mixture of anger and confusion.

"What did you do to me?" he demanded, his voice barely above a whisper.
Dwayne smiled, an eerie, unsettling smile.
"I've given you a second chance, Jaiden. A chance to continue your work. Now, let's make the most of it."
The room fell silent, the weight of the night's events pressing down on everyone.

They all knew that nothing would ever be the same again.

Jaiden looked Dwayne in the eyes, trying to suppress his rising anger and confusion.
"I'll show you to your new room," Jaiden said carefully, his voice tight with the effort to stay calm.
"Marcos, once you finish, you're also going with him," Jaiden added, glancing back at Marcos, who gave a thumbs-up without looking up from his task.

The two walked down the hallway to the elevator.
The doors slid open, revealing the familiar corridor where Jaiden had met his gruesome end.
As they walked through the hallway, Dwayne moved with a quick, almost careless pace, ignoring the blood and gore splattered across the walls.
Jaiden struggled to keep his composure, each step through the blood-soaked corridor a reminder of his recent trauma.

"This is your new home," Jaiden said, gesturing to a room at the end of the hallway.
His voice carried a mix of eagerness and bitterness.
"No need to give me a tour. I know the ins and outs of this place," Dwayne replied dismissively, his tone dripping with arrogance.
"Well, okay then, Mister Know-It-All," Jaiden muttered, his annoyance evident.
"I'll go get Marcos."

Dwayne grabbed a chair and sat down with a sigh of relief.
He looked around the room, the tension in his shoulders easing slightly.
"You know, I'm going to check out the other hallway," he said abruptly, standing up and walking away before Jaiden could respond.

Dwayne entered the adjacent hallway, which, to his relief, was clean and free of blood.
He walked to the door at the end and opened it, curiosity piqued.
"Well, what do we have here?" he murmured to himself, stepping into the new space.

The room was starkly different from the rest of the facility.
It was immaculately clean, with white walls and bright fluorescent lights.
Rows of shelves lined the walls, filled with meticulously organized files and equipment.
A large desk sat in the center of the room, cluttered with papers and scientific instruments.

Dwayne approached the desk, his eyes scanning the papers with interest.
Diagrams, formulas, and notes filled the pages, detailing complex experiments and projects.
His fingers traced the lines of text, a smile spreading across his face as he recognized the familiar handwriting.
"This is incredible," he whispered, the excitement in his voice barely contained.
He quickly flipped through the pages, absorbing the information.

Just as he was about to delve deeper into the documents, he heard footsteps approaching.
He turned to see Jaiden and Marcos entering the room.
"Find anything interesting?" Jaiden asked, his tone still tinged with irritation.
Dwayne looked up, his eyes gleaming with a mix of excitement and something darker.

"Oh, yes. Quite interesting indeed," he replied, a cryptic smile playing on his lips.
The tension in the room was palpable, the air thick with unspoken questions and unease.
Jaiden and Marcos exchanged a wary glance, both wondering what Dwayne had discovered and what it would mean for all of them.

As the three exited the room, the lights began to flicker and then shut off instantly, plunging them into darkness.
"Well, bed time," Jaiden muttered, his voice tinged with weariness.
"I thought they fixed this," Dwayne laughed, the sound echoing eerily in the darkened corridor.
"I guess not, ha!"

The flickering lights cast long, wavering shadows on the walls, adding an unsettling ambiance to the already tense atmosphere.
The trio moved cautiously through the hallway, the only sound being the faint echo of their footsteps.
"Let's head back to our rooms," Jaiden suggested, his tone more serious now.
"It's been an eventful day, to say the least."

As they walked, the silence grew heavier, each step amplifying the eerie quiet of the facility.
The events of the day weighed on them—Jaiden's resurrection, Dwayne's ominous presence, and the gruesome scenes they had witnessed.
The facility, once a place of order, now felt like a labyrinth of dark secrets and lurking dangers.
Reaching their respective rooms, they each retreated into their thoughts.

Jaiden, lying on his bed, replayed the day's events, trying to make sense of his miraculous return and what it meant for his future.
Marcos, cleaning his rifle with meticulous care, couldn't shake the grim image of Jaiden's lifeless body and the unsettling resurrection he had witnessed.
Dwayne, back in his room, sat at a small desk, pouring over the notes and diagrams he had found earlier.
His mind raced with plans and possibilities, a dark smile playing on his lips as he considered the power at his disposal.

The facility settled into an uneasy quiet, the flickering lights casting fleeting shadows that danced on the walls.
Each of them, in their own way, prepared for whatever the next day might bring, knowing that the night's uneasy peace was only a brief respite from the chaos that lurked just beneath the surface.

Chapter 9: day 09

Chapter Text

Deep into the uneasy night of the facility, alarms suddenly blared to life, shattering the silence.
Everyone awoke abruptly, disoriented by the jarring sound and the strange song composed mostly of drums, bass, and synths.
"Warning: this is not a drill. The first trumpet has been reached," a feminine voice announced urgently through the intercom.
"What the f*ck is going on?" Jaiden groaned, still groggy from sleep.

"No time to complain! Get up, we need to figure out what's happening!" Rando commanded, leaping out of the comfort of his makeshift bed with a sense of urgency.
"First trumpet?" Josef questioned, rubbing his eyes in confusion.
"Already?" Dwayne yawned, stretching leisurely.
"Finally, some action," Marcos remarked with a hint of excitement, jumping out of his bed with surprising enthusiasm.

Quickly, everyone gathered in the main room, faces tense with anticipation and confusion.
"What's going on?" Dwayne asked, looking around at the group.
They all shrugged, each wondering the same thing, their faces reflecting the eerie glow of the red emergency lights.
As the strange, rhythmic music continued to play through the sirens, Jaiden's eyes widened with sudden realization.

"I have to check on the medical department," he declared, bolting out of the main room without waiting for a response.
The rest of the group quickly followed, their footsteps echoing through the dimly lit corridors.
However, they were abruptly stopped in their tracks by a sudden, chilling sight.

Blocking their path stood a figure, shrouded in darkness, its silhouette barely visible in the flickering emergency lights.
The figure's presence exuded a palpable sense of menace, and the air around them seemed to grow colder.
"Who the hell is that?" Marcos muttered, gripping his weapon tightly.
The figure stepped forward into the light, revealing a twisted, grotesque visage that sent a shiver down everyone's spine.

It wore tattered, blood-stained clothes, and its eyes gleamed with a malevolent glow.
"Identify yourself!" Rando demanded, raising his pitchfork defensively.
The figure let out a guttural, inhuman growl, and lunged at them with terrifying speed.
The group barely had time to react, each scrambling to defend themselves.

Jaiden, closest to the figure, swung his weapon in a desperate attempt to fend it off.
The creature's strength was overwhelming, knocking Jaiden to the ground with a powerful blow.
"Fall back!" Dwayne shouted, firing his dual pistols with precision, the bullets barely slowing the creature down.

As they retreated, the hallway echoed with the sounds of the alarm, the strange music, and the chaotic clash of metal and flesh.
They fought with everything they had, the grim realization sinking in that whatever was happening, it was only the beginning of a far greater nightmare.

The group scrambled into the elevator, slamming the button for the floor below with a frantic urgency.
"C'mon, stupid thing, work!" Marcos shouted, frustration boiling over in his voice.
"Calm down, hitting it over and over won't make it go faster," Dwayne remarked, a disturbing calmness in his tone.
"Easy for you to say, since you own the place now, apparently," Marcos shot back, sarcasm lacing his words.

Before Marcos could utter another word, Dwayne smoothly drew his black pistol, pressing it against Marcos's temple.
"Yeah, sure, buddy. Just press the button and we'll retreat," Dwayne stated with eerie composure.
Josef and Rando stood frozen, eyes wide with shock, unable to interject.
The elevator doors finally slid open, and with a swift motion, Dwayne pushed Marcos to the ground. "Come on, guys, we should be safe here!" Dwayne called out, ushering them.

Rando and Josef leapt out of the elevator, sprinting into the Information Department.
Dwayne stepped on Marcos's head nonchalantly, his dual pistols ready, and continued into the room.
"This f*cking guy," Marcos cursed under his breath, rage seething through his words.

Meanwhile, in another part of the facility, Jaiden was struggling.

He rolled back from the menacing figure, pain coursing through his body, each movement a fresh agony.
"S-someone help," he managed to utter, his voice weak and desperate.
The creature loomed over him, drooling with a savage hunger.
Jaiden tried to rise, but another brutal blow sent him crashing down, bones shattering with a sickening crunch.

Blood flowed freely from his wounds, painting the cold, sterile floor in a stark reminder of his dire situation.
Jaiden's vision blurred as the pain threatened to overwhelm him.
The creature stood above him, a grotesque smile spreading across its twisted face, savoring the moment.
Each breath Jaiden took was labored, each heartbeat a painful reminder of his mortality.

In the Information Department, Dwayne led the group further inside, his movements precise and calculated.
"Secure the area," he commanded, eyes scanning every corner.
Rando and Josef nodded, still in shock but driven by survival instinct.

Marcos, recovering from the earlier confrontation, followed reluctantly, clutching his weapon with a mix of anger and determination.
"We need to regroup and figure out what the hell is going on," he muttered, casting a wary glance at Dwayne.
The atmosphere was thick with tension, every sound amplified by their heightened senses.
They knew they couldn't stay hidden forever; the facility was a labyrinth of danger, and they were right in the middle of it.

As the group fortified their position, the alarms continued to blare, a relentless reminder of the chaos that had engulfed them.
Each second felt like an eternity, the weight of the unknown pressing heavily upon them.
Back with Jaiden, he mustered the last of his strength, eyes locking onto the creature above him.
Desperation fueled his resolve.

"I won't go down without a fight," he thought, clenching his fists despite the pain.
The facility was a battlefield, and every corner held the potential for both salvation and doom.
The group knew that their only hope lay in understanding the mysteries of the first trumpet and the horrors it had unleashed.
But for now, all they could do was survive, each moment a test of their endurance and will to live.

Before Jaiden could react, another humanoid figure emerged from the shadows, clutching a blade in his hand.
His breaths were labored, his stance weak but resolute.
His eyes, however, burned with fierce determination as he locked onto the monstrous figure towering over Jaiden.
"I must finish what I have started," he declared, voice steady despite his exhaustion.
"I won't go down without a fight, and this is no different!" Without warning, he lunged forward, blade glinting under the dim lights.

The creature snarled, shifting its focus from Jaiden to the new challenger.
The air grew thick with tension, every second stretching out as the humanoid closed the distance.
His blade sliced through the air, aiming for the creature’s exposed flank.
With a swift, almost lazy motion, the creature dodged, its eyes narrowing with a predatory gleam.

The room seemed to pulse with the rhythm of their movements, the clash of desperation and savagery.
The humanoid, undeterred, swung again, his attacks fueled by a mix of fear and resolve.

Jaiden, still sprawled on the ground, watched the brutal dance unfold.
Each strike from the humanoid was met with a counter from the creature, its claws flashing dangerously close.
The clang of metal against flesh and bone echoed through the corridor, a violent symphony that reverberated in Jaiden's chest.

The humanoid moved with a frantic energy, his attacks wild but purposeful.
He aimed a powerful strike at the creature’s torso, only for it to be deflected by a swift backhand.
The force sent him staggering, but he recovered quickly, eyes burning with a relentless drive.
He charged again, this time aiming for the creature’s legs.

The blade found its mark, slicing through sinew and muscle.
The creature roared, a sound that shook the walls, but it didn't falter. Instead, it lashed out with renewed ferocity, landing a brutal hit on the humanoid's shoulder.
Blood sprayed from the wound, but the fighter gritted his teeth, refusing to back down.

With a desperate lunge, the humanoid drove his blade into the creature's side.
The monster bellowed in agony, its movements becoming more erratic.
The fighter capitalized on the opening, delivering a series of rapid, vicious strikes that cut deep into the creature's flesh.

But the creature was not defeated yet.
It retaliated with a savage swipe, its claws raking across the fighter's chest.
The humanoid cried out, stumbling back, but he didn’t fall. Instead, he planted his feet firmly, gripping his blade with both hands.

Summoning every ounce of strength, he thrust his weapon forward, driving it deep into the creature's heart.
The monster shuddered violently, a guttural roar escaping its maw before it finally collapsed in a lifeless heap.

The fighter, breathing heavily and covered in blood, stood over the fallen beast, his body trembling from the exertion.
Jaiden, using the momentary respite, forced himself to his feet.
He approached the fighter, who was now leaning on his blade for support, his face a mask of pain and triumph.

"Thank you," Jaiden managed to say, his voice weak but filled with gratitude.
The fighter nodded, offering a weary but determined smile.
"We have to stick together," he replied.
"There are more threats out there, and we need to be ready."

With that, Jaiden and his unexpected savior began to make their way back to the others, each step a painful reminder of the battle they had just survived.
The facility was still a dangerous maze, but now, they had a glimmer of hope, a chance to fight back against the darkness that threatened to consume them.

Marcos aimed his rifle squarely at Dwayne's head, eyes narrowed with lethal intent.
"Hey, architect guy, how about you get a taste of your own medicine?" he snarled, finger tightening on the trigger.
Dwayne's reaction was swift and precise.
With a fluid motion, he pulled out the white pistol from his side and fired a single, precise shot.

The bullet found its mark, striking Marcos in the foot.
Marcos screamed, dropping his rifle and clutching his wounded leg.
"There's no time to fight a child," Dwayne said calmly, his voice dripping with disdain.
He holstered his pistol, his gaze cold and unflinching.

Rando and Josef exchanged a tense glance.
The tension in the air was palpable, and they both knew this confrontation wouldn't end well.
"This won't end well. We have to find Jaiden," Josef whispered urgently to Rando.
Rando nodded in agreement.
Without a moment's hesitation, they turned and left the room swiftly, their footsteps echoing down the dimly lit hallway.

As they moved through the facility, the sounds of Marcos's pained groans faded behind them.
The corridors seemed to close in, the shadows deepening with every step.
They navigated the labyrinthine passages with a sense of urgency, the need to find Jaiden driving them forward.
Each turn brought a new wave of unease, the dim lighting casting eerie shadows on the walls.

They passed rooms filled with remnants of past conflicts, bloodstains and discarded weapons telling a grim story.
The facility felt like a tomb, silent and foreboding.

Finally, they reached the hallway where Jaiden had been last seen.
The air was thick with tension, every creak and groan of the old building amplifying their anxiety.
They pushed forward, the anticipation of what they might find gnawing at their nerves.

Rounding a corner, they saw Jaiden's figure in the distance, struggling to stay upright.
Blood covered his clothes, and he moved with a painful limp.
Relief washed over them, but it was quickly replaced by a renewed sense of urgency.
"Jaiden!" Rando called out, rushing to his side.

"Are you okay?"
Jaiden looked up, his face pale but determined.
"We need to get out of here," he said, his voice strained.
"There's something worse coming."

Josef and Rando exchanged a worried glance but nodded in agreement.
Supporting Jaiden between them, they began the arduous journey back to the main room, each step filled with the weight of their perilous situation.
The facility's oppressive atmosphere seemed to tighten around them, but the trio moved with purpose, determined to survive whatever horrors awaited them.

The warrior who previously saved Jaiden strode into the information room, his presence commanding attention.
He took in the scene: Marcos writhing on the floor, clutching his foot, and Dwayne standing over him, pistol in hand.
"What the hell are you two doing here?" he demanded, his voice firm and unyielding.
"Disposing of a child, what else?" Dwayne replied nonchalantly, not bothering to look up.

It wasn't until Dwayne registered the unfamiliar voice that he glanced toward the door, his eyes narrowing with suspicion.
"Who are you?" he asked ominously, his grip tightening on his pistol.
The warrior, leaning against the wall for support, used his blade as a crutch.
His eyes were sharp and assessing.
"I think your friends left you," he stated, a hint of disdain in his tone.

Dwayne's expression hardened.
"Is that important?" he fired back, trying to mask his unease.
The warrior straightened, his gaze unwavering.
"Pick up that wounded hitman and bring me to the boy with grey hair," he commanded.

For a moment, Dwayne hesitated, the authoritative tone catching him off guard.
But something in the warrior's demeanor, a blend of strength and urgency, compelled him to comply.
He holstered his pistols and moved to help Marcos to his feet.
With Marcos leaning heavily on Dwayne, the makeshift trio began their trek back to the main room.
The once-blaring sirens had fallen silent, leaving an eerie quiet that only heightened the tension.
Every step echoed through the dim corridors, the oppressive silence weighing heavily on them.

The warrior led the way, his eyes scanning their surroundings for any sign of danger.
The facility seemed to close in around them, the shadows lengthening and deepening.
As they approached the main room, the anticipation was palpable.
Upon entering, they were met with a scene of grim determination.

Rando and Josef were tending to Jaiden, who looked battered but resolute.
The air was thick with the aftermath of violence, a stark reminder of their precarious situation.
"We're all here now," the warrior said, his voice cutting through the tension.
"We need to regroup and figure out our next move."

Jaiden's eyes locked onto the warrior, and a surge of uneasiness coursed through him.
The mark on the man's neck was unmistakable.
He knew exactly who he was dealing with.
"You finally regained your consciousness?" Jaiden asked, trying to keep his voice steady.

The warrior glanced around, taking in his surroundings with a detached curiosity.
"I don't remember much about how I got here," he admitted, "but this suits me just fine."
He turned back to the group, his expression calm.

"Call me Winston," he introduced himself, a slight smile playing on his lips.
The others exchanged wary glances, suspicion hanging thick in the air.
The atmosphere was tense, the silence heavy with unspoken questions.
Rando broke the silence.

"Jaiden brought you in here while you were on a hospital bed," he pointed out, his tone cautious.
Winston raised an eyebrow, a hint of amusem*nt flickering in his eyes.
"Oh really?" he said with a chuckle.
"Damn, never knew that."

Jaiden couldn't shake his unease, but he forced himself to focus.
"What matters now is figuring out what triggered those alarms," he said, trying to steer the conversation back to the urgent issue at hand.
Winston nodded, his expression turning serious.
"Agreed. We need to get to the bottom of this."
Rando and Josef finished tending to Jaiden, helping him to his feet.
Despite his injuries, he stood tall, determination etched on his face.

"We need a plan," Marcos said, his voice grim as he leaned heavily against the wall.
Winston's eyes scanned the room, taking in each person.
"First, we need to secure this facility. Ensure there are no immediate threats.
Then we investigate the source of the alarms."

The group nodded, the weight of their situation settling in.
Despite the blood and chaos around them, there was a renewed sense of purpose.

Winston turned to Jaiden, his gaze steady.
"Lead the way."
Jaiden took a deep breath, his unease momentarily forgotten.
He stepped forward, the others falling into step behind him.
The facility was eerily silent, the shadows seeming to shift and twist as they moved through the corridors.

Every corner, every doorway was a potential threat. The tension was palpable, the air thick with anticipation.
As they approached the control room, the lights flickered ominously.
Winston signaled for them to stop, his eyes narrowing.
"Stay alert," he whispered.

Jaiden's heart pounded in his chest as they edged closer.
The control room door was slightly ajar, a faint light spilling out into the hallway.
Jaiden pushed the door open, revealing the source of the alarms.
The control panel was a mess of blinking lights and warning messages.

Someone had sabotaged the system.

"Who could have done this?" Josef asked, his voice barely above a whisper.
Winston stepped forward, examining the damage.
"Someone with access and knowledge of this facility," he said, his tone grim.
As they worked to repair the damage, the sense of urgency only grew.

Time was running out, and they needed answers.
But for now, they had each other, and they had a mission.
And that was enough to keep them going, even in the face of the unknown.

The lights flickered once before plunging the facility into darkness, signaling the enforced curfew.
"Oh my god, seriously?" everyone groaned in unison, the frustration palpable.
Dwayne, unfazed by the collective irritation, turned to Winston.
"Hey, Winston, isn't it? Yeah, you're coming with me," he stated, his tone leaving no room for argument.

Winston, still battered from the recent ordeal, nodded wearily and followed Dwayne.
Every step was a reminder of the pain coursing through his body, but he pushed forward, determined.
They ascended to the information department, the darkness making the journey even more treacherous.
Marcos, lingering in the shadows, watched them with thinly veiled envy.

"This is our new home," Marcos stated, his voice dripping with sarcasm as he glanced at Dwayne.
Dwayne, sensing the undercurrent of hostility, simply smirked.
"Home, sweet home," he replied, his tone mocking.

Winston's eyes scanned the room, taking in the cold, clinical surroundings.
The information department was stark, its sterile environment a stark contrast to the chaos they had just left behind.
Marcos crossed his arms, leaning against the wall with a sneer.
"So, what's the plan, Dwayne? Gonna enlighten us, or are we just supposed to stumble around in the dark?"

Dwayne's eyes narrowed.
"The plan, Marcos, is to survive. And to do that, we need information. This department holds the key to understanding what we're up against."
Winston, despite his weariness, nodded in agreement.
"He's right. We need to gather all the intel we can. Find out who sabotaged the system and why."

Marcos rolled his eyes but didn't argue further.
The tension in the room was thick, each of them acutely aware of the fragile alliance they had formed.
As they settled into the new space, the silence was broken only by the distant hum of machinery and the occasional creak of the facility settling into the night.
Each of them knew that this uneasy peace wouldn't last, that the darkness held secrets yet to be uncovered.
For now, they would rest.

But come morning, the hunt for answers would begin in earnest.
And in this new, uncertain world, knowledge was their only weapon.

Survivors of the Outskirts - snowfalloverheaven (2024)


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