The Drop: What's Done in the Dark

OOC: Joint Post Between Blitzen and Turk

London couldn’t stop thinking about Chuck, but more so than the injured boy, the voice, the familiar voice that she heard clear as a bell, the one that told her to go to the Sports Lockers that night. Part of her was understandably apprehensive, Chuck definitely was left in rough shape, but not enough to stop her wanting to know what was at the root of things, to know what she could do to help, like the echo said. Sirah. She knew all sorts of things - maybe she’d have some of the answers London was looking for.

She braced herself as she reached the room, one hand on the door knob, waiting to be hit with the rush of cold air as she let herself inside. “Have you heard anything about the attack on campus?” She began.

The cold room at the very least was becoming less of a shock to her. The room had become somewhat more illuminated with the addition of a second desk lamp to Sirah's setup, this one focused on a larger textbook that London couldn't make out at this distance due to the glare off the white pages. She may not have been expecting an answer but Serah responded with her usual matter-of-fact tone, "You're going to have to be far more specific, what sort of attack? Where on campus? Additionally you have neglected to even say hello or how was your day which already does not incline me to respond to your question with a fair and honest answer since the rules of conversation have not been observed." In keeping with her icy demeanor she didn't move in her chair to address her roomie, but continued working at her desk, leaving pencil scratches in the gaps of the conversation.

London let out a slow breath and refrained from rolling her eyes. “I’m sorry, I was just worked up over the attack. The storage shed - where the sports equipment is housed was trashed, and this kid, Chuck, was hurt very bad. Also hello, and I hope that you did have a great day of studying and such.”

Sirah finally stopped her writing and pulled her chair back slightly from her desk, enough that she was able to half turn her body to her roommate. She adjusted her glasses up further on her nose and gave a look over the London, “Now according to a traditional hippocratic oath I cannot share any patient details, however seeing as you clearly have access to the student health center per your role in the physical therapy departments it’s clear this has taken on a joint operation.”

She slid out from her chair and moved over to her bed as London realized this was the first time she had fully seen the lower half of Sirah’s body. There wasn’t anything strange about them aside from the fact that she had remained inside her room in what would almost certainly be considered work pants and a nice shirt. She crouched beside her bed and pulled out a plastic crate that she lugged with some resistance to the top of her bed, finally adding creases to what might have easily been confused for a cardboard imitation moments before. Popping it open she flicked through its contents until a small manilla folder was removed in her hand. “Chuck Barry,” she started, “Junior from Missouri, brought into the local area hospital after being found by campus security in what was described by the Nurse running triage as ‘a bloody mess’. Contusions,bruising, and swelling across the entire body, multiple broken bones in the legs and lower body, and a single gash wound placed near centillimeters from his femoral artery.”

She offered the file over to London, “In short and to place it in lingua france, he’s lucky to be alive but he’s likely going to be in a chair for the rest of his life which is likely already shortened.” Her face was stoic and icy, as if she had been reciting facts for a test rather than a grisly medical report of what London knew to be some kind of attack.

“Fuck. Do we know what happened? He kept saying the Bats, the bats -- did anyone tell security about the baseball douchebags? Do you think… this could have been them?”

Sirah scoffed slightly as she turned back to her work, “That is not a question for a medical professional that is a question for the police, of which I will remind you that I am not a member of law enforcement.” As she slid back in and turned the page of her textbook in a single motion she offered plainly, “Though if you were looking to level accusations I would not recommend doing so without actual physical proof, libel and misleading an ongoing investigation do not sit well with most employers and on top of that interfering with police work to try and play hero would just result in your own incarceration.”

“You’re probably right. You’re… right. Which means I have to find actual physical proof. But before I do -- You haven’t… there’s nothing in here you make that would cause any sort of -- hallucination, would it?”

Sirah's reaction was short but terse, "Are you accusing me of drugging you? Because I have done no such thing and gone through every effort to make this room a sanitary environment."

“No, I wouldn’t, I just remember high school woodshop, someone left the cap ajar on the paint thinner, I just wanted to know if there were any spores or anything which may cause someone to hear things that might not be there. I didn’t mean offense.” London flopped onto her bed, picking up the softball on the nightstand to toss in the air while they spoke.

"Well then, as I've explained that's impossible and any hallucinations are likely due to some other event or incident," she glanced toward London, "perhaps even a ball hitting your head?"

“Sports clubs mostly haven’t started yet, but thanks.” London replied. “Something weird is going on. First the sports lockers, I *know* I heard someone there, then in the room with Chuck, and later, I’ll figure out what it is.”

“Sure you will….” Sirah added snidely, clearly intent on the evening remaining a quiet night of studying and work.

The rest of the evening passed without much note, Sirah continued her writing and studying until about 11:00pm and then quickly tucked herself neatly into bed. If London was watching she might have actually seen Sirah in semi-casual sleepwear.

Later in the night London found herself woken in what felt like a haze. The room was swirling a bit but that might have just been due to the early summer heat, but then again the summer heat wouldn't explain everything that happened today. She found herself at a crossroads of sorts. Of course the option was there, stop what was definitely some kind of crime, a clear wrongdoing and risk her own safety and likely mental sanity to do so; but at the same time...the bed was right here, the voice hadn’t reared its head at all tonight. She could easily wake up the next morning and go on as if nothing happened, it would be easy.

But would it be that easy? The thought of never knowing, of a hanging thread, an unread chapter in a book was enough to rouse her from the comfort of her mattress and pillow. From the moment she heard about the lockers, this was the path she knew she’d choose. Wiping the last remnants of sleep from her eyes, she dropped her feet to the floor and stretched. Whatever risk there was, the risk of having to live with unanswered questions was by far the worst option. Stepping into her sneakers, she pulled on a ball cap and headed cross campus to the sports lockers.

Due to the lateness of the hour the campus was a near complete ghost town, with only a few squirrels and birds making use of the common greens. She passed by the freshman dorms as the lights of overly anxious freshmen still occasionally peeked out of closed blinds. But the thought only served to strengthen her resolve rather than cause her to ruminate. In a few more minutes she was at the entrance to the main athletic facilities, within which were the proper sports lockers. She knew the way well enough, but once was still impossible to know.

Placing her hand on the door, The thought of Chuck and his fate was fresh in her mind. But she also wasn’t Chuck. Whatever it is -- she could fight it or run from it, but she had to at least know what ‘it’ was. Steeling her nerves, she opened the door, quietly as possible, stepping inside.

The hallway inside was nearly dark aside from a few emergency lights and the occasional utility light that the administration loved to brag were powered by solar and everyone just ignored the generators hidden behind the trees. But still what stook out to her most was the quiet. It was as if the din of the air-conditioning and fluorescent lights had just vanished leaving nothing but the sound of her own breathing in their place. She made her way down the first hallway and peeked around the corner to find nothing more than a continued hall of trophies and honors. She knew it was just two more to the locker room, two more long hallways and then whatever was causing all of this...she could stop it...maybe.

The second hallway was more of the same, more honors and bragging points for the university from long ago, only she swore she was hearing something now. A light rustle perhaps, some distance figure walking but it sounded off. Were they already in here? She had to consider the possibility that she was walking into an active situation rather than preventing one from happening. The hallway seemed ever longer as she rounded the next corner.

She peered down but found that little could be seen as all the lights were out. But the darkness was strange. She looked down to her feet and could see the edge of the shadows…moving slightly as if they were a flag on the wind or loose clothing. As she started to think of how that was possible, she realized she could barely hear her own breathing, as if the sound of it was being dulled. This has to be another hallucination. Was she that afraid that her mind was playing tricks on her? Like being home alone during a thunderstorm that knocked out electricity. Once the ability to simply turn on the light was taken away, her imagination always got the best of her.

She kept her hand along the wall to keep moving forward, feeling it transition from wall to glass panel, from glass panel to more wall, then finally she felt the heavy door that she knew to be the entrance to the supply room. There wasn't any sound but a hand to her chest revealed that she was breathing heavily now. Her hand slid slowly down the door and felt for the handle in the darkness. Her breathing was all over the place as the handle slowly formed in her hand. Her chest was heaving and the pressure was unlike anything she had known before. Just one last push and then she'd be in, but what could be on the other side of the door?

She readied herself for almost anything, from the worst that it could be to it being absolutely nothing. Neither thought was especially comforting, but there was only one way to find out. She pushed the door open with purpose, letting it sweep inside.

Her breath held tight, the door swept open and she stepped into the locker room. She didn't know what she expected but an untouched and fully lit locked room was certainly not high up on it. The darkness and silence that had engulfed her before was completely gone, perhaps a trick of the mind, perhaps just stress, but it was gone. She looked about, the sounds of the lights and cooling units nearly overwhelming her from the sharp contrast of the hallway, but saw nothing out of place. Bags, balls, poles, sticks, weights, everything the college teams needed to practice and compete.

She took a few more steps in and hearing a slight rustle shifted quickly to the opposite aisle. A second passed, then another, then another, but slowly the tension eased again from the room as she released her death grip on the metal supports of a lacrosse goal.

She wasn’t sure what she felt. Relief? Disappointment? Dread? Something was amiss, but whatever it was wasn’t here. Was this some sort of elaborate snipe hunt, and if so? Why?

She continued to question herself as she moved further into the stacks of equipment. Uniforms, balls, and metal bars were all stacking nicely in the area that she was surveying when she heard something clinking along in the distance. It sounded like a rustle of metal, but too small to be the bars she was around clanging against one another. The sound was on the other end of the door and rapidly approaching. She had only moments to consider before the sound of the door handle being fiddled with gave her a notion of the lack of time she had now.

Picking up a Lacrosse stick, the nearest thing which could be used as a weapon if need be, she ducked behind a row of lockers, peering carefully at the door. Her heart pounded through her chest, drumming in her ears, and a flurry of butterflies was released in her stomach. “What is it…” she whispered in a voice barely audible to even herself. “What is it?”

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