A bit low, but it’s just the first day and I had class. Tomorrow I have the entire day off, so I’ll catch up with no problem. (As much as I want to keep writing, my back is all sore and tense from being in a sitting positions since early this morning. D:) In the meantime, let’s get this candle lit!
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The space is dark. Large. It smells like a tomb. It feels about as cold. The rain hammering down from outside is a swift, steady drumbeat. Somewhere, a generator fills the space with a gentle humming melody that is so clear, so steady; one would almost expect the entire place to vibrate with the sound. Most nights, this is all one can hear. Tonight, however, the expansive space plays host to a few extra noises.
Rapid, light breathing.
The occasional stream of panicked cursing and self-assurance that escape is well within reach.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck! Think! Think a minute, Marcus. Think…”
Marcus Desmond has been trying to find his way out of this place since he first began to regret about an hour after making his way inside for shelter from the storm two hours ago. This warehouse seemed like the best option at the time—secure, impervious to the elements, with plenty of smaller places to hide if necessary—but things appear to have…changed. He cannot find the entry he made to enter in the first place. The building feels larger. Though it makes him feel foolish to admit it to himself, it almost feels as if the walls themselves have moved and any doors leading outside have disappeared. The doors Marcus has been able to find lead only to the insides of supply closets or to the cluster of offices upstairs. Breaking one of the windows he can reach occurred to him, but the risk of injury outweighs the benefit of escape. A broken or bleeding body part will only slow him down. If he could just find the door he used to break in—!
You’re fucking losing it. Giving up on finding a way out for now, Marcus navigates back to the stairs leading up to the office where he set up camp. It’s just dark. You can’t see shit because you didn’t bother to find a switch. If you’d just turn on a goddamn light, you’d see how stupid you’re being.
But he dares not turn on a single light, using only what streams in from the streetlamps outside. He sits on the floor by the things he recently gathered as supplies. Upon breaking free from his previous place of intentionally permanent residence, the first thing Marcus did was break the law. Given his current state, however, it’s not as if he had much of a choice. Besides, the chance anyone actually saw him walk out with a backpack he neither owned nor paid for is remarkably low. Even if they notice a few other items missing—specifically, a lantern, some glow sticks, a portable shovel, several boxes of matches, a bottle of kerosene, and a sleeping bag—well, they’ll certainly have a hard time pinning it on him.
(In any case, they’ll probably spend more time trying to find the hunting knife Marcus nicked along with the rest of the gear, though he has the good sense to keep that particular item hooked onto his belt.)
That he managed to acquire all of these things and find shelter without being recognized or caught is something of a miracle, but he will take what miracles he can get.
Especially since, all things considered, Marcus Desmond shouldn’t even be here.
Still! He will happily take what miracles he can get. He will hide in what places he can find. Anything is better than what he was dealing with before and anywhere else is definitely better than where he should be. Barring the strangeness of the dark, this warehouse really isn’t so bad. There is even food in the nearby break room! (Although, again, all things considered, it still surprises him that he actually has an appetite.) The refrigerator holds a half-empty bag of red apples, a carton of milk, and several Tupperware containers, the lids of which are all marked with the name STEVE in small, even handwriting. Marcus ravenously tore into one of STEVE’S containers soon after he first discovered the fridge, devouring several large hunks of honeydew in what was probably record time. Now he contemplates whether or not there is room in his backpack for a few of STEVE’S other prepackaged meals.
I have to get out of here soon. This place won’t be safe for more than a few days. They’re obviously gonna send more people after me, if they haven’t already, and if they find me—
Marcus shakes his head. They will never find him. They can send all manner of people after him, devise whatever traps they like, but they will never succeed. Marcus Desmond will not be caught. He will keep a few steps ahead of them. All of them.
Ah, but how did it come to this in the first place? Even those chased for sport have some kind of story about how they came to be prey. Surely, he is no exception to the rule, is he?
Of course not. Some of the details are still slightly out of sorts, but he remembers enough and has seen enough to tell someone if they ask. (Thought that’s assuming they would even believe him and that they would be trustworthy enough for him to to be honest.) Death! Death is where (or perhaps how) his narrative begins. Death, which went surprisingly much more swiftly and painlessly than anyone he knew would have wished for him. A broken neck was the culprit, the result of falling down a flight of stairs in a rush to escape some very unfriendly fellows. Marcus remembers the fall, remembers that it felt so…surreal—the colors bleak, a gray blur; time next to a relative standstill—but the moment of impact doesn’t register in his brain. Not that there is a moment of unconsciousness or sleep or anything like that—the moment just isn’t there; a moment of pure…what?
That is what his mind offers out of some new instinct every time he thinks about it. Nonexistence. It sits there like a hole in his brain, this flash of nonexistence settled right between the impact at the end of the fall and the place where he next found himself. Like a quick cut in a film or an eye-blink…
And then…what? What happened next? asks the invisible person dying (a-har-har) to know his story.
The reality is so much more complicated than that, isn’t it? Truly, it is! Marcus had always had an inkling that the weight of his misdeeds would land him in Hell if the afterlife truly existed, but Hell is nothing like he was raised to believe it is. Most of what he saw and experienced there (and nearly experienced there) was more than enough to make him certain that spending eternity there was simply not an option. And, as if operating on some sort of cue, a moment presented itself. All it took was a little bit of patience and performance art, a few tears here and an interest in religion there… As soon as he found his opening with clearly as gullible as he was generous, Marcus pulled the trigger on a risky little con and found his way back to the side much more familiar to him.
Now he is beginning to think he might have strongly underestimated his mark. But they have underestimated him, too—or at least the man who tried to stop his leaving did. (Briefly, very briefly, Marcus wonders how the other man is faring. Their scuffle was rather…intense.) How many more are going to come after him? How long has it actually been since he escaped—“jumped the Coil,” as they call it? The calendar on a nearby wall says two weeks. Two weeks! Marcus can certainly last longer in evasion and hiding than two weeks!