His eyes were shut and he swung again and again and again and again.
Ted’s sobs harmonized in tandem with each hit. He could feel his shovel hitting the body. It scared him.
But he couldn’t stop. His hands wouldn’t stop.
His face screwed up with every sick crack, but he couldn’t bring himself to look up. Not until…the noise was going on way too long, without a break in rhythm or force.
He recognized this beat. It was the tempo of unstable fear. It swept you up in an unending spiral of fright, too afraid to keep going, but more afraid to stop. Confusion and a thick haze mucking your brain until you could keep moving purely on instinct. If someone didn’t stop him who knows how long he’d keep it up.
Without pause, Entre dropped his axe and lunged forward. His arms wrapped around Ted’s middle and he pulled him back, holding him tightly against himself.
“He’s dead,” he said in a voice loud enough to hear, but not harsh. “You can stop, Ted. You’re done.” He tugged him a few more feet back, out of range of the dead man now bleeding out on the floor. “You did good, he’s gone,” he whispered as he kneeled down behind the kid, still holding him firmly.
All Swag could do was watch.
All he could do was be the person who made decisions people didn’t want to. It was easier for them to hate him than to deal with the fact that these were things that had to be done. These choices weren’t easy, and he was the asshole to make them, right?
He winced a bit when Ted kept going and moved to stop him but realized that wasn’t his job either. No. Instead he pulled out a cigarette and lit it, focusing his attention elsewhere. Entre was a better comfort than he could ever be.
He was bulletproof and nobody could touch him. So he probably shouldn’t touch them either.
“It’s done then.”
Creep’s lifeless hand uncurls from around the final note that he’d written.
“Oh cuz you’re so great at getting it done in one quick move, aren’t you?” Swag said with a huff and a roll of his eyes.
He noticed that Ted and Creep had locked onto eachother, and licked his lips, not minding the small wait to see what would happen. “He doesn’t need someone to be his dad. He needs someone to teach him…what he has to do.”
Entre just winced and ducked his head, dropping his gaze to the floor. His axe arm dangled limply. “Yeah…I guess,” he conceded.
He chewed on his tongue and glanced upwards at Creep before looking away again. He didn’t know if he could watch whatever happened from here.
Ted took a cautious step forward. Then another. Then another. Before he knew it, he was right in front of….it…… He didn’t want to think of him as an “it”. He was a person…. A living person…
A suffering person. Who cried out for his help. He heard it.
“I know you’re hurting,” Ted sniffed, his hands gripped so tightly on his shovel they burned, “I’m helping you. I’m helping y….ou….”
He lifted the spade in a striking pose. His lip began to bleed from biting down so hard on it.
With all his might, he swung.
He stared up at him in silence, only giving a short nod in reply to his words. As the other lifted the shovel, he simply closed his eyes and slowly exhaled.
When the spade’s blade connected with his head, he jerked violently to the side and fell over, instantly knocked out from the force of the attack.
But he was still breathing.
“Look. He’s gotta go.” Swag said simply, but it was apparent something had him shaken. He wasn’t as calm and collected as he usually was when he took out slugs. This was different. Even he knew that. He sighed, glaring over at Entre.
“You can’t fucking blame me for this. This is the world we live in.” He stopped himself before he added ‘the world you created for us’ but it was implied with a pointed look.
“And I need to know that the kid-“ He paused, taking in a harsh breath as he motioned down towards Ted. “-can take care of himself if he has to.”
“This is different.” Entre hissed back. “This isn’t an everyday occurrence! This is a guy who still has half a mind. He’s not attacking or anything. As far as Ted is concerned they’re not that much different aside from the boils on his body.”
He glowered and released Ted’s hand in order to pull his axe from its straps. “I’ve got this. Just one swing and it’s done.” There was no need to rip more innocence from a kid.
He could hear them whispering, but the words were muffled enough so he couldn’t make out what exactly was being said.
His eye hurt. It hurt. It was throbbing and aching.
Ted held the shovel in both his hands.
………The blade was sharp enough.
Creep’s gaze traveled from Swag to Entre before he simply stared at Ted.. and his shovel. Hesitantly, he pulled out his final sheet of paper and scribbled something down, but did not show it, instead just balling his fist around it.
His yellowed eyes remained focused on the boy the entire time.
Swag instinctively moved to make sure Ted was staying behind both him and Entre before he made a comment. It was a mutter singed with disdain. Although he wasn’t sure who it was for. Was it for their new infected ‘problem’? Was it for what they would have to do? Was it for the one who got them there in the first place? He didn’t even know. “Fucking sick.”
He sighed, blue eyes moving between the creature and his friend before he nodded. They both knew what they had to do. This was different from One-ler. Creep was covered in blisters and infection. There wasn’t really a way to get the kid out of there without putting him in danger, but maybe it was better that way. Maybe it was time for him to grow up a little.
He stepped back and put his hand on Teds shoulder. “Kid. You’re gonna have to help us. You think you can do that?”
“Wait, what?” Entre tugged Ted closer to himself. “Why him? We’re both perfectly capable—” He took a deep breath and leaned in closer to Swag so hopefully Ted couldn’t hear.
“I’m not gonna let you do to him what you did to me…with—you-know-who…” he hissed. Did Swag forget how distraught Ted had been over Bitter? Or had he conveniently looked over that part.
It was different when they were already gone, but when they were like this—and still had some semblance of humanity…
He settled into the corner with his ‘snack’, chewing on it contentedly with his sharpened teeth as he continued to watch the others while they talked. He seemed sort of happy, really. Getting to people-watch, and all that.
Like old times.
Swag blinked, still gripping onto his golf club although he seemed to relax a bit. “Creepyshit?” He asked, taking another step closer to the bed as the other descended back into hiding. He hadn’t been keeping track of this guys condition but from what he’d gathered he was been pretty harmless before. Only now he looked worse. Much worse. Worse to the point where… He stopped and turned to look back at the other two.
“He looks bad.”
Entre directed Ted to walk behind him as he stepped up to where Swag was. He looked towards the distant glow, still waiting for his eyes adjust to the poor lighting.
A small wince crossed over his features. “Uh…hey?” he asked, and lifted his hand into a small wave. Then he looked over at Swag. “What are we gonna do about him, then?” he asked in a low voice.
“….’Do’…?” Ted repeated, his eyes darting from Entre to Swag, “What do you mean? I mean…we’re gonna….we’re gonna help him, aren’t we?”
He had a sinking feeling in his stomach. There was only so much they could do. Looking at the cowering infected man, his heart started to beat a little faster. His eye started aching.
As the others talked amongst themselves, he again peeked out from his hiding place, wide yellow eyes blinking almost owlishly. He couldn’t quite hear them, but he could get the general gist of the situation by simply observing their expressions.
Cautiously, he slipped out of the fort and slunk across the room, gaze flickering between them and a chunk of meat that he had haphazardly tossed in the opposite corner.
He may as well eat something.
“It just needed two kicks, asshole.” Swag grumbled towards Entre before stepping inside the cabin. It smelled horrible, like a mixture of stale Doritos and blood. If he hadn’t been so used to the presence of death he probably would have been sick from it. “Smells like shit in here.” He complained before letting go of Teds hand.
He would go first. He always went first.
The pieces of paper littered about seemed like just debris but as his eyes adjusted to the darkness he could see that they actually had scratches on them. Words. He kept walking, passing by a trail of the scraps of paper.
“The fuck-“ Swag said with a raised eyebrow, reaching out to pull off a piece of paper with a crudely scribbled picture of someone he recognized. That was Prisma. “Okay this isn’t fucking funny anymore.” He said angrily, taking the golfclub from his back and gripping it with both hands.
Ted’s hand still firmly grasped in his own, Entre eased in the cabin after Swag. There wasn’t fifty infected waiting on them, but it was still a peculiar sight to walk in on. He glanced around, free hand gripping at the handle of his axe.
He bent down to pick up one of the discarded messages and his face scrunched up, perplexed.
“Hello?” he asked curiously. If someone was able to write messages, then they were able to communicate right? Unless something had happened between when the messages were written and now.
The fetid smell hit Ted like a wave, making him flinch from the stench. It was a scent that brought up familiar and painful memories. Of Thneedville. That smell that was so stagnant in the air as everyone became infected….hundreds of bodies rotting…. People clawing and tearing each other apart to save themselves….
He squeezed Entre’s hand, and unstrapped his shovel from his sling bag with his free hand.
In the corner of his eye, he saw a familiar glow.
Something was in the corner of the room.
“Uhh….Uh…..S-Swag…? I think there’s…..there’s….over there…..”
Swag’s anger was enough to keep him from showing himself for a good few moments. Slowly, however, he crawled towards the entrance of the bunkerbed and poked his head out to look at the trio.
Not staying visible for long, he soon ducked back inside his little fort, the bedframe shaking faintly with his movements. He didn’t know if he should try to properly communicate with them, or just keep hiding.
Okay bite size, you got my hand? I’m gonna kick the shit outta this door.
…………..that was just sad.
I thought that was gonna look cooler…
You can’t even kick a door open?
Oh god oh god oh god oh god don’t come in here don’t look at me don’t touch me just go away—
The still-hidden Creep let out a sharp hiss as he heard the door be kicked not once, but twice — the second of which caused the rotten door to fall clean off its hinges.
The cabin was rather empty save for the odd bed contraption and the multitude of written notes. Most of them simply said ‘KILL ME’ or ‘IT HURTS’.. though there were some scratchy drawings, too. Mostly spiders and various insects, even a couple of scribbles of One-ler, Prisma, and a few of the other people he had met while wandering about.
Okay so we’ll go together and hold hands but this doesn’t make us boyfriends.
Eeeww….. I’m not holding hands with you guys.
LISTEN UP KID WHEN YOU AREN’T LOST YOU’RE PLANNING ON GETTING LOST SO HOLD MY FUCKING HAND AND DEAL WITH IT.
I can’t believe you’re making me do this…………….
Just try not to think too hard about it.
He couldn’t really recognize the third voice he heard among Swag’s and Entre’s, but it didn’t matter. All that did was that he knew they were coming in here, and he was a bit scared.
Not for his life — he had resigned to his fate long ago and was almost begging for it now, judging by the multitude of notes marked ‘KILL ME’ that were scattered all over the cabin — but for their lives. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. Despite how much he tried, it was getting difficult to keep his self-control. He was slipping.
Letting out a quiet hiss, he scooted as far back into the bunkerbed as possible and huddled into a little ball.