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Coughing dragged him from the darkness and in the reality he awoke, Daniel was a reluctant participant. His fever was blurring his perception. It caused him to take a ridiculously long time to realize the person coughing was actually Bell-boy and that the man's coughs were more than a little productive. More blood? Good. The way Bell-boy coughed seemed to contain an edge of panic and despair though. It went on a long time to boot. Worry crept into the lethargic state of mind that'd taken over ever since he'd fallen asleep. He felt nowhere near rested, but it was better than before. He was less cold, less stressed and wired. Daniel felt relaxed and content, until now.
Slowly, he sat up, wiping the sleep from his eyes.
When Bell-boy's coughing settled into gasps, Daniel reached out and kneaded some of the man's tight back-muscles.
"Water?" he suggested after some length, slipping by the man for the bags he'd brought. There were several smaller bottles of water in there and he opened one for Bell. He moved slowly, but deliberately. At least he didn't feel like he'd pass out at any given moment no more. Eating that hamburger had been a good choice.
He gave the sputum Bell-boy had coughed up a disgusted look and then wrapped his arms around himself. It was cold now. How long had they slept for anyway? Light still forced its way through what little windows the factory was rich, but it wasn't much and quite possibly the last dredges of it.
Kid had really done some damage to Bell-boy.
He felt too off-kilter to be angry. Maybe tomorrow morning he'd have a little more energy to put behind the emotions dancing around his head. Daniel rummaged about the bag some more and got out a pastry. At least they kept a while, were laden with sugar and tended to be something new to their diet as of late. They were also a step up from canned foods, which he'd also brought.
"Maybe we should check into a hotel tonight?" Daniel offered. They could draw Bell-boy a hot bath, help him breather easier and make it less of a chore to cough up what was left in his lungs. Daniel was fairly certain the dust-infested factory was no help.
Bell shifted slightly when Daniel rejoined him in the car, the car's body dipping with the other's weight. Daniel was more careful this time about not jostling him, and before long, he'd passed out again. Back to sleep.
Sleep was a nebulous place, shifting and uncertain, everything moving just out of his reach. He felt as though he'd had an intense dream, but couldn't recall it--and then it was off to sleep again, deep darkness clawing him into its maw, swallowing him down. He felt as though he was being watched, great golden eyes like lamps beaming down at him. But this time, the scrutiny felt familiar, warm, almost, compared to the cold stares of the scientists, who didn't know, didn't care. He could feel them, too, watching him from just out of sight, the amber fluid of the vat distorting their faces to monstrous proportions. They should all die. He wanted to kill each of them, personally, hunt them down for what they'd done, for hurting Daniel--
Bell woke up suddenly, throat parched, the urge to cough overwhelming everything. With strength he didn't know he had, he threw himself forward, off the back bench, and through the car, then coughed, over and over. His stomach clenched, the coughing almost triggering it to vomit. He couldn't breathe--he could feel something in his throat, rising, and it was too thick to breathe past. Then it came out, stringy blood and mucus coming out in clumps, clear, mysterious fluid mixed in. His lungs ached ferociously, each cough seeming to try and rip them back open, undo what good the goatling had done.
He had to breathe. With effort, he forced himself to stop coughing and sit back, then choked back the liquid that hadn't quite worked its way out and gasped for air, sweet, dusty air. Shit. Bell rubbed his chest, trying to make it hurt less. That'd been painful as shit! And there was more in there? He could feel it sloshing around, restricting his chest. Fuck. Yeah, this was going to be fun. Bell sagged against the car's doorframe and sighed out, tired already.
Convincing Bell-boy to go back into the car wasn't difficult, in the end. Daniel held out his hand and helped as much he could, but allowed Bell-boy to take his sweet-ass time. Emphasis on ass. The man was leaving a dust-trail on the concrete. He would've laughed at that, if Bell-boy's situation wasn't so dire. At long last, Bell-boy hauled himself into the back seat with his help. It was then Bell started to get chatty. Really? He didn't have the mind-set for this shit.
"Twins? Lovely," Daniel started. He'd assumed most of the story already. If there was anyone who was about as opportunistic as he was, it'd be Bellwether. It wouldn't die? Huh. So was it safe to assume Bell-boy hadn't attacked the right one? That the essence that kept the goat alive was actually in the other? Or was it that they both needed to die at the same time? Either way Daniel couldn't imagine a goat not to suffer from a beating, followed by exposure to the outside world.
Daniel felt how his thoughts turned to mush, causing him a headache. Seemed like Bell-boy was about done anyway, so Daniel didn't force him to stop.
Before he could rest, there were things they needed to get set up so it'd look as if the old factory was still as abandoned as it'd always been. He pushed off from the car and Bell-boy, shuffling over to their 'garden' to survey the damage. What blood-stain Bell-boy had created was mostly soaked up by the soil, except the bits on the concrete.
It'd set in over night, but rather than red, it was a motley brown. There was little he could do about that without bleach. Daniel didn't have the energy and it looked like it might rain later that evening anyway. He'd let nature wash away the gruelling evidence of Bell-boy's life-threatening injury.
For a few seconds he just stood there, basking in the sun, before he turned and pulled the doors shut. Secluded like this, the factory was a dark and stuffy place almost. Daniel decided he'd have another rest too. Bell-boy would need more food after a while and the supplies he'd managed to drag over wouldn't even last them through the day.
He was careful to climb in with Bell this time. Sleep came suddenly and ferociously. There was nothing but darkness welcoming him back.
He made a face when Daniel told him he couldn't sleep until he finished eating. Didn't wanna. Still, he kept on, because he knew the man was right. The more food he could get into him, the faster he'd heal up. It was common sense, for now. So he had to keep eating.
"Mmm, me either," Bell agreed on Bell-goat. The thing was a damn nuisance and made him feel like shit, not to mention they'd have to relocate for fear of hunters afterwards. The goat's fix on the hunters kept them from being passively hunted, but he wasn't so sure it'd keep them from being hunted if the goat was brought out. Probably be harder to suppress something like that. Not like he knew, though.
The last part of the burger disappeared into his stomach, and he sighed out. Go back in the car? It was so damn warm in there. But it was more comfy than the concrete, long-term. "Yeah," he sighed. He shook his head after Daniel ruffled it, giving a half-hearted attempt to rearrange his hair. "Yeah, okay."
Bell stretched where he was sitting, then reached out for Daniel, gripping the car with his other hand and splitting his weight between the two as he hoisted himself to a stand, then slid back into the car, at times literally sliding his ass over the floor until he finally came to the back, where he hauled himself up into the backseat.
He laid there for a second, catching his breath, then looked up at Daniel. "The kid, he was... walking alone," Bell started in a low voice. Had to tell Daniel sometime, after all. He gestured half-heatedly. "So I thought... let's go for it, right? Everything went fine, got him isolated and all... and then some douchebag stabs me in the back." He shook his head. "Turned around, same kid. Cracked his head open. Goat comes out. I start to beat it down, but it won't die the way it should." He paused and just breathed for a second, catching his breath. "Other little douchebag starts beating on me from behind, hits the knife in deeper, must've been shouting or something because someone...I didn't see anything about them, but someone comes up, so I hoofed it."
Bell closed his eyes and breathed out. That'd be all for now, because he was too damn tired for anything else. He knew he should be up and helping with whatever, but he just... couldn't. He had no energy.
It was sluggish and with a healthy dose of resistance, but Bell-boy was awake and aware enough to drink on his own. Daniel sipped his own orange juice, keeping a close watch on Bell, making sure the guy wouldn't choke to death or worse.
"Yeah burgers," he confirmed dispassionately before handing over Bell-boy's share of the food.
Daniel was just about to unwrap his own when Bell started on fluids in his lungs. Shit. Yeah. If that was the case, Bell-boy needed to cough up those fluids sooner rather than later. "I'm not surprised," Daniel breathed out with a sigh. Even after mending the injury, Bell had coughed up a lot of blood.
It'd only be fair if some of that hadn't made it out last night. Which reminded him he needed to shovel some dirt over to cover the worst of the blood-patches. He kind of hoped it might rain instead. Rain would wash away their tracks. Start off with a clean slate. As if.
Daniel slowly chewed his burger, trying to entice an unwilling body into eating with more enthusiasm. It didn't really work out. He felt too tired to be hungry. His gut felt like one acidic mess, even after the orange juice and Bell-boy didn't look to fair much better.
"Hey, no sleeping 'till you eat it all," Daniel threatened half-heartedly when he caught Bell-boy sinking off to sleep.
It'd taken him a lot of effort to get them food, so Bell had better make good use of his efforts. After finishing his burger, Daniel felt a little steadier, but he couldn't shake the fog from clinging to his mind. Had he really spent the whole night passed out on the concrete? Fuck. Shit had gone sour so quickly.
It just proved they hadn't been ready yet. Should've taken it easier.
"Don't want to bring out Bell-goat," Daniel confessed. If the fluids in Bell's lungs didn't come out in a natural way, they might not have another choice though. "You want to lie back down?" he offered. Didn't look like Bell-boy was steady enough to venture back into the car by himself just yet. Daniel half-heartedly tossed the wrapper of his burger into the plastic bag and sighed out. He needed to make sure they'd be safe. Clean up and close the big doors, make it look like nobody was home.
He got up stiffly and put a hand to Bell's head, messing up the man's already tangled hair.
"C'mon, you'll get pneumonia if you stay out like this," Daniel argued lightly.
Footsteps. Bell woke up, or at least moved from asleep to dozing. He knew he should be panicking, worried, something, but he just had no energy to give a fuck. Whoever it was would have to deal with him lying here like a sack of potatoes, because that was all he felt like doing.
A familiar voice. Daniel. He shifted a bit, trying to wake up and show that he was with it, even though that was a lie. A tepid hand on his cheek that was unnervingly the same temperature as him was his reward, and he finally fought his eyes open enough to see Daniel. The guy looked like shit, pale as hell and sweaty, big, dark circles under his eyes. A light giggle escaped his lips before he swallowed it back away. Now was not the time.
"M' here," he mumbled. He forced himself up with arms that felt more like limp noodles, then blinked slowly at Daniel. Food, drinks... he saw orange juice and reached for it, then leaned back against the car with his dew-dappled prize and sucked the sugary liquid down. Felt funny in his stomach, all cold like that, and made his head feel funny. But that was good. He needed something to work with. Food, sugar, something.
The orange juice came empty. He examined it, tipped it up to get the last drops out, then turned his gaze to Daniel. "Burgers?" he asked. There'd been something about burgers. Burgers sounded good.
He held his hand out limply until a burger was placed into it, then began to eat. It tasted good, but it took so much energy to chew that he could barely handle it. It was ridiculous that it took so much effort, but there it was; nothing he could do about it. His lungs felt funny, too, like he couldn't get enough air so he had to keep taking little gasps between bites.
"Think I might... might be fluid in there," he mumbled through a mouthful of burger, listlessly giving his chest a tap. Made sense to him. Goats never did well with bodily fluids, and where they were supposed to be. "Feels funny. Too tired to cough, though."
With that, he leaned back against the car and focused on chewing, eyes half-closed. Shouldn't go back to sleep so soon after eating, he'd feel bad if he did.
Everything was slow. Moving was, navigating the stores was, interacting with people was. Daniel could tell he was on the receiving end of some sympathy, perhaps some pity, but those types of stares had become too common for him to notice too much. He resorted to getting Bell-boy canned foods, simply because it was an easy and cheap fix in the long run. Bottles of water proved heavy to carry, in hind-sight. His arms shook from the exertion, muscles running on empty.
By the time he made it to the burger-joint, Daniel had to take a break and sit down. Not for too long. The stares he got there were meant to get him to leave. Daniel simply glared back and his dead stare was sufficient for a while, but it wouldn't be forever.
He dragged himself up to the counter and put in an order. Hopefully Bell-boy would be able to eat something, but if not, at least he would force himself to. One of them had to recover, and fast. Before those goats up and left. Despite Bell-boy's hints, the man hadn't said anything about what he'd done to them.
Someone had seen Bell-boy, had been the gist of it.
Daniel dragged himself into the factory by the skin of his teeth. Not even the flash of panic at finding Bell-boy's fallen body could push him to rush. He moved over, almost cautiously, glaring around, but from what he could tell, Bell-boy must've dragged himself out. Daniel put down the bags and let himself fall on his ass.
"Yo, Bell?" Daniel put a hand to Bell's cheek. They were almost the same temperature. The man was suffering from a fever, same as he was.
"Brought you drinks, you thirsty?" he asked, already opening a bottle of orange juice. He took a few sips himself, the sugar in the drink rushing to his head almost instantly. "Food too, if you can stomach it...hey?"
He patted Bell-boy's cheek to see whether the man would come around. If not, he'd have to feed Bell-boy himself. Daniel just sat there for a long while, staring straight ahead. He was tired, more than anything. The burgers smelled tempting, despite his stomach's reluctant acceptance of the juice.
When he woke up again he was alone, and extremely overheated. It felt like he was lying in a blast furnace, the heat from the sun reflected a million times and magnified in the car until it felt like he was lying in hot water with no way to get out. The thin breeze blowing in the open door wasn't nearly enough; nothing was enough. He was soaked in sweat, and his stomach felt queezy, not quite sick, but not well, either.
Moving slowly, he squirmed towards the door. Rather than try to sit up or stand, he just let himself fall to the floor face-first, then slowly peeled himself up off the floor and crawled forward. His chest hurt and it hurt to breathe, the superheated air choking in his throat.
At the door, he paused, then slowly swung his legs around to hit the floor first. There was no standing; he could feel his knees crumpling before he even put his full weight on them. He had to energy, was the problem. Felt like he was a deflated sack of garbage, not even able to sit upright. Still, he used what leverage he could get between the edge of the car and the floor to haul himself to a sitting position, then slide down until the back of the car could support him. It wasn't much, but the cool concrete of the floor was amazing for lowering his temperature. He sighed out and closed his eyes, tilting his head back so sweat-soaked hair fell out of his eyes, and just sat there, dozing off.
The body of the car was still unpleasantly hot, though. He groaned. Ugh. Too much effort. But it was that or sweat, at this point. Reluctantly, he peeled himself off the car and pitched forward, sprawling out on the dusty concrete. Better. Much better. The cool concrete seemed to suck all the heat away, sweat serving to cool him down rather than soak him. So much better.
Something walked over to him, soft paws making almost no sound. A rough tongue licked the sweat off his brows. Bell grumbled, which made the cat pause, but it was only a moment's hesitation before it started licking again. With a weary sigh, he gave up and let it do whatever. Who cared. Let the cat lick him. He was gonna nap.
Bell's voice sounded whiny. Daniel watched the man squirm in pain and wondered whether or not everything had healed properly. Hadn't it been enough? Daniel was fairly certain he'd pushed the goatling to heal it all. Maybe it had, and it just hurt still. Sometimes, when Bell-goat's blood had healed him, he suffered the same. That didn't explain why Bell-boy still had trouble breathing though.
Daniel realized he was zoning out and blinked. Bell-boy had asked him something, hadn't he? Couldn't be important.
That there were two, yeah, that was important, but Bell-boy had already told him that. Seemed like Bell was going back to sleep and Daniel figured it was for the best that he did.
He had to wash his hands. Wash his arms. Change his shirt and get some supplies. Food, mainly, and water. Maybe something with a higher sugar content to help Bell-boy replenish what blood he'd lost. Had to shovel over the blood-covered dirt so no one would see the blood through the fence.
Daniel moved carefully and slowly, mindful of Bell-boy's sensitive body, but couldn't help having to hold on to the car in order to keep his balance. He hadn't eaten much the last couple of days and the fever wasn't helping in any way. Daniel snatched up one of the big bottles of water and started to wash up. His shirt was ruined, but he'd washed some of their clothes at least. Maybe these could still be washed. Bell-boy's was as good as ruined.
He'd burn it later.
Destroy the evidence.
It'd be better to buy new ones.
Daniel swayed precariously, but managed to look presentable, or as much as he could tell by looking in the rear-view mirror. His face looked drawn and he was pale, but that'd probably not upset anyone in the neighbourhood they were in.
He found the lighter in Bell-boy's coat-pocket and lit their shirts. On the concrete, the fire could only be fuelled by their shirts and they quickly burnt out. That finished, Daniel teetered towards the door. Things got a little easier as he moved. His muscles were less sore, but he didn't feel anywhere near a hundred percent. He had to bank on the fact that the two kid-goats hadn't seen his face and didn't know who he was.
Food. Food first.
Even though he felt sick as a dog, they needed food. Bell-boy needed it to recover faster. Daniel was grateful for the sunglasses, but not even they could keep out the sudden mass of light produced by the sun shining in his face. It was almost enough to throw him off balance, but Daniel grit his teeth and pushed on.
It took him a while to wake up, the wander back to consciousness slow. He felt hot, was the thing. Hot and sweaty, like he was being baked alive. He wanted to stay asleep, but when he was this hot, his body wouldn't allow it. No matter how hard he clung to sleep, his body pushed him to wakefulness harder.
He was in the car. Bell yawned and scrubbed his eyes, processing this information with the slow, just-waking-up part of his brain that hadn't quite kicked into gear yet. He was in the car, and Daniel was, too. Hot, he was hot. Annoyed, he kicked the comforter down some, exposing more skin to be cooled off.
Something about Daniel, though... Oh, right, he was angry that Daniel had gone off drinking without him again. No, but then Daniel had saved his life. He frowned. Angry or not? He was still kind of angry, honestly. If Daniel hadn't gone drinking, he wouldn't have been alone, and he could've taken those two punks. Instead, he'd been ambushed like an idiot and stabbed and had almost bled out.
"Daniel," he whined, just as Daniel muttered something about shit. "Wha'?" he asked, thoughts easily detailed. The car rocked as Daniel moved, jostling his chest. Pain arced through it like lightning, the edges of the wound lit up red hot as they pulled against each other. He winced and laid very still, whole body tense, waiting until the pain passed.
There were painkillers somewhere. In his jacket, maybe? Eyes screwed shut, he groped for them, but came up empty. No painkillers. Nothing. No jacket, either. It'd gone... somewhere. His heart raced--the kids hadn't taken it, had they? No--no, they hadn't. He'd brought it home. Daniel must've... taken it off, or something.
"Uhm, Daniel, there's, two of them," he managed, and then he had to take a break to catch his breath. It was weirdly hard to breathe right now, like his chest was being squeezed. He snorted at himself; yeah, it was hard to breathe. Almost like he'd gotten stabbed in the lung! He needed food, or something, so the goat could heal it, but all he wanted to do was sleep. He fought it, but his eyes fluttered shut anyways. If only Daniel would speak and be a distraction, then he could stay awake.
Bell-boy's protests fell on deaf ears. For a second Bell seemed to tense, but the man didn't pull away in the end, which was the only thing that'd worried Daniel. That Bell would still be in the throws of a delusion. Daniel woke up only to realize he'd missed some time. The sun was now up fully, almost threatening to invade their car. He'd left a door open, as well as the boot of the car, so it wasn't too warm. But it was at the same time. Daniel realized he was both shivering and sweating.
Lethargy permeated his bones once the shivers settled, creating a gravitational force between him and the comforter that proved too hard to break. He was comfortable on a whole new level. Daniel closed his eyes again and sighed out, debating whether it was worth it to grab some more water in poor hopes of bringing his fever down. At least the orange hadn't made a return appearance.
Daniel rested for a while, docilely staring at their little factory hide-out, but nothing seemed amiss. Aside from the blood he could smell still. No doubt it'd be the blood caked on their skins he hadn't gotten rid of the night before. They were due a shower -a proper one. Might do them well to check into a hotel for a night just to get cleaned up and rest up.
It'd require him to actually drive and get them somewhere though, so Daniel slowly chewed on the idea instead.
Blood was caught under his fingernails again. It'd been a long time since that'd happened.
Bell-boy mentioned something about there being two, hadn't he? But they'd only seen the one kid. So were they meant to deal with both?
Daniel breathed out thickly, the debate on whether or not he ought to move becoming more frantic inside of his head. Had to get something proper to eat, since it'd help heal Bell-boy up quicker and they'd run out of water sooner rather than later. He didn't trust Bell-boy to go back out by himself, so either way he'd have to come with.
Couldn't let themselves be ambushed again. Now that they knew though, the kids' had played their joker-card. Unless there was something to their duality.
Either way they'd recognize Bell now.
Daniel shifted sluggishly and rubbed at his eyes. The stores weren't down too far. Could always get something quick at the- shit. No, he really couldn't. Daniel realized he was covered in Bell-boy's blood.
"Well, shit," he slurred softly.
He grunted back when Daniel nudged him with a water bottle. He didn't want to drink, just sleep until he stopped hurting. Daniel didn't let up, so he grabbed the bottle and pulled it closer. For a minute, he just held it, half of a mind to go right the hell back to sleep, but then he sighed and started to unscrew it, eyes still shut tight. Sitting up wasn't possible, so he sipped slowly, letting the water pool in his cheek before he swallowed.
[i Why don't you try not drinking next time,] he tried to grumble back, but what came out was more of a garbled mumble, no single word distinct in the stream of noise. And Daniel was here now and taking care of him, so he couldn't be too angry. Mostly he was just tired.
Daniel left. Bell gave up drinking water and just laid there, somewhere between awake and asleep. Dozing. Things were moving around behind his eyelids, squirming in his mind. It was comfortable-uncomfortable, and he couldn't decide if he should wake up or not.
Something smelled of citrus. He opened his eyes slowly. An orange? He frowned and reached out. Eat? Ugh. He just wanted to sleep. But it'd make him feel better faster if he ate. Sluggishly, he took a bite from the orange. The sweetness exploded over his tongue, the acid a sharp burst that was entirely too much. He winced, but kept on chewing, not even bothering to open his eyes.
The car shifted as Daniel climbed in beside him. Bell groaned. All that jostling was making his chest hurt. "Careful," he muttered, then, with considerable effort, swallowed his mouthful of orange. Had to eat it.
Finally his hand came empty, and there was no more orange to eat. He sighed and relaxed, scooting closer to Daniel on instinct. Felt nice and warm. A little too warm, maybe. He couldn't be assed to care.
Wait, though, if he'd slept in here, where'd Daniel spent the night? Out drinking again? Was that why he seemed so sleepy? Anger welled up, then died out. He couldn't exert the effort to be angry anymore. Who cared. Let Daniel drink. He was going to nap.
It was still Bell-boy and the man responded to boot. Good enough. Daniel hoped Bell wasn't still delusional, because there was no way he could put up a fight at the moment. Just pulling open the door had him trembling on his legs.
"Hmm," Daniel acknowledged Bell-boy's query. Looked like even Bell didn't have the energy to be pissed. He ruffled some of Bell's hair back in place and reached for the water. For a second the world did a spin, but Daniel blinked and shook his head to clear the interesting blotches invading his vision.
He pushed through and drank some of the water. At first, his stomach clenched and resisted the intake of anything. Daniel resisted the urge to gag and swallowed the water down forcibly.
"Hey, don't go to sleep, drink," Daniel started, voice a bit off. A bit airy. Daniel ignored it and leaned in to nudge Bell-boy with the bottle of water. He was shivering too badly to help Bell drink this time and the man needed liquids after all the blood he'd lost. Pretty sure the goatling didn't do anything to replenish that.
Daniel leaned heavily against the car, just taking deep breaths. Felt like he might pass out again.
"Try not to die next time, 'kay?" he gently reprimanded Bell.
"It's bad," Daniel mumbled.
Part of him knew things would be better if he could get them some food -maybe some of the fruit they'd bought earlier, but another part of him recognized that was possibly not happening. Also, the comforter Bell-boy had kicked half to the side looked warm and alluring. Daniel rested his head against the car and closed his eyes for a few long seconds, trying to make up his mind. It was early, probably. Dawn had barely crossed the big door-opening they hadn't bothered to close up last night. Great. And he'd spent the majority of the night passed out behind the car.
Daniel figured he'd be cold after all that, but he wasn't. The goat-sickness made it so he was burning up instead. All but his hands and feet. Food would be best, even if it was just some orange. Daniel pushed off and kept a hand to the car to help steady himself out. Once he got the boot open, Daniel sat down on the edge of the car and rummaged about for food. Even peeling the orange was a chore and a half. His body wasn't even grateful for the rewards, but Daniel forced himself to eat. At least to feel a bit more awake.
He took the half that was left back to Bell and nudged the man until he responded.
"Eat," Daniel instructed half-heartedly, then decided he'd done enough for the time being and crawled in to rest next to Bell. Screw Bell-boy's demeanour. He was too exhausted to deal with that right now and also already half asleep.
It was like a dream, but sometimes he was sure he was awake, and sometimes he didn't know. The only consistent theme was that he was locked up, wherever he was; in a prison, in a dark place without windows, in a car, in the vat. Sometimes she was there, watching. Other times he was alone. Once, he thought he heard Daniel crying for help in the distance, but no matter how hard he scratched at the doors, they wouldn't open.
"Let me out! Daniel!" he shouted, banging on the doors, but the person who came had no face and no limbs and wasn't a person at all, but a half-dead goat, sopping black fluid from its caved-in head.
"No one wants to save you," it said, in a deep, gravely voice that was disgustingly familiar. Black hands gripped at his limbs and tried to hold him down, but he fought them, pushed them away--
At some point, he must have passed out, because he woke up to an aching lung and pounding head, his throat drier than the Sahara desert. He tried to find the will to move, but couldn't. Everything was so heavy. His limbs, the comforter twisted around him like a snake, the air. The comforter grew scales and started to move, slowly coiling tighter. Dark eyes flashed in the dim dawn light, a heavy head opening its maw wide. He was going to be eaten, but somehow, he couldn't find the will to care. So what if it ate him. Then he could rest. Slowly, his eyes closed again, and he drifted off.
A key clunked in the lock. Bell struggled to look up and see who was there, what new horror had come to greet him. Halfway there, he gave up. Sounded like too much effort. He'd just sleep and let them do whatever. Like he cared.
No, no, he should care. If someone was coming in the car, and it wasn't Daniel, then--
He rolled over with a groan and peered up into the light through squinted eyes. "Daniel...?" he mumbled, clumsily pushing his hair back. Looked like. He sighed out and closed his eyes again. It was Daniel, so there was no threat. Time to go back to sleep and try to sleep off this shitty hangover.
Apologies were all he was getting. The delusions came on quicker than he'd hoped, apparently. Daniel ignored Bell-boy's gibberish for the most part -if the man was sane, he'd never be apologizing. Once the car was locked however, Bell-boy started to panic in earnest. He knew the man would've regardless, whether he was there or not. Just as he rounded the car to close the boot, Daniel felt the world twist and turn. He closed the trunk and leaned on it heavily. One hand became two, and slowly he lowered his head to rest on the folds of his arms after a few dizzying seconds.
He was passing out.
Daniel felt his legs give in, but there was little he could do about it. For a second he managed to hang on, but he lost grip and fell sideways onto the factory's dusty concrete floor. He laid there, shivering and pathetic, only half-conscious, for what felt like hours. Each time his consciousness reached the surface, Daniel willed himself to wake up, to pick himself up, but his body wasn't responsive enough.
When he woke next, confusion set the tone.
A soft light was streaming in, casting tall shadows. Wheels? He was chilled to his core, shivering pathetically and his body was sore from sleeping on the concrete. Shit. Bell. Now wasn't the time to sleep. Daniel shifted to move and let out a pathetic groan. He was so not ready to start this day. He felt even worse than yesterday.
Daniel slowly got his arms underneath him, pushing up. Felt like he'd run a marathon. When he tried to sit up on his knees, a wave of dizziness knocked him into the car's wheel-cap. He was hungry. And nauseas. Bell-boy though.
Bell ought to be his priority for now; hopefully the blood would've worn off by now. Shit. Or he'd be stuck with Becky again. A giggle escaped his throat. It wasn't funny, but at the same time, it was. The whole situation was just too fucked up.
A couple of deep breaths settled the dizziness enough for Daniel to sit back up and try standing a second time. At least to get water. And open the door. See whether Bell-boy was still in there to be angry with him. Daniel leaned heavily against the door and had trouble directing the key into its slot. His hands were far too shaky to perform the task in a swift manner.
Yup, today would be a loss for them.
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