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Everything Bell said was just to placate him and Landon huffed, growing a bit frustrated with being pinned down so easily and dismissed at the same time. Didn't Bell understand that what he said was important? Right, Landon figured he ought to mention where the key-card was. Before Landon could however, there was a set of unfamiliar hands lifting him with some effort -still not the most cooperative sack of shit. At least they were moving. The cot was nothing to write home about and only a little improvement, but at least it wasn't the floor.
And Bellwether was there.
"I don't miss it," Landon snorted concerning lunch. Bell's hand petting his hair felt astonishingly good and Landon's eyes slipped shut for a moment. Landon's free hand toyed with Bell's jump-suit, feeling comfortable and secure for some demented reason. He'd just been beaten to a pulp, basically. How did that translate to feeling good?
Landon concluded he really was a masochist then.
Plucking at the small piece of paper, Landon unfolded it, the view from the camera shielded by Bell's body. There was a small map and Landon nudged Bellwether to look at it too.
"Card-key's hidden in the toilet," Landon said, voice barely above a whisper. "Underneath the fold in the rim," he narrowed the search down.
"We go here," Landon pointed, "'s where the guards equip."
There was a little weapon scribbled on the shred of paper. Landon wasn't sure how he knew what that meant either. Had Angela talked to Daniel? In that case Landon wasn't too sure everything had remained above board. Well, it'd have to be, considering his physical condition.
"Tonight?" he whispered, looking up at Bellwether. It would have to be tonight. Bell would be good enough to get killed again tomorrow and they'd want to abuse that to use the goat, if they needed to, to get out.
"I just need a little rest," Landon confessed drowsily. Maybe he was delusional after all. Perhaps Robert had a point. Carefully putting the little square of paper back whence it came, Landon edged a little closer to Bell's warmth.
"' love you," Landon muttered, already half-way asleep. It was the truth though. Landon would lay down his life for Bell. Didn't matter if the man wasn't anything other than a faint imprint of what was once a human being -or still was a human being. The morphine pulled Landon under, breathing shallow and slightly congested. Just a few more hours until chaos. If he could remain standing for it.
Landon's lack of reaction to the pain only made him more worried, if anything; was he in shock? Had they done it this time, pushed him over the edge so Bell had no choice but to let the goat have its way? On a thought, he checked Landon's elbows and wrists for track marks and found one, sporting an ugly though relatively small bruise of its own. So they'd given the addict a hit. Well, at least he felt good, at least he wasn't in agony.
He tried not to pay too much attention to what little remained of Landon's face, or to the nasty black patch down his ribs, or...basically anywhere. Landon looked like he'd been through a car crash, even more than he had when he'd actually been put through one.
Landon's hand gripped his jumpsuit and pulled, weakly. Bell put his hand on Landon's comfortingly, only to lift it free and push Landon back down gently but firmly. Landon was in no shape to move right now. Or anytime in the foreseeable future. Could he escape today? But if they waited, then Landon would only get hurt more, and then he'd end up goat-sick and Landon pregnant...no, they had to leave tonight. Even if he had to carry Landon out.
"Maybe," he muttered. Jealous? Not if this was how she showed her affection.
Daniel was there? That worried him. What made Daniel come out? Pain? Anger? He still hadn't met the guy, not really. It was probably a good sign, given the only other place he'd seen Daniel was shortly before he'd been stabbed. And then again, when Landon had gone crazier earlier in the cells.
Robert,a goat? Well, what else would be interested in goats? It just made him more of a target, tougher to kill. "Makes sense," he said, patting Landon's shoulder.
Landon's hand fell free. Stupidly, he tried to sit up again, and Bell had to push him down again. He needed to get Landon over to the bed, but he wasn't really sure he had it in him. Well, whatever. He'd do it.
Jim came over without being asked, and Bell looked up. "You two've got no luck," he said, shaking his head. A little embarrassed, Bell stood back and let Jim lift Landon, followed them over to the cot. Jim set Landon down and retreated, and Bell settled next to him, petting his hair back from his face. He chose to ignore Jim this time. The guy was just nice, apparently. No point aggravating him when he was only trying to help.
"You missed lunch," Bell told Landon. And then he sighed, bowing his head. Maybe they couldn't escape. Maybe it was just a stupid dream. One or the other of them was always injured. It was just...impossible.
Bell was there. Landon groaned meekly and tried to get up -there was no pain. Just a faint dizziness and lethargy, feeling like he was high as a kite and because of the morphine, he probably was. Trying to catch Bellwether's exploring hands proved a fruitless endeavour, and Landon chuckled.
"What? I didn't cheat," he muttered, eyes barely opened at Bell. They hadn't spared Landon's face this time, the bruises already setting though whatever Angela had done kept the swelling to a minimum. The same couldn't be said for Landon's broken hand. Even though it was now in a splint of sorts, it barely fit properly.
When Bell's hands pressed down on his back and stomach, Landon tried to shy away. After they'd punched Landon's stomach and the man tried to curl up to protect the soft tissue, they'd kept on kicking wherever was in reach. Hopefully Angela determined he didn't or had negligible damage to any internal organs. Sure, some might be bruised though. Landon was sure his ribs were broken in certain places. It would be a miracle if he didn't have a concussion.
Extending his good hand to reach out and clutch Bell's jump-suit, Landon tried to pull himself to a sit.
"Feel great," Landon slurred and snorted. This stuff was really good, way better than the pills they usually got their hands on. Getting up wouldn't work for some reason though and Landon had to catch his breath before trying again. Why was breathing so weird?
"You're right," he mentioned, looking up at Bellwether.
"She fancies me," Landon smirked, "jealous?"
There was a small piece of paper caught between his fingers, wedged underneath the splint. A map. A route to take so they could get out using the keys they had. Landon wasn't sure what Angela could do to ease up the guard and it'd probably not matter if they dawdled for too long, but at least it was something.
Now, if only he could stand.
Maybe after a short nap.
The hand clutching Bellwether's jump-suit grew heavier by the second and slowly the fingers let go. How was this better than birthing a goat-ling again? Oh, right, he might actually survive this one. Robert's response to being called out however still stood out sharply in Landon's recollection of events before blacking out.
"Daniel was there," Landon eased Bell's worry. He didn't like it when Bellwether looked so worried. "Robert's a goat, scared," he muttered drowsily. "Maybe he's in denial," Landon offered up, suddenly wondering why he was on the floor and trying to sit up again.
Bell paced anxiously in the cell, unable to rest with Landon out getting tested and abused. He pushed his hair back nervously, noting that he'd really need to cut it soon. Except how would he do that, in the cells? Was that why Jim's hair was so long? But Thomas's and Frank and Pete's hair had all been reasonable lengths. So it couldn't be that.
Tangents! Always tangents, when he was nervous. How was Landon doing? Had they chosen another limb to destroy? Would they be able to escape tonight? That was his biggest worry, that they wouldn't be able to get out. That they would injure Landon so badly he'd have no choice but to heal him, and in healing him, doom him to a terrible and quite frankly disgusting fate. He wasn't okay with that. He wouldn't accept it, no matter what the goat threatened.
"Sit down, you're getting on my nerves," Jim complained, and Bell shot him a dirty look and kept going. But only for another dozen laps; then h he stumbled, leg going out from under him, and fell. Jim half-rose, concerned, but Bell stubbornly ignored him and clawed his way to a stand on his own. He limped over to the cot and sat heavily. Better not to wear himself out right now. If they were lucky, if they didn't beat Landon up too much, the two of them could still escape.
As time passed, that seemed less and less likely to Bellwether. If Landon still wasn't back after all this, then they'd probably fucked him up good. Lunch came and went without Landon returning; finally, he heard a rattle, the low hum of wheels on concrete, and jumped up, running to the bars. Landon. That had to be Landon. But...on a gurney? That wasn't a good sign. He swallowed nervously and pressed his head against the bars to try to peer through them.
What he saw only confirmed his fears. His stomach dropped out from under him, and he gripped the bars tight, teeth bared subconsciously. "What did you do to him?" he snarled at the guard.
The guard gave him an impassive look, unimpressed. "Stand back," he ordered, and Bell, interested in getting Landon back within his reach as soon as possible, obeyed quietly--though it was something of a fight to let go of the bars and back down without a fight. Landon was tossed in, and the door slammed shut; he ran over to Landon's side and tried to catalogue his injuries, hands pressing here and there as he counted, not thinking about anything except how badly Landon had been hurt. At least this time it looked as though he'd had some elementary medical treatment, thank goodness.
Landon had been hurt again, and he was still powerless to stop it from happening. Rage boiled right under the surface of his skin, fighting to break through; his breaths grew short, somewhere between ready to scream and ready to cry. He couldn't take much more of this. If he had to stay here any longer, something would have to give--and he didn't want to know what.
"Are you okay?" he asked gently, as though he didn't already know the answer.
Shit. Shit. Shit!
Not again. Not this.
Of course a peace-offering wouldn't end well. Robert was a perceptive man and he'd wanted to know if Angela showed mercy. Angela's gaze was lowered at the floor, embarrassed for thinking she could get away with this and more than a little guilty for being naive.
Landon was still stood near the bars.
The cell was unlocked by the guard at Robert's instructions, even though Angela tried to deny having a 'need' for Landon. Landon didn't even look back at Bell when he was ushered out of the cell, but did cast a longing glance back into the cell as they passed.
"I'm sorry." Angela's voice was soft and thin in the hallway. The guards were staring ahead, disciplined by Robert's presence. They weren't trying anything this time, nor did Landon recognize these men.
"Have a seat, Mister Turner," Robert invited Landon to take a seat at a familiar table. There were no manacles this time. There was no need; he was practically crippled.
"We meet again," the man said with a sly smirk.
Landon felt nervous jitters pulse through his stomach, messing with the food he'd eaten just a few moments ago. More pain was going to happen, wasn't it? Swallowing away some apprehension, Landon looked at Robert.
The man was bloody unpredictable.
"I'm sure a smart man such as yourself will understand that it is vital we research the doppelgänger, and that for this research it is important to have a sample of...well, anything," the man started to monologue.
"Having a doppelgänger's blood might mean a break-through."
He really was a masochist. It was official now.
Landon licked his lips.
"Why are you keeping your own kind trapped?" Landon asked.
Robert paused for a moment, confused, then annoyed, and then something Landon hadn't expected: fear? A smile broke the moment.
"You must still be confused," the man caught himself and recovered. "The blood, it has an effect on the human body, doesn't it? It heals, but the side-effects..." Questioning eyes settled on Landon.
"You'd know -you're one of them," Landon said plainly.
Robert's look was one bordering on disgust, and anger brought on by insecurity. The back-hand was nothing like the beating from before and so Landon just shook his head and settled back into the chair.
"Why? Why do you watch them, Pete and Fred, why did you watch them fuck?" he asked.
There was no reply. Landon hadn't expected there to be any. "It's not love you're watching, just mating -is it that interesting? Interesting enough to detain dozens of your own species? To see how they are subject to human emotion?"
"You are still delusional," Robert started and his voice was dangerously low. There was something else there though, shimmering just below the surface.
A snap of two fingers had meaty paws on Landon's upper arms, hoisting him up. Knowing what was going to happen, Landon tried to fight them off, but the blows came from every corner. The moment he wrestled free an arm, his broken hand was simply twisted or hit, pushed or otherwise. After a while there was Daniel and everything went black.
Landon came around slowly. Grey ceiling, grey wall, metal table. Metal table?
Soft feminine hands brushed his hair back, a paternal shushing of his struggles leading Landon to derive that this was the infirmary, and Angela, trying to keep him alive long enough to get fucked up by a goat. Great.
"Easy," she warned, but no type of warning could accurately instruct Landon to deal with the amount of pain. Everything hurt. "I'll give you some painkillers in a second, I had to check your cognitive functions first," an explanation rose.
There were no guards. Landon tried to sit up and was pinned back down. Shit -Bell didn't know where the key-card was in their cell. Should've shared that information first.
"Okay, just relax," Angela soothed Landon and then there was something hot rushing through his vein. Bellwether was right, he was like an addict waiting for a fix. It was extremely hard to keep his eyes open after that.
There were voices, drifting at the edge of Landon's awareness. Hands snatched him, switched metal slabs -the gurney? Was he being taken back to the cell?
He felt a little bad when he saw how panicked Landon was over the prospect of getting taken away again, and honestly, he felt it too; to a lesser extent, surely, but all the same, felt the fear. Maybe he shouldn't have joked. But then again, she was all alone, the door was closed, and if he couldn't rely on humor to get him through the tough times, what could he rely on? He watched closely as Landon approached the door, ready to make a move at a moment's notice.
"Your hand," Angela said at last, too quiet for Bell to hear, eyes flicking towards it nervously. "Does it hurt? I...don't think it's right that we deny you basic medical care," she said, hands rubbing nervously over one another. "Robert can't know, but I can take you to the infirmary and get your hand seen to. It'll be a little...ancient, or else Robert would get suspicious, but it'll be better than a toilet roll," she said, nodding at his current solution. It wasn't as though Robert personally watched the cameras every day. So long as she didn't get caught in the act, as it were, and she didn't put anything too obvious on his hand, it should be fine.
Bell shifted on the cot uneasily. Should he go see what she was telling him? What if she really was propositioning him? He couldn't allow that! Though then again, was he going to get jealous every time Landon talked to anyone? That was insane. But anyone would be worried about this situation, right? This was a classic...situation! But then again, maybe it would get them out of here cleaner. Maybe he should let it happen. But he didn't want to.
Right when he was about to get up, the guards came thumping down the aisle with Robert along between them. "Angela, do you need him?" he asked, pointing at Landon where he stood against the wall.
Bell rose sharply, but Jim crossed the room in two strides and grabbed him by the arm. "Stand down," he hissed, and after a beat, Bell actually obliged for once. He couldn't afford to get beat up. He couldn't afford to get killed. Hopefully they wouldn't injure Landon too badly, but if they were going to escape tonight, at least one of them had to be in decent shape.
"You're looking better," Robert commented, as he came even with the cell, looking at Bellwether. Bell scowled, and Robert chuckled at him. "Come along," he said, gesturing at Landon. The subject would need at least one more day to rest before he would be ready, but in the meantime they could work on his friend.
"Don't you touch him," he threatened Robert meaninglessly. Robert only chuckled again.
"Doesn't have to be 'we'," Landon muttered before being interrupted by the red-head in the cell. Snorting lightly, Landon made a smooch-motion at Bell to complement the man's batting eyebrows. It was enough to redirect the focus of the conversation and Jim's suspicion, hopefully. Well, if they did go tonight, the man would know soon enough. Shame they hadn't contemplated there to be an option C or even D -even if getting invested by goat-spawn wasn't an option to Bellwether. Watching Bellwether die again wasn't exactly an option to Landon either and he'd allow it only one more time: to get them the fuck out.
Landon shut his eyes and rested back, hand held up next to his face, propped up on a knee. It ached like no tomorrow and there was not a single position Landon tried which would ease the pain.
The heels clacking down the hallway resounded ominously and the chatter that served as back-ground noise died down to a simmer. Landon's eyes were still shut, begging the woman to just keep the fuck moving and be here on other business.
Landon swallowed. And then she called out his name. Wait, what the fuck?
Blinking rapidly, Landon looked at Bellwether with an edge of panic. He couldn't go through another torture like last time, honestly, Landon didn't think he'd be able to hold it together. If Daniel was met with his badly contorted hand, he'd lay a hand on Bell. For sure. The cell was still locked though. There was still the safety of iron bars standing in between and surprisingly, there were no guards present. Of course, they'd be watching.
Hovering close by.
"Fuck you," Landon told off Bell, sending the man a glare.
Finally, under the urging stares of their cell-mates, Landon rose from his perch and edged towards the bars, wary and keeping his distance. Was there a taser on the woman's body? Didn't seem like it. So why was she here?
To gloat at Robert's handiwork?
"What?" he spat, voice still gruff from the abuse he'd unconsciously put it through to somehow deal with the pain. Did she know about the keys?
Angela's eyes blinked rapidly, as if surprised by Landon's terse approach. Then the blue baubles switched between his face and the contorted hand, flinching at the sight of it. Landon glanced back at Bell. What was this? Should they be taking advantage of this?
"Better to bite the bullet and do it right away," Bell replied, twisting his lips in thought. He was still weak, but the second he was healed, they'd be set right back to before they started.
"I think all. The news'll get out anyways, better they get it direct than through a rumor." As much as he wanted to leave all these goats to rot to death, it would be better to have the distraction setting them free would provide. Besides, they might even outnumber the guards at night, and en masse they had a much better chance of overwhelming them. It wasn't possible that they'd slip out smoothly. He knew that already. But if there was going to be a catch, better to face it with as much manpower as possible.
He snorted at Landon's last comment. Worried about things going wrong, when doing nothing at all meant Landon got pregnant and died? "We're fucked either way, might as well take the initiative," Bell said, mirroring Landon's yawn. He wasn't as tired as earlier, but he still felt like he could perpetually use a nap.
Jim looked over at the pair of them. "What're you muttering about?" he asked suspiciously.
"Just whispering sweet nothings," Bell said, fluttering his lashes at Jim. With an eye roll that said 'yeah, right' better than the words themselves could have, Jim shook his head and turned back towards Thomas. "What're [i you] muttering about?" he asked, turning the question back on Jim.
"How long you two will last," Jim replied. "We're split on whether Fred and Pete are gonna beat you to death, or if Robert's crazy experiments will snuff you first. Either way, smart money doesn't put you past a week."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Bell snarked. [i See if we take you with us,] he added silently, annoyed.
Right on cue, a familiar pair of heels clopped down the hallway. As expected, they stopped in front of their cell, though to Bell's surprise, it was only Angela, all alone.
"Mr. Turner," she demanded, gesturing; but the cell door hadn't been opened. Curious, Bell peered at her. What was she doing here all alone?
"I think somebody likes you," he muttered, nudging Landon jokingly.
Notice what? That they were a couple? Wasn't that already -oh. Oh! Yeah, they would notice the keys went missing. For a moment Landon assumed pride prevented some guard from reporting the card missing, but a card [i and] keys was going to stand out. Unless someone was aiding them. Somehow. Providing an opportunity for them to escape.
"Yeah," Landon said softly, voice returning, yet still hoarse.
Plucking mindlessly with the fresh sheets, Landon sighed out.
"Do you want to tell them?" -escape. Do you want to escape.
"...tonight?" Landon added. "Or would you rather wait?"
Depending on Bellwether's strength, they ought to plan this accordingly. Waiting longer had benefits because Bell would have more time to recover from dying, yet the longer they waited, the hotter the items they were sitting on became.
"Do you want to tell them all, or just these?" Landon asked covertly. Did they want to create chaos by unlocking all the doors on all the cells, or try and be quiet and go at it alone. The latter was preferable, in some ways, but also more dangerous. First off; they [i would] be noticed on their way out. It was impossible to expect everyone to be asleep and deaf to the squeak of an opening cell-door.
They were better off trying to all escape together.
At least that way they wouldn't be dependent on just their own strength.
Landon stifled a yawn. Sleeping had been near to impossible. Glancing out their cell-door, he could only hope they were allowed some more respite. If they deemed Bellwether well enough, he was in for another ride still. It'd take too long to meet with the goat, somehow survive that conversation of failure, and recover from having had a dose of blood, if the goat chose to be that generous. So their escape would have to be rushed.
"We don't know how they'll react..." if we fuck this up.
Landon lifted his gaze at Bell and sighed.
They only had one shot to get this right and were winging most of it. Wasn't that Bellwether's usual modus operandi though? Smirking a little to himself, Landon sighed out and leaned back, tired. Nothing could be done during 'day-time', because there were considerably more guards gallivanting around during that time. No. Night would be better.
Of course, the second they opened the door, the camera would pick it up and everyone was woken up. It'd be a mess.
The scent of the food alone triggered his gag reflex, and he had to sit there for a minute and work himself up to taking a bite. He didn't feel as sick as he had yesterday. Some of this nausea was probably caused by the lack of food, and he'd feel better once he ate something. He lifted the fork and stuck it in one of the lumps of food-like substance, then held his breath--so he could resist the urge to gag at the smell of food--and swallowed it whole. It was mush anyways; it didn't really require chewing.
His stomach seemed divided on whether the food made it feel better or more queasy, so he went slowly. He couldn't really afford to not eat. He needed to regain his strength so he could escape; if a walk to the showers and back left him wanting a nap, he wouldn't get far. About halfway through, his stomach lurched in protest, and he set the tray down. Better not to push it. It was better to keep half the food down than to try and force it all down and end up puking it up.
Landon had elected to eat sprawled on the floor, which at least kept the sheets nice and clean, Bell supposed; he considered getting up and joining him, but before he could, Landon stood and joined him. He grinned, but Landon didn't look happy. A little confused, he blinked. They had the keys. They could get out. Why wouldn't Landon be happy?
Well, because he was in a lot of pain, for one. Bell pressed his lips together and looked at Landon's swelled and bruised hand. It was hard to look at, but he forced himself to. They'd done that because of him. Because of his goat. Did Landon resent him for it? Well, it was a moot point. They'd keep breaking until the goat came out and healed him, and somewhere along the line Landon would start blaming him. Especially if they didn't get out. If they stayed here and they put them through this cycle again and again...Which was why they wouldn't.
He shifted closer so he could speak quietly. "They'll notice sooner rather than later," he said, deciding it was better not to say everything outright. Who knew if the room was bugged or not. "...that we're a couple," he finished after a beat, to give whoever was listening something to listen to. It was a completely nonsensical thing to say otherwise--anyone who hadn't noticed at this point was either completely blind or in denial. "And they'll come and take us away from each other." [i take the keys,] he meant. He tilted his head at Landon, trying to gauge his reaction. Had he understood?
Bellwether's hand had jagged edges. Huh?
Slightly confused, Landon shot one eye at Bell, and ran the other man's mood passed his mind -so Bellwether had clawed something off of a guard too? What was it though? Keys? It dawned on Landon that even though they had the keys to unlock everything standing in their way -presumably- and even if they were capable of dealing with taser-equipped guard, their trek out into the wild would be nothing to speak about. For one: they were wearing yellowish orange jump-suits, garments that really stood out against any back-drop. They had no other clothes, no money, no weapons, no gear, no nothing.
It'd take time to get a new bank-card and even more time to get supplies.
Well, it was a step forward regardless. Beggars couldn't be choosers, Landon supposed, but his optimism wasn't quite bubbling forth the way Bell's did. If they did fuck up this attempt, there would be hell to pay.
When breakfast came Landon sat up meekly, watching as the other three got their tray and contemplated whether it was worth the effort. He was sort of hungry, but the sensation was drowned in pain. That, and carrying a tray was a no-no. Finally, Landon got up, tugged the last tray into the cell and sat down there, choosing the least gross colour to try and eat.
It actually wasn't half-bad.
Was it actually morning outside too? Landon had to wonder. They'd seen no windows, no nothing. All routine they had was dependant on the lights switching on and off, on the guards making their rounds and plucking up test-subjects. Landon's hand became heavy and so he rested the arm on a propped-up knee, mutely staring at the other cells. The same routine took place there; a pecking-order was established in each cell, food was distributed and divided. If Bell's item were keys, lots of keys, they ought to try and bring along as many inmates as they could -with the exception of Fred and Pete.
Cannon-fodder for the guards. Also, Landon felt pretty certain that if they were enough, they could handle a guard. For one; the taser could only handle one person at a time.
It took time to recharge, switch and be re-aimed.
There was one door Landon hoped they could pass: the large one at the end of the hall. Should they free the females? Landon wasn't entirely convinced they ought to kill the goats no more either. Else he'd have suggested they crash and burn the place on departure. If the guards started to shoot to kill, it was vital they knocked out the magnetic fields, so the goats could wreck havoc on the guards tormenting them.
It was going to be a precarious endeavour.
Finishing up what food Landon could muster holding down, he got back up and joined Bellwether on the bed, sitting against the wall. The pain was wearing him out, yet they'd have to talk. Having keys was like sitting on a ticking time-bomb.
He wanted to walk over and jiggle the keys in Landon's face and show him how much closer they were to getting out, but he knew that wasn't a good idea for all kinds of reasons. And the keys weren't painkillers, either. Those had been dumped along with his original clothes, wherever those were.
With a tired huff, he thumped down beside Landon. At least he didn't feel so awful anymore. He could stand, and move, and concentrate for the most part, though just walking around like that had really worn him out. Catcalls caught his attention for a heartbeat, but it was only a parade of the women. Uninterested, he sighed. "When's breakfast coming?" he whined.
Jim shot him a dirty look, and he grinned. He hadn't made any friends here, but that didn't really matter. He hadn't come here to make friends. After all, they were all goats. If anything, he should make notes of their faces so he could find them later and kill them. Just because they were all in this now, didn't mean anything had been changed.
The keys were tucked in the sleeve of his jumpsuit, making one hand heavy. While everyone else oogled the girls, he put the key-heavy hand on Landon's leg. They could give escaping a try tonight, with both keys, and they couldn't afford to wait much longer if not tonight. The guards would notice the missing keys and put two and two together, especially since the keys had been stolen so close one after the other.
But they couldn't talk about it now. Too much attention. Too much noise. Later, maybe.
At last the girls passed by. The other men complained, but Bell was glad to see them go. The guards knocked on the cell bars to get them to quiet down, and then they came around with breakfast at long last. Bell's legs almost crumpled when he stood to get the tray, so he was last in line, but unlike in the first cell, there was a tray waiting for him. He took it gratefully and made his way back to the cot. It probably wasn't the best idea to eat where they slept, but it was a little too late to remember that now.
By the skin of their teeth, they managed to get through one shower-session unscathed, or relatively unscathed anyway. Landon wasn't sure the faint feeling swimming through his head was relief or due to the broken hand. The swelling hadn't really gone down and showering hadn't improved the ordeal. Cell-doors were still unlocked, inmates pushed and shoved through the centre-isle running down the rows of cells. Landon glanced back, but not for long.
Sitting down on 'their' bunk-bed, Landon discovered their sheets had indeed been changed for a cleaner pair and clumsily stepped into his jump-suit, not even bothering to pull the sleeve over the broken hand again. Getting the fucking suit off had already been plenty painful.
When Bell asked whether he needed anything, Landon simply gave the man a level stare, 'painkiller', he mouthed and laid back, placing the hand on his chest. With the pressure off, some of the pain receded enough for Landon to actually think.
Breakfast would be served soon.
The card was hopefully still in place and there hadn't been any repercussions, so no one had made the mistake of reporting it missing to upset poor old Robert.
That said, they wouldn't be let out any time soon and within a couple of days Bell would be deemed well enough to be killed again. And a dead Bellwether meant another private meeting with Bellwether-goat.
And probably having sex with it to incubate its egg.
Landon had closed his eyes, but opened them to look at Bellwether. At least he was walking again, so there was some improvement. Landon's face was still drawn from the pain, which frankly, hadn't improved after the final dredges of goat's blood dissipated from his body. It was a nagging, persistent throb, deep and aching. The pain nearly shot all the way up to his elbow. There were some rags covering the dark bruises, but from what Landon could see, the colour-palette hadn't improved.
Wiping his face using one hand, Landon flung an arm across his face and tried to drown out the noise, the lights. The pain.
It was there, constantly there.
They had to get out. Preferably without the goat's interference.
Cat-calls made Landon's gaze slip to the bars of their cells -the women. In droves of eight they were guided down the isle of the men's cells, some with their heads hung, others walking upright and retained some dignity. Most of them looked beaten. He wondered whether their treatment was any different.
So there were some non-corrupt guards. Bell grinned and flipped Pete off with his hand close to his chest so the guards couldn't see it, and Pete's glare grew more pointed. "They won't always be watchin'," he muttered, quiet enough only Bell could hear it.
Bell grinned, confident now that he was assured of his safety. "I'm counting on it, big boy."
At least this way he was able to actually get clean. He rinsed the last of the soap off just in time for then to shut the showers off, and followed the others to the next room. Moving close to Jim and his suprisingly-built buddy, he took advantage of the relative safety in numbers and dried off for the most part, then climbed into a new set of clothes. The jumpsuit proved too many holes and tubes for his current level of dexterity, so he carried it over his shoulder, opting to return to the cell in his shirt and shorts. Landon was likewise having trouble, thanks to his hand.
Pete and Fred were separated to go back to their cell; at the last second, Pete stuck out his leg and tripped Bell, and the both of them laughed when he went sprawling. "Get up!" the guard demanded, hauling him upright by the neck of his shirt; Bellwether choked, airstream cut off, but appreciated the gesture. Getting up quickly would've been impossible at the moment.
Bellwether pulled away from the guard and held his place as they shut Fred and Pete's cell door. "Try not to wake me up tonight, huh?" he said, gesturing impolitely with one finger through a loop of thumb and forefinger on the other hand.
Fred's face contorted into an expression of rage, and Pete rushed the door with an incoherent shout; the door jumped open a few inches, and for a second Bell thought he might've just pushed a little too far. But then the guards got their tasers out, and Pete fell backwards into the room, a twitching heap of too much muscle.
Bell smirked, gloating, and the guard who'd picked him up shoved him roughly forward and into his cell. "That's enough of that," the guard muttered, annoyed.
"Yes, sir," Bell said obligingly, and went quietly into his cell. The guard grunted, unsatisfied, and slammed the door shut behind them with a solid crash. Bell was pleased, and with more than simply taunting their neighbors. He'd confirmed what he'd seen last night wasn't just a dream, from their reaction; which meant the goat was real, that there was something strange going on in this prison. And not only that, but when the guard had heaved him up, he'd made a grab and come up with a ring of keys. They wouldn't have long to use them; the guard would figure out they were missing sooner rather than later. But still, it was another step forward.
He nodded at Landon. "Need help with anything?" he offered, as he leaned against the cot and stepped into his own jumpsuit. Landon had been struggling earlier.
Jim glared from across the cell. "You shouldn't antagonize them like that," he said. "We'll get caught up in it, too."
Bell just rolled his eyes. Fucking coward. Why should he be afraid of a couple of bullies? Any minute now, and he'd be strong enough to take them down. And he would. With prejudice.
Not another fight. Fuck. Everyone really had it in for them. Of course, Bellwether-goat mercilessly killing one of the guards at Robert's discretion was probably not a good level to start off at. Why couldn't the guards decide it was Robert's fault, rather than Bell's? For one; they couldn't hurt Robert. Landon glared over at Pete, but Landon's voice was out after shouting in agony for so long, never mind that his skin was already on edge from the pain. Bell fought better when Landon didn't get in the way.
Most of the times anyway.
Landon pushed from the wall a little, steadying out his stance but their cell-mate blocked the way, putting a large hand to Landon's shoulder. A stern shake of Thomas' head discouraged Landon from intervening.
'Why not?' Landon asked without words.
The mere facial expression was enough for Thomas to direct his gaze at the broken hand.
Landon was a human. He could die, and actually be dead.
Rolling his eyes impatiently got interrupted by the second guard returning.
"Get in fucking line," he groused, the other guard suddenly paying attention as well. It was fairly obvious too all involved that the first had allowed shit like this to happen. The other guard sent the lead-man an annoyed glance, hinting at the camera on the wall. They'd get into trouble for pretending to be dumb if it was Robert or Angela watching.
Pete was about to ball up a fist and sent Bellwether a nasty glare.
Fred simply snickered on the other side, shaking his head minutely as he calmly went about washing his chest.
Relief coursed through Landon. He desperately hoped the guards wouldn't find the punch-card. It was part of the key to getting out of here. A goat standing outside of their cell though, that was different. If Robert really was a goat, then what was the man's motive? Or maybe discovering he was one was the motive. If that was so, then it wouldn't be much of a surprise to Robert himself to find out. Maybe to the guards -or maybe that's why they feared their cold-hearted leader in the first place.
"Five minutes are up," one guard signalled and the water promptly shut off. Everyone turned around, moving in line to pick a towel from a pile and collect a fresh set of clothes.
"Move along, hurry," the second urged.
"Get dressed or you go back naked, move, move, move!"
Another group was lead into the showers, the water turned back on. Landon tried as best he could to get dry, failed, and opted to keep pace by just pulling the soggy clothes over his still damp skin. It was less than comfortable, but at least it was nowhere near naked. The hand now started throbbing something fierce, making Landon suppress the occasional hiss when he moved too carelessly. Still trying to get the last pieces, the red-head cell-mate of theirs pushed Landon along, quietly reminding Landon that they didn't have time to dawdle.
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