Cyrus was the first one to roll out of bed, sporting his fresh plain navy blue jumpsuit. He stirred and twisted in the vacant hallway awaiting his friends to exit from their assigned quarters. He looked down as he paced, noticing something that wasn’t there only seconds ago. An unopened bottle of whiskey rested at the edge of his doorway. As he bent down to pick it up, he heard the door nearest to him creak open. John stepped out and confronted the beast.
“You haven’t had enough yet, champ?”
Cyrus fumbled through a collection of words that never quite left his lips as Jennifer’s door opened next. The winged blonde made her way towards the two of them.
“Rough night, huh?”
“Goes without saying,” John remarked back, before noticing a 4x6 print photo taped to his door. As he stepped closer, he realized that it was a photo from his childhood. He was sitting in his father’s lap, wearing a Spiderman pajama set. He held it up to inspect it some more, reliving the day with each passing second. Suddenly, he felt a touch on his shoulder and Jennifer’s voice relay a bit of sarcasm that he had made his own.
“So you were destined to be a freak, huh?”
“Funny,” he shot back.
The three of them conversed about the events of the previous night when the subject of Nick and Kimberly arose. Cyrus apologized for his drunken stupor yet again, setting the stage for John to channel his inner father to berate someone who had genuinely looked up to him. Before John could bring the Cyclops to tears, Jennifer questioned why Kimberly had yet to come out of her room like the three of them had from their own.
John was the first one to knock at the door, at first with a respectful rhythm, gradually increasing to a vicious pounding on the steel. Her room number was 314 and was located next to Cyrus’ room. John ceased the assault on the door, turning to the behemoth to interrogate him about the night of rest they were all supposed to be enjoy.
“You didn’t hear a thing? Did you hear anything that would lead you to believe that she may have escaped? Through a window or something?”
“Our rooms don’t have windows,” he said.
“Oh, Christ,” John said, looking at Cyrus. “Well?!”
“Bust down the fucking door!”
Cyrus backtracked the few feet that he was allotted and charged the door, bouncing off of it, clutching his chest. John looked on in disgust, before shouting at him to do it again. Cyrus obliged, this time bouncing off of the door, laying on the floor completely spent.
“Jesus fucking Christ, are you good for anything at all?”
John looked down at Cyrus, who was now grabbing his shoulder in pain.
“This is how you break down a door, you dullard,” he screamed as he extended the full length of his right leg a few inches away from the lock, swinging the door open with authority. As the door bounced off of the paneling right behind it and sprung forward once again, John pushed it open once and for all. As he stepped in, he wished that he never had. The lifeless corpse of Kimberly twisted from the ceiling fan above her. Jennifer walked in behind him and advised that Cyrus keep his distance from the inside of her room.
Footsteps were heard approaching all three of them, and Cyrus was the first to notice that Charles was walking with a purpose towards all three of them. As he stood behind both John and Jennifer, looking at what they had just discovered, he looked on and took it all in.
“Just as we suspected,” he said.
John turned to him, red in both his face and eyes.
“Just as you expected?! You made those two suffer for years and for what?”
“Ah, but John, we are the cause of our own suffering. You don’t see this yet? Please, come with me.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you until you explain what the fuck is going on!”
“I’m trying to, you won’t let me, for now. The sad fact of the matter is that you would follow me to the gates of hell if I had the answers you were looking for. Come.”
Cyrus jumped to his feet and was the first to align himself with Charles. Jennifer followed suit next, accompanied by a mumbling John.
“You see, what you guys fail to see is that we have your best interest in mind. I know I’m asking for a lot, to ask all of you, outside of Cyrus, to trust in this plan, but I promise you, it’s worth it.”
Charles reached a red door at the end of the corridor, and before entering his key code into the pad, turned to them.
“She hung herself because she didn’t get a memento.”
All three of them looked at each other.
Jennifer was the first one to speak.
“Well neither did I.”