Everything In The Palms Of Your Hands Part 2
rating: +15+x

Two men can be seen chatting in what seems to be an empty white void. One puts his hands on the other's shoulder. Pierre's got this.

Pierre wakes up in a cold sweat and quickly opens his notebook. Ink soaks the paper in a canvas of words. A fire thought to be extinguished lights aflame once again. A tale once thought to be over continues.

Entry 17 | By Pierre Duboit | Date: 7/05/2001 | Another Office
Dear Diary,

I can't get him out of my head, but that's nothing new. Once again I've been checking my shoulder over and over and there's nothing there of course, but I can't shrug off that feeling that something's been watching me ever since the first time that hound dog thing attacked. At least I've got another pal with me, I'll get to that later though. The beast had it coming. I'm glad Feurg dealt with it. It tried to tear us to shreds back in the generator rooms. I mean, I guess now there is no "us." At least not the same us. I stopped at a small camp recently, people there said this is the safest "Level." If they are right, I don't know if I want to keep moving at this rate. Someone from their group volunteered to go with me for "the fuck of it" in her own words. Her name is Ariel. I'm already getting the picture that she likes this place. She said she lives for "this kinda fuckin' action." She's also said she's been here for a few months. There's got to be more relief than this. This isn't home. It's not even close. I've got to get out of here. I don't care if its Earth or not. I just want the hum to stop. In her own words "this place is nasty as shit," she told me. That's one way to word "horribly terrifying" I guess.

Entry 18 | By Pierre Duboit | Date:7/07/2001 | Another Office
Dear Diary,

We've finally started to make some sort of progress. Despite, this I fear that this only means more danger lies ahead. Ariel just thinks I'm being a coward but I feel my fear is justified. I envy how she can turn a blind eye to everything that goes on in here. She might be brave, or she might be arrogant. I just hope it's a good idea to believe the former. In other news, we've finally stocked up on "Almond Water." I assume that's what the water here is called. That's what Ariel said at least. We've had a short bit of time to chat with each other today and I've learned a bit about her. I hope my conscious doesn't mind me putting in some info here. I don't wanna forget her name or something. I'll continue this entry later; I think I hear something.

Pierre closes his book and pulls out his empty gun. It's clearly not going to be good for much, but it'll have to do as a blunt weapon for now. He glances over to Ariel.

Pierre: Did y-you hear that too?

Ariel: Pipe the fuck down bro, it'll hear you—

Ariel brandishes her machete as Pierre hides behind her. Of course, a Hound comes out from a nearby hall, and it hears them alright. Pierre begins to back away. There's no way in hell he can fight this thing, especially without a good weapon… but Ariel simply stares at it and clinks the blade of her machete on the floor to get its attention, with her eyes filled with an intense urge to bring home some dinner tonight. Pierre's a good ten feet behind Ariel at the moment.

Ariel: Easy does it you little shit… easy does it…

The Hound charges… but not at her. Pierre screams in fear and tries to run, but it's already too late. The beast knocks him to the floor and opens its jaws. This isn't the end… is it? He closes his eyes and prepares for the worst. A loud meaty thud can be heard. He opens his eyes. The Hound is dead, laid on its back in preparation for skinning. His face is covered in blood, but he's alive, and that's what matters. Ariel begins to cut it open.

Pierre: Wh-huh, how, what?

Ariel: It's a Hound dude, stop being such a pussy! I dunno why this is such a shocker to you, bro.

Pierre: Those things killed— I- I just, dude look, I don't know!

Ariel: Welcome to the club, get used to it.

After taking some time to catch their breath, they both start to walk.

Ariel: Put those eyes of yours to good use and stare at those things next time you see em. It gets them confused or somethin'.

Pierre: O-ok, listen, that doesn't change a thing— we need to get out of here. If those things are still around here it's not as safe as you thought, or fuck maybe I'm just stupid!

Ariel: Maybe, you need to zip it, have a little faith in yourself, and grow a pair. How old are you again?

Pierre: 17?

Ariel: Well ya better start acting your age. Shit only gets worse from here on out.

Pierre rolls his eyes and nods as they continue onward. Pierre seems to be constantly checking his back. Eventually, they reach an elevator. They both stare in awe as it seemingly opens on its own.

Pierre: That's an elevator, right? I'm just making sure.

Ariel: Gee I wonder. Lighten up a little. It's our ride.

Ariel walks in and beckons Pierre to come with her. After a moment of hesitation, Pierre enters the elevator and they descend. In practically no time whatsoever the elevator doors reopen.

Pierre: It's…

Ariel: Beautiful we know, move on. 'Ve got places to be.

Pierre: I-is it, safe here?

Ariel: It's safe nowhere, that's the fun of this place, you feel me?

Pierre shakes his head… how the fuck would someone enjoy a place like this? Pretty or not, it's practically a hellscape. Then again, home life never treated him nicely either. He'll figure this stuff out sooner or later right?

Pierre: No… I-I really don't…

[Ariel sighs loudly]

Ariel: God… listen. You're going to be here for the rest of your life. Move on and get used to it.

Pierre: You've said that more than once, really I get the point.

Ariel: I'm just tryna make sure it's clear. I've said it a lot and you've said Blah blah I'm pissin my pants or some shit a lot, Ariel says as she lets her machete rest on her shoulder.

Ariel: So lets go! We don't got all day.

They walk for hours through the massive and elaborate mansion, its carpets coated in beautiful red patterns, its air dry and lifeless. The comforting aesthetic of the mansion isn't much, but other than the food in their bags, it's all they've got. Days go by. No entries written. Eventually Pierre wakes up. Loud buzzing sounds fill the air almost drowning out the hum of the lamps.

Pierre: What the heck is that noise? It sounds like bees or something… is that normal?

Ariel: There's some Spitmoths nearby. Hurry up, I'd rather have you alive than dead. She says as she twirls her bat. She clearly means business.

Pierre: Spit-what? You know what you're doing probably… right? he says as he runs his hands through his hair.

As soon as Pierre gets up, Ariel immediately starts running, Pierre tries his best to catch up. He eventually does catch up, but… they're at a dead end. There seems to be a steel door labelled "BOILER" along with other illegible text. Pierre frantically tries to open the door but for some reason it refuses to budge. Three female Deathmoths surround them in a crescent-like formation. Pierre tries to go around and run, while Ariel takes down a few with her machete. Pierre eyes his pistol, but is too afraid to make a move. He mumbles incoherently to try and stay calm.

Ariel: Stop talking crazy and give me a hand!

…she says while swatting away at the Deathmoths, but Pierre doesn't help. She manages to kill two of them on her own. One remains. He takes a step forward and stops… these things would kill him as soon as he got close, there's no way he could even consider touching those things with a ten foot pole. Ariel grunts as she struggles to push them away from her.

Pierre: How am I supposed to e-

Ariel: The gun! Throw it at it, hit it, I don't know, do something?!

Pierre fumbles with the empty pistol, eventually gripping it with his hands. His eyes dart around left and right in a panic. Eventually he manages to get the courage to even look at the beast eye to eye. It's disgusting, putrid even. Pierre holds the gun by its slide, and raises it to the air. He hesitates. He's not even a good throw nor good enough of a challenge for whatever beast this is. The beast's body is hairy and insect-like. Its hairs rise as it prepares to spit acid right into Ariel's face. Pierre closes his eyes. His body shakes. This is it, the moment of truth. He throws the gun directly at the Deathmoth, which pierces its fragile carapace and lodges itself into its body. It writhes on the floor as it bleeds out and eventually it stops moving entirely. Ariel takes a deep breath, and exhales. Pierre looks somewhat disgusted, at both himself and the Deathmoth. It was fucked up, but it had to be done. He falls to his knees, hyperventilating. Ariel gets her footing after a short bit of time.

Pierre: Hoh… holy… holy shit… He says, taking a deep breath. His mind is roaring with thoughts. It's too much to take in at once.

Ariel sighs and rolls her eyes. She offers Pierre a hand; they can't stop now, after all. Anybody who's come this far could say the same.

Ariel: Took you long enough dude, we gotta keep moving. No slowin' down here, not after all of that, aight?

Pierre: Just, give me a second… please.

…Pierre says under exasperated breaths. He takes a few minutes to catch his breath, and eventually regains his footing. He quickly grabs the messy remains of the gun. It seems rusted and sharp. He wraps it in a towel. You never know when you'll need something.

Ariel: Glad to see you're doing shit for once, it's a nice change of pace.

Pierre: Thanks I guess?

Ariel: Just bein' honest. Sorry to cut the chat short but we've got shit to do and places to be, She says as she twirls her bat around.

Pierre: I get you we just- need to be a bit more careful-

Ariel: No shit dude, just don't forget to take your own advice fam.

…Ariel says with a scoff. Pierre fumbles with the doorknob a tiny bit more and eventually… it opens with a loud, echoing clink. They step through the door; their footsteps echo. The air is moist, damp, and uncomfortably warm. Despite the uncomfortable heat, the slight progress they've made brings them a small bit of comfort.

Pierre: Is it normally this hot?

…Pierre says, trying to make sure nothing's wrong. He takes off his cozy jacket and wraps it around his waist. He's clearly less afraid of what's up ahead than before, but the dread of this whole situation looms over his head like a guillotine. Despite all of this, the fact that he could kill one of those things makes him feel a bit more prepared, though not safe.

Ariel: Listen broski, I've never even been in here, so please for the love of God don't ask questions about this place.

Pierre: My-my bad.

Silence slowly but surely fills the air between them. The only thing filling the gaps being the clinking and humming of the machinery. The silence feels different here. It doesn't feel ominous, if anything, it feels awkward. They come to the conclusion that they should probably talk to each other about life and such, in case they never get the chance to again…

Ariel: So, where ya from? What's ya hobbies? What's home like? C'mon talk to me, we're gonna be here a while… prolly.

Pierre: The middle of nowhere, AKA Kansas. I played a bit of violin, and I sketched alot too, but home is kinda… I'd rather not talk about home… S-sorry if that's rude, how was life for you?

Ariel: New York City, pretty place i tell ya. I was a writer looking to sell a big hit. It was about this man who tried to challenge the world, who tried to challenge people's expectations. It was gonna be called… [she pauses] Goddamn, it's really been that long huh?

Pierre: If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean?

Ariel: I forgot, duh! I thought that'd be obvious, but yeah. Anyways, my family and I were taking a drive to Maine for vacation when our car slammed into an intersection. We hit another car and phased into whateva hellscape we're in now.

Pierre: Where are they, then?

Pierre immediately regrets his decision as he watches Ariel tense up.

Pierre: Sorry, I-I didn't really think that one through.

Ariel: I think its obvious. I'd be polite but I'm really not in the mood to remember all that shit. This conversation is over. Period.

Pierre looks to the floor as Ariel grits her teeth. He takes a few deep breaths; he could be a little shit and rant to her about his losses, but what's it gonna do but make him sad too? Over time his mind drifts away from the memories of Feurg. The awkward silence between the two seems to continue as they venture further into the boiler rooms, the clanging of machines is slowly overlapped as time passes by what sounds like old video game music.

Ariel: Oh shit we're doin Mario and stuff now? Ok, ok.

Pierre: You know it might be some kinda monster or something right?

Ariel: Oh for God's sake it's not a monster! What's it gonna do? "Oooooh I'm gonna jumble your pixels~"

Ariel walks towards the sounds as Pierre reluctantly follows, knowing they're the only thing keeping each other safe from certain death. Their footsteps echo as the chiptune music gets more and more overbearing, eventually masking any sounds of machinery that once were. An arcade machine dimly lights up the area in front of them as they both stare in confusion and awe.

Pierre: Is that Mrs. Pacman? Holy crap I haven't played this thing in years-

Ariel: Aight we've got two quarters, does this thing have multiplayer on it?

Pierre: I've got absolutely zero clue if you're joking or not but there's two joysticks so maybe? Hell if I know. Just let's make this quick- I'm tired of those moth… things we ran into. I really don't wanna figure out how that acid tastes and-

Ariel: Jeesh man, it's an arcade game. We play it and move on. It's not gonna eatcha, 've got no idea why I need to tell you this. We got two quarters, that's prolly enough.

Ariel slides the quarters into the slot separately. They clink as they enter and fall into whatever system lies within. Eventually the clinking of the coins stop as the Pacman arcade plays its iconic starting jingle. Despite it being multiplayer, they seem to control a single Pacman. This situation initially causes issues but eventually through a mix of cooperation and absolute bullshit they manage to beat the first round. They both give each other an awkward grin. Eventually during the second round the arcade short circuits. They both sigh in disappointment. They look away from the arcade machine. Something's off. Neon patterned carpet sprawls across the floor in a matter of seconds, arcade machines lace the sides of the room, wacky patterns paint the walls. This isn't the same place anymore, is it?

Ariel: Holy…

Pierre: Shit?

Ariel: Wow, who knew I was gonna say that?

Pierre doesn't even respond to her this time, he's said sorry enough to get the point across. Or maybe he's being a bit too rude? No that can't be it, why would everyone at school call him so polite if he was being an asshole the entire time? Maybe they were just really sarcastic? That doesn't matter though. What matters is where they are.

Ariel: God damnit this isn't the way out this is a fuckin Chuck E. Cheese!

Pierre's too stressed to offer words, so he simply just gives her a pat on the back as to say "Everything is going to be ok."

Ariel: I don't need your reassurance asshole-

Pierre's at his breaking point. His face is even sweatier than before. He knows what's coming if he doesn't control himself. Despite this, Pierre and Ariel move onward and stock up on snacks from the vending machines nearby. The sound of the lights and the arcade games mesh together as time goes on. It's practically just TV static at this point.

Ariel: Sometimes ya gotta leave me the hell alone-

He can't keep dealing with this, it's too much. From the stress on his mind to the constant comments of Ariel, it's all just too much. He snaps.

Pierre: I didn't even say anything! Holy shit man! Can you just shut the fuck up, seriously?! I don't care if you're some stoic badass or something, I don't care if you're better than me at everything! I saved your life, and tried to be nice to you and this is what I get for it?! Do you have any idea what it's like to have no idea what the fuck is going on in the outside world?! Do you have any fucking idea what it's like to have no clue if your family notices, or even cares that you'll be gone forever?! Feurg and my uncle were the only people I could ever trust and now they're gone too! At least you got the chance to fucking know what happened to your family, to know that they cared! So leave me the hell alone ok?!

Ariel takes a step back. She's frankly quite shocked a twerp like him could muster up the guts to say shit like that to her, but in a weird way she feels… bad? regretful, for lack of a better word, and despite this, she just can't apologize over this. She was trying to keep him safe. Sure maybe it was a bit too much of a tough love approach, but couldn't he see she only had good intentions? After Pierre takes a second to breathe they start walking in complete silence. It feels unwelcoming and cold. One of them has to bite the bullet and apologize… but who?

Ariel: I'm… I'm…

Pierre: You're what? I'm listening. Surely you aren't gonna keep on spitting shit at my face. …Pierre says sarcastically. He's tired of her shit.

Ariel: I'm… sorry. I ain't lying anymore. I fucked up. Lets just… call it even ok? Ariel hesitantly grins.

Pierre looks at her with the exact same expression of shock she gave him earlier. Someone as prideful as her taking responsibility for something that horrendous? It's something he never expected… but it's a welcome surprise. They both sorta stand in place for a bit.

Pierre: Th-thanks… I honestly just… really needed that.

Pierre gives Ariel an awkward hug. They aren't necessarily great friends but with enough work they might just get somewhere. Eventually they keep moving. One mile, five miles, ten miles, they just keep on going. Days go by. Eventually they wake up one morning and check their bags.

Pierre: Woahwoahwoah… were our bags always this empty? Weren't we rationing out our water?

Ariel: Of course they weren't! Hol up a second. The cans are gone too! Someone stole our shit!

Ariel immediately pulls out her machete and bolts down the nearest hallway. Pierre, confused on what the fuck she's doing, tries to chase after her; as soon as he turns a corner, she's gone. Ariel is far ahead of him. After enough running Ariel runs into a group of men. She sees them holding a shitload of food cans, presumably stolen from Ariel and Pierre. Ariel raises her machete towards them but is immediately kicked in the leg. She groans in pain as she falls to the floor. They try to knock her out with the handle of the machete, though this fails, they manage to subdue her and drag her along with them as they travel. It might not be normal meat but it's still food. Pierre waits for her to come back. He speaks to himself.

Pierre: She'll be back.

Ariel can be heard thrashing around, and for once… she breaks her stoic facade and asks for help. If anything this makes Pierre's situation worse

Pierre: She's more than c-c-capable… ev-everything is going to be ok.

Pierre stands up and takes a step, and then another, and another. Her cries for help echo through the halls. His footsteps do so as well. He slowly but surely gets closer to the sounds. He mumbles something to himself repeatedly as he does so. "Everything is going to be ok."

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