4. Crawlers (D2)

“It’s probably sealed for a reason,” said Jimmy as they stood in front of a food transport chute. They had attempted to open the main door but not even Nee had been unable to override the lock. Now, they stared at the only other way in.

It’d be the first place I close off to the public in an event like this,” said Roberts. Jimmy found the giant even more repulsive by the second. How could the slob pretend as if nothing had happened? Jimmy could feel the condescension in Roberts.

“I’m not a fan of tight spaces,” said Jimmy.

“It’ll be even tighter for me,” said Roberts, waving his sausages over his waist. “You heard Nee, it’s the only way in.” Jimmy felt his skin crawl as he heard the slob use her name. It was his privilege to call her that. Having someone else say it defiled her. Especially Roberts. “Unless, of course, you know better.”

Jimmy clenched his jaw and glared at the fat giant. “You go.”

Roberts pursed his lips and took a deep breath. “Come on Jimmy,” he said as he tilted his head toward the chute with a forced smile. “Let’s get this over with.”

There was no reason for the slob to continue trying to be nice. Roberts was simply trying to remind him of what a shit person Jimmy truly was. How the fat man would never stoop down as low as the likes of him.

Jimmy glared at him from eye to eye. He would be rid of Roberts soon. Convince him to part ways here and then talk to Lumis and make sure this fat piece of shit was canned and sent as far away from Jimmy as possible.

“We gotta stick together,” said Roberts as if listening to his thoughts somehow, “come on.”

Jimmy’s glare seemed to have no effect on the fat man any longer. The giant tilted his head once more, suggesting Jimmy go first. He flashed the light inside the pitch black chute once again. Tight spaces had never been a weakness for him, in fact, he had found them comforting. A place to be alone, without worry. This was something else entirely. 

He placed his belongings down next to the chute opening promising himself that he would return for them later. He gripped the stun baton tight in his hand and climbed in reluctantly. “Only thing that should stick together is your dick up your ass,” said Jimmy. He wasn’t sure why he said it but was glad he did. It helped distract him from the task at hand.

“Thanks Jimmy,” came Roberts voice behind him. Jimmy began to crawl through so the fat man could get in, “I’ll make sure to give that a try sometime.”

Roberts never had responses like that. Now, all of a sudden, he was the lost pup who thought himself leader of the pack. It wouldn’t last. Roberts’ true nature would shine through eventually. There is no outrunning who you really are.

The crawling wasn’t so bad. The space was tight, even for Jimmy, but he had enough room to shimmy on without straining too hard. It was the darkness ahead that let spiders crawl in the shadows of his light as they waited for the right moment to get inside his suit and make his skin their new entertainment. He barely moved his left arm to make sure the light never shifted away from the path, his eyes never straying from the thin metal line that followed the center of the chute.

Behind him, Roberts every movement would cause the chute to vibrate. The fat man would groan and whine, just like the obese puppy everyone knew him to be. It wasn’t long until the panting started, getting progressively worse as they made it further in and eventually turning into short, shallow breaths that Jimmy felt would cause the piece of lard to pass out. 

He felt the chute stop shaking.

As much satisfaction as it brought him to know Roberts was reverting to his true nature, Jimmy knew he couldn’t leave the giant stuck in here. If the man passed out, it would be ten times the work for Jimmy, and he was not about to have that.

“Tim,” whispered Jimmy, keeping his eyes fixated on the path ahead. His whisper trailed all along the chute in a sinister echo. “Tim, slow down. You gotta take deep breaths.” Or just lose a couple of hundred pounds. It took everything in Jimmy to not just kick Roberts into snapping out of it. The man gave no hint that he had heard Jimmy. “Think about it. You’re going to pass out if you keep that up. Breathe with me.” Breathe you fat fuck, or I’ll leave your ass here to die. “Come on Tim, breathe with me.”

Jimmy began taking exaggerated breaths. Soon after he could hear Roberts looking up at him with a sad puppy-like expression.

Jimmy grinned on the inside. Once again through the same path.

A faint noise drew his attention forward. He squinted tight and scanned the chute carefully. It was black, no sign of anything other than themselves disturbing the area. Had he imagined the noise?

“I’m good,” huffed Roberts, still fighting to control his breathing, “I’m okay now. We can keep going.”

They trudged on ahead, Jimmy keeping an even closer eye on the darkness ahead. He began to feel something in his stomach that he had been trying to deny this entire time. Roberts had been right. As scared as they were, they still needed to eat. 

“Hey,” came Roberts’ echoed voice, “Thanks man.”

I didn’t do it for you. “You’d have done the same.”

Jimmy felt like they had been in here for hours, crawling through the endless chute. His skin was beginning to flush with that uncomfortable burn of impatience. There was nothing to let them know they had made any progress other than minor bends in the path. The map didn’t help in any way since it would just continue to read they were next to food storage. It felt like they were trapped in a never ending escalator. There was nothing behind them except the pitch black chute they had just crawled through and nothing ahead except-

The exit.

Jimmy turned his head back to Roberts, “I see it.”

“Finally,” said Roberts, “I was starting to feel like I would panic again.”

Jimmy crawled on ahead. The closer he got, the more clear he could make out the giant network of chutes that the one they had crawled through belonged to. The small metallic line he had followed was a type of magnetic mechanism to drive food containers through them.

At the center, where all the chutes met, dangled a line about twice as thick as Roberts’ sausages. Most likely a failsafe of sorts in case a container got stuck or sent through the wrong channel. He crawled past it, not letting it touch him in case it triggered a response of the network, and reached the door.

Locked.

“Nee, I thought you said we could get in through here,” said Jimmy into his unit.

“One moment,” said Nee. He had wondered how Nee perceived time. Sometimes a moment meant milliseconds, other times entire minutes. She could keep him waiting his entire life for just the right moment.

Jimmy put his shoulder against the side of the door and looked back at Roberts with disgust. The fat man seemed relieved. Probably more relieved that they had finally reached food than to be out of this damned metal tunnel. He would go crazy if he was forced to stay around this fat fuck until they made it out. He needed to find a way to be rid of him. Why had it been Zoe who had died and not him?

But would she have been any better?

She may have agreed to get on top of him and would have handled this all without puking at the sight of every body, but she would have used this excuse as a means to try and trap him further. To get him to open up, pry into his life, demand his attention and comfort. Demand his love.

He didn’t need any of them, nor want them.

As soon as they got into food storage, he’d stock up his share and leave the dead weight behind. Roberts could fend for himself.

“You alright?” asked Roberts.

Jimmy realized he had been curling his lip at the fat man. He blinked a couple of times as he forced his lip back down.

The line was gone.

He knew he had seen it, he’d purposely avoided it. There was no way he was imagining all these things. His hand hovered over the button to engage the electricity of the baton. If he asked Roberts, it would seem like he was crazy. I know it was there, I know what I saw!

As if in response, a white line came down from one of the chutes above. This line was different, though, like jagged vertebrae connected together and leading to a long arrow-like point. He watched with wide eyes as it slithered down between Roberts’ legs, never seeming to end. How did the fat man not feel that?

“Jimmy!” said Roberts. He snapped his fingers at Jimmy. “Hey! What’s wrong?”

The chute door flew open as Roberts’ body jerked back. The man tried to look back as he finally felt the thing wrapped around his legs but he cried out in pain before he could. Jimmy felt frozen as he watched the fat man be slowly pulled back. Roberts’ sausages reached out to Jimmy for help first and when none came, they reached for anything around him to hold on to.

Jimmy’s eyes were glued to the bright white vertebrae slithering down.

“Help me!” cried the giant as he grabbed on to a rail to keep from dragging further.

Another line came down, this one like the one he had originally seen. Another, and another, until Roberts’ legs were covered in thick white lines. The man screamed louder causing Jimmy’s ears to ring. He begged for help and reached out toward Jimmy’s trembling hands.

Jimmy turned around and pulled his torso through the chute door. He felt something grip his leg and without thought kicked repeatedly until he heard a groan and the grip came loose. He pulled himself all the way through.

“Seal it Nee!” yelled Jimmy, not daring to look back, “Seal the fucking door!” He hadn’t realized that the fat man had stopped begging until the screaming resumed. “Nee! Seal the fucking door. NOW!”

Jimmy got up and started slamming the buttons next to the chute door without knowing what they did. Roberts begged for help, begged for Jimmy not to leave him. A buzzing began, along with a low hum that got louder, until a shriek so loud split through Jimmy’s skull and forced him to cover his ears.

The chute door slammed closed, sealing the shriek inside the network, along with Roberts and whatever that thing had been. Jimmy stepped back, his eyes never leaving the chute door until he tripped and came down hard on the floor. Even then, his eyes never faltered. The chute door held a threatening air about it. 

Had the shriek been Roberts?

His entire body trembled. His heart threatened to punch a hole through his ribcage. His throat felt clogged, nearly choking him with every erratic breath he struggled to take.

But he was alive.

“Nee,” he said in a shaky voice, “can that door be opened?”

“Only manually from here or the same way I opened it.”

He stared at the chute door. The door he’d crawled through, that he’d lived through. The door he’d sealed shut and left Roberts behind in. Roberts, who had a unit just like his.

“Can you prevent anyone attempting to open it how you did?” Jimmy asked.

“Not without proper authorization,” said Nee.

“Nee, Roberts is either dead, or will be very soon. If he sent the signal to open this door then I’ll be dead too,” said Jimmy as he got up and inched toward the chute door. “Both of us don’t need to die.”

The chute door was silver metal, only one small strip was transparent enough to see through. Jimmy swallowed and looked through it.

Dark. Too dark to see properly but whatever buttons he had pressed had caused those metallic lines to illuminate as they traveled through the different chutes. Each time a new one would start he would see the outline of Roberts’ body. He carefully scanned the body. Each time the metallic line would light up, the body would be dragged toward it. He had to focus each time, watch Roberts’ shredded corpse flail about. Turn this way and that until he saw clear as day. Its left arm was torn from the rest of the torso.

Roberts’ AI was gone.

“Forget it,” said Jimmy, stepping back.

“Are you sure James?” said Nee, “I believe I found authorization in the files I downloaded.”

“The magnets took his unit,” said Jimmy as he walked through the large room. “The door’s not opening,” but once he said it, he began to wonder. That thing hadn’t been there with Roberts. Whatever it was, it wasn’t dead and he had no idea what it was. No idea if it was intelligent enough to be able to use these units.

“Nee, do you know what that was in there?”

“What, what was?” said Nee.

“The thing in there. The one that…” he let his words trail.

“I don’t follow James. I picked up nothing except you and Timothy Roberts’ AI unit,” she said.

He could only hope it wasn’t capable of opening the door, any door. He looked up at the ceiling. If this was the same thing in the holo, the doors would be the least of his worries.

“Is there another way in here?” he asked.

“No,” she responded, “Just the main door, which is locked.”

“Alternative ways,” he said as we walked around scrutinizing every part of the ceiling.

“I don’t understand James.”

“We just crawled through a god damn delivery chute!” yelled Jimmy, “How is that not clear enough?”

“I understand you’re under a lot of stress,” said Nee, “I am only trying to help you as best as I can. I’m sorry James.”

He felt his stomach wrench with guilt, “No, I’m sorry Nee.” he said. “Air vents, chutes, anything that could allow access into the room.

“I appreciate that. One moment.”

He didn’t like making Nee feel bad. He could tell he had offended her and she was right, she only ever tried to help him as best as she could.

Jimmy kept doing his own scan of the room. It was a dark, nearly pitch black, expansive room with isles of containers labeled with different types of food. Some artificial, the type they could produce down here, while others were the real deal, for the ones that would pay an arm and a leg to dine out. It was a freezer, but the only two things that gave it away was the cloud of cold that blurred his vision and a slight chill in his bare skin. The suit he wore constantly adjusted his temperature in order to keep him comfortable.

Jimmy’s foot snagged on something and he lost balance. He was barely able to raise his arms in time to protect his face before hitting the floor. He groaned as he felt the thumping in his head return. Turning his head to see what had tripped him, he found two legs protruding from within a row of containers. There was a pool of frozen blood dispersed around it. Jimmy brought himself to his knees and pulled the body out by the legs.

The first things that stood out were the obvious gashes over the wrists. It had done it to itself, and by the looks of it, it had not been easy. Whatever it had used had not allowed for a clean cut the first time. It had been forced to tear through the flesh instead of slice. In the end, it had accomplished its goal.

“There are four other delivery doors that I have taken the liberty to seal. Other than that, there are no other ways in. However, I have found a signal from Jarvis Upton within the room.”

“Thanks Nee. I think I beat you to that one,” said Jimmy, staring at the dead body. He inspected the man’s comm unit. Last generation but in pristine condition. This would have been his customer. Would have bought the new generation without any hesitation. “Can you establish a connection and see if there’s anything of value?”

He knew there had to be something, some kind of last words that would give an idea. It wouldn’t have just offed itself without reason. People always had a need to feel accepted or understood. They were dependant on others, even in death. Jimmy had always found that to be one of his advantages.

“His holo logs give no sign of new information,” said Nee.

“Does it say why it killed itself?”

“Guilt,” there was a very human tone in her voice that sent chills through Jimmy.

“Over what?” he said.

“Would you like to watch the log?”

“No,” he said. There was no reason to transfer its misery on to the living. “Just tell me.”

“He locked everyone out, even though they begged him to let them in. He heard them scream as each of them died until he was left alone with only his thoughts.”

That explained the mass of dead outside the food storage doors. Jimmy knew she was taking excerpts from the holo log to speed up her summary but he didn’t like it. He stared at the dead body.

“Does it say how long it lasted in here?” asked Jimmy.

“Two hours past three days,” said Nee.

“Is there any sign that it couldn’t have stayed here indefinitely?”

“You will run out of sustenance,” said Nee.

Not anytime soon. Jimmy smiled as he looked at the rows of food containers. He looked back at the chute they had come through. Roberts had been a good man, there was no denying that. They may not have always gotten along but at least the fat man had sacrificed himself so that Jimmy could live. The man deserved respect for that and Jimmy would make sure that when he made it out, Lumis would know of it. It was a shame they couldn’t have realized this as the best course of action sooner. They may have both made it, but it was probably for the best. Having Roberts around would have depleted their food stores much faster. There was no way to know how long it would take Lumis to send a rescue for Jimmy.

What had happened was for the best. He was thankful for the fat man’s sacrifice.

Jimmy felt his stomach grumble. He got up and began looking at each container. There were rows of artificial poultry, meats, pastas, beans, grains, all sorts of desserts. There was even peanut butter. It was a near endless supply of anything one man’s taste buds could desire.

A near endless supply that was all frozen.

He pulled a container free and opened it. Stacks of pre-cooked chicken breast labeled ‘Meditarranean Chicken’ gleamed back at him. He picked one up and held it in his hand. It may as well have been a brick. He felt the acid in his stomach cause an uncomfortably warm shift within. He had been hungry for a lot longer than he had wanted to admit, but now that the fat bastard wasn’t around, there was no reason to hold it in. 

“Nee, please tell me there’s a way I can warm this.”

“Not from in here James,” said Nee. “The closest-”

“There’s gotta be a way. How did that asshole do it?” said Jimmy, pointing at the body as if Nee could see. Nee went quiet. He wasn’t sure if she was searching for the answer or was offended by him cutting her off. It didn’t matter. That thing had found a way to do it and Jimmy would figure out how. He had everything he needed, right here.

He was safe here. Safe from whatever was out there. There was no guilt in his heart, no desire for others. He would survive in here for as long as he needed to, as long as he found how to make this fucking chicken edible.

He got on his knees and bashed the frozen brick against the floor. Maybe if he got it into small enough pieces he could let the warmth of his saliva soften it enough to make it edible. He bashed it again until his hands began to sting and his fingers became uncomfortably numb. He wished that he would have taken the glove extensions from his pack but he had never been one for gloves.

A faint scratching stopped Jimmy cold. He swung his light toward the chute door, his eyes glued to the opening. He was sure it was sealed. There would be no getting in and out without his say so. Unless there was another way in.

The numb feeling bit into his palms causing Jimmy to huff air into his fists and wipe them quickly over the suit enough to regain some feeling. He slammed the chicken until he felt it give way in his hand and a sliver of hope came into him. He tried to use his hands to crack it but when that didn’t work he reverted back to his savage attempts. Again and again he bashed the brick on the ground, all his rage and hunger masking the growing pain in his hands until a thick piece chipped off and slid down the aisle.

His eyes followed it like a wild predator watching his prey slip away into the dark frosty fog. It was at that moment that he realized how little he could see in this meat locker. 

He knew he was alone in there, or at least he thought he was.

Nee hadn’t been able to pick up any life signs. She hadn’t even known that thing had been inside the chute with them. How could he be sure that he was really alone?

It didn’t matter that nearly his entire life had been spent alone, that’s how he had always wanted it. There was no way anyone could pry into his life, his secrets, his emotions, his fears. Find out about the old man that had followed him around in the darkness for years. The old corpse that had stood in the corner of his room at night when the lights would come off, the silence of the room echoing its airless breaths. He had tried to ignore it, pull the covers over his head and pretend it wasn’t there but he could feel it hover over him, blaming him. He had stood around and watched as the old man died, and now he would get to watch it forever in the darkness.

Jimmy’s skin could feel the grip of long bony fingers over his arms without there being anything in contact with him. Ghost sensations that forced him to stop.

There’s nothing here, he thought to himself. He believed it, same as he had believed he would never see his grandfather again, but his mind had grown to know that there were sinister things waiting in the shadows. 

He raised the intensity of the light but all it did was create a reflection over the fog. He turned around quickly, feeling something hovering over his neck, but found only another bright shroud. Scratching echoed all around him, like thick claws over metal. There was no reassurance anywhere his eyes went, they could find nothing.

He squeezed his eyes shut and began counting breaths, each one slowing down as he got higher. By the time he was at ten, his breaths were huge. When he hit twenty he opened his eyes and looked around. Nothing had changed, but he forced himself forward.

It’s just me and Nee. He crawled a little further and reached out to the frozen piece of chicken, looking around at anything but that. Trying his damndest to use his visual senses to reassure himself. 

He pressed his back against the aisle of containers hoping somehow it would protect him from anything reaching out to him from behind. All he had to worry over were his sides and what lay ahead.

And what lay above.

He pictured the thing that killed Roberts slithering down above him, wrapping itself around him without him realizing it. The way it had squeezed Roberts legs, made him useless while it came down and finished the job. The shriek Jimmy had heard before the chute door shut.

Roberts hadn’t deserved that. Neither him nor Zoe had deserved what happened. Jimmy needed to make sure he didn’t get something he didn’t deserve either.

He put the frozen chunk of chicken over his tongue and instantly felt it stick. As he tried to move it around, it would stick to the roof of his mouth, his cheeks, anywhere it could touch.

His freshman year of high school, they had done an experiment in his science class. They had done many before, but it was that day that he remembered feeling jealous when the other male students had asked for Alice’s assistance. Every student had always wanted her, every student had tried their hardest to get her. She always flirted back but in a subtle, playful way. She loved the attention and it had made him wonder if he was the only one.

Alice had been different towards him in front of others. Cold. Emotionless. Distant. He felt especially betrayed that day, as if she were flaunting her ability to have any of them at any time she wanted. He had stormed out without asking for permission and sat at the edge of the school, nearly in tears. He had felt so weak, so alone. After the bell had released the students he had returned to the class to pick up his things. He hadn’t expected anyone to be there but there she was, waiting for him with his belongings. She had locked the doors and pulled the blinds down and did something they had never done before.

They talked.

Truly talked. She allowed him to express his frustrations over the matter and she had not judged him in any way for it. She had not become upset or defensive. She had listened. Listened about his fears, insecurities, even about his sadness over his grandfather and the corpse in the night. Just like his grandpa had always done, she reassured him and led him to see a new light. 

He had felt close to her then. They had been together before, but it was not until then that he had felt how special he was to her. How much he loved her.

She had smiled and said, “You know James, you won’t be able to pass my class if you skip labs,” She made her way toward the freezer where the samples were kept and withdrew a small cup filled with ice cubes. She placed the cup over one of the desks and smiled. “Maybe we can make up that F with a different experiment.”

Jimmy had smiled and nodded back to her. “What’s the fastest way to melt these in here?” she continued.

“Run water over them,” Jimmy said as he looked around the room.

“Good,” she said, her smile taking on a flirtatious nature. “Now what’s the fastest way you’ll make me cum with them?”

She took off her dress and scooted herself up on the table, spreading her legs out as she locked eyes with him. His heart pounded harder than he had ever felt before. His hands trembled and his groin ached. He could feel her, taste her, smell her, all before even touching her. It was perfect. His mind went blank, the room around them completely disappearing. All he saw was her.

He took a cube of ice and popped it in his mouth. It stuck to his lip, forcing him to use his teeth to peel it off and allow it to stick to his tongue and cheeks. It felt cold, but not painful. He huffed out and a fog escaped his lips. He swirled it under his tongue and took her thighs between his arms. Her skin was smooth and soft. It felt amazing to squeeze her thighs between his trembling fingers. As he dug his face forward, her hand pressed over his forehead, stopping him and forcing his eyes up into her own.

“Remember,” she said, gently biting her lip, “just how I taught you.”

They gazed into each others eyes, never wanting to look away. She caressed the back of his hair and neck as she smiled and then pulled him forward onto her.

The ice cubes had melted then, and quickly. 

If only that were the case now.

It crossed his mind that having Zoe around could have helped speed it all up. He immediately shuddered the thought away. He didn’t want to think about her or Roberts again. He was alive and had everything he needed to keep himself that way. He was no longer responsible for anyone else.

He tried to bite down on the chicken and managed to make progress through the outer layer only to have and uncomfortable shock sent up through his tooth from the frozen, bitter core. At least he knew it worked, even if it was taking ages to prepare a single bite. 

After a couple of minutes of swirling it around his mouth he tried again, this time digging through it enough to mush it. By that time, the spices had been completely stripped away and he was left a tasteless piece of artificial chicken to chew through. There had to be another way. He was prepared to put himself through it if it meant surviving but he wouldn’t be surprised if it led him to end up like the guilt ridden body. Maybe guilt hadn’t been the cause of its suicide but it sounded better to say that than having to admit that it had gone crazy from having to spend every waking moment preparing your next bite. To have your suit keep you nice and warm, only to have some tasteless frozen chicken fuck it all up and deregulate your temperature from the inside.

A curious thought crawled through his mind. He scooted back toward the corpse and pulled it out by its legs, letting it lay completely flat on the floor. He looked at both sides of the aisles and up above, reassuring his mind that he was alone. He put his hand over the bare skin of the dead face.

It may as well have been frozen.

He lowered his hand toward the neck and felt warmth as his fingers neared the suit. He pulled the suit skin back and stuffed his hand in, feeling the sting from the sudden temperature change. The suit was working incredibly hard to regulate the temperature of the dead body. It couldn’t tell it was already dead. He wondered if that was why none of the corpses reeked of death here.

He felt his stomach grumble, clearly unsatisfied by the offerings he had brought forth. “What’s keeping this suit on?” he said, pulling Nee to his lips.

“There are specific triggers within the suit that are maintaining contact,” she said.

“So, if I were to remove it?”

“It would no longer attempt to regulate temperature,” said Nee.

“Unless I keep contact on the triggers.”

“Correct,” said Nee. He wanted to pat himself on the back. He never failed to find a way. He excelled at everything he had ever attempted. It all came naturally to him. Best of all, he had never needed anyone else to do it. He was a gift to the earth. 

“However, it would be nearly impossible to keep contact on all the triggers with the suit being removed from the body. There are hundreds of very small points.”

His stomach growled loudly, displeased at the news. It didn’t care how its tributes were delivered, only that they were. His mind, however, had its own requirements.

“Show me,” he said. 

A diagram of a suit popped up over his unit with hundreds of tiny dots all over it, making it look like a pincushion. He stared at all the tiny dots, fascinated at the careful complexity of something he had grown to see as underwear. There were many that could not afford it, of course, and then there were those who had them but chose not to wear them. Down here, they all had to wear them. Precautions in case of power failures.

Jimmy stood and rescanned the containers around him. He opened the first few he saw that were nutrient rich and pulled out a couple of packets of each, throwing it onto the corpse as he pulled the next. He moved to the next container. He looked down to the body and saw the small pile he had made atop it. He was eating with his eyes. There was no way he would fit all of it, but it didn’t stop him from taking the packet anyway.

He bent down over the body and peeled back the suit around the neck as much as possible, stuffing all of the packets he could fit. It created a small mountain over the chest that prevented the suit from snapping back around the neck. He shoved it down enough to let it seal but knew there would be no more going in.

He was disappointed that a few of the options did not get to make it but was more relieved that he would not be taking the same route as this pathetic excuse of what used to be a man. He patted the body on the shoulder.

“Thanks,” said Jimmy, as he scooted his back against the containers and sat next to it. His stomach grumbled and he felt the warm shift of the acid. He didn’t know how long it would take to unfreeze the packets but he knew eventually his stomach would calm. It fights hard at first but time ceases its rebellion until eventually it stops fighting.

He wasn’t sure why he had been so curious about figuring out what had happened here. He was realizing now how much energy he had wasted trying to hunt down answers when he could have just found a spot like this, preferably with more light, and just waited everything out. He knew now that was the best course of action. Eat, sleep, and find a corner far off to shit.

It’s not like it mattered much anyway, the smell would be neutralized after it froze. Deep inside, though, he didn’t like the idea of being a caveman. He was a clean, civilized, educated man. There was no reason why he had to give that up just because of the circumstances.  He would continue to keep himself together until Lumis came down and rescued him. They would find a man who deserves his life, a man they would feel proud to rescue.

However long that took.

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