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In unknown times, we will run

Chapter Text

~~Meg~~

The last thing I remember is running in the woods. I was stressed that day, my lungs heavy with breath long before I began to run. My mother's condition was worse, her head in the bucket and her body shaking and cold even when bundled in heavy blankets. Anything she ate never stayed inside her body, bursting out either end less than an hour later. The same went for fluids and over the counter medicines. In a panic bordering on a panic attack I called a doctor. He came, he examined her and then he left. He did the bare minimum to help my mother, other than suggesting some more medicine to help keep her hydrated.

After that I paced around the house doing my darnest not to scream. Sadly, the pacing did not put my mind at ease, so I slipped on my sneakers and decided to go for a run. A quick one. I told my mother I would be back before leaving. She said she loved me and that she'd see me soon, and with that I was in the woods running like a bullet from a gun. I barely registered the dark, smoke-like mist ahead of me until I was tangled in it, then choking on it until my vision became as dark as the mist.

As I came too, I could smell only two things: one being wet, mud coated leaves and another being musky, dry burning wood. Coming two, I looked around my surroundings. Maybe I had been found by some campers, or at least nearby some. I was mostly right. I was on the ground near a campfire and some logs, my clothes barely stained by nature and my hair still braided neatly. The sky above was dark and cloudy, with a bright full moon and some winking stars. The area itself was clear, trees spread away from the fire and logs just enough that the fire wouldn't catch onto them and spread like milk from a shattered glass.

All that was missing were tents and people. Or at least, that's what I thought until I spotted some movement from my left.

I rose to my feet cautiously and looked around for something heavy or sharp, just in case. Sadly, I found nothing, and all I could do was stand like a deer in head lights as one form became two.

"Oh!" one voice remarked, a man no older than twenty-five. "There's another!"

"Another?" the second asked, I believe a woman around my age.

"Yes, there's someone else here. A girl."

Now that they are closer to the firelight, I am able to examine them from where I am standing. The man is, for lack of better words, average at most. His hair is neat and clean, cut to an easy to manage length. His glasses are thick and largens his eyes, making his face a little rounder than it is. He is not dressed for the elements, unless there is some trend I am unaware of where people camp in attire you would wear to the office, and somehow clean as if he'd just stepped out of the office. The woman is a stark opposite. Her hair is layered, short and hidden partially in a beanie. She is punkish in looks and thinner too. almost as athletic as I am. Perhaps this is her campsite, seeing as she makes the most sense compared to the squeaky clean guy. Another thing that stands out is her accent. Swedish, my best guess.

I am so busy observing these two that I don't even realize the man has approached me and stuck out his hand. "My name is Dwight," he says. "Dwight Fairchild."

I shake my head, as if it will snap me out of my trance, and shake his hand. "Meg Thomas."

"A pleasure," Dwight replied with a smile before releasing my hand. He then wipes his hand on his trouser leg, and I notice that my hands are slicked with mud.

By now the girl has also approached, nodding towards me in acknowledgement. "Nea," is all she says. Her voice and tone are casual, but her stance is tense and straightened. After that the three of us are silent. Awkwardly so. Dwight is still trying to clean his hand, and trouser leg, and Nea is glancing around. I also look around, mostly at the fire, before finally breaking the silence. "So. Is this your camp?" I ask neither in general.

Dwight pales, and Nea shifts. Their reactions cause me to shudder. My shudder only worsens when they shake their heads and refuse to meet my eyes. It is chilligly silent for what feels like forever, until Dwight speaks.

"I don't mean to startle you Meg, but...this is most likely not our camp. In fact, I wasn't at a camp last I recalled. I was at a work thing and just kinda appeared here. I doubt it's Nea's camp because I was the first to wake up here. BUT maybe we were all found and saved? Maybe there is a camper out there who found us and brought us here?"

"No," Nea speaks up. Her tone is still sharp, angsty even. A tone you may here from one of those edgy teenagers, not a twenty-one year old. "That makes no sense. For you two maybe, yes, but for me no. I was in an asylum back in Sweden. Unless some freak airlifted me to a campsite from an asylum I highly doubt it."

Dwight bowed his head, embarassed, before he looks at me. "Where were you?"

"In the woods," I answer.

"In Oregan?"

I blink back my confusion. "No...Illinois."

Dwight pales, and a realisation seems to hit him. He points at me shakily, and then himself and then Nea as he says: "So...you're from Illinois...I'm from Oregan...and Nea is from Sweden. If that's the case...where are we?"

Nea and I can only shrug, but where she is calm and neutral I am scared and anxious. Where ARE we? Is this Illinois still, or have I somehow wound up somewhere else? How far from home am I? Why are we here? I am shaking, even with my jacket hugging my form. As if nothing could get worse a hiss rings out all around us. We unanimously jump and then stiffen as the mist emerges once more. It slithers towards us from the fire, moving to our feet and swirling upwards along our bodies. Nea curses as she swats and slaps at the smoke. Dwight meanwhile panics, whimpering and sweating as he is slowly consumed by the smoke. I can only stand and watch as the smoke rises around me.

I should have panicked, like Dwight, or started trying to wave it away like Nea. But instead I stood there and watched as my legs vanished, then my chest and then finally my vision. I do not sleep this time, but if I did I know what I'd dream. I'd dream of going home to my mother, and she would be all better, and Dwight and Nea and the stupid camp would just be a dream.

The smoke blinds me...and I dread what I will see when it finally clears...
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~~Jake~~

I left the camp for what I thought was five minutes, and I barely find my first piece of firewood after what felt like forever of searching before I hear and smell the smoke again. I don't even bother to run from it. I let it take me to wherever else I have to go, knowing there is no point in fighting. Didn't help me the first few times I've been here, and it certainly didn't help the others. Barely a minute passes, and the forest is gone. In its place is a farm, barren and empty. I am standing among the wheat, doing my best not so sneeze, and I begin to advance. Quietly. Stealthily. I know who owns this domain, and I do not want him to know I'm here.

I know what I must do: find the generator, power them up, find the others (if there are others) and get out. Thats it. No hooks, no chases, none of that bullshit. Survival is a priority.

After a long, anxious walk I make it to the barn, and I find the generator. I look around carefully for the monster before I get to work. Gotta be quick. Can't alert the big guy. Doesn't help that I have no toolbox. I take a breath and shove my hands into the wires. From there I get to work. Point A to part B, C to D, ect. I listen closely for the chainsaw's roar as I connect the wires. None. At least nothing close by. Good. This is good, well for me at least. Just a few more seconds and the generator would be fixed. One more and-

A scream and a thud snaps me out of my focus, and a wire connects to the wrong part of the generator triggering a shock. It throws me back but I catch myself before I can fall on my ass. My heart is beating hard and fast now. He must have heard, he will be here soon. I need to get out, but first I must see what caused my shock. If its what or who I think it is, we need to get out now. Carefully, I look behind the hay bale. As suspected, its a fellow survivor. A new one. Red haired, no older than twenty-one, dressed in jogging attire. She must've fallen from the hayloft, or maybe the spider was cruel and dropped her from above. Whatever the reason I leap over the bale and haul her up.

"Huh-wha-hey let me go!" she cries, squirming. I almost drop her as she does, but I manage to get her up.

"No time, run!" I whisper loudly, seizing her wrist and tugging her along. She continues to squirm.

"Run? from who? who the hell are you? where are we!"

I do not answer her question, only yank on her arm trying to get her to movce faster. Her wrist almost slips from my hand. I continue to drag her, still writhing like a worm, out of the barn when I hear it. The hungry roar of a chainsaw. The girl stops and looks behind her. Sure enough, there he is. The Hillbilly. And he sees us. Finally the girl stops squirming and looks at me. I tug her wrist more urgently and finally we run from the barn, my hand still around her wrist as we push through the wheat. The hillbilly gives chase. It won't be long before he's upon us.

He does get close at one point. He swings at us with his chainsaw and nicks the girl on her leg. I keep her up and running and turn sharply as he swings again, hitting my arm. I keep us running as I dig for the only defence I have. A flashlight. Once I have it I aim it at him and with some luck he rears back in pain. A good three second window to escape.

we run until I spot a window, and I lead the girl over. I push her through before following after. Once inside I pull her down and cover her mouth, listening for the hillbilly with anxiety. His chainsaw roars as he walks past us. He stops at one point and I am ready to shove the girl away in case he spots us and takes a swing. But nothing comes and suddenly the chainsaw fades away. I move my hand from the girl and she rushes away from me.

"What the fuck is-"

"Listen to me," I say, softly. "That's Max, aka the hillbilly. Max has a huge fuck-off chainsaw and a fuck-no hammer. He wants to shove us onto some hooks and kill us, and he will if he can. But there is a way out. We need to activate some generators. I need your help to do this but you have to trust me."

The girl is hesitent, but nods. I pity the poor girl. Her eyes are wide with fear, and with distrust. I remember being like that, but instead of adressing it I stand up and offer her a hand. She takes it and I slowly haul her up. Once up I retract and give her the much needed space. She keeps her distance, but looks up at me with what I can guess is an attempt at trust. "So...what now?" she asks.

"Now?" I repeat. I think for a bit before looking out the window. "Now we either find generators, a med kit or more of us who haven't been taken down by The Hillbilly."