I really thought this was just going to be a weird, dark oneshot! Apparently it's a weird, dark twoshot instead. This is entirely magistrate
Moving On, Part TwoFandom: Until DawnRating:
2,100 (this part; 3,800 cumulative)Summary:
Sam and Mike do not have the healthiest coping strategies.Part One
He asks for a few days to think it over. She doesn’t want to give them to him; the longer he has to think about it, the more likely it is that he’ll make the sensible decision. But she guesses she can’t force it.
She’ll run away on her own, if she has to. She doesn’t need
him. It’d just... be good to have him around. For company. Maybe just so it won’t only be her own life she’s ruining.
Four days later, he calls her up. All he says is, “I’m outside.”
Her things are already packed and sitting by the door.
She heaves her bags into his trunk and gets into the passenger seat. For a moment he doesn’t speak, doesn’t even turn to look at her.
“You know this is a terrible idea, right?” he asks.
She nods. “I know.”
“Okay. So long as we’re both on the same page.” He starts up the engine. “Let’s do it.”-
They haven’t escaped the whispers completely. But it’s easier, on the road. If someone looks at them like they seem familiar, they can just move on.
Sam buys presents for her friends at some of their stops. It’s stupid; their finances are limited, obviously, and her friends are dead. But sometimes she’ll see something that she thinks Jess would like, or Chris, or Hannah, and she’ll usually end up buying it. She doesn’t know why.-
They haven’t really discussed where they’re going. But they’ve been heading north.
“You know,” Mike says, over breakfast in a Seattle diner, “if we keep going the same way, we’re going to hit the border.”
He’s trying too hard to sound casual. Sam wonders how long ago he realised what was happening. She doesn’t think he was consciously aiming for Blackwood at the start.
Maybe they’ll be recognised as the runaway Blackwood survivors at the border; maybe they’ll be stopped and returned to their families. Some part of Sam is hoping for it.
“Let’s keep going,” she says.
It’s not really about what they want. Of course they’re heading back up there. They don’t have a choice.-
There’s not much to be salvaged from the burned-out lodge, but the cabin is still intact. Or mostly intact; the front door’s window is broken. Sam sees Mike’s expression and decides not to ask about it.
They’re not planning to stay up here long. A night, maybe two. Just long enough to assure themselves that they can survive, that they’ve beaten
this place, and then maybe they can leave it behind at last.
(They won’t ever leave it behind. She knows that he knows it as well.)
They may not be planning to stay long, but they’ve brought as much food as they could carry. They know what happens to people who go hungry up here.
Sam swings her backpack onto the floor and looks around. “Can we get some heating in here?” The broken window won’t help – broken windows
; there’s more than one, and Mike doesn’t look willing to explain the second one either – but maybe they’ll be able to cover it up with something.
“Uh, the power wasn’t working when I was here with – I mean, last time I was here,” Mike says. “I don’t know if fixing it’s been a big priority for anyone since then.”
There’s a pause.
“We could leave,” he suggests, a little hopefully.
“I’m not stopping you,” Sam says.
Mike sighs. “I’ll make a fire.”
They shouldn’t have any trouble getting it going, at least. It turns out you get strange looks if you buy up a store’s entire supply of disposable lighters. They decided to get the flammable aerosol cans elsewhere, to make it at least slightly
less likely they were about to get arrested.-
“Guess we should get some sleep,” Mike says at last. “You know, before it gets dark.”
“Guess so,” Sam agrees.
There’s only one bed in the cabin, although at least it’s a large one. She can tell he’s about to offer to sleep on the couch, or to stay up and keep watch. She stops him with a look.
So they don’t talk about it. They’ve gotten pretty good at not talking about things.
She doesn’t really feel like she’s slept by the time the alarm on her phone goes off, but she vaguely remembers dreaming, so she must have slept at least a little. The light is starting to fade outside; she can see it through the sheet pinned over the broken window.
She doesn’t want to get up. The bed is warm, and Mike is warm, and the air on her face is so cold. But she doesn’t have a choice.
“We should get ready,” she mumbles, pressing her face against his back.
Mike groans. “Your nose is freezing.”
“Mike. They’ll find us if we don’t find them.”
“Okay, okay.” He sits up in the bed. “Let’s go hunting.”-
It’s crossed her mind that maybe there aren’t any wendigos left, for now, until the roaming spirits claim their next victim. Maybe they all burned in the lodge.
It’s strange, the ache of disappointment in her chest at the thought. They can’t have come back here for nothing.
“Do you think there’s something that attracts them?” she asks.
Mike shrugs. “We just need to... move around and look tasty, I guess.”
“What were you and Jess doing when it showed up?”
Mike doesn’t answer for a moment. There’s no sound but their breath freezing in the air, the crunch of snow under their feet, the cries of birds from the woods nearby. She thinks they’re birds. They’re probably birds.
“Jess was shouting,” he says. “I think it heard her.”-
They hole up in the barn. It seems safer than trying to hunt out in the open; the wendigos can’t come at them from all angles, there are entrances they can defend. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the wendigos will take the bait. Sam might not be able to fight on her own terms.
If they don’t come to her, she’ll go to them. It’s a bigger risk, maybe, but if she didn’t want risk she wouldn’t have come here. What does she have to lose?
(Mike. As long as Mike is alive, she has a weakness. She hates it.)
She stands in the barn’s doorway and shouts out into the emptiness until her throat is sore. Just wordless yelling at first, and then somewhere along the way she starts calling the names of her dead friends. Jess and Matt and Emily. Josh. Hannah. Beth. Ashley and Chris, and Mike, Mike, Mike—
“Hey.” Someone is grabbing her hands, pulling her back inside the barn, and it’s Mike, and for a moment she thinks everyone has come back, everyone else is alive as well. “Hey. Sam? You know I’m still here, right?”
She’s crying, she realises. She swipes the tears away with the back of her hand, furious.
“If anything’s around, I think it’s probably heard you,” Mike says. His hands are on her arms, his eyes on the doorway. “We’d better be ready.”
There’s a shriek in the distance. It isn’t a bird.-
The flamethrower guy’s journal said you shouldn’t kill a wendigo. That he’d been capturing them instead. That killing
a wendigo would release its spirit, and that spirit would possess anyone who found themselves starving on the mountain, push them into cannibalism.
It’s a solid argument. But Sam doesn’t know how you’d begin to capture one of these things.
(She’d asked Mike if he had any ideas, back at the cabin. “Bear traps,” he’d said, with a wince.)
She flicks on the lighter. Readies the spray can in her hand. Stands very, very still, watching for the first appearance of unnaturally long fingers around the doorframe.
The wendigo screams as the flames engulf it, and a part of Sam whispers that it used to be human, and the rest of her is screaming in triumph. She can fight back. She can kill
these things. She doesn’t have to be terrified.
The can’s run dry by the time she prises her finger off the spray button, even though the wendigo was probably already dead halfway through. Her legs are shaking like she’s run three miles.
She takes a step back and wraps her arms across her stomach and bursts into laughter, breathless and fierce. When at last she turns away from the smouldering corpse, she sees Mike watching her in admiration, or maybe fear.-
They don’t leave the mountain after two nights. They go on supply runs, obviously, but most of the time they stay up there. In the daytime, they sleep in the cabin’s one bed, tucked close for warmth. At night, they hunt.
There’s no access to television or the Internet here, no news of the outside world. Sam’s universe has narrowed to ice and fire and monsters and Mike. She knows what she’s doing; she knows who she is. It’s all she needs.-
It’s probably not a surprise that they’ve screwed up. The flamethrower guy had obviously been doing this a lot longer than they have, and even then, with all his experience and equipment, he was killed in an instant.
The mines are an intricate network honeycombing the mountain, running just below the surface. They’re buried too shallowly; it’s too easy to break through into them. Too easy, if someone knocks you out of a wendigo’s path, to land so heavily that the ground collapses under both of you.
They’ve been trying for hours to shift the debris that crashed down around them, and it’s becoming clearer and clearer that they’re trapped here, in one small section of the mines.
Mike is thinking about Hannah, she knows. Thinking that he deserves this, that Sam doesn’t. A small, selfish part of her is thinking it herself.-
Time goes by. Days go by, judging by the rise and fall of the light levels. They keep trying to clear a path; Sam makes a few efforts to climb the walls, see if it’s possible to get to the patch of sky where they fell through. It can’t be done.
Her attempts at climbing have left her with scrapes and bruises all over her body, but by this point, huddled against the rock wall with Mike, she’s barely aware of them. She’s so hungry. She’s so hungry. Her stomach has claws, and it’s tearing up the rest of her.
She has to look away from Mike.
She’s so hungry. It’s an effort to think of anything else. And he’s here and so close, still warm, and he smells so good, and...
They haven’t been talking about it.
They’re going to have to.
“Are you starting to feel it?” she asks.
He breathes out, slowly and shakily. “Fuck.”
There’s a brief silence.
“I’m not gonna do it,” he says.
“Hannah did,” she reminds him. “You can’t say she wouldn’t have fought it. The spirit might just be stronger than we are.”
Mike shakes his head. It’s as cold here as it is everywhere else, but she can see the thin sheen of sweat on his temple. “Hannah was different. Beth was... she was already dead.”
“And the miners?”
A pause. “I don’t know.” Another pause. “I’m still not going to do it.”
“Well, I’ll try not to,” she says. “I just... don’t know if I can have your confidence. I don’t know if it’ll let me stay in control.”
“Okay,” Mike says. “I’ll be honest: I’m not wild about the idea of getting eaten. But I’ll take it over the other way around.”
“So you’re not the one who has to deal with being a wendigo?” she asks. She’s not sure whether she’s just teasing.
“I can’t kill you.”
“You might have to,” she says. “I want you to stop me if I come at you.”
Mike shakes his head. “That’s fucked up. Don’t ask me to do that.”
“That miner wendigo,” Sam says. “You said it was, what, eighty years old? How long am I going to be trapped down here if I turn into one of those things?”
“Pretty sure they can climb up walls,” Mike says. “You’d be able to get out.”
“Oh, well, in that
case it’s fine.”
It’s not that funny, but Mike starts to laugh anyway, and that sets her off. Quiet, unsteady this-situation-is-so-fucked laughter.
God, she’s so hungry.
If a wendigo could get out of here, it’ll be able to get in. Maybe one of those things is going to find them, rip both their heads off. Maybe that’s the best they can dream of.
They were probably always going to die here.
She thinks about telling him she’s glad she’s not alone.
“I’m sorry I got you into this,” she says, quietly.
He slips his hand into hers. “I know.”It’s okay
might be too much to hope for. At least he’s still by her side.