Ratchet recognized her as one of the girls at school, not that he had really noticed her at all. He didn't go for the innocent catholic school girls. From what he had seen of her, she usually kept to herself and her books. The girl in front of him, however, had her face but didn't like that girl at all. This girl was curled up with her knees brought up to her face, bright blue eyes wide in terror as she rocked back and forth. To his own surprise, it tugged at his gut seeing her that scared. He tried to shake it off by throwing back a mouthful of whiskey but it did little to help. Sighing, he walked over to the clear wall separating the two rooms and sat down, leaning his left side against the glass. "Hey," he grumbled. She didn't even look up. "Hey, I'm talking to you!"
"What is it?" she asked, flashing those blue eyes to him, but not stopping her rocking.
Thinking of nothing else to say now that he had her attention, he grumbled, "Stop crying." She rolled her eyes and kept rocking—what was it with this girl and rocking?—but she did stop her insane whimpering. Damn, this girl was weird. But she was scared—not that he blamed her. Waking up after being drugged in a strange room with a boy wearing black leather and make-up could be a bit…nerve-racking. "Hey," he said again. She looked back at him, tears streaming down her flushed cheeks. "It's going to be Ok."
She smiled and it was weird; it made that feeling in his stomach come back. "Thanks," she whispered, her voice cracking.
He snorted and ran his fingers through his hair. "No need to thank me. Just stating a fact." He looked away, suddenly finding the bleached antlers in the corner of his room strangely fascinating.
"You're the boy who sings, aren't you?" Her voice said suddenly, filtering in through the speaker above him. His head snapped back towards her, jaw dropped in obvious shock. She was looking at him and although her eyes still streamed an unending river of tears, she seemed interested. Ratchet was too shocked to say anything except a tiny grunt that escaped his throat. She crossed her arms over her knees, resting her cheek on top. "I heard you one day. From the back alley behind the school. I think you were on your way home, I don't know. You're really good."
Instead of accepting the compliment with a thank you, like his mother would tell him to do, he merely scoffed and glared at her. "What are you, some sort of stalker? That's just a bit unnerving."
"No! I didn't mean it like that," she gasped, trying to defend herself. She tucked a stray chestnut strand of hair behind her ear. Was that a flash of a tattoo on her wrist? No, Ratchet told himself. She was too goody-two-shoes to do something like that. To his surprise, she chuckled once. His eyes widened as he looked at her. Was she laughing at him? No way. "I guess it does sound a little stalker-ish." She blinked and met his eyes. "I'm Caitlyn, but everyone calls me Catie or just Cat."
"Ratchet," he said, stretching out his hand in as if waving to her. Immediately he pointed a finger at her. "Don't go thinking that because you know my name we're friends. Someone like you," he scoffed, "I could never be friends with."
That innocent face disappeared. Great, Ratchet groaned to himself, she's going to start crying again. Her eyes hardened. "Someone like me? And what kind of person am I?" Her voice was just as tough as her eyes. Her wavering voice was now something unmovable. This wasn't that frightened little girl he had attempted to comfort in his weird little way. This was a force of a girl scared and upset. When he didn't answer verbally, only turned away his gaze back to the set of antlers, she scowled. "Of all the people I had to be kidnapped with; it had to be you."
And that was a bomb dropped on a fireworks factory. Ratchet shifted his weight to the side, leaning on his right hand while he smacked the glass with his left. "And what kind of person am I?" To her credit, she didn't flinch when he hit the wall.
"The dark, brooding, self-pitying type," she shouted back. She uncurled her legs and leaned forward. "The type that walk down dark alleyways all apathetic and then sad then angry and back to apathetic. The leather ripping, dark make-up wearing, black fingernail polish, biker dude!" Ouch. She had a mouth to her, which in all honestly, completely shocked Ratchet to his core.
"I'm not apathetic," he grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Do you even know what that means?" She asked, cocking an eyebrow.
Nope. "Of course I do! Since you applied it to me, I doubt you know what it means."
"It means indifferent. Uninterested. Droopy. Unsympathetic. I've got a few more synonyms up my sleeve. Do you need more or did you get your answer from me already?" Silence. Instead of glaring at him, which he actually found a bit unsettling, she turned her back to the glass, curling her legs back towards her face. She coughed a couple of times, harsh, raspy hacks that sounded painful. The last one she covered with the palm of her hand. When she pulled it away and wiped it on the ground, Ratchet could see the scarlet blood smearing across the floor. He turned his gaze to her back. Was she sick?
"What kind of sick bastard kidnaps a sick girl?" He grumbled to himself, not able to take his eyes off Catie's blood smear.
"What?" She didn't move at all.
"Nothing," he grumbled. Better not let her know that he saw what happened. He sat back against the glass wall, facing away from her, with his arms crossed over her chest.
"Do you know why we're here?" Her soft voice reached him through the speaker.
Of course he knew why he was here…he had to be part two of this creep's plan. He had seen all this before, although this is the first time he had used two people. Ratchet looked up in the corner and saw the familiar red light of a security camera. He pointed to it. "Hey, up there." He didn't look back at her, just stared at the camera with all the levels of hatred he could muster. "It's a game. A sick one."
"This bastard drugged us, kidnapped us, stuck us in a room with every angle covered so he could watch us at any time he wants; day or night." He suppressed a shudder. "He gets off by watching us suffer. After a few weeks, he'll kill us off. Last time he used carbon monoxide."
"How do you know this?" Shit. Too many details on his part had begun to give him away. Ratchet wasn't the kind of guy to just give away information so willingly. We're probably going to die together anyway. It isn't like this information is going to get far. Except that the bastard had probably already begun to broadcast the video feeds.
"I…took an interest in it, last time," he said in an attempt to cover up the real reason. Now that made it sound like he admired the guy. "I knew the guy. The Protagonist, as the killer called him." Everyone knew the boy who had been killed…they just didn't know the connection to Ratchet, and he wanted to keep it that way. He had seen the pity in the eyes of someone looking at another who had lost someone important. Assholes. They had no idea what pity could do to a person.
"I remember," she said. Ratchet could hear the fear in her voice: plain as vanilla. "The WebCam Killer. That's what the police called him." Yeah, it was. He clenched his fists, burying his face in his leather. It usually worked to block out his memories of what had happened, as he sat back watching the events unfold on his computer screen. "He was all over the news. Police actually asked for illegal hackers for their help to catch this guy." She took a minute to think. "They didn't catch him, did they?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Ratchet grumbled back, motioning to the rooms. "We're the Protagonists this time and no amount of tracking and hacking by the police is going to save us; so you better accept that we're just going to die here, cold and alone, and probably painfully." Great. Scare her into wailing again. Good job, Ratchet, he hissed to himself.
But instead of crying, Catie spoke up. "We're not going to die alone." And this is when Ratchet learned that people, even when he thinks he has them figured out, can surprise him. He turned to look at her. Her face was completely serious; all traces of the sobbing, weak little girl from earlier were gone. "I'm here with you and you're here with me." Slowly, as if unsure how he'd react, she crawled over to the glass and put her hand right over where his shoulder met the glass. "We're not going to die alone."
Was she seriously trying to comfort him? Him? He was didn't need any comforting and he sure as hell didn't mean to do it to her earlier. He cringed away from her touch as if it burned him through the glass and leapt to his feet. "Everyone dies alone," he sneered, not even attempting to mask his anger. "And like I said earlier—we're not friends." With a huff, Ratchet trudged over to the bed in the corner and fell down on it. The springs whined as they shifted to hold his weight.
To her credit, Catie stayed quiet as she curled on her own bed, staring blankly at the far wall.
This is based on Adam Lambert's "Better than I Know Myself" music video…I have not stopped watching it for the past 3 days. Absolutely amazing.