And y'all thought I'm abandoning this.
JESSICA; MINES; 23:17
SIXTEEN HOURS SINCE INCIDENT
Even after Josh's pleas for me to agree with him on getting the fuck out of here, we stay silent for some minutes—probably too tired from arguing to move. It might have been half an hour before he finally got to convince me to actually get out of here since I'm still reluctant to go despite agreeing earlier.
He stands there in front of me with his left hand outstretched for me to take. I stare at it and him, and he doesn't talk—just stares back at me just as challenging. It's as if he's daring me to tell him I still don't wanna leave so he can fight me on it.
I know when I'm beaten, so reluctantly, I move my hand towards his and take his hand.
"Nice," he whispers to himself before pulling me.
I wince as he does so because it stretches every part of my body—most notably, my ribs, and it pains me to move. What surprises me though, is that Josh winces as well.
As he helps me stand up, I watch his grimace grow bigger. He places a hand on his left shoulder gently when he lets me go, the light from the moon above us finally showing me some blood on his left shoulder.
"What's wrong with your shoulder?" I ask him as I wrap the jacket I found earlier around my body to shield my body from the cold.
Josh removes his hand from his shoulder as if he was burned. He, then, looks at me for a moment before looking up at the sky and shrugging.
"Just a gift from the fucked up world we got ourselves into."
He's being too casual. He's being too cryptic. If it was an easy answer, he'd respond with a name. He doesn't want me to know. Or he doesn't want anyone to know. Either way, it's a difficult subject for him. I can't let him close himself up again. I owe it to Hannah and Beth to help their brother when no one can.
"Tell me what's wrong. Who did this to you?" I demand.
Why would he hide it from me if it just came from the monster? We both know about it; it won't hurt me to know it's from the monster. No, this has something to do with Mike and the others. That's the only explanation.
"What's wrong with your shoulder?" I ask again.
Josh shakes his head before turning around and starting to walk.
"Just forget about it," he says quietly.
I place a hand on his right shoulder and turn him back around to face me. I wince at the toll it took me but I need answers right now.
"You... you said Mike had a gun... If he tried to shoot you—"
"He didn't," he cuts me off.
I gaze into his eyes intently, trying to see if there's any semblance of deception in them. There is none.
"Then why are you being so cryptic about this?" I ask him.
Josh grumbles, "I got stabbed, okay? You happy now? Now, can we please get out of here? We need to get some help."
He starts to walk away again but I don't move. My mind is going a hundred miles a second.
"Stabbed you? Who stabbed you? What the fuck, Josh?" I demand.
"Let's just go," he says casually, still walking towards the way out.
"You said that Mike did more than punch you—"
Josh finally turns around to face me. "Why are you so scared that Mike did something to me?" he asks with an annoyed tone, raised brow emphasizing his displeasure.
I shake my head, not caring at the moment that I might be upsetting him. "You're trying to change the topic."
"No. No, I'm actually curious."
I sigh. "He just... wouldn't do such a thing."
"Oh, hurt people? Like he did to Hannah?" he replies.
I inwardly cringe at the bitterness in his tone, but my silence only aggravates him further.
"'Wouldn't do such a thing'? Like how everyone in my fucking lodge wouldn't have done what they have done?" he spits.
I flinch at the last word and his eyes soften immediately. I look away.
I knew he still hasn't forgiven us—at least, not a hundred percent—but hearing it like that just gives another thrust of a knife to my gaping wounds.
I can't say I blame him.
"Fuck, I didn't mean that," he lies.
"Yes. Yes, you did," I whisper.
Flinching at the sudden hands on my shoulders, I look up at soft gentle eyes—a complete opposite of the angry bitter man I saw a few seconds ago.
"Jess, I forgive you, okay? I mean, we're doing okay now," he points out. "Mike hasn't asked for forgiveness about a lot of things to me. Don't take it personally. I may not forgive him yet but I do you..." a little bit.
I hear the last three words clearly. And I know he knows I can hear them too.
I shake my head to get out of my thoughts. "So, he did stab you, then? Since you said you haven't forgiven Mike for a lot of things—"
Josh removes his hands from me and paces in front of me. Turning to move away and turning back to go back to me. Over and over until he sighs and settles to standing in front of me.
"Look, I don't want to go over the details of the peanut gallery's reaction to my beloved contraptions."
A shiver runs up my spine at the very imagination of those contraptions.
"Just tell me who stabbed you and—"
"It wasn't Mike, okay? You happy?"
"He's not a saint, Jess. None of us are. We all know that. But hey, at least, he didn't stab our resident psycho." He shrugs dramatically, obviously trying to lighten up the mood.
I give him a long hard look and sigh, "I know he's not a saint. That's why I'm scared he did something worse than hit you with a gun."
Josh is silent for a bit—somehow lost in his gaze. He's staring at absolutely nothing—not even at those hallucinations which I've come to learn to appear when they appear.
His gaze snaps back to me quickly and he physically shakes his head to shake out whatever-it-is that got him so... dazed.
"What did Mike do to you?" I whisper in horror.
He looks away, blinking profusely. "He didn't stab me."
"That's not an answer, and you know what I mean."
Josh glares at me. "I don't know why you're so hung up on this!"
"Because I care about him and he has this whole 'protecting people' thing, and if I remember how guilty he was about what we did to Hannah, then I sure as hell know he'd be so guilty about whatever it is he did to you."
Josh stares at me for a while before looking away.
"He deserves it," he mutters to himself, probably not even realizing he said it out loud.
Another stab in the gut.
Did he think I deserved what I got before I actually said I was sorry? Did he believe he was capable of killing me because he felt like he could kill me before? How much was I the brunt of his anger and revenge before we were forced to be out here together?
"Let's... Let's just get out of here... please," Josh whispers, heading for the wooden doors of the mines which I passed through earlier today.
I close my eyes, knowing now that I will never have the answer I was looking for. Mentally, I shake myself before turning to the doors again.
I watch as Josh opens the door and so I follow him reluctantly. Behind these wooden walls, I know there is a dead man hanging by the ceiling. I saw it before I came into the monster's lair... and it makes me sick just thinking about it.
With a heavy heart, I listen to Josh's footsteps in front of me, with my eyes staring at my feet. I'm still adamant to stay in the lair for my survival against the monster that took me, but Josh made some points earlier that I cannot ignore.
One, the monster might come back since this was its lair.
Two, I won't survive another hour alone out here.
Three, if that was where Hannah and Beth died, the rescuers will have as much chances to find us as they did before.
Lastly, if Sam and Mike actually did come here to get Josh, then there is a way out and Josh knows a bit of the direction of where we're going.
With my mind going elsewhere and my eyes on my feet, I bump into Josh's tense back. I take a step back when I hit him since it hurts parts of my body.
My eyes wander around where we are and I try not to gag at the sight of the corpse suspended on the ceiling in my peripheral vision. I see Josh staring at him—it—the corpse.
I give out a quiet, "Josh?" and he turns to look at me as nonchalant as possible.
"Sorry, I went out of my mind there for a moment," he laughs, brushing his hair with his hand.
I immediately understand what's going on.
"Josh, it's okay."
He gives me a long look before chuckling, "What are you talking about? Of course, it's okay. We're finally getting out of here."
I bite my lip before saying, "I see it, too."
He blinks a few times. "See... see what?"
"The... the... um..." I stutter dumbly and so, I just gesture at the fresh corpse behind him.
Josh turns his back at me for a moment to look at the corpse before turning back to me with his mouth open in a silent, 'O'.
"Right," he says slowly, looking down before shaking his head, "Right, then." His eyes look up at me with a hint of confusion and a glimmer of a child asking his parent for reassurance. "That's... good? For me, I mean. Not good for, well..." He tilts his head at the corpse, before looking down and shaking his head. "Him... Fuck, I didn't want anyone to die again."
"Josh, it's not your fault."
He glares at me. "Jess," he starts mockingly, "that guy is fresh. He must have been the stranger who's been stalking us Washingtons for years. If he followed us here, then... then... he followed us because I brought you all here. It is my fault."
"He doesn't have to be the stalker. He could be some unfortunate by-passer."
"This is a mountain where you have to go up the cable car to enter. You don't see any by-passers around here. It's a fucking lonely mountain." He bites his lips. "Not again. No, no, not again," he whispers, placing his hands on his ears. Josh falls on his knees on the ground, and he places his head on the ground as if making himself as small as possible. I've seen this twice now. I know what's happening.
He's having another breakdown.
"Josh, you can do this," I say firmly, kneeling down on the ground in front of him but careful not to be too close in case he lashes out at me again like the first time we interacted—when he thought I was dead.
Josh starts to rock back and forth, bent on his knees, his head touching the ground and his hands on his ears. "Stop talking to me!" he yells and I wince.
I look around if something is coming near us at the yell. So far, nothing.
"Josh, you'll pull through. You're the strongest guy I know, and that's saying something since I'm dating Mike," I joke to lighten the mood.
Unfortunately, I hear something I haven't heard before.
Josh is whimpering.
"Please. Please. Please. I'm sorry. I didn't want you to die. I'm sorry. It's my fault. I know. I know, I know, I know that this is my fault. Stop yelling at me, please, please, please. I can't take it anymore."
I practically panic when I see him scratching at his own wrists.
Quickly and without thinking, I wrap my arms around Josh and maneuver him so his head is lying on my lap, his eyes looking up at me as I bend over to look down at him.
"Josh, snap out of it," I say harshly while I gently caress the sides of his face. I really have no idea what to do but this is the best I can offer.
"They're angry at me," he whispers so quietly I barely heard it.
"Don't listen to them."
"How can't I? They talk to me every second of every minute of every hour of every day. How can I stop them? How can I leave this torture? I don't want this anymore. I'm tired. I'm tired. I'm tired."
"Josh, please," I whisper in pain at seeing my friend so broken. I watch as a tear of mine falls on his face.
I wish it was like one of those movies where my tears help heal the boy.
But it isn't.
Instead, his own eyes start to form tears of their own and he closes his eyes. The tears fall on the sides of his face and I feel them pool on my denim-clad legs.
"Josh, we'll make it through this. We'll push through. You'll push through."
For a few minutes, his mutterings slowly die down. With a last sigh, Josh opens his eyes to stare up at me.
"You my angel from heaven?" he jokingly whispers but his voice is so broken I couldn't laugh.
Slowly, he sits up and kneels in front of me.
"Sorry you had to see that," he says, wiping his eyes and nose with his sleeves.
"I'm glad I was here to keep you safe from yourself," I reply.
He looks away. "We should continue on."
Ignoring the corpse on top of us, we venture on and I see somewhat of a lake in front of Josh and he stops before turning to look at me.
"Look, Jess, the water's freezing cold. Do you think you can take it?" he asks worriedly.
I sigh before reaching down to touch the cold water with my hand. It feels as if I touched ice but I know Josh is desperate to leave and I'm desperate to be rescued. So, I cool my face and give him a nod.
Josh steps in the water and helps me get in.
"You okay?" he asks me when I bite my lip, trying not to show how much my lip is on the verge of bleeding from how hard I'm biting it.
"Yeah," I reply back.
He doesn't leave me alone this time. He wraps his arms around me as we both walk through the water. Occasionally, I shiver at the cold and he quickly moves his hands up and down my shoulders to warm me up.
Why is he so nice to me? I still don't understand. I killed his sisters, and yet, he has forgiven me... for a little bit, at least. He's willing to help save my life even though I deserve nothing but the pain I am feeling through my wounds.
After a while, we reach the other end of the waters and Josh helps me up.
"Thank God it's not here to drag me back to the lair," Josh whispers to himself. Knowing how he ended up there, I decided not to reply.
We look around to see an opening up front. A sort of pathway.
"Josh?" I ask in uncertainty.
"I think we're close," Josh whispers, "to the way out."
"How can you tell?" I ask, wrapping my arms around me.
"I don't know..." he whispers. "I just... feel really hopeful all of a sudden."
"Ditto," I whisper back, because he's right. I suddenly feel like we can actually get out of here. That there's a chance for us to actually survive one last night of terror and into victory.
"I really want to get out of here," Josh pleads... to whom? I don't know.
"This is the last way through," I comment instead.
"Come on, then," Josh replies.
We walk in silence except for the occasional huffs and sniffs from both of us. I can tell we're both not in the best condition to be finding a way out but we're both desperate to be rid of this place.
We reach the end of the mines but with two doors. One that seems to be made out of galvanized iron sheets and the other being a wire mesh.
"Which one do you think is the right way?" I ask him. I go near to the wire mesh and look through the mesh to see more of the mines.
A shiver runs through my spine as a breeze suddenly enters the place.
Turning my head around, I look to see Josh smiling at the now opened iron door. Snow enters through from the ground and it tells me that we have reached the outdoors.
"Eureka," Josh says in awe at the snowing outdoors.
"Josh... Is that really...?" I ask, limping towards him and actually seeing for myself the snow and the moon and the clouds and—Oh my God, we're outside. We're actually outside.
I take a tentative step and already regret it, the blizzard biting into my skin. Stumbling, Josh manages to catch me and we both stand there like a bunch of idiots, staring at the outdoors.
"Josh, it's too cold out there."
He places both hands on my shoulders and stares down at me. "Jess, we can do this. You can do this. Just a little more and we can get out of this shithole and call it a night. Okay?"
"Yes, okay. Okay. Okay. Fuck, Josh, you're right. Just a little bit more."
"That's the spirit."
Hugging me close to him, Josh leads me out and he makes sure I'm warm enough. Maybe it's the fact that my clothes are wet or maybe it's because I'm weaker, but even so, I'm too cold to find away on my own.
I turn my head to the sides to see a burnt up place to the right.
"What's that?" I yell since the blizzard outside is too loud for us to hear each other.
"That's the sanatorium," Josh yells back, "because we can't have more spooky things to encounter, I guess."
"It's burnt up," I mention, seeing the front doors open and broken.
"We should find a way out," Josh replies. "We should—"
His words are cut short when I literally see the light shining upon us.
I see it.
Our way out.
If someone got the dialogue that references Sam's and Mike's dialogue. I love you. This time it's their counterparts saying their lines, though tweaked to match the situation.