It was a night much like any other night. As in somewhat dark, dreary, and with the constant stench of tin or iron in the air. Dwight learned to deal with it, though deal may have been a generous term to use. Bill puffed like a smoke pipe, like any other night. Meg was being Meg. Nea was being a prick. Just because you died, doesn't mean you can take it out on us. Then again, not sure what she expects, acting the way she does.
But the worst part about tonight was the little idea that wormed its way into Claudette's head. A group chat. A little check up on everybody. Ever since he told her to do her job and take care of the survivors like she was supposed to, she started doing these meaningless bureaucratic meetings. Little check-ups, like "Are you okay? Yes? Good. I'm glad to hear." No you aren't. You're just glad you don't actually have to do anything. And here she was, trying to speak to the group again.
"I heard your last trial went poorly. Would any of you like to talk about it?" Shyly smiled Claudette behind her glasses. Probably her attempt to be approachable. She doesn't feel it. None of them do. It's the same song and dance, over and over, and over. Adam figured it out, and honestly, he felt somewhat stupid because of how obvious it was. Trials were never for the Survivors. They were never to harvest them. The Entity could give less of a damn than it already did about them. They were a means to an end. The hope of escape could not compare to the direct fear and hope for appeasement the killers could feed it.
As usual, no one answers. Bill starts nodding off as he vents off some smoke. Nea sneers and mutters under her breath. Or curses. Dwight never learned Swedish, and Nea made it so her displeasure could be understood regardless of language. Meg blew her off as always. Leaving Claudette's eyes resting on him. Either a "Please give me the okay so I can leave," or a "Why have you done this to me." He really didn't know; he wasn't the best at reading people. Just because he knew accountability and where people were, didn't mean he understood them. If he did, he wouldn't be where he is right now.
"Thank you for the offer Claudette." Grimaced Dwight. "But I think we'll pass."
"Are you sure? The Nightmare really shredded into you guys."
Thank you for the reminder, you addle minded girl. It wasn't like he was lobotomized into a shell of his former self. A god damn puppet on strings. Mindless, and boring. A zombie. It was strange, as Dwight felt a slight bit of sympathy for the man. Death was fair for the kiddy-diddler. Being worn as a glove, and puppetted against your will? Even that was too far for Dwight. "No, I think we're fine Claudette."
"You're seeming really agitated. Are you totally sure you're okay?"
It took Dwight a moment to realize that he stood from his log and was staring the smaller girl down. His glasses were steaming up. If he didn't reign himself in, he might have blown up at her. If not verbally, then physically.
"I think it would be best if you left us alone for now."
Meg rolled her head back, and with an annoying click of her tongue, she droned, "Why you got to be so aggro, Dwight. She's just trying to be nice. You're pulling a Nea, man." Meg received a spiteful comment from Nea. Supposedly. Again, Dwight doesn't understand Swedish. It wasn't that Nea didn't speak English, it had more to deal with the fact that no one else understood Swedish.
"Let me illustrate this for you, Megan," Started Dwight. "Do you know how unhelpful asking a group of tired, exhausted individuals is?"
She rolled her shoulders without care. "Pretty effective?"
"No, Meg, it is actually one of the least effective methods to get people in trouble to talk to you. Do you want to admit you're weak? That you failed? That you spent the round dancing for the wrinkled sack, when Nea needed your help?"
"Well, at least I can manage a chase, Mister 'can't see twelve feet in front of him!'"
Dwight held out his smeared glasses before him. "Hmm, I wonder why I can't see? Maybe it's the fact I have shoe tread over my lenses? I wonder who's shoes they match!"
"Hey, hey, no fighting, calm down." Stammered out Claudette.
Dwight's ire shifted like a train switch. "You know what else, Claudette? Do you know what else? Do you know why your half-assed method to ask us is so shit?" Claudette started opening her mouth to answer but was quickly shut up by Dwight's continuing tirade. "You humiliate whoever needs to ask."
"You heard me right, little miss, 'I didn't mean to.' You humiliate them." Dwight swallowed down a ball of vitriol and continued in a falsetto. "I don't know, but sometimes I have trouble asking for help. I like being independent and sometimes end up in pickles I wouldn't have ended up in otherwise. I'm sorry and would like to work with you guys." Dwight spat out the phlegm. "Of course, Nea wouldn't say that. That's stupid, and it demeans her. Makes her look stupid. Do you want to make us look stupid in front of our peers? Weak? Pathetic?"
Claudette shifted uncomfortably under the accusations. "I mean, no, I didn't mean to…"
"There we go again, 'I didn't mean to, I didn't mean to.'" Dwight had to claw something, and the bridge of his nose would have to do for the moment, as he inhaled. "You didn't mean to get Jake killed last round but dropping the pallet on him will do that."
"Think you're being a bit rough on them kid." Pipped in Bill.
"Right, thank you. You're right Bill." Dwight took a deep breath in and out. "I'm sorry, I'm just a bit tense. But please, unless you just want to check off a box, don't do these mass check-ups. It doesn't help anyone. No one wants to admit they have issues to the people who they respect and are in constant paranoia of alienation. So… I'm sorry."
Claudette nodded. "I'm sorry too. I'll keep it in mind." She started off, smaller than when she arrived, but stopped at the last second, and handed Dwight a surprisingly clean rag. "Here, I think you could use this."
"Thanks." With a quiet squeaking, Dwight got to work rubbing out the smudges.
"Smooth moves, jackass." Sneered Meg.
"Did I ask you, Miss 'pallet camper'?"
"Doesn't change the fact you're still as much of a loser as you came in. See you around, nerd."
"And do you really think I sound like that?" Hissed Nea. Dwight could have described how she said it with a different word, but now is not the time for that.
"No, I don't."
"Do you really think I didn't give you pissants a chance. You all blew it, that's all. Freakin' useless." Nea stalked off into the woods as well.
Just like every night, Dwight was alone again. Bitter thoughts, and a bitter taste. Not much different than before this hell. "You ever have to deal with this sort of thing, Bill?"
"Not to this extent." Exhaled Bill as he gave him a comforting pat. "Whole end of the world. Sort of took up headspace."
"Right. I fucked this one up though, didn't I."
"Eh, growing pains kid. Growing pains."