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You Look Like You Have a Heart

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“I want to help you.”

I keep on moving, going to each cell to gaze in at each insane resident, wary of just how strong those bars really are. Some yell, some bang on their metal cages, one guy mutters about dates, about some events in the past, and one guy warns me about the danger of the Walrider.

“Just a moment. I just need to...”

The glint of a metallic battery catches my eye from within one open cell, and so I duck in to retrieve it.

“I need to tell you a secret.”

Battery in my jacket pocket, I quickly turn around and- “AH fuck!”

There’s some fucker in a straitjacket right in the open doorway, just standing there like he had made it his job to scare the living hell out of me when I turned around. God. Asshole.

His arms are bound so tight around his sides that he ain’t getting out of there any time soon, and his eyes and mouth are covered as well. Whoever this guy is, was he so dangerous and messed up that it warranted this kind of treatment? Were the doctors stopping him from hurting others, or from hurting himself?

“Sneak up on me like that, huh...” I mutter more for myself than him, hovering in front of him and waiting for him to get the fuck out of the way so I can leave.

Oh wait. Eyes covered. Wow. Smart, Miles. This place really is getting to me.

I clear my throat and grip my camera tight, raising it to document this little gem in front of me. I just know people will go crazy over the way he’s bound, how tight those ropes are over his mouth and eyes. Hell, they might have even carved the poor guy’s eyes out under that thing. If this tape even has the slightest chance of getting shown to the outside world, you bet I’m gonna make it as incriminating as possible. I am gonna fuck Murkoff sideways. And, if I just unfortunately meet my demise in this hell, well, some lucky patient's gonna have quite the entertaining movie to watch over my rotting corpse.

“Silky. You look so silky...” The guy mutters with a lisp, slightly rocking back and forth on his feet. His head is tilted exactly in my direction, like he really can see me somehow. But he can’t. ...Right?

“Sure,” I say, getting pretty disturbed now. Talk about creepy. “Back up.”

He doesn’t move an inch, just tilts his head more, like I’ve seen curious dogs do sometimes.

“Okay then,” I grit out. That’s the way he wants it, okay then.

Slowly, as gently as I possibly can, I press my left fist against his upper shoulder and give a push, hoping, praying, that I didn’t just unlock the door to his unstoppable psycho rage or something by touching him. Probably should have warned him before you did that, Miles. Guy’s blind, after all.

He does jolt a bit at the sudden touch, but otherwise remains motionless, tilting his head down at my hand.

Okay. Awkward.

I push harder, and he finally seems to get the idea, his feet shuffling backwards until he’s far enough away that I can slip out of the cell and continue on. He stops moving as soon as I stop touching him.

“I have an itch,” he murmurs after me.

Yeah, well, have fun with that, buddy.

When I make the mistake of entering another cell to check for anything useful is when I think maybe I do deserve to get my body ripped from my neck for my sheer stupidity. He’s standing there blocking me, once again. Just standing. Head tilted in my direction, like he can see me from behind the binds.

I sigh lightly and approach him again. He seems to notice this somehow and stands up a little straighter.

“What do you want from me?” I ask, my voice low and serious. I can’t fuck around with this anymore. Not when the ex-military jack-off is somewhere nearby. I won’t die for this psycho.

“I want to help you,” he says, faint and simple. Like it’s so obvious.

I can only shake my head in complete bewilderment. “I- How??”

For a few seconds, he’s silent. Then he swallows hard; I hear it and see his partially-exposed tongue move. “Are you my friend?”

Oh fucking hell.

“Sure,” I bite out, shifting my weight on my feet. “Yes. Friends.” Hopefully “friend” isn’t some code word for something else to him. Like permission to murder or sodomy test-dummy. Yeah, I’ve had enough of that for a life time.

“Oh. Friend,” he mumbles, sounding overjoyed. For whatever reason is beyond me. Then again, friends are far and few in between in this cesspool. Maybe a part of me is a little relieved, too, to have found someone slightly lucid, not naked, and deprived of a preference for my liver and tongue.

“Yes. Friend,” I confirm, glancing over his shoulder. A patient on the second floor meets my eyes from across the room and draws his thumb over his throat, real slow, while licking the air in front of him like he’s competing for world’s cunnilingus master. Nice.

“You’re so silky... Friend,” my unfortunate pal mutters again, and that’s about all I can take anymore. “Let me-”

I reach out with a fist to guide him backwards again, seeing as how it worked so well the first time, but he takes a step forward now and meets my hand dead-on. I freeze.

“Help me, friend... And then, I can help you.”

He speaks in that same odd, soft way, breathing out his words around the gag, gasping in hard after every sentence. His voice is extremely breathy, I notice. Light as a whisper across a sheet of paper. It’d be almost calming in a way, if his entire presence wasn’t so disturbing.

“You mean help with your...?” The words remain unsaid, but he knows what I mean, and he nods. “Right,” I tell him, pretty distracted by the guy still muttering dates near us. “Back on up so I can get out of here then.”

He turns and walks out with no fuss this time. I exit right behind him, scanning the room for an easy escape route while I walk in case this vacation turns south. It looks like there’s a bed pushed up close enough against the far wall that I might be able to use to get up to the second floor. That’s something.

The patient stops as soon as he gets under the light in the middle of the room, right beside the freshly head-less body still leaking blood onto a puddle on the floor. He turns to face me again, tilting his head expectantly. I step around Chris’s latest playmate and shuffle within arm’s length.

What the hell have I gotten myself into.

“Alright, then,” I sigh out, tucking my camcorder under my arm and reaching out.

What the hell am I doing.

Hesitant, questioning my actions the whole while, I gently prod at the man’s wrappings. The bindings are so tight around his face that I can’t even get a pinky finger in under them, so I trace them around to the back of his shaved head, searching for a weak spot.

“So why did they do this to you?” I ask. Might as well make some idle conversation while I work.

“I don’t think they liked me very much...” he whispers with his slight lisp, voice still light as a breeze. I feel warm breath on my face and grimace, leaning back a bit. I didn’t realize how close I had gotten to him while trying to get this damn thing off his face.

My finger eventually snags a tight knot in the binding, a small one just under his left ear, hidden under several layers, and I struggle to wrestle it free. He makes a small noise of discomfort and flinches, but otherwise stays silent through the process. What a trooper.

I know the fucker is lying. He has to have done something to make the doctors wrap him up like a bank vault. Hell, for all I know, he’s the most fucked-up individual in this animal pen, maybe a mass murderer, a serial killer, or a part-time collector of body parts, and here I am, just casually setting him free.

He’s the only patient I’ve seen so far in these terrible confinements, so just what is his deal? What makes him such a special snowflake?

I pause in wrestling the knot free and think the situation over. Am I really doing the right thing here? Right for my life expectancy, that is. I know the poor guy’s all helplessly bundled up, but still.

“Hng...” he grunts, capturing my attention. “Friend. Hurry. I have an itch...”

Grimacing and shaking my head, I pull hard at the knot, throwing all caution to the wind. Fuck it. The worst the guy can do is try to bite me to death, after all.

He makes another whimper as he grits through the pain, but it doesn’t last long as the weak material of the knot gives under my fingertips and his bindings loosen. Holding one end, I slowly start to unwrap it from around his head, revealing angry red markings where it was pressing so hard into his flesh. They almost look like scars.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he begins muttering over and over again, unnerving me.

It’s god awful doing this. More so than I thought it would be. In some places, particularly around his eyebrows, the bandages stick to his flesh, held there by blood along with some other clear substance. Did they really try to glue this fucking thing to his face??

“Just about done,” I mumble, yanking quickly. Just get it over with, like a band-aid. Surprisingly, he doesn’t make a sound when I violently yank on it and tear dry blood from his skin. But he was uncomfortable earlier when I was just prodding? I suppose the intense pressure feels worse than the wounds underneath. That’s so fucked up to me I can barely wrap my head around it.

“Soon.. Oh, soon. Thank you, thank you,” he continues without pause, breathing heavily now.

As creepy as it is, I can hardly blame him. I’d be excited to get out of this mess, too.

As soon as the bandage falls away from his eyes, revealing what’s underneath to me, it’s like a freezing wave crashes into my body and forces my hand to pause. Rude as it might be, I can’t help but stare, my eyes growing wide as I stand still and listening to him mumble his little heart out.

Under the wrappings over his eyes, there are two sunken depressions where his eyeballs should be. Over these depressions, stretching across the entire eyelids, are thin stitches. It sickens me to my stomach to even think it, but I know there can’t be anything under those two hollow, sewn up spots. His eyeballs just aren’t there anymore.

I let the bandage fall to the floor as I stare.

Mouth now free, he stretches his jaw and laps eagerly at his lips. “Mmm... Thank you so much. Silky friend...”

The red marks etched into his skin from the pressure look more like scars than pressure marks that will fade over time. Maybe they really won’t fade over time at all.

I swallow hard, taking at large step back and manning my camera again to film whatever the hell I’m looking at right now. “Uh,” I blurt out, at a complete loss for words. A strong feeling of sickness washes over my stomach. Just... holy shit. “What uh. What happened to your eyes there?” My voice betrays my distrust.

“Mm,” he moans deeply again with his mouth closed, tongue still attacking his lips like they’re his favorite things in the world. Ignoring my question completely, he straightens up and takes a step towards me, leaning forward, before he gasps aloud. I flinch from the sudden noise. “I knew it!” he breathes out. “You look like you have an itch!”

He lets out a giggle after his sentence, like it’s some kind of joke to him.

“I asked what happened to your eyes,” I demand again, scooting around him and backing up towards the bed against the pillar. This entire situation is starting to feel really off. I’m beginning to think that I’ve done something very wrong by undoing these bindings from him.

His head follows my movements exactly, with startling precision, and he starts to follow me like a lost puppy again.

“Friend... Help,” he mumbles out. Though his binds are gone, he still speaks with a faint lisp and the same breathy voice. His crossed arms wiggle under the jacket, indicating what exactly he wants help with next.

“I don’t think... that’s..” A good idea. I don’t say it. I continue to back up until my spine touches the edge of the bed frame.

“Nuuurse! Is that you?” the patient above us calls out in the sleaziest voice imaginable. Okay, maybe climbing up isn’t such an appealing idea after all.

The blind patient continues in his amble towards me while I’m distracted. Where he had a habit of stopping before, a few feet before me, he boldly crosses now and begins to invade my personal space with no shame. A smile on his lips, he steps close enough that he could hug me if his arms were unbound. I barely have time to think before he leans in, sniffing loudly and pressing his face close to mine.

My camera thuds to the ground as I give him a violent shove, backing away from the bed frame where he’d cornered me. What. The. Fuck.

I watch as he falls back heavily onto the floor, with nothing to soften his fall, crying out when his head bangs against the dirty ground. The thud of his skull echoes through the room.

Taking this opportunity to grab my camera and check it for damage, I step back over his prone form and get one knee onto the bed, ready to get the fuck out of here, before I hear him gasp out.

“Ah... Friend..! I want- I need to help you!”

I don’t know why, it’s stupid as all hell, but I actually hesitate at those small, pathetic words. He sounds so desperate. Pleading. And I bet it really does hurt to fall back like that unable to break your own fall with your hands. Ugh, goddamn it.

Groaning, I get off the bed, crouch behind him, quickly, so as to not touch him for too long, grab his shoulders and push. There’s a spot of blood on the back of his head now, a wound from the fall. He gets to a sitting position and settles there, apparently content, crossing his bare legs and turning his head back and forth repeatedly, like he’s trying see with his ears.

I’ve heard of people losing their vision and learning to compensate for it with other senses, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the bastard really can “see” me right now. Would explain why he’s so good at following my exact movements.

“You can’t help me; you can’t do anything,” I snap at him, pretty fucking fed up by now. I’ve spent far too much time dicking around with this idiot. “I helped you out. I'm done. Just stay here, keep your head down, and maybe you won’t get it ripped off. I’m leaving.”

“The Walrider will get you!” someone yells from across the room.

“Silky friend. You smell like... You sound like mist.”

I don’t know what to say to these people anymore. I really don’t. Maybe I should give up trying to say anything at all. Never should have said anything to begin with.

I sit on the bed, setting my camera beside me, and run my fingers through my hair, trying to calm down. Deep breaths, Miles. Deep breaths.

“You look so... Rip my head? You would hurt me?” His voice is slow and even. Patient. Using an entire lungful of air to huff out one soft sentence at a time. I rub my eyes with the backs of my hands. “...Are you really my friend?”

“Walker. Chris Walker!” I almost yell at him, frustration eating away at me. His body flinches at the sound of my voice. The whole cell block seems to quiet down around us. “The big fucker?? Killing everyone?! He’ll hurt you, not me!”

He rocks back and forth on the floor, silent for a while, as I catch my breath. Finally, he opens his mouth.

“Oh... My other friend.” A light smile graces his scarred lips. “I have a lot of friends.”

“....”

I am beyond words once again.

I highly, highly, highly doubt that Walker is really this guy’s “friend”, in any sense of the word. Now the fact that he imagines that Walker is his friend, that I can believe.

“Fear the Walrider!!!” that same guy yells.

He has the pleasure of getting a response this time from the cell above him. “Oh, fuck you! Fuck your backwater, devil-worship horseshit! Come jack me off, Walrider! Suck me, ghost bitch!”

I can’t stay here any longer. I really can’t. I’ve had it up to here with this entire asylum. I feel like I’m losing brain cells by the minute.

Getting off the bed, I crouch in front of the blind patient, using his legs like arm rests as I grab the top buckle on his jacket and rip it open. He starts to pant and bite at his lip again, in excitement I’m guessing, breathing right onto my face, but I hurry and unbuckle the second latch before I have a chance to change my mind about the whole thing. I loosen the strap over his crotch as fast as possible, trying not to think too much about it.

With that over and done with, I sit back on my heels and wait, but he only flails for a while, straining his arms in the sleeves before scooting in a circle and presenting his back to me.

“No.. Close, friend.”

Ah. I see. I quickly undo the extra buckles on the back that keep his arms fastened and help to ease the long sleeves around to his front. He immediately lets out a loud giggle of glee, stretching his arms as well as he can while still in the sleeves. Ignoring a faint itch of doubt and worry crawling around in my mind, I turn him back around and grab his right arm, helping him get it out of the sleeve.

He smiles and laughs into my face.

His left arm is next, and, together, we help to lift the jacket off and over his head.

“Oh god! Fuck, why!” I blurt out, jolting back and pacing away.

His left arm is just a red, scarred stump at the end, no hand to be seen, and his right arm is a mottled, bumpy, tumorous mess. His remaining hand is severely deformed.

“God. Fuck...” I groan in repulsion, turning back around to look at him stretching his limbs out in pure joy.

Well at least I don’t have to worry about him hurting me anymore.

He laughs and reaches out for me with both arms now, his one hand making grabby motions with the remaining fingers.

“Heh heh! Friend! We’re the same now! Come here. Let me...”

“Yeah. Uh.” I scoop up my camera, wondering if I should grab his hand and help him up or if that would hurt him in some way. His hand looks... not good. At all. “Yeah... I have to go.”

“Wait.” I turn back and pause, listening. “I have an itch.” His club of a hand hovers over an empty eye socket, prodding at the stitches. “I itch...”

Is that really his itch? Has that been his itch all along? Is that what happened to his fucking eyes?

Did he...

I can’t even handle thinking about it, so I don’t. As I get back on the bed for the third time, beyond ready to leave, I notice him push himself up to his feet, still surrounded by that bizarre, child-like wonder, and reach out for me.

A soft moan rises in his throat. “Mmm.. Let me. I need to help you.”

I grit my teeth and quickly grab the ledge above me.

“I need to itch you. Friend. I know where your itch is... I understand. It’s a secret.”

Pulling myself up, I look back down at him one more time, pants-less and bare-legged, straitjacket on the floor, exposing his prison shirt underneath. He hovers by the bed with his arms at his sides as if waiting patiently for me to come back down so he can scratch my “secret itch” for me.

I can’t help it. I raise my camera to film him one last time, zooming in on his hollowed and scarred eye sockets with morbid curiosity. Honestly, a part of me really hopes he makes it somehow.

This delusional psycho, all bound up because he scratched his own eyes out and tried to help others scratch theirs out as well. I kind of actually feel sorry for the guy, though I know I have no right to. He’s hurt himself, probably hurt people in the past. Who knows.

Sighing, wondering what this messed up place has done to me and what it can only do to me in the future, I have no choice but to move forward, pushing the suggestive voice behind me to the back of my mind.

“Nuuuurse! I’m gonna need some help getting clean... Heh heh. Nuuurse...”