Bullying. It was the curse that always found him, no matter how hard he tried. Dwight was the perfect target, Always nervous, low self esteem, and would scream loudly when given a fright.
Even in the entity's realm, Dwight could not escape it. He thought that maybe in this hellish cycle of death, he’d be relieved of one thing.
It only got worse.
It didn’t take long for the killers to start picking on him. They seemed to relish in his screams and suffering, sometimes letting him live a little longer just to play with him more, and make him beg for them to end it already.
It was breaking him.
The last round he had was with the Trapper.
He’d made the mistake of stepping in one of the traps, and was soon found by the one who set it up. But instead of picking him up and hooking him, he just stood there, waiting, laughing at Dwight's futile attempts to save himself. When he finally did free himself, he felt the clever slice into his back, and he fell, whimpering and bleeding on the ground.
“Nice try kiddo.” The Trapper leaned down, opening up the trap Dwight had just freed himself from.
“But can you free yourself from this?”
The Trapper grabbed Dwight roughly by the back of his shirt collar, and held his head above the open beartrap.
“No please don’t.” His voice was hushed as he strained it to beg, but alas, such words were ignored.
The Trapper simply let go.
He could still feel it now, the phantom pain haunting his face. He shuddered as he tried to forget, tried not to cry while the others were watching. He was the leader, the example.
So Dwight stared into the fire, hoping it would burn away the memory.
But alas, too soon, the fog arrived to claim the contestants for the next round. And despite
or maybe out of spite towards his silent pleas, it curled around him. He couldn't, not again, not yet. His body would always magically recover, but his mind still needed time to stop the emotional bleeding.
Yet, there was no way to stop it, so all Dwight could was wait for the entity to drop him into the next hell.
As the fog dissipated, the Macmillan estate came into view. The coal tower
or cold shower, as Feng had nicknamed it. Dwight looked around, hoping to spot another survivor, or maybe a generator.
That was odd. Usually he could at least spot the latter from where he’d been placed.
So Dwight wandered around the grassy fields, hoping to find either. There was an unsettling presence in the air, the sneaking suspicion something was off.
Eventually, it was a generator he found first, untouched, no signs of any fellow survivors. It had taken Dwight longer to find one than usual, and as he approached, the reason why clicked in his head.
He was alone.
It had happened before, rarely, that the fog took less than four into a trial. Dwight had been on the receiving end of having one or two less teammates before, but never alone.
Oh gosh, he was alone.
When the killer found him, it would be all over. No one would be able to stop them, they’d be free to toy with Dwight as they saw fit.
His face was still aching.
Unable to cope with the horrid realization, Dwight fell to his knees and wept. He didn’t care anymore, he couldn’t take it. Sobs racked his body as he asked the entity a simple question.
He repeated it, again and again, hoping the entity would hear him, maybe let him stay dead.
Dwight wondered if there was a way to hook himself. To give up what splinters of hope he had left before a killer snatched it away.
It was then he felt arms wrap around him. They came from behind, trapping him in a strong yet gentle hug. And with the embrace, hope blossomed in his shattered soul.
“Thank you,” he mumbled, relaxing in the embrace. He wasn’t alone, he could make it out, he didn’t have to suffer alone.
Soon, his weeping stopped, but his eyes were still blurry with tears. He wiped them away, in hopes to see who had given him new strength.
Nothing. He saw nothing. He could feel the arms around him, but when he looked down, there was nothing.
Then movement, a slight shift. Just as Dwight turned around, he caught the silhouette.
It had been a lie. There was no other survivor, no reason to hope. He was trapped in the Wraith's embrace.
The moment he realized this, Dwight left his instincts take over. He struggled, tried to free himself, escape, anything to avoid whatever the Wraith might have in store for him.
But the killer simply held him close, not painfully, but in a strong enough grip to keep him from escaping. Despite his desperate attempts to flee, it was no use, and soon, Dwight found himself giving up.
He went limp, crying, waiting for the inevitable to happen. For the Wraith to start tearing his limbs apart, or maybe gouge his eyes out.
“Please, just get it over with.”
But instead of any harm or pain, Dwight found himself being seated in the killer's lap.
The embrace became more surrounding, and without his struggles, more gentle. Limp became relaxed as the Wraith began to comb a hand through his hair, what sounded like humming coming from the invisible creature.
There was an odd surprise in hearing it. Usually the Wraith tended to make more growly and animalistic sounds, but hearing a human-like, soft, comforting tune? It was nice, calming. His tears stopped flowing.
He sat there for awhile, indulging in the comfort, feeling safe in the most dangerous place. Dwight never thought he'd feel a hug again, well, maybe from Claudette if he asked for it. But one without worry of other's judgement?
No one else was here. Just him and the one who was sent to kill him.
So despite a pang of guilt and wrongness, Dwight leaned into the hug, almost nuzzling into the murderous ghost. He couldn’t help it, not when his craving to be held was finally being satisfied.
Eventually, he knew he had to leave. He couldn’t stay in this trial forever, the entity wouldn’t allow it. So he got up slowly, the Wraith allowing him to leave the embrace.
Once he was on his feet, he realized how exhausted he felt. He'd worn himself out, the emotional turmoil he’d gone though had a physical toll on him.
Rest was for later, now was the time to repair generators.
A bell rung behind him, and with it, the Wraith burned into reality. Dwight felt his heart skip, as the red stain soon washed over him, the killer towering over him. Had he changed his mind? Was the hug simply to give him a false sense of security, before tearing him apart?
Yet, the Wraith simply smiled, standing there, waiting.
Still nervous, Dwight was hesitant to make his way towards the generator, a voice whispering that the moment he turned his back, he’d be struck down.
Turned out the voice was a liar. The Wraith made no move to harm him, its bloody axe held limply to its side, as it followed beside him. It kept his pace with ease, not that Dwight had expected it to be slow, but instead of outpacing him, just stayed at the survivor's speed. He appreciated that.
Soon the pair made it to the generator, and Dwight went to work on it. His hands trembled, the red light of the stain making him nervous, as the Wraith stood over him, watching him work. Unable to focus, he connected the wrong wires together, and it sparked and blew up in his face.
He tended up, expected a reprimand of some sort, whether it be physical or verbal. None came. Instead, the Wraith lay a hand on his shoulder, in an effort to help him calm his nerves.
At first, he winced at the sudden touch. Usually when someone put their hand on him, especially while on a generator, it was a killer tearing him off of it. But no rough pull came, just a gentle touch.
Oddly enough, it helped him concentrate, a reassuring touch to quell his nerves. It wasn’t long before the generator sprung to life.
One left to go.
A sigh of satisfaction came from Dwight as the stood up from his handiwork. Surveying his now better lit surroundings, he quickly realized the next problem.
He had no idea where any of the remaining gens were.
However, he was quick to remember he had someone who did know on his side. So with mild hesitance, he turned to ask the Wraith.
“Hey, uh, you know where all the generators are right?”
A small nod.
“Could you, uh, maybe, take me to one?”
The Wraith said nothing, not that it seemed to say much of anything at all, but no nod or shake of the head came either. Instead, it motioned for Dwight to turn around.
A little confused, he still obliged, unsure of what good turning around would do. His heart skipped a beat however, as he was suddenly gripped beneath his arms and lifted in the arm. Out of instinct, he kicked and squirmed, scared of what it planned to do with him.
Did he ask too much of it? Did it lose its patience? Panicked questions flew through his mind as he tried to figure out what he did wrong.
The questioning and struggles quickly came to a halt as he soon found himself seated on the Wraith's shoulders.
Oh. That’s why he lifted him up.
“S-sorry for freaking out, I, I, I thought you were gonna...”
He was cut off as the Wraith held his hand, making a purring-like sound. 4It’s okay, it seemed to be trying to say.
His freak out now over, Dwight quickly realized how high up he was.
The Wraith was one of the tallest killers, and now that he was sitting on its shoulders, it left him in a mild state of awe. He gripped its head tightly as the the Wraith began to move, its strides long and swift, the wind rustling his hair. Its skin felt of bark and dried mud.
With the knowledge and speed of the Wraith on his side, Dwight arrived at the next generator in no time. Soon plucked from his perch atop the killer's shoulders, he was set beside the machine, and soon went to work.
And time went on, Dwight realized he was getting used to the Wraith's presence, as it shifted from one of fear to that of comfort. Said creature sat beside him, watching his hands work with great interest. It was all muscle memory for Dwight now, knowing which wire went where. He’d only mess up if a wire slipped from his grip, or he got distracted.
The repair went smoothly, and without any hiccups, the generator was quick to light up, the blaring alarm of the exit gates powering up signifying his success.
The odd pair got up, and started to head towards the gate, this time both on foot.
To his surprise, a sadness washed over Dwight as they headed towards the gate. Thinking about it, the answer to why was simple: he didn’t want this to end. To feel so special, cared for, despite his clear flaws.
Despite being surrounded by others most the time, Dwight was still lonely. He put on a façade of vim and vigor, a brave leader, when really he was a coward. He’d been so worried about being respected in his circle of eternal companions, he’d been too afraid to be tender, vulnerable.
How ironic he was able to feel such security with a killer.
Craving a little more comfort, Dwight gingerly placed his hand in the Wraith's, half expecting a pull away. Instead, he got what he desired. The other hand closed around his, and the two continued onward without a fuss.
The gate stood before them soon enough, powered and ready to open. With a sigh, Dwight pulled out of the handhold and flipped the switch, holding it down as he watched the lights go on, one by one.
With an alarm and a metal screech, the gate slid open, and the safe endless expanse stretched out before them.
As Dwight began to make his escape, he stopped before the point of no return, turning back to the Wraith. He couldn’t leave, not just yet. An ache in his chest froze up his legs.
“So, after this, you’ll try to kill me next time you see me, won’t you?”
The was a hesitance in the answer, the Wraith seemingly hesitant to give a confirmation. Still, after a few moments of silence it nodded.
“I… I understand.”
Still he couldn’t leave, he needed one more, one more thing before he was back the the campfire and his mask.
Dwight ran up to the Wraith, wrapping his arms around him as much as he could, hugging him tightly. He clung to him almost desprstely, as if he ws going to disppear with the ring of the bell. Long strong arms curled around him in turn, the Wraith returning the embrace. It was warm.
The Wraith purred back.
Eventually, like all great things, it had to come to an end. Reluctantly, Dwight loosened his grip, and freed himself. A longing remained, for more hugs, a longer embrace, but it was quieter now. His legs no longer seized up as he headed out.
As he stepped past the threshold, he turned back, to look at the killer once last time.
He smiled and waved, before getting lost in the fog. The Wraith watched him disappear, as it waved back.
Hope swelled in Dwight Fairfield's heart once again.