Nobody forgets the nights that they couldn't go to bed without the lights off.
Party's mouth is slightly open, and he's snoring a bit too noticeably. Fun Ghoul had finally, at some point in the night, accepted Étaín’s cuddling, and the two were now cradled together in what seemed like a comfortable, warm ball. Much of the blanket had been crumpled, thanks to Party's non-stop fidgeting during the night. Nitro had been laying half on the blanket and half on the hard concrete floor before she sat up.
Nitro silently stands up and rubs her eyes when she realizes the hunger gnawing at her stomach; in fact, she's starving. With a glance to the other three, she knows that they too will be immensely hungry when they wake up. Looking to the door that they had used to enter last night, Nitro quickly decides that she will take the risk of going out to search for a store of some kind.
She runs over to the heavy double-doors and opens them quietly with only a small creak, and starts the engine on her motorcycle. To be frank, she had no idea if it was her motorcycle or one of the others; there was no difference to be found on the exterior. Without a sort of basket on the bike, she won't be able to bring back very much food or supplies of any kind, she knows that much. A plastic bag or two full of food would be enough for them when she came back: if she came back.
After about seven minutes of driving on the paved road, Nitro came across a supermarket named 'Safeway'. Going inside of the store after parking her motorcycle directly on the walk in front of the nearest entrance, she sees that the stores electricity is, surprisingly, still running and that there is an entire stock of food, beverages, etc. This greatly relieves Nitro, knowing that the food selection would be large and varied.
There would be no way to refrigerate any cold food items, or any way to cook, so she had to find canned/packaged food. It takes her about a half hour to run around and fill up two bags with things like bread, canned fruit, protein bars, and things of the like.
Shortly after Nitro left, Ghoul awoke from his dream-filled sleep. He had dreamt of a sky filled with pale people instead of stars. Party was one of them; his long, messy ebony hair hung down around his face as he floated up in the dark night sky. He was the one closest to the ground that Ghoul was standing on, and by far, the most significant. His eyes seemed more haunting than ever, the celery green piercing at Ghoul's soul with a dead stare. In fact, he was dead, and so was everyone else in the sky.
Fun Ghoul shivered off the dream/nightmare as he thought of what its significance might mean. As he fully awakens, he realizes that he is extremely warm; he feels like he’ll be on the brink of sweating quite soon. He looks around and finds that Étaín is basically clinging to his shirt while she sleeps. It takes Ghoul a moment to remove her grip, which he finds way too strong for such a fragile-looking girl to have. Étaín mumbles and curls up in a fetus position as she continues sleeping.
Fun Ghoul stood up and bent his back, laughing at the infamous double chin Party Poison acquires as he sleeps. He looks from Party to the right where Nitro was last night, only to find that she wasn’t there. Before Ghoul became panicked, he surveys the room to see if Nitro had rolled off somewhere else during the fortnight. He didn’t find Nitro herself, but took note that her tote bag was still among the others.
Fun Ghoul becomes alarmed and pounces on both Étaín and Party, rousing them from their sleep.
“Sunday is for sleeping,” Étaín complained, pulling the blanket over her head.
“I’m with her,” Party said groggily.
“Nitro is gone. Her tote’s still here though, so I don’t know where she is…” Fun Ghoul informed them. When neither responded, he began to shout profanities, something that usually worked when waking Party Poison.
Now Étaín and Party were sitting up straight to full attention, looking at Ghoul with cold stares of resentment. They were obviously unhappy with the fact that they weren’t permitted to sleep in until 2 PM, but when Ghoul tells them that Nitro is missing, they ‘woke up’ immediately.
Étaín is the only one whose worry doesn’t surface on her face. She bolts out the front door to look for Nitro’s bike, only to see that was also gone. There was only one trail of bike tracks leading away from the building; Nitro hadn’t been abducted, and left of her own free will. Although this relives Ghoul and Party, Étaín is somewhat suspicious.
“We should follow the tracks and find her,” she suggests. “I don’t like the fact that she left on her own, she would’ve told me!”
“Yeah, well, she didn’t,” Party added, with a little too much sarcasm. Étaín reached out and struck him across the face harshly. Party cradled his cheek with his own hand and said nothing as he stared at the ground.
“Besides, the tracks would end at the road,” Fun Ghoul reasoned, laying a tentative hand on Étaín’s shoulder.
“I suppose you’re right…”
Étaín sighed and jammed her hands into her pockets, looking out at the dusty landscape with some amount of sorrow.
“Let’s go back inside then, no use waiting out here. Satan, I’m starving…” Party complained.
The trio filed back into the warehouse complaining about their immense hunger.
Once they were inside, they sat down on the blanket after straightening it out. Situating themselves in a circle, Party thought it might be a good idea for them all to become somewhat acquainted (“considering we just slept together…”).
“Well, um…I’m a mammal?” Étaín offered.
“Me and you, baby, we ain’t nothing but mammals…” Fun Ghoul sang, trailing off when he saw the disapproving stare of Étaín. He blushed and apologized.
“Music? I like Iron Maiden and the Smiths. And the Smashing Pumpkins,” Party added quickly.
“I like the Smashing Pumpkins, but Billy really needs to let down on his ego…” Étaín said.
“The next Axl Rose! Yay!” Fun Ghoul said.
They continued to talk about music and realized that their taste was quite identical; the only main difference was that Étaín “absolutely hates” Pearl Jam, which comes across as an offense to Party and Ghoul. School, hobbies, and personal interests are also discussed; Étaín seems to be the most advanced with technology; Party is probably the most artistically creative, as he always draws; and Fun Ghoul is terribly interested in making his own music.
As they were discussing these things, they heard a motorcycle nearing the factory. Étaín jumped from the spot she was in and hurried to the nearest front window.
“Guys, Nitro’s back! And she has some bags in her hands…” Étaín said.
All three went outside and eagerly awaited Nitro. As her bike nears the building, the bags in her hands become noticeably heavy looking. She parked the motorcycle, and was suddenly overwhelmed by her three friends as they swarmed around her, curious about her disappearance and the bags in her hands.
“Where did you go?” Party asked once they went into the factory.
“Where do you think, she has food with her, dumbass,” Étaín retorts.
“Shut up, I was worried…” Party mumbled to himself.
“I didn’t really know what to get, so I just got cereal and what not...” Nitro said.
“This is fine.” Fun Ghoul said as he looked at the food that Nitro was currently dumping on the floor.
And the food was fine, for everyone descended upon their lunch as if it were the most splendid feast they had ever encountered. The bread was the first thing to go; the canned fruit followed, and everything was eventually devoured. It became apparent that they would need to a second trip, and soon.
They went about an hour later after they had eaten. Nitro lead the others, happy to be the one in front on her motorcycle. It gave her a sense of pride, and while with a silly reason, it was still pride. She led them to Safeway and they all parked their cycles in front of the building, behind wide pillars (in case a Draculiod was be out and about, looking for them).
Before they entered the store, Étaín spotted a house across the street. It was blue and relatively friendly looking, not mention that it seemed large enough for everyone to hide away comfortably inside. Étaín runs over to check out the house (“If I die, spread Nutella on my body.”) and returns minutes later, informing everyone that, yes, the house has electricity, and yes, there are enough beds for everyone.
Now that they had found an adobe with a refrigerator and running water, everyone runs inside the supermarket and begin to fill shopping carts full with food, shampoo, medicine, etc. Party Poison and Fun Ghoul amuse the two girls by having races down the aisles with their shopping carts, speeding along and bringing down hair dye boxes with them. By about 7 o’clock (according to Ghoul’s new butterfly watch), the four carts were overflowing. In fact, Nitro had wanted to add a fifth cart and fill it with makeup, but she decided against it as soon as Party began blocking the makeup aisle with his own cart.
That was when they realized that they had left their totes back the NUMMI factory. Groaning, the four pushed their carts across the parking lot outside and across the street to their newfound hideout. Leaving the carts in the garage (which opened with a shot from Étaín’s raygun), they once again crossed the lot and hopped onto their motorcycles, heading back to the warehouse.
Once they reach NUMMI, Party suggests that they use the factory if they ever encounter more people like them; it could be used as a giant rat-colony for killjoys. Everyone agrees as they pack up their few things and ride back to the house.
It is now 8 PM, and the killjoys are entering the house for the first time (excluding Étaín, who had scouted it out earlier.) They come to see that the house is well-furnished and well-matching; the theme seems to be tan and brown with accents of red. There are three levels, which are thoroughly explored; the basement, first floor, and second floor. Étaín was correct, and there was running water in addition the electricity. A living room with all the simple furnishings is there, as are five rooms, all with queen mattresses.
Nitro is the first to notice the pictures of the family that once inhabited the house. Everyone gathers around the staircase, where the pictures are hung up on the wall. The photographs feature three children, all who seem to be about five or seven years of age, and two young looking parents. This makes everyone sad to know that all who once lived in the house were dead, but they soon got over it when they remembered the food in the carts left in the garage.
After stocking the kitchen, which was now overflowing with food of all sorts, everyone filed into the living room. The room felt spacious and airy, yet it was crowded with furniture. In fact, Party had a difficult time squeezing his way to the loveseat; it was sandwiched between the coffee table and the wall. As everyone found places to lounge, Étaín had a mind to speak her thoughts.
“Well…now what? We have food, we have a house, and we’re all situated, I guess. But I was thinking, we’re really not too far away from those Better Living Industries buildings, or safe from harm. People might try to come take us back.”
“Yeah…” Nitro sighed.
“What’re we going to do about it?” Party asked.
“Stay on our guard. Or create a watch, like in Lord of the Rings,” Fun Ghoul suggested with a blushing smile to Étaín.
“Lord of the Rings isn't the only reference there is to watches, Ghoul,” Nitro chimed in.
“Aye, shut your mouth, you never even read the books or saw the movies!” Étaín exclaimed with a grin. It was sadly true; Nitro was somewhat ignorant to anything having to do with the series, despite Étaín’s efforts.
Nitro pretended to be offended, a melancholic look on her face. She quickly discarded it and laughed, as did everyone else.
“Anyways, I think a watch would be good. We’ll all still get some sleep, and there’d be a lesser chance of something bad happening,” Étaín said. Fun Ghoul smiled to himself at the approval of his idea.
“Great, so…let’s make the watch then.”
They all decide that the watch should run from 10 PM to 8 AM; the general sleeping and waking times for the four. Party Poison would take the first watch, from 10 PM-12 AM; Nitro Adrenaline would take second, running from 12 AM-2 AM; Étaín Corgan would take 2 AM-4 AM; and Fun Ghoul, 4 AM-6 AM. Party agreed to take two watches, and would have his second watch from 6-8 AM.
Now that they had settled the matter of watches (which took much longer than they had realized or anticipated), it was time for the choosing of rooms. The bedrooms were each located upstairs, save one in the basement. Étaín is the one to pick the basement bedroom (“It’s away from Party, he snored way too loud last night.”), and her only discomfort was “the scary monsters in the closet, oh Satan, don’t let them get me.”. Nitro took the smallest room upstairs, and Party took the largest next to hers; the rooms were both located at the left turn down a long corridor. Fun Ghoul was left with the space across from the bathroom, something he didn't mind (“Don't wanna pee in the bed anyways.”).
Ghoul announced the time as 9:47, and yawned as he did so.
"Uh, I don't know about you guys, but it's my bedtime!"
And with that, Fun Ghoul darted off his room and shut the door, not to be seen or heard until he crept back moments later to retrieve a package of Twix. After Ghoul had his little episode, Nitro and Étaín decided that they were also tired; the excitement of the day had worn them down, and both were secretly happy that Party had first watch. They left Party Poison alone in the living room and headed off in different directions to their rooms.
As Étaín was opening the basement door, she heard Party mumbling to himself quietly. It was something obviously not meant for her or anyone else to hear, but curiosity got the better of her, and she crept silently back over to the living room. Hiding in a corner next to the living room door, Étaín held in her breath as she listened to the murmurs of Party.
"What are we even doing?" Party sounded sad; depressed even.
Étaín continued listening.
"I'm going to die. And we're all going to die, and we're just..."
Étaín couldn't bear hearing Party continue to speak this way. She had known him for maybe three days, and he just seemed too strong for it. Something was wrong, terribly wrong for him to be saying these things. Étaín began walking back to the basement, not bothering to keep her footsteps light.
"The only way we'll die is if you keep talking like that."