I'll be Fine on my Own!

screech, fed up with being treated as the child it is, proves itself to be just as capable as the other entities.

AO3 Mirror Here

A miscalculated turn, and a painting hung onto the drab green walls was spun askew, the blur of the quick travels of two through the halls making one seem like the sheet-ghost she was, and the other another sheet-ghost, despite not being one at all. With the winds, was carried a conversation between the two.

"While your contributions are dearly appreciated, Screech, I don't see a reason that you try with the rigor you do," Halt whistled more than spoke, a voice carried along the path they took like the fingers along a flute, a voice that echoed along to the point where there was no telling if it came from what little mouth Halt had, or somewhere else entirely.

"Because...I live here?" Screech objected. The obvious, but also the enthusiastic.

"And because what if you got hurt? Plenty of them come with self-defense at the aim, and to think of...no, don't let me think of this at all. We only want you to stay safe until you're a little more grown, Screech. You understand, you're old enough, but we're just looking out for you."

What could've been two hands underneath the sheets of Halt's coverings made rhythmic gestures as it spoke, tugging at air, palms sliding against each other, all hidden by a dark teal mirage. Pointing towards Screech when they were mentioned, making a cross with the fingers when thinking of the worst that could happen. To look out for one another; the vow taken by those banished to these forms, and the vow Halt held to highest in the mind. Halt's own caring towards the other entities were a warm, genuine, and well-warranted break from what the other entities counted as work bonds, with it either being a match put out on purpose to prevent any sort of attachment, or worse. He always left little notes for everybody, objects found from the bodies cleaned from right outside of closets attached to the bottom, if not thrown into drawers forgotten about in Halt's own corridors. If one dug far enough into the hoard Halt kept, perhaps they would find diamonds, a severed hand, a great recipe for banana bread, the great things that people lost all too often. Screech was too often given these notes and objects, kept and treasured at first, and then wore off into just becoming the usual. Novelty had faded away from Halt's compassion -- it was just how Halt was, and, while appreciated, was no great surprise anymore. 

But that was how everybody was with Screech. Just a little more warmer than usual. Who could blame them? The vague mysteries around the appearance, kept in silence by even the Lights that had brought Screech here, all to prevent from stating the obvious tragedy that had led Screech here. A way of making things up to somebody brought into limbo earlier than expected, to just be nice to them, to that enthusiastic, energetic child.

"I can take care of myself! You don't have to carry over my shoulder like this."

"I cannot let the possibility of you getting hurt go as easily as you do."

"I'll be fine, Halt."

"Yes, but--" Halt was cut off, interrupted, and quickly shut her own sentence down.

"I just said I'll be- Halt--" Screech then ended with an annoyed groan, before turning the other way, choosing to flee the conversation before it became yet another one of Halt's many matronly lectures about how it should just let down on trying to be like everybody else and relax for a little while instead. Their pace picked up without Halt. It was slowing Screech down, and that only made Screech want to find something, anything to occupy themselves for other than the trinkets given to them to occupy themself with.

A long ride of zooming around that ended in a place they could always be found, a silent, dark room, and then, Screech lingering in the corner like a mouse trap. It was inevitable something would pass through, would it be another entity to try and strike up to bother, or something else to do worse than bothering with. More than the mere pranks Jack went through with, and less mundane than the route of extermination Rush or Ambush enjoyed. A waiting game, and what was seen as a disturbing mundaneness made into a game by Screech to not let them get bored of it. Of course they knew it wasn't something to be taken too lightly!

But how could they help it? Not much else to care about in this little hotel left to rot until now.

The sound of footsteps. The hunter's wait for quiet deer has been answered. Screech, by now, could recognize anybody's footsteps, except for these, and what was unknown was a source of enjoyment to be had. That future Jane Doe walked in, hands waving at the side of the door to try and locate a light switch at first. There was none, or at least, none left functional on the electrical box. The searching of pockets would not lead to any light source, and the only way out of this place was to step forwards into the dark. This lady took a detour through the room, however, sticking to treading alongside the walls just to not feel like she was falling into the void within this deathtrap of a building, and within this deathtrap of a room. Screech floated up with the slight splatter of settling ink being unlatched from the corner's floor they had hidden in, taking a slow glide over to right below this girl's hip, a little to the right, somewhere that would be a bit confusing to locate this creature within.

Of course, it was no fun to just go for the hit without giving somebody a reason to be scared.

Screech's teeth clashed together, and the hiss of a whisper was poked through this lady's ear, only for her head to not move around to try and find whatever it was who caused it for the first second or two. When she did look back towards Screech, it was not to Screech's glowing eyes, or at Screech at all, not noticing that Screech was not only behind her, but a little on the downlow. Screech glid up, and ahead those few inches to really get a good look at this intruder, a look good enough to notice the heavy eyebags underneath those peepers, freckled across the nose, the redhead roots of dyed hair. Those details missed a pretty big picture of who they were, details that were about to become rather mangled, a waste of such a pretty face.

That face's skin was soon torn from the top to the bottom from the blunt fangs of Screech's bite, pulled away with the force of a dog ripping the meat from a bone-held treat. An eye was popped out, and from the slight angle of the way the two collided, the other eye was bit into, and popped. The grips of Screech's fangs usually did not deliver such a vicious blow, but with what Halt had said earlier about capability and the little faith that was held in Screech's ability to fend for themself, those lingering, unintended negativities were only used as a motivation to do better, to show Halt and the rest of them that they could kill like the rest of them. Maybe the babying and dotting upon would cease for a little while, or ring itself in, if Screech took these spoils and gave them to Halt as a thank-you to all of those gifts. And it didn't seem like that tourist was going to last too long, Screech or not, as after only a bit of the shock settling in of having just had half of her face torn from the muscle and bone, her entire body fell to the floor with a thump as loud as Figure's gait. Maybe if Screech did this enough, they would be feared as Figure, too? Ruthless with methods, and successful as well. One day. Maybe when they were older, but saying that only reminded them of what Halt was talking about, and it was no worries now. Worries were to show Halt the trophy of this, to be able to tell Halt "see! i can do things by myself."

The face, frozen in the expression of half-asleep spook, was still hanging between Screech's mouth. Where was Halt, anyhow? Back through the door they came from it was, sticking to the walls as that victim had done, not for the safety that had failed that person, but to avoid anybody else seeing the spoils. They heard conversation. The voice of a flute. Halt was ahead. And then, the voice comparable to an oboe filled with ink. Seek was usually not around, but Seek was also warm enough towards Screech, and not that overbearing love that Halt gave, so there was no reason to wait for later, hell, more of a reason to show off. The phantom-like movements sped up, only to almost whizz past the two, standing in the middle of a hallway, a conversation flew into and interrupted.

"Halt! Haaaaalt! Look at this!" Screech yelled from below the two, and the two looked below with one unmoving eye, and two that shimmered around and left a cyan stain onto whatever they were around and staring at.

"What is it? I...ah. I see."

Screech went up to the midst of Seek's eye-level with the torn skin, now with the brightest smile of achievement along the face. Seek remained speechless, while what Halt had greeted Screech with was, on the inside, a little concerned.

"That's...ah. Ahaha. That's wonderful, dear. Maybe you were right, but just keep what I said in mind, ok? Don't be afraid to holler if somebody tries to bite back...or. Something like that," Halt laughed out. She had been disproven, but was ready to accept that it was time to start letting this child grow. Another fear grew in the mind, of what would happen when Halt wasn't around to protect and guide this child and the other one, but that was wiped from the mind with another sliding of the hands underneath the ghostly sheets.

"Screech, can you hand that over?" Seek asked, giving out the vague lump of a hand over, ready to accept what Seek saw as corpse residue, and Screech as just a thank-you for everything. Screech dropped it into the air, with Seek's claws tightening into a fist to grab it before it sunk onto the floor.

"Where did you find this tourist?"

"Door...uh, ahm, uhm. I don't know," the sudden embarrassment hidden by another playful laugh.

"Don't worry, I'll find it soon enough," Seek almost let out a small chuckle in exchange, having to stifle it, before sinking down what was formed of legs, body, and all, letting a quick wave come to the two, before vanishing into the dyes of the carpet to go and retrieve the rest of the faceless carcass, and assuming nobody else had touched it. Screech and Halt were left to stare down at the patterns in said carpet -- nothing too special. Spirals in all different colors, none too great of a choice for a bright navy blue background.

"You remember what I said earlier, Screech?" Halt inquired.

"If anybody stabs me, scream really loudly?" Screech repeated back. Imperfect, but it was similar to what Halt wanted from the kid to be accepted as an answer.

"Close enough. I...must be going, now. Care to follow again?" While nothing peeked from underneath the coverings, it seemed like Halt was reaching towards Screech to lead them along to wherever it went. Screech sunk into that acceptance, with Halt then balancing Screech to right below their undying stare, a sniper's glowing eyes that could see a thousand yards away if any of the rooms were ever that long. It was a carry of sorts. Halt wanted to cherish these younger years Screech had while those lasted, and may Halt be damned to hell if she could not express that care she had for Screech, much less the rest of the entities. They were in this together. It was the best Halt could give back alongside its own contributions.