Ch.12: Revisiting The Past

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The ride down is awkward.

Ray shifts from foot to foot in the elevator, her cautious blue orbs stealing glances at the stiff, straight preacher nearby. His proper appearance combined with his pupil-less eyes only serves to make her wary of him.

Yet, despite her apprehension about going anywhere with him, she's still here in this enclosed space with the master of floor B2. Zack's well-being is far more important than her own concerns, and if doing as this man says is what it takes to get him medicine... she won't hesitate to follow through. Although he's such a mysterious, unexplainable man that she can't figure out if he's truly a good person.

A priest is supposed to be someone on the path of righteousness, someone who does God's work. Someone like that is supposed to do good things, but since he's the master of his own floor in this place... What does that say about the kind of person he is?

Gray catches her eye, and she glances away from him, not realizing she'd been staring in his direction with her prying thoughts. The silence reigns unbroken for a few moments, the only sounds the rolling wheels and pulleys of the elevator shaft.

The man clears his throat and then speaks, his deep, powerful voice addressing her.

"...Why do you help Zack cling to life?" he inquires.

Slowly she looks at him, flickering her gaze between him and the door. He's smiling, seeming friendly, and it does reassure her a little. The words still seem hard to utter, however, no matter how kind he appears.

Why do I...?

The answer isn't simple even in her own mind, but she tries to say it in a way that might be clear.

"...If he were to die... I'd be lost," she tells him softly. He raises a brow.

"Be lost...? What do you mean?"

Ray takes a deep breath.

"It's because... I want Zack to kill me." The confession rings in the air between them, and she adds on, "...Zack made an oath to God."

"Interesting," he notes aloud. "...So that is your incentive. Heavens... 'Tis a terrible oath you have forged."

He offers her a small smile, but she can see something turning in his thoughts already, something behind the kindness he places before her. His words hold no malice or condemnation, but rather... something she can't place.

And, alongside that... The longer she stands in this elevator, the odder she feels. As she stands behind him, she can feel herself grow dizzy and foggy-minded, and that familiar yet uncomfortable smell is in the air again, cloying and filling her nose.

Just as I suspected... The sweet scent—

...It's coming from him.

There's no denying it now. I don't know what it is, or why it radiates off of him like a cologne, but...

Her head is beginning to ache like before, and her thoughts run off in different directions. There's so much confusion in her mind with the reaction to the scent that for a moment, she can't even form coherent words. Until—


It's as if his voice is in her head, piercing through her thoughts and becoming the only clear thing she can focus on. Gray's voice presses into her consciousness like a heavy weight, each syllable falling upon her muddied brain.

"...Rachel Gardner."


Ray opens her eyes. She hadn't even realized she'd closed them, nor that she'd walked out of the elevator with Gray. He's standing beside her, watching her carefully.

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