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/qst/ - Quests

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"You might be a smart girl, but you aren't a lucky one"

You play as Delilah, an unfortunate young girl going through tough times.

=Links and Information=


Thanks to an anon, here is the pastebin of just the text. With threads purposely being misarchived, this should be available and accessible instead:
Melancholic Quest Collection 1 (1-4): http://pastebin.com/hTK0fQmd
Melancholic Quest Collection 2: http://pastebin.com/cX4HC6Q9
Melancholic Quest Collection 3: http://pastebin.com/sTuR8xJv
Melancholic Quest Collection 4: http://pastebin.com/RPwa7nEt
Melancholic Quest Collection 5: http://pastebin.com/DJ71TtFc
Melancholic Quest Collection 6: http://pastebin.com/xxCdZfx6
Melancholic Quest Collection 7: http://pastebin.com/7skcyeX0

Quick Glance (SPOILERS) The quick Who is Who and what Delilah has. Mostly accurate.:


Twitter; @Cowboy_Sue
Discord; https://discord.gg/8CCdcQ3 <--updated to be working
Chat room with me and other players. I answer questions, post sketches, and act cheeky.

>You discovered screcets in the compound that the adults don't know
>After Lawrence who he does and doesn't trust here, he wrote you a note. At some point you should read it
>You remember grandpa being a cool guy
“I know we need to keep her around for Grandma,” you give a grim nod.

Crockett puts up a smile, “I’m glad you understand-“

“But I’m not okay with her being treated awful either!” You didn’t mean to blurt it out so loud but you at least know it catches his attention. “Brandi didn’t ask for this and it’s not her fault that the money hasn’t been given back. I don’t think I could stand staying in the same building, knowing that she’s suffering cause of us…”

“Because of Grant-“ he corrects himself quickly, “we’re not hurting her, if that’s what you’re thinking. She doesn’t like being here but we’re not going out of the way to make her miserable.”

The word miserable doesn’t feel quite right but you bite your tongue from speaking against it further. Your grandmother’s life is important, of course it is, and you fear giving the impression of thinking otherwise.

“She’s going to have a baby…” you mumble.

“And we’ve taken that into considerations with the accommodations,” he speaks with his footsteps following each word. A hand comes to reach for your shoulder but Crockett decides against it, instead putting up a cheerful look instead. “I get it Delilah, I’m glad that you’re still trying to stay on your toes here. That’s a good instinct to have and I understand that I’m asking you for impossible. But try to remember that we can take care of any of the dirty work that we need to.”

You swallow the words painfully. At this point you’re not worried about them failing something, but rather what they’ll end up doing that you won’t be capable of stopping. Keeping Brandi here as a hostage for the money her men stole is one thing, as much as it makes your stomach flip, but you might only know about it cause you were there in the first place.

“Dirty wo-” you almost had the courage to ask what else that could mean but clam up immediately and walk away from Crockett, heading towards the kitchen door instinctively. “I’m going to go wash up.”

It’s an obvious lie and you don’t expect him to believe it. Crockett allows you to walk out, not that you can really think of a reason why you were afraid that he wouldn’t in the first place.
You catch up with Lawrence in the hallway, a pleasant surprise. He silently wonders why you aren’t in the kitchen and you don’t lie to him. “I need a second to clear my head.”

A simplified answer but it’s enough for him. When he offers to wait for you at the table you speak up again, “Wait, will you wait with me? I don’t want to walk back in alone.”

Lawrence agrees and ends up waiting outside the bathroom door as you stand inside, water rushing in the sink before you. A couple splashes of cold water to the face and a little alone time to get your thoughts in order.

In the mirror you catch your own reflection, turning off the water as you study the image looking back. Tight lipped and with a stern gaze you begin to scold the girl in the mirror.

“You’re getting all scared about nothing, like a big baby. Why not act like an adult already?” Looking down to where your hands grip the white sink, a frown starts to pull on your face. “You have to act like an adult if you want to be treated like one…”

After you no longer need that brief moment alone you step outside, met instantly with a small note handed over from Lawrence.

Do you always need alone time to talk to yourself?

He waits with a sideways grin, hoping for you to lash out. Knowing that Lawrence is still capable of acting like things are fine around you two is comforting, like everything isn’t trying to make you feel even more uncertain of what’s going on.

“Do you always like being creepy?” you smile back at him, feeling a little better than before. Being able to see you joke with him like this must put Lawrence at ease too. Without knowing what new burdens he has to carry since arriving here it should be your duty to at least make him worry about one less thing.

Not that you’re happy with him keeping information from you, but that’s something you’ll have to scold him about later.
“Well if you’re done trying to listen in on a lady’s private conversation with herself,” you tuck the note into your pocket, “then we should go eat, I bet you’re starving.”

Following close in Lawrence’s footsteps you feel the bigger note he gave earlier, the one you still haven’t read. While you can pass off your suspicion as childish fear, an adult’s words on who they find untrustworthy feels heavier and you fear what he wrote.

“I think you’ll like dinner, it looks and smells really good.”

Walking with Lawrence made you excited, even more so when you remember that this is a chance to eat dinner together.

That joy dampens a bit when you remember who else you’ll have to share the table with.

Camilla, Crockett, and Officer Palmer are going to be eating dinner with you two too and judging from how you help set the table you’re going to end up with one of them sitting next to you.

It’s hard not to let your imagination run wild at times, but you do think that this will be a normal dinner that you’re the only one fretting about. Lawrence will sit by you, at least he better. That still leaves the other side free, and out of the three of them you feel better sitting next to…
Crocket. He's probably noticed that we're uncomfortable and will have the sense to avoid dumb topics.

Sit us down on a corner seat
You brace yourself upon entering the kitchen, greeted by the sight of Crockett and Palmer talking. Their conversation comes to a stop upon the two of you arriving, Lawrence stepping up and being friendly.

“I was worried you weren’t going to be coming back,” Crockett nods at you. He walks to you assume is his chair, standing with a hand holding the back. “But I guess Law here was dragging his feet.”

You take a chair next to him, dragging it as far from his as you can without being noticable. “It was my fault, I took forever.” When Lawrence takes the seat on the other side you make sure to scoot even closer to him, smiling now that you’ve gotten this chance to eat together.

Lawrence tries to start eating but you give him a nudge, reminding him that it would be rude to eat before everyone else. “Table manners,” you reiterate, making a point to show that your hands are waiting in the safety of your lap. He makes a big deal of putting his elbow on the table but waits, spoon trying to twirl in his fingers.

Palmer takes a seat directly across from you, a cold beer in each hand. “How you healing up big guy?” she asks while offering one to Lawrence, who accepts it while silently insisting that it’s fine. The lid twists off with a hiss as Palmer looks down the neck of the bottle, “I know if I took a bullet like that I would be staying at home, relaxing and not thinking about even lifting a finger. Hell, I think I would be demanding my dinner get brought to my bed and fed to me.”

Crockett shakes his head, “That’s milking it at that point.”

“What, you saying that you wouldn’t feed your dear friend soup in bed?” her sarcastic end drowned out by her drinking.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve seen you take care of yourself through worse.”

“Oh?” Palmer points the bottle at him, “Well then maybe I do deserve a little more pampering. Pretty sure I’ve stacked up enough favors from you to earn at least a day’s worth of room service, if not more.”

“I’m not so sure about that-”

“Let’s see, first there was that time you forgot to pack a spare tire and I drove out to rescue you--”
As Palmer begins to list off every little thing she had done, mostly to the response that those favors weren’t that big of a deal, you look up at Lawrence. His jaw is the first thing that comes in view, and you follow the lines of his face up to see him watching the conversation across the table.

Lawrence takes notice of your staring and returns the attention back to you, pointing a thumb back at Palmer and nodding.

“Hm? You want me to bring you dinner to bed?” you ask and he nods. “Hmm…” you pretend to think it over, “I dunno, maybe I could I guess. But I feel like you’d just end up making me go fetch stuff for you all the time.”

He nods again and promises that it would only just be a little bit. When he twists the cap from his own beer you can see the wince that travels in his arm, one that makes him try hard not to look bothered by it.

The kitchen doors open and Camilla walks in, surprised to find everyone else sitting down already.

“Hey, we’ve been waiting for you,” greets Crockett readily. “You ready to finally eat?”

“I didn’t think you all would be waiting…!” A bit red in the face she hurries to wash her hands and take the empty seat next to Lawrence. Her sitting down is enough permission for him to start chowing down and you don’t even attempt to make him slow down.

“I hope it’s fine,” Camilla speaks softer than usual.

Crockett nods, “Your food usually is.”

You take the first bite of the prosciutto and bean soup, the warmth spreading easily from your throat to the rest of your body. The taste isn’t something you grew up having every day, but it leaves behind a bittersweet nostalgia.

“It’s so good,” you tell her between bites. Camilla gives you a gentle smile and turns to her own bowl.
The adults start their own conversation, talking about repairs needed to one of the cars and about people that you don’t know who can apparently fix it soon. Lawrence, while not really participating, pays attention and nods along with them. You don’t try to distract him, just in case this is something he needs to listen to.

It’s boring for you though, with no understanding of car parts and certainly none of the names mentioned. Your feet fidget beneath the table as you feel bored trying to sit here and eat slowly. At one moment you accidentally bump Lawrence’s and you whisper a quick apology.

He waves it off as no big deal and is far more interested in having seconds.

“Here, I’ll grab that for you.” Palmer takes his bowl and her own to refill them with soup.

“You’ve been awfully quiet,” days Camilla hesitantly.

“I didn’t want to interrupt anything.” Your foot brushes up against Lawrence’s shoe again and when he doesn’t seem to notice you keep it there, idly wondering how much bigger his is.

Crockett turns toward you, “Well we certainly don’t want to make you just sit there and have to listen to us.”

“You guys were talking about something important.”

“And now we’re done,” he smiles with a flash of teeth.

Planet walks back, rolling her eyes as she hands back the newly filled bowl. “Oh stop, you’re embarrassing her.”

“I’m just trying to make sure she feels welcomed.” He moves his chair in closer, though remembers to never get too close. “Anything you want to talk about, Del?”

“Ah, um…” you start to shrink at the attention, but you feel Lawrence nudge you with his leg and you sit up again.

It might be nice to find out a little more about one of the people here. Nothing too serious, but maybe you can probe about with some innocent sounding questions and find out something new and the people you have been staying with.

>You’d like to ask about;
Man I remember feeling like horrible shit when the first thread of this came out. I was just laying in bed all day whittling away time. You even took my suggestions a couple times.

I'm in a better place now. Getting there anyway.

I can't believe this is still going. Good on you, man. Or woman, I guess.
What I really want to say is going to kill the mood hard...

>Ask why Palmer and Crockett wanted to become cops. Ask why Camilla isn't a chef when she cooks so well.

You know, innocent questions to feel out why they are here and involved with this situation. They must've changed.
“Well uh,” you look down at the deep red soup, “this is really good Ms. Camilla, why didn’t you work as a chef?”

She looks down, a short grin on her face. “Oh it’s not that good-“

Crockett interrupts with a laugh, “Give yourself credit, it’s better than anything she’s made me.”

“I can make toast just fine,” Palmer shrugs in response.

“Why not?” you address Camilla again, “you’d sell out everyday I bet.”

“Aha, well—“ she stutters with the compliments, coughing in an attempt to mask the bashfulness. “Cooking is nice, but my medical skills are a tad more useful. And that’s all I can really do at this point.”

“But would you be able to get them?”

Crockett glances over, “Don’t pry her too much.”

As you try to apologize Camilla speaks up first, “It’s okay, I promise. Not exactly a common thing to come across, is it?” She locks eyes with him and an unspoken discussion is held between them with a stare. It doesn’t take too much longer before Crockett gives a slight nod, giving permission you didn’t think she needed.

“I don’t really have too many friends left in the home country.” The spoon in Camilla’s fingers swirls gently around the bowl, occasionally scooping some up only to let it drip back down. “At least, none who would risk their neck like that.”

Even Lawrence and Palmer seem to be all ears to this story now, try as they might to not appear it. You nod along, “Is it that hard?”

“All you can do?” your question makes Camilla cover her mouth as she regrets her choice of words. “What do you mean?”

She takes a moment to think about what she wants to say a bit more carefully this time but doesn’t keep you waiting too long. “Now you have to keep this between you and I,” Camilla leans closer and puts a hand to cover her mouth as she whispers, “but I am not exactly a legal citizen over here.”

“Come home and make me dinner every day and I won’t send you back,” Palmer points over with her spoon.

Through a face glowing pink Camilla puts up a brave smile, “I’m sorry, my current job is a bit more important.”

“So wait…” you thought it over briefly, “so does that mean you can’t become a real nurse here? I mean you are a real nurse, I didn't mean to say it like that. But does that mean you can’t working in a hospital…?”

Her smile shrinks down to a wistful gaze. “I would love to, I really would. When I had to leave Italy- … the way I left didn’t really allow me the chance to gather the needed information.”
“But would you be able to get them?”

Crockett glances over, “Don’t pry her too much.”

As you try to apologize Camilla speaks up first, “It’s okay, I promise. Not exactly a common thing to come across, is it?” She locks eyes with him and an unspoken discussion is held between them with a stare. It doesn’t take too much longer before Crockett gives a slight nod, giving permission you didn’t think she needed.

“I don’t really have too many friends left in the home country.” The spoon in Camilla’s fingers swirls gently around the bowl, occasionally scooping some up only to let it drip back down. “At least, none who would risk their neck like that.”

Even Lawrence and Palmer seem to be all ears to this story now, try as they might to not appear it. You nod along, “Is it that hard?”

“Maybe not too difficult.” Now she’s taken to playing with the reflection against the curved silver, looking down at her warped reflection. But associating with my name would only bring trouble, none of them owe me a favor big enough.”

Your eyes mostly stay glued to the table, darting up momentarily as you dare to ask, “Was getting over here s-...scary?”

Camilla nods. “Though I prefered the chances I took over staying where I was. Dangerous men with heavy grudges are not so easy to ignore-- though I do miss my homeland at times.”

Crockett raises his drink, “We’re glad you made it here.”

“Agreed.” Palmer adds and Lawrence nods in agreement. The four clink together whatever glass they have at hand in a bittersweet toast. You manage to convince Lawrence to give you a sip of his beer, since you didn’t get to join in.

Your nose crinkles a bit from the drink and you point at Palmer and Crockett, feeling like you’ve prodded in the current story enough. “What about you two, why did you want to become cops?”
“Oh, that’s easy.” No longer leaning back in the chair, Palmer sits up at attention first to answer. “Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be someone who kept the peace. The other kids hated it cause I was such a stickler for the rules.”

A bleak grin pulls on Crockett’s face, “A bit ironic now.”

“Keeping the peace is still my number one duty, so I’m not too worried about it.”

It’s hard to tell when they mean that and when they’re only saying it as not to make you think otherwise.

You look up at Crockett, “What about you?”

He seems a bit surprised that you’re asking him and his eyes travel up to look at the ceiling as he thinks. “Why’d I want to become a cop? Don’t know if there’s really an answer to that.”

“There has to be something,” you say, “like there had to be something that made you join.”

Crockett is either taking his time to think about it or just simply waiting to give an answer. The wait only succeeds in making you wait even more reverently, your hands holding onto the edge of the seat.

“...I guess, at that time, it was the option I had left.” His eyes jump around the room, never settling on someone or something for long. “It felt like I didn’t have anything else going for me, joining was just one of the first options that came up.”

You’re about to make the mistake of asking what led to that happening but Lawrence tugs your hand under the table, shaking his head just enough for you to see. It’s interesting to you that Palmer works with him, only because she is still on the force.

Crockett turned his badge in because he quit-- or was fired, if you grandmother turned out to be right -- but it’d be interesting to know why.

Do you want to stick around and try to ask some more questions or excuse yourself from the table? You might be able to try exploring some rooms again if you want, or head to the bedroom for the night.
Working on getting to a better place too anon, you can do it
Head to bed for the night, however if you have magic powers or some sort of skill, even if it's just working out, then do that for 10 minutes before getting ready for bed.
This place is so damn boring. Gotta hide in the shadows and walk on eggshells with these people and they all pretend that nothing is going on. The charade is becoming tedious.

Maybe a little blood could brighten things up a bit...

I think it's time to explore and, God willing, steal a skeleton key that we can give to Lawrence to make a copy of.
Oh and we should look at the note Lawrence wrote.
>Another Melancholic Quest goes ups
>Is up for several days without me knowing
I'm on /qst/ like every fucking day, how does this keep happening?
Cute OP image though.

Head back to bed, read the note from Law.
There are over a dozen regulars on the discord but none of them play. I checked in twice and it's very lively, but I'm all alone in the threads.

It is a mystery.
You decide not to push it further, “It’s nice that you were able to meet Ms. Palmer.”

The officer laughs to herself, standing at the table to take her dishes to the sink. “You’re not the only one who thinks that.” She looks back over at the table as water rushes out, “I’m not sure where I would be right now if I didn’t bump into him on our first day. Hell, maybe I’d be the one getting locked up.”

Camilla laughs with her at the statement and joins her with more dishes, while the man next to you tenses up. You dare a look up at his face, Crockett’s mouth a thin line twisted with distress.

When his eyes look over you jump out of fright. Trying not to stumble over the words you stand up at reach out for his bowl, “I’ll take it to the sink for you!” Crockett passes it over, leaving half of the meal behind. “Oh um, you can finish it first if you wanted-”

Crockett stands and gives you a smile that melts away the previous fridginess. “I have to admit, even taste testing this stuff made me feel pretty full. Any more and I’ll want to take a nice, long nap.”

“I know that’s what I’d like to do,” Palmer says with a look at the clock on the wall, “but I’ve gotta get going now. I’ll help with the dishes next time, maybe.”

“Thank you for eating with us.” Camilla takes the dishes you bring her, setting them in the sink before rolling up her sleeves. “I will hold you to that dishwashing promise.”

“I’ll help!” you tell her from the table, waiting for Lawrence to finish so that you can bring his stuff to wash too.

Camilla shakes her head with a smile, “Don’t worry, I have this covered.”

You stay in the kitchen as Palmer asks her friend for help with pulling her car out in the snow, the two leaving together as they give thanks for the meal once more. Camilla insists on handling the dishes and clean up herself, though she does allow you to at least clear the table for her.

When Lawrence is finally finished in the kitchen you follow him, though he’s quick to inform you that he’s going to shower.
“Okay, I’ll just be waiting for you to come back.” You watch as he gathers clean clothes, a set of bandages and gauze sitting on the dresser. Before he can take it, you grab and hold them up, “I’ll help you with this when you get back, okay?”

He doesn’t argue against your demands and promises to be back in a bit. You can’t help but smile, knowing that he’ll have to let you stick around to at least do that.

You don’t wait for Lawrence to leave before you make yourself comfy on his bed, taking a little bit of care not to ruffle up the already messed up blanket. Exploring a little more sounds fun but you’ll hold it off for now, but with that key you found then that should be exciting anyways. After all you have that key and, if grandma is right, then some doors to go poking around at.

But right now it’s you and the note Lawrence wrote earlier, something you’ve been waiting to read for the past hour now. Stretched out on the bed, you unfold the page and hold it above as you look over the scribbled words, his answer to the ‘who do you trust’.

I dont think anyone will turn on you or grandma
Not doc or Cam for sure, esp to granny
He seems like smart enough guy to handle things
Cam is good at what she does but only follows orders

Ace is looking out for you
Palmer backs him up on w/e
So those two will always have your back
I dont know if same be said to grandma but she would want them keep you safe as priority

Doc is wary of Ace+Palmer
Because they used to/are cop?
Dont think those two always get along

Things should be fine if working together for you

Wont let anything bad happen either way

In a free corner he doodled a small bunny, it’s scratchy lines still looking far better than anything you would have done. It makes some of the bleaker parts of his message seem a bit better and you fold it back carefully to not mess up the drawing.

You can recall Rizzo making a comment before, about not trusting them completely because of their ties with the police. And with his line of work, and apparently your grandfather’s too, you just have to accept that it would make sense. Though you never really considered the idea that what he’s currently doing would get him in trouble.
But as long as him and Crockett can get along then everything should be fine, for the most part.

In the time it takes Lawrence to return you’ve done a bit to tidy his room. Putting his dirty clothes into a neat pile, fixing the bed to look nicer, finding all the little scraps of paper and trash hidden about and throwing them away. You try not to go digging through his stuff too much, as fun as that might be, and are looking over your hair in the mirror at his arrival.

“Welcome back!” you greet, Lawrence nodding in your direction as he runs the towel through his hair again. He tosses it and his old clothes into the pile you’ve made and sits on the bed, droplets of water falling to the blanket below.

Gauze and bandages at hand you crawl onto the bed, kneeling beside him and waiting. Lawrence starts to pull of the shirt but hesitates, looking over at you cautiously.

“It’ll be fine,” you promise. It hasn’t been that long since you delved into Rizzo’s office and went through the bag of blood, you should be able to handle this. “I’ll even hold my breath if it makes you feel better.”

A few seconds of considering it and Lawrence gives up with a grin, removing the shirt off the shoulder to give you access.

It’s better than you thought it’d be, with the bruising that had darken the surrounding skin fading away. There’s still the wound of course, deep red and inviting, but small enough that you can look anywhere else at his chest and avoid it.

“It’s healing up well, right?” You start the process, holding the gauze over place and keeping the daunting red hidden away.

Lawrence nods, holding the material in place so you can grab the bandages next and start wrapping them around. His skin is hot to the touch as your hands press against, making you feel rather safe. “Okay, all done.”

You smile and watch as he replaces the shirt, looking back up to his chin when he’s done. The cut there is healing well, looking nowhere near as scary as the night he had walked in with it.

Part of you is proud that it’s healing up fine because of you.

Frightened describes the other part.

“Can I sleep in here again?” you don’t try to think about that too much.
Lawrence doesn’t answer right away, instead looking off like he’s thinking about the answer. The wait makes you anxious, something you realize he’s doing on purpose when he cracks a smile upon looking back at you.

“Fine, I guess it’s my choice then.” You don’t have to speak to make your answer clear.

He doesn’t quick you out, only explaining that he isn’t going to sleep yet. But he sticks around in the room with you anyways, sitting at the desk while you lay in bed. There’s a paper in front of him and he’s writing, albeit slow and seems to stop to think more than actually putting down words.

You await him joining you for the night but after such a good meal can’t manage to keep your eyes open for much longer.

Grandpa liked to cook, never afraid to handle dinner whenever you came to visit. Some of the food had names you couldn’t really remember but their smell was enough to make you feel like you were home.

Well, your grandparents home.

It was nice though, sometimes you would come to their house greeted with the savory scent and then get to go sleep with it, knowing that it tasted just as good.

You remember being at their house, asleep in bed. It wasn’t uncommon for you to wake up in the middle of night to wander around a bit, usually to get something to drink. It was always a scarier thing to do in there than at your house though. Their home creaked even when you weren’t moving and the stairs would always make a loud noise.

As such you would often be found at the very top, usually by one grandparent walking out for whatever reason, and they would have to turn on all the lights and guide you down.

There was one night that you were going to brave. You would get to the bottom of the steps and you were going to get the glass of juice without any help at all.

That plan came to a miserable failure before you could take the first step and you were left gripping the bannister as usual. The light in the kitchen had made it a little less scary, and the soon following smell of cooking easing your fears further.

Not completely though, as you still took the steps one slow, care move at a time.

You reached the middle step before freezing up again, though not out of fear of making too much noise or or whatever strange shadow was on the wall.

The angry voice of your grandfather wafted up too and honestly, you couldn’t recognize it at first. He wasn’t one to get upset, not like that, but even you as a young child could understand that it was indeed your grandfather.

He was furious at someone.

From what you could hear, was he talking to someone over the phone or in the kitchen with him?
In the kitchen. It was a woman and she was having none of it
And I told you that I wanted nothing more to do with this!

You gripped the bannister in one hand, peering between the poles and at the kitchen as best as you could. Most of his body was visible from where you sat and even you could tell that the shadow in front of hims wasn’t his.

You don’t really think that you could just throw in the towel like that, did you?

A woman’s voice, not one you could recognize. The bite in her words hurt even from where you were, it almost made you feel bad for your grandfather had he not returned the same spitfire.

I expected them to respect my wishes, especially after everything I have done. But this? Sneaking behind my back and talking to my s-

Who said any of us went looking for him?

The silence that follow had you too terrified to move and you were forced to keep listening.

Cazzata- he would not get involved in this alone. One of you rats went and convinced him, and after I made it clear to keep us all out of it from now on.[/i’]

The woman’s laugh traveled easily up the steps and goosebumps rose on your skin.

‘Call him! Call and ask him yourself. It would be sad if your own flesh and blood was dragging the family name through trouble again without your knowledge.’

Your grandfather’s feet made great strides across the kitchen, right over to where the phone was. The clicking as he turned the wheel for each number only made your grip on the banister tighter, everything was so confusing at that moment.

The woman was the one who spoke up again, her shoes clicking on the tiled floor.

‘I didn’t come to antagonize you, I swear-’

‘Hush! When he picks up he will clear all this up and maybe it will get through to their thick skulls. I am done, I do not want my family involved anymore! That includes him-’

‘That doesn’t seem to be what he thinks.

The receiver slams down and the phone number put back in as it becomes obvious that whoever he was calling didn’t answer.

‘No, dammit. I am telling you, you are wrong. Is this Greco trying to get back at me?’

This time it was the woman’s turn to bark back, her words echoing against the walls.

‘Do you think this would be enough to make up for what you did to him? He wouldn’t waste time with this, you would know if it was Greco trying to get revenge. Perhaps you should have paid better attention to your son’s habits-’

‘You leave Don out of this!’

His voice shook you to the very core and you tried to scramble up the stairs. They still proved a challenge and you tried your best to get up them as quick as you could. In the haste your foot caught on one of the steps and you tripped onto the top floor, curled up in a scared little ball. In your hushed crying and whimpering you couldn’t hear the arguing downstairs, though your little heart began to beat painfully when footsteps followed the path you took up-
Your body rushes up with a gasp and heartbeat pounding. The light from earlier is still on, making it easy for you to find Lawrence sitting at the desk still. Something silver rests in his hands instead of a pen, the object making a heavy thud as he puts it back on the desk to come over.

“I’m fine-” you take a few calming breaths and Lawrence sits back down. “What time is it?”

He shrugs and looks down at his watch. Somewhere around two in the morning he signs, and you how to wonder what he’s been doing this whole time.

“Aren’t you sleepy yet?”

Barely stifling a yawn as you get off the bed Lawrence shakes his head, returning to what lays on the desk. The soft clinks of metal make you curious enough to come over and lean over his shoulder.

A gun rests in his hand, various pieces of it are strewn across the table. He grabs for one loose piece and starts trying to fix it in place. “What are you doing that for?” you ask, watching as he finally gets the part to go in.

Practice, he mouths to you.

Lawrence doesn’t make you move away as he tries to remember what step comes next. He fumbles about for a moment before correcting the mistake and takes a moment to examine it so far.

“Practice?” you eye both of your reflections in the metal. “Have you been practicing too?”

He nods and right away you ask, “Have you had to use it a lot?”

The gun lays on the table again as he starts to pick up the remaining bits and pieces, giving a quick ‘no’. You stare at his fingers turning over a tightly wound coil. It’s not that you don’t believe him, you just don’t like how long it took for him to respond.

“I wonder if Ms. Camilla is going to show me that…” you muse and get a resounding yes. “Has she told you about our shooting lessons?”

Several times, guessing from the look on Lawrence’s face.

You can’t see anything wrong with him doing this, the gun doesn’t have any bullets inside -you presume- and maybe it is smart to know how it all goes together. If it isn’t taught to you soon then you might ask Lawrence to teach you how, though you start to consider waiting till he’s a bit better at it himself.

“It’s super late,” you remind him, “and I think you should go to sleep after you finish it.”

He gives you an okay and you return to his bed hoping that he’s almost done.

Even when you swore to stay up for him you end up falling asleep before Lawrence comes over, barely waking up when he has to scoot you out of the way of hogging the bed. There’s no strange dreams, only you waking up the one time the snoring got too loud. After getting him to keep it down you stay asleep.

The feeling of Lawrence’ body sitting on the edge of the bed wakes you up hours later, you turning over to the view of him bent over and tying his boots.
“Are you going?” you yawn, moving over to where he had been sleeping. The sheets are still warm from when he was there and you basically take over his side.

Lawrence sits up and nods, adjusting the buttons on his sleeve next.

“When are you going to be back?”

He turns back towards you, showing the face of his watch and tapping at the six. “Tonight?’ you clarify and he motions that it will be about then. “Okay, I’m going to be keeping an eye on the time though. So if you’re late…”

Lawrence holds out his pinky and you return the gesture, giving you his promise to be back on time. It leaves a warm feeling in your chest, despite the fact that you keep remembering the gun.

As he gets ready to head out you sit up in bed, “I’ll be waiting.”

You get a smile and a wordless goodbye when he walks out of the door, closing it and leaving you alone. It always hard to watch him go but now you have a time to look forward to. A vague time, but it’s better than waiting around never knowing.

More time passes as you sleep a little longer in his bed, though eventually you finally have to pick yourself up to start the day. Stepping out into the hallway you feel the chill from the concrete put a shiver down your spine. It wakes you up rather quickly though and you take a moment to stretch and wake up further.

Initially you thought you were alone when you stepped out, but a look down the hallway and you see Palmer standing at the far end. Figuring that she noticed you upon going to Crockett’s office or the garage or wherever, you give her a wave.

It’s unnerving to realize that she’s staring and it takes several seconds before she waves back. You go to your room instead of towards her, both wanting to change clothes and not wanting to go over there. She’s gone when you peek back out and you’re free to go and eat a lonely breakfast.

You wander around the main room, pacing around the couch and chairs. The key you found hidden in dad’s room hides in your pocket and you’ve been survaling to see who is around.

Doctor Rizzo went to his office a while ago, if you pass by the hall you can see his door is even left open. You haven’t seen Palmer since earlier, though you have to wonder if she’s been in Crockett’s office. That door has remained close for as long as you’ve been out there, and without seeing Camilla anywhere the whole place is left quiet.

For a bit you consider stopping into the doctor’s office, maybe to try and have a chat with him. Maybe he knows something interesting, anything about the tests he was running on you or updates on your grandmother- anything he'd be willing to spill the beans on. And while you’re in there maybe you can try to ask him about the note you had found when you snuck the blood from his office, at least find out when you can stop in there for such a thing.

If you're fine with him acting all skeeved out about it, which seems to be the case. Or you could just spend that extra time trying out more rooms instead, like you originally planned.

Go talk to Rizzo first or start trying out the key?
I goofed up formatting in first post, oops
Let's finish up this map, I wanna know all the top hiding spots
Use the key while we're reasonably sure no one's snooping on us
More secret tunnels, more hidden rooms.
You know exactly what you want to do right now. The rough metal of the key warms up in between your fingers, moving about in your pocket as you work up the courage to go.

Not too much late and you’re walking down the first hall, furthest away from Crockett and his office. Rizzo’s door is open as you walk by and the doctor himself is looking at images that you can’t really make out. He’s too busy to pay any attention to you and sneaking by him is a piece of cake.

Starting at the first door all the way down the hall and one that you’re certain has walls that face outside, you pull out the key and try the lock. When the key slips in easily your heart skips a beat and you try to turn it.

The key doesn’t budge in either direction and you have to chalk this one up as inaccessible- for now.

The door right across from it looks inviting and you waste no time in trying. The click of the door takes you off guard. This will be the first room you get to explore, the first one where you have no idea what you should be looking for.

One last cautious look down the hall and you dare to open the door, gritting your teeth with each squeak it makes. You open it enough to slip past and close it as soon as possible, leaving you in absolute darkness.

You can’t fumble with the flashlight fast enough and it clicks on to reveal a barren room. It’s chilly in here, just as the previous room had been, though it doesn’t feel like you’ll be able to see your breath.

Every step on the floorboards that results in a squeak makes your body seize up. With how thick the walls are you’d really doubt anyone would be able to hear but you move with caution anyways.

The flashlight illuminates the roughed up wood. An occasional deep groove or black scuff catches your eyes. This place has seen heavy use, especially compared to your dad’s room. It finally dawns on you that the scratches follow in mostly the same direction and you begin to follow them.

Your foot finds the lock before your eyes do, your shoe catching and causing you to stumble. Shining the light over it you begin to wonder how you managed to miss it in the first place, your scuffed up knees feeling rather silly now.

Putting the light into place you come to kneel beside the metal lock, quick to notice that there are several patches of red rust covering it. The rust travels to the metal handle next to it, thick bolts attaching it to the large square outline you trace with your eyes.

It looks like the key should fit but every attempt to make it fit fails. Your fingertip starts to push at the outline and you’re shocked to feel strange, jagged pieces sticking out of it. All that you can manage to do is make them wiggle in place some but never enough to let the key pass through. While you might not know a lot about these things you want to say that this lock has been broken— you can’t see any key fitting inside.
“Well, if it’s busted…” you grab at the handle and pull. Part of the door wiggles and groans but doesn’t lift up. Determined to see what’s inside you stand and brace your feet on the ground, holding to the handle with both hands. “...on the count of three.”

Whispering a little countdown to yourself, your legs push against the floor and you pull with all your might. The door does raise up from your motions, but nowhere near enough to take a look at what lays underneath. You attempt it a few more times but aching arms put that to an end.

It doesn’t feel completely like a lost cause but you’re definitely going to need someone stronger to pull it free.

With one more look around the room you can’t find anything else. It doesn’t feel like anything has been in here for a long time anyways and, a little annoyed at the failed attempt to open the one thing you found, you take leave of the room.

Or you try to anyways. You peek around the door before exiting and see Camilla rushing down this direction. Scared to death that you’ve been found you retreats back inside, just waiting for her to come over and demand to know how you got inside.

When that doesn’t happen you dare another look around the door, not finding her anywhere. You continue to search for her and a few seconds later watch as she and Rizzo leave his room in a hurry. The two disappear into your grandmother’s room and you continue watching, waiting to make sure neither of them are going to pop out.

They look to be busy though and you take your leave from the room. Keeping an eye on where they went inside you come to stand in front of the next door down the line, mentally preparing an alibi for the worst case scenario.

The key fails to open the next two doors and you try not to kick the floor in frustration. It’s starting to get close to Rizzo’s office and you might have to save those for another time.

But you risk the next door in line, noting that there’s only one more between this one and his room. The key seems to work though and you give one more look to make sure you’re still alone before unlocking it and rushing inside.
The lights are already on when you get inside and the chill from the other rooms is missing. Wooden bookshelves line the wall next to you, partially empty, and a large picture frame takes up some of the space.

You realize there’s the lingering smell of food and you look towards the back of the room, your heart jumping to your throat when you do.

A cot and a heavy, metal table sit in the back. A tray sits on the desk, as does a large container of water and a radio. One end of a pair of handcuffs connects to a section of the table and, the thing that really makes you stand there like a rabbit staring down headlights, Brandi’s wrist connected by the other end.

She looks to have been asleep when you came in, only now starting to sit up.

“Kid…? Is that you?” Her voice calls out, groggy with sleep.

Gripping the key painfully in your palm, you feel a flight or fight response.

>Do you want to stay and make sure that Brandi doesn’t tell on you, or maybe even try to find what’s in this room, or do you want to leave?
Eh. Explain what we're doing, that it's a secret because they'll be furious with us. Ask if she needs anything.... Painkillers?

If they find out that we can get in here there's an equal risk that they lock her up in one of the cold rooms instead if it means that they know there is only one key to it.
“It’s me,” you whisper, finger up to your mouth to tell her to stay quiet. Brandi begins to sit up now, a little confused but nowhere near as scared as you feel. “Please don’t freak out.”

“Why would I-“ she stood and eyes you over, “...what are you doing in here? You weren’t sent in here, were you?”

“No,” you shake your head and she sighs in relief. “No one knows I’m in here.”

“Oh? And why are you here?” Brandi settles back down on the bed, the chain from the handcuff draping over her.

Holding up the key you walk close enough for her to see, “I’m just exploring, that’s all. I found this key and I’ve been trying it out on different doors-”

“It’s a master key?”

“Um,” you grimace, “kinda I guess. It only opens some of the doors though, ones that have like um… well I found two little doors in the floor so far. But I’m not supposed to be sneaking around like this, if any of them find out they will be so, so mad at me.”

A smirk perks up on Brandi’s face, “And I’m not supposed to tattle on you?”

“Please, please please please don’t.” You resorted to begging first and leaves you feeling ashamed. This isn’t scary, you remind yourself, and you have the upperhand if anything happens. Not that you could guess what she could possibly manage on such a short leash. “It’d be bad for both of us.”

Her face falls sober again. “What do you mean?”

You regret the choice of words but take a breath and try again. “It’s not like that- it’s just that if you tell them I was in here, they’re going to know I found something to unlock the door. And then they’ll know that I can get in here, so they’ll move you. And they might move you into one of the freezing rooms-”

“Hey hey, I wasn’t even thinking about it,” she chuckles softly. “But hey, fair. I don’t think I want to go into one of those ‘freezing rooms’, whatever that means.”

A wave of reassurance washes over you, though you know that you have to take it on her word. “I mean they’re really cold. The other two rooms I got into were freezing cold- Urm, wait a sec…”

Brandi takes a look around the room before raising an eyebrow at you, “Don’t get me wrong, I miss my heater at home but I wouldn’t really call this freezing.”

“That’s weird…” you start to snoop around with your eyes glued to floor and walls. “I hope they didn’t cover it up.”

“Cover what up?”

“The little door on the floor or maybe um, a secret door in the wall or a safe or um-” you stop, hair sneaking between your clenched hands as you come up with nothing. “I don’t know. I have no idea what I’m looking for or what I’m going to find-”

“Sounds a little scary,” she looks up at you from the cot. “You sure poking around in a place like this is safe?”
“I don’t know,” you admit in defeat, “but I’m just kinda tired of being here-” Instantly you bite your lip, regretting the terrible choice of words. A quiet, short laugh is the response you get, still leaving you guilty about complaining.

“Well, I don’t think this room is dangerous. Least I’d hope they wouldn’t be that frickin’ heartless.” It’s a little funny to see someone like her pout, it almost makes you feel better about doing it. “But I don’t think a lotta guys would boobytrap their study-”

“Study?” you look towards the bookshelves again, “Is that what this is? How do you know?”

“Maybe your gramps called it something else, but it kinda looked like the one my dad had. His thinking room, I think it was just his place to be alone from everything for a little while.” Her face is peaceful as she says this and you give her a moment to enjoy it.

“So grandpa’s study...:” you mumble, taking a slower look around. It starts to feel strange but you try to stay focused on what’s in front of you. “So since I’m uh, in here anyways. Is there like, anything you need? Like p-painkillers or um…?”

“Not unless that key can get this unlocked.” Brandi continues to smile even as you look down, scared to give the obvious answer. “Thanks for asking though, outta everyone here you’re my favorite. Or the only one that I like at all, really. Well actually, that big tall guy hasn’t really gotten on my nerves yet. Don’t think I’ve heard him say anything though, kinda feels like the type of guy you wouldn’t want to say the wrong thing to-”
“Oh, that’s Lawrence!” you say a little more excited than you meant. “He’s my friend-”

“Sorry about what I said about him then.”

“He is a good guy, I promise.” You raise a hand to your throat and begin to drag your fingers across, “It’s not that he’s being rude, he just has a hard time talking. Lawrence got hurt when he was younger-”

“Sheesh,” she grits her teeth, “I’ll remember that next time I see the guy.”

You just smile, hoping that you’ve kept one person from being scared by Lawrence. At the same time you continue to look in the area around you, still hoping to find any kind of secret. “So do you think there’s anything in here?”

“Hard to say. Maybe behind a bookshelf,” she laughs, “but maybe there’s nothing.” Brandi takes notice of the disappointment on your face and closes her eyes. “You promise to keep it quiet and I don’t mind if you wanna look a little longer. Or if you feel like talking, maybe I can give you a couple minutes of my time. I’m extremely busy, as you can see.”

It’d feel bad if you left without finding what’s in this room-- if there is anything in this room. It might not be too scary if you knew how much time you had, though you’ve already looked around the room to find places to hide. There’s not much, but if you’re quick and a little bit lucky…

Having Brandi in here feels weird too, though you’re glad that she isn’t acting rude or forcing you to talk to her. Seeing her stuck in this one place really makes you regret the previous complaints of boredom.

>Do you want to stick around and search the room a little longer, try to talk to Brandi, or leave now?
Ask Brandi why her friends haven't helped her yet. No one tells us anything. They avoid talking about her with us and pretend that she isn't here so that won't think about it.

Make sure that hiding place is going to hold otherwise we need to skedaddle
You take a few steps closer, trying to see if she’s actually approachable. “If it’s okay to ask…?” She looks up at you and nods.

“Is there a reason your friends haven’t paid the uh...the r-, money?”

“Hm, sure you aren’t in here to interrogate me?” Before you can try to say it’s not Brandi laughs to herself, propping up on an elbow. “I’m kidding. It’s not why you’re actually in here, right?”

“No, I promise. I just don’t know how these things go, I guess…” you look down, scanning the floor right below you.

“I’d sure as hell hope this isn’t the normal for you.” Brandi doesn’t answer the question right away and when she finally does her voice is soft, “It’s not cause they don’t want me back- better not be. But that money is the difference between Grant getting to keep me or his dad, closest thing he had to one anyways. Not saying that I’m not pissed being stuck here but he’s been watching that poor man wither away in a hospital bed, I’m glad it’s not me making that kinda call.”

“What’d you say his name was? Mar-?”

“Mariano,” she says with a mournful tip of her head, “it’s never easy, watching someone die over a couple months. But that street rot shit, it’s fuckin’ horrid.”

You nod in grim agreement. Brandi reaches beneath the pillow and pulls out the folded up photograph you had brought. She opens it and motions for you to come over, which you do cautiously.

“Here look, I wanted to show you something.” Once she sees that you’re close enough to get a good look, though you keep an arm’s length away, Brandi points to the face of her father. “So, this guy was my dad.”

“Right.” You look over the other three men in the photo and get a familiar feeling in your chest.

Her red fingernail slides over to another face, “And this guy is Mariano.” When you nod again Brandi points to the man with a wide smile, posed with a gun casually in hand. “And this guy, do you know who he is?”

She smiles as she watches your eyes scrunch up and you move closer for a better look. It doesn’t feel right, but you say “No.”

“You’re probably not used to seeing him like this,” giggles Brandi before she points back to the frame on the wall. “Try comparing it to that one.”

As soon as you spot the faded family portrait of your grandfather and grandmother and their young, young son you rush back to get a better look at Brandi’s photo. The smile is far more wild in the picture she’s holding but otherwise the biggest difference between them is age.

“That’s Grandpa?” You’re allowed to hold the photo as you get an even better look.

“You even look a bit like the great Donato Esposito,” she grins when you hand it back, “only thing missing is a nice suit and a gun.”

“I have one of those things…” you mumble before trying to stay on track, “Wait so, did your dad know Grandpa?”
“Sure did. I met him a couple times, he was always a nice guy. It was heartbreaking to hear what happened to him, we sent flowers to his funeral. Mariano wanted us to respect his wishes to keep our distance but he still mourned for the guy in his own time.” Brandi looks up to you and apologizes, “Hope I’m not bumming you out by talking about this stuff.”

“It’s nice enough to finally have someone tell me anything.”

“It’s a more than reasonable thing to want,” she nods, “bit surprised you haven’t heard more before.”

“This sorta stuff is the kind of thing they kept a secret from me, all I knew is that my grandparents had some money. Never thought to ask where it came from though-”

“Cause those are questions every five year old thinks about, huh?” The photo returns hidden away as she talks, “Dad tried to hide it from me too but that didn’t last too long. Not exactly an easy thing to keep secret from the family when you’re going out in the middle of the night to pick up illegal cargo.”

“What kind of illegal stuff?”

“Drugs, people, cigarettes-- whatever was paying best at the time.” When Brandi notices your concern at one of the listed items she comes back to clarify, “He snuck people in and out of the country. They weren’t involved in any kind of whack slave trading.”

“I see,” you feel silly for worrying about it. Then again, whatever stuff he got in to had to be similar to your grandfather. You’re not sure how you would have handled the news of him shipping around people for sale and you’d rather not think about it. “So did all four of them work together?”

“For the most part, sometimes one or two of ‘em would do their own thing on the side. Then it turned out that my dad and your gramps got super lucky on one of those side jobs-”

“What was it?”

“I don’t really remember it all. Something about helping some guys in Calabria smuggle in cocaine, maybe heroin. Either way they got a great payout for it, though Dad said that was one of his scariest jobs ever.”
Scary for people like them has to dangerous, though you could have guessed that from this place he built. If only you could say that you’ve never experienced anything similar before, but if that was the case you wouldn’t even be in this mess.

“On the plus side,” Brandi keeps you from dwelling on it too long, “we were able to fix up the house with that money. And I got some great lessons in finding fake bills.”

You remember back in the garage, when everything went wrong. “That’s what you were doing out there, right?”

“Yeah but I wouldn’t call what I did out there too impressive.” With your curiosity peaked Brandi explains with a smirk, “It’s not too good if every other bill uses the same serial number. Should’ve gotten a couple dozen in there at least, maybe then they’d be able to fool someone without a sharp eye.”

While you remember that the counterfeits were what caused this whole mess in the first place you never got an answer on whether or not that was true. For now it’s another thing you’re going to have to keep Brandi’s word for. “I don’t know what happened with them, that’s never happened before…”

“Don’t worry, I know you didn’t have nothing to do with all this.” Brandi frowns, "I just wish the Espositos kept better company."

>Stay and ask Brandi more questions or take your leave now?
When you run drugs and dubiously sourced organs, you lose the right to say that. They're all crooks and criminals.

Time to leave
Probably best to not disappear God knows where for too long, Camilla might freak.
Your brows furrow deep,”Weren’t you the guys trying to sell human parts?”

Brandi smiles in a painful way. “I wish we weren’t.”

“But you guys are,” you begin to back away towards the door again, “that’s just as bad as, as us…”

“Funny how that goes,” Brandi says to herself and you look back at the door.

“I need to go before someone finds me-“

“Yeah, I don’t want you getting in trouble. I won’t go snitching on ya, don’t worry.”

You nod and go to the door, refusing to look back at Brandi as you press an ear to the door. There’s nothing coming from the other side, though begin to doubt you’d really be able to hear anything anyways. Finally you go for it, now or never, and open the door to slip out.

Through a small gap in the door you peer through and see Brandi waving. You return it back and close her away, alone in the room as she had been before.

It’s only you in the hallway but you don’t hang around, fearing that they’ll (rightfully) suspect you were up to something.

You’re on the way to the kitchen when you bump into Camilla, who looks at you like she can’t believe you’re actually here.

“Where were you?” She asks while trying not to look as concerned as she sounds.

“Hm? I’ve just been here,” you play dumb.

“Right…” Camilla shakes her head at herself, “I’m sorry, I’m a little bit frazzled right now.”

“Oh? What about?” You ask while trying not appear too curious. What you’d really like is for her to mention what made her and Rizzo go running to your grandmother’s room a little while ago, but the question goes in vain.

“I think I need to try getting more sleep,” she taps her head with a smile, “but then there would still be so much for me to do the next day. Maybe a cup of coffee will pick me back up.”

“Did you um, want to go make some with me? I’ll try it I mean, but I’m going over for a snack-”

“Not right now, but maybe in a little bit.” Camilla’s hand brushes against your shoulders as she walks by, “Thank you for the offer though, it’s no fun drinking alone.”

You make your way slowly to the kitchen, checking as best as you can to see where she goes. When Camilla turns to the door that you just left you’re thankful for leaving when you had decided to, even if it hadn’t been on the best note.

After taking some time in the kitchen to make a glass of hot chocolate to make yourself feel better you wait around awhile longer, waiting to see if Camilla will come in. It becomes too boring for you to wait around and not fall asleep so you clean up the mess and leave for your bedroom.

The couch and table catch your eyes as you walk by and it makes you stop. You can imagine the furniture being gone from such an unfriendly and spacious room, it’s harder to think about what would have been here in place instead.
The word ‘cocaine’ pops up, and you have to wonder if there could have been piles of it where you stand. Or pallets, or barrels, or however it’s moved about. You have no idea if someone could possibly have enough of the stuff to fill a room so wide and tall, but that’s the problem. You don’t know, you don’t understand any of this really, and just standing here starts to make you feel skeeved.

It might be made of concrete but your room doesn’t look that used, not in anyway that would let you come up with things it could have been used for. It almost makes it okay that the walk over causes goosebumps to shoot up your neck and a shiver down your spine.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if everything didn’t look like it was freezing, it’s like you can’t really escape the chill anywhere.

That’s not true, the beds are warm enough with the heaters kept nearby. Or when you’re sharing Lawrence’s, but since you’re alone you will have to make do.

The bedroom door bothered you first, but you really get taken aback to see Palmer standing in the center of the room and looking around. You remain quiet but she spots you in the corner of her eye, putting her hands in pocket as she turns your way.

“There you are,” she gives as a greeting.

“Yeah-” you try to look around to see if anything is amiss, “I was over in the kitchen.”

“Ah, we must’ve just missed each other.” Palmer points over to your bed, a plastic sack with plastic rectangles stacked up inside. “Saw you in the hallway earlier and wanted to bring over these tapes. It’s stuff my niece had so I hope it’s fine.”

You come over to examine the contents of the bag, but also to look around for anything astray on the bed. “Oh, thank you.”

“Sure thing.” Palmer remains behind you, taking steps here and there as she continues to look around. “So this is where you sleep, huh? Not very welcoming but I know that’s not your fault.”

“There’s not a whole lot I can do with it. And I’d rather not stay here anyways…” your stomach churns at the idea of staying here too long.

“Nice that you still keep it clean in here. I swear my niece would have had this place covered already, she’d just find a way.”
Your hands run over the blanket to smooth out the wrinkles, “I don’t always remember to. And sometimes I would leave my clothes on the floor for the night-”

“There’s nothing wrong with being tidy!” she laughs. “If anything she should take lessons from you, her and Ace. And I noticed Lurch’s room was starting to look a bit more ah, broken in.”

“Lur- oh.”

“Lawrence,” she clarifies anyways, “I wasn’t calling him that to be mean. Just used to using nicknames like that in my job, that’s all.”

“Yeah, he’s a bit on the messier side.” You think back to picking up after him and can’t stop from smiling, “I always have to remind him to clean up after himself. Sometimes he listens, but then leaves the sheets and blankets all a mess and his clothes all over the place. Sometimes I think he’s doing it on purpose.” At the thought of him purposely doing that to get on your nerves you snicker, if only that was all you had to worry about.

“So you make his bed for him?”

“Um, if I see that he left it a mess.” You try to look at Palmer in the eyes but end up looking right above her instead, “Grandma never liked leaving the house messy,”

Palmer steps over to your desk, looking at the cleaned off surface. “You’re a good girl Delilah.”

“Oh, Thank you-“

“Keep it that way,” The sudden bluntness in Palmer’s voice throws you off guard. She doesn’t look too keen on leaving your room, not yet anyways.

>Try asking Palmer some questions while she's in here or ask her to give you some privacy?
Actually since Delilah brought up cocaine, it reminded me of Sharron's "melons" from Thailand. I wonder if Palmer knows what that actually meant.
You ensure that the key is still safely on your person, “Since your here, can I ask a question?”

“You just did,” she smirks and takes a seat at the desk, sitting backwards on the chair so she can rest her arms against the back, “but since I’m nice I’ll let you ask another one.”

The edge of the bed serves as a spot for you to sit and keep an eye out for anything that Palmer could be doing. “Do people buy melons from Thailand?”

“What.” Palmer looks at you with a blank stare and you now struggle to explain something that you don’t understand either.

“I was just remembering someone who mentioned that before…” you don’t mention that the thought came because you were thinking of this place full of drugs, “and since you’re a police officer I was thinking that you might have heard someone talk about that kind of thing before.”

“Can’t say I’ve heard people going crazy over ‘melons’,” she says while scratching at her cheek, “but that’s not quite the thing people get in trouble for having. Now if you had said something like Poppies-“

Your heart seizes up, “Like Poppy seeds? But they put them on sweets, are those bad?” The long wait that follows as Palmer starts laughing only makes you more nervous, but with tears in her eyes she shakes her head ‘no’.

“You’re allowed to eat Poppy seed muffins, don’t worry.” Palmer manages to compose herself again, her smile hitching up higher as she tries to not laugh again. “But I have heard stories of crates washing up from ships that sunk in Asia only for them to be full of poppies.”

“But why?”

“Those desserts you eat are fine, but for everyone else?” When Palmer stops talking you prepare to hear that it’s too adult for you to understand or that this isn’t a proper conversation.

“Ever heard of opium?” she asks and you take a moment to process the question.

“Maybe…?” you shrug.

“It’s a narcotic drug, people use the seeds to make it. Also has its use in the hospital too, but we’re not usually going after those people.”

“What does it do?”

“Painkiller,” she frowns, “has other uses too, but Some people just want to numb themselves.”
“Numb-“ An image of your mother flashes, “like when people drink.”

“Or plenty of other things.” She sits with you in the grim silence, “but to answer your question, I’ve never arrested anyone over melons.”

“I didn’t say arrest,” you try to laugh it off and grab the bag of movies and look inside, “so did she recommend any of these?”

“Hm? Oh,” Palmer catches on the change of pace and nods, “I think she mentioned that she finally got one called ah, the Outsiders, I think. Might be a good place to start.”

You start pulling out the different cassettes in search of any that stood out, only nodding in response and giving her the hint that you’d like to be alone now.

“Promise me that you won’t sit down and watch ‘em all one in night, okay?” The walk over to the door is slow as Palmer continues to look about, never finding anything to really focus on.

“I promise.”

“Good, now I’ll get out of your hair.” At the door frame she stops and looks back, “Me and Ace are heading out for a little bit. Is there anything you want me to send back with him?”

“Um, a candy bar would be nice.” You think about sharing it with Lawrence and add, “Two, two if that’s okay.”

“Shouldn’t be a problem, I’ll nag him about it so he won’t forget.”

You don’t stop messing with the VHS tapes till Palmer has left the room, in which you start searching around the room to find anything amissed. There doesn’t seem to be anything, nothing that you can spot.

Maybe if you didn’t sneak around so much you wouldn’t find yourself in these kinds of messes, but here you are. It’s hard to say how long your luck will continue or what for sure would happen if they caught you. If your room was on a second story then you could at least pretend that you were a princess locked away in the tower for her own safety. The gray walls around say dungeon and you’d beginning to agree with that thought.

After finding the movie she had mentioned and a few others that might be good for later. If Lawrence is really back by the time he said then you two should be able to watch one together-- you start planning for it despite knowing that it might not happen. It feels like planning for a date, even if this is far from how it would actually be.

You’ve got a few hours before Lawrence is supposed to be back, and it sounds like Crockett and his partner are going to be gone for a bit.

Holding the key out in your palm, you look between it and the stack of movies.

Do you want to go try out doors again or play it safe and prepare a surprise for Lawrence’s return?
Gotta use the time we've got. Doors
It’s best not to waste any opportunity that you get. If Crockett is gone then you should take this as a chance to snoop around by his office. You kind of hope that the key doesn’t work in his door, if only because searching it would be impossible with everything stacked inside.

On the way over you pass by Rizzo. He’s preoccupied in thought so you only give him a brief greeting, one that he barely remembers to return with a mumble. Too busy to be concerned about you, which is exactly what you need.

You stand at the far end of the passage, feeling daunted by the doors you’ve still to try. The only one you know for sure is the furthest one on the end, the place you had found the key to begin with. After finding your father’s room and maybe even your grandfather’s study, you have to wonder how many of these rooms are as important. It sucks not know what was beneath the trapdoor, but you’ll have to figure out a way to loosen it.

Figuring that going down the row would be easiest you start to walk to the end of the hall. You take notice of two heavy bags waiting partway down. They can’t go unchecked and without laying a finger on them you search for a label.

“Lye,” you whisper, unsure of what it is. It sounds like something you’ve seen around the house before and the bags aren’t that strange looking.

Out of sheer curiosity you choose the door closest to the bags instead, only to find that the key doesn’t work. Another one off the list, though you still wish to know what those rooms hold.

Wanting to get it out of the way you try the door to Crockett’s office next. Your heart sinks as the key fits into the lock with a comfortable fit. Out of sheer terror you don’t even try to door to make sure, you don’t even attempt to unlock it. You’ll figure that out later, maybe.

Praying that there’s no possible way you could have messed anything up you back away from the door, searching for any remain clue that you had been there. There’s no reasonable way that would be possible, not any that you could think of, and you quickly busy yourself with the next door.

The next room you’re able to let yourself in feel rather small, at least when compared to the other ones. As you walk around it your feet slide on its smooth, flat floor. It reminds you of locker rooms at school or the changing rooms for pools, it only sticks out to you so much since it’s so different from the rest of the place.

You can’t even stand to flip the light switch on, imagining a scene where you turn around and Crockett is standing there at the door. It doesn’t happen though, no matter how many times you whip the heavy flashlight back around to check.
There are a couple miscellaneous boxes around, most of them look to be rather new. You only take a peek inside of one said box that’s already open. All you find are jugs of cleaning solution and if the similar looking boxes are any indicator, you’re not going to find anything too interesting.

The search is difficult in darkness but you make due. The floor doesn’t seem capable of hiding anything, leaving you to feel about the walls. The grooves in the wooden panels catch your fingertips, this room all around feels strange. The walls that it shares with the rooms next to it don’t reveal anything, they feel like solid walls. The back wall, however, is different. It doesn’t feel like there’s several inches of solid concrete behind them, not like the other ones.

It instead feels more hollow, like it isn’t quite as strong as the others. You point the flashlight everywhere as you follow along this section of the room, searching for anything.

The groove of a door catches your eyes, it’s lock and handle following soon after. Making your way over to it you continue to drag a hand against the wall, hoping to feel for any other surprise.

A deep and painful chill travels from your fingers to the end of your toes, it makes you stop in place. There’s no noise anywhere, no one about to enter this room, nothing weird like that. You chalk it up to the state of the room and rush over to the door instead.

You try the key, but it doesn’t fit in the lock at all. As you try again and again some sort of smell wafts up to you. Kneeling down to the keyhole you figure that it’s coming from whatever is behind the door as you’re greeted with a clean, chemical smell. There’s something else mixed in with it, something you can almost put your finger on.

Searching alone has been easiest, but now you're coming across stuff like this that you can't get in to. Maybe this door can't be forced open, but some of others might.

Do you want to ask Lawrence for his help when he's back or wait till you've explored all the rooms first?
Look for oil and a crowbar. Cooking oil or butter will work fine. Or will be too difficult for Lawrence to sneak around and when he's home the others are too. He might have a better idea where they are and what they're doing though. Might just give him directions and he can go force open stuff for us while we run interference.

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