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/qst/ - Quests

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You're a smart girl, prove that you don't need luck.

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.
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Short baby recap since I meant to run in December and here we are

>the money for granny's heart is still with Grant, who still believes that Delilah's group tried to scam them with counterfeits
>Why there was counterfeits in granny’s money is still unknown
>Brandi, the daughter of a man who worked with Del's grandfather and came along with Grant was taken hostage till the money is returned
>Delilah and Lawrence were able to spend the day together at the compound
>Del was informed that her mother needs to see her at the hospital

Deleted original post cause i was a dummy and it posted before it was ready
When Crockett gave you the option of who would take you to the hospital tomorrow, you were surprised by the fact that you were even given a choice. He didn’t look to take it personally when you asked for Camilla over Palmer, you’re not sure why you’d think that in the first place.

He only took a brief moment of your time with that question, rushing off to go lock himself back into his crowded office. It leaves you more than enough time to lie in Lawrence’s bed as you wait for him to return from the shower, staring up at the ceiling and letting the panic of seeing your mother set in. When Crockett had first brought up the request a familiar, deep seated dread seized in your chest. The same kind that would make you squirm and dawdle every which way you could upon returning home and opening the front door. There would always be a chance that your mother was in a mood, that there would be a reason for her to call you over. Scoldings at best and aimless, harsh and almost always drunk ranting that you could barely understand at the worst, there were plenty of reasons that made you fear her beckoning.

This time is far different though, you aren’t coming home from school or a friend’s house. You’re being driven out from the middle of nowhere to visit a woman chained to her hospital bed, there’s nothing you could possibly fear from her. At least, that’s what you tell yourself.

You wonder how you’re supposed to greet her. All you can think about are the long, despondent but quiet stupors that were interrupted by her rough, raw and emotional moments that usually left one of you two in tears.

Now you try to imagine walking into that hospital room, greeting her like she was anyone else. Just the thought of approaching her so carefree makes your body seize up, but then you try to put the image of your mother looking back at you with a nice, loving smile-

Lawrence comes back to his room to find you curled up on the bed, a pillow suffocated in your arms as you bury your face against it. Everything is so different than you’re used to yet you can’t envision something so normal and happy with her. The memories of her yelling, the sobbing you’d hear from her room, drinking herself to the point that you’d fear finding her lifeless body slumped over in the morning… None of those let you imagine her warmly welcoming you.

The bed shifts with Lawrence’s weight and you mumble from behind the pillow, “I have to go see my mom in the morning…”

That’s all the explanation he needs and you’re allowed to mull over it in peace. You were fine with it at first, as you could just lie there in silence. The scratching of a pencil perks your ears after listening to the sounds for a few minutes you finally rise up to see what he’s doing.
“What’s that?” you ask softly, the rest of your body feeling heavy. Lawrence doesn’t stop or slow down, not even when you approach to look over his shoulder. Expecting words, you’re instead greeted with a rough sketch on the lined paper, and once your eyes follow the curved spine of the lying down figure you realize who his subject was.

“You didn’t start that just now, did you?” Nice as he might make it, the dreary pose only embarrasses you now, even more so when you take a look at the face .”I look so sad in this…”

Without skipping a beat the pencil tip goes from outlining the hand that you had been gripping the pillow with to writing a quick message and back to the drawing again.

if you smile for me I can

“Couldn’t you put that in anyways?” When you feel a grin start to warm up on your face you feel embarrassed that such an easy trick like that worked on you. “Besides, isn’t this too much for you right now? Didn’t they say you shouldn’t be putting too much strain on your shoulder like this? It’s going to be too much stress-”

While your words do nothing to dissuade Lawrence he instead compromises by drawing a cheerier expression.

“Don’t make it too happy or it’ll make me look creepy- Oh but, don’t spend too much time on it if it makes your arm hurt!” You struggle between wanting to watch him work and wanting to keep him safe. His arm moves in stiffer, jerkier motions that you know must pain him, even if he refuses to let you know.

When he doesn’t show signs of wanting to stop you make sure your yawn echoes freely.

“I don’t wanna go to sleep yet,” you rub your eyes with another yawn. “But I’m so tired and I have to wake up early…”

While you wouldn’t actually mind staying up longer the little plan works and Lawrence starts to retire for the night. You take the notebook in hand and stare at the drawing, looking over every little detail he put in before the lights turn off.

Your eyes adjust to the dark soon after, able to see the outline of his body on the bed and the strings dangling on the wall above you. “I know the dreamcatcher I made isn’t too pretty looking, but I think I still like it.”

The bed shifts when he takes his place and you wonder if he can see you smiling in the dark. “I really want it to work, but even if it doesn’t maybe that’s okay. It can be a room decoration for now.”

You inch closer to where he lies on his back, holding onto his arm as you settle in. “If there’s more stuff like that in here, it feels a little less like some kind of prison cell. Or a dungeon, that’s kind of what I’ve been thinking of it as. But maybe it can feel more like a home or something, heh…”

A nervous laugh escapes you but the curls of your hair are touched gently and it feels like you fall asleep with a grin.

“So, how did you sleep last night Ms. Esposito?”

Camilla’s question draws you away from the window. It’s been about ten minutes since you two drove out from the compound and aside from shallow tracks on the road, the land around you is featureless from the snow blanketed over everything. It’s been silent between you two, not even the radio to occupy the space. You hold the cassette player in hand, thinking about listening to it but afraid to appear rude. So instead you try to pass the time by guessing what might be under the piles of snow that appear, far from being anything really fun.

“Uh…” you take a moment to answer, trying to think if there would be some ulterior motive to her question. But you remember who gave you the supplies yesterday and you sink into the seat embarrassed by your paranoia. “Oh right, the dreamcatcher. I think it worked, I slept nice last night.”

You fail to admit that it might have been because you were busy thinking of how you could make Lawrence’s room feel comfy, which led to more ideas about what a house you two could have together would be like and your face heats up even more.

“I’m glad to hear that,” she smiles. Camilla keeps her eyes on the road but you can’t help but feel like she’s avoiding looking directly at you. After a minute or so she speaks up again, her voice unsteady compared to earlier.

“I’m sorry to have to do this, but I must ask you for a favor.”

“From me?” you stare at her, finger pointed back at your chest. You have no idea what that could possibly be and you hesitate from sounding too enthusiastic about it, “I um, maybe I can try?”

“You don’t have to agree to it, no one will be angry.” Camilla’s eyes dart over to you occasionally and she adjusts her hands on the steering wheel, trying to come to terms with whatever she’s about to ask.

“After we’re finished at the hospital here,” she speaks up after some time. “And this is only if you agree to it, remember. But once we are done, would you allow me to escort you to Mariano?”

The name makes your heart skip a beat. “W-...won’t he be mad at us?” you ask with a grimace. “Doesn’t he think we tried to scam them with fake money? That boy, Grant? Still isn’t giving back our money, right? Isn’t that why we still have a hos-...his g-girlfriend?”

“Mariano is far more ah, level headed. He agreed that he would help us with Mrs. Espocito, since he still seems to hold a great deal of respect for your grandfather.”

“Why do I have to go see him?”

“We talked over the phone,” she explains, “but this is a hefty sum of money he would be giving out. He only wants to confirm that we are in fact trying to help the Esposito family, and not trying to trick him into handing it over. He knows that Don had a granddaughter and just wants to meet you to confirm that he’s really going to be helping the family.”

You nod but still feel odd but the whole thing, “How come Crockett didn’t mention any of this yesterday?”
A frown instantly pulls down on Camilla’s face.

“Because he doesn’t know.”


“Mr. Crockett is trying to keep you safe, I promise that. Which means he would have never allowed me to even ask you for this favor.” Camilla risks side looks over at you, her eyebrows scrunching up as she tries not to look upset. “I know going behind his back like this is not ideal, and I know why that would scare you. Mariano is bedridden though, and with your grandmother in the same position…”

“I’m the only one who can go,” your body slumps with the answer.

“I’m sorry, I can understand why you’d say no. But I can assure that if you do go, nothing will happen to you. Marino was always close with your grandfather and he was the one who brought up the idea of helping us right now. All we have to do is go to where he is, and he might ask you a few questions about the family to make sure you are who you are.”

“And that it?”

“Yes. Rizzo and I have already made preparations in case this goes correctly or not,” Camilla speaks with her eyes fixed on the road ahead of her again and adds, “This might mean some help beyond just your grandmother’s operation too, though those are just details to figure out afterward.”

She stays silent, awaiting your answer. It’s all up to you whether or not you go and speak with your grandfather’s old friend. An old friend who helped your grandfather with skeevy business, and now you’re supposed to ask him for help with more. Your head feels light as you decide on an answer…
That seems kinda scary... and yet Mariano hasn't moved against the family, even after grandpa passed, so their friendship must've meant a lot. Not to mention it'd be an opportunity to clear up some things.
... We should do it, even more so if it helps grandma.
“I’ll do it.” You answer with confidence you don’t quite have and Camilla gives a deep sigh of relief.

“Thank you,” she says with shaky breaths. “You have no idea how much stress you just took off of us.” You take note that when she says [/i]us[/i], it must not involve Crockett or Palmer. It’s hard to tell how you feel about this, sneaking about to save your grandmother.

“Are the others going to know?” Already you’ve started to fear that this is something you’re expected to keep quiet about, but Camilla seems prepared to answer.

“Once everything is said and done, then I will tell the others.” Her words don’t sound too pleased and the nervous chuckle doesn’t help either. “Besides, I don’t think I’d have any choice to hide this, not if things go well.”

“Is there a chance it won’t?” The corners of her mouth turn upward.

“I don’t think so, this will be easier than we think.”

“We?” you try not to smile. “Are you scared too?”

“I can’t say that I am not nervous,” laughs Camilla. “There is a lot resting on this. Us going together though? I think us ladies can handle this just fine.”

You nod, somehow finding the shared worry comforting. It actually makes you feel better about going forward with it, as strange as that may feel.

The moment you stepped out of the car you were glued to Camilla’s side. Thick jeans and layers of shirts hidden beneath a large sweater leave only your hands and face exposed. The glasses you borrowed so long ago and a cap you found in storage help shield you further, your mess of hair popping out from beneath. It’s not the most flattering disguise but so long as it works, then that’s all that matters.

“I can hardly recognize you under all that!” Camilla tries her best to keep your spirits up and you do your best to make her think it’s working. You make sure to keep half a step behind, letting her lead you inside and right to the front desk. She requests a doctor by name, not one that you recognize. While that doesn’t bother you the packed waiting room only a short distance away does. More people than there are chairs and you can tell some of those people have been waiting there a good bit already. You know they’re not here for you, but you can’t help but to pull the brim of the cap further over your face just in case.

“Ma’am, he said you can meet him in the break room,” the nurse behind the desk announces as she gets off the phone. She gives Camilla the directions and you’re prepared to follow her once again.

“Wait.” Camilla stops in her tracks and puts a hand to your shoulder, shaking her head. “No, I should have told you earlier. There is someone important here I must meet while you see your mother. If this was any other time I would have stayed with you, but you’ll be safe here. Someone will stick with you till I’m back.”
You don’t like being left alone but there’s nothing you can do to fight it. This is a hospital and despite the amount of people making you nervous, you’re safe here. Still, you feel for the gun holster strapped beneath your sweater before agreeing to stay.

She vanishes down a busy hall and you try not to be too in the way, stepping aside when needed and trying to keep your head down.

“Hello, miss?”

A woman’s voice right in front of you draws your attention, something a little familiar about it/

The nurse standing there gets a wide grin, the name Scarlett shining off the nametag. “Oh, it is you!” she exclaims a bit too excited. “You’re here to see Denise again, right?”

“Um, yes ma’am…” you speak lowly and try to shrink down further, something she takes as shyness.
“Sorry honey, didn’t mean to embarrass ya like that!” The next time she speaks it’s calmer, a voice suitable for being in a hospital. “I was just excited to have recognized you from last time, that’s all. Anyways! If you’re ready now.”

You hardly get a chance to think as the nurse turns with a smile and starts leading you down. She takes your hand to tug you out of the way when some of the other doctors and nurses rush by, a happy look on her face the entire way. “Bit of a busy day,” she whispers. “Sorry it had be like this, but I’m glad to see you came down.”
“Did you know I was coming?” You can tell that the room is getting closer and luckily Scarlett starts to slow down so she can continue speaking.

“Kinda. Denise was talking about a special guest coming down to see her, she was excited all morning. I was honestly a little worried about what I’d do if you didn’t come, I know she would have been heartbroken.”

You have no clue what to say but the nurse doesn’t seem to mind, blissfully unaware just how nervous you are.

“Was she talking about me?” It was hard but you managed to get a question out, the only one you could think of.

Scarlett nods but a shifty gaze comes over her face. With a quick peek around, she huddles closer to you and pulls a ring of keys from her pocket.

“She didn’t mention too many details,” she explains while sorting through the keys. “But from the way she spoke, it sounds like she was missing you dearly.”

You remain quiet, trying to ignore the burn in your throat. Scarlett comes across the specific key she had been searching for and holds it up.

“There was one thing she was asking from me.” She speaks almost too low for you to hear, making you lean in closer. “Now this is a big request, and I’m only even considering it because every time I have been with her she’s been on good behavior.”

“Is that to the handcuff?” You mouth the last word and Scarlett nods.

“She wanted it off just for this visit,” she explains. “It really hurts my heart to see her trapped to that one spot for most of the day, even though I know we have to. But she was really begging me, had tears in her eyes because she didn’t want to feel like she was under lockdown. Now I know for a fact that she’s still too weak to hurt a fly right now, but I’m not her guest, you are.”

Your eyes focus on the key, “I have to choose?”

“I’ll be keeping watch outside the door anyways, I can always come in if things go left.” Scarlett catches your eyes as she adds, “I don’t know what kind of relationship you two have, I already told her that I wouldn’t be able to. But if you feel like you’re okay with it…”

Scarlett holds the key up to you, waiting for you to decide. You’ve never had this kind of power over your mother before, and it’s a bit overwhelming.

Let your mother be free during the visit?
No. We're a smart girl and putting ourselves in unnecessary risk is not smart.
Nah. She's fine as she is.
Well not fine, but she'll be alright.
Mom never really laid a hand on us before. She might've grabbed a little to tight from time to time, but we've seen other parents do that.
It's not like she was... abusive in that way, even when she was deep in the bottle.
Besides, Scarlett is right outside if anything happens. It should be fine.
You give a sad little shake of your head. “It’s the rules, isn’t it?

“It is…” In a moment her face turns red and Scarlett hurriedly puts the keys away. “You’re right, it’s probably for the better. I hope I didn’t offend you or anything. She… she wasn’t violent with you, was she? Ah, that’s so rude of me to ask! Just forget about it-”

“She didn’t hit me.” The answer comes quicker than expected, leaving you silent as you come in terms with defending her so easily. “She’d um, grab my wrist sometimes but that’s about it. But she’s not well right now.”

Scarlett opens her mouth to respond but takes it back, a grimace paining her face. “I’m glad you’re acting responsible,” she forces a grin. “There’s a reason the others call me the ditzy nurse. I can’t imagine that woman being a danger to anyone right now, but there must be a reason why I’m the only one who thinks that. Anyways I’m sorry, let me stop wasting your time.”

You remain quiet as she takes you to the room and you try not to notice how sad even her walk appears. “Just holler if you need anything,” Scarlett’s gloomy smile flashes at you when she unlocks the door, holding it open so you may walk in.

It’s only as you take your first step do you realize how short of breath you’ve become. You take a moment, having advantage of hiding around a short corner before your mother can spot you. The cap and glasses come off, making you believe it’ll be easier to breathe now. Help keep her from being too confused, you think as you spot the chart on the wall.

“I’ve already had my medicine today… no thank you…”

The weak voice makes you freeze in spot, your mother already knows that someone is in here. Telling yourself that it’s too late to back out now, you don’t think about it any further and step forward.

“Hello, m-... mo-mom...,” you try to speak with momentum but it all fades away upon spotting your mother in the bed. First she squints, trying to lean in closer for a better look. You only take a step or two forward, unable to look anywhere but down.

“...you came!” Once she recognizes you your mother’s thin face brightens up and she reaches out for you. The metal on her wrist keeps her back with a sharp clang against the bed frame.

Your lips stay shut and your eyes glued to the laminate floor. She invited you down here, you have no idea how to start this conversation alone. It doesn’t seem like she does either, and the only sound you hear is her messing with the handcuff.
“Wouldn’t take it off,” she grumbles before finally giving up. When you take a glance up you can see her start to tear up.

“I uh…” you feel weird for talking so calmly as your mother becomes visibly upset about her predicament. “I came down here, like you asked me to?”

“You came,” she agrees pitiful. “I didn’t want to be changed up.”

“I’m sorry, those are the rules-“

“Needed to give you something.”

The words stop part way in your mouth. “Give me something, what do you mean? What is it?”

Stray tears are rolling down your mother’s cheeks as she scratches at her head. “I can’t say… I can’t think with the fog…”

“Does your head feel like that…?”

“It did,” her pale hair bounces with frantic nods; “Everything was foggy when I hid them.”

Already your eyes begin to bounce around the room. You can’t even begin to guess what she means by that, what she could have possibly hidden.

“Wouldn’t it be somewhere over there?” You point at her bed. Her head shakes again.

“No no, too easy to find, had to hide further away. Somewhere… somewhere over there,” her finger points vaguely in the place you stand but does nothing to help. “On days they take me for exercise. Would drop it, drop it somewhere.”

“You can remember that but not what it is?” It’s hard not to sound annoyed but the longer you go without knowing the more anxious the room feels.

“It’s… it’s uh…” When the word can’t come to mind she mimics the motion instead, pretending to take something from her hand and swallowing. Wet trails glisten on her face from crying as she says, “Doctor gives.”

“You haven’t been taking your medicine?” It’s amazing your barely hushed whisper isn’t heard. Your mother nods and sinks back into the end, a sulking pout on her face as she jerks her bound hand.

“I don’t like it,” she answers. “Give to Ace, tell him I don’t want to take it.”

“Is that when you called me down here for?”

“Not just that,” she admits. “Something else I needed to tell you…”

Your mother curls up to herself to think, an occasional whimper or sigh leaving as she continues to pull on the chain.

Apparently, there’s a little pile of pills hidden somewhere in this room. As your mother tries to remember the other thing she called you down here for, you could start trying to look for them. Now, whether you give them to Crockett like she asked or hand them over to the nurse…

>Do you want to look for the pills and take them home like your mother asked? Or should you alert the nurse that she’s hiding it?
>Take them home
She was like this last time too, said they were doing this to her, messing her up to keep her here.
Scarlett said her behavior's been good. She wouldn't have offered to unlock the cuffs if mom was unstable or violent.
She should be way worse off if she needed the medication, shouldn't she? Maybe she's right... maybe someone's making her sick on purpose.
We should bring the pills back.
Take them. Mom was a drunk, not paranoid.
You give a cautionary glance at the door and whisper to your mother.

“I’ll find them. Are they over here?” Once she nods you turn to the shelf and cabinets against the wall, unsure of where to start and a bit afraid to touch anything. “I’ll find them, what else did you need to tell me?”

Your mother remains quiet as she thinks, watching you with unfocused eyes. It’s uncomfortable but you don’t really have a choice here. Keeping an eye on the door the best you can, the search begins in the lower cabinets. Nothing fishy pops out as you dig through the boxes of normal supplies, gauze and empty, plastic syringes. No pills though, and you have to move on to the next door.

“Come on,” you look over your shoulder when the next cabinet also turns up nothing. It’s impossible to tell if she’s silent in thought or lost, but time and fear makes you impatient. “M-Mom, focus!”

The words snap out easily but seeing her head jerk up makes you feel regret.

“Someone is coming to visit me,” her answer sounds far calmer than you had. She doesn’t remember the desperate situation she’s in.

“What, now?” You stop from searching the overhead cabinet in fear of someone barging in.

“No… no not now, not yet.” The answer is confident enough to make you continue, though you stop from looking overhead. Scarlett looks to be talking to someone on the other side of the tinted window, no signs of coming in though.

“When? Or I’m, tell me who first.” Afraid to draw too much attention you search drawers, a constant eye at the door. “I need you to tell me mom, who? Uh, is...is it a man?”

Your mother grabs at her head as she tries to think, “N-... I don’t think so. It’s an older girl, she’s coming to me.”

“Wait, like she’s a little older than me?”

“Older than me…”

The choice of words is a bit odd but so is searching for pills your mother has hidden. You take to a jar full of swabs now, mostly out of desperation. At this point you start to doubt that that they’re still here, or if they even existed in the first place.

“Okay, older than you.” Trying not to grit your teeth too hard you continue, “Do you know her? Does she have a name?”

“I can’t remember…” her voice starts to break now and the sound of the chain going taut follows in her frantic grabbing. Pale tangled fall from between her fists as she shakes her head, “I knew who, I recognized who it was. But I was, couldn’t even sit up. Body couldn’t move but I could hear them. My head though, it was foggy. It was so foggy and only some of it was coming through. I knew who it was though! I said I would remember, I need to! I have to!”

“Mom plea-“ That feeble voice of hers can get loud and you start to hush her. It comes to a stop when the sensation of fuzzy cotton gives way to something small and hard, making you dig into the jar with both hands.
You grab all you can, checking and rechecking as your mother mutters alone. “Wait, I found them! How many were there? Does this look right?”

Soon as you try to bring the mismatch of pills for her to look at the door behind you swings.

“Wait Dr. Marsh, I think they’re fine-“ Sasha follows behind a female doctor who storms the room and barely gives a moment to shove your hand down your jean pocket.

“I don’t need you telling me how to do my job.” The doctor snaps back and Scarlett stops right there. She’s left to stand there and feel ashamed for speaking out as the doctor approaches you.

“Did she grab you?” Her voice is almost as curt when talking to you.

“No, it’s okay-“

Once it was obvious you weren’t hurt the doctor ignores you, her eyes moving to look behind you. “We can’t have you acting out, Ms. Denise. You have to behave, remember?”

You’re not even sure if your mother knows she’s being talked at. The frustration of being unable to remember the name has made her lost in her own confusing, cloudy world.

“Who took care of you this morning?” Doctor Marsh sighs as she looks at the chart, “It looks like you didn’t get your morning dose, I’ll take care of that.”

Under her breath your mother cries, “No!”

“I-I think she just needs to work this out a bit-“ Scarlett shuts up once she catches the doctor’s gaze.

“It’s a good thing you aren’t in charge of that then, isn’t it?” Even though Marsh isn’t talking to you her words leave a sting. “If we left that to you it’d be dropped all over the floor or given to the wrong patient.”

Scarlett bites her lip in an attempt not to cry. Your mother doesn’t let the silence last for long.

“I don’t want to take it,” she whispers loud enough to get Marsh’s attention. “Don’t give it to me, please don’t.”

Between her and the nurse, Marsh far more than fed up. It’s not like you can stop them from giving her anything after you leave, but maybe you could convince Marsh to leave your mother alone for now.

>Step in and help your mother?
>Step in and help your mother.
He can at least wait until we're done visiting her right?
>Step in
Does she frequently refuse treatment?
This all seems very unprofessional, unethical even. At least wait until we're done before doping her out of her gourd.
Hopefully Camilla is finished with her thing so she can back us up.
Without thinking about it you rush forward and grab the Doctor by her sleeve.

“No wait!” You not only catch her off guard but also speak too loudly for her liking. It’s hard not to back down from someone staring daggers but you stand firmly. “She doesn’t want it, can’t you see?”

“Doesn’t matter what she wants, it’s what she needs.” Marsh’s words cut right to the bone and in reflex you let go of her. Meanwhile your mother lays slumped over in the bed, her head shaking as she attempts to calm down.

“It was my fault, she’s just a little jumpy!” Your chest feels so tight it starts to hurt but you talk through the pain. “She’s allowed to say no, isn’t she? My da-, my granddad worked in a hospital. I know he complained about patients refusing the medication they needed-“

“And it’s just a sedation!” From behind you Scarlett steps up, her voice barely squeaking out. “Look how much she’s already calmed down! W-Wouldn’t it be best if we didn’t always sedate her anytime she has a little freakout-“

The moment Scarlett started talking it was like you no longer existed. The glare Marsh gives her as the redhead talks puts shivers down your spine. Her hand balls into a fist before the doctor strides over, getting right into her colleagues space with a pointed finger at her chest.

“I don’t need someone who is horrible at their job telling me how to do mine,” the white of Marsh’s teeth bare with each word. “You already know you’re one bad report away from being out of here for good. If you want to keep this job, then I suggest you start listening to people who know what they’re doing.”

Both Scarlett’s eyes and her face are totally red as she stutters and stammers for any coherent words.

“Please don’t be m-mad!” You manage to grab Marsh’s attention and, unfortunately, her unforgiving gaze. “It’s my fault! I um, I asked if any if that stuff could wait till after my visit. I don’t get to see my aunt very often and I wanted to make the most of it.”

You’re letting out whatever lie comes to mind and Marsh sneers like she's scrutinizing every little thing. When she opens her mouth you try to prepare for a barrage of hate just as she had given Scarlett but you are saved by a buzzing.

Marsh removes the pager from her pocket and gives an aggravated scoff. “I have an important job to do,” she sneers at Scarlett again. “You stay here and get this visit finished up. Then I want you to come report to me.”

“B-But you’re n-n-not in charge of her-“

“I wouldn’t test your luck right now.”

The doctor doesn’t even give you a second glance before running out, leaving the three of you behind.

The sniffling and whimpering you now hear from Scarlett makes your apology feel too late but it’s all you can think to do.

“I’m sorry she had to be so rude,” you try not to look as Scarlett wipes her eyes.
“She’s like th-that a lot… Doesn’t help that we’ve been b-busier than we’re used to handling,” Scarlett forces a smile when it obviously doesn’t feel right. She points to the sink in the connected bathroom, “If you wish to speak to her g-go ahead. I need to clean up real q-quick…”

You graciously take this chance to speak privately with your mother again. The running water if the sink echoes as the nurse washes her face and you dare to approach the bed.

“Can you hear me?” you whisper, “Mom? Can you talk to me?”

A blue eye looks up between the long strands of blonde, “...is she gone?”

“That Marsh doc? Yes, but the nurse is in the bathroom right now.”

She nods and sits up more, allowing her face to clear of the hair.

“I can never think clearly when that doctor comes by. I hate her.”

“I can see why…” you mutter. It takes a moment; but you finally notice your mother trying to motion you close. With hesitation you follow, making sure you can jump away if needed.

Your mother only wants to whisper to you it seems and you dare to move in closer, heart pounding wildly.

“I remember a little.” That’s all she says and waits for you to egg her on before explaining, “I remember why I wanted you to come.”

“I got the um, the pills already,” you give a glance back at the bathroom, thankful that Scarlett seems to be the sensitive type.

“Not just that,” her pale face looks at you in fear. “They don’t want me talking, that’s what those are for. They want to keep me all quiet and confused and not tell anyone anything.”

“Whoa hold on, keep you from talking about what?”

“What I saw. What happened. They keep acting like I’m crazy! They make it harder for me to remember things, it’s all under a haze and they keep putting me back in it-“ her lip starts to tremble. “I lose track of days if I don’t write them down but I swear they erase notes I leave myself!”

Her voice starts to crack but she manages on, pulling on her chain again, “My headaches are gone but I’d take them back. I can’t let myself forget anything but it’s getting harder. They’re just going to force me to take them when you’re gone!”

“I’ll talk to my friend,” you say while desperately wishing Camilla was at your side right now. “I’ll get you help as soon as we can!”

With everything you alone have to do today, you’re not sure how long that would actually take. And you have no doubt that you’re mother will be back to being unable to think straight. You can’t do anything once you leave the hospital and there’s no way you can stay here all day. Unlike a certain nurse you hear about to come back out with a freshened face.

>Do you want to ask Scarlett a favor in keeping your mother safe? Or should you keep quiet for now and hope Camilla can do something about this quickly?
Let's ask Scarlett, at least for starters. She's a good, decent person.
It'd be asking a lot though, if she's as close to losing her job as the doctor suggested.
For sure we'd be able to make it up to her if something does happen, we can probably ask Camilla about that.
Ask her to keep an eye on Marsh, and what specifically is done our mother.
I don't think Scarlett can keep her safe. But perhaps she can throw away some pills she gives her, lower the doses? But then the docs might increase them or try other drugs if their effectiveness wears off. Do you think she could sneak out blood, urine and tissue samples that the doc back home can use to determine if they actually are doing something bad to her?

Has the right of it. Ask her to spy in the doctors and nurses involved with our mother.

I wonder if Camilla & co can find a way to kidnap mom from the hospital, I mean I doubt that she can be released in any other way. Whoever these guys are they've got power and money.
It’s hard to tell if she’s actually listening right now but you grab her shoulder to keep her attention.

“I’ll make sure to do everything I can to help,” you talk to her like she was a child. It’s startling when she reaches up for your wrists but her hands lack any strength to hurt you even if she had wanted to. Instead she just needs someone to hold as she sobs.

“This is like hell.” The words whimper and sputter out and through pity you forget how strange it is to comfort your own mother. “I never know what day it is or how many have passed. Can’t tell when something actually happened or if it was some kind of fever dream. I never know where you are or what’s going on here and it’s going to drive me insane! If I’m not already there…”

“Please don’t cry!” Trying to comfort an adult, muchless your mother of all people, feels wrong. It’s so far off from anything you’d imagine doing, yet here you are trying to coddle her. “I’ll ask Ms. Scarlett too, she’s a nice lady isn’t she? I know you can hang on for a little bit longer and then we can make things okay.”

You aren’t quite sure how much you should be promising her right now but it’s keeping her quiet and subdued and you aren’t about to ruin that. There isn’t much else you can do for her anyways, only try to give her a glimmer of hope.

Scarlett comes back out to find you still at your mother’s bedside, giving her vague swears that you’ll help her out of her. It’s hard for you to believe, but to her it’s enough to keep her calm when you have to leave.

With pills loose in your pocket and worrying about some strange woman coming to visit her, you leave with heavy thoughts on your mind.


“I’m sorry you had to see all of that.” Scarlett shuts the door after you, locking it as she looks through its window. You left your mother laying in bed and worn out from the short visit. Her sleeping it off is the best though and you doubt she even heard you say goodbye.

“You mean that rude doctor?” You barely regret the choice of words, if only because you didn’t check to make sure Marsh wasn’t in earshot first.

Scarlett nods and flicks her own head, “Yeah, me being a dummy makes their job harder. Doesn’t help that we’ve been absolutely over our head in word, bet you can tell. It puts everyone on edge.”

“Doesn’t mean she had to be such a jerk,” you mutter. “But you managed to be really nice.”

“Aha well, that’s kind of you to say.” Scarlett’s face warms up with the compliment and you don’t waste a moment.
My aunt said that too,” you look back at your mother’s room. “When we were talking earlier, Denise mentioned how you were one of the nicer people looking after her.” The words continue to charm her further and you have to ignore any feelings of guilt about taking advantage of that. Motioning her closer to you and making her walk slower with your pace, you dare to ask the favor.

“You know, she wasn’t always like that. Like she was a lot more coherent and remember things better. She didn’t get that hurt, right?” The brim of the hat tilts up so you can look up with eyes so pitiful it feels unfair.

After a brief consideration Scarlett answers, “N-...Not quite. At least, when she was first diagnosed it didn’t sound too bad for the situation. Smoke inhalation and blunt trauma to the head can cause some damage to the brain like that, but neither of those were bad enough that she couldn’t walk away from it after some proper care.”

You nod along but something strange strikes you. “Wait, blunt trauma? Did that happen to her?”

She winces when you ask that, “Ah, you didn’t know? Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything then, the doctors might have thought it was best if you didn’t have to worry about it.”

“Wait, tell me!” You kick yourself for sounding so worked up and try to speak again at a calmer volume. “I promise I won’t let anyone know you tell me. I’m um, sixteen, I can handle it. Being kept in the dark just makes me worry more…”

While the nurse is left wondering if this is a good idea or not you stand as tall as you can, hoping the lie is enough to convince her. Or at least take pity on you for trying to lie about your age- to be sure you give her woeful eyes and the sad little tremble of your bottom lip.

“...I know how you feel,” she eventually nods. “That kind of stuff happens even when you’re an adult. When your auntie came in, she had some moderate smoke inhalation and some mild bumps and bruises. Now I didn’t get to treat it or anything, but she apparently suffered an injury to the back of her head. Blunt trauma can be common in fires when parts of the house are collapsing, especially if the roof or walls are falling in.”

“Uh huh…” While you can’t say for sure how bad the damage turned out to be, you know that most of the apartments above yours were still standing. “I didn’t notice anything though, was it not very big?”

With a shake of her head Scarlett makes a circle with her thumb and forefinger, “Only about this big apparently. Still sounded like it hurt, but she was lucky. I think she was lucky that she had all of her hair to cushion the blow.” Her hand runs down the back of her head, giving you a faint idea of where it would have been. “Really nothing to be worried about luckily, which is probably why they didn’t want to bother you with the details.”
“So none of that medicine she’s taking is stuff she needs to live? Like, she’s not going to die if she doesn’t get it?” You try not to show how bothered you feel by this new information, even if you don’t know what to think of it.

“Well, we have her on an IV drip and the like of course to make sure her body is getting everything it needs for a smooth recovery,” she answers. “During her little um, moments though the doctors will usually give her a sedative. In the beginning it kept her from harming herself or the staff when she was disoriented from the fire. Now though… I know she can have her moments but it feels like too much.”

You give an enthusiastic nod, coming right to a stop to look up at her. “I was worried, but I think we agree on that then. I can’t stand seeing her like that, it… it feels like a completely different person.” Not that you miss those outbursts, but perpetually dazed and confused is worse. “So that means you’re the only person who I can ask this favor of.”

That sure as hell catches her attention and in a bold move you take her hand and hold it up to you. “Ms. Scarlett, can you help her? Those pills that make it hard for her to think, I’m scared she’ll be like that forever. She’s scared of that too, I just don’t think she knows how to say it. But maybe the others won’t care, that Doctor Marsh didn’t seem to.”

“I...I understand your concern,” Scarlett’s free hand comes to rest on top of yours. “Hopefully whatever this case is she’s involved with will be resolved and she can finish her recovery at home-”

“And what if they don’t let her go home?” you don’t need to fake the anxiousness now and it hits Scarlett even harder, as you’d hope. “Could you just not give them to her? Maybe the others would see how much better off she’d be without them!”

Already Scarlett wrestles between the favor and her job, leaving you no option but to push it even further.

“I w-want her back the way she was…” Your hands cover your face now, making the words break and tremble as you ham it up. “You’re one of the o-only people who have b-been nice to her, I can’t ask anyone else!”

“Well I um…” Close to cracking and you only need a little more to bring it in.

“Help me keep an eye on her when I c-can’t be here,” you sniff. “She needs someone to help when I can’t. I’m going to talk about what they’re doing to her with the woman I came with but till we can do something… she just needs someone to l-look out for her. Please…”

For a moment it looks like Scarlett is going to have to suck it up and tell you no. Between your words and pleading face, there’s no one somehow like her could stand to turn down the cry for help.
“I’ll do the best I can…” she whispers, putting on a smile that makes her look more worried than anything else. “I’m not always on shift and not always for her, but I’m sure I can ask Dr. Greene for help too.”

“He was that man that was taking care of her last time, right?” Memories of the last visit and how precautious he made you be around your mother surface up. He had such a concern for your safety while Marsh only seemed annoyed that you were in the room.

“Mhm, he’s not a fan of overmedicating. Though they’ve been moving him away from taking care of her recently…” Scarlett’s face goes serious to match the strong tone of her voice, “I know I shouldn’t usually go against my orders but… but I’ll be doing some good this time, won’t I?”

You agree with her wholeheartedly and pray silently that this won’t end up getting her fired or worse.

“And maybe if you see them doing anything else weird with her, I have no idea how much she can’t tell me.”

“I’ll do my best,” she holds her hand out for a promise. You reach out and shake on it, neither of you able to fully hide how nervous you actually feel.

When you were led over to where Camilla was, you and Scarlett had to wait outside the room. After a bit she walked out with a man you don’t recognize and, what really grabbed your attention, the layered sound of multiple people sobbing.

“Thank you for this,” Camilla thanked the doctor with a shared somber shadow on their faces. Before the door fell shut you managed to get a glimpse of a lone hospital bed, a small family gathered around with a doctor standing by. All of them seemed to be mourning the person lying down and you’re only given a little bit of time to wonder why Camilla was here before being led away.

Whatever she was dealing with put a damper on her mood, leaving the walk back to the car completely silent.

Inside the cab Camilla speaks up, only asking for a brief moment to gather herself. You give her that time, fiddling with the bumps in your pocket as you wait anxiously for the time to bring them up.

Right as you find the courage you’re interrupted by Camilla, who turns her head to look at your as she leans it against the steering wheel.

“You know, it really was a big surprise that you chose me for today,” she gives a smile that feels off. “I know you could have gone with the officer lady, she has proper training and a badge to show off if needed.”

“Sure,” you give a slow nod. “But you’re a really good aim with a gun.”

>“So is that why you chose me?” Camilla’s face softens with the question. “Tell me if I’m being silly and overthinking it, but is there a reason you did not go with Palmer? Do you not trust her?”
It's not that we don't trust Palmer, she would've just been too conspicuous, especially if she started showing off her badge.
Mom isn't in the hospital by accident, she probably doesn't even need to be there any longer, and if whoever's interested in keeping it like that gets wind of a random cop coming to see her, they might move her.
... or maybe crime fiction has made us paranoid.
It would look weird if I came with a police officer... It could tip off the bad guys keeping mom chained here
You grab hold of the contents in your pocket, flipping the small rounded objects between your fingers. “I thought it would be better if I wasn’t escorted by a police officer, I think she would have made me stand out too much.”

“Interesting answer.” Camilla nods slowly, “Would you not have felt safer walking around with someone with a badge?”

“Something like that doesn’t matter to everyone though.” Now you hold the assorted pills in your palm, taking one last look before handing them over. “Cause some people bend and break the rules however they want just because they can… It’d be better to blend in.”

“Hn...I’m afraid that is also true-” Camilla gives a brief look over and nearly slams on the brakes when you start brushing off tears with your sleeve.

“That’s what they’re already doing at the hospital,” you hold your your open palm to her, her eyes instantly fixed to the pills. “They’re making her take a bunch of this stuff even though she doesn’t need to. It’s so they can keep her there, so she can’t talk to anyone! One of the nurses told me herself, she doesn’t need to take these!”

“Where did you- wait, your mother? Did you get these from her?” Camilla is quick to relieve them from your hand, picking up each one to examine closer as her face grows more and more shocked. “All of these came from her? How did you get these?”

“She’s been hiding them when she can, they’re why she’s all messed up like that!” When you aren’t speaking you’re biting the thick cuffs of the sweater. Anger starts to fill your fingertips even as your chest trambles with weakness, all the feelings you had stifled during the visit coming to hit you in one terrible mess. “Oh my god, what if I did come with Ms. Palmer? They would know that something was going on and move her without a word! Or what if they do something worse? What if I a-already messed up?”

“No, no you did not mess up.” Her voice strong but not scolding, Camilla puts the drugs away in her purse before turning the towards you the best she can. “I was simply told that she was having a difficult recovery. This though, we’ll do something about it. If I knew what that was I would tell you now but thank you, bringing this was useful.”

You’re not sure if hearing a plan right now would make you feel all that better. This is one of those times where, till it does actually happen, there’s no way to feel truly at peace with it. All you can do is nod, accept it and hope that Camilla feels more confident about it than you do.

It turns out harder to sit in silence than you thought, though you keep your mouth shut out of a lack of knowing what to even say. In fact you keep your eyes to the floorboard, only taking quick looks out of the window as Camilla drives through town. It feels like she’s taking you back as the car travels along the edge of town. Rather than far out to the country, it looks that Mariano’s house is amongst those built within the past decade or so. Bigger and more modern than the ones packed close together, the land separating each one starts to grow with their size. And of course tall fences divide their property from the rest of the world and give you the sense of trespassing despite being out on the road.

“Is there anything I should know before we’re there?” you ask after more than enough time has passed and your eyes stay focused on the staggered properties, wondering if any of these could be the one.

“Nothing you don’t already know,” answers Camilla with a faint grin. “Be polite, speak clearly and perhaps keep it short if we can? But don’t worry about that last one too much, you’ll do fine either way.”

You try to keep that to heart the rest of the way, repeating it to yourself quicker when Camilla finally turns down a long, thin roadway to a house further back. A gate stops her right at the beginning but a quick tip on the keypad and she’s bringing you even closer.

The house turns out smaller than you had imagine, especially compared to the distant neighbors you’d passed first. Not that it still isn’t big, you’d just expected differently than a warm, wooden house that looks like it should be on a farm instead. Camilla parks in the giant U-shaped driveway right in front, putting you two front and center to the house.

She’s gracious enough to help you calm down upon noticing your short breaths in panic, you end up holding Camilla’s hands tightly till you give in.

It feels rather normal walking up to the front door, especially so when you two are left waiting after Camilla rings the bell. The isolation creeps up on you however and any other normality vanishes when the brass slot on the door slides to the side. It’s eye-level to your taller companion and rather than be startled as you had been, Camilla approaches closer to speak through it.

She and whoever stands on the other side give a quick exchange of words that, while they sound Italian, don’t quite sound quite right. Whatever they said gives you access inside, not before making you wait even longer for heavy locks you can hear from outside.

The man who stands at the door looks to be somewhere in his late thirties, maybe just a bit older than Camilla and certainly broader than she is. He reaches a hand out to her, skin olive colored like yours but darkened further by the sun, and as the two greet each other in Italian that you can kind of pick out.
You dare look up at his face during their short hello, eyes jumping to the thick salt-and-pepper hair that looks in need of a cut to trim some of the scruff. When he turn to greet you next you have to keep from gasping. A tanned face with thin lines along his mouth and eyes, he would look like normal if not for a long since healed scar against the right side of his face. Thin where it starts near his squinted eye and flaring out wider towards the back of his head, his hair attempts to grow around the red and white skin.

“Ciao.” He speaks softer than you’d expected yet you can still feel the gruffness in each syllable. You reach out to meet his hand as you’re hardly able to keep your own steady. You receive a firm handshake, but nothing that hurts, and he starts speaking again. “Allora, com’e stato i-”

“Oh, Alonzo. Inglese, please. She doesn’t speak the language.” There’s a familiarity in how Camilla says his name but her request puts him off-guard.

Alonzo turns to you again, the scowl on his face unnerving till he speaks again.

“My English, not so good.” He goes to lock the door behind you, fastening several heavy pieces of metal as you try to take in the area around you. It’s darker inside, but unlike where you’ve been this place is far warmer. Richly colored panels of wood extend to a tall ceiling with yellow light glowing from the lamps afixed to them every few feet. Aside from how open everything is this feels like any regular home and you already start to dread returning to your own dreary place.

A staircase spiraling up to the second story waits nearby, but Alonzo takes you down the ground floor corridor instead. You don’t try to be too nosy but you peek into the rooms you walk past. The study catches you eye, tall bookcases full of books covering most of the room with chairs in the center, begging you to curl up and get comfy.

“It’s good to see you again, Alonzo.” Maybe it’s out of respect for you, but Camilla continues to speak in English. The man barely looks back at her, giving a sullen nod as he guides himself forward with an outstretched hand against the wall.

At Mariano’s room he walks in first, announcing your arrival in Italian before ushering you two in.

The rather small bed in the middle of the room sits empty, the large metallic machine next to it almost looking larger. A wheelchair sits in front of the frame, an oxygen tank at its side. Mariano sits quietly, looking forward at the wall before him with plastic tubes trailing off his face.

You stand there frozen in place, all the panic catching up as you realize that you’re right here with him. Camilla gives you a gentle nudge and you take your first step forward.
H-... hello!” You’re unsure how loud you should be speaking right now and with at least two people watching you approach it only makes you even more nervous. Inch by inch, you move yourself to stand before the wheelchair ridden man.

Mariano might be older now than the grandfather in your memories, but he serves as such a reminder that it almost hurts. A thick blanket around his lap keeps his legs warm, the thick calloused fingers of his hands folded over top, and his eyes closed with a serene grin already on his face.

You’re sure if you’re grandfather had lived longer than his hair would have also turned silver, with similar colored strands wisping off his eyebrows. Mariano’s dark eyes slowly lift opened and the lines on his face deepen as his smile widens.

“You must be Delilah,” he breathes with a heavy accent. It sends goosebumps down your back when you’re reminded how your grandfather had remnants of his mother tongue till the end.

“I am, yessir.” Speak clearly and loudly, just like you were told. It’s difficult but you somehow manage and Mariano’s thin smile grows.

>From behind Camilla gently holds on to your shoulder and whispers, “Alonzo suggested that you two be able to speak in private. But if you wish I can remain in here with you.”
Accept her offer
Ask Mariano if its okay that she stays

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