It's time for the next appointment! No doubt Ells is so excited about it, that she will show up an hour early...or not. When she does arrive, she will be directed, not to Averil's office, but rather to the door from the new to the old clinic. The doctor dressed in jeans and t-shirt as she rummages around in some of the cardboard packing boxes lined along the wall.
A change of plans? Whatever. Ella's garb could be summed up in one word: rogueish. Her leather jacket is done up tightly about her body, equally rugged pants leaving little to the imagination, and multi-eyed Doc Martins replacing the wedges she usually favors in more casual circumstances. Completing the ensemble, dark-hued gloves hug tightly and disappear underneath the cuffs of her jacket.
"The fuck is this," Ella remarks in her foul-mouthed way despite the clarion cast of her voice. The back of her hand presses against her nostrils. "Smells like my grandma's house in here. I'm not helping you move if that's what your plan is."
"Hey, Ella. How are you?" Averil greets with a warm smile and chirpy attitude. "This is the entrance to the old clinic" she explains with a wave of her hand towards the closed door. "We're not moving in there" she smirks, "But I thought we could have a look around. Or, we could go back to my office and I'll drone on at you, and you'll swear a couple of times...a lot of times...and after an hour we'll say 'goodbye' and look forward to the next round." She pulls a large flashlight from one of the boxes. "There you are." Averil looks towards Ella. "What would you like to do?"
"Peachy," Ella singsongs as she hovers around the threshold between new building and old, acclimating to the smell. The hand finally falls away to linger at her hip as the other hand drags two fingers along the nearest wall. Snorting, her expression turns disinterested as her usual malaise-laden resting face takes hold.
"Look, I'm double-parked or some shit," Ella lies blatantly, "I don't care if we go hunting for dust bunnies or go for a hippie roadtrip chasing my dreams. Dealer's choice."
"Giving up your decisions to others, Ella? No complaining then" Averil winks to her patient before handing over a flashlight. "You'll need this" she notes before grabbing another from the box and switching it on. It flickers a little but that is soon fixed by a couple of smacks to the base.
Averil retrieves a very old key from her pocket, unlocking the door before slowly pushing it open. Of course it squeaks. A blast of cold, damp air from the other building. A sound like the structure was taking a breath. Averil sweeps the dark corridor beyond with her light, illuminating peeling wallpaper, cracked floor, and dangling light fittings. "Watch your step." Then she steps inside.
Ella snorts sharply and rolls her eyes. Taking the flashlight in to hand, it turns on easily with a casual flick of the switch. Wiggling it around, she directs it towards the other woman's face obnoxiously before whirling it about as random like some lo-fi lightsaber.
"Hey, just like home," Ella notes sarcastically as she follows as directed with sure steps. The thick heels of her boots fortuitously well suited for wandering about in borderline derelict buildings.
“So cozy, I really feel like opening up doc," Ella jibes dryly. "You forget a few shock therapy cables in here or maybe just an old coffee mug you've got a soft spot for?"
"Sheesh. Thank you for thinking I am so old that I could have worked here" Averil mock pouts, blinking to get her eyesight back after the flashlight glare. "This place was closed down years ago. There were some...incidents. Shock therapy cables may have been involved."
At the end of the corridor is an elevator - the kind where you pull across a grill before using it. "We'll take the stairs" she notes, "Not even I trust the elevator anymore." The sweep of the flashlights is the only brightness in the grey, damp buildings. Electrical cords hang from holes in the wall. Graffiti scrawled in places. Some advertising gangs. Some far older, drawn with crayon by patients. "Any more visions since we last talked?"
"As an intern maybe?" Ella offers but there's no hint of apology laced in to her voice. Instead, her eyes are cast along every nook and cranny, wandering the graffiti laced walls with an air of confidence that come with familiarity. "I think I know these guys," Ella muses, pointing towards one of the barely legible scrawls. "Can't drink for shit."
For her part, Ella doesn't argue with the doctor about skipping the elevator. It gets a wary glance before Ella gives it a solid kick. The shrill complaint of metal on boot cuts through the air with a sharpness kin to broken glass.
"Oops," the younger woman shrugs before carrying on. "Sure, all the time especially after ditching the drugs. It got so bad I went on a bender. That was fun. You ever drink?"
"Of course I drink. How else can I get life experience without major drunken escapades?" Averil replies. "So what did you have visions of? Look, if you'd prefer the drugs to the drink, I can put you back on them. Maybe something a little softer so you don't drool everywhere." She stops at a T-junction, shining her torch down each new corridor. "Let's go right...that would be fitting."
Flashlight lighting the way, Averil walks down the hallway. A knock on one of the closed doors. "The manager slash warden worked there. This place was a full on asylum, among other things. More brutal times." At the end of the corridor, sometimes lit up by the sweep of the beam, stands a young girl. Clad in a white hospital gown that is spattered with dark streaks. Her dirty blonde hair hanging down as she looks at the floor, her face hidden in the dark.
"That shit barely hits me anymore anyway. If you go any weaker I won't even notice," Ella dismisses the offer with a flick of a hand. The beam of her flashlight wanders the ceiling rather than the floor, perhaps more concerned for the structural integrity of the building than whatever the inner child of a wayward patient has decided to share with the world in crayon. As for the visions, Ella focuses on the doctor's silhouette for the span of a heartbeat before resuming her structural assessment. "Nothing important," Ella responds nonchalantly, "Same shit. This time I was straddling some gross mostly naked dude in that motel on the south end of the city." Sniffs sharply, she wrinkles her nose and drags the inset of her arm along her face. "I'd gouged out his eyes or something but he was still breathing."
Ella listens to Averil's description of the locale without interruption. "Always wondered if I'd end up in one of these places. Padded walls and all that." The appearance of the young girl at the end of the corridor barely phases Ella as she dismisses it as just another aspect of her psychosis. "Sometimes I wonder if I'd be better off. I wouldn't have to see creepy bitches like that girl over there." Her flashlight circles in the girl's general direction. "Like living in some fucking B-grade horror movie all the time."
"I take it you didn't know the gross, mostly naked dude" Averil replies, though she makes a mental note to check out any gossip...or assaults...that have happened in that motel recently. "Hopefully, the two of us can make sure that you ending up in a place like this never happens. What girl?"
Averil shines her torch in the indicated direction but can't see anything - the curse of being mortal. "You can see someone there? What does she look like?" The doctor doesn't walk any closer, just letting her torch illuminate the spectral vision. "Describe her to me."
"No, god," Ella feigns gagging as she fearlessly meanders towards The Ring redux. Swiping the flashlight back and forth belligerently, she decapitates the figure with the beams several times. "Fucking nasty. Couldn't pay me enough for that."
"Eh," Ella fills the voice of awkward silence with a dull drone as she hunts about for the right description. "You ever see that movie where this girl crab walks out of the TV. Like that but with lighter hair and a little less of that just-out-of-the-shower look."
"Hey little girl," Ella calls as one would a pet. "Would you like some candy? Coo-coo-chee-coo?" Cracking an impish smile, the whites of her teeth contrast sharply against the gloom of the corridor as they reflect the light cast by her flashlight. Directing it to her own face, she peers over her shoulder at Averil and cackles. "Hahaha. My brain is so fucked."
"The original Japanese or the remake?" Averil muses before deciding that isn't important right now. A nod to the description while she rummages around in her pocket before producing a photo that she shows to Ella. "She look like this?" It is a picture of the girl, albeit alive and...reasonably...well. "Your brain isn't fucked, Ella, it's seeing things beyond what the rest of us do."
The girl nods at the offer of candy, holding out her hand in expectation of some. Her dead eyes staring at Ella before glancing down a dark corridor. There is now some fear on her face, her fingers opening and closing in an urgent grabbing motion. Her feet shuffling nervously.
"The remake?" Ella responds reflexively with a quizzical arching of her brow. She continues to wear a derp grin but her teeth have vanished from view behind the rose hue of her lips. Pointing her flashlight in the direction of the photo, she tilts her head from one side to another as if the lopsided views would allow her to glean more detail than just looking at it head on. "Maybe?" She claps her hands on her thighs and, for a moment, is lost in darkness as the beam of the flashlight is cast around haphazardly. "Kids all look the same to me, annoying little fucks." As for the description of her mind, the whites of her canines appear again as she flashes the doctor a lopsided grin. "'Beyond what the rest of us do' is the very definition of fucked up. Where did you get your degree anyway? Some fifty dollar shit from the University of Zimbabwe?"
Returning her attention to the apparition, Ella's more than happy to play games with the concoctions of her mind. "Yeah, I like candy too. Too bad the doctor took them away. Oh wait," the young woman produces a tiny prescription bottle from a jacket pocket, "she didn't get them all." Tilting her head back, she chews the tablets rather than swallowing them without regard for the dosage instructions. "Here, you can have the rest." She nonchalantly tosses the bottle in the child's general direction. With a rattle of protest, it strikes the ground and rolls much of the rest of the way."
"So, level with me, Goode-Knight, that's your niece or some shit right? Strange way to fuck with me."
Averil rolls her eyes at Ella's comments on her qualifications. "Not really, but I shall clarify a little. Beyond what the rest of us see /and/ it is still real. It's not a delusion, it is merely another layer of reality. And don't denigrate the University of Zimbabwe. The University of Nigeria, however, those guys are always asking for money."
A shake of her head. "I don't have a niece. I don't think so at least. My wife's brothers are pretty active though..." A frown as the bottle rolls along the floor but it is soon picked up by ghostly hands and rises back into the air. Averil gasps at the sight. "It's her. Does she look worried?" The ghostly girl does look a little concerned, clutching the bottle to her chest before she leaves by walking through the wall behind her.
"Yeah, the layer of reality also known as 'fucked up.'" Ella snarks with unbridled skepticism before flicking her hair back over her shoulders nonchalantly. The other woman's shock is enough to encourage Ella to cast her attention back in the direction of the apparition quickly enough to catch the last of the levitation act before the child vanishes through the wall.
"Cool," Ella intones with a measure of enthusiasm she hasn't shown up until this point. Slapping her cheeks as if to wake up, she eyes Averil. "These things really work when you crush 'em up. No wonder those college punks were willing to cough up cash for that shit. Might have to drive me home after you're done playing sideshow." Running her tongue over her teeth, Ella spits the leftovers of the gritty narcotic imperiously in to the dark before thumbing down the corridor. "Yeah, the little sprog looked worried I guess. You wanna go wander through the wall after her?"
"No...we should probably leave" Averil replies, glancing nervously around. "There's lots of ghosts in this place. One of them is a very nasty piece of work that all the others are afraid of. If he is coming..." She starts back the way they came, maybe a little quicker. "I'm not sure why you feel the need to think of yourself as crazy, Ella. You should open your mind to new possibilities. Would you consider talking to another therapist here as well? She has experience with what you're seeing. Maybe she can convince you that it is not a fucked up mind you have, but an enlightened one." She hangs back enough to let Ella go first...even as a rumble deep inside the hospital starts. And then sounds like it is coming closer.
"Aww, what a wuss, I'm sure this ghost just wants a hug." Ella chides with a teasing edge. A playful smile wanders across her lips as she skitters with a skip to catch up to Averil's flank. Like a school girl, she continues the bouncing stride as she clutches the flashlight to her breast and flicks the light on and off.
"Because I am crazy, fucking batty," Ella notes with a bounding leap that brings her to a stop in the other woman's path. The about-face is quick and she leans forward with the flashlight on giving her that campfire menacing cast that the awkward angle gives an otherwise normal looking face. "But that's okay. I don't really give a shit. You can bring all of your friends over if you want, I'm cool with that. We can have a little kumbaya spirit circle thing and talk about all the phalluses we see in our dreams or whatever other shit psychiatry subscribes to these days." At the rumble, Ella tilts a little to the side to peer beyond Averil's silhouette. "Sounds like someone's hungry, or the building is going to come down." The flashlight flicks on and off but it's just Ella's thumb sliding the switch off and on. "We should explore more, for science."
"A hug? Hmm...I think the people who have died at its hands won't agree with that appraisal. But if you need to show how tough and uncaring you are, that's fine. Do what you think you need to do to justify this reality" Averil states with a smile. "You're not crazy, even though you desperately want to be. Then it would make sense, right? Being crazy would make sense. Is that ironic? I should ask Alanis if it is." The louder rumbling makes Averil look back over her shoulder and shine her light down the corridor.
"You have a death wish, Ella? Is that what you think would solve everything?" Averil asks, a little more nervous than she was before. Thankfully, she can't see what Ella now does. A thick blackness seeping through the walls; cold, dark, an abyss of death. Swirling and gliding through the air. The beams of flashlights lost in the dark mass. "If you want to look around..." A deep breath. "Sure, if that's what you want."
"Was that some weird nineties throwback joke?" Ella waggles serpentine like a piece of seaweed in the current, eyes widening slightly. "You must be truly terrified." Straightening, she smiles, seemingly oblivious to the advancement of the light drinking expanse. Ella's expression sours at the mention of a death wish. Straightening, she allows a greedy second to pass, despite the approaching danger, before she continues.
"I tried to kill myself once, maybe it would solve things if I had a little more follow through?" Ella's lower lip puffs out in consideration. "Hmph, not a bad idea I guess." She shakes her head gently, head lowering enough that her burnished tresses cascade forward over her shoulders in a motion that mimics that of the little girl.
"Anyway, let's roll. I'm getting the tail end of some bad trip here. Can't see shit down the hallway for some reason. Do my pupils look strange to you?" Ella tugs at a lower lid.
"Death solves nothing" Averil seems quite adamant about that. "Something I've learned over the last year or so. And if you had killed yourself, then I would have missed your charming company" she half-smiles. "Seriously, that would be a bummer." With the decision to leave having been made...if for all the wrong reasons...Averil is ushering her patient ahead of her. The mention of darkness makes her peer down the flashlight lit hallway with some trepidation before peering into the offered eye. "No, they're fine. Which is what I have been trying to tell you all along. You're not on a trip and your brain isn't fucked. But I may be if we don't get going. And you don't want to deal with my wife."
"Fucking right it'd be a shame," Ella agrees enthusiastically. She allows herself to be shepherded out without much fuss. Getting out back on the street was better than hanging out in a creepy, derelict building anyway. "Whatever you say, I could probably take her. Same time for the next visit?"
"You'd be surprised about how tough she is" Averil smirks about her wife, slamming the door to the old clinic behind her and locking it with that old key. For added pointlessness, she drags a couple of boxes across in front of it...that will stop ghosts! "Sure, Ella, we can chat then. Were you serious about needing to be driven home?"
Not waiting to be dismissed Ella twists mid stride and waves. "Nah, the car's stolen anyway. Who gives a fuck if it gets a dent or two? Later." The leather gloves probably make more sense now.