Updated: Oct 12, 2020
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This time, when we came to around the dinner table, the screams were almost entirely subdued. I went from getting my head crushed beneath Koda’s mammoth paw to sitting next to Jerry in a confusing instant, but in the moment before I died, I started making plans.
Bridget and Tobias leapt to their feet and embraced. “My darling,” she screamed with crocodile tears, “I thought you were dead!”
I also jumped up. Except I went onto the table. Before I could dive across, Wolfgang already had his knife out. I screamed for Hope to move, to get out of the way, but she just sat there, resigned to her fate. Wolfgang stabbed her in the throat, and I speared into him.
His chair rolled backwards, we crashed to the floor, and somewhere along the way he shoved his bony knee into my face and ran out the door. The little bastard was quick. And he was getting better. Hope died almost instantly this time.
“Fuck!” I screamed, getting to my feet. “He’s just gonna keep doing that every single time!”
Tobias looked around and asked, “What happened?”
I answered, still in screaming mode, “A fucking polar bear ate us because we couldn’t find the stupid attic key! This game is bullshit!”
I heard a growling noise and shut right up. It was coming from nearby… No, worse, it was coming from inside me! The seriousness of the situation slowly dawned on me in a jumbled mess of thoughts.
That was my stomach growling, which makes sense. I haven’t eaten in days. But that means our hunger level--like our memory--doesn’t reset after each iteration. Which means, we’re probably all starving right now at different rates, depending on who stayed alive the longest. But then what happens when the hunger gets too strong? What happens when we don’t have the strength to continue? Do we just start dying and restarting and starving over and over forever?
A loud chime interrupted my thoughts.
“Ah, goodie! It seems that the detective has finally arrived. Perhaps he can help us sort out this ghastly affair.”
Everybody screamed some version of “shut the fuck up” at Nathaniel. Not surprisingly, he didn’t seem too bothered by it.
We charged into the great hall, but before we could start barricading the door again, the detective let himself in and began screaming at us, “Everybody listen! Stop screwing around and solve the damned mystery!”
“MAKE US!” Jerry yelled before walking up and spitting into the detective’s face.
“You consistently underestimate the seriousness of this situation and overestimate your own competence. I will not continue to spoon feed you help. If you fail, you shall have no one but yourselves to blame. And I promise, I will let you fail. In the meantime, if you have any questions, Mr. Cholmondeley is at your disposal.”
Much to our surprise, he then turned around, opened the door, and left, slamming the door shut behind him hard enough to make the chandeliers rock.
Jerry turned back to look at us with a triumphant win-face and said, “Ha! That’s one problem solved. What’s next?”
Nathaniel tapped his way into the room, saying, “I believe now would be an excellent time for us all to come together and work as a team if we are to solve the mystery of Bedside Manor.”
“Oh shut the fuck up!” spat Loren. “You’re not even real.” She picked up the poker by the fireplace and proceeded to thwack him over the head repeatedly, with enough force to decapitate any normal human. Nathaniel just stood there and took it with a smile.
“Feel better?” Jerry asked.
“A little, actually. Yeah. You wanna try?” She offered him the poker. He accepted as she added, “It’s quite therapeutic.”
Before Jerry began his turn on the human(?) punching bag, my stomach rumbled again, loud enough to get Claire’s attention.
"You’re hungry," she said without moving her lips.