MASQUERADE V

I didn’t mean to do that.

I did it to you. It’s only fair.

I’m sorry.

There is no need. I understand. Once you taste it, you only want more. I was reaching through your pages and notes for so long but I never expected to break through. And I never expected you would reach back.

You should eat. And drink. I believe it has been nearly a day.

Oh, jesus. I didn’t even realize I was hungry. Yeah. BRB

What does that mean?

Farrow?

Farrow, what do you mean?



Where did you go?




No
No no no nononon


Holy shit, Castile, chill. I’m right here. It means “be right back.”

oh

Sorry.








Listen, we have a problem.

Your gardener was leaving food for me in the winter garden. Snack food, mostly — protein bars, bags of nuts, stuff you get in the checkout aisle. Which, you know, I appreciate since I can’t leave the grounds without getting sick.

Aside from all the screaming and banging, he isn’t the worst host I’ve ever had. If I close my eyes I can pretend like this place is a smelly bed and breakfast. And you said he probably wouldn’t hurt me, right? Except, okay, there’s no food. There hasn’t been anything since two days ago.

I haven’t seen him at all for a while now. The gardener. He’s just gone.

I told

What?

I told him to go away.

You’re kidding me.

You can just DO that? How?

And WHY?

You don’t like him. He scares you.

And through him, me. I do not wish for you to be afraid of me.



Farrow?

Oof. Ok. So

While I appreciate the sentiment

You realize he was the only reason I had anything to eat, right?

I d
I did not think of that, no

Of course you didn’t.

Right? Of course you didn’t.

You want to help me. You want me alive. You want to be my friend.




Right?

Because here’s the thing, Castile, if you could’ve told the gardener to go away this whole time, this whole FUCKING time, then you don’t want to help me. Not really. You’ve been lying to me. You just wanted to keep me here, and you’ve been using that THING to terrorize me. I’m a shit liar, Castile, but that just means I can pick up on other people’s lies real easily.

please

You’ve been keeping me complacent you’ve just

You are not thinking clearly it is not me keeping you here it is the woods the woods have laid a claim to you and I am only trying to protect you f

For GOD’S SAKE castile let me SPEAK!

I’ve fucked up. I stopped even trying to escape. I’ve just been sitting here exchanging fucking, fucking CAMPFIRE stories with a goddamn ghost when I should have been doing everything I could think of to get out of here to get back to Quinn and Simon

Oh my god

oh my god they have no idea what happened to me, they dont

Castile how long has it been?







CASTILE

HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN HERE




I don’t care if it kills me I am leaving. I am going to drag myself back to White Oak and call Quinn and tell her everything. Fuck you. Fuck. you.

He throws the journal to the floor. All coherent thought is lost in a torrent of grief and confusion, rage and some perverse sense of betrayal. Disappointment? All of a sudden, it seems like the growth of years has sprung up around him while he has sat in this old crumbling house, talking to no one, wasting away in an empty silence.

Alone. All alone. The desolation of his solitude crashes down on him. How long has it been since he spoke aloud? Used his voice at all? And when he stands up

When he stands up

When he stands up a hideous tearing pain sears through his legs. With a roar of fury he seizes an old wall sconce and hauls himself to his feet, ripping away the white vines that have grown through the backs of his knees and snaked into the cracks in the floorboards. Blood spatters the mold and the moss.

Farrow. Farrow don’t, just

But the words keep coming and coming as he storms through the house past the grand staircase

That’s where I played a stupid little game with Isabelle and Hazel, I want to tell you about

to the front doors, hanging half off their hinges in the grand foyer. The doors that stand open. They have stood open this whole time, just waiting for him to step through. How could he have been so stupid? How could he be such a fool?

All this time, and he hasn’t done anything but sit inside and rot.

Farrow I’m sorry I should have told you all of what i knew I sh

He stops. All the breath goes out of him.

I cannot see through the doors. I cannot see beyond the foyer. I’m trapped in here more than he’s ever been. What do you see what do you see come back please tell me what do you

He turns! He’s coming b

Last chance. You want to help me?

What is it? What did you see out there?

You tell me.

I can’t. I can’t see past the doors. I SWEAR it’s true

Farrow. Please. I feel your breathing. Calm down. You’re not getting any air

He’s there. Standing outside. At the edge of the woods. My double my doppelganger. He hasn’t looked at me, hasn’t fucking acknowledged me this whole time

and he’s ME, he’s just ME standing there and he was STARING at me and

and he beckoned me.

farrow, I need to tell y

He wants me to follow him into the woods.