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The Human Puzzle

Sam's Puzzle

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a part of The Human Puzzle, by Shané.

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Shané holds sovereignty over Sam's Puzzle, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Sam's Puzzle is a part of The Human Puzzle.

8 Characters Here

Ember [183] "I'll take your breath away if you're not careful."
Damion [172] "Best stay away. I'm a walking wasteland."
Rezia [170] "I can feel everyone else but myself."
Lydia [170] "Give them an inch and they'll take your smile."
Whispers [149] "There's no one who says my name anymore. Only whispers."
Katherine Delirium [131] "Sometimes seeing isn't believing
Sam Pravus [52] No one deserves anything from life- it simply happens.
Sarah Winters [25] "Life is a bit funny sometimes. I'd laugh at it, if I still knew how."

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Character Portrait: Lydia Character Portrait: Ember Character Portrait: Rezia Character Portrait: Damion Character Portrait: Sam Pravus
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#, as written by Shané
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Sam struck her across the face and Ember fell like a stone. Time warped and became elongated. For hours she was sure she was stuck in the vice like grip of pain; her face and back screaming at her to stay still. Without thought she obeyed their command her sight flickering in and out of focus. Then Damion's cries split her segmented reality in half. The real world rushed back at her and she was aware of two more voices screaming from behind her.
A strangled gasp tore from her throat as she forced herself up to see Damion prostrate on the ground begging, the two guards behind him becoming mangled, peeling flesh before her eyes.

Laughter. A shudder ran through her body. A laughter she'd heard before. Slowly, simultaneously drawn and repelled she turned towards the sound. Rezia, his eyes draining of colour and blood seeping from his nose, stood frozen with the almost unearthly sound leaking out of his mouth. And Sam. Sam was stock still, eyes locked with Rezia's devoid of emotion, though his face still had the hard lines of a rage he had previously had directed at the silver haired youth. Ember was caught in the shock of the picture before her both disbelieving and yet begging that it might be true. A real picture and not just the delusion of a hope she had almost killed bought back to life.

The glint of metal caught her gaze and there was Lydia; the final person in this strange new reality Ember didn't feel part of. A knife was clutched in the girls bloody hand as she stood like a deer in headlights. There was no movement from any of them and the guards behind her had stopped screaming. Something was wrong, this had to be a trap, or some twisted hallucination. Ember was sure her mind had finally snapped under the strain. Nevertheless desperate need drew her up into a standing position. The pain. That was real. The shreds of her back screaming at her. That was reality. Yet she had to ignore it. Stumbling forward Ember wrenched the knife out of the manikin like figure's hands before picking up speed and twisting around to Sam.

Her heart leapt into her mouth. He's going to kill you. You might as well stab yourself and Damion if you're going to do something this foolish. But she had made her decision and mindlessly her momentum carried her forward, her arm swinging back before plunging forward, burying the knife deep into Sam's stomach. An empty howl ripped out of Sam's throat somehow echoing the depth of his supreme rage. Terrified Ember twisted the knife in deeper, thrusting it upward as the blood poured from the gaping wound. The sound cut off to a gurgle. A second later there was complete silence.

Rezia's temporary healing was completely spent. The horror and fear of the past years took over again and immediately Ember yanked out the knife, tumbling back her whole frame shaking, sure that she would be paid back for this tenfold. As soon as the knife was removed, Sam's shell shuddered and collapsed.

Ember backed herself into the corner of the room, holding the knife out in front of her as though for protection. The rims of her eyes were white and her whole body shook violently, the tip of the blade swinging wildly. She waited for Sam's frame to move, to pick itself off the floor and tear her apart.

It remained still.

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Character Portrait: Lydia Character Portrait: Ember Character Portrait: Rezia Character Portrait: Damion
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Rezia reveled in the feel of ripping apart Sam from his memories, his thoughts, his plans. He felt the fear and anger Sam was feeling, the panic. It only egged Rezia on. He was the one in control now and he liked it. Sam wouldn't be able to stop him, couldn't hurt him. Sam didn't have a whole lot of positive emotions for his power to feed on and the negative was ever present but there was just enough positive to keep him from exhausting himself. That meant he didn't have to break eye contact. He could keep the loop up for as long as he needed and he was having too much fun snapping the man that had been doing this to all of them for years.

But then there was an abrupt end. So locked in Sam's mind, Rezia felt it when the knife slid into Sam's abdomen. Rezia cried out in pain, his own hands rising to his abdomen as if he'd been the one stabbed and even choked when Ember thrust the dagger up. Rezia shut his eyes, shattering the connection as he dropped to his knees panting and gasping as if he'd been drowning. His mind and body were frantic, trying to make sense of the pain and the fact that he wasn't dead from the wound. One hand still pressed against his abdomen, his body shaking violently as the physical strain crashed down on him. Spots of blood dripped to the floor from his nose and he coughed, more blood dripping from his mouth. His head felt like someone was sawing it in half and using a jack hammer on the pieces and his body was alight with fire, all his nerve endings seizing in pain. If that wasn't enough Sam's anger and hatred were still flowing through him like his own. He'd known it was going to happen but even he hadn't realized just how much of it he'd absorb. Slowly at least, the immediate panic of death faded.

Rezia opened his eyes, a light silvery grey but there was no empathy in his gaze. It was cold and hard like the edge of a blade. Sam's frame didn't move, but Rezia did. He wiped the blood from his face but his nose was going to be bloody for a bit. He slowly got to his feet and his jaw clenched through the throbbing and his focus went to Damion who was simpering like a fool. "Shut the fuck up you whimpering little prick. What do you think you'll accomplish with your blubbering? The guards are already dead. Fuck," grumbled and gripped his head and swayed a moment. Rezia looked away from the others and stared at the floor and focused on breathing to try and calm himself. Just the sight of them disgusted him. He almost wanted to kill them off himself. It would be easy to. They were on the same side supposedly. It would be easy to take the knife from Ember and return the favor she gave him earlier and run the blade through her ribs. Focus! He had to keep reminding himself that the hatred he felt wasn't his own. He didn't really want them dead.

"So I am sure there are other guards outside of this room. Any plans on getting the fuck out of this place or do I have to come up with everything?" he bit out in his annoyance. He wondered how long this rage would boil his blood.

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Damion


He sat there, his eyes closed in preparation for retaliation, it would be grisly that was a certainty. He refused Sam, finally he refused him. But, it was quiet. It was quiet when there should be misery translated into noise. There should be screaming, pain and threats hanging in the air weighing everyone down the louder and louder it grew. Nothing expect rezia, ordering his silence. Aggressively so. The voice was unmistakably the boys, but the words would have been far more appropriate coming from Sam. Slowly he opened his eyes not quiet sure what he was expecting.

The first thing he saw were bodies, strewn across the floor, void of flesh in some areas, there skin appearing melted and liquid. This was his handiwork of course, though not something he did willingly. Rarely had he ever lost control of his powers but in this instance it appeared to be a blessing. "Oh. I guess I did that huh?" He wondered for a moment. If the guards were dead but he was still alive...... that could mean only one thing. He turned around slowly. It couldn't be true. Something like that could never happen. But it had. Sam was laying on the ground. Cold, and motionless, devoid of anything. No breath, no movement, no hatred in his eyes. Nothing in his eyes, just emptiness. "He's dead? He's dead. He's actually dead!" When the realization finally hit him he stood there silently. But slowly ever so slowly a smile graced his face, and he felt lighter somehow. Never in his life did he ever imagine he would bare witness to Sam losing, let alone a loss that resulted in his death.

It happened unwittingly, without conscious thought. A smile spread across his face stretching ear to ear. He let out a laugh, as if he had just heard the funniest joke in the world. "He's dead I can't believe it! Dead by the same hands he's tortured for so long! The irony is just. It's hilarious." Damion looked over the others, his eyes shifting from Lydia to Rezia, and finally to Ember. He walked towards her slowly, his whole body shaking. Remembering rezia's tone and impatience he spoke up as he marched forward.

"The guards. Whatever guards are left will surely pose a problem. Assuming they think they think fighting us is still worth it with Sam dead and all. Not to mention we still need to find the exit. But we finally have a chance of leaving this nightmare behind us. The guards. Leave them to me. If there are any guards left and they're still willing to put up a fight, then I'll take care of them. I'm still tired and I feel. Shaky. But I'm not going to waste this chance we have. I won't let anyone put us back in a cage. Ever again." When he reached Ember he outstrecthed a nervous, shaking hand towards hers. He looked into her eyes with a determined fire. He had to keep Ember safe. He had to keep everyone safe. "I promise."

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Character Portrait: Lydia Character Portrait: Ember Character Portrait: Rezia Character Portrait: Damion
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Image Lydia felt like a limp puppet, the knife loose in her hand the only thing holding her up. And then the knife was gone, leaving her bloody hand cold. Ember had taken it. Screams. She blinked. Sam was crumpled on the floor, twitching as the last of his life sighed out of his body. Dead? She smiled. This was a dream, wasn't it. This was impossible, wasn't it? Sam...dead? They'd all be killed. Maybe they were already dead? She stared at the blood on her hands. On her dress. Maybe they'd been dead for a long time. The smile on her chapped lips hurt. He was dead. She felt so...light. Even if it was all fake, at least it felt good.

Rezia's harsh voice cut through her daze, leaving her blinking, no longer suspended in one place. The guards. Her mind buzzed. Her eyes fixed on Rezia, ignoring Damion's rejoicing. Oh, poor Rezia. He'd been through so much. They'd all been through a lot, but he'd probably taken more than anyone else. He didn't deserve that.

Damion was speaking, talking through the beginnings of a plan. He revealed that he was feeling weary. That wasn't good. They didn't have a chance if they didn't have the raw ability to destroy the things in their way. But this was only the barest idealization of a plan. Ifs and assumptions. They needed something concrete. So she did what she did best. She started talking.

"Rezia," she murmured, her legs unsteady under her as she walked towards him. "We need to arm ourselves. Guns are stronger than any of us, especially after...everything." She blinked slowly. Her eyes cut to Damion for a moment. " If we can...not melt some guards, maybe we can take their protective gear too. We'll probably need security clearance cards to get through some of the doors. If they don't go into lockdown before we can make any headway, that is." Her brain still felt soft and disoriented, but there was a problem to focus on, something logical, something sane, she could at least center on that. "We can't leave anyone who sees us alive to alert the rest of the compound, or we'll be squished like bugs."

Then she sighed softly, reaching out for Rezia's arm, needing to support herself. As long as she thought about these things from a logical standpoint, she wouldn't melt down. Everything would be fine. She tried to push calm, serene emotions towards Rezia. Everything would be okay. "First, we need to see if there is anything useful down here. When we move out, we should see if we can trap one of the guards alive and get directions out of him before we dispose of him." They did have two bonafide torturers in their midst. Speaking of which. Ember was hunched strangely. Sacrifices had to be made.

"You're injured," she told Ember blandly. "You need this more than I do." She held out her hand, moving away from Rezia a little, towards Ember. What little healing she'd regenerated needed to go towards their strength, their ability to fight. Ember, Not herself. It wouldn't do much, but it was better than nothing, right?

"I'm a liability," she said. " If it comes to it, I can serve as a distraction so you all can escape." In a game of chess, sometimes the pawns had to be sacrificed to protect the stronger pieces. The more of them that could escape, the better. It made sense.

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Character Portrait: Lydia Character Portrait: Ember Character Portrait: Rezia Character Portrait: Damion
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Sam spoke. Ember was sure of it for a second. The hatred, the rage and power that came from Rezias mouth mimicked the past demons spirit. Her mouth went dry. If she thought she suffered when Sam had been in the natural state how much more would she and Damion pay now that his spirit knew how she had struck out at him.

Then the next sentence fell out of Rezias mouth. The underlying anger was still there, but this was Rezia speaking. His purpose escape. Ember felt her body shudder in a mixture of relief and release of pent up tension. Had she really done this? Or was this another all to vivid illusion that would melt away to reveal her much crueller reality? Either way, she might as well play along, even if only to prolong the eventual agony of waking up again.

Dimly she realised Damion was celebrating. With effort she dragged her gaze over to him, her previous terror being replaced by a blank expression. It was hard to find the energy to react. He waltzed over to her then procuring some dramatic speech of how he'd take on the entirety of Sam's legion of guards by himself and never let them hurt her again. Despite herself Ember found a wry smile creeping over her face. She knew he meant it. Every word. This had always been Damion, even when they'd shared the cell beside each other he'd come up with passionate monologues on how someday they might get out and how he'd manage it. But this was the first time she had even the slightest belief that any of it would stoke more than just distraction.

"I promise."

His eyes were ablaze this time with real hope.

"I believe you." The words came out as a murmur, but there was no doubt that she meant it.

Suddenly she realised Lydia had been talking, and it appeared it might be important. Something about getting what they needed from here and getting information. Oh, I'll manage that all right Ember thought dryly to herself. She started to get up to act on these new found plans, when the movement split open the wounds on her back again. She cried out before squeezing her eyes shut as the room swam and pinpricks of light cut out what was left of her vision.

"You're injured…" No kidding Lydia. "You need this more than I do."

Ember's eyes flew open as Lydia reached out to her, evidently intending to mend whatever she could of the tatters left on her back. The girl outlined herself as a liability. Perhaps. Ember couldn't deny the logic of that. However somehow the idea of leaving this one to get out seemed to awake the old Ember, even if only slightly. The hope that the lifeless Sam had bought and Damion's chivalrous promises no longer seemed to fit with the persona Ember had forced herself to correct. In some inexplicable way she felt sure that one more selfish acting causing another death would send her spiralling into the darkness that she had danced at the edge of for too many years. This time something told her she wouldn't be able to pull herself out of it if she allowed that to happen.

"We're all getting out." She hissed the words firmly through clenched teeth.

"I'll take as many knives as I can with me. I know I can do better aiming with them then a gun. Never held one of those machines."

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Character Portrait: Lydia Character Portrait: Ember Character Portrait: Rezia Character Portrait: Damion
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Rezia rolled his eyes at Damion's rejoicing and monologue towards Ember. He was wasting time. Besides, wasn't it a bit early to count their chickens? They still had a lot of hurdles to jump through. They didn't need heroics, just an actual plan to get out. Now that the biggest obstacle was gone, Rezia felt the desire to feel the air of freedom; feel the sun on his skin and know everything now rested on his decisions. Even if it meant dying, he would die free. He held onto that hope that now burned with new energy and tried to use it as a balm for the anger and hatred he felt beneath the surface.

He used his sleeve to staunch the blood from his nose and occasionally from his mouth as he listened to his sister's words. His hands tightened when she once again belittled her own life in the favor of helping Ember. Didn't she understand that all of this shit he did was for her? How could he justify anything if she would ask to be left behind? She wasn't a liability. She was everything. If she died or was left behind, those open doors of freedom would mean nothing. They were a team. Twins. They weren't supposed to be separate. How could he even think of a life without his sister? Of anyone here, she deserved freedom. She gave and gave and gave to people. She was selfless and good and pure. Even when the pressure had gotten too much, she held true to herself where he had fallen into the darkness. She was the last bit of good in his life. Did she really not see it? He didn't have anyone else, nor did he hope to ever have something like what Ember and Damion had. He was too broken for that and eye contact was almost always a one way ticket to taking away emotions from others. He would not risk a relationship.

Even as Ember told Lidia she was not a liability, Rezia tugged his sister back and away from her. He was not going to lose his sister and he knew her well enough that he knew she'd try and find a way to heal Ember anyway. He wasn't going to let it happen. When he was sure his sister wasn't going to topple over, he walked back to Sam's still body and started to search his person. He pulled out an ID card and a white badge he assumed would be the door key. He waved them in the air so the others could see them as he continued to search for anything useful. Sam didn't have much on him beside the badges. He stood up then, hands stained with blood and wiped them on his dark clothing so he'd attract less attention.

"I am sure Sam's key card will have more access than security guards. If we can find a map of the area outside of the facility, that will be useful too. I am sure none of us have been outside and I would hate to run into a canyon or something" he grumbled. Then he went back to his sister's side and placed a hand on her arm both as a support for her and to control her motions. He wasn't sure if it was him or 'Sam' that made him do it. He just didn't want her to fall behind or get any selfless ideas of running down a corridor or something to draw people away from the main group. "Let's get out of here." he announced then as he headed for the door.

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Character Portrait: Lydia Character Portrait: Sarah Winters Character Portrait: Ember Character Portrait: Rezia Character Portrait: Whispers Character Portrait: Damion Character Portrait: Sam Pravus
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Sarah felt her control slipping as soon as everyone began to leave. She was given a firm order to wait with Delirium in case there were any tricks being played between Delirium and Rezia and that she actually wasn't dead. Sam likely thought Delirium was now a puppet when in reality the girl was dead in her arms. She was about to tell the guard as much when a small voice in her head just told her to stay silent and wait.

So Sarah did. She sat alone with this dead girl. A girl she didn't know but also felt like she did. And that was where Sam had made his mistake.

Being alone "guarding" the dead body of Katherine made everything come back in waves. That fog and that mask that had been built up brick by brick over the years was tumbling. Seeing the destruction and the pure unnecessary violence that had surmounted in Katherine’s death blasted through her shield of not knowing. Who she was, where she was, and that she had not been in control for a very long time. Her mind had been broken so thoroughly since the years Stephen had thought her dead that she had never shown any signs of remembering her life, and the idea that all these processes were wrong. Hatred cut through her, strong fierce, like a wildfire. She had not felt such an emotion for a while. It was all for Sam, for the people who had done this to her. Who had made her look at her brother without recognition the first time she saw him again.

The fog was lifting, so Sarah left Katherine where she was, closing her eyes, and walked to the elevator. She went to press the button but a headache began to form, her vision going foggy. Was it the chip he had implanted? Did Sam already recognize her defiance and was trying to prevent her from helping the others? Maybe he'd always put perimeter checks on her chip in case she ever broke the fog. She tried again simply lifting her hand to the button, but her arm was too weak. She vomited promptly on the floor.

Sarah sat down, nearly passing out, and pulled herself back from the elevator doors. Almost instantly all her strength came back and the pain in her head subsided. She was about to wait there defeated when she felt such raw anger and pain strike her mentally. Sarah recoiled, partially confused. No one was near enough to her to be pressing their emotions on her. Usually she had to be at least in the same room to actively feel someone else's thoughts without searching for them herself. Otherwise she has to specifically look into people's minds, and even that doesn't have a far reach.

Sarah reached out blindly with her mind and found a tether to Stephen reaching out to her. She pulled on it and instantly she was in his mind in his thoughts. Even so far below her, she could connect with at least him, her brother. He was angry, and in so much pain. Resilient, rebellious. And... dying. Her brother was dying.

Sarah jumped up and launched herself at the elevator button, instantly the waves of nausea weakness and pain brought her to a blinding stop. She could barely even see. She was paralyzed, shaking and in pain almost near collapse. The button a fingertip out of reach. Again she felt pain from Stephen radiate into her. His last few heartbeats. He was dying, he was planning on dying. Sarah cried out, fighting the insufferable chip in her head, the pain could not stop her. She moved her frozen muscles, her body rejecting every inch she moved her arm.

As she finally, finally had her finger on the button, Stephen's thoughts went dead. Silent. He was gone, and she was too late.

Sarah exploded. Her entire fist slammed into the button, her body lurching forward. The chip had given up, shorted out, no longer able to keep up with her resilience. The elevator door opened with a mocking ding!

Sarah entered, Sarah descended. She was going from room to room, each of Sam’s usual places of torture and deceit, taking much longer than she would have liked. She didn’t care now, Stephen was dead. She was just coming to save all who were left, caught in Sam’s game. She schooled her face into emotionless disinterest each time she passed a guard. She had security clearance to be down here, even had a key to get around that had been tucked into one of her boots alongside one of her knives. Just merely Sam’s pet, being called to her master. She finally after much searching felt the minds of the group she was looking for huddled together behind another closed door. She readied herself, pulling out one of said knives.

She swung open the door, revealing a dead Sam on the floor and four people standing ready to leave.

Sarah dropped to her knees, the knife clattering on the floor, and wept.