Hello dear readers~! I promised you all Condition once I figured it out, and here it is in all it's revised glory~
At least, here's the first chapter.
Anxiety I - Endless
Screaming. People running – stopping, shouting once more. Feet going against the ground, hard, as those in charge of the actions tried their best to get away from the inevitable.
Another explosion caused her to cower deeper into the corner she was thrust into, deeper into the dark room underneath the house. She gulped, peeking out once more through the tiny hole in the wall next to her. There was not much she could see; it was dark, save for the flames licking the night sky. She could tell from the shadows when someone would run across her vision, and by this point, she could tell if their steps were full of fear, or excitement. Most of the time, they were townspeople, running and stumbling, only to be ended as soon as they hit the ground.
She waited, another hour, another after that, until it was completely silent. No more screams. No more talking. No more... laughing. Now all she could hear was the fire, but nothing that told her there were any more people near her location.
She moved – something she hadn't done for hours. Her body was stiff, reluctant, shouting at her to go back into her corner where it was safe. But she had to venture out sometime. She had to see everything that had happened – she had to find someone to help her.
The girl stumbled up the stairs, before pushing the cellar door open. It took her a minute to get it to budge, and it forcefully turned the other way on its hinges. It creaked, before hitting the ground with a loud thump! She gulped again, biting her lower lip as she emerged to her surroundings.
The smoke was the first thing that hit her. Then... blood. She walked slowly through the abandoned town, looking at everything she could feast her eyes upon. Everyone was gone – either physically, or they were dead. Her eyes welled, but she couldn't cry. She had to keep looking, she had to keep going. There had to be someone here – she couldn't be the only one!
After a few more minutes, she stumbled upon one body in particular. And it was then that she finally broke.
One woman abruptly sat up, her sleep disturbed by a reoccurring nightmare. Her face, arms, and legs were covered in sweat, she noticed, as she ran her hands through her hair. Her gasps for air were loud and uneven as she tried to calm herself down before she had another panic attack. It's not real... it's not real...It was just a dream, right? She was perfectly fine... safe. Looking around, she thought to reassess what she'd just said. "Safe" was questionable, since the terms of that word were decided by other people. Her room was a concrete cell square, she reminded herself. No windows, no instruments. Just one door that was locked from the outside, her bed, and a desk with a chair. There were stacks of books upon the desk, but little else.As long as I'm here, books are all I need.
She took another deep breath and tossed the covers off of her. The cool air that circulated throughout the room was comforting, as well as the sound she heard outside – the water from the falls outside of the hospital. She got up, grabbing a book from the desk, but then remembering that she couldn't read it in the dark. There was a faint light filtering in from the small square window on her door, but it wasn't sufficient enough. The woman sighed, putting the book on the floor next to her bed, before laying back down. Hugging her pillow, the only thing that lured her back to unconsciousness was the soothing sound of the water outside.
"I had the dream again."
A long-haired brunette sat across a white table from her best friend, a slightly younger woman with short, black hair. The younger one sighed, reaching out and taking her friend's hand. The brunette flinched, before remembering who it was, and intertwining her fingers with the others atop her hand. She sighed.
"Tifa, maybe you should tell them about it. It's important. Something they need to know-"
"Why do they need to know?" Tifa asked. Her eyes narrowed as she looked around the room. A guard was standing by the door, two doctors walking down the hall past them, discussing another patient. She lowered her voice. "Maybe they already do! They know everything else about me Yuffie. Hell, they even know my weight."
Yuffie gave her friend a small smile. "Tifa, you step on a scale once a week. They have to make sure you're healthy."
Tifa scoffed, turning her head and looking the other way. Healthy... right. Maybe she should tell her doctor about the dream, but she... couldn't bring herself to do it. It had been years, and she could never bring herself to tell anyone about it. The only person who knew was Yuffie. Just so they can have something else on me? I'm not giving them that.
You're such a child.
Let these people help you.
Do you wish to suffer forever?
You're already alone... isn't that enough?
"Son of a bitch..."
"Tifa, are you taking your medicine?"
The older woman nodded, looking back at her friend. "Do I have a choice Yuf? Really?" She hung her head. "But... I need to take them don't I? I need them to... get better."
Yuffie nodded when Tifa looked back up at her, and the brunette smiled. The main entrance to the building chimed, and both women looked back to see who entered. A nervous looking man came through, signed his name at the desk on the guest book, and then proceeded on about his business. He didn't pay them or anyone else any attention as he walked to wherever he needed to go.
"I need to get better for them Yuffie. How are they?"
Yuffie laughed. "They're great, are you kidding me? They mixed up my clothes again the other day. Imagine me going into the closet and pulling out a sweater, when it's the middle of August? I mean, it gets cold up here fast, but not this early!" They both laughed, Tifa remembering the antics of the children she left. Once that thought crossed her mind, Yuffie squeezed her hand. "Hey, why don't we go outside? It's nice out."
Tifa nodded. "I hate talking to you in here anyway. I always feel like someone's listening."
Yuffie sighed. "No one's listening Tifa. We're the only ones over here."
Tifa shook her head. "No. That guard has been staring at me this entire time. And so has the clerk behind the window. I swear, since I've walked into this place, she's been watching me. I'm just glad she doesn't handle the food. She knows, Yuffie. Everything! That's why she's trying to kill me. Do what should have been done-"
The younger girl sighed. "Don't talk like that Teef! That's not true." She watched her friend for a moment more. "Come on, let's go."
Outside, the two sat on a bench that overlooked a waterfall on their right. Tifa was decked out in her usual white pants and three-quarter sleeved shirt. Yuffie wore a short-sleeved green shirt with black pants. The latter rubbed her hands on her pants, before hugging her friend around her shoulders.
"Tifa, they miss you. Marlene stares at that sweater everyday you know."
The one addressed looked up when Yuffie said that. "What? Everyday, for the past month?"
Yuffie nodded. "Yes. Always says it's her favorite birthday present ever. She's glad you made it for her, even though it'll be a couple of months before she can wear it. They can't wait to see you again next week."
The brunette's eyes welled, before she looked down at the ground. "They're not too ashamed of me, are they? Or... afraid? I mean, Yuffie –"
"Hush with that!"
"Come on Yuffie! I talk to people who aren't there! At least, not to you, or them! And that night..."
She took Tifa's hand, hugging her tighter. "They love you. They just want you to get better, and to come home. So do I." Yuffie looked down at her watch, and swore. "I have to go get them from school. But, I'll be here, at Healin, next Saturday, bright and early so we can stay as long as we can."
They both stood, and hugged. "Thanks Yuf. What would I do without you?"
Yuffie laughed. "You really want to answer that question? With everything we've been through - hell, how we even met in the first place!"
Tifa laughed nervously. "You're right. Tell the kids I love them. And that I'll be home soon."
"Of course." Yuffie waved as she headed back inside, Tifa staying outside.
There was a cool breeze where she was, ruffling her pants and shirt. Tifa looked around, getting up and approaching the railing. The waterfall was beautiful. It's... endless. Crystal clear water, falling forever down into the lake below. Tifa had a sudden urge to be near it, and she followed the rail to a set of stairs. Descending, she made her way to the lake. There were two other people out here as well: one, a guard, the other, a man doing yoga near the shoreline. The guard eyed her warily, and Tifa tried not to focus on his scrutiny as she approached the water. Is he in on it too? How many people know...?
No one knows you silly girl.
No one knows that you're a coward.
That you stayed hidden and watched the destruction around you!
That you gave up on those people and let them die.
Tifa raised a half-balled fist to her forehead, closing her eyes tightly. She remembered the dream from the night before - from countless nights before. The people running, begging for the pain to end, for it all to end. She opened her eyes, seeing the waterfall in front of her, the calming waters of the lake right at her feet. There was a chiding laughter in her ear, but when she turned around, she saw the guard, his eyes now straight ahead, and the man behind her doing his exercises. There was no one else there. Tifa sighed. I've got to get a grip...
Taking off her shoes, she left them a few feet behind her as she stepped into the lake. The water was cold, a stark and welcome contrast to the heat of the sun. She sighed, closing her eyes and stopping to roll up her pants. Once they were past her knees, she kept walking, until the water was halfway up her shins. Holding her hands behind her back, she reveled in the feeling. This is great...
Her mind wandered as she stood there, once again settling on the images of the children Yuffie was now taking care of. Marlene was eight, and Denzel was ten, both orphans who needed somewhere to go. Like me at one point. She sighed.
I really want to do better by them. I have to get out of here, so I can show them that I really love them... show them me, not the crazy, suicidal person they've seen. Or at least, who I think they remember. I was good, everything was great for so long... Ugh why? Why must I be so stubborn? She lifted her hands above her head, stretching. Why did I have to relapse? Because I'm stupid and refuse to do what I'm supposed to do. But not anymore. I want to be there for them. I'm just glad Yuffie got to keep the kids.
Tifa sighed, dropping her hands and opening her eyes. When she turned around, the yoga man was packing up his mat. He waved to her, and she smiled back. Everyone here has a mutual understanding: Sure we might not all get along, but we're all here for a reason. And that reason is because we're all crazy in some way. Although, the other patients acted differently towards her than each other. Maybe it was because of her history. She was the most violent one here, and even then, that had only been one occasion. There were worse, much worse cases out there than her own, but hers was unique. Everyone else here knew of each other's pasts, of their reasons or previous environments. Not hers. She'd never told anyone where she came from, or who she was, not even her psychiatrists. No one knew what might have caused her "psychotic break," as the doctors call it, and she didn't see herself telling them. It's none of their business.
Suddenly, there were screams coming from the Lodge. Tifa looked up at the main building, her eyes searching for anything that gave a clue as to what caused the screams. She half expected the structure to blow apart, a memory flashing across her eyes of an exploding building and people running and shouting around her. She held her head, before looking up and realizing that the guard was yelling at her to get back inside. She couldn't be kept out here alone, but he had to get inside to see what was going on as well. She quickly stepped out of the water, grabbing her shoes and running for the stairs.
Wonder what could be going on.
Something else you will probably do nothing about.
Hm, maybe they set a trap for you, and they're getting your attention.
Finally do away with you when you couldn't.
"Shut up! Please..." Tifa rubbed her temples.
"Are you alright?" The guard asked, right behind her. Tifa nodded. "Well come on! Something's –"
There was a sound, like thunder. Tifa stopped, looking around, but seeing no clouds. Was that... a gun? Who the hell has a gun?The guard pushed past her now, the safety of others now more important than her own. She understood, reluctantly following him back into the building.
Hope that was enjoyable~!