The Waiting Game

Summary: "I guess I'm getting the philosopher treatment, because I'm starting to have these strangely deep thoughts about what it'd be like to fade out."/ The scribblings of a boy and his sister in total isolation.

English Family/Suspense Rated: T Chapters:1 Words: Dipper P. & Mabel P.

a/n: This is an one-shot I'm not including with "A Day In The Life", mostly because it has a distinctly darker tone. I mean, seriously, this just doesn't fit in with "A Day In The Life". As a warning, this story is dark. I sort of like this idea, but it's darker. Hope you enjoy!

Day One

This will eventually evolve into the story of how my sister and I die.

It probably isn't a good idea to even write something that grim (God forbid Mabel ever decides to read over my shoulder), but it's already been an hour and I have the nagging sensation that we will never see the light of day. I'm not sure what possessed Wendy to push us down the basement stairs (literally, I need to figure out what a broken elbow looks like) and if it means that the world is ending. But, she locked the door and there are no windows. Whatever is happening, she obviously didn't want us to see it.

I guess I shouldn't worry. Mabel claims I'm too paranoid, and I have to agree with her. Living in Gravity Falls has conditioned me to look over my shoulder; so has the book, which told me to trust no one. I do trust Wendy, though (of course!) She did look kind of scared when she took us out of the living room… I really don't know. If I were like Mabel, I would have stopped complaining about our situation and started to draw unicorns or waffles in the margins. Thankfully, I'm not Mabel.

If this lasts for more than a few hours, I'm going to text Wendy and ask her to unlock the door. We have some supplies down here, stuff that we forced Stan to buy after a hurricane almost crossed over Gravity Falls. Canned food, bottled water, some batteries, and a lantern we saved after Mabel slammed a rat into a pipe with a broom. She's already eating the box of crackers, even though I told her to save it. I have a feeling she only listens to half of what I say.

I actually don't know why I'm writing this. This book is full of empty pages, some of which I already filled with photos (Mabel got one of the wax figures). I think I'm just trying to convince myself that everything will be fine. Writing always calms me down.

Hold on… I just heard a noise. It sounded like glass breaking into the world's loudest amplifier. Is the roof collapsing? Mabel's going up the stairs to check… I'll be back in a minute…

Okay. The door is officially locked. I left the President's key in the attic, and there's nothing down here that can break through the padlock. It must be decades old: there's a huge ring of rust around it. Mabel tried to look through the keyhole, but she said she couldn't see anything. There hasn't been another sound since the first one. I'm starting to get creeped out. I wish I knew where Wendy and Grunkle Stan were. What if the roof fell in on them?

I feel like I'm inside of a dark box on a busy street, blind to the action but hearing it anyway. I can tell that the waiting is taking its toll on Mabel. She's humming, which is never a good sign: it either means she's incredibly bored or incredibly scared. I haven't quite figured out which one it is. All I know is that I'm not going to let anything happen to her. If I had to be pushed into a cold, rat-infested basement (they're looking at me from behind the water heater!) with anyone, I'm glad it was Mabel.

It's almost seventy-thirty. Thank God for my watch. I tried to text Wendy, but my phone is receiving no signal whatsoever. Hopefully, everything will turn out fine and Stan will come downstairs in the night to bring us back up to our bedroom. Mabel's going through our supplies, and she found a can of peaches. Yum. We'll be real survivors, won't we?

I think I'll just tear this page out when we get out of here. I skimmed everything I wrote and I think I'd keel over if somebody read a word of it.

Day Two

My watch says that it's five-forty-one in the morning. I've been awake for two hours now; I haven't dared to switch on the latern and write. I just lulled Mabel back to sleep (a vocal rendition of "The Lamby Dance" is all it takes), but she's still shivering and crying. I wish I could sleep. I wish I could fall into a dreamless sleep- - a coma, even better, and forget everything that happened. But, of course, unless I do something drastic (I'm not leaving Mabel behind), it'll never leave my mind.

I woke up around three, my "Twin Line" off the hook (Mabel's term, not mine). She was hiding under the emergency blanket we found, and I could tell she had had a nightmare. Hold on, I think I can remember everything she said. "I had a dream that the world ended and we were the last ones, and we got out of here and-and we found…" By that point, Mabel was in tears, which is, quite possibly, the most painful thing in the world. I could get shot and still hurt more by Mabel's tears.

I wasn't going to explain to her that I had just been suffering a similar nightmare. I had been dancing with Wendy over the ruins of the Mystery Shack, and, when I twirled her, she turned out to be nothing more than a skeleton. My heart was essentially beating at the speed of light, but it was too dark for her to see the sweat still pouring down my face.

I did what I always did when she had a nightmare. Took her into my arms, ran my fingers through her hair, told her it was okay. If we had been in the attic, she would have gone out like a light, but we were in the basement, where so many things seemed plausible. So, I kind of rocked her for awhile, half-asleep and muttering things that sounded nice (it's okay, everything's all right). Mabel started to calm down some, but neither of us wanted to let go.

That's when we heard the scream.

I don't think I'll ever be able to copy the scream, through words or audio. Unless you crawl into my mind and find the memory, it'll stay trapped in my head for all of eternity. Let's just call it the sound a star might make as it is becoming a black hole. Agony, misery, hopelessness. And it wasn't alone, there were more screams after that, horrible, horrible, horrible… I don't know if I've ever been that scared. Everything we had seen… the gnomes, Gideon (even him trying to cut my tongue out), almost ending up at the end of time, it just couldn't compare. It was the scariest moment of my life.

Mabel just freaked out after that. She jumped up and started to shriek too, a noise more like a knife stabbing my ear and twisting slowly. Anytime I tried to help her, she only freaked out more and started to run around, and I'll admit it: I just gave up. I sat down and watched her panic, throw herself against the door, beat on it furiously.

I didn't help her. I sat there like a rock. When she finally came back down, her voice almost gone, I helped her to the ground and started to sing the song. She's sleeping, but I know there will be more nightmares, deeper, darker nightmares. Some of them will be hers, some of them will be mine.

This isn't what it used to be. At first, it was just a waiting game, and we could make jokes and laugh, because we didn't know we were in danger. Now, it's different. I can't quite explain it… well, I should try, just in case something happens and somebody has to find out what went on down here. I sort of feel like I'm in a coma, where I'm trapped inside my mind and I can only see tiny flashes of the outside world.

Okay, that was a dumb idea. I'll forget about that. I need to focus on Mabel. I can't believe I let her run around and freak out. She was scared and I just sat there. Sure, I can hold her, brush her hair, sing about lambs, but it isn't going to cut it anymore. I've got to protect her. I need to keep her safe. She's my sister, the most important person in my life, and I have to make sure she stays that way.

Okay, here it goes. In a pen (well, pencil, but you get the idea), on paper, sealing the deal. I, Dipper Pines, will do anying and everything to keep Mabel safe.

I should just end on that note. I just realized I haven't had anything to drink since we were locked down here. I'm starting to get that weird dizziness, dehydration dizziness. If I'm lucky, I'll pass out and sleep until the doors open back up.

Day Three

I think I should just do it. Maybe slam my head against the concrete floor. Detach myself from the supplies. Drive this damn pencil through my chest. I deserve it. I've done it and I can't take it back.

Before I started writing this entry (I don't quite understand why I keep doing this), I read the last paragraph I installed. I said if I was lucky, I'd pass out. Because I'm so selfish, so… horrible, I just laid down and fell asleep, hoping it would do something, anything, to change our fate. It did. When I woke up, almost twenty hours later, my "Twin Line" was practically screaming. I've already broken my promise. Go directly to jail, do not pass go. Mabel is sick.

At first, all I could tell was that my mouth felt like it was lined with cotton and was having trouble remembering where I was. Then, it sort of dawned on me, in one horrible wave. The lantern had flickered out and it was quiet, way too quiet. I got up and shook Mabel. My hand is still hot from touching her skin. Her eyes were too bright, her cheeks too pink. She said my name, then coughed, and there were these big tears rolling down her face (like the ones coming out of my own eyes).

I broke my promise. I let something happen to Mabel. If she… no, no, I'm not aloud to even have those thoughts. I feel so helpless, like she's behind a pane of glass and I can't reach her. If I could, I'd take all the pain away for her, even if it meant taking it for myself. I never want Mabel to feel any pain, especially now, when she's already scared and vulnerable. I don't care anymore about what's happening above us. The real tragedy is down here.

I forced her to drink some water a few minutes before sitting down to write this. She had difficulty swallowing, and I had to support her head to keep her from choking. Just looking into those big, glistening eyes made my heart feel like it had been ripped out of my chest.

Those eyes reminded me why I'm here. I can't just do one of those stupid things I mentioned earlier (you're the one who wrote them!) I have to stay alive, so I can make sure Mabel gets through this. She is my sister, she is my better half, she is what keeps me sane in this suffocating darkness. I will keep myself alive. I'll write it until I make it happen. Keep myself alive, keep myself alive, keep myself alive.

Mabel's Symptoms:

Fever

Breathing difficulties (along with a wet cough that occasionally results in flem… no, phlem… no, phlegm!)

Headache (that's all she said, so I don't think if it's worse than her chest pain or not).

Deliriousness

Day Four

It. Has. Been. Four. Days. Eternities have gone by faster. Maybe above ground, time is moving out of sync: generations are flying by, sun, moon, sun, moon. I think- - no, I know that if I'm down here much longer, I'll simply lose my mind. It will be fast. I'll be sitting here, probably writing another entry, when, snap, my mind just breaks and I'm done.

Mabel has been able to drink without choking and speak more than a few words, but, otherwise, the fever rages on. I'm having trouble remembering what she used to be like. What we used to be like. Carefree (well, mostly Mabel), adventurous, never having to worry about illness or insanity. I put my lips on the neck of a bottle, drink, but it's just automatic, I don't want to anymore. But. I. Won't. Leave. Her. Won't won't won't won't…

I guess I'm getting the philosopher treatment, because I'm starting to have these strangely deep thoughts about what it'd be like to fade out. Maybe that's how all the greats started out. Dark room, life is worthless, and then, bolt from the blue, a revelation that blossoms from stone into the minds of generations to come. It's strange. My writing has improved ever since I landed on my elbow and saw natural light for the last time. My hands shake all the time (I can't really control them), but the words flow better, they sound like they belong in a poetry book.

If I were to let go… if something happens to Mabel (knock on wood, God, you didn't hear that), if I let go… would it be worth it? Is this all just a game, a harmless test? Would death save me from a few more days of absolute Hell? Or would the lights come on and would someone jump out of a corner and yell "gotcha!"? Should I take that chance? Should I jump over the edge?

I'm starting to feel cold. Cold in places even a fever couldn't reach. Cold in the way the astronaut is when they take a leap of faith into deep space. I'm shivering again, the words are blurring… The Philosopher Treatment, results guranteed. It's better to jump than to fall, really. I've learned better. I've learned a lot better.

In case this is the last time, I just have this to say. I love my family and I love my friends, and I don't want them to remember me. I want them to move on and not let it burden their own lives. And Mabel, if you ever have to read this, know that I love you more than anyone in the entire world.

You'll know when it's best to let the curtains fall.

Day Five

I'm not even sure how to put this into words. A chair was lowered by God (it's called deus ex machina) and lifted us out of the darkness.

Two hours ago, I heard the sound of a door opening. Having conditioned myself to wake up at small noises (just in case), I managed to slip out of what might've been the grim conclusion. A sallow patch of light stretched across the floor, and a lanky figure stood in the doorway, surrounded by heavenly luminescence. Her red hair had been sheared to her shoulders and her face was patterned with bruises and scrapes, but it was her. Wendy smiled at me from the top of the stairs, remaining calm, casual. "Need a lift, buddy?"

It would be a lie to say that I didn't cry.

On the ride out of Gravity Falls (Wendy had upgraded her vehicle to a government-sanctioned truck), she explained to me what had happened in the simplest terms. A self-assured medium had been experimenting in the graveyard and accidently awoke the undead from their slumber. So, yes, there was a zombie invasion. Apparently, when Wendy saw that they were heading towards Gravity Falls, she took us into the basement to keep us safe. Then, she became a part of a team that brought survivors out of the town and contained the undead.

"I never stopped thinking about you guys. I tried to leave camp, but they wouldn't let me until the last zombies had been contained." As we crossed town limits, Wendy leaned down and kissed me on the cheek. It didn't bring every dead part of me back to life, but my heart hadn't pumped that strongly in ages.

Right now, I am sitting on a bench in Cherokee's Rescue Center, a building meant for safety during storms. Government officials have swarmed on the scene, trying to help people find their families and get moved into their old homes. Mabel is being treated in the infirmary and, before she left to confirm that we had been found, Wendy told me I would be able to see Mabel soon. I took her word for it.

The world seems different now, changed. When I saw Grunkle Stan, he was entertaining a group of kids with a flashlight he had "borrowed" from one of the officials. I'd like to think of him as a changed man, but I know he'd deny it. Still, when I threw myself at him, he didn't let go for a long time, and, for that, I was grateful.

Tragedy changes people, for the better and worse. Me? I want to believe that this event changed everybody, in some little way. Maybe they make ammends with that neighbor who cut down their favorite tree. Maybe they share their clothes with those who don't have any. I bumped into Robbie on my way into the waiting area, and he hugged me. The strange thing was, I hugged him back. Pacifica actually asked me if Mabel was okay. Things are different. And I think I like it.

As much as I'd like to forget that I ever had those dark thoughts, they will stay with me. They have been imprinted in my mind and, someday, when I'm twenty-six or fifty-two, I'll sit up one night and remember that feeling, that empty space feeling. But, I'll know that Mabel is all right, maybe even nearby, and it won't drive me to think about the other side. This book will travel with me, wherever I go, be it back home to my parents or back to Gravity Falls. There are wonders, wonders yet to be seen and loved, that I have to find and share with the world.

Because I know when I'll let my curtains fall.

a/n: This… is one of the weirder things I've written. I don't know if I like it or not. Either way, just know that I'm publishing it independtly: it has nothing to do with "A Day In The Life".