Claudette Morel bides her endless time in the Entity's realm immersing herself in her many botanical hobbies. Picking flowers, discovering new, otherworldly plants that grow in the fog, tending a small garden near the campfire... There's not much else to do, after all. She's grateful at least that she's still able to delight in her most favorite past time in such a horrid place. Had she been unable to, she's sure she'd have lost her mind by now.
Currently, she's occupying herself in a personal refuge. A clearing she discovered a short distance from the camp. Nestled within the center, a small pond. She always finds herself admiring the plants that grow in the water: the lilies and cattail. Even the water itself; it's a marvel how calm it is, despite the chaos surrounding the rest of the fog folks' daily lives.
Claudette's fingers gingerly weave together a floral crown over her lap. It's comprised of weeds, long grass, and lilies of white and pink to adorn it. Usually, she'd opt to use dry plants, but a little variety now and then really spices things up in the realm where nothing ever changes.
She's just about finished with her project. She lifts the crown from her lap and holds it in her hands, admiring her lovely job. Back in the real world, she never indulged in activities like these. Her botanical knowledge was repressed and only presented through her fingertips to the internet chatroom forums she spent most of her time on. She's since learned and almost mastered the craft of weaving these intricate crowns, however. A small smile graces her lips as she raises the crown to place upon her head. But no sooner does she place it to rest, than she sees her form deteriorating into a plume of black fog. Then she's helplessly whisked away into one of the Entity's dark games...
The trial went to Hell fast.
The location, Coldwind Farm. Claudette would have been grateful to be placed in Coldwind any other day, as the expansive cornfield offers amazing concealment. But their killer this time around is the Shape. A large man as quiet as he is menacing. Claudette's never heard him utter a peep, much less a word. Two gens surged to life within the first ten minutes, as there hadn't been any sign of the victims' chosen tormentor. And the reason why soon hit them like a ton of bricks. All four survivors were working together to pop a gen' when Feng Min was snatched off completely out of the blue. The other three had scattered as The Shape drove his blade through her ribcage, killing her almost instantly... Claudette heard Jeff's scream from across the map soon after.
Together, Dwight and Claudette work to repair the last generator, nervous sweat accumulated on their foreheads. They know the Shape must be lurking somewhere in the shadows, just watching and waiting to strike... Claudette's hands are entangled within the bundle of wires in the machine. The pistons atop it are pumping at a steady, fast pace. She gingerly uncrosses two wires and the machine roars to life... The whirring hum of the exit gates powering up rings across the grounds. Both pull away from the active generator and put distance between it. A faint heartbeat can be heard, the entity's warning thumping against their skulls, chilling their blood. Dwight sweeps a sheen of sweat from his face with the sleeve of his arm and gives Claudette a light nudge.
"You go get that door open. I'll distract him." There's confidence in his voice, although betrayed by the fear displayed through his posture. His hands are bunched at his sides, his legs shake, and his face is pallid.
Claudette offers him a reassuring smile and turns to head for the closest gate. "Run him around long enough for me to get the gate open. I'll wait for you."
Dwight's never been the bravest or most headstrong of the bunch, but what he lacks in courage, he makes up for in an underlying sense of loyalty to the rest of them. He understands that togetherness is what gets them through trials, same as Claudette.
Claudette's arrived at the gate and the thumping has since ceased in her head. If the Shape is on Dwight, he doesn't have long. She grasps the heavy switch of the panel beside the gate and yanks it down. A slow, mechanical hum churns. One bulb flashes to life.
She hears Dwight scream in the distance.
Another bulb lights up. Dwight screams again. Claudette shudders and urges the gate to power faster. "Come on-"
The gates power up and each door slides open with a rusted squeal. Escape is dead ahead, but she can't leave him.
Claudette leaves the gate and rushes in the direction she heard Dwight's scream. She can make it, she can help him get out too.
Mere moments later, she hears the heartbeat in her head. Then she catches sight of the Shape, carrying Dwight over his shoulder as he moves purposefully through the corn. Dwight bleeds from a bad wound slashed across his ribcage, but it doesn't inhibit his struggle. He kicks and punches, squirming futilely to free himself. The Shape is headed toward the shack. Claudette can make it there first.
She cuts through the corn, staying out of sight as she nears the shack. She quietly vaults the window into the crude hovel and hears the heartbeat thumping louder as she creeps silently toward the pallet laid against the doorway. He's almost here...
As soon as she glimpses the Shape step into the entryway, she slams the pallet down with as much force as she can muster. He staggers off guard, stunned by the hit as Dwight topples from his shoulder. Claudette shouts, "Run!"
He does without a moment of hesitation. Claudette vaults the window and heads after him.
Dwight's running in the direction of the gate, Claudette tailing close behind him. The thumping in her head grows stronger, the hair on the back of her neck stands up. Myers will be right on her in seconds... Dwight runs with fervor ahead of her despite his bleeding wounds. They've exited the cornfield and the exit gate comes into sight. Relief rushes over Claudette, but it's only momentary.
"Ah-!" A sharp cry escapes her as cold steel slashes across her back between her shoulder blades. She staggers forward and hits the ground. The wound oozes blood and pain jolts through her. Ahead, Dwight comes to an abrupt stop, his head snapping back over his shoulder. Claudette urges, "J-Just go!"
Dwight's face is grief-stricken, and hesitation flickers across his features. But he knows all too well from many past experiences that his effort would be in vain. Neither of them would make it out then. He spares Claudette one last guilt-ridden look and turns back around, hobbling through the exit gate. His form disappears into the fog beyond. Claudette's solace in watching Dwight escape is sapped away and replaced by panic as she's snagged up by the neck in the Shape's vice-like grip. She's lifted off the ground and left dangling helplessly in the air. She punches and kicks at him, but her fight isn't enough. She knows what's coming; his blade plunged through her chest... She shuts her eyes tight and waits.
...But nothing happens.
Claudette re-opens her eyes and sees the Shape's head tilted. Confusion writes onto her face. What could possibly have engrossed his attention like this...?
And the answer becomes quickly apparent to her. His head's tilted up at an angle; he's looking at her flower crown. Claudette's puzzled. Why does he seem so fascinated by it? She's curious, but her urge to escape bests her curiosity. While he's distracted, she makes one last bid to get free, kicking both her feet hard against his chest. The force is enough to completely wrench her free from his grip. She lands unsteadily on her feet as he staggers back, then she turns tail, yearning for escape. She doesn't get far at all, as one of his large hands suddenly snatches a fistful of her dreads. She trips back and screams, thrashing and trying to pull free. He yanks her back to him with little to no effort. And the next thing she knows, his blade sinks into her back. She cries out sharply and tries to pull away, but he rips the blade out and thrusts it in again, deeper even. Claudette's struggle ceases with a whimpering cry. She goes slack and the Shape's grip on her hair yields as he allows her to collapse on the ground at his feet.
Claudette lies curled up fetally, her chest hardly rising. Blood exudes from her mouth. She can hear the Entity's whisperings in her head, lulling her consciousness out of her broken body...
The Shape stares down at the dead girl, watching the form of her body deteriorate into a plume of dark fog, tethering into crackling embers that dissipate. A pool of her blood remains. And resting in it, the flower crown that had adorned her head. Moments of stillness follow before he slowly leans down and gingerly grasps the crown up into his hands. He leans back slowly and tilts his head as he admires the flowery creation. He thumbs specks of blood from a white petal and hums deeply.
Claudette was returned from the punishing grasp of the entity following her death a few hours ago. Now, she sits upon a log, resting against Jake's side as he tinkers with an old watch he found during one of his strolls through the fog. He's been speaking, some commentary of his current task, but she's tuned him out, opting for silence instead. Her gaze rests on the ground as she tries to sort her disarray of thoughts. Her mind is still boggled after the trial. It had gone as they often do, of course, but the killer's attention seemed heavily invested in the flower crown in those last few moments before he killed her.
Why was he so interested in it? After all, he must've seen stranger things in the fog. Dwight once entered a trial garbed as Santa's little helper-
Claudette's gaze snaps up to face Jake as he nudges her none too gently back to reality. "Hm?"
Jake raises a brow. "You alright?"
Claudette nods. "Yeah, just... just tired." She shifts beside him and rests her clasped hands on her lap. There's no reason to dwell on the strange matter any more than she already has. Maybe it was just his first time seeing a flower crown...
Putting it out of mind, her gaze finds the watch that rests in Jake's open palm. "Have you gotten it to work, yet?"
Jake sighs. "Nope. I've taken it apart and put it back together, but the damn thing just won't tick." He tucks the watch down into the pocket of his hoodie and bitterly mutters, "Maybe we just aren't allowed the concept of time here."
"Or maybe you're not as good a repairman as you think you are, Jake."
Claudette's snarky remark earns her a playful jab to the ribs. "That hurts, Claud'," Jake chuckles.
Claudette smiles softly before she stands suddenly from the log, prompting Jake to frown. "Where you headed?" he asks.
"I'm... just going to take a walk." When Jake makes a move to stand, Claudette shakes her head. "I-It's fine, I'll go alone."
A frown forms on Jake's face, but he respects her decision with a small nod. "If you find anything cool, bring it back?"
Claudette nods. Then she starts away from the campfire.
Claudette's left the camp far behind as she traverses the woods. She hugs her torso for what little warmth she can offer herself in the cold fog. And soon, she arrives at her destination.
She smiles as she enters the clearing and approaches the pond. She kneels at the edge of the water and reaches out for a water lily. One with vibrant pink petals. She'll need to make herself another crown. She was disappointed to have lost the first one, but this is a good way to occupy herself, so she can't complain.
Her fingers just brush one of the petals when she notices a large, dark shape in the water's reflection looming over her own. Realization strikes like a ton of bricks and she cries out in fear as she throws herself back. Back right into the legs of the Shape. Her back is pressed against him and her wide eyes snap up to see the blank face of his pale mask staring down at her. She screams in fear and throws herself forward, right into the pond. She scrambles away, the water soaking into the fabric of her skirt. Breathing out rapidly in fear, one hand is raised out in front of her in a defensive matter. The Shape stares back, unmoving. Only the faint rising of his chest is any indication that he is indeed real.
Claudette stammers, "P-Please, don't hurt me!" No sooner does the plea leave her mouth than she takes notice of what's grasped in his right hand. Her flower crown...? The flowers are all but wilted now and the weeds that tie them all together are crusted with dried blood. Confusion writes over Claudette's face as she lifts her gaze to meet his mask. "Why are you...?" She trails off, swallowing a hard lump in her throat. He doesn't respond, but she takes some comfort in the fact that he appears unarmed. Although, a man of his stature surely doesn't need a weapon to inflict fatal harm upon someone...
As the silence pans out, Claudette wills herself to stand. She picks herself up out of the water, the cold, crisp air chilling her wet legs. She hugs herself and returns her fearful gaze to the crown in his hand. "Y-You brought it back for me?" Again, her inquiry remains unanswered. The Shape only silently stares back. Claudette hums nervously. She just wants this interaction over.
"You can keep it. I'Il-I'll just make another."
The Shape suddenly reaches out, startling her. She flinches back as his hand touches her chin, then he angles it upward, making her face him. She's reminded again of how large he is. And just how much she wants to get away from him...
She holds her breath as he slowly raises his other hand and places the crown upon her head. Claudette shudders in fear but otherwise remains deathly still. Once the Shape seems satisfied with his placement, he drops his hand back to his side. His other still holds her chin.
Claudette tentatively lifts her hands and touches his wrist. "T-Thank you," she stammers out.
But the Shape doesn't relinquish his gentle grip on her chin. Instead, he thumbs her cheek, a slow caress that sends a shiver down her spine.
It seems apparent now that he doesn't mean her any harm. But that hardly makes Claudette any less afraid to be in his company. A feeling of intense dread has crept in. She's not used to being so close to a killer that doesn't have any intention of killing her. Hoping to draw this strange interaction to a close, she speaks, "I'll make you one. A matching one..." Her fingers brush over his. She swears she can hear a sharp exhale escape his lips under that mask.
The Shape's hand remains on her chin a moment longer before he drops his arm back to his side. But he makes no other move. Claudette furrows her brows. Goosebumps stipple her skin as she turns slowly and kneels back down. She can hear his low breathing behind her, but no movement. She hates having her back to him. She half expects him to brandish his knife out of nowhere and bury it through her spine.
Claudette's hands shake as she gathers lilies and weeds from the pond. She can't steady them, no matter how much she tries. But she gets fast to work, beginning to weave a crown for the killer behind her.
Claudette tucks a white lily securely into a bundle of woven weeds and pulls back to examine her finished work. The crown is obviously rushed, but she could hardly concentrate, what with the large, intimidating man's presence behind her... She's grateful she's managed to finish it, though. She breathes out slowly in relief and holds it tenderly in her hands as she turns to present it to the Shape. But she must've been so engrossed in her craft, that she only just now realizes he's gone.
Since her strange encounter with Myers, Claudette's been on edge, although she's been unable to discern why. He hadn't harmed her, but he really took a strange interest in the flower crown. And more surprising yet, he even returned it to her. The silent man's never visited any of them out here in the fog. Or maybe he has. He IS the Shape, of course. They'd be none the wiser if he was creeping around the woods in their company...
Claudette's been pulled into many trials since and quickly lost her flower crown. But she's made a habit of replacing her lost crowns with new ones, so as not to enter a trial without. She hopes that if she runs into Myers again, she can finally gift him with a crown. It seemed like he wanted one, so she'll at least oblige and fulfill his strange curiosity...
On another ordinary day (or, as ordinary as they come for the many survivors of the fog...), Claudette's snatched away from the campfire and heaved into yet another trial.
Four gens were popped fast, but disaster struck, signaled by Jane's scream across the wreckage yard. David was sacrificed after, and Adam's demise followed.
Claudette's working furiously to repair the last generator, but she can see the Entity's otherworldly spiny tendrils lifting Adam's discorporate form into the dark sky. She knows she doesn't have long. She works fearfully, tense, and on edge. She hasn't seen the killer once in this trial. She worries it must be one of the stealthy ones... They may not be as brawny as the others, but they're equally as terrifying.
Claudette uncrosses and strips a collection of wires, and the gen comes to life. She hears the ring of the exit gates powering up in the distance. She releases a relieved breath and turns to make a break for it, but she rams right into a wall.
...Which she realizes in horror isn't a wall. It's the solid body of Michael Myers, A.K.A, the Shape.
Claudette gasps out in fear and scrambles back. But she's snagged so suddenly by the bicep that she jerks right back into him. She punches and pries at his hand, her heart thumping fast in her chest. Her struggle comes to an abrupt pause, however, as Myers raises a hand and touches the flower crown that rests upon her head. Claudette's struggle ceases then.
She was so gripped by the fear of being in his company that she'd forgotten completely about her little unorthodox objective.
A frown forms on her lips. "O-Oh. Um-" Her right arm is still trapped in his grip, but she lifts her other and grasps the crown before removing it from her head. "I-I wanted to give this to you. You left before I could, back at the pond..."
She receives no response, only Myers' conventional silence. Claudette sweats nervously when he suddenly unlooses his grip on her arm. She isn't even given time to react as he leans down and hooks his arms behind her knees. Then, she's lifted right up off the ground, a startled yelp escaping her lips. She's sitting trepidatiously upon his locked arms, face to face with him. Her heart beats wildly, more than it's ever done in a trial. And that's saying something, considering she's always being hounded by blood-lusting killers... Puzzlement writes over her face as she suddenly understands the meaning behind the action. She tentatively reaches out and places the crown delicately on his head. She makes sure it's tucked securely over the faux hair of his mask. And with the crown placed, she murmurs, "There."
She fears now he may just kill her. He got what he wanted, surely all he'll do now is sink his blade into her chest-
Claudette's throttled from her paranoid thoughts as Myers suddenly pulls her forward, startling her. She grasps his shoulders to stay balanced and she remains silent, exhaling a quiet gasp. His face is only mere inches from hers now. She can hear his breathing humming behind his mask. Moments of tense silence follow before he begins walking. Claudette holds onto his shoulders to avoid toppling off of him as he makes long strides. Baffled, she inquires, "W-What are you doing?"
Her answer comes in the form of the ethereal hum of the open hatch as they near it. Claudette's fast-beating heart relaxes into a steady tempo.
Myers comes to a stop just before the hatch and sets the girl down. He pulls back to his full height and remains silent and still. Claudette stays where she is, tuning out the melodious chime of the hatch as she faces Myers. She's unsure of what action to take next. Does she just leave? Does she thank him? She briefly considers the possibility that he may not even speak English. It would explain why he's always so silent...
Uncertain of how to appropriately express her gratitude, she decides on a rather risky move.
She leans forward and wraps her arms around his waist, hugging him. He's as startled by her action as she is, judging from the way his body tenses up.
Did she really just hug a killer? Yes. She's hugging a killer... Sigh. Her social graces never were the best...
Myers doesn't return the intimate gesture, as expected. Claudette hums nervously and pulls back. She just might be pushing her luck... So, with one last nervous glance up at his lifeless mask, she turns and steps toward the hatch. A sudden chill jolts up her spine as she feels Myers' hand ghost over the back of her neck. She pauses a moment more and leaps down into the dark void of escape.
The campfire crackles, smoke billowing up into the dark sky. Claudette sits crisscross a few feet from the flickering flames. Her knees are brought to her chest and she's wrapped up in Jake's hoodie, although he's currently absent. He was drawn into a trial while they sat together...
Since her last meeting with Myers, Claudette's felt a sort of weight was lifted off her chest. Satisfaction from finally being relieved of the crown she made for him? Or just to know she won't have to worry about any more intense encounters with him again? Whatever the reason, she's glad the whole dilemma's been resolved.
Jeff is scribbling away in a sketchbook across the fire from her. Kate is humming a soft tune as her fingers dance over the chords of her guitar. Claudette sighs wistfully. She enjoys moments like these around the campfire. Despite the grim reality they're all trapped in, she takes comfort in knowing she'll be able to gather around a warm fire with her mutual acquaintances. And yet, she still seeks a private solitude.
Claudette rises to her feet and steps away. Her movement momentarily draws Jeff's attention up from his sketchpad, but he returns his interest to it. Everyone's so used to her wandering away from camp, they've stopped questioning it. Only Jake will occasionally try to tag along and join her on her quiet strolls. As he's currently absent, however, Claudette walks away without his badgering insistence to join.
Claudette walks the small path carved through the fog and soon arrives at the familiar clearing. She still hugs Jake's hoodie as she approaches the pond and kneels. She's not here to make another crown. Rather, to just admire the solitary beauty of her personal haven. The way the fog glides gently across the water, how the water striders dart across the surface, causing small ripples. Even how the wall of fog only encircles the clearing, but is absent within it.
She breathes out in contentment and tucks herself up within the hoodie, closing her eyes.
Claudette stirs awake, her slumber disturbed by a dark sense besetting her dreams... She squints open her eyes as she lies curled up in an almost fetal pose on the bank of the small pond. Slowly lifting her head, she scans the area around her. And her heart nearly leaps from her chest when she sees him.
She shoots up into a sitting position, her hand clutching the fabric over her chest. Her wide eyes are glued to the still stature of Michael, who stands only a few mere paces away.
Claudette quickly averts her eyes to his hand, noting that once again, he's come unarmed. Willing herself to relax, she eases up and lifts her gaze back to his mask. She speaks softly, "Why are you-" She trails off as she's only just noticed the flower crown that rests upon his head. The one she'd gifted him... Seeing he's kept it all this time tickles her in a funny way. However, the crown is wilted and dead, the flowers devoid of color and the weed weaving broken.
Claudette hums and tilts her head.
"D-Do you want another one?"
Myers, of course, doesn't respond. At least, not verbally. He slowly tilts his head, mirroring hers. Claudette can't get a read on the large man. She sighs in frustration. But she presumes he must be here for another crown. Why else would he return?
She shifts a little and turns to face the pond, resting on her knees. She throws a look back over her shoulder at Michael and timidly pats the grass beside her. "You can sit and watch me do it if you want. M-Maybe you'll even learn how to make your own..."
Myers doesn't move. Claudette returns her gaze to the pond. She reaches out to collect a few lilies when she hears shifting behind her. And Myers startles her half to death when he takes a seat down right beside her. Amusement momentarily flickers across Claudette's face as she watches him cross his long legs. Then his masked face's gaze shifts to hers. Claudette pauses a short moment before she continues collecting the flowers. She glimpses their reflections upon the surface of the water, baffled by the outrageousness of the whole situation. The Shape, a menacing, silent killer, sitting crisscrossed beside her as she weaves him a flower crown. Will he keep returning? The idea isn't as frightening as she would've initially thought it was. After all, he doesn't come with the intent to harm her.
Myers still sits idly beside her as her fingers weave roots and weeds together. Claudette's humming a faint tune as she works.
She never figured she'd be the type of person to grab his attention... He always seemed more intent on Laurie or Kate. But of course, more intent on killing them. Many strange things happen in the Entity's realm, and Claudette's long since given up on trying to understand any of these odd occurrences. Although, unlike the many others that plague her slumbering mind with nightmares, this one won't leave behind any haunting memories. If Michael continues to visit, perhaps she'll even begin to associate him with good memories...