… It's all a jumbled mess. A jumbled mess of sounds, all from different people...
...All of them feel so familiar, but I can't think of where I've heard all of these voices...
...What do they mean? Who's talking? Please, I need to know!
"-A̸̘͈̒l̷̼̓l̶̩̓̚ ̸̥̾g̷̼͗̿͜ṟ̸̡̓̅o̵͙̭͛͋w̷͙͐n̷̟̉͠ ̸̛͜ŭ̵̠͈ṕ̴̢̻."
"M̶̬͉̭̦͙̝̜̩̞̫̠͋͜ę̷̧̠̤̰͉̝̥͔̖͍̟̻̟͈̤̝̓͆̿͋̑͜ȩ̷̈́̽͛͒̓̓̚͘t̷̛̰͔̤͍̖͓͉̯̖̗̣̃̍̇͌͑̽̿͌̑͐́͊̓̆͛̉̚ ̸̛̪̍́͑̆͘̕̚m̴̗͐͆̒̀ȩ̶̛͖̮͕̝̩͚̘̹͔̖́͛̏̃̆̄́ ̷̫̰͙̣̔͆̿̀̓ơ̵̢̢̢͔̼̭̯̗̗͉̯͎̯̬̩̘̓͋͊͛͛̀̂̊̂̑͑̌͗̄̔͘̕͠ṷ̵̗̫̰̗̻̯́ț̷̛͖̟̞̜̬̹̤͚̫̭̓̓̾̈́̊͐̑̎̚̚͝͝s̵̡̨̟̣̭̟͖̘̪̜̬̳̖̯̣̫̦͉͛̃̀̇͋̾͑̽͝î̴̜͖̬̗̘̪̭̗̝̭̜̣̜̼͙̳̙̓d̸̛͖̩̭̼̟̺̥̺͈̱̜̝͖͖̪͍̘͇͌̀̾͗̑̍̓͊̊̈͌̽̓̓̕̕͝ȩ̶̨̩̜̝̳̳͓͇̜͇̙̞̺͂̀̈́͆̋̄̿̌͒͘͜ͅ.̶̙͎̩͐̑͆̃͠͠͝"
"Aka!" I was forced out of my sleep by someone slapping my forehead. Once I opened my eyes, It wasn't a surprise to see Poppy hovering over me.
"Geez, talk about a heavy sleeper! How'd ya snooze right through the announcement?" She questioned, not giving me any time to fully wake up. As I sat up in bed, Poppy backed away, giving me some space.
"Announcement? What are you talking about?" I responded, rubbing my eyes. A glance around the room reminded me of where I was.
"There was an announcement like half an hour ago! It was all like, 'hey it's mornin', get up' and woke pretty much everyone up except you, ya stupid!" Poppy explained, clearly a morning person considering how energetic she was.
"Anything else happen?" I continued questioning, standing up in an attempt to adjust myself to being awake.
"Oh yeah! The others decided that it'd be best to eat breakfast together so we can talk about gettin' out of here and junk," Poppy explained in a rush, bouncing to my cell door and opening it, "C'mon, you're already late enough!" Pushing me out of the door, Poppy hurried me across the prison to the cafeteria, and filled me in on how they decided upon their breakfast club plan.
"So at first, most of us wanted to eat in our our rooms, cuz y'know, murder game or whatever, but then that Urkstine-"
"-Urkstin guy was sayin' that it didn't seem like a safe idea."
"And everyone just agreed with him?"
"Well nah, mostly everyone agreed after three other people backed him up. Then they came up with eatin' together, and now we're here!"
"Well, I mean, yeah, I don't see why anyone wouldn't wanna do that…" That last response from Poppy lingered for a bit, while I contemplated whether or not to tell Poppy about Ceáser. Poppy seemed to read my face like a book though.
"Somethin' wrong?" Her question seemed innocent, like she had forgotten about what we did...
"...Do you remember what we did to that guy yesterday when we woke up?"
"His name is Ceáser Bálad."
"So...like Caesar Salad but fancy?"
"...How'd ya figure his name out?"
"We have name plates above our cells."
"We have to get him out." My statement caused Poppy to jump a bit.
"Huh?! Dude, he threatened us, remember?"
"Yeah, but the rules say he's getting 'punished' for being outside of his cell, and we don't know how severe the punishment could be."
"We have to let him out to keep him from getting hurt, Poppy."
"How are we gonna keep him from attacking us then?" She retorted, obviously concerned for her own safety.
"Look, if we apologize, explain ourselves, maybe get him something to eat, he hopefully won't be at our throats."
"...You think that'll be enough?"
"...I hope so." After we finished that exchange, we continued to walk, now in silence, until we opened the double doors of the cafeteria, where everyone else had been awaiting our arrival.
The first thing I noticed upon my arrival was the sour look plastered on Mia's face, which didn't surprise me in the least.
"You're late," she scoffed, "You should be grateful Hale came to wake you up."
"Now, now, Mia, it's still early in the morning, no need to be so hostile..." Joseph, one of the many sitting around the table, said with a weak smile. This attempt to calm the situation was successful and Mia backed off, while the rest of the crew conversed.
"So, did you fill her in on the situation, mate?" Jambo asked Poppy, leaning back in his seat to look at her.
"Sure did!" Poppy responded, sounding her usual cheerful way, "Now let's just hope she doesn't oversleep again!" While Poppy and the rest joked about me being a heavy sleeper, I got myself some breakfast and sat down, joining in on the conversation.
"Whaddja get for breakfast Kaka?" Poppy asked, moving her seat to be within uncomfortable distance.
"Just eggs and bacon," I explained, trying to scoot away from her a bit, "I'm surprised at the amount of options we have though. It's like an all you can eat buffet and all of it is still warm."
"I know right? It's really cool though, since now I have so many more options for breakfast!" Urkstin chimed it, shooting out of his seat a bit, trying to keep high spirits.
"That's certainly one way to put it, hun." Risa replied, patting Urkstin on the back, seated next to him like a mom controlling a hyperactive child.
"It does make you wonder though, does it not?" Liam started, sipping on what seemed to be a steamy cup of tea, his pinky finger extended outwards. "Why go through the tremendous effort to give us all of these brilliant dining options?"
"Whatever the reason, I'm not complaining!" Akira answered, delightfully eating her own breakfast. As everyone continued their breakfast discussion, I kept to myself, analyzing everyone intently, noticing quirks, habits, and personality traits for everyone.
"Y-you must really like coffee..." The timid Jinju spoke up to me, shocking me a bit. He was seated across from me and Poppy, and had apparently noticed me finishing my cup of coffee almost absentmindedly.
"Oh, uhm, yeah. I like to drink it a lot in the morning, it helps me wake up." I responded, showing off my poor casual conversation skills.
"How do ya like your coffee?" Poppy butted in.
"I uh, just like mine with a cup of cream and just a bit of sugar. It tastes good, for me, I guess." I responded, drinking the last of my first cup, and getting up to get more while following the conversation.
"Boooo, that's not nearly enough! If ya ain't putin' in at least five of each, ya coffee just tastes terrible!" Poppy retorted, making her stance on 'coffee' very clear, which got the attention of the other groups at the other tables.
"You sure seem passionate about your coffee." Joseph said, causing Poppy to start defending herself against the rest of the room.
"I'm not passionate, I just hate the bitterness of regula' coffee!" She responded, drinking from her own cup while my second cup was ready.
"Well personally I don't like coffee," Joseph responded back, laughing a bit, "It may sound a bit childish, but I enjoy a glass of orange juice in the morning instead."
"I'm with Poppy!" Urkstin chimed in, "I hate regular coffee...probably! I don't drink it, but I'm sure her version is better than a regular cup." His and Joseph's friendly demeanors gave some of the more reserved people to add in their own opinions.
"I don't know what you're on about, pure black coffee is the way to go," Jambo spoke, taking a sip of his mug, "You tossers don't know the kick that the bitterness gives. It's what wakes me up in the morning."
"Agreed." Responded both Risa and Mia, both glancing at each other for a moment at the synchronization, before Risa continued, "I also just enjoy bitter things more than anything else. I couldn't imagine drinking what you do, hun." She finished, leaning forward on the table and pointing at Poppy while I sat down with my second cup.
"I have grown a disdain for coffee over the years. I have chosen to drink tea instead. It is peaceful and helps me maintain a sense of balance within myself in these trying times," Liam added in, sipping his drink, "Which would be a wise decision for all of us, in my personal opinion. We do not want anyone to start to panic, especially given the circumstances." His words brought us all back to reality for a moment. The situation we were forced into yesterday, and how this murdering 'game' could cause all of us to suspect each other and potentially go insane with all of the tension and stress.
Some of us, like myself, Mia, or Jambo, seemed to keep a similar uninterested look on our faces, even after remembering the circumstances of this 'game'. Whether or not we were actually affected by it were unclear, but I knew that deep down I was terrified. Others, like Akira, Jinju, and Risa, were visibly shaken upon remembering what they were involved in. Risa in particular, looked extremely shaken up, which led to Urkstin attempting to calm her down and comfort her. If there was one person with the most interesting reaction though, it would be the girl sitting right next to me.
"I wonda' if it's possible to stretch out my cheeks like Squirrels do." We all collectively turned to look at Poppy, who was busy stretching her mouth and eyeing a bowl of grapes that was on the table.
"...What?" Mia spoke up first, just as confused as we all were. Before any of us to ask anything else, Poppy just started popping grapes into her mouth, trying to fit as many as she could. While she was being an accidental distraction, I took the time to gather a second tray of food for Ceáser, while preparing several different apologies in my head. While half of the lunch room was busy cheering Poppy on while she shoved more and more grapes into her mouth, I walked towards the exit, only to be stopped short by a voice.
"Oi Bugga, where do you think you're taking yourself?" Jambo called out, causing the rest of the gang to turn towards me. Before I could make up a lie, someone else stepped up for me.
"Oh, don't get mad at her Jambo, she didn't hear the rules we put in since she slept in, remember?" Joseph added in, diffusing the tension that was quickly made.
"Ah right. Well listen up, we're all eating in here until 9AM," Jambo started, trying his best to be nice and patient with his explanation, "If any of you lot try and get out before then, we'll throw your daft ass in your cell and keep you in there until we feel it safe to let you out." Their rule made sense, and with a nod, I walked back over to the table, and placed the food down while walking over to the coffee machine again, finishing my second cup.
"Nineteen grapes! Ladies and gentlemen she has fit nineteen grapes into her mouth!" Akira announced, getting everyone's attention back to Poppy. After getting my third cup I sat back down, watching her struggle to fit more grapes into her orifice. After checking the clock, it was 8:30, so I had another thirty minutes to wait before we could go get Ceáser out, so I just kept on drinking coffee, adding in to conversations occasionally, and thinking up a good enough apology...