An invitation to a party appears on various university billboards inviting people to the Kappa Alpha Frat house located in the mostly finished Castle Commonwealth mall on the edge of town. The notice instructs people to follow the access road at 67 Lost Nation drive and enter through the back door and promises that signs will be posted to guide people to the party itself.
"That's somewhat disconcerting," Joss murmurs. "It's obviously not that they don't expect injuries to happen, it's like they didn't fully understand what a medical clinic needed. She hugs herself and shivers slightly. "This entire thing is disconcerting. Feels off, wrong."
She leaves, and leans against the wall outside, taking deep breaths, trying to establish some kind of reality.
Alice looks over at Joss's friends. "Is she going to be okay?"
"She'll be fine," Tamaris says, not quite dismissive. "I think she has some bad experience with hospitals and the like, she hasn't been entirely forthcoming with that information. This place, pretty creepy without that. Anyway. I'm not seeing much else we can look at here. Shall we?"
And Tamaris turns to leave as well, Rex right on her heels, both of them looking back slightly to Alice and Zahn.
"Yeah definitely," they follow her out and Alice opens the door to the next room. The room is filled with worktables, the side walls are lined with cabinets and the back wall has a countertop with a pair of sinks mounted in it. "Well this looks remarkably normal."
Joss detaches from the wall and follows behind them. She stays quiet, moving towards one of the cabinets.
"You sure we want to know what's in there?"
"Better than not knowing," she says firmly, opening the door.
What's in the cabinet is board games. Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, Life, Yahtzee, and so many more. "Well, that's sorta charming. I remain pretty confused, but I'm also charmed."
"That is strangely, almost disappointingly, normal," Joss comments. "But at least we have plenty of entertainment, right?"
Tamaris snorts behind her, not quite a full on laugh.
The other cabinets on this wall contain a mix of games and art supplies, mostly those for drawing and painting and fun projects with kids. On the other wall the art supplies are more suited to more heavy duty projects like carpentry and pottery the games also contain some more mature entries like Cards Against Humanity and Betrayal at House on The Hill. "Well, we're certainly not going to get bored any time soon."
"Is no-one else going to comment on how much of this seems geared towards children? Like, preteens and stuff? Seems odd given we got here from a frat-party invitation?"
"Well, I'm not exactly an artist, so it might make sense to use it if I decided to pick up art, but yeah, that combined with the neonatal unit in the clinic seems to suggest they expect there to be kids eventually, I think they expect us to be here for a long time."
"And we haven't seen anyone else yet." Joss frowns. "But we know our flatmates were coming here as well. And they would have let us know if they changed their plans. Which means they've ended up somewhere else... There were...six different options?"
"Anyone tried going back down the elevator?"
"Alice and I checked it, that's why we came back to the lounge really, the keyboard doesn't do anything when you try to type something in. Even if it did I'm not sure what I'd type."
Tamaris takes a smart step away from Joss as the other girl swears and punches the side of her fist into the door.
"Well, then," she says, with a surprising amount of calm. "We may have a problem then."
"You're only just deciding that? Maybe something else will have a way to switch the elevator back on?"
"There were those computers back in the library, if this place is as modern as it looks maybe the elevators can be controlled remotely. Otherwise, I think we mostly have to keep moving and see what we find."
"Let's at least get to the bottom of the ramp before we backtrack."
"Then let's go," Joss says, heading back out into the hall. "I really don't think we're going to find much else here."
The next segment of the ramp leads to the ground floor. There are bike racks and a few closets but they're all empty. There's also a sunroom of sorts. There are also several doors to the outside and lots of windows. "Huh, well we've found an exit, but it doesn't look like there's much here. Onwards to the basement?"
Joss shares another of those looks with Tamaris and Rex that seems to incorporate an entire argument and decision. "Yeah. We can explore the outside later if we're still here. Better to get the building itself cleared first."
"Alright, onto the basement." The last segment of the ramp goes down over two stories of vertical distance and lets out into what looks like the lobby of an upscale building. One wall is largely missing and lets out onto the corridor of what looks like a mall. There are signs for stores over large open storefronts. The stores are pretty normal aside from the odd absence of check out lines or cash registers. The mall corridor curves away in both directions. "Well, this is about the level of surreal I expected."
Joss looks around, obviously searching for something. "Radio Shack," she says, with a very slight grin. "Perfect."
Rex and Tamaris share a look before following.
"You got a plan?" Tamaris asks. "Or do you just really need a new phone? In this very peculiar mall that has no cash registers? Which normally indicates exorbitantly expensive?"
"Something like that," she says over her shoulder, distracted hunting through what's available on the shelves. (She doesn't even tease Tamaris about the fact that she's used the word 'exorbitant' in reference to the cost of something, which was not something Tamaris did often.)