Phoenix had just stepped out of the lift when a loud crash sounded, startling her. Peering down the hall, she saw that the doors to one of the storage rooms were wide open and the lights were on. That wasn't right, she thought, walking over and peeking into the room.
She rolled her eyes when she spotted a blonde girl wandering around the room. "Rose, would you stop making so much racket? You startled me."
"It wasn't me." The blonde protested, turning to look at her with a glare. "Have you seen Wilson?"
Phoenix forced herself not to show how much Rose's reaction hurt. The blonde's dislike towards her didn't make any sense. They'd practically grown up together and had been best friends in elementary and middle school, but they'd grown apart when they reached their high school years. She'd never gotten an explanation, just anger, but she guessed that the year of difference where she'd still been in middle school while Rose was in her freshmen year hadn't helped any. There was more to it than that, but everytime she brought it up with the girl, she was shut down. Eventually, she'd stopped asking and just accepted it for what it was. They weren't friends anymore.
She shook her head and brushed her brunette hair out of her eyes. "No. Why?"
"I have to bring him the lottery money and the shop's closing." She responded, her tone making it obvious how annoyed she was with the brunette. "So, if you don't mind, I'm just gonna--"
The blonde broke off as the door slammed shut behind them, causing Phoenix to whirl around. What was going on? She followed Rose over to the door and watched as she tried to pull it open. No matter how much she pulled the door wouldn't budge. "You're kidding me."
"Hey! There's still someone in here!" Phoenix yelled, her voice echoing through the room and sending an eerie feeling through her. It was already creepy enough down here, she though as they waited for someone to come let them out, but no one did. Rose turned and looked like she was about to say something when another clatter echoed through the room.
They both glanced at each other before heading further into the room. Phoenix knew that there was another exit, they just needed to get there, but it appeared that there was someone between them and the exit. It made her insides knot up just thinking about it.
"Is that someone mucking about?" Rose called, walking past Phoenix and moving further down the hall. "Who is it?"
"Rose, maybe we should leave it be." Phoenix whispered softly, glancing around and reaching behind herself to tug on her hair. The blonde continued forward, completely ignoring her and Phoenix sighed before hurrying over to her. "Rose--"
"Look, if you're scared why don't you go cry home to mummy!" Rose snapped, whirling on the girl with irritation and Phoenix found that she couldn't stop herself from physically flinching back at Rose's words. How could she say that with what had happened to her mother? Then again, maybe she didn't know. They hadn't spoken for years now, outside of work and the blonde never spoke to her unless it was necessary. "What? Did I upset you? You gonna cry now?"
Phoenix turned away from the blonde, quickly wiping the tears from her eyes and trying to shove the hurt down. Something was going on and she needed to stay focused, otherwise she might meet the same fate as her mother. She was hoping that it was just a prank and not someone who would hurt them. A slow creaking started a few feet in front of her and she slowly looked up, her eyes widening when the plastic dummy started towards her. How...? No, it couldn't be.
Both girls began to stagger back as the dummy advanced on them, creaking the whole while.
"Yeah, you got me. Very funny." Rose said, her voice wavering as she spoke. "Derek, is this you?"
Out of the corner of her eye, Phoenix spotted a flash of movement and she turned to see another dummy coming towards them. Everywhere she turned there was another animating and coming towards them.
Phoenix turned, frantically searching for somewhere without mannequins, now properly frightened. "Look, whoever's doing this, it isn't funny!"
One thing Phoenix had always liked about Rose, she wouldn't leave someone to die no matter how much she might dislike them. So it didn't completely surprise her when the blonde pulled her back away from the mannequins, pushing her behind herself.
Phoenix yelped in surprise as her foot caught on a fallen clothes rack and she suddenly found herself falling backwards. Her head smacked into the concrete floor, hard and she gasped at the pain while trying to reorient herself. She didn't get much of a chance as she was suddenly being hauled off of the ground. Fearing that it was one of the dummies, she started struggling, twisting and turning in the grasp.
"Oi, it's just me!" Rose's voice made her instantly freeze and look at the girl. "We have to get out of here!"
Phoenix nodded and followed the blonde's lead as they started moving away from the dummies again. "You helped me."
Rose glanced at the brunette with surprise. She was angry with the girl, yes, but it didn't mean she would let her die. They'd been friends and no matter what had happened between them, she knew that a part of her would always care about the girl. Did she really think otherwise?
Soon, Phoenix and Rose were pushed up against a door that wouldn't open and the wall next to it. Even though she knew it probably wouldn't work, Phoenix yanked at the door before giving up and pounding on it, hoping that someone might hear as the mannequins closed in on them. No one came and Phoenix's hope of rescue faded as she turned to look at the dummies.
Squeezing her eyes shut, she pressed herself back against the door and turned her head into Rose's shoulder. To say she was surprised when the blonde didn't shove her away, but instead grabbed her hand and squeezed it tightly would be an understatement. Waiting for the cold touch of plastic, Phoenix squeezed Rose's hand back, ignoring the strange buzzing noise she was hearing.
A gasp escaped her lips as the cool metal of the door against her back disappeared and she found herself falling backwards for the second time that night, her eyes shooting open and Rose's hand falling from her own. She was immediately dizzy and expecting to hit the floor again, so she screwed her eyes shut again. She waited for impact but only seconds after her support had been removed, she found herself colliding with something much softer than the concrete had been. She would know. It definitely wasn't one of the dummies, seeing as it was soft and warm, so she carefully cracked her eyes open.
Once she had seen what had ahold of her, her eyes shot open and she sighed with relief. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and he was wearing a loose leather jacket over a dark maroon jumper. He had short hair, a pointed nose, and large ears that somehow complimented his appearance. The most startling thing about him though were his eyes.
They were an intense, clear, blue and though one might expect them to be as cold as their color would suggest, his were filled with warmth and kindness. In fact his entire face should give one a certain impression but instead gave the exact opposite impression.
He straightened her by pulling her out into the hall before grabbing her hand, his warm fingers wrapping around her own and squeezing gently. Phoenix figured they would be moving in a moment and she called out to her former friend. "Rose!"
She held her hand out, not looking away from the man's smiling eyes. Relief filled her when the blond accepted her hand.
Phoenix was right as she was suddenly being pulled down the hallway and away from the plastic dummies with Rose attached to her hand. The man was keeping a firm grip on her hand so he was easily able to tell when she stumbled and both him and Rose helped to keep her more or less moving until she regained her footing. The three ran straight down the hallway towards another lift at the end of the corridor, the mannequins still after them and moving faster than Phoenix would have thought possible for something made of plastic.
The lift doors opened in a rush and Phoenix caught a glimpse of the man's blue eyes as he pushed the two girls into the car. Once they were all in, he repeatedly pressed the button to close the doors, but the mannequins were getting closer. The doors started to close and it looked like they were home free when a plastic arm suddenly shot through the gap in the closing doors, preventing the car from going up to the desired floor. The man struggled with it as he opened and closed it's fingers, grasping around for them. Adrenaline and fear were the only things keeping Phoenix on her feet as the struggle continued, until finally after some forceful tugs the arm disconnected from the body with a pop, allowing the doors to close and the lift to ascend upwards.
Phoenix let out the breath she hadn't realized she was holding before turning to Rose. "You okay?"
Rose ignored her as she stared at the man with horror. "You pulled his arm off."
"Yep." The man said in a Northern accent, turning and tossing the arm at Phoenix. She caught it and looked up as the man spoke again. "Plastic."
"Very clever. Nice trick." Rose said, obviously not happy as she glanced at the arm and the brunette holding it. "Who were they then, students? Is this a student thing or what?"
"Why would they be students?" The Doctor wondered, glancing between Phoenix and Rose. Phoenix herself was wondering about Rose's thought processes.
"I don't know." Rose responded, her tone conveying that she didn't think she should have to explain herself. As if it were obvious.
"Well, you said it. Why students?" He repeated, turning away from her. Why was he so intent on her answer? Why was he helping them at all? Not that she wasn't grateful to him for helping, if he hadn't Rose and her would most certainly be dead, but most people didn't do anything without a motive.
"Cos to get that many people dressed up and being silly, they got to be students." Rose reasoned, her tone matter of fact.
"That makes sense. Well done." The man complimented, glancing back at her and beaming.
"Thanks." Rose said, her tone unsure as she stared at the man.
"How does that make sense?" Phoenix wondered, staring at the man with raised eyebrows. "What kind of school would have students dress up as mannequins and try to prank people by breaking the law and trespassing in a shop after closing?" Rose looked like she was about to protest so Phoenix quickly cut her off. "And if you're going to go the route that some students just got together, do you know how hard it is to get people together like that? Especially students? Yes, it's possible but not very likey.Not to mention, their faces were plastic as well and it wasn't clear plastic so there's no way they could see through it." She paused, brushing her hair behind her ear as she looked between Rose and the man who were both listening to what she was saying. The man looked curious while Rose looked irritated, but that seemed to be the norm for Rose when it came to Phoenix so she just ignored it and continued explaining. "They didn't have eyeholes and even if they had tiny ones that we couldn't see, they still wouldn't be able to see through it well enough to come after us through a basement with a bunch of random stuff all over the place."
"That makes even more sense." The man said, looking to her with an expression that could be impressed. "Fantastic." He paused, glancing at Rose. "They're not students."
"Whoever they are, when Wilson finds them, he's going to call the police." Rose said, glancing at Phoenix with a glare as the lift's gears started to grind, indicating that they were stopping.
"Who's Wilson?" The man wondered, looking to Rose with a curious and confused expression.
"Chief electrician." Rose responded simply as the doors started to open.
"Wilson's dead." The man said, his tone darker as he walked out of the lift.
Phoenix's lips parted with a soft gasp and she quickly followed Rose out of the lift. The blonde was almost yelling at the man at this point. "That's just not funny. That's sick!"
"Mind your eyes." The man warned, the doors to the shaft closing as he pulled a slender object from his coat pocket and pointed it at the lift's controls. The object in his hand buzzed and the panel sparked, causing Phoenix to jump a bit while Rose flinched.
"Do you really think they'd follow us up here?" Phoenix wondered, staring curiously at the man as he looked around.
"Yes. Why wouldn't they?" The Doctor asked her, focusing on her and seeming to actually be interested in her answer.
"Theoretically if they knew how to use the lift they could have come up whenever, so why didn't they? Why only attack when we were down there? If they were simply trying to stay undetected they could have just continued pretending to be mannequins while we were down there, but they decided to attack us." Phoenix explained as she reached her hand behind her to tug on her hair, nervous with all of his attention focused on her. "It wasn't exactly a smart thing to do, unless they were protecting something. And if they were protecting something down there, we didn't find it so why would they follow us? They were watching us the entire time we were down there, they'd know if we'd found anything they didn't want us to. And if they wanted to just kill people then they would have used the lift ages ago and attacked while people were shopping."
"That makes sense too. Well done." He responded before turning away, tucking the slender object into his pocket.
"Who are you, then?" Rose asked as the man pushed past her, pushing a nearby clothes rack to the side. "Who's that lot down there?" Phoenix hurried after the man, listening to Rose yell from behind them."I said, who are they?"
"Are they some kind of living plastic?" Phoenix wondered, jogging a bit to keep up with him. He looked at her with surprise and maybe a bit of suspicion, but she couldn't be sure if that's what she was seeing.
"Yes, exactly and they're being controlled by a relay device on the roof, which would be a great big problem if I didn't have this." The man said, turning around quickly and showing her a small beeping device that appeared to be a bomb. The two girls followed him up a set of short stairs and stopped as they reached a set of double doors at the top.
"So, I'm going to go up there and blow them up," He pushed a door open and pushed them out. " -and I might well die in the process, but don't worry about me."
Phoenix struggled against the push, turning to look at him. "You can't just--"
He quickly cut her off, looking completely serious. "Don't tell anyone about this, because if you do, you'll get them killed."
The man stepped back inside and pulled the door shut as Phoenix tried to step inside. She frowned and shouted at the closed door. "Don't be such a stupid ape!"
The door opened again and Phoenix had to step back to avoid being hit by it. The mystery man was appeared again and Phoenix glared at him. "I'm the Doctor, by the way. What's your name?"
"Phoenix." She murmured quietly, glancing at Rose. "And that's Rose. How are you going to get out?"
"Nice to meet you, Phoenix. Rose. Now, run for your life!" The Doctor waved the bomb with a wide smile and completely ignored her question, pulling the door closed again and disappearing.
Phoenix shook her head, tucked the plastic arm under her nonplastic arm and ran forward to grasp the door handles, pulling on them, but they didn't open. She shook the doors fiercely and bits of her hair fell into her hazel eyes until she finally gave up. She couldn't try forever since the building was about to go up.
"Rose, we need to.." She trailed off when she turned and saw that the blonde had already taken off across the street. Brushing her hair out of her face, she shoved the hurt down, glanced at the closed doors one more time, and ran across the street, not stopping until she was a good distance away from the building. She instinctively covered her face and flinched away as the building exploded, the shock wave knocking the windows out. Phoenix swallowed thickly as she straightened before she leaned back against what appeared to be a Police box from the 1950's. What was that doing there? She glanced up at the building before grabbing the door handles on the box and pulling. The door didn't budge. Well, she didn't really think it would, honestly.
She turned and started walking in a random direction, letting the plastic arm hang by her side as she pulled her phone out of the pocket of her dark blue hoody. Quickly dialing the familiar number, she held the phone to her ear and fought the exhaustion that was starting to set in. Now that the adrenaline was wearing off the pain in her head was letting itself be known and all she wanted to do was curl up and sleep.
Her phone only rang once before someone answered. "Hello. Owen Harper speaking."
"Owen." She said with relief, a smile spreading across her face. "What are you doing right now? Are you busy?"
"Well, that's one way to put it. Why?" Owen asked and Phoenix frowned. She didn't want to pull him away from work. She knew it was important and that it took up most of his time. Ever since he'd gotten that promotion, he'd been way busier.
"Um, nothing. Never mind."
"That's not your nothing voice, that's your I'm worried and don't want to bother you voice. What's going on, love?" He asked, his tone concerned. She could just see him stopping everything just so that he could focus on her completely. It was what he always did when she needed him.
"Turn on the tele."
She needed to get home or at least to a friend's place. She would have gone to Owen's if he hadn't been busy, but she had known it was a long shot. She almost expected it these days, but this time she just really needed some comfort and she knew that he would do just that, even if he had to do it over the phone.
As she approached her favorite cafe, she found herself debating whether or not to stop and get something warm to drink. She could always get that chai tea she loved, she mused absently, nearly forgetting that she was on the phone.
"Henrick's? That's where you work, ain't it?" Owen asked, causing her to startle and roll her eyes at herself. She needed to stay focused. "Hold on, I'm coming to get you."
"No, Owen. You don't have to--"
"I'm coming and that's final. Now, where are you, love?" He cut her off and she could hear the sound of a car engine starting up in the background.
She sighed and sat down at one of the tables at the cafe, setting the arm down on the table. "I'm at Alina's cafe. Few blocks away from Henrick's."
"Right, be there in five."
She nodded and put on her best scolding tone. "Are you driving right now?"
"Yeah. Got a problem with that?" She couldn't stop herself from smiling at his playful tone. "Cause if you do, you'll just have to deal. I'm not hanging up until you're in my beautiful blue sports car."
She chuckled, not minding how commanding he was being. She knew he was just worried and wanted to be sure that nothing happened to her in the time it took for him to pick her up. He was like a big brother to her and so he was allowed to worry.
"Do I no...?" She trailed off and brought her hand up to rub her throbbing temple. It was only getting worse the more she calmed down. "Sorry, I didn't..." She trailed off again and rested her head down on the cool tabletop. Maybe that would help.
"You okay, love?" He asked, concern lacing his voice.
She was about to answer that she was fine, but was she? She honestly didn't know. Her head was killing her and with the adrenaline wearing off, she was becoming exhausted and the pain wasn't helping. Her muscles ached and she was definitely ready to pass out, not to mention without anything keeping her occupied she couldn't stop herself from thinking about Rose's words. That just made the situation even worse because on top of everything she was trying to stop herself from breaking down, which was a lot more difficult when she was exhausted as opposed to being mostly awake.
She didn't realize how long she'd been silent until she felt a hand on her head. Surprised by the action, she quickly sat up and turned quickly to see that it was just a very worried Owen. "Usually when someone asks if you're okay, you answer."
"Sorry." She murmured, rubbing her temples again. "I was thinking on how to answer."
"Right, come on, then." He pulled her to her feet and towards his car, glancing back at her. She quickly grabbed the plastic arm as she was dragged off though she wasn't sure why. Maybe she was just worried about what would happen if someone stumbled across it and it came back to life?
Owen made sure that Phoenix was situated in the car before he climbed into the driver's seat, glancing at her with worry before starting the car and pulling back out onto the road. She didn't look like she was doing too well. She kept rubbing her head and she looked like she would pass out at any moment. There was something else bothering her, but now probably wouldn't be the best time to ask what it was.
"How're you feeling?" He asked, hoping to keep her awake until he could check her over. She didn't look like she had any injuries, but still. When it came to the girl who was practically his little sister, he wanted to cover all of his bases.
"I hurt everywhere." She murmured, glancing over at him and leaning her head against the closed window. It felt good. "Mostly my head."
The rest of the drive was spent with Owen drilling her with questions. She tried to answer them as best she could, but after a while she was just too tired to even try. When Owen pulled her out of his car and led her into his apartment, sitting her on his couch, she barely noticed. She snapped back to awareness when he started prying the arm out of her hands, looking at it with confusion.
She didn't try to stop him, but she did keep a close eye on it as he tossed it onto a nearby chair. It wouldn't be great if it jumped to life and tried to kill them, after all.
"Right, stay here. I'll be back." Owen said, patting her hand before standing and going into his bedroom. He wasn't gone for more than a few seconds, but by the time he got back she'd curled up and was struggling to keep her eyes open. "Hey, none of that now. Need you awake. Look here."
She sighed and forced her eyes open, straightening and looking at him as he held his finger up, shining a light into her eyes. It made her head throb, but she knew he was good at his job so she didn't protest.
"You've got a minor concussion." He told her once he was done. "The rest is from the adrenaline. You hit your head, love?"
"Yeah, I fell." She told him, leaning forward to rest her head on his shoulder. "Probably would've been worse if Rose hadn't been there."
"Is she still causing you trouble?" Owen asked, moving to sit beside her on the couch and letting her curl up into his side. "Did she say something? You seemed really bothered in the car and that friend of yours is the only one who can get you in that kind of mood."
Phoenix didn't answer for a moment, tears welling up in her eyes. Owen knew how Rose had been acting towards her and she knew that she could tell him anything because he was always there for her or he tried to be. She knew he was busy with work and couldn't always be focused on her, but now that he was here, she was hesitant to tell him. She didn't want him to know just how bad things with Rose had gotten because she knew he would feel guilty. He really hadn't been able to see her that often, not for the last six months anyways.
"Love?" Owen pressed, his fingers gently massaging her temples. "What happened?"
"She..." Phoenix hesitated again before sighing and relaxing against Owen. He hadn't been able to be there for her, but he was there now. He was trying to help and it would make him even more guilty later on if she didn't just tell him now because it would just be another time he wasn't able to help her. "She told me to go home and cry to my mother."
Her voice was barely more than a whisper but Owen heard it easily and her words made his blood boil. How could someone who'd been her best friend once say that to her? The words were so simple and would probably seem stupid to get upset over to anyone else, but considering Phoenix's mother had died the last christmas, he couldn't believe someone would be so insensitive. Was the blonde really that distant to her? Owen wanted to hunt the girl down and yell at her for her harsh words, but as Phoenix started to shake he knew he couldn't.
"Now, don't cry, love. It's alright." Owen wrapped his arm around her and kissed the top of her head. "Just go to sleep. You'll feel better in the morning."
Phoenix smiled at Owen's words and let her eyes close. She could trust him to be there for her.
Like you could trust Rose? The voice in the back of her head whispered to her. She had been like a sister to Rose once and now...the blonde could barely even look at her. She didn't even know what she'd done wrong, but it must have been horrible.