Lachlan lay on his side in the bed reading a Moleskine notebook, while Sam squinted at a diagram of a squid-like arm.
“Interesting.” Sam held up the diagram. “Most of the mature forms of the creatures here seem to have arms that look just like this.”
“Yeah,” said Lachlan. “It’s written here too. ‘The mature forms of all three varieties of fabrications possess similar cephalopodan retractile limbs, each limb terminating in a spatulate club-like appendage. In the case of Dave and Stanley fabrications, these limbs are garish blue in colour and rather offensive to the eye.’ Get wrecked, murder rectangles.”
“Why do they keep calling the creatures Dave and Stanley?” said Sam.
“‘Cause they’re a weirdo?” Lachlan shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine, Samurai.”
“I think Ms. van Vleet mentioned Daves too. Who came up with that? Who looks at a vicious rectangle with teeth and tentacles and says ‘he looks like a Dave’?” Sam looked down at the diagram and nodded approvingly. “I’ve gotta hand it to this person, though. The detail here is impeccable.”
“Here’s what I’m curious about,” said Lachlan. “They keep calling those things ‘fabrications’. As in, inventions, or falsifications.”
“Fabrications. Ugh,” said Sam. “That word makes me think of my stupid language arts teacher from 8th grade.”
Lachlan gave Sam a curious look.
“Every time I didn’t have my homework, when I told him I forgot it at home, he’d always tell me he’d had it with my ‘wild fabrications’. Like I was feeding him some crazy story.”
“You? Sammy Alexander, boy genius, forgetting your homework?” said Lachlan. “Now there’s a wild fabrication.”
“I guess he had a point,” said Sam. “I didn’t forget it, I just didn’t do it because it was stupid and I didn’t want to. So it was a fabrication, just not a wild one.”
“I’m impressed,” said Lachlan. “The mild-mannered nerd has a hidden rebellious streak. I didn’t know you had it in you, Samurai.”
“Shut up,” said Sam. “What you said does raise an interesting question, though. If these creatures are fabrications, does that mean that they’re lies? That they’re not really real?”
“I think that depends,” said Lachlan. “To which sense of the word is this person referring? Do they mean fabrication as in a lie? Or fabrication as in an invention?”
Sam held up his right hand, indicating the stubs where his index and middle fingers had been.
“They seemed real enough to do this.”
“You’re assuming your hand is real,” said Lachlan. “If you’ll recall our little chitchat earlier, you’ll remember that we can never truly know the nature of reality. Your own hand could be a mad-scientist induced illusion.”
“It wasn’t meant to be helpful.”
“Hey.” Sam looked up from the diagram, eyes lighting up as though recalling something.
“98 said that him and his brothers were created by CPSI.”
“That would explain a lot,” said Lachlan. “There’s still so much that doesn’t make sense, though.”
“Like those creepy sisters?”
“Yeah, like them,” said Lachlan. “And like Falcon.”
“You lost me,” said Sam. “Who’s Falcon?”
Lachlan sighed. How was he meant to explain everything that had happened?
“It’s a long story,” said Lachlan. “It started when the greatest band in existence found this guy lost in the bush…”
“So, let me get this straight,” Sam began. “Let me get this straight, um…”
He trailed off, seeming unsure which part of the story he was trying to get straight.
“Cat got your tongue, Samurai?”
“That’s one way of putting it. I think I’m even more confused than I was before.”
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nearly as confused as you were.”
“There’s one thing I think I should bring up,” said Sam. “I think we have a mutual acquaintance.”
“A mutual acquaintance? And just who might that be?”
“You mentioned that one of the sisters attacked your friend Chelsea?”
“Yeah,” said Lachlan. “I didn’t realize it before. I didn’t make the connection until I saw that drawing out there.”
“I think your friend Chelsea is the same Chelsea I was looking for when I got stuck in here,” said Sam. “Just before it happened, she mentioned being attacked in her friend’s apartment.”
“Her surname wouldn’t happen to be Brown, would it?”
“Huh. Small world.”
“It can’t be a coincidence,” said Sam. “Before she disappeared, it sounded like she was screaming for help. She had to have been sent here on purpose like you were.”
“Because we witnessed the attack on Falcon.”
“Ah,” said Sam. “Disposing of the witnesses.”
“I wonder why they didn’t just kill us,” mused Lachlan. “Probably didn’t want to have to deal with the bodies.”
“Wow, you’re morbid.”
“Well, we survived, so the joke is on them.”
Sam didn’t respond, frowning down at the notebook his was looking at. He attempted to turn a page with his thumb and ring finger and fumbled, the paper sliding out of his hand.
“You alright over there, Samurai?” said Lachlan.
“Something concerning just occurred to me.” Sam turned the page with his good hand. “These monsters looked used to look human. They only started changing when they entered this place.”
“Ah,” said Lachlan. “I think I understand your concern.”
“That raises some worrying questions about what’s happening to me.”