Dave stood outside the door, waiting for Johnny to come back out again, declare that there was nothing of interest in that room, and then they could be off on their not so merry way, looking for Chris, or for the way out, whichever came first. He didn't think there would be anything in there, but Johnny, being Johnny, had insisted on wasting time, checking it out, just in case. It hadn't seemed to matter to Johnny that the time he spent looking in that stinking Hell-pit of a room could have been spent looking for the way out, but of course Johnny hadn't seen it that way, all he had seen was an opportunity to fray Dave's nerves a little more. Just who had made him leader anyway? Of course he had done that himself, convinced that he knew more than the others because he had spent the longest amount of time inside the prison, convinced that this simple fact gave him the superiority over the others. That might have been the case inside the prison, but outside was a completely different matter. Johnny had practically just taken over everything, a small thing that was making Dave just a little bit resentful. He had just as much right, in his own mind at least, as Johnny to make decisions. Why was he standing here twiddling his thumbs while Johnny wasted time?

"Screw this shit." Dave muttered to himself, pushing himself away from the wall, and walking away. There was no law that said that he had to obey Johnny, so if he wanted to waste time exploring deserted rooms, then Dave would just leave him there and find his own way out. If Johnny wanted to hold that against him, then that was his hard luck. He'd get over it.

Dave actually felt a lot better once he'd left Johnny somewhere behind him. He was more confident now that he would manage to find his way out of the old asylum without wasting time and energy like Johnny was doing, and it was quite a relief not to be following along meekly behind what he was beginning to think was an unstable madman. Who else would want to explore a place like that when a friend had been slaughtered? Other than a madman? No, Johnny was better off exploring the rooms, and Dave would be better off the further away he got from Johnny. There was no easy way around it. Johnny wouldn't like it, but Dave would be far away by the time Johnny finished satisfying his curiosity. Hopefully.

The thought that Johnny might come after him crossed Dave's mind only briefly before he dismissed it without a second thought. Johnny would have to know exactly where he was to even start looking for him with any chance of success, and, since Dave himself had no clear idea of where he was heading, he didn't think Johnny would have much chance of finding him. There was always a chance that Dave was wrong, of course, but that didn't matter since there were plenty of places to hide in such a large building, plenty of shadowy corners to skulk in if Johnny the Fool stopped playing Hide-n-Seek with non-existent noises, and decided to play at being Johnny the Hunter instead. Dave would not be found unless he wanted to be.

The hallways seemed endless, and his footsteps to loud, to Dave as he wandered further and further away from where he'd left Johnny, and he realized that he couldn't go back now. He'd never be able to find the way back.

"Like I'd really want to find my way back there, anyway," he muttered to himself as he scuffed his feet along the tiled floor, "exploring empty rooms and hearing imaginary sounds, and all sorts of other weird shit. Have fun, Johnny." The hallway he was walking along came to an abrupt end just a few feet ahead, where one single door occupied the wall, standing half open and cloaked in shadows.

"Well, that doesn't look very inviting. Still, I can either go forward or go back, and going back doesn't really make too much sense. Great, now I'm talking to myself. I guess Johnny the Fool rubbed off on me more than I thought. Great." Dave shoved the door wide open, and tried to see where it led, what might be hidden in the gloom.

Dave took three steps through the doorway, and jumped as the door slammed shut behind him, cutting off what little light had been filtering through. There didn't seem to be any wind that could have pushed such a heavy door shut, and Dave wondered for a moment if Johnny could have snuck up behind him and given the door a shove, before dismissing the thought as both stupid and a touch paranoid. Johnny wasn't exactly built for proper sneaking, and Dave would have heard him if he'd tried creeping up on him, just solely by the silence, which would have made it difficult for anyone but a ghost to sneak around without making even the slightest sound.

Tugging and heaving on the door proved futile. No matter how hard he tried, Dave just couldn't get it to budge an inch. The darkness seemed to push at him from all sides live a living, breathing, thing. There was no sound in the room except for his own breathing.

Dave found the only other way out of the room, a flight of stairs, by almost falling down them, and only the fact that he threw out his arms saved him from a sprained ankle or a fractured skull. The railing that he latched onto felt slick under his gripping fingers, and he was slightly glad that there was no light for him to see exactly what it was he was putting his hands on. He sat on the top step for a few moments to catch his breath, and what for his nerves to calm a little, and to wonder briefly where the stairs went. He hoped that they might lead him out, but he and Johnny had traipsed up and down so many flights of stairs in the course of their wanderings that Dave was no longer completely sure which floor he was on. He didn't know how many flights he might have to descend before he reached the ground floor, and he certainly didn't want to end up in the basement, assuming the old asylum had one.

Dave went carefully down the stairs, trying to be as quiet as possible while trying to keep his balance so he wouldn't end up taking the quick way down to the bottom. He was more worried about concentrating on where he put his feet than wondering where Johnny was and if he'd finished searching an empty room. His eyes had adjusted slightly, but he still couldn't see very clearly and what he could see had a slight bluish tinge to it.

He'd walked down about four flights of stairs before remembering the lighter in his pocket. He pulled it out, realizing that, while it wasn't going to be the best source of light, it was better than nothing at all, assuming it still worked. A couple of flicks later, and the lighter was emitting a small, feeble glow that did very little to push the dark back into the corners where it belonged. It did, however, allow Dave to see where he was putting his feet, and a quick look at the railing where his hand was had him wondering why they would choose to paint a railing a sickly red color. He totally ignored the suggestion, thrown out by his mind, that it wasn't paint at all, but something that was far less pleasant.

A few more flights down, Dave came across a door, but the patch of wall where the floor number had once been painted had long ago worn or flaked away. He checked the handle before even trying to touch it, and was slightly relieved to see that it was relatively clean, and free of the gloop that had been on the stair railings, but he paused, listening, for a moment before grasping the handle, finding it unlocked, and swinging the door open slightly, peering through the gloom at whatever might be beyond the door.

It flitted through Its home swiftly and silently, watching Its prey carefully, deciding which one It would collect first, which one out of them would give It the most nourishment. Should It pick the adventurous one, the cautious one, or the one It had already stored away but not yet collected? A tough decision.

The one It had stored was already slightly insane, flesh no longer tainted by the awful stench of Hope, both mind and soul nearly broken, no longer even fully human, but other two were still strong, still tainted, but not too difficult for It to collect when the right moment came.

The adventurous one was examining Its dining area with great care, seeming to show no emotion when he came across the body parts laid out on the floor next to the bucket of slightly-warm blood from the one It had left upstairs earlier. It couldn't clearly identify the feelings that began to bubble and run through the adventurous one when he had found these treasures, left on purpose for him to find. It had known that the cautious one would not enter Its dining hall, had planned on the best way to separate Its prey, knowing from experience that if they were left together It would not be able to collect them. It would not allow them the opportunity to band together, to fight as one rather than two. They would not, either way, be able to best It like It had been before by the six witless cattle that had managed to get away from It. It was stronger now, and had been able to collect more than enough to sustain It, but fighting both would weaken It a great deal. It's choice would have to depend on which one would break first, and which one would continue to fight, even after life and soul were extinguished.

It made Its choice, prepared It's plan, and waited for the coming collection.