The younger killer blinked up at Sally as she froze, fearful for a second that her words had perhaps been too much on the more affectionate side. But then the Nurse ducked her head and pressed her free hand on where her cheeks would be behind the old cotton mask, a strangely flute-like laugh falling from her lips. Amanda opened her mouth to speak, feeling her cheeks faintly flush before she was pulled into her gently; Amanda's rough hands being enclosed in the Nurse's more ashen and worn ones as she pressed her touch against her chest. It made her skin twitch and her face flush warmer from behind the confines of the mask, her fingers pressing lightly in wonder as she felt a lazy rhythm beat behind bandages and bones.
It felt like hers, slow and lazy, evidence of her death and reincarnation, and made Amanda look up at the older killer before she was pulled along further.
Amanda followed willingly with her.
Her snout pointed up as she looked up the old stone stairs before back down at the woman hovering next to her as she spoke. Amanda hummed softly, nodding a little, the mask sliding with the motion as she squeezed Sally's hand a little in comfort. "Of course, I don't see why not."
Sally gave a humming laugh and squeezed back, pleased that Amanda was interested, or at least humoring her enough to follow along. It was nice, even if Sally hated Crotus she remembered that not everyone understood the emotional turmoil and history of the place and it was spooky, people liked spooky.
Slowly, to make sure that Amanda wouldn’t be dragged through ant piles of debris, Sally walked them up to the second floor and along the walkway that led to the partially broken stained glass window. “I wish I could...see this better, but it used to be veryyyy lovely….” She remembered when it was whole, before the fire, how it felt like the fingers of angels when she would walk passed it--feeling the daylight dance across her face through the panes of color. Sometimes she would spend her sparse breaks there, enjoying the daylight she couldn’t remember feeling ever since she’d started working at the Asylum.
The warm feeling in her chest soured a bit, but she was determined to give her new friend a real tour. “I think you might…..still make out...Archangel Michael with his sword right….there..” She pointed towards the top most corner where a lot of the glass was still stuck in the illustration. “Or maybe not, I am not sure what remains anymore….But when light goes through it, it’s beautiful.”
She followed softly along Sally as they moved up into the second story of Crotus Prenn. Her head swiveled back and forth as she took in her surroundings truly for once. Normally she didn't think twice of where she went, of what it used to be, of its history, but now she was second-guessing. Piles of rubble, ash, and brick that she once thought of as trash, she now recognized as something more. Amanda was once religious, even before Kramers made up philosophy. She was raised Catholic, like most people growing up in Bushwick. Amanda remembered wandering the streets, going into churches, and seeing beautiful structures of stone and marble- even wood.
So as the two walked, and Sally reminisced, she could rebuild Crotus in her mind a little, just imagine a smidge of what it was like in its hay-day. Something tall and beautiful, pristine, maybe the stones were even white instead of ash rubbed and burned red. Crosses on the walls, bibles in each night table, figures of the religion walking down the halls.
But maybe she was fantasizing it, romanticizing it... it was a mental hospital after all.
The way religion treated mental illness... had never been good... even in John's religion.
When Sally pointed toward a high stained-glass window, Amanda looked up and gasped a little. The stained glass still stood in place at the highest arch of the window, soot clouded the colors, but she could still make out reds and blues, and the moonlight softly filtered through it, as if desperate to give it the beauty it used to hold.
"I can see some of his halo, the top of his wings and his hair... I can't see his sword. But I recognize the Archangel from my times as a child, he's still there... just enough of him to watch you." she said, and shuddered in thought.
Sally seemed pleased by this, nodding as Amanda described the ruined glass and what remained of the mural. It was bitter sweet really, and she couldn’t help but pull Amanda’s hand up close to her chest and crane her head back in a mockery of seeing. “He’s supposed to represent strength….and courage...Prevails over evil and...is good.” What an irony that he was here, shattered to pieces where no good, strength or courage lasted. “When there are...trrrials….evenn iff it’s not me….I pray….that he givess them strength.”
She did too, hoping beyond hope that they would live, that small victories would carry their spirits higher so that when they eventually failed there was still a glimmer of positivity in their tomorrow. It was foolish, and even selfish of her considering she did not suffer as the victims did, but still she dreamed.
Shaking off the weighty feeling of dread, Sally sighed and tilted her head to Amanda. “I hope that if you ever find yourself in need of courage…...or hellp….you’ll come here too.” Even if Amanda didn’t practice a faith, Sally offered her dwelling freely. “There are...less destroyed places...if you’d still like to look around.” She supposed also that Amanda didn’t need her to hold her hand, but it felt so nice and Sally couldn’t bring herself to sever the connection unless prompted to.