Convention Story 03
- When you return to the hotel room, both of you are content to let the matter rest. You have a habit of such mood swings without any identifiable motive, and after a few fights you both just sort of got over it. There is a small couch in the room, and you sleep on that instead of the bed. This time, when you sleep, you don’t dream about anything. If you did, it certainly wasn’t anything memorable.
- The morning after is bright and mundane, it’s like the night before never happened, and you’re back to your usual self. You woke up early, you always did, something about the sun rise always woke you up whether you wanted it or not, even if you couldn’t see it. Normally you would just go back to sleep, or a state that passes for such, but since today is ‘a big day’ you’re more or less content to stay up. You quietly turn on the television and try to not wake up Alex.
- Nothing on this early of any real interest, you idly decide you switch to a local news channel, weather reports, talk about schools, interestingly there is eventually mention of some brief coverage of the convention you’re attending. Apparently it was a slow Saturday, or people just wanted to laugh at the socially awkward folks, why couldn’t it be both? You click the television off. Maybe there’d be an interesting spectacle at least. You get dressed and head down to the lobby, you’re sure you could get some breakfast from the hotel, but you have a feeling it’d be pretty expensive, and it doesn’t seem like the kind of place that would harbor a ‘free continental breakfast’ stand.
- The other people staying at the hotel are up and about even before you are, apparently most of the bronies are either more excited by this event than Alex, or are just naturally more morning oriented than you are, a possibility you find unlikely. Some of them actually seem… normal. Like they’re just there for the heck of it, in fact most of them appear as such. You pause for a moment and consider the possibility that you’ve gravely misjudged Alex’s little social crowd. Then you remember what you’ve read on the internet, and suddenly your initial feelings seem much more vindicated. Either way you can’t help but feel at least a little contrite. You head outside to the car and go off in search of food.
- Without Alex to interrupt you, you drive with the windows down, and even get on the freeway and drive a bit further away than necessary just to go fast enough to get things really blowing. It feels good, and wakes you up more than the breakfast you invariably end up getting. By the time you get back, Alex is finally up and in the shower. You sit around and wait for him, eating your breakfast and leaving something for him on the nightstand.
- With the free time, your mind wanders back to the night before, looking back on those moments was always so surreal, like you were watching someone else’s behavior. What made you behave that way? You focus as best you can, and you’re finally starting to recover some of the dream, and then Alex walks into the room.
- “Hey there Cherry, sleep well?” He smiles, even after last night he’s completely unphased. Nothing is going to ruin his weekend apparently.
- You don’t even bother getting angry at the name, you just point to the bag of food on the nightstand and reply “Much better, once I was sleeping away from you,”
- “That hurts when you say things like that, right here, in my heart,” His voice is wounded, but his smile remains as he rummages through the bag.
- “So, did you want to stand with me in line for hours to get into the big panel? Or are you just going to sit in a dark room with the show playing in the background while you fiddle with your silly stories?”
- “Oh, I have things in mind, don’t worry about what me,” You honestly had zero interest in attending the panel, all things considered.
- “So when are we going anyway?” You segue seamlessly.
- “As soon as I finish this food and get dressed I guess? I dunno about you, but I need to get there early if I’m going to get a good place in line.
- You leave the car behind and head to the convention on foot. It’s far cheaper than finding parking at the building itself and it’s honestly not far enough away to matter. Most of the people who are going to be there are already there, no doubt due to competition. A News van is even parked nearby, no one is standing outside it, but it’s not like it’s a big thing, they’re probably just sneaking in to try and catch a few of the more awkward types off guard before a publicity specialist can swoop in and rescue them. A publicity specialist, it just seems surreal to you.
- Alex separates from you pretty quickly, such is his undying enthusiasm. You both set a time and place to meet up when all is said and done, but you’ll have plenty of time to wander around the building and just do ‘stuff’ while you wait. Everything is still getting set up, and you briefly wonder why you needed to leave early at all, it’s not like you had a panel to show up for or anything.
- Perhaps a bit dejectedly, you find a table to sit at, and whip out the e-reader while you wait for things to get better organized. More people continue to arrive, things remain uneventful, but eventually you notice something odd. You see a tall man, with sandy blond hair and dark brown eyes, dressed in a blue suit. He doesn’t look much older than Alex, and he is really overdressed for this occasion. He’s talking to another young man with wide blue eyes and a look of uncertainty on his face. He’s dressed in a weird black robe, but you figure he’s just cosplaying as some character you are unfamiliar with; he’s probably less out of place than Richie Rich over there. When they finish, the man in the suit leaves, and the guy in the robe wanders off.
- Well that was just plain weird, but shortly after they finish the exhibit hall opens up, and you are far too bored and eager to stretch your legs. Everything seems so… excessive, but you have to admit, it’s somewhat endearing, just like Alex…
- Some of the artists are pretty much awesome, some of them creep you out, but all in all the artists area was just a fun place to run around in, although it did get hard constantly turning down people trying to sell themselves, some of them were pretty good at marketing! You’d be content just to be able to draw, you’ve always admired the art, but find it impossible to accurately communicate the images in your mind to the paper, and it just ends up being incredibly discouraging.
- You were never very good at making window shopping last, you always had a list when going to the store, and hated it when people deviated from it when you were there. It just seemed unnecessary and pointless, much like this current line of interior dialog. You decide to see if there is one of those dark rooms with pleasant cartoons playing in the background just for static while you browse your “Silly Stories”.
- But you can’t leave the exhibit hall, someone is standing in the doorway, someone in a weird looking black robe, and he’s chanting…
- That’s when you notice the news people just quietly eating this up. Things are going down, and you’re not even going to stick around. You don’t take your eyes off the camera guy as you walk with all due haste to the other side of the hall. You almost walk into another robed figure, you’re right up in his face, and can see him clearly. He is the kid from before, and he looks scared. He’s chanting too, and you don’t have the slightest clue as to the origin of this messed up litany. That would be when the kid pulls out a knife, based on the screams from the other doorways, you’re willing to bet cash money that the other guy did, and also, that there are more than two.
- Time seems to slow down, way down. The hair rises on the back of your neck, and you notice a feeling of electricity has been building in you ever since you first started hearing the chanting. It reaches a climax, and you’re paralyzed. The kid is bringing the knife down, and you can’t stop him, you know you should. He stabs himself with it once, and has the resolve to do it again, and again, until he’s bleeding out on the floor. A rush fills the room, like a breeze you had not noticed was snuffed out, alerting you with it’s absence, the lights flicker, and you think you’re going to be sick.
- Everyone is screaming again, you don’t think, you just do, you run out of the hall and out of the center as quickly as possible. You don’t stop there, you make for the hotel, dodging traffic and somehow you manage to not hit any lights. You have never run this fast before, you feel like you should be exhausted, but you don’t, you feel… amazing.
- This makes you feel worse than terrible, some kid just died in front of you… but, he killed himself, not your fault, not your fault at all…
- You could have stopped him.
- When you get to the hotel, you stare out the window, looks like the streets are crowded again, class is dismissed at the convention center, and you didn’t expect anything different. You can’t stand there and watch those people though, it just reminds you of what just happened, of the feeling of vertigo slowly crawling up your body, like a roller coaster you just weren’t prepared for.
- You run to the toilet and throw up all of it, ‘everything’, food you don’t remember eating, bile, fluids, a bit of blood. The taste is awful and you rinse your mouth out immediately, before collapsing in the tub. You manage to get the water running before you lose consciousness.