Portal 2: After

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He was behind her in the lift. Chell had not seen him, had not saw him get in being passed out at the time. SHE had seen him, SHE had saw him get in, SHE had let him live. Doug Rattmann was pressed against the cold glass of the lift, the sounds of his breathing muffled by his hand and the singing of the turret opera. Chell had not seen yet since she was focused on the singing, and probably would not realize he was there until she was out of the lift. Until then Doug focused on the floor and crouched there in the shifting shadows as the lift came closer and closer to the surface, the topmost level of Aperture Science. The singing of the opera dimmed as the lift came to a stop. The exit door swung open and Doug knew he had a few seconds to hide himself as Chell stepped out.
“Sorry about this.” He whispered the the Companion Cube. As Chell turned around to face the door, meaning to close it, Doug tossed the Cube out to her and slammed the door behind it. His heart beating abnormally fast, He reopened the door a crack to see what she would do.

Chell stared at the exit. She was used to doors shutting automatically behind her but she was not sure that GLADos could control the felicity this far up. Chell took a step toward the door. Could it be possible that she had accidentally shut it? Had it closed on its own accord? Had someone been in the lift-. Chell pushed away the last thought. She was being paranoid. If there had been a person in the lift with her surely she would had heard it! Besides, who would want to follow her anyway? All the other AI’s seemed perfectly happy in Aperture except Space core but he had already left with Wheatley. Chell turned around to face the wheat field around her. It was unspeakably almost unbearably beautiful. Then she heard the muttering.


Chell froze. It was coming from the lift and, most unnerving of all, she had heard it before. In an abandoned room with a huge fan with food cans and coffee mugs. Almost as if… there was another human in Aperture besides her. Watching her, guiding her even before Wheatley, 20 years previous. Chell felt a spark of daring hope. The same feeling she had once felt while looking at scribbles on a wall behind a broken panel. It had been so long ago. The other subject could not possibly be alive now and even if they were then surely Chell would have seen them, surely GLADos would have captured them and made them test as well. Inless GLADos had not known they were there. Chell decided to crush this hope before it got out of hand. She opened the door expecting to find nothing. She even formed the thought in her head as she opened it, See? There’s nothing-. She had no time to complete the thought. She had not expected this.

It was Rattmann’s turn to freeze. Chell was staring at him stunned and mute. She stared at him then opened her mouth and, much to both their surprise, spoke in a cracked husky voice; “It was you, wasn’t it? You were the one writing on the walls, hiding out in all of those places.” She paused at the sound of her own voice then continued, “Have you followed me this whole way? Did She know you were there?”
Doug looked at her stunned by her, stunned by her voice, her face, the sudden questions. Chell seemed to note his discomfort.


“I’m sorry.” She said, her voice catching, “I’ve just… I haven't seen another human since-,”


“I know how you feel.” Doug said flatly for the first time straightening up and stepping into the sunlight. “I’ve been in that place as long as you have and trust me, I know what it feels like to be alone. I-i have schizophrenia so I had Cube to talk to and-,” he paused, “Sorry. That must of seemed crazy to you. But she was a comfort to me all the same...” He trailed off looking at her desperately, “But I- I promise you, I’m not insane! I’ve just not taken my medication in a while!” Chell cut him off, “But you could have escaped. You could have gotten out of there without Her knowledge long ago. Why didn’t you?”


“Because I-,” Doug was actually chewing on his fingernails now, “I felt guilty! Because I was the one to put you in there in the first place! I thought you would have the right amount of-of resolve to defeat Her! It said in your files Chell. It said: ‘She does not give up. Ever.’ And I was right! You beat her twice now and made it out alive! And it’s really more than I expected.” Doug paused for breath, “So I’m sorry if I made you nervous or scared because you felt me watching you or when you heard my talking through the wall that one time…” Doug shut his mouth with a snap. He was done talking.

 

Chell took his hand. "Come on, I think I see some houses over there." She lead him into the wheat, the sun, the warmth, their new life.






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Giovannie said...
Aug. 28, 2015 at 12:38 pm
This was a very cute article. I liked it.
 
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