All Along the Watchtower

Macha
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Macha
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Joined: April 14th, 2010, 3:01 pm

July 11th, 2012, 1:58 am #1

[April Stone, continued from Electric Sun.]

The first thing that April noticed during her second trip through the jungle was that there were cameras everywhere. Granted, they were informed that they would be filmed, but April couldn’t move two steps without bumping into one. This wasn’t too much of an issue at first: April was reasonably sure that there were far more interesting people doing far more interesting things, and that the network had enough sense and dignity not to resort to Aprilwatch 2012. Really, guys, April was fine with going under the radar. Just turn the cameras off when she’s taking a pee, and this whole thing will go smoothly. The more she kept her head down, she decided, the less likely it was that the cameras would look at her. After a while, though, their presence grew overbearing. It felt like the walls were closing in wherever April walked, and the only thing stopping April from taking potshots at a camera was conservation of ammo.

It was also likely that the terrorists wouldn’t take kindly to someone wrecking their shit, but April thought a little bit of inconsiderate-ness was fair play, considering they were wrecking her life. Two days ago, she was set for senior year and college and heading off on a trip with her friends. Now she was a killer, covered in bruises and cuts that she know would leave scars, and was running around in a cut off tank top and a bandanna. Seriously, how hadn’t she realised how stupid she looked? She swore, and pulled off the headband and the wrist tape and threw them away uselessly. The shirt she would keep on, if only to retain what little dignity she had left. God, her parents- and Marcus. Especially Marcus- must have thought she had gone insane.

To be honest, though. April would probably agree.

Her one regret was that she couldn’t send one final message to her parents before she went insane from the heat, or her fever, or the death around her, but there was no way she could send a message of any kind. Her phone? That had been confiscated, and it was likely that they had jammers to stop signals. A message in a bottle would end up on the coast of Buttfuck, Kenya, and April wasn’t sure if she was insane enough to try to talk to a camera.

She had thrown things like that out the window when she shot Ben Latimer. How did she deserve to see her parents again any more than he did? There was no way she could hide now. April was as much a target as the killers she had cried over when she awoke in the lake. When she ran, tail between her legs, for her life. She wasn’t a target then, but she was still in danger. Now, she was a target. People would be after her, be it noble vigilantes, friends, allies, relatives. Even if she escaped, she would be hunted. April replayed it in her head over and over and there was no way she could justify it. She killed a man in cold blood. Even though she felt guilt, she couldn’t help but notice herself clinging to small fragile hopes that she had done the right thing. He came at me first. He would have killed if I didn’t. He was holding the others hostage. Call it revisionist history. April called it coping.

She began to approach a large metal structure at the top of the hill that looked a bit like an old lookout tower from one of her brother’s old army playsets, and groaned in annoyance when she saw the large metal ladder leading up. She began to climb up the rusted rungs, thinking back to her family with every clink as her bag crashed into the railings. God, Marcus must have found this so thrilling. Watching his kid sister run around concussed. Watching her kill a classmate. Watching her climb a ladder.

God, how high was this tower?

She ended up muttering that under her breath. The answer, though no one was particularly looking for one, was “pretty fucking tall”, if it wasn’t immediately obvious. April struggled, and had to pause for breath a few times, and came close to coming off, but she made it in the end, pulling herself up by her fingertips and crawling into the centre of the room? The crow’s nest? She was too exhausted to care. She turned over and lay flat on her back, with her limbs outstretched, as she gasped for air.

After an hour or so, she tried to sit up, which was accompanied by an all-mighty tearing sound, as the exposed nail tore at the fabric on her back. Just April’s luck, right? The universe never missed an opportunity to make her look ridiculous. A camera! Brilliant! April waved to the millions and millions of voyeurs watching at home, and quickly untied her hoodie from around her waist. Then, she scrambled to sit underneath the camera’s blind spot, pulled the tattered shirt off, checked for a moment to see if she was bleeding on her back, and screamed in frustration when she felt a small trickle of blood down her back. She did not need tetanus. Ever. Cutting her back on a rusty nail was not conductive to that goal. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. Was that how it went? She didn’t care. She pulled the jacket around her and zipped it up to just below her neck, noting the collar wrapped around it. How sensitive were they? April didn’t particularly want to know the answer, but she couldn't help but wonder. What would happen if she prodded it? Her hand shook as she tried to resist the urge to poke her collar.

To make a long story short: she poked it. Nothing happened. April sighed.

Dejected, April slunk down in the corner, took some stale bread out of her bag, and began to eat. If nothing else, the tower provided some respite from the island.
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CondorTalon
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Joined: May 3rd, 2011, 8:27 pm

July 15th, 2012, 9:10 pm #2

((Augustus MacDougal continued from Thin Line Between Heaven and Here.))

He didn't stop running until some low-lying plants tripped him up. He hit the ground, and he didn't bother to get up for a while. He noticed for the first time since he left the helipad that his eyes were watering. He was crying. For the first time since waking up. The gravity of the whole situation hit him square in the face. He laid on the ground for a few minutes, before slowly getting up, and continuing to walking. His clothes were damp now, from the wet ground.

It was a while before he found another landmark. It was a tall tower, with a watchpost at the top. He began to do a lap around it, looking for a way up. Of course, he also found the body of another classmate.

Sidney Rice. She was on the announcements. Hearing her name was one thing, but actually seeing her body was a different matter. He felt bile rising in his throat, and tried to keep it down. He shuddered, and tried to look away from the corpse. He took a look up and down the ladder, and gripped the first rung.

He began to climb.
EVERYTHING I TOUCH DIES!!!

Second Chances V2:
Clair Belvedere - Box of Condoms - Hanging back in Earth Sky From Venus
Christopher Schwartz - Macuahuitl - Catching his breath in I Jumped Out and I Pranked Him to Death with a Tire Iron
[+] Spoiler
SOTF-TV V2:
Valerie Fitzroy - Winchester Model 1897 "Trench Gun" - Victimized by fate in Septette For The Dead Princess.
Christopher Schwartz - Pony Pogo Stick - Almost made the cut in Kill Your Heroes.

The Program V2:
Nancy Morris - Cheese Grater - Finally alive in Opt Out.
Shawn Bowe-Crooke - Ship in a Bottle - Failed in Earthen Spirit.

Second Chances:
Augustus "Dougal" MacDougal - Tomahawk - Lying down in All Along the Watchtower.
Karl Chalmers - Remington 870 - Didn't make it in The Twilight of Our Youth.

Virtua-SOTF:
Clair Belvedere - Tin of Cat Food - Taking a well-deserved rest in Into The Earth.
Vivian Cathwell - Tomahawk - Didn't see it coming in It's not like its for real or anything, right?
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Macha
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Macha
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Joined: April 14th, 2010, 3:01 pm

July 16th, 2012, 6:57 pm #3

With most of the food in her pack gone, April was curled up with her head in her knees by the time she heard sounds coming from down below her. Someone- no, two people- were climbing up the ladder. Great, she thought. She had likely missed her name on the announcements. They had heard and they were climbing up to kill her. That was just what she needed. She pulled her head up, and looked around. She had to act fast, or she was cornered.

April reacted quickly and with minimal movement spared, just as she had when she shot Ben. She tried to retain her composure as she thought back to those moments. Her shaking hands, the blood spreading out on her chest. She squeezed her eyes shut and pulled her bag towards her, grabbing her gun and checking the ammunition. Six rounds in the magazine, in addition to whatever she had in the bag. Perfect siege conditions. Silently, she crawled across the floor- avoiding that god damned errant nail- and pointed her gun at the hatch, the only way up. If they could get up, she was cornered.

But this was April’s house, and they weren’t getting in that easily.

She closed her eyes, held her breath, and kept her hands steady, focusing on the steady clank the intruder made as they climbed.
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CondorTalon
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Joined: May 3rd, 2011, 8:27 pm

July 23rd, 2012, 8:30 am #4

As Dougal climbed, his thoughts turned to what his plan of action was now. With Aileen dead, he was all by himself. He had to find someone else to team up, because he'd never survive alone, not with at least five killers running around. Maybe there was someone up here to team up with?

He sighed, as he fell into a steady rhythm climbing the tower.

Clank.

Clank.

Clank.

Clank.

Soon, he reached the top. Pulling himself past the ledge, he saw that, in fact, there was someone there. That someone was pointing something in his face.

"Uh..." he managed to say.
EVERYTHING I TOUCH DIES!!!

Second Chances V2:
Clair Belvedere - Box of Condoms - Hanging back in Earth Sky From Venus
Christopher Schwartz - Macuahuitl - Catching his breath in I Jumped Out and I Pranked Him to Death with a Tire Iron
[+] Spoiler
SOTF-TV V2:
Valerie Fitzroy - Winchester Model 1897 "Trench Gun" - Victimized by fate in Septette For The Dead Princess.
Christopher Schwartz - Pony Pogo Stick - Almost made the cut in Kill Your Heroes.

The Program V2:
Nancy Morris - Cheese Grater - Finally alive in Opt Out.
Shawn Bowe-Crooke - Ship in a Bottle - Failed in Earthen Spirit.

Second Chances:
Augustus "Dougal" MacDougal - Tomahawk - Lying down in All Along the Watchtower.
Karl Chalmers - Remington 870 - Didn't make it in The Twilight of Our Youth.

Virtua-SOTF:
Clair Belvedere - Tin of Cat Food - Taking a well-deserved rest in Into The Earth.
Vivian Cathwell - Tomahawk - Didn't see it coming in It's not like its for real or anything, right?
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Macha
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Macha
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Joined: April 14th, 2010, 3:01 pm

July 25th, 2012, 8:13 am #5

April shuffled on her knees and let go of the breath she had been holding, though she kept her eyes squeezed tight. The sound became the only thing April could focus on, the terrifying crescendo in time with the pounding in her head and tightening chest that served to tell her she wasn’t quite as safe as she thought she was. Idiot, she repeated in her head. How could you have missed it? How could she have thought she was safe in the tower? Sure, she was safe as long as she stayed up there, but there was only one way down. With most of her food gone, April knew she wouldn’t last an hour under siege. For all her talk of getting cornered, April had done a terrific job cornering herself.

The noise suddenly, finally stopped, and April opened her eyes. Augustus McDougal, she remembered. The boy she had shot at in the forest, when she had first stumbled out of the darkness, concussed and terrified. The pounding in her head continued, and everything she wanted gone had been dragged back into light. He mumbled, and April stared him dead in the eyes. What had happened to the girl he was with? April recalled hearing her name on the announcements. Paige had killed her. Which meant that Dougal had either sat there and watched, or he had ran.

She wanted to shoot him. She wanted to get off the island. She wanted to go home, live her senior year in relative peace, and go on to college, work a menial job, and then die a boring death from natural causes at 119 surrounded by her great-great-grandchildren. But she knew from the second she stepped on the island that it was a one-way trip.

Her hands began to shake, so she lowered her gun. She tried to say something poignant or meaningful, like whispering ‘I’m so sorry’, but the words wouldn’t come out. The best she could manage was the tears welling at the corners of her eyes, and even as they fell down her cheeks, they felt fake. Wasn't the second kill supposed to be easier?

She blinked once, and fired her gun at the boy’s stomach. Justification would come later, she imagined, but for now she felt like shit.
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CondorTalon
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Joined: May 3rd, 2011, 8:27 pm

July 25th, 2012, 11:16 am #6

The girl paused for a bit, and Dougal could recall a name. April Stone. He also recognized the object she held in her hand and was now pointing at him. It was a gun. He wanted to say something, to yell at her to put it down, to try to talk some sense into her, but the words wouldn't leave his mouth. He could only move his mouth, like a fish, his jaw dangling up and down.

He felt a flash of relief when the gun lowered. Maybe she was willing to talk...

Wait... is she cryi-

The sound that erupted in his ears in the next moment caught him off guard. He first noticed something was wrong when felt his torso become wet. He looked down to see a red stain on his shirt. He put two and two together instantly.

Oh, god... she, she fucking shot me!

Then came the pain. Slowly at first, but soon overwhelming. The pain assaulted him in waves, and he couldn't concentrate on anything else.

"W-Why..." he half-whispered.

He had to get out of here. He had to run. He took his first step down, clutching his stomach with his left hand.

He'd only made it down one rung before his feet, uncoordinated now due to the pain, missed a step, and with one arm busy holding his stomach he couldn't locate another rung in time. He found himself plummeting, toward the jungle floor.

As his body fell, as he felt the wind fly up and hit him in the face, as the ground quickly rushed towards him, his head only contained one thought.

Motherfu-THUD.

B02 - Augustus "Dougal" MacDougal: DECEASED
EVERYTHING I TOUCH DIES!!!

Second Chances V2:
Clair Belvedere - Box of Condoms - Hanging back in Earth Sky From Venus
Christopher Schwartz - Macuahuitl - Catching his breath in I Jumped Out and I Pranked Him to Death with a Tire Iron
[+] Spoiler
SOTF-TV V2:
Valerie Fitzroy - Winchester Model 1897 "Trench Gun" - Victimized by fate in Septette For The Dead Princess.
Christopher Schwartz - Pony Pogo Stick - Almost made the cut in Kill Your Heroes.

The Program V2:
Nancy Morris - Cheese Grater - Finally alive in Opt Out.
Shawn Bowe-Crooke - Ship in a Bottle - Failed in Earthen Spirit.

Second Chances:
Augustus "Dougal" MacDougal - Tomahawk - Lying down in All Along the Watchtower.
Karl Chalmers - Remington 870 - Didn't make it in The Twilight of Our Youth.

Virtua-SOTF:
Clair Belvedere - Tin of Cat Food - Taking a well-deserved rest in Into The Earth.
Vivian Cathwell - Tomahawk - Didn't see it coming in It's not like its for real or anything, right?
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Macha
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Macha
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Joined: April 14th, 2010, 3:01 pm

July 29th, 2012, 8:36 pm #7

April had been to enough concerts to know the familiar ringing in her head- tinnitus- but she also knew that it wasn’t getting better any time soon. Even with earplugs, rock music knocked a lot out of her, but an unprotected gunshot in tight quarters? That was like dropping a firecracker in a classroom. She felt like death, ears ringing, and her mouth full of bile and the contents of her lunchbox. She winced, and swallowed it, and looked down at Dougal. His head must have been screaming as well, and she mentally apologised to him for that. She wanted to get off the island, and he was in her way. That’s what she told herself.

It was a crap justification, and she mentally apologised for making him suffer more. At first, he didn’t quite realise what was happening, staring at April with his mouth agape as the stain spread across his shirt. Not quite processing what happened. April wondered if she should shoot him again, to stop him from suffering, but she didn’t want to use another bullet.

The island was turning April into the worse kind of pragmatist. Suddenly, his face contorted in shock and pain as reality hit. He choked out a few words, and tried to climb down the ladder. April dropped her gun. No, she thought. This is wrong.

No matter how she tried to spin it, April couldn’t justify shooting him. She scrambled forwards, hand outstretched, and tried to grab him, to use all of her 130 lbs soaking wet strength to pull him up. Maybe, she figured, she could pass it off as an accident. An itchy trigger finger, expecting that someone else. However, that didn’t work out. Dougal stumbled, and she couldn’t grab him, and April watched in horror as he collided with the ground, a mess of blood and broken bones.

Two.

Then she rolled into a ball, and stayed that way for a long time. She stood up, collected her things, stowed her gun in the waistband of her jeans, and breathed in, deeply. She found her iPod stowed away in her bag, and hit shuffle, as another song overpowered the ringing in her ears. Then, she began to climb down the ladder. The tower was no longer safe, and she didn’t feel like sticking around much longer anyways. As she stepped over Dougal’s body, she grabbed his bag and dragged it along behind her, emptying it out and replacing whatever she had lost, or used. She found a tomahawk, too, which she was apprehensive about taking. Her rationale was that she was too small and skinnies to do any damage with any kind of axe, but at the same time, she didn’t want to leave it lying around for someone else to take.

So, in some kind of warped tribute to Dougal, April shoved it in with the rest of her things, and wandered back into the jungle, with no idea where she was going.

Perhaps it was better that way.

[April Stone, continued in May Flowers.]
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