Anti-Cinderella

The dwellings found on the western side of the settlement were occupied by the poorer denizens of the town. These buildings tend to be low, small, densely-packed, and in questionable states of repair. Those that are more than one story tend to be divided into apartments, and were probably largely tenanted by sailors and dockworkers. The architecture is largely bare stucco and wood, and roofs are mostly flat. Gardens, when present, are small and poorly-maintained. Many of the buildings were clearly shared by many inhabitants, evidenced by extremely efficient layouts and numerous beds. The light here is poor, and there are a number of alleys and tight spaces suitable to concealment... or ambush. In the Prologue this area has no thread limit, so long as threads do not contradict each other.

Anti-Cinderella

Iceblock
Veteran
Joined: March 4th, 2011, 3:27 am

April 2nd, 2018, 12:31 am #1

Sylvia was sitting in some house, in some chair, her pack on the floor next to her feet. Everything around her was old and dirty and grey, but the cushion was soft. She hadn't moved out of the chair since she'd woken up.

It hadn't been very long ago, perhaps four or five minutes. All her senses had flooded her at once. Too much noise, a tempest of her own creation: thoughts, panic, helplessness. But she was okay now. No, no, not exactly okay, not this fast, but... better. She'd just needed to get her bearings, and handle everything that came first to her mind.

She would never see her family again - that was the last thing that lingered. Since she had been chosen, that could mean her brothers were safe from this for the rest of their school years. Still, what if her parents decided to move to escape the memories? What if the random selection was truly random, and it landed on her school once again?

It was supposed to be an honor to serve the country, but there had to be a limit. She vaguely knew people who had lost relatives in the fighting overseas. And from further in history, there was the Bixby Letter, the Sole Survivor Policy... she couldn't remember if the latter was even still in effect, not while America was at war on all fronts. There had to still be room for mercy somewhere.

She just didn't think her parents could possibly stand losing all of their children for America, no matter how much of an honor it was.

Enough of that, though. That was years from now if ever - this was now. She wasn't really okay practically speaking. She was almost certainly going to die.

But there was still a chance. No matter how impossible it seemed. She wasn't cut out for this compared to many of her classmates (athletic, disciplined, charismatic), but if she made a plan, she would be giving herself the best chance that she possibly could.

Planning was something she was used to. When she played a video game, she would read the manual, play the tutorials, look for walkthroughs, all to figure out exactly what her best first moves were, what her general strategy would be before she even started the game for the first time. Sometimes she was still wrong. That was okay - intuition came with practice.

She wasn't unprepared here either. She had watched the Program several times before, and for one thing, there was no collar around her neck when she remembered there had been collars last time. Definitely something she could try to take advantage of - she just needed to make sure she was somewhere safe first, not a sitting duck for anybody passing by.

Sylvia reached down and unzipped her pack. Clothes hanger. White, plastic, and too prominent in the bag not to be her assigned weapon. An uncomfortable feeling went through her gut, some sort of twisting, shrinking sensation, but she forced it away, zipped the pack, and took the hanger in her left hand.

Then she stood, slipping the pack onto her other shoulder, and remembered for the first time since their school had been read out in the auditorium that technically, these shoes that she wore only four times a year were her mother's, and also that they didn't fit.
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
Quote
Like
Share

Iceblock
Veteran
Joined: March 4th, 2011, 3:27 am

April 6th, 2018, 5:53 am #2

Sylvia almost laughed. Five minutes of theory, of beginning to turn the wheels in her head to get herself where she had to be to survive - to fall apart at the first real step.

Shoes. Such a small problem back home. Her family had money enough for most anything she would have reasonably asked for. If she had wanted new shoes, loafers that fit, she would have gotten them.

She had sabotaged herself without even knowing, over the years. That day freshman year - she could almost see her parents' faces in front of her, already concerned even though she wasn't eligible yet, concerned because appearances mattered to them. It was a day of patriotism, of sacrifice. Didn't she want to wear something nicer, they had asked. They cared about appearances, but Sylvia had known that it was a real question. If she had said no, they would have accepted it, and would not have loved her any less for it. And she would not be in this position now.

There had been no time to shop. She would not be in this position now if she had not chosen to wear her mother's loafers that day as a temporary measure. If she had not worn them the time after, or the time after that, until it became a routine as easy and comfortable as any other routine she had.

She would not be in this position now, if she had really, truly believed that she might be chosen for the Program.

But there was nothing she could do about that now. She had control over some things and no control over others. She had to look at this going forward from now, twisting what she could control in her favor, and leaving the rest to luck.

Her shoes were a larger problem than they seemed, here. Since they didn't fit, that meant she was less mobile than she had expected. Her feet could blister. She could trip. They might even end up falling off entirely (she had not grown into them like she might have expected four years ago), leaving her in socks against whatever sharp things might be on the ground.

There was no easy solution, none that she could think of right now. Sylvia pushed the problem aside, and began to move around to take in her surroundings for real.

Thinking less now that she was in motion, she flitted quickly through the house, careful to stay away from the windows and doors. Out of sight, out of the firing line. It was a small house, self-contained, and she was struck that it would have seemed crowded even with a small family. Why would anyone choose to live in such a place? Was this really what Mexico was like - part of America, and yet never truly American?

There was no time to dwell further. She began to drag pieces of furniture out of place, first sliding a couch in front of the front door as quietly as she could.
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
Quote
Like
Share

Iceblock
Veteran
Joined: March 4th, 2011, 3:27 am

April 8th, 2018, 8:18 am #3

Was anyone watching her right now? Not her classmates. The viewers. She tried very hard not to think of her family as possibly part of those viewers. The Program held an odd space in her mind as a television program - she felt a duty to watch it, but couldn't draw enjoyment from it. She wasn't sure she understood people who did, who made it as highly-rated as everyone said it was. Now she would probably never understand.

She sort of hoped no one was watching her. They couldn't tell what she was thinking, so all they were seeing was some girl moving about shoving furniture in front of entrances, barring others out and herself in. They couldn't tell how she was feeling (something that might still be desperation, nestled in her chest next to her heart).

They could assume the obvious based on what they saw, but the only way they could tell those things for sure was if she told someone - and she wasn't planning on meeting anyone except on her terms.

Boring was boring. Duty to watch or not, even she stopped paying attention at the slow parts.

Time passed. She had finished moving everything around. All windows locked, all doors barred, for now. It had taken a lot out of her, enough that she was beginning to doubt that it had been the best choice. She would need to move things out of the way when she left this place, after all, and that wasn't to even start on a possible escape route if things went south.

Sylvia sat in a corner, sleeves rolled up, squinting at the map spread out against her knees. Next to her was a well-used frying pan she had scavenged from a kitchen cabinet. Nearby, a closet door was open, leading into a small and almost empty space that still smelled faintly of mothballs. On the faded wooden bar that spanned the space hung her green sweater on her assigned weapon.

The lack of collars meant that there was no way for the military to corral her classmates together, to force them into conflict, unless they sent in soldiers to do so. That was unlikely. They did little except enforce the rules. If she mouthed off, they would come and shoot her. If she dove into the sea and swam for it, they would shoot her.

That meant that people could lay low as long as they wanted, set up their traps and their nests. There would be people who actively hunted others, who thought that was what patriotism told them to do - and who was she to say it wasn't? - but that took energy, to be on high alert, looking for enemies around every corner, ready to put a bullet into anything that moved.

She could outlast them. If she got what she needed.

As much as she wanted to stay here the entire time, she would need more supplies in the long run. Possibly a better weapon to counter intruders, but definitely food to keep her strength up throughout the nights and days that would follow. If a lot of people were holing up... this could go on for a while.

If she allowed herself to dream, maybe she could even find shoes that fit.

But now might not be the time to start looking. The amount of people thrown into the Program right now was greater than probably ever before. She had heard what could have been a gunshot not too long ago, but it was hard to tell given distance and walls.

She would give it a little longer.

((Sylvia Veneski continued in Stroke of Midnight))
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
Quote
Like
Share