((Becky Long continued from Aimless
Becky had been spending the better part of the day in blissful denial over how seriously everyone else had been taking the Program. If it weren’t for Crazy Max’s ramblings that she’d heard only a few hours ago, Becky might’ve even believed that no-one else had so much as thrown a fist at anyone yet, save for her little scuffle in the cabin.
The announcement spat in the face of her sheltered denial. If it was to be believed, (and why would it lie?) then three of the people that she’d gone to school with were already dead. No-one she was mega close to, but the fact that they might actually have died shook her to the core. Particularly unnerving was the supposed death of Caleb Smartt: whilst she’d never admit nor embrace it, she’d always carried a small thing for the all American guy who now had an extra hole in his head.
But it was still possible that they had made it up. After all, you couldn’t convince everyone else to kill each other if no-one had killed anyone yet. Sceptical as she was, until she saw Caleb or Emily or the corpse of whoever the third person was, there was no guarantee that they were legit dead and that everything really had gone to hell.
Never the less, she took down note of the danger zones. Even if they made up the dead kids, it didn’t make sense to make up the areas where they’d just kill you. That would defeat the purpose of the entire Program if no-one ever died.
Then again, that purpose didn’t make a lick of sense. Nothing about the Program made sense; it never had, and it wasn’t becoming any clearer from the inside. It wasn’t like they were dying for their country; they weren’t in some battlefield fighting insurgents or expanding America’s borders and none of them were traitors as far as she knew. So why did the Program exist?
She’d been following the meandering stream for a while now, ever since she’d snuck away from the stone circle, stopping to check her bearings with the map whenever the trail got too thin. The moon made for a good waypoint, and when the trees got too thick she had the compass, that she’d finally discovered in her bag, for extra guidance, even if she had only the evening light to make it out. It was a risky journey, trekking through the woods at night, but the appeal of a warm bed in the town kept her going as the autumn chill cut through her.
It was only by chance that she saw Erin before Erin saw her.
She stopped where she was, trying to make out who the figure was in the light of the moon, but the shape was indistinguishable from behind. It was a girl, she could tell that much, but nothing more. Becky took a brief moment to ponder if it’d be worth saying hello, given her last encounter with others had led to an awkward third wheel state, and that this new person might’ve been more pleasant.
The light of the moon glinting off the barrel of Erin’s Ruger, however, convinced her otherwise.
It was only the second gun that Becky had seen in her life, but in a stranger’s hands it became far more meaningful than when one was held by her deluded friend. It turned the stranger into a mugger in the night, someone who’d gotten the weapon on the black market, who would’ve left her for dead in an alley back home if she was some timid girl who couldn’t kick ass when threatened instead of a trained ass kicker. However, provoking an armed stranger for no good reason still seemed reasonably stupid.
But Erin wasn’t just standing there, which drew in Becky’s curiosity. Erin was clearly aiming her pistol at something.
Though common sense would say to stay away, just let her do whatever it was she was going to do then wait for her to leave, common sense was never a strong point for Becky Long. She did her best to keep quiet, the soft undergrowth thankfully scarce of leaves that were crispy enough to make a sound, even as the trees began to hibernate. Though with her sights set on Erin, Zora remained unseen just ahead in the dim light, the sight of Yumi huddled against a tree, blissfully unaware of the bullet that could soon kill her, finally became distinguishable as Becky grew near. Though she couldn’t identify the girl that she’d earlier attacked for no real reason, the fact remained that Erin’s murderous intent was obvious.
Whilst she still believed, even hoped, that the rest of the class hadn’t started murdering each other, the fact that one of her classmates was silently aiming a lethal weapon for another one was hard evidence to deny.
Suddenly Becky’s next move became entirely critical: if she just walked away, Yumi might have very well died if Erin really was playing for keeps, as impossible as it seemed, and then her blood would be on Becky’s hands. The entire situation wasn’t her fault, she just happened to walk in there at the wrong time, but at the same time the superheroes in all of her cartoons would’ve turned on her in shame if she’d walked away when she could have intervened. They were just cartoon characters, so it’s not like they meant anything, but that didn’t mean that Becky was going to disappoint the virtues that they promoted, despite the gravity of the life or death circumstances that tried to shout reason at her.
Keeping up her best effort to remain quiet, she crept up behind Erin as the girl took her aim, her own feet quickening in their pace as the adrenaline started to surge through her whilst Erin’s finger slowly tightened on the trigger. She could leap on to her from behind, wrestle her to the ground and then throw the gun as far away as she needed to. What she had to do next would probably just come to her by instinct, and it wouldn’t be important anymore as Erin would be disarmed, and it was pretty much guaranteed she could take her in a fair fight.
That was the plan, until she broke the same twig that caused Erin to spin around, gun still in hand.
She paused only for a second as the weapon chose her as its new target to fear for her life. Then, wild instincts taking over, she let out her piercing kiai scream and lashed her foot out at Erin’s chest, thinking of nothing but how to avoid that bullet loaded in the gun winding up in her gut.