Bait and Switch

Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

April 18th, 2011, 10:57 am #1

((Nick Reid continued from Later, Buddy))

For a second, Nick thought he'd walked right into Hell.

Shards of glass crunched underfoot as he slowly made his way towards the entrance of the building. The place was a graveyard; three people laying on the grass outside were clearly not moving again, and he didn't doubt, considering the state of the building, that there would be more inside. Morbid curiosity drew him on. He hoped, and he had to chuckle just a little at the thought, that he wouldn't find Jennifer or Melissa there. Because if they were around, it probably meant that they'd-

He bent down to examine one of the bodies. It wasn't too old by his judgment. He didn't know how exactly to date corpses, but the island was giving him a crash course in that. Looking beyond the gathering flies to the pallid, bloody face, the image of one of the Kronwall brothers swam into view. And right next to that, another one - Kronwall and Kronwall. That was right; he recalled the announcements, how he'd heard his own name not once but twice. Staffan had killed Nik, and then Fiona shot Staffan. Except Fiona was with one of the brothers, and he had a gun, so that was probably Staffan. Which meant she'd killed Nik, so Nik killed Staffan? And wasn't there someone else involved, too? Not, of course, like it really mattered all that much. One Nick was alive and the other wasn't, and trying to recall the details didn't really help either of them out.

Moving past a third body - had he been one of Staffan's victims? Nick recalled that investigators would use insects to figure out how long ago someone had died. If the grubs were hatching, the body was x days old because that's how long it took for the eggs to incubate or whatever. He moved on, because he wasn't quite feeling up to comparing insect life in a couple of rotting corpses at the moment.

Giving the lawn another quick scan before he moved on, something that wasn't green or reddish-brown or glittering caught his eye. A piece of paper, stuck under a large bit of broken glass. A message, maybe? He picked it up and read.

Melissa and I were here...
So she'd figured out what he meant. That was good. And they hadn't stuck around. Which was probably good, except it meant they'd missed him...

...please stay safe and out of trouble.
If only you knew, Jennifer.

P.S. If you are not Nick, please leave this note for him to find.
The stupidity of the thing stuck him. If anyone just so happened to be trying to up their killcount (a few names sprung easily to mind), they knew right where to find a couple of girls. Had they considered that? Maybe they hadn't. Or maybe (his heart rose) they'd known what danger they were getting into but figured it would be worth it to find him again. Jennifer was smart enough to get a near-miss. She didn't have overwhelming paranoia on her mind, but she'd surely considered the risk. Whether or not that was actually true didn't matter. It was a nice thing to think.

So, one decision remained; hut or mountain? He'd have to think about that for a bit. He walked into the building, looking for someplace to sit and think. Proceeding up the staircase revealed no tenable seating, made worse by the presence of even more corpses. Not fresh ones, either. He didn't have to dig for maggots in the half-light when his nose told him all he needed to know.

Nick could see why the girls hadn't stayed. Only a stubborn sort of curiosity drove him to explore any more of the mirror house. There wasn't much, really, to see. But he'd seen a blown-out corner from the outside, and he wanted to find it, maybe poke around a little, as if seeing the thing from the inside would give him any clue to what had gone on. Finding the damage wasn't difficult. The sun streamed in, illuminating little dancing specks of dust. He rubbed his chin, tapped absentmindedly on his collar. A frayed bit of wire hung in the blasted gap. There was something there, he could feel it...

Wire, light.

He licked his dry, shredded lips. Something was there. Something was definitely there. And he'd uncover exactly what soon enough. Electricity, to an extent, was simply magic to him. But it was all relative. He'd done well with electricity in physics class, because he couldn't not do well in physics class. He was the freaking Brain Trust, after all. All he needed to confirm was an understanding of the basics, because from the basics you could figure out everything you needed to know. A car crash was just a vector problem. One with a bit of extra bookkeeping. His collar was just wire, batteries, capacitors. And bookkeeping. Explosive bookkeeping, if he didn't get it right. But just bookkeeping.

Analogy, analogy, analogy...

There was always an analogy in physics. Find it, and the world was at your fingertips. Analogy. Basics. Bookkeeping. The heart and soul of any physics problem. And this one was a thousand points extra credit in a pass/fail class. The long answer question in AP Physics C. The collar was electronic. A computer. A gameboy. There you go. A gameboy with a heck of a Game Over screen. Excitement buoyed his chest. What didn't a computer like? He was waving his little hand, watching dark ripples crackle across the glass. And in his hand...

Oh, yes.

He unzipped his bag and looked inside. Flashlight, flashlight. Both used somewhat, but still working. Still pulling 1.4 or whatever. Call that 5.5 altogether. You could weld with three or so car batteries. 36, but how much amperage did that pull? Lots. Enough, no doubt. He just needed to figure out how to get close to that...

He pulled out his medkit while volts and ohms pushed each other around in his head. He'd finish prepping stage 2 while he was still in the (moderately) fresh air. He unwound the old bandage from his arm and checked the glass shard wounds. They were healing maddeningly slow under the circumstances, but he hadn't killed himself by not redressing frequently. Pulling out some material scavenged from Will's kit, he wrapped first one wrist and then the other. Not the best for his grip, but the wrist support would be nice. Actually, he could fix the grip issue, too - there was medical tape as well. Plenty of tape. More than he needed for the batteries, certainly. A few rings around the blade of the sword and he was finished, stowing the supplies but keeping his bag open.

There were plenty of corpses in the area. That wasn't horrifying any more. In fact, it was good. Everything he needed was right there. Nick never thought he'd be so glad to see a half-dozen murdered classmates.

Before now, he hadn't done much looting. His sword and dagger, some supplies from Will. More than some people had scrounged, of course, but far less than he'd imagine someone with five kills having. That was another idea that lent some comfort. Even Maxwell probably wouldn't be too heavily armed if he'd had similar luck.

Moving his focus back to the task at hand, he took quick inventory. Some food, a couple of extra bandages, a handful of new flashlights. He just needed the last component. He weighed his options. It might look a bit suspicious if he went for it right after his looting spree. But he'd also looted more than just the flashlights, so maybe that wasn't suspicious at all. Heck, maybe they weren't even watching him. Someone was doing something exciting somewhere, no doubt, and grave robbing didn't make the most compelling TV. There was also the matter of availability - there was definitely some interior wiring in the mirror house, but he couldn't honestly be sure about the groundskeeper's hut.

That was enough for him. Leaving the bag on the lawn, he moved back inside with sword in hand. Moving to the nearest convenient wall, he rapped a couple times with his knuckles. A foot to either side, he repeated the operation, listening intently for any change in sound and feeling for any tactile difference. After a few moments' consideration, he decided that studs were one of a long list of things that could go screw themselves, and grabbed the blade of the estoc in his hands. Ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders...



He knew wanton destruction could be fun, but he never guessed it could be so incredibly satisfying. The pommel of the sword plowed through the wall (missing the studs, he was pleased to see), tearing a large hole. After a brief moment of realization that there was already quite an ample hole upstairs, he continued ripping at the hole he'd made. A couple more swings and the wiring was clearly visible. Flipping the weapon around for a second, he pried a few staples out with the tip, and then wrapped the cruciform guard in wire. Tangling it up, he turned around and pulled hard.


cooome on...

He fell forward at last, a knot of insulated wire around the hilt and a considerably longer and thinner hole in the wall. Breathing a sigh of relief, he made his way outside and dumped the wire into his bag. He stood pondering, giving the mirror house one last good look. He'd do his construction later, once he'd let the suspicion die down a bit. "Could always use a nice garrote," he mumbled to himself. He didn't think Danya would go for it, but screw Danya with a fork. Nick was still alive, and as far as he was concerned, he was going to stay that way for quite a while.

Sorry Danya, but I'm afraid I've just outsmarted you.

((Nick Reid concluded in I Will Follow You into the Dark))
[+] Spoiler
G065 KK Konipaski - "I killed a girl today. I think. And I didn't make a lot of friends with it. You don't bleed that much and walk away, I know that."
Skidded to a halt in the Central Park with the Basket-Hilted Rapier, Swordbreaker, Butterfly Knife, Stinger.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

B060 Matthew Young - "What brings you to the beach on this crappy day?"
Taking a sand nap in the Eastern Inlet with the iPod from Heck
1 2 3 4

G075 Tessa Blackridge - "Oh. ...I left quite a mess, didn't I?"
Staring down the cold hand of Death in the Bike Trails with the Pepper Spray
1 2
[+] Spoiler
B055 Nick Reid - "Put that thing down, and neither of us have to die."
Troubled no more in the Mountains with the Molotov (x1), Estoc, Jutte

G090 Kari Nichols - "please..."
Sleeping forever in the Logging Road with the Nothing

B088 Cody Jenkins - "They won't come, you know."
Decomposing in the Northern Cliffs with the Middle Finger (x1)