Crushed Dreams and Broken Hearts

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

December 15th, 2013, 3:56 pm #1

((Katarina Konipaski continued from Memories of the City))

It was a gray, overcast morning, and Katarina hadn't found anyone to kill.

She slept in shifts now. There was a logic to it, she told herself, that it was all completely planned. But that was only mostly true. In the bright of day she tucked herself away and closed her eyes, and that was well and good. But she'd taken rest in the dark of the previous night as well. There was a word for animals that did all their stuff at dawn and dusk. It sounded neat, but she couldn't remember exactly what it was, and she might never get to go look it up. She wondered if there was a word for people who spent their last days hiding from the sun in the vain hope of eking out another day to hide and dream of running free. Or a word for people who hadn't considered before the disadvantage of lying unconscious when there was so much freaking light to reveal her. Probably, she thought. Colorful ones.

She touched the gun lying by her side, then reached over and touched it with her other hand in the same manner. Maybe there would be someone within those walls to kill, she'd thought, and how swiftly that had become the thought that maybe there would be somewhere nice within those walls to rest. Some bloody hunter she was. Scoping out the field for the most dangerous game there was and she'd gotten freaking tired. Bored. Scared. Whatever. Enough to make her pack up her ball and go find a home under some random tree.

The memory of the announcements hung heavy as the gray cloud ceiling, and thinking of them made her even angrier. For a moment she'd been scared. More than scared. She'd felt true, heart-stomping, stomach-roiling mortal fear. Maybe they really had gone a murder-free day. She hadn't done her freaking part, because she was too busy appreciating the fucking foliage. It was a joke of course, like she'd hoped, like she'd tried convincing herself she suspected. But that did nothing for the sickness in her stomach. She knew what it meant, and it meant she was an abject freaking failure. Ten dozen lives - screw that, her very own life - had hung in the balance, and she'd gone looking for cuddles. Not that it had even done any freaking good, though maybe Theo's shortfall was excusable since he'd spent the day running and he probably wasn't in the habit of stalking around at night carrying a scythe like some retarded horror movie villain.

Other people were stepping up, though. There was a steady stream now. They'd successfully hit critical mass, except there was that sick feeling again and she knew that depending on people was a shaky strategy. Anyways, they'd gotten a new leader too, if you wanted to stoop to calling it that. A new name for everyone's nightmares. A bogeyman that wasn't cute and smart and packing a scythe, someone to make all the other killers seem pitifully mortal. And speaking of killers, three people were going to fight over the prize that day. They really wanted to stir things up, didn't they? More importantly, there was a name there that sent her heart fluttering when it echoed across the yard. Rosemary Michaels. She'd put that knife to good use after all, hadn't she? It did sound somewthing like an accident, but maybe that's just what she wanted people to think. A ploy to earn her friends' continued trust, perhaps, only it had all sunk away with Danya's sick glee because you didn't become Little Miss Best Kill and walk away with friends.

She smoothed down the goosebumps on her arms. They'd pop up again. It felt good for a second though, and wasn't that the story of her life. The new one, at least. Not the old one that lay behind an impenetrable wall of sea and bombs and psychos. She hadn't really considered what three days could do to you. Even when you stumbled through them half in a torpor, the omnipresent terror stretched them out like years. It had been three days since she'd gone inside, and she meant really inside, somewhere with a clean blanket and a thermostat and a roof that didn't let in the rain or the chilly air. Something half-decent to eat too, maybe, and a cute little cat to curl up on the bed beside her while she was daydreaming.

She sighed, tried not to dwell to much on the taste of a good apple or the way Mr. Paws sat purring on top of her homework. There in the present, she was left reaching into her pack with stiff fingers and pulling out a pair of the emergency ration bars. She still had over half her stock, but that was changing today. She was eating on a schedule, or a calendar, rather. A couple thousand calories a day was less than ideal, but there were crackers and slices of bread between as well so she didn't vomit the emergency bars right back up. She looked up from the corner of the yard where she lay stuffed in the footprint of a tree. She'd run out in another five days if she ran and hid and slipped around in shadows and downed just one bar every day. Two if she continued on her current pace, striding through those same shadows with a gun and a purpose, but then she could extend her stock by force.

She was looking up in panic, scuttling backwards into a corner. Rosemary rose before her, and she wasn't out of bullets. Wait, she cried, she hadn't really meant it. It had been a week ago, and she'd found another path. And the other girl raised her gun and simply said Pathetic.

Katarina began unwrapping both bars.
[+] 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)
NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

December 16th, 2013, 9:39 pm #2

((Steven Salazar continued from Memories of the City))

It had been a long night. Steven could be patient when he had to, though he wasn't entirely sure if this situation qualified. He'd decided to hold off as long as possible because as long as Kat was alone in the general area of the aviary she wasn't killing people somewhere else. While speed was of the essence overall, he also thought it quite likely she'd be more agreeable the further removed from Theo she was.

Steven almost fell asleep several times during the night. He was camped out a good distance away, far enough that he couldn't see what Kat was doing, or even where exactly she was. He had a good view of the paths in and out of the aviary area, though. Unless she decided that bushwhacking was up her alley, he'd see her if she tried to leave. He'd seen her enter. He suspected she'd work her way out along the same path. She seemed the cautious sort.

When the announcements came, they turned Steven's mood foul. He knew right away that they were lying; not only was it implausible for everyone to stop killing apropos of nothing, the terrorists would be unlikely to follow through on their threat immediately even if it somehow did occur. Far more probably, they'd take isolated students, blow their collars, and announce that they'd killed each other, then threaten everyone else based on the slow progress. They didn't set this whole thing up just to pick up their ball and go home, not without being thoroughly defeated.

No, this was just a little bit of prodding for the crazy or the desperate. It would push some over the edge who had been barely hanging on, and would keep others from clawing their way back to a reasonable mode of existence. It was an attack aimed directly at what Steven was trying to do.

And that meant he didn't have time to waste waiting for the perfect moment, not anymore. He waited long enough to hear who'd killed who, adding Max Sawyer to the top of his list. Nothing between Theo and Sharon, so his conscience was at least clear on that point. He wasn't in a danger zone, which was good; he hadn't expected the aviary to be chosen, or he'd have moved in sooner.

He stood up. He'd been sitting in the dirt for hours, arms tucked up into the sleeves of his coat. The gasoline smell had nearly faded from around him. He was stiff and sore, his eyes stung, and he felt like he should just let himself rest, just for a moment, but there was no time. Maybe later, at the hotel.

He moved into the area, on guard. Kat had killed someone by surprise, hadn't she? He thought that was what they'd said.

He could surprise her, maybe, if he found her before she found him. Then he could keep her from getting her weapons out, guarantee her attention. She knew he'd been lying yesterday by now, though. She'd be suspicious. She had a gun. He wasn't planning on fighting her, and didn't want to resort to threats unless necessary. Better not to catch her off guard, then.

"Kat?" he called. "You here?"
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Rattlesnake
Winner
Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

December 21st, 2013, 12:17 am #3

Three words. Three freaking words and she felt like someone had dumped ice water over her. She started, and then she took a series of deep, deliberate breaths. Maybe they didn't know it - no, obviously they didn't know it, because how retarded was it even possible to be, what made someone think that following someone who was supposed to be armed and unhinged was even a remotely good idea? Unless she wasn't good enough. She wasn't Danya's favorite any more, so no reason to give her the time of day. Forget the stalking and the screwing around with Theo's little head, forget the blood on her boots and her screaming nightmares, because she wasn't a little darling like Max. Best Kill didn't do it for you if it was your only kill, was that it? Didn't give you any cred?

She took another breath and she was able to laugh just a little bit, because she'd been so deadly freaking serious and she'd used 'cred' unironically with herself. She was on her feet and the gun was in her hands, though she didn't quite recall grabbing it. Her brow was twitching too but she let it go because sometimes it felt good to let restraint go and shove it. But the thing, the whole idea that made her seethe, was that some clown had shaken her world in three freaking words. Had she not been careful? Had she not been discreet? She considered the scythe. A strike against, perhaps, but really? She'd moved in darkness, didn't make a freaking sound so any poor fool she stumbled over wouldn't bolt. She was paranoid. Checked her surroundings enough. And someone had followed her, and when she found him, she would -

...Make a rational, well-informed decision, because letting your emotions take over was the quickest way to stop logical thought dead in its tracks, and that was the lynchpin to it all. Be a threat. Make people avoid you. Thin the herd and see if you can't knock a day off the whole nightmare. Polite, professional, a plan to kill everyone you meet. Ask yourself why, and don't let it be because you were acting like a freaking animal, because you need to forgive yourself at the end.

She scooped up her bag and slung it over her back. The scythe would stay for now, but if she had to bolt she'd need her food and water and ammunition. She rounded the tree, stepped out to face the courtyard in full. Gun out and ready, but not pointed anywhere.

"Who," she called, "The hell are you?"
[+] 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)
NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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MurderWeasel
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Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

December 23rd, 2013, 10:05 am #4

"It's Steven," he called, because the lies he planned to tell would be more likely to be received if he led with truth. Her voice gave him an approximate distance and direction. That was good. His left hand held the Molotov. He did not have the lighter in his right, though. This was a negotiation, not a fight. He couldn't win a fight. Kat had a gun, and she presumably had the will to use it. She had a scythe. She was going to be calling the shots at first.

"We met in town. By now you know I didn't actually kill anybody. I was hoping we could talk."

He paced further into the area, watching for movement. He wasn't sticking to cover or shadows. If she opened fire right away, he was hosed. The key was making sure she didn't feel like she had to do that.

"You don't want to, fine. I think it's important, though."

It was a bit of a gamble, that, but he thought Kat would want to talk. After all, he'd followed her. It should be obvious he'd tracked her in some fashion, and she was smart enough not to ignore that. Theo, Theo might've needed brute force. With Kat, subtlety would be a more useful tool. Let her intelligence do the heavy lifting for him.
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Rattlesnake
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Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

December 29th, 2013, 12:33 pm #5

He really thought he had something on her, didn't he?

Of course, it wasn't like Katarina could really say he didn't. In some way, at least. He knew where she'd been sleeping. Tailed her to her resting spot. He could have sat there in the darkness, watching, waiting, smiling as she curled up and let fear ebb away fatigue until her eyes stayed shut, then waltzed in and slit her throat or worse. She was alive because he wanted her to be. Maybe she was reading too much into it, maybe it was just a hunch or even a wild guess, but even the pleading, irrational part of her mind couldn't dispel the feeling that she'd been completely violated. And now the kid wanted more.

And just what was he trying to accomplish there? Why did he find it prudent to corner a killer so eager, so well-armed? The most immediate possibility to her mind was that there was a physical trap set up somewhere. A pitfall, perhaps, or a tripwire of some sort, a friend sitting somewhere hidden away as sniper, even just a pistol stowed away in his pocket. And as uncomfortable as the idea was, it was so tempting to cling to, because it invalidated all her worst fears. She might die all the same, but at least she could face every threat with eyes open.

That somehow didn't seem quite likely, though. Maybe he thought he really could talk her down. She'd tailed Theo for her own ends. Saw the potential to shift his point of view in her own favor. Who knew if it worked at all, but she'd tried. And the idiots who tailed someone like her, they'd certainly try. It took a special sort. A dangerous sort. They were the type to hold themselves the highest moral authority, because they threw their life on the wind to make a point in a game where everyone turned up loser. The zealots who believed in something so fervently that they could convince themselves they could change people from a course they adhered to so strongly they'd kill for it, all with just the power of their voice. The kind of person who couldn't be cowed because if you let them live you lost and if you shot them they won.

Or - and again, maybe she was thinking too much into everything - the guy was just retarded. Didn't realize what she'd heard and felt and smelled, didn't know what it was like to hear someone say hello and immediately wonder how exactly that played into their plan to messily slaughter you. It was the easiest solution, the simplest one, but like the others it didn't seem entirely correct.

The truth, she suspected, as it always seemed to do, lay between the extremes. A little of column B, with a good seasoning of column C, most likely. Maybe even a little of A, just to work up the bravado he needed. And there was the solution to her problem. She didn't know what the hell he was thinking, but if he wanted to talk, she could certainly find out. He'd probably tell her all she needed to know, and more. It could be a stepping stone, even. To really figure out the kind of person that stood most sharply in her way. She tapped her finger on the dull sheet metal gun, brought her other hand briefly across to satisfy her compulsion.

"Alright, then," she called, striding past the trees, "if it's so important." She scanned around as she walked. There didn't seem to be any good hiding places for a confederate, but if they were truly good hiding places then they wouldn't seem to be there anyways. And so she wove back a bit, took a circuitous route, because she wasn't going to get her head blown off by stepping right through someone's funnel. If she did happen to slip through someone's range slow enough for sight but too quick for shots, well, she could feel the weight of the magazines in her pockets and in the gun. She doubted she was much of a sharpshooter, but you didn't have to be when you could just lay down enough shots for a natural 20 to crop up.

Past one trunk, around the next, and then, finally, there he was. Standing there, waiting, looking alert and carrying a bottle in his hand for whatever reason. Looked like it had a fuse, so maybe his whole show of force was the notion that he could totally exert his flaming dominance over inanimate objects. She peered at him, sizing him up. He was armed, it said, but he didn't really want it to come to blows. Maybe. That's what she thought it meant. A fair bit of posturing, really, but she could do him one better. She raised her gun, pointing off to the side, felt its weight as she waved her hand in a vague, noncommittal gesture.

"So what's your deal? Feeling especially principled today, or do you just like to watch me sleep?"
[+] 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)
NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

December 29th, 2013, 8:31 pm #6

"Nah," Steven said. "Sleeping people are both boring and polite. Don't cause any trouble. I'm more worried about what they do when they wake up."

She had the gun out, but it wasn't pointed at him yet. That was good. It told him he was right, at least for the moment. She was smart enough not to want to be a huge target, smart enough to conserve her resources. He wasn't trying to kill her, so she had no reason to try to kill him. His job now was just giving her reasons to back away from the path overall, to really think hard in a day or two when her food ran out and it was oh-so-tempting to pop some poor moron in the back of his head and steal his remaining three granola bars, or torture someone with a knife in exchange for another catered meal. At the same time, he had to give her reasons to not change her mind and take a shot at him now. It was a thin line between moral argument and threat, and he was ready to fall to whichever side was needed.

"Mostly, I was thinking we could talk about Killer Con 2012. See, me and a few friends aren't really keen on the idea of us all shooting each other up. I mean, we all had math class together and stuff. We're supposed to be on the same side.

"And I get that people have reasons for doing it. Maybe you're scared and stupid, like Theo. But that didn't seem like it to me last time we met. It's why I'm talking to you, and someone else is talking to him."

Was that enough menace and implication? Was he overplaying his hand there? It was good to at least get the idea that he had allies firmly established, especially allies who could follow after a kid who'd done a good deal more killing.

"So I'm thinking, maybe you've really thought about this, which means maybe a little more thinking that proved it wasn't the right way could change your mind."

Carrot first. Imply she's smart. Let her know it's even smarter to stop. Hey, no grudges held here, just a couple reasonable kids shooting the shit and figuring out that murder's not the way to go. Perfect Saturday morning cartoon moral. Everyone goes home happy, or dies with a clean conscience, if being realistic.
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Rattlesnake
Winner
Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

December 30th, 2013, 10:52 pm #7

Katarina walked steadily forward while Steven said his bit, taking it in slow, easy steps. Not quick enough to scare him off, she hoped, but enough to bring them into a better conversational range. To test him, just a little bit, see if he reacted or even noticed. To make everything just a little easier on herself. She played absentmindedly with the gun hanging at her side, nudging a metal corner back and forth over the seam of her jeans.

So he did have a confederate, she thought as he spoke, and they'd split right up. She had to smile at that. Almost gave a little chuckle. But then she pitied him. All his boundless confidence, and nothing to back it up but a special sort of drive that was powerful as it was misguided. He was organized. Knew what he was doing, except she somehow doubted he shared the same mental image of a soldier getting his buddies to hop out of their trench and go ask the Germans for a light. It was hard to face a man who so earnestly lead his party to their death, even if she knew inside it was a good thing, a thing she'd even tried to do, and that for all his effort theirs ends would come only a little bit early. She squeezed the grip of the gun, and took a steadying breath.

She stopped as he finished, let one hand rest on her hip, tried not to let her fingers play with her shirt too much.

"Right," she said, and a familiar sort of excitement rose within her, touching her cheeks with pink. She swiped her finger over her brow, almost wanted to ask if the proponent would yield to a series. "The only reason I'm doing things this way is because I haven't thought things through properly. But you have, and that's why you're stalking murderers and sending your friends off to their death. Clearly you're the mastermind here."
[+] 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)
NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

January 6th, 2014, 1:49 am #8

"Sure I've thought it through."

It was better to keep talking, because she was making fun of him, and that was exactly the sort of thing that could get Steven really angry if he let it. She could say whatever she wanted about him, but when she poked at Sharon, his confidence flagged just a bit, and that really rankled.

"Theo was obviously unarmed. No bag, and he didn't pull anything on me even when I was provoking him. Not much he can do against someone with a real weapon, if it comes down to that."

Time to trade. How would Kat feel about that?

But then, he was losing track of things. For all that he'd tried not to let his anger dictate his actions, he'd been goaded off-point rather easily.

"And, sure you haven't. What do you thinks the odds of you being the one to walk out of here are? Pretty damn low, you ask me. Killing people narrows them very, very slightly, but at the same time it pisses off everyone left who knew that person. Turns you into a target. What you're actually doing is running the odds in the favor of the poor bastards hiding behind the trees and avoiding everyone, 'cause they're the ones who'll be standing strong when the end rolls around."

Logic. Logic was the way to do this. He could come at her with the morals later, but they would be ancillary to Kat. Icing on the cake, but not the chief meal. She wanted to live, so the way to work this was to help her better her odds at reaching that end. It was even probably true. Win win.
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Rattlesnake
Winner
Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

January 6th, 2014, 2:24 am #9

He had a point, and she hated to admit it, so she'd ignore it. Theo was no threat. And that's why she'd been so glad to see him. Someone with a will but no way was no danger to her, but maybe they'd be worth a couple bodies in the end. If it meant going home a day earlier, she was all for it. She'd even encourage it. It was screwed up - she didn't need to hold back with herself - it was fucked up, but so was getting an icepick through her skull because she didn't take things seriously. People like Steven, though, with no threat or potential to become one...

Her knuckles flashed white around the grip of the machine pistol.

"You really think I'm trying to cut through everyone by myself? Really explains why I'm 'hiding behind trees' avoiding anyone without a freaking death wish, doesn't it?" Her cheeks were now fully flushed, her free hand leaping out to punctuate her points with animated gestures. "I know the odds. Surely you don't really think I plan on carving through everyone by myself? Whatever your obsession with me is, you've seen a freaking lot from it. You watched me play with the little puppy. And maybe Theo really can cause some trouble for me. Maybe he won't. 'Cause just like those people cowering in the shadows - just like you - he's got no fucking teeth." she raised the gun, pointed it right at his face. Her arm shook as she did it, and not just for the excitement. She'd be straight retarded to try to pop one off, and if he wasn't as dumb as his little assumptions, he'd know that, but it made a hell of a point.

"So tell me how far you're gonna get against this with your words. Tell me how dangerous their quiet desperation is when I'm moving the pieces and they're off their rocker for revenge, 'cause if you've got a half-decent argument hidden up your sleeve, I'd really love to hear it."
[+] 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)
NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

January 6th, 2014, 2:51 am #10

Don't react. Don't flinch. That was what was important. He was getting to her, which meant he was winning. It was how he'd always won, piss the other guy off enough that they walk away more angry. Here, though, he wanted Kat mad enough she'd consider, mad enough she could lose a little of her control. People hated being on the end of an argument without control. That was why she was pointing the gun. It was her strength, one he didn't have. Of course, she didn't look steady enough to hit him reliably, and if she was gonna try, well, there wasn't much he could do to stop her anyways. So he tried to ignore it, because that turned her physical strength into a rhetorical weakness.

"All it takes," he said, "is for you to slip up once. One time. Maybe you don't die, but maybe someone gets a real good cut on your arm, nicks a tendon or something before you get them, and then you can't hold anything with two hands, and then where are you? You think you're being smooth, but if Theo gets caught by someone and squeals, he'll throw you under the bus first thing, say you egged him on. I know his type. And if people come after you and aren't ready to talk, well, every time you have to defend yourself, you slide a little further down the slope. It won't end."

He rolled his shoulders a little, scratched his neck right below the collar. No quick movements, but some nice casual ones would do well.

"You're setting yourself up for a fall. It's not too late to do this another way. Heck, you already killed someone, so you can walk out at the end, maybe even feel okay about yourself."
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Rattlesnake
Winner
Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

January 7th, 2014, 1:26 am #11

She stared, and he spoke, and he didn't run or even flinch, and Katarina couldn't help but feel a twisted sort of admiration. Maybe it was nerves, she thought briefly, but a deer in the headlights didn't pose an argument. No, he really, truly believed in what he said, misguided though it was.

But the way he idly scratched beneath his collar made hers clench around her Adam's apple. Her hand shook more than ever, a sheen of sweat touching her temples as she swallowed against her personalized bomb. She ground the spike in her pulse beneath the heel of her boot, between her clenching teeth. Took a deep breath to smooth it away - she let her brow twitch freely - let it all slowly out. Gradually she lowered the gun until it pointed back at the ground. Let the rebuttals swirl inside her head again. Even managed a little smile. Probably came across as a smirk, but you did what you could.

"So what's Theo gonna say when he snaps? Cute little Kitty Kat just wants a hug?" She raised her hand to her chest, bent like a paw. "That'll send the hunters after me in droves."

She paused, narrowed her eyes a little bit.

"And when they come - they will, because there are more crazies out there like you - don't think I haven't planned for that. They'll spend the rest of their lives stumbling around for me. Where's Theo right this moment? What direction would you head to find him?" she looked around, gave a half-chuckle. "Which way's freaking North? I'm no psychic, and you sure as hell aren't, 'cause this is old freaking news. Anyone with a vendetta's got a death wish, and when they trip up -

"I met a girl who slipped up once," she said, slowing as she spoke, but - no. She looked at Steven with watery eyes, scanned the grass between him and the entrance, tapped the MAC-10 against her leg. "One time. She had friends. Heard 'em yelling. Weren't that far away. She's on the floor of the hanger now. And if you think watching her life go like that-" she snapped her fingers, paused again.

"Damn if I'm going to sit around and watch it happen if I can do something about it."
[+] 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)
NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

January 7th, 2014, 10:00 am #12

It was frustrating, so very frustrating, because Kat was a very specific kind of smart, but not the right one. She was the sort who had a path worked out, and maybe it was even a slightly logical path, but now that she'd started she'd decided to keep going because anything else and oh shit, she'd have to come face to face with the fact that she had maybe started down the wrong path in the first place. It was an ego defense mechanism, Steven thought, and that was going to be really tough to get around. He'd have to tread a fine line, on the one hand letting her think what she'd done wasn't so bad (though it was) and on the other convincing her that giving those methods up was the smart choice.

"Everyone makes mistakes sooner or later," he said. "That was first day, right? How many other people were taking it seriously then? Less than now, that's for sure. You try something like that again, maybe you don't get so lucky. Maybe you screw up."

Emphasize the luck factor. She could have died when she killed that girl, or could've gotten messed up beyond belief. It was luck that she hadn't been. How lucky did she feel?

He was trying to distract himself a little from how Kat's choices reflected his own, because in a way he knew he was like her, chasing his chosen path and refusing to see compromise. The only real difference was, he knew and accepted that his choices would almost certainly get him killed sooner or later, and Kat somehow thought hers would yield the opposite results.

"What you can do is get together with people who'll still trust you. There have to be some around. Gets rid of the revenge worry, and if we get a big enough group, we can run the clock down some. We can't stop this, but maybe most of us can still be better than animals."
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Rattlesnake
Winner
Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

January 8th, 2014, 12:43 am #13

The fire was ebbing away, but her stance was no less strong. Tempered, that was a nice enough metaphor for it. And tested, now, because suddenly he was making sense, suddenly he'd tapped somehow right into the aching desire at her core. Those precious minutes lying alone in the fairground where she could close her eyes and slip off her boots and know she was totally, completely safe. The careful, razor's edge gambit where she'd chased a killer halfway across the island for a poor simulacrum of satisfaction. But what a freaking siren song it all was. She'd gotten Steven on her tail because of it. He wasn't dangerous, at least not in the typical way, but it was a close thing. Far too close, for so little gain.

"Such a beautiful thing to think, isn't it?" she said, and she really meant it. "But I'm not gonna sacrifice myself for an idea, especially one that won't freaking work. You sit around and sing kumbaya for a few days, maybe really have a decent time. For a day or two. And someone runs out of food, someone looks around and does the math, someone sees a shiny new toy and doesn't want to share. People are jumping on the wagon every day, heck, you said it yourself. I'm just ahead of the curve."

She gave a little shrug, and her mind cried shoot him. Shoot him now before he makes things even worse. She'd need to cover her tracks, show what she really believed, but the time wasn't now. Maybe she was doing it again, falling right back into the same pitfall, but no, she told herself, she was merely dancing on the edge. She'd seen the enemy, knew her way around it. No room for errors. No errors to be committed. That's how it went, and that's how it would go.

"So gather up your friends while the killers do their thing, let 'em build their resources and pull their triggers 'til they're dead to the pain. Go screwing with people you disagree with and get your ideological jollies off. I know how that's gonna end, don't freaking pretend you don't too. No illusions here, I know what happens if I screw up." she snapped her fingers again. "But I'll take an 'if' over a 'when' any day of the freaking week."
[+] 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)
NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

January 9th, 2014, 1:17 am #14

"Of course I know how it's going to end," Steven said. "I'm not stupid, and I'm not asking you to help me. Wouldn't expect it of anyone. I'm just asking you not to throw gasoline on the fire."

Did she really not get it? Maybe, he thought, just maybe her concerns were on such a different plane from his that she couldn't cross over and understand. He could grasp her way of thinking, could feel the seductive appeal, but maybe his conclusion was one she'd never be able to reach, at least not without somehow puzzling through her own selfishness first.

But he'd be damned if he didn't try to get through to her anyways.

"There are about a hundred kids left. One of them walks out. If we stall out the clock, we all die, or they cheat to start things up again. If anyone gets nearby to save us, we all die. One person is getting out, best case. Now, I read the news. Only one person has walked out of here after blindly killing people left and right, and he got shot in his home for the trouble.

"I don't want to die here, but if I have to, I'm gonna die doing the right thing. I don't want my last thoughts to be 'Well, shit, that was a waste of time. Too bad I spent my last week alive killing people instead of helping them.' I'm gonna do my best, and maybe it'll mean something to someone else and maybe it won't."

There. Plain language. He smiled at her, fought the urge to give her a cheesy wink. She'd probably figured out by now that he didn't have any teeth to stop her. His arguments had taken him off-point enough that going back and pulling out a threat wouldn't be the right move at all, would, in fact, undercut his whole message. But he'd cut through all the bullshit and given it to her straight, and that at least felt good.
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Rattlesnake
Winner
Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

January 9th, 2014, 12:00 pm #15

"Why shouldn't I throw some gas on the fire if everything burns anyways? What's the purpose of dragging it out? Do you want to spend four days in Hell, or five, or six, or eight before you die?"

Katarina sighed and swept her hands back through her hair. It all came back to the same things in the end. They had their goals, and it was increasingly clear they weren't going to budge from them. Steven wanted to feel good. Make something of himself. Wasn't bad at it, either. Got his pathos and his logos all lined up. Maybe - maybe he just didn't fully understand. Wasn't really a question, if she thought about it more. He'd never agree, but surely before he died he could understand. And then she could go on, do her thing, let fate roll the dice and build up the biggest modifier she could in the meantime. It was what they both feared. It was what they both really wanted.

"Maybe you don't agree," she said, shaking her head. "Just - don't fucking compare me to that human trash. You think I'm doing this for fun? You think I'm enjoying this? Yeah, I never wanted to go to Disneyland, I just wanted to run and hide and shoot at people, and hear dead girls screaming in my sleep."

She coughed, smoothed down her cracking voice, wiped the tears out from her eyes. She was getting sick of it. Of the knot that melted in her chest one moment, froze and gelled and choked her the next. She didn't owe any explanation at all to Steven, but there she was, throwing her own emotions around like a baseball just to prove that she was right. Some things never really changed, did they? As much as she wanted to, she couldn't just leave herself behind. That was the goal, after all, wasn't it? To preserve herself. Or maybe, she thought, it was the simple desire to be heard one last time, to let everyone know there was something beneath the surface, to talk to someone like a freaking human before something rushed up from behind and left her no time to explain anything at all. Maybe it would mean something to someone, huh? Her fingers traced the trigger guard on her pistol. She smiled a sad little smile.

"Look, I get it. The odds aren't in my favor. Chasing them won't make me happy. Well, no shit. But at least they're freaking odds. And you think - you think I'm 'blindly killing people left and right?' If you want to feel good about yourself so you can die happy, that's fine, but don't think I'm looking for fun. I want a soft bed. I want to be properly warm again. One person gets to do that. Why can't it be me? A hundred fifty people die either way. Doing things myself doesn't change the numbers in the end. But it lets people hear my name, know what I can do. They steer clear. Know I've got something good?" she waved the pistol lazily. "Steer even clearer. There's no target on my back. Not for anyone who doesn't have a death wish, and there's the solution inside the problem."

"I don't wanna beat around this any more. You wanna be a good person. That's cool. But I die, my last thoughts aren't going to be 'If only there was something I could do about this. If only I hadn't been an easy target, if only I could bite back, maybe this wouldn't be happening."
[+] 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)
NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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