Dirge for the Doomed

Joined: November 20th, 2012, 9:32 pm

August 13th, 2016, 9:33 pm #1

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
--Sun Tzu, The Art of War

(Alice Baker start)

Light streamed into the windows of Alice’s bedroom, signifying that the dawn had arrived. She blinked her eyes, staring up blindly upward. She must’ve been dreaming; her bedroom had a plaster ceiling, not wood. And her bed was so hard, as if she was on the floor…


With a thud, Alice smacked face-first against a hard wooden surface as she sat bolt upright from her supine position. The sharp pain only served to further cloud her mind, disorienting her as her hands sprung to her face to clutch at her aching nose, eyes squeezed shut. Slowly, tears leaked from beneath her lids.

After a moment, the pain subsided and Alice made an effort to gather her wits. She seemed to be under a wooden bench, perhaps a pew, in a gently lit building of some sort. Crawling out from her resting place, Alice discovered that she was correct. It was a small chapel that she found herself in. Tiny, dismal really, and worn down by what she assumed was negligence. It was indeed dawn, but the bench she lay beneath was certainly far from home.

It was in a way bitingly ironic, she thought, that such a holy place would be found here, in this situation.

Alice stood up, stretched her cramped limbs and cracked her achy back before pausing to further analyze her surroundings. A moment passed. She crouched next to the pew and peered around. Spying her daypack, she reached out and grasped the strap, dragging it over to her and fumbling at the zipper with trembling fingers.

There was a part of her, a small part but a part nonetheless, that wanted to despair. She knew plenty of people had killed themselves in this, opting out immediately or shortly after the killing began. It would be easier than the running and fighting and murder that attempting survival might well entail. It might not be desirable, but she could, if she wanted, give up. She could jump from a rooftop, find some rope or a sharp blade, and take the easy way out. Even dismissing those rather morbid options, she could curl up in a ball and cry and wait until someone came along to finish her. It would be easy, really, to quit while she was ahead. She would, still innocent, quietly disappear, barely a murmur in the narrative of existence.

But Alice didn’t want to give up. Fear, hope, defiance, selfishness, whatever. Alice wasn’t going to die a victim. If…if she was going to die here, with this metal band around her throat, scared and helpless because of these people who arranged this nightmare, she was going to make it as hard as she could.

Kneeling upright, she pulled the bag to her chest, clutching it tightly as she dug through it. There was a small pamphlet, which she shoved to the bottom. The rules seemed apparent without needing to look into the twisted mind that built this ‘game’. She was hardly an enthusiast of these terror acts, but she knew how they worked, what to expect. Rations, water, a slightly crumpled sheet that resembled a map, a compass, a little box that contained what looked like medical supplies…

All standard survival stuff. Alice wasn’t surprised by the contents, had expected them really, save for one thing; a long, white nylon cord strung with triangular flags colored in bright primaries. For a moment, Alice was confused for a moment. Then, it dawned on her; they were supposed to give out weapons, didn’t they? She had found no ‘real’ weapon, though; no knife, sword, gun, bludgeon or anything resembling a lethal instrument.

This was it. This was her weapon. This was what they’d given her. Alice wanted to scream. She gritted her teeth and squeezed her eyes shut as if that would make it better. But no; she was stuck with a useless string and flags to keep her alive. This threw a wrench into her works. Oh, hell, an actual wrench would’ve been more useful.

Okay, calm. There would be time for regrets later, perhaps, but not yet. Alice took a moment to center herself. She breathed slowly and deeply, and opened her eyes. She had to be smart, had to form a plan. Alice remembered a quote, from a fanfic of some sort perhaps; ‘What do I have? What do I want? How do I use the first to get the second?’ So what did she have, what did she want, and how could she use the tools at her disposal to meet her desires?

She wanted to live, naturally. She wanted to go home and hug her parents and play music and draw and-Alice cut herself off. Focus. Don’t get distracted by emotional things. She wanted to survive. There were two means of long-term survival; rescue coming, and being the last one alive.

The first, she had no control over by herself. She was smart, but she had no clue how to get off this island or get people to come here. The collar around her throat would need to come off, and then she’d need to find a way to contact the outside world to come to them, all without terrorist intervention. Getting off the island wasn’t a feasible tactic, at least not for now, and certainly not alone.

The second was hard to stomach, since that mean her entire class would have to perish. All her friends. All sorts of innocent people. Even the ones she hated, like Bradley or Isaac, didn’t deserve this. But if someone had to survive, Alice would prefer it was her. Selfish, perhaps, but Alice didn’t think she was strong enough to give up her chance of survival, even if it was the righteous option. That said, killing her classmates was not an option. The thought of murder made her shiver. She wondered if her peers felt the same way.

So that was her goal; live as long as possible. Get rescued or make it to the end. Now, to do those things, what tools were at her disposal? Not strength, or speed, or ruthlessness. She was small and shy, and didn’t have much charisma. She certainly couldn’t stomach the idea of committing acts of violence, and even if she could the means were beyond her. But those were just weaknesses, and she could work around them. She wasn’t helpless; she was smart, or at least clever, and her size could be a useful advantage if she needed to hide.

Actually, that might work. Avoiding people meant they couldn’t kill her, and if she stayed safe from them she’d likely last for a while. She wasn’t that reliant on other people psychologically, she felt. As long as she could feed herself and use supplies she might find, and work to avoid detection or interaction, she might be able to wait it out. At worst, she delayed the inevitable, but at best she’d get to go home again.

It occurred to her immediately that she’d be alone for what were most likely the last days of her life. That did give her pause; survival was important to her, obviously, but there was still a very high probability of her imminent death. Would it be better to spend her last days with Bryony, Lily, her friends? To say goodbye?

Alice sat for some time, thinking in relative silence. A faint jingle in the distance startled her, and in that moment it hit her that no, she couldn’t say goodbye. It hurt, that revelation, deep in the pit of her chest. She tried to dismiss it, but the logic was irrefutable. She needed to know, needed to be aware that her friends would soon die, with or without her intervention. She couldn’t save them. Alice could not save her friends or classmates no matter what she did. All of her peers’ survival laid in the hands of fate, or at least the hands of people besides her. On an individual level, Alice could only save herself. And as dreadful as that was, that was what she had to do. That was all she could even aim to do.

She didn’t have much time. Speed was key.

Alice grimaced as she coiled the bunting and slung it over her shoulder. It seemed strong and was fairly long; might just come in handy. She quickly returned everything else she had into her bag, keeping the map and compass. She unfolded the paper, then began to scan it for locations. Okay. She’d want to avoid places with people. Looking at the map, though, this place seemed to have been some sort of mental institution from a long time ago. ‘Intensive treatments’ sounded particularly suspect.

Perfect, really. Who’d go there willingly? She could stay and hide for some time, in an undesirable locale. If she was in the crematorium chapel as she could assume, it’d be close by as well, giving her a smaller window of risk. All in all, not a bad plan. Of course, she might be forced to move, given the supposed ‘danger zones’ that man had mentioned. That was something to keep in mind.

After about five minutes, Alice settled on her destination. She mentally noted the direction, folded the map and pocketed it, then checked her compass, before slowly exiting the chapel into the day.

((Alice Baker continued in World's End Girlfriend))
V5: Cut Short
Theodore Fletcher
Nina Clarke
Gwen O'Connor

V6: Broken Down
Alice Baker (->Aura)
Henry Spencer
Blair Moore

V7: Unprepared
Rhonda Lawson[/b
Toby Underwood
Paloma Salt