TDS
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TDS
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Joined: December 17th, 2008, 12:54 am

January 30th, 2011, 1:46 am #11

Sam stepped onto dry land and looked at the two other people there. The boy looked familiar, and still sounded familiar... Where had she seen him?

Sam sat against a tree, she wasn't planning on interrupting a conversation she had no part in anyway. She rolled up her pant legs so her legs could have a chance to dry.

'Yuck,' Sam thought as she stared at the creatures that had attached themselves to her leg 'leeches....' After carefully plucking the parasites from her leg she returned her attention to the two sitting in front of her.
[+] spoiler
V4 Characters:
[+] spoiler


B038 - Dawson, Charles
Status: Deceased
[+] spoiler


G047 - Ridley, Samantha

Current Location:
Equipment: Compound Bow (19 arrows)
[+] spoiler


G063 - Bradley, Ericka

Current Location: In Transit

Equipment: CZ-99 (9mm) Ammo separated by clip ~(3)~(13)(13)(13) total=42 bullets remaining. CQC-6. Gun Holster.

Status: Paranoid


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

February 3rd, 2011, 4:56 am #12

Nick listened in silence, if you could call it that. Surely someone half the island away would be able to hear the hum of his cogitation, the drum of his heartbeat, the quickening swish swishh of hot blood squirting into his brain like fuel on a fire. There was just a fleeting moment to begin spinning fantastic scenarios involving a brand new compound bow when Jennifer's hesitant "um's" and "uh's" coalesced sharply into disturbing form.

He'd left the cave thinking - no, knowing there was a dying man behind him. You weren't supposed to survive a stab wound like that. You weren't supposed to get up after that. He'd spent so much time pondering the weapon's form, evaluating its usefulness versus a cutting sword's. A slash would incapacitate quickly, but a solid thrust was the finisher, the coup de grace.

Which wasn't always true, of course - his thoughts skimmed his own mortschlag, his own "murder stroke." And then they kept going, fixating on an image of Jimmy Brennan...

Now there was fear. Not the bitterness and determination he'd felt as Maf's fingers closed around his neck or the desperate guarding of his own mortality from Will's grasping hands, but the overwhelming powerlessness of passing a fatal accident on the highway, the piercing jolt of wailing sirens, the insatiable longing to force the ambulance back on its course. It was a strange and frightening thing, now, to be counting the little rat of a boy among his competition. They were springing up everywhere now. There was nothing that could be done to stem the flow. Now it wasn't just Maxwell and Ivan to worry about but Jimmy Brennan and whoever else was beginning to snap, surging forward in a suffocating tide of killers. He thought for a moment that the island really might be too much for him to overcome. And then something worse came.

It was his turn to speak.

He turned to the other girl for a moment. He could invite her to come sit by one of them, pretend Will never existed, stretch the truth until he could smooth it over the tension like putty.

He had a lot to say, but to get any of it out would be monumentally awkward and uncomfortable. Maybe even insurmountably so. There just wasn't a good way to do it, but - no, he had the full force of the Brain Trust behind him. He was the Brain Trust.

He twisted his hands around the handle of his sword, grinding flakes of blood into the old bandage. "Well. After I left the cave-" Left Phil to die, I mean... "-I, um, did a lot of thinking. I came this close-" to shoving this freaking sword right through my heart.

He took a deep breath to dissolve the lump in his throat. "Well, you know what I chose," he said. "But here's the thing, the really big thing I realized. You told me - well, not specifically, but that there's no room for apologies here. There are two ways to play this thing. You can play to live, or you can play to survive. I'd be putting myself on your conscience, and I couldn't do that. But now it's just narrow escape after narrow escape. I mean, I can't just say 'hold up everyone, sorry 'bout that. Sorry about Daniel and Tom and David and Wil-'"

His heart froze before he finished the word.

"-liam."

Well, crap.
[+] 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

February 4th, 2011, 1:41 am #13

The girl Jennifer was pretty sure was called Samantha and was half-sure had maybe killed someone seemed content to stay quiet and pick the leeches off her legs. Jennifer tried (and utterly failed) to repress a small shudder. Leeches. And she was wearing a skirt. It was good, so very good, that she'd kept out of the wet parts of the swamp. She'd have to check later, though, just to be sure. She was probably starting to starve by now anyways; she certainly didn't need parasites weakening her further.

Beyond that, leeches were just nasty.

Of course, all of that was entirely tangential. It was a little thing to notice, to focus on as Nick began his reply, just something to push her focus away, to deaden the impending pain. That wasn't fair, though, wasn't right. He'd listened to her. It was only proper to return the favor.

And Nick began to talk, stumbling over his words, trying to explain himself, trying to... well, no, not trying to justify, not at all. If anything, he was being straight with her, and that took a lot of courage, especially given how she'd reacted last time. It wasn't like she'd given him any reason to suspect she'd be any happier about his subsequent killing, especially if it had been murder. Of course, she didn't really have any idea what she thought about it, about him. It was all too blurry, too confusing. She chased her thoughts round and round, and always found herself running into that same blend of moral relativism, that same quasi-nihilistic certainty that nothing they did mattered anymore, not to anyone but them. Sure, her family would be just crushed if she started gutting people, but she'd never have to deal with their disapproval. Now, her whole world was these next few days, this next space of time until fate caught up with her.

So, could she blame Nick for killing? She didn't think she could. Nick was explaining his own philosophy, one she couldn't remember if she'd heard before, if she'd mentioned herself, even. He was saying how he'd been boxed in by now, how no one would give him a chance after what he'd done, the people he'd killed, Daniel, Tom, David, William.

William?

Who was...

Oh.

Nick had killed again, then, killed someone else. She should have felt afraid, should have felt threatened, but she didn't. What could he do, kill her? He wouldn't do that. He'd had the chance, back in the tunnels, the chance and the motivation. She'd screamed at him, emotionally battered him, and now he was back, he was back with two more notches on his belt, and he still wasn't going to kill her, or, apparently, Samantha. Jennifer glanced at the other girl, a little nervous, just maybe expecting to see an arrow pointed at her face and then never feel or see anything again.

Nope. No death.

She sighed. What could you say to something like what Nick had just said? Especially after shifting awkwardly for a few seconds, clearly stalling? And yet, she knew exactly what she had to say. Only problem was, it was fucking hard to get out, fucking hard to own up to her part in all of this. She'd tried. She'd tried so hard, first to be boring, to win that way, then to be decent, to not hurt anyone, then to at least bring some justice to this island. She'd tried and tried and tried and failed, and now there was only one thing left to do.

"Nick, um," she said. "I, um, I'm so sorry."
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TDS
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TDS
Player
Joined: December 17th, 2008, 12:54 am

February 6th, 2011, 2:58 am #14

Sam finished picking the leeches from her legs and glanced at the others. They were still talking, it was clearly a private conversation and Sam knew she had no part in it.

After a moment of thought, she decided that she had to keep moving. She had people to find before tomorrow's meeting.

She steadied herself against a tree as she rose to her feet and quickly grabbed up her things. Then she moved silently back into swamp.


((Samantha Ridley continued in The Kindness of Strangers))
[+] spoiler
V4 Characters:
[+] spoiler


B038 - Dawson, Charles
Status: Deceased
[+] spoiler


G047 - Ridley, Samantha

Current Location:
Equipment: Compound Bow (19 arrows)
[+] spoiler


G063 - Bradley, Ericka

Current Location: In Transit

Equipment: CZ-99 (9mm) Ammo separated by clip ~(3)~(13)(13)(13) total=42 bullets remaining. CQC-6. Gun Holster.

Status: Paranoid


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

February 12th, 2011, 2:42 am #15

There was a terrible (or was that exhilarating?) moment, a moment where Nick was sure that out of all possible outcomes, none of them involved three students walking away from that spot unscathed. But it wasn't long - his heart pounded once, twice, three times in his ears - and nothing happened. And then Jennifer dropped the biggest bombshell of all.

She apologized.

"Hah!" A short, barking laugh that barely choked itself out of his windpipe. "Sorry? For what?" He thought back to the tunnel, that disastrous scene that had replayed itself so many times in the past few days. There was something to her statement - she'd yelled at him, hurled brutal words that would have him sulking for weeks in his old life, even invited him to cut her down while he was at it. But that was nothing, absolutely nothing compared to what had happened in that calm forest dusk. She'd cut through to him, reached through that sickening serenity, that sickening submissiveness, those sickeningly pretentious final words of his dream.

"When did you ever point a gun at me? Pull my collar? Give me a black eye? Choke me half to death? 'Cause that's just a sampling, Jennifer, a little sampling of what's happened. There's nothing to apologize for," he said, rising off his seat, flush with logorrhea. "You saved my life, you know that? Maxwell's the one that should be sorry. And Alex and Nik and Ivan and Maf and- crap!"

He turned to look at the girl picking leeches off her leg, size her up, make sure she wasn't trying to succeed where so many others had failed to finish the job. There was no arrow pointed towards his face, which was comforting. But the reason for that - she had disappeared, absolutely slipped right off the radar - was terrifying. What was she going to do now? Was she a scout? Was she by herself? Any second now, there could be a broadhead streaking towards him out of the woods, too fast to dodge, too potent to survive. He jumped back, scanning the woods furiously, brandishing his weapon at an invisible archer.

"She's gone!"
[+] 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

February 13th, 2011, 5:51 am #16

If she wasn't in such a strange state of ambivalence, Jennifer might have been more taken aback by Nick's response. He wasn't mad? He had no axe to grind with her, no need for revenge, to at least insult her or something? That was... well, on the one hand it was a relief, a pleasant surprise. On the other, it wrenched at her. She felt like she was getting away with something, going unpunished for stealing candy, perhaps. Her actions were supposed to have consequences. They always did. Maybe other people got away with screwing up, but not Jennifer.

But was that true anymore? It didn't seem like it was. All her punishments were internal, all the pain and anguish entirely self-inflicted. She hadn't been hurt once. She'd been attacked, sure, been in a fight, a real fight, the sort of thing she'd always been sure would never ever happen to her, but she'd won. She'd beaten the guy who won the Best Kill Award in a fight. She'd had him at her mercy, and she'd let him walk away.

She wondered if that put his future crimes on her. It was the same with Nick. She was responsible for the killing he'd done, at least in part. Every life he took after meeting her, it had all been shaped by their encounter, she felt. She'd hurt him. Insulted him. Forced him into a classification, branded him a killer. Of course he had killed. People did what they were told. They became what others thought them, were shaped by perception and social expectations. Who knew this better than Jennifer? Who was more malleable to the whims of others, more vulnerable to the pressures of friends? And yet, she had casually exercised her power over Nick, had turned an act that was... was wrong, no way around it, but she'd made it horrible, irredeemable, a final sentence, and that was wrong. People could always change. It was never too late to look in the mirror and decide you'd had enough, enough of your old life, enough of being pushed around, enough of solving other people's problems, enough of being the nice one, enough of being scared for your life, enough of being peaceful, enough of being unable to kill. There was always the option of turning yourself around, spitting in the face of common sense and decency, giving in and killing everyone within reach, just so you could live an extra five minutes. It was tempting. It was tempting because it was the easy way. Once you started something like that, you could just coast, just flow on momentum, roll along happily and not stop. It was easy to forget that you were killing people. Fuck, Jennifer was already halfway there. She had it down. Corpses were things now. And hey, that meant people were just potential things, right? No harm in quickening the natural flow of events. Nick did it. Nick wasn't bad. None of them were bad.

She thought this all through surprisingly quickly. Not that it changed anything. She wouldn't play. She just understood why maybe, just maybe, someone else might.

Understanding was key if she was going to try to help Nick.

Then his words hit her. She'd been listening, but only half consciously. It was the sort of gaffe she would never have made back home. She was better than that. Listening was polite. It was what you fucking did when people had to talk to you.

What had changed matters were two simple things. Nick had said she'd saved his life.

And he'd said that Maf should be sorry.

He'd seen Maf? Did that mean? Oh no, oh fucking god no. But no... Nick hadn't killed him. He'd let his list drag on before. He wouldn't say someone dead should be sorry, right? Justification, desperate scrambling, but fuck if she wouldn't cling to it as long as she could.

She would have to be careful, tread fucking lightly to avert disaster. Everything was forgotten as for a split second, the space it took Nick to say "and", she pondered her reply, until Nick broke her concentration and made her start, noting that Samantha was gone. Oh fuck. Jennifer had lost track of her. Were they going to die?

They didn't die.

"Um, y-yeah," Jennifer said. What else could she add? She got up, though. Looked like they'd be going soon. Better not to risk lingering after the other girl left.

"Um," she continued, "Maybe we should move?"

And then, because she just didn't know when to shut the fuck up, because it was going to come out sooner or later and she was just going to fuck it up even more if she sat on it, she mumbled out, "And Maf is, um, is a friend of mine, and, um, I'm sorry if something happened between you and, um, and I wish I'd been there to stop it."
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Rattlesnake
Winner
Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

February 17th, 2011, 9:08 am #17

Nick took a couple creeping steps backward, arms shaking from the strain of holding out the weapon like there was anything in the world it would do, legs prepared to fold his body onto the sopping ground at the least provocation, ears tuned for the slightest whispering thwap of an arrow beginning its flight, eyes reluctantly tearing themselves from Jennifer's face again and again, scanning the mossy boulders and pale snags that blocked his line of sight for any hint of movement, human or otherwise.

It was his turn now to hear but not listen. Spinning irrational thoughts into a tangle of paranoia, he suddenly found himself jerked back to reality, watching words spill out of Jennifer's mouth in that impossible to describe but intimately, disturbingly familiar way. She was talking about Maf, telling him he was a friend, that she wished she could've done something. Nick tried to keep his face impassive, would have succeeded if not for the biting of his bottom lip showing outwardly his intense cogitation, and looked into Jennifer's. Lean but not yet gaunt, smooth and shining, the last friendly face in his world.

Why did she have to do that? She'd apologized. Again. Earnestly, he knew, feeling her words as if they were dribbling out of his own mouth. What good could that do? To say sorry - to voice a regret - it conjured up a world free of drama and misunderstanding and that horrible heartache, a tantalizing taste of a world where he could view all of his classmates not as obstacles but as allies. A horrible, bitter, nasty world, because it didn't exist and it never would and why couldn't Jennifer realize that? Didn't she understand? Was it really, honestly possible to be so, so - he scolded himself harshly for the word- ignorant? But no, he'd said it himself - you could play to survive, or to live. And she, in contrast to himself, had decided to live, to try to make people happy, to live out her last days in peace... And yet, seeking her out, wandering the island in search of a temporary respite that he knew would never end well - what in the world was he doing? He was supposed to have made his choice, consigned himself to his goal and nothing else, finding his respite with every name that blurted from the speakers and slid past his ears, avoiding that stupid drama that destroyed people. And there he was, fighting to let Jennifer raise false hopes for himself, catalyzing with every smile a future conflict that would tear them both apart. It was unconscionable what he'd done, ruining someone else for his own sake when he knew that to find true happiness he need only a sharp bla-

He opened his mouth for a second as if to speak, but merely exhaled, turning to pick out a path that would lead them away from danger, turning to save them both the pain of having Jennifer watch his careful facade falter momentarily as he squeezed back tears. He returned his gaze to scan frantically for a threat that he knew might not exist but that he couldn't afford to ignore. He looked at Jennifer once more, just long enough to begin a short address as he scooped up his bag and pointed off towards safety.

"Right."

Right. That was a good one. Could there be anything right in the world any more?

"Umm. We should leave. Quickly."

He started off on a path leading in the general direction of "away from the chick with a bow".

"Oh, and Jennifer? Don't get too close, um, someone might hit you if they miss."

((Nick Reid continued in Keep On Smiling.))
[+] 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

February 19th, 2011, 4:00 am #18

Nick turned, searching for a path. When he spoke again, he didn't address her statements. It was probably better that way. It was presumptuous of her to apologize on someone else's behalf, anyways, even if that someone was Maf, the one person she really trusted to still be good, to be doing things that... well, she wouldn't judge right or wrong, but she was sure she'd approve of Maf's actions, for the most part. Besides, whatever had happened with Nick, it sounded like they'd both walked away relatively unharmed. That meant he just couldn't have done anything bad.

Nick suggested they head out, and Jennifer was very much inclined to agree. His next words were less happy. Stay back, in case someone missed him? Like she'd be any fucking safer anywhere else. No... no need to get upset. Nick probably was just being polite. Probably just wanted some space, but didn't want to make her feel unwelcome.

Still, he raised an interesting point. People would probably be gunning for him. Just like Phil, he had more than his share of enemies. She'd have to be prepared for that. She'd also have to be prepared to be assumed malicious simply due to her association with him. Could she do that? Was following Nick even the right thing to do at all? She was hanging around a quadruple-killer. What the fuck had happened?

But she didn't hate Nick. She didn't bear any anger towards him. She was... thankful for his company.

So she would walk far enough from him to give him space, but close enough that maybe she'd discourage anyone with apprehensions about killing from taking a shot. All she had to do was prevent anyone from attacking without taking some time to talk. She could smooth any issues out, make things okay, make it so Nick didn't have to fight anymore.

She wished she could stop all the fighting, but since there was no way that was happening, she'd have to settle for bringing a tiny bit of localized peace.

Jennifer set off after Nick, cautiously optimistic for a change.

((Jennifer Perez continued in Keep On Smiling))
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