(Ric continued from: Fade Into You)
Somehow, and Ric wasn't entirely sure how, between the cottage, and wherever the hell this was, he had managed to lose sight of Nadine. He had been so caught up in the pursuit that he hadn't taken note of where he was going, and Ric was now pretty much lost. He knew, pretty much for sure, that Nadine hadn't come this way: the trail would have been marked, overgrown as it was. Ric was leaving slight indentations in the road as he walked, and he doubted that Nadine was light enough not to leave any trace of her passing on the soft surface of the trail.
Ric knew that the best thing to do would be to simply turn around and head back to the cottage, apologise to Neil and Evan for running off like he did, and get back to planning their escape. However, the problem with that plan was that Ric didn't know which way back was. The jungle had caused him to lose all sense of direction, and now he didn't even know whether he was heading towards or away from the cottage. The chase had been brief, but intense, and had left Ric stranded out here in the middle of nowhere. The map wouldn't be much use, since the trail extended across the entire island, and although he knew he couldn't be too far from the cottage, there were far too many opportunites to go wrong.
Ric then paused in his tracks, shook his head, and laughed at his own foolishness. He had a compass! A little work with that, and Ric would be able to locate his position and get straight back to the others with no trouble whatsoever.
May I interject on your self-deprecation to proclaim: I told you this wasn't a good idea?
Yeah well, I owe you a drink then.
Look, I know more about how the mind works than you do, you can't just say there's a 'brain bar'...
Why not? It's my head, I can say there's a five floor mansion inhabited by flying pink elephants if I want.
You know what Ric? I prefered you when you thought there were weird creatures flying around attempting to steal your eyes.
And I liked you better when... oh, never.
Ric snickered, tuning himself out to the indignant reply, pleased at having finally got one over the intrusive Juan. He patted his pockets to check for the compass, but unexpectedly discovered something else wedged in the pocket of his trousers. He put his hand into it, and extricated the smooth object, and saw that it was a pair of sunglasses. Ric was momentarily stunned: he hadn't seen these in years, why would they finally turn up now? Ric had been given them by his eldest brother, senior to the real Juan, so long ago that he couldn't even recall the brother's name. Ric shrugged ot himself and put the sunglasses on, as much for sentimental reasons as for their practical use.
Amazing how a pair of glasses can make you feel better, isn't it?
Whatever, Juan, all I know is that I don't feel too bad for the first time in quite a while, so save it, okay?
It won't last. Juan told him, prophetically.
(Bobby continued from: Carnage)
Bobby hadn't encountered anybody since leaving that charnal house of a hospital. It was ironic that a place of healing should become the site of such scenes of death. Judging by the announcement, there were yet more corpses in that place which Bobby hadn't seen. The boxer shuddered, stopping dead in his tracks for a moment. Although he was resigned to participating in this game, the sight of all of those dead bodies was enough to make him want to be sick... He understood that killing was a necessity in this instance, but that most certainly didn't mean that he had to revel in the deaths of others. The fewer people Bobby encountered, and, it followed, the fewer people he was forced to kill, the happier he would be. He was having enough troubles with his conscience as it was, without having to add further burdens to it. Bobby hoped sincerely he didn't see another person until the inevitable finish. Until the time he saw somebody else, Bobby resolved to just keep walking, putting on front in front of another, and taking each situation as it came.
Juan had, at least, fallen silent for the time being, though Ric had mixed feeling about that. Of course the voice was intrusive, sarcastic, and somewhat irritating, but at the same time it was company. It was rather depressing that the person whom he had had his best conversation with in a very long time was a figment of his imagination. Ric knew that it was sad, but at least Juan understood him.
How could he not? Ric observed wryly. He's a voice in my head: essentially, he is me.
Talking about me behind my back are we now? Juan's voice echoed, loud and clear inside his own head.
You don't exist. Ric told him shortly. And it's not like I was trying to hold some kind of secret discussion in the corner of my brain. Eavesdropping is a redundant thing when it's all in my own head anyway. Juan's reply served to annoy Ric.
Aha, but maybe I was in the brain bar.
... Shut up, just... shut up. Juan subsided into a decidedly smug silence. Ric had been so caught up in arguing - and pretty much with himself, that he only spotted the figure in front of him at the last instant. With close cut hair, a scarred face, as well as being muscular, tall, and most importantly, holding a gun, he appeared more than a formidable adversary. He wasn't formidable. He was death.
There was a moment of mutual surprise as the two of them stood there, regarding each other silently. They were poles apart, on the one hand you had Ric, slender, smaller, an outcast, going relatively unnoticed in his society, ugly, yet ultimately, good hearted, a weighty stick his only defence. On the other side you had Bobby, muscular, taller, a seasoned fighter, not socially skilled, yet having his own measure of notierity, equipped with a veritable arsenal of weapons, most notably his Carbine.
They continued to staredown for a little longer, then Bobby swung his pack from his shoulder, dropping it to the ground beside him, dropping with it his pipewrench and golf club. The gun followed those weapons a moment later, leaving Bobby unarmed save for his original syringe, and the recently aquired scalpel, both thrust into his belt, rather ineptly. However, being without weapons against somebody with only a stick was hardly putting yourself into a threatening position, especially with the size and strength advantage he so obviously enjoyed over Ric.
"I have no excuses. It's fight or die, and I'm not going to be the one to die," Bobby told Ric shortly, shrugging his shoulders, muscles shifting visibly through his sweat-drenched short sleeved shirt. "I can't just let you by me, nor can I simply shoot you dead," Bobby sighed, tipping his head skyward and closing his eyes for an instant. The boxer enjoyed the brief peace that came with this, though it was far too fleeting as Bobby's head snapped back down again in moments, his eyes locking onto Ric's gaze. "I'll offer you a deal. Keep me down for five, and I'll let you past me: Wish you well, even give you one of my weapons, God knows I've got enough of them. All I've got here are my bare hands, so this, my friend, is your best shot at beating me," Bobby's eyes narrowed. "Refuse, or fail, and I think you can guess what will happen,"
Ric hesitated for several long moments before coming to a decision, not aided at all by Juan yelling into his (proverbial) ear, breaking his concentration and train of thought simaltaneously.
You can't trust him Ric! The guy has five weapons dammit, you can't secure that much weaponary solely by scavenging!
I've hardly got a choice, do I? I turn down this 'deal' of his, and he'll put a bullet, or worse, a knife, in my back. There's no doubt that he can outpace me in a flat sprint, or at least have the endurance to just keep coming and coming. Whether or not he is trustworthy doesn't come into the equation: I'd rather face him when he's got his fists out than his gun.
Gr.. Having voiced his disapproval, Juan fell silent, clearly unable to offer any argument to the points Ric made: it was an unenviable situation, but this option was the only chance, however slight, he would have of making it through alive.
"Fine," Ric almost-snarled. "I accept your conditions, much as I don't want to, it's the only shot I have," Ric twirled his stick around and pointed it at Bobby, before saying, with bravado he didn't feel. "Bring it on,"
Bobby nodded sagely before shifitng his feet, moving into the correct stance to fight in. Unsurprisingly, he took up a typical boxing pose, hands closer to the body than was normal, the signature of a power boxer. Ric, conversely, merely shuffled from side to side a little: he had never been in a proper fight in his life, his only ever real altercation consisting of his adversary pretty much knocking his brains out with a baseball bat. Ric felt apprehensive as he eyed Bobby, who began taking small, measured steps towards him, closing the gap steadily. Suddenly, the distance between them, which Ric had considered fairly sizeable, simply could not be far enough.
Despite his fear, Ric stood his ground staunchly, frowning deeply at the inexorable advance of his opponent. Bobby seemed emotionless, his face a hard mask, grim and statue-like. Although now bereft of his distinctive dreadlocks, which had added around two inches to his height, Bobby still stood at a towering 6ft 3", a size which topped even Ric's rather large 6ft. Somehow, the reduction in height didn't seem to supress Bobby's menacing aura: previously, Bobby had looked like an amiable, fuzzy lion. If it was possible, the cut had made him look more scary. Fortunately (in a manner of speaking) Ric didn't believe it was possible for him to become more scared, so the alteration in appearence made a neglible difference.
When Ric considered Bobby was too close for comfort, he darted in a diagonal direction - forwards and to the left, ducking his head as he did. This last proved a decision well made as Bobby's left hand snapped out for a jab, ending up finding nothing due to the swift movement of his adversary. Ric immediately tried to capitalise on managing to move inside Bobby's guard, jamming his stick point first into Bobby's side. The boxer winced as the hard object drove into his side. Luckily (the weapon, after all, being a stick) it caused but superficial damage - nothing that Bobby hadn't had to endure in any number of training sessions or matches. In retaliation, Bobby pulled back his wayward jab, and swung around with a huge left hook. Aggravatingly, Ric managed to avoid this potentially devastating blow too, spinning away from Bobby and ending up virtually back-to-back with him.
Wielding the stick with some skill (it was little more than a club, in all fairness, not exactly difficult to handle) Ric proceeded to hammer the stick into the small of Bobby's back, driving it with the hand not holding the 'weapon' to provide the force, still not actually facing the boxer. Bobby let out a little growl of pain and frustration, both from being hit a second time and with his inability to land a hit on Ric. Bobby's eyes narrowed - unbeknownst to his opponent. and he pivoted on one foot, sweeping his right foot around in a kick. Correctly anticipating that Ric would duck away again, Bobby's foot caught Ric square in the jaw, sending him flying clean across the entirity of the little track. Bobby grinned savagely, having finally succeeded in nailing the smaller and faster guy down.
Bobby stalked towards Ric, who was lying on the ground, dazed, preparing to finish him off: that kick had been hard. All of a sudden, however, the tables were turned again as Ric managed to pick himself up - rolling into a crouch, before smashing his stick into the one area that no guy ever wants anything smashed into. Bobby groaned with pain, doubling over, but managing to remain standing. That was one area that Bobby most certainly did not have experience being hit in. Ric once again tried to press his advantage, using his low position to smack the stick into Bobby's forehead, knocking him out of his bent over posture. Ric followed up with a full-on, running club to Bobby's face, spinning him away and dropping him to his knees.
Ric felt his heart swell with exhilaration as he saw Bobby go down, but the feeling soon faded as the boxer shook his head groggily, got to one knee, then stood up again after a mental count of four seconds in Ric's mind. Had he been honourable and trustworthy, that was one second away from signifying the end of their conflict. However, Ric didn't trust Bobby one jot, and would have followed up, had he not been so surprised to see him fall with the blow to the face. Ric charged forward to attack, but then was rebuked with a punishing punch to the stomach. At least... it looked like a punch. Ric felt a sickening pain in his abdonem, one which harshly contradicted any thoughts that it was a normal blow. Ric looked down in disbelief, and saw bright blood, crimson, insidiously spreading out across his shirt.
... I shouldn't have worn white today...
Stop worrying about your laundry bill and more about the fact that you just got freakin' STABBED! He pulled a knife or something, hid it in his fist and then got the cheap shot in. I fucking told you!
Shut the hell up for just one second will you!? In case you haven't noticed, I'm still in the middle of a fight here, wound or not.
You're the one who had to bring up the colour of your damn shirt...
Bobby looked vaguely remorseful as he straightened up, the scalpel he used to gain the advantage still held in his right hand. For somebody who had never cheated before, even whilst boxing, it was a harsh eventuality to consider. Bobby didn't like doing it, but in the end, it was neccessity. He felt bad: albeit briefly, for having lied about fighting fair, but hell, the way he figured it, there were no rewards for good behaviour in SOTF.
Ric still looked stunned at the blood slowly blossoming from the point of impact of the blade. It hadn't gone in deeply, since Bobby had been forced to conceal most of the thing in his fist, leaving only a small amount of the blade protuding to actually deal the damage. Still, it would be more than enough: with that kind of wound, and losing blood steadily, Ric would no longer be much of a threat. Ric looked up just in time to see Bobby stalking towards him a second time. With one hand clasped over the wound, and the other still on his stick, Ric continued to defend valiently, The boxer almost threw it away at that point: he jabbed with the scalpel at the same time Ric swung his stick, and in a freak of timing, the blade ended up catching on the club and sticking there, being jarred from Bobby's hand. Sensing an opportunity to gain the initiative once again, Ric swung for a second time, seemingly oblivious to the surgical tool turned lethal weapon jammed into his club.
Once again though, experience prevailed. Bobby managed to parry the stick with his left forearm, although the impact was painful. However, more important than the fleeting injury was the fact that this now left Ric wide, wide open, and Bobby gleefully took this chance, bringing his right arm around once again and making contact with a magnificent hook, lifting Ric from his feet, blood spraying from his mouth as he experienced just what it felt like to be clocked by the boy who was arguably the best puncher at Southridge. This time around, there was no swift recovery, and Ric lay sprawled on the ground, staring up at the sky, seeing stars despite it being day. He didn't think he had ever been hit so hard in his life: the flesh around his mouth shredded by some of his very few remaining teeth: less so now, as Ric could now feel no fewer than three fresh, blood spewing craters inside of his mouth.
More methodically now, Bobby went over to the dropped stick and retrieved his scalpel. Fortunately it didn't seem like it was much worse for the wear having been caught by the wooden stick: evidently it was made of sterner stuff than most, either that, or the stick hadn't been from a hardwood tree, which was rather more likely. Having picked up the scalpel once again, Bobby stalked towards the downed Ric.
Get up Ric, get up! Come on! You can't just give up! Juan's voice urged Ric as he lay there, almost unable to move, such was the sheer exhaustion and detetachment he was now experiencing.
I'm tired, leave me alone.
Damn it Ric, you can't sleep now, not yet, there's time for that when you die. Juan chided him.
Funnily enough, I suspect that is now... Ric replied, with a touch of sarcasm, before closing his eyes.
Ric! Ric! Stay with me, stay with me!
"It's okay Juan..." Ric murmured aloud. "Didn't have anything to live for anyway..." Ric jolted once as he felt another short sharp pain, which mercifully faded, along with the agony in his gut, in a matter of moments. The ex-baseballer's head fell back, lolling to one side as his cheek touched against the dusty ground.
Guess I'll never be able to buy you that drnk Juan...
B36: Ricardo 'Ric' Chee - ELIMINATED
Bobby pulled the scalpel from Ric's chest and wiped off the blade with the edge of his t-shirt, looking down at his second (third, if Dan Wolfe had not already been dead when Bobby shot him) corpse of the game, in his mind nothing but tumult and discord. Swiftly, the boxer returned to his equipment, eager to leave as soon as possible. With his pack and weapons back in their position, Bobby left the scene, sprinting as fast as he possibly could.
(Bobby continued elsewhere)