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

June 23rd, 2013, 6:23 am #1

((Katarina Konipaski continued from Shake it Out))


What next?

Katarina looked apprehensively around herself, just as she'd been doing for the last solid hour. Still neither hide nor hair of anyone, but that didn't mean there still would be no sign over the next hour, the next minute, the next five seconds.

Houses rose to either side of her, a soft breeze kicking down the street. Her boots clacked solidly on the pavement with each step. How long had it been since that noise had echoed through the little village? Who had been the last to leave it, and why? Did they look back fondly or stride with singular purpose as if avoiding a fate as a pillar of salt? She gave a little chuckle, and then a little shiver. For whatever reason, the place had been declared unfit or unnecessary for further habitation. It was barren now, but the echoes of humanity remained. How peculiar it was, she thought, weaving through forsaken structures, how the whisper of human presence was an order more alienating than none at all. But somehow, where a wander in the woods felt intimate, relaxing, it was a nearly harrowing experience to walk where a thousand pairs of boots had been and gone.

Another thought - she wished suddenly that she could see herself from afar. A solitary girl doomed to die striding through the silent remnants of a forsaken town, scythe in hand. It was like something out of a Japanese horror movie. She could even sing a little song to dress the set, except she wasn't much of a singer and for good or ill, she really wasn't in the mood to attract any human contact at the moment. Besides, it was more fun to wander in silence, to wonder on the reactions those who lived along those rows would have if only they'd had a prescience to view that little scene, the new, bloody purpose of their homes. She even entertained the notion of taking a gig as a restless spirit if she didn't make it out. She didn't really know if you could choose, but she figured she'd gotten the part down solid.

She'd passed through most of the residential area by now. Nothing sparked her interest or imagination, but that was just as well. She didn't need any distractions at the moment. Just needed to clear her mind, get her bearings, get a nice, pensive mood going. Figure out what the hell came next. One nondescript house, no different from the rest except its location on the border of it all, caught her eye. She strode up to the door, then shook her head and turned away. She didn't even have to try to swing her scythe inside without knowing that the whole thing was one terrible idea. Instead she set her sights on a low garden wall, enough to obscure her form without providing any real impediment to fighting or fleeing. Much better. Dumping her things on the ground, she sat at the base and leaned against it with a soft sigh.

She arched her eyebrows, clenched her jaw, cleared her throat. She pulled her legs in, hugged her knees against her chest, curled her toes inside her boots, let her tics run free again. But what next? She was secluded there. Safe, if that was a thing on the island. What was her plan, her drive, her motive, her reason for being?

Start at the beginning. Define the problem, and then solve it. She was going to die. That was a problem. So what was she going to do about it? Wander around killing everyone was the immediate answer that came to mind, as obvious as it was stupid. And why was that stupid? Not the deepest question, but good to get her brain going. If you went around killing people, then people would come around and kill you. Except that wasn't quite right, was it? She'd seen the survivor accounts, read and listened and watched just like everyone else. Probed the darker streams of information as well, partially out of morbid curiosity and partially out of a desire for acquaintance for something that came up so often in debates and policy. And she couldn't remember any real instances of the so-called players being played by some random vigilante. And really, that made sense, didn't it? Imagine you're not a killer. Why would you want to kill a killer? You don't because you're not a freaking killer, are you? But if you are, what do you stand to gain? Less competition. But the thing, the real kicker there, was there was absolutely no reason to do it yourself. The odds were almost 100% that any given killer would screw up fatally or get sick or cold or bite off more than they could chew, and that you didn't have to do anything about them yourself. So if anyone did want to kill you, it would be a necessarily stupid thing driven by white-hot moral indignation or whatever, and then what? Well, they'd have plenty of targets to choose from. A dozen or so, most likely. And even if they picked you, what exactly was the chance of them succeeding? There was no freaking way to find anyone on the island. Her phone had been confiscated, and so, she presumed, had everyone else's, and it wasn't like the place had 4G in the first place. You could ask around, but that seemed almost silly. Try even to find a friend, where people might be more jovial and forthcoming with the information. 'Yo, where's Naomi?' 'No freaking clue.' 'Dang. How about you?' 'Saw her like two days ago in what's now a dangerzone.' 'Wow, I wasn't expecting such good information. Thank you, now I can wander around and still have no idea where she is.'

But she couldn't get too far ahead of herself. It was all well and good to sit there and close her eyes and listen to the whisper-quiet crashing of the ocean and talk herself up into a frenzy over how brilliant it was to go around murdering people, but what of the alternative? There were pros to that, too, as well as cons to killing. No risk, for one. Why go hunting the most dangerous game of all? But a lot of people had done pretty well for themselves doing that. The guy who'd won a couple runs back had cut his way through a quite alarming portion of his classmates and lived to tell the tale. And for that matter, so did the winners more and less recent. Calvert was possibly still alive, though, which was why he shone as the prime example. That was a downside, she supposed. It might not really end. But then again, four versions, three big killers. One sucked back in, one missing, one mysteriously killed, and the definitively dead one a bloodthirsty, bragging monster. The odds were still in the favor of the killers. But at least nobody would be looking for you on the island itself, she retorted, and she knew it to be false before it even hit the forefront of her mind. Well, not false per se, but definitely lacking in detail. Nobody would be looking for you, sure, but nobody would be avoiding you, either. Back to those dozen seasoned killers and couple of self-righteous idiots with no self-preservation, if any at all. It would suck much more, she had to say, if she were to kill and die in a blaze of self-righteous smuggery, but dead was dead all the same, and the odds again rolled in the killer's favor.

She brushed her thumb across the edge of the scythe's blade, then reached her other arm over awkwardly to repeat to ritual. She would... think about that. Again she felt a pang of longing for Rosemary's knife. Wouldn't be easy to keep people there while the swung a giant freaking scythe at them. But wasn't that the point? The solution in her mind involved becoming a known threat, and a scythe was a hell of a threat. No need to push things. Still, it would be nice to have something like that, a little ace in the hole like that statistic you dropped during closing remarks.

And what of rescue? The thought jumped suddenly, troublingly, into her mind. And then, just as suddenly, they'd have to take her. There was no way they wouldn't. Justify that. It was a matter of legitimacy. The government would be pouring all their efforts into it this time, since it had been proven to be possible. The notion of the United States leaving citizens to die without the barest tribunal, half of them minors at that, was nothing if not absurd. Even the splinter vigilante whatever group that got them out the last time couldn't pull a repeat or they'd undermine all they stood for. Nobody throws kids together to decide who lived or died, or else they'd roll in and decide that themselves. Yeah, that'd teach 'em to play with people's fates. The odds seemed good enough that that would be her endgame scenario, and good enough beyond that to say she wouldn't rescind her own ticket back. Sitting idly by would mean nothing if not putting all her eggs in one basket besides, nevermind the foxes. Or whatever came around and ate eggs out of baskets.

But was she committed? She had to take a stand, she knew that much. The details would come later. Things would be hard, she knew, but it was better far to break your back constructing the levee than to sit idly by and hope the storm passed you up. It was decided, then. No turning back, no second-guessing, because if she couldn't trust herself then there was no hope left. And yet, for now, she could rest. Wait until nightfall, maybe, to make any moves. Definitely spend the afternoon in repose. People liked to say in hypotheticals they'd wake up with a knife in their throat, but of all the clips and summaries she'd flicked through in the absence of her parents, people seemed to prefer the daytime. Ride that out, and she was almost safe.

She pulled a sweatshirt from her bag, stuffed it behind her head like a pillow. Before she passed the day away in boredom and seclusion, though, she dug out one of the emergency rations. There were ten in all, and two weeks tops to spread them out through. But if everyone else carried them as well, there was no need for any sort of conservation. She'd need all the energy she could get, and she had the means for more. She forced it down despite the taste and laid back to doze the day away.

((Katarina Konipaski continued in Fear))
[+] 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)