Part of This Balanced Breakfast

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

July 19th, 2013, 10:01 am #1

((Katarina Konipaski continued from Fear))

She awoke to the sound of speakers and the sun streaming through the trees. Groaning softly, she shifted her position in the little nook she'd claimed, closing her eyes lazily but opening her ears to the announcement already underway. For the time being, only her chest moved - rustling foliage surrounded her, and it wouldn't do to miss a single word to the morning shakes and stretches that warded off the last traces of the night's chill. Each new transition was another jolt of her heart, a spike of morbid curiosity and dare she say it pride, a waiting game for the discovery of how the evening's event might be skewed, glorified, vilified. Her turn came and she pictured Kelly once more, under proper light this time, standing up at a school assembly with all organs still inside, smiling and cheering and not screaming or infecting Katarina's nightmares. If only you knew, she thought when she was pinned as enthusiastic, up-and-coming, but it was idle chatter and she knew it, the worst kind of feeble defense. There was no bubble of denial big enough to contain her purposeful nighttime prowl. She seemed to have struck a chord, besides, and currying favor with your arbitrators was no losing move.

She sat up, hugged herself while the last two names trickled through the brush and measured the daylight between the senior class and the ignominious death they all were waltzing with. Iselle, Joe, Hansel, Theo. If none of them had taken initiative, she'd have been the only one to save them all. Her fears were far from unfounded, then. That was acceptable. She'd done the right thing. Objectively right. Objectively smart. No room for regrets, because if you weren't making the best of all possible moves at any moment, you may as well follow whoever it was right over the cliff. The odds were freaking low enough already without deliberately screwing yourself over. The barest smile touched her lips at the thought, because however terrible her position was, there plenty of others in the business of eroding their own standings. A name and a face came vividly to mind. Twice in the first day, eh? A day of rest it seemed was stretching before her, because there was the type that only stopped when someone made them.

And then, a genuine surprise. She'd stood and froze for the all-important announcement, the reading of the danger zones and the knowledge that even if her collar gave that unmistakable beep she wouldn't simply run blind from one into another. And while her feet were silent and her ears were perked, something else as well. Something special, just for her. She blinked away surprise, tried not to twitch for the cameras doubtless zooming in to capture every nuance of her reaction for the highlight reels.

The journey wasn't long, but the weight of the scythe was trying. Not that she could drop it, not by any means. That, pun mildly intended, was out of her hands now. A force of nature, eh? That was how they pegged her. Inevitable as taxes and a good deal cuter. That was a part she could play, if Death worked so opportunistically. It wasn't like the guy popped in when things were fine and dandy though, was it? He watched and waited and did his part once fate had lined it up. She passed the scythe again across her body and looked up at the gaudy letters stretched across her path. The park's entrance, and as she stepped beneath it, a sudden, burning thought. It was her amusement park. All of it. Nobody could touch that cotton candy stall. Nobody could enjoy the shade of that roller coaster. Nobody whose name wasn't Katarina Konipaski, under pain of death. She grinned in earnest and stepped through the gate.

It wasn't difficult to find the thing, to her surprise. A neat little crate, not far from the entrance. She bent to pry the lid off, paused and raised her head to scan the area. A weathered, peeling bench caught her eye and she stumbled over to it, crate in the crook of her arm, and dumped everything at its base. Taking the box into her lap she looked around, trying to discern the pinpoint glare of camera lenses, shrugging and attacking the top of it when as usual none seemed to be in evidence. Her eyebrows arched compulsively and then approvingly and in order she pulled out a still-warm if somewhat battered cheeseburger, a couple moderately shaken cans of coke, a black and white manual, and finally with a tiny flourish, one stamped metal gun and a handful of blocky magazines.

She had no idea by her own appraisal what sort of weapon it was, of course, so she picked up the manual again. She had no idea, on the other hand, how long her private peace might last, so she put down the manual, swept the rest into the crate, and placed it on the ground again. The bench was long enough to accommodate her full length, and her bag even made a half-decent pillow when she stuffed it under her head. She popped the buckles on her boots and slipped them off, arched her back in a good, long stretch and smoothed her shirt back over her belt. It was nothing less than pure bliss to lie back in repose, pull on fresh socks and unwrap a lukewarm cheeseburger, in absolute safety. The manual identified the gun as an Ingram MAC-10, but all she really needed to know was that the little lever on the top was the safety and that it would spit out bullets the width of her thumb for as long as she squeezed the trigger. She toyed with it a bit, nearly dropped it on her face, downed the sticky cheeseburger, felt her eyes droop slowly shut in the warm, gentle sun.

One arm she threw lazily over her face, but her eyes watered all the same, a pair of trickling tears gushing out from beneath their lids. She moved to wipe them away and found her brow wrinkling as well, and then she hacked out a quiet little sob and stopped pretending she could hide it. She was just so... happy. The only thing left was to pretend her makeshift pillow was some friend's accommodating lap, that steady arms would descend to wrap around and squeeze her softly, safely in. Gentle breezes played across her face, gentle sighing wind and chirping birds framed the peaceful silence in her ears, a warm, gooey meal occupied her stomach and the memory of her tongue. One arm drooped over the edge of the bench, a solitary finger tracing out the features of the gun that would keep her safe and sound. That was all she wanted, really. She was safe and she was comfortable and she knew it wouldn't last and it killed her to feel such joy. That was the goal. The purpose of it all. She didn't want to lurk and hide and murder and plot. She didn't want to drown in chilling screams and thick, warm blood. It was all for an end, an end she knew she'd never achieve but one she had to shoot for, because what else was there but the sound and the fury and the rot and smell of decaying flesh and morals?

The arms were strong that circled her, that held her close and threaded through her greasy hair. Wishful dream or hallucination proper, she cared not which, only that the moment was too peaceful to sully with wakefulness, too blissful to waste in sleep. She closed her eyes and dozed and dreamed for an hour or ten and wished that it could last.


"Screw off."

She rose even as the words passed through her lips like the foulest swear after the cursed interruption. The loaded gun, the magazines, the remaining can of coke, all were slid or shoved into her former pillow. Her boots she buckled on, the heavy metal spike she'd carried considered briefly and left upon the bench.


"I'm moving, fuckwit," but it was in all likelihood an automated timer she swore and shouted at. Some other loser could carry the spike around, but she felt burdened enough without it as she gathered up her things. Another piercing, grating beep went by as she completed her harried inventory, double-checked that all she wanted stayed with her and all she didn't rustled on the ground. Begrudgingly, unceremoniously, she slid through the gate of her forsaken sanctuary and back into the world where she was fated to die.

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