MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

September 28th, 2010, 2:14 am #11

For just those few moments, strange though they were, everything was alright. Jennifer wiped at Nick's face, cleaning it a little, and tried to change the dressings on his arm. She had no clue if she was doing things correctly, but she didn't seem to be hurting Nick, at least. He still looked awful. Nothing would change that, except perhaps time. Time, Jennifer realized, that he was unlikely to have. Most of them would be dead before long at all. Looking at Nick, she found it hard to imagine him as a corpse. He'd look the same, just... not move. Not talk, not breath, not think, not feel.

She'd be that way too. Couldn't be too long. She was no fighter.

She was about to say something, distract herself from her dark musings with words, when a much more effective diversion came around. A voice, from the darkness. Phil. Looking for people from the hockey team. A quick search of her memory. Phil. Ward. From what little she'd heard from her friends in the lower grades, he was a real jackass. What did that even mean anymore, though? If so many people, normal, sane people, could become so much worse, what was stopping someone like Phil from turning over a new leaf, showing newer, better colors?

Nick seemed nervous, on edge. He told Phil it was just the two of them, a bad move from a strategic point of view, but a good one in terms of trust. Thing was, Phil was still in the darkness. They couldn't know that he wasn't aiming a gun at them, ready to mow them down as soon as he knew they had no backup. Or, worse, maybe he had a whole team, a group of hockey players roaming the island and killing and looting everyone they came across. Groups were sure to form in this sort of situation, and not all of them would be positive.

"Um, no," Jennifer said. "I, uh, I haven't seen any of them. But, uh, if I... if I do, would you like me to, um, deliver a message?"

It seemed the polite thing to ask, given that she had requested the same in her last encounter. And she would share Phil's words, if he had any. She knew how it felt to be looking for someone, to be alone and scared.

All assuming, of course, that Phil didn't kill her on the spot.

And then, from nowhere, the shouts, the angered voice. Someone else. Was this it, then? Was Phil really here with an ally? Were she and Nick going to die? Though, the voice sounded upset at Phil. What was going on?

One thing was sure: If Jennifer was going to die, she wasn't going to get killed by an unseen assailant. Quickly, she ducked down, scooped up her flashlight, and flicked the beam on, pointing it at the sounds. The sight that met her was surprising. Phil, a short, tough looking boy, was who she'd thought, but he had blood on his shirt, and it was singed. Had he been on the announcements? Worse, behind him was another guy, thin, short black hair, carrying a sword. A sword. And it looked like he and Phil weren't together, and they both meant business, and she suddenly realized there was a good chance things were about to get unpleasant.

And then another figure rounded the corner, just a bit too far outside the beam of the flashlight for her to make him out completely, and Jennifer instinctively ducked back, pressing against the wall of the tunnel, wishing for something to hide behind. Wishing that she'd never come down here.


((Aaron Hughes continued from My Kingdom for a Plan!))

Aaron was in an absolutely awful mood. After their late night (or, more accurately perhaps, early morning) encounters in the woods, Tom had just kept moving, almost like he was trying to lose the group. Aaron would have been glad to have him gone, except for one little fact: Tom was a serious danger. He was a constant threat to Aaron's authority, way too independent for teamwork, and if he left like this, running off, it would look like desertion. That would imply dissatisfaction with Aaron's leadership, which would sow discontent and doubt, and, in the long run, tear the group to pieces and tank all of their chances at escaping.

So, when Tom had gotten far enough ahead that Aaron had been forced to decide between following him or sticking with his actually loyal partners, he'd shouted back to him that he was going after Tom, asked them to hold up for a bit and maybe get some rest, and taken off. He was going to bring Tom back. Drag him if necessary. Even if Tom immediately said he was through with them, threw a petty fit, and left. Aaron was sick of being ditched after Rekka, Francine, and Lily. He was done tolerating it. He had determined that, if anyone else quit the group, they'd be doing it on his terms.

He'd figured out how to load the gun, how to use it, sneaking glances at the instruction manual by flashlight during the walk. It had been his first priority. Better safe than sorry. Better prepared for anything. Better to have a credible way to get Tom to follow him if the other boy proved reluctant.

None of this, though, was the real reason for Aaron's annoyance. What had him most irritated, most on edge, had come courtesy of the announcements forty five minutes beforehand. Most of them had been fairly meaningless, or predictable. None of his friends had died. The only victim he'd known at all was Amber, that awful, vindictive girl he'd been forced to endure at the mall. One of the killers, though, was different.

Jacquard Broughten was a prime contender for the position of Aaron's least favorite member of the Bayview student body. She was a snide, pretentious bitch, a real killjoy too, and Aaron still wasn't over the incident at the gazebo. She'd mocked him, insulted him, made him look like a fool. It didn't grate so badly now, but Jacquard had shown before that she had it out for him, and now she was a killer. He wasn't surprised she'd play, but he'd been hoping her bum leg would stop her, that she'd be an early out.

Whatever. He'd shoot her if he found her. Nobody would blame him, since she was a psychotic threat to the safety of everyone.

Aaron had nearly lost Tom at one point, as the boy ducked into the tunnels. It wasn't a good sign. He drew the gun from his pocket, keeping it ready but at his side. There was a chance that Tom had planned this all, that it was an ambush. He would lure Aaron into close quarters, neutralizing his advantage, then attempt to run him through. A sound strategy, but it wouldn't work, not if Aaron was prepared. He walked softly, following the faint sounds of Tom's footsteps. There were voices, too. At least one female and one male, possibly more. There was too much distortion to tell.

And then, Tom was yelling. Aaron picked up his pace, spun around a corner, and found himself facing a beam of blinding light. Someone was ambushing him. Someone was going to kill him. He ducked backwards and to the side, out of the light, and dropped to one knee, only to see that he was wrong. Tom had just run smack into Phil Ward, second only to Monty Pondsworth in terms of Bayview students you didn't want to meet in a dark alley. And, behind Tom and Phil, stood Nick Reid, who Aaron remembered had killed somebody, and also a very frightened looking Jennifer Romita.
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Joined: April 12th, 2009, 4:31 pm

September 28th, 2010, 12:48 pm #12

The bump wasn't even a jostle for Phil, he felt the contact but what stung more was the snarky voice of one Tom Guthrie. The boy's ruthless comedy had made fool of the hockey player more than once and the boy had always darted back in the schoolyard, making comments of how serious Phil was taking everything. Most people tended to shut up around the boy but Tom Guthrie wasn't one of them. Cranky from the haunted sleep of the last night and tired from the exhaustion of the previous days activities Phil whirled around to glare at Tom.

The skinnier boy was barely lit in the light and even with the taunts and the inconsiderate jibe that Tom delivered Phil might of stayed his hand but a flash of Jennifer's light lit up the sword clutched in Tom's hands and Phil moved. With nowhere to run and an audience of at least two he knew that now was the time to show he wasn't a school yard bully, he wasn't a murderer and he would help people. If Jen and Nick could see that he wasn't a bad guy maybe they'd help him find the Kronwalls. They surely would of united the other hockey players be now and formulating a plan to escape the clutches of this terrorist trap. It was a pity Phil hadn't heard the announcements, for if he did the course of events could of turned out very differently.

As things were however Phil had the chance, he thought, to play the hero and more importantly take sweet sweet revenge on someone who had always escaped his wrath in the schoolyard. "Don't think that pointy stick's going to save you Guthrie, you deserve this, and I ain't going to let you hurt anybody!" A brief smile crossed Phil's lips as he finished his sentence. Surely that last bit would make the others see that he was the good guy here and they would cheer him once he wrested the weapon from Tom's hands and made the boy surrender.

Pushing off from his heels Phil lunged at Tom, hoping to close the distance between the two to render the boy's reach useless.
Sickness: Partially suicidal... very slightly because of my report, but mostly because Jason is dead. All of my personal issues stem from the fact that Jason Harris did not win SotF v4

William 'Woozie' Wu - "Hey Pheebs, you're amazing babe."

V4
[+] spoiler
The Lost...
B046 Jason Harris - "Hey mates, you guys ready to do this?" >>> "Listen mate, we gotta group up, play smart" 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - END

...and the Damned
B091 Phillip Ward - "If I play badly I'll pick a fight in the third, just to get into a fight" >>> "You're not on the team, you're dead." 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - DECEASED
G037 Sarah Atwell - "Any message for the class of 2009?" >>> "I wanted to be behind the camera" 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - DECEASED
B053 Teo Weinstock - "Yay for Teo! I've got this." >>> "Life is a competition, one I'm going to win" 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - DECEASED
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Blastinus
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Joined: September 19th, 2008, 8:57 pm

September 29th, 2010, 1:14 am #13

(Skipping ahead with permission from Rattlesnake)

To say that Phil's reaction was a surprise would have been naive beyond belief. Recognizing the burly hockey player from the sound of his voice, Tom had instinctively backed off a step or two further into the tunnel where he had just come from. And fortunate that he had done so, as the next thing he knew, a very solid mass was lunging towards him. Phil may have been a bulky man, but he was also an athlete. He would have been upon Tom in an instant if the self-imposed comedian hadn't been expecting it, and already on the move as well. He wasn't as strong as Phil, that was certain, but Phil was an ice skater, not a runner, and so Tom had him on footwork.

Trying to take me by surprise, buckaroo? Boy, you don't know who you're dealing with right now.

As a result, when Phil tried to close the distance, Tom hopped back and quickly recovered his balance, bringing the ready sword close to his body and making a charge of his own, tip first. The weight of the blasted thing had nearly sent him stumbling towards a wall, and it was only by virtue of having the thing already close to his side that he hadn't made an utter ass out of himself and lost the fight right there. As it was, trying to use a multiple-foot long weapon in these tunnels was asking for it. He'd have to land this thrust here, otherwise he'd probably get the sword struck on the ceiling or a wall if he had to work it into a different position.

Wonder how those two further ahead are taking this. They ought to get some popcorn or something, because I'm going to give them a show.
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Rattlesnake
Winner
Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

September 29th, 2010, 6:07 am #14

It had been a good moment. For just a few minutes, everything was ok. He'd come across a nice girl, one who wasn't interested in playing at all. They'd overcome their fear. Began talking. Displayed their trust. It was easy to believe for such a short time that everything would be ok in the end, that maybe everyone didn't have to fight and kill and yell and scream and promise and betray and blame and accuse. But then (I should have known, nothing good ever lasts here) it all came tumbling down around him. It didn't matter if the people fighting up ahead weren't named Alex White or Maxwell Lombardi. It didn't matter that they weren't determined to see him exterminated once and for all. What mattered is they were armed, and it was unlikely that everyone would return from the inky blackness into the sunshine.

His impulse was first and foremost to run. Running kept him safe. It kept him alive. Surely nothing could be of any higher virtue than that in this place. Altruism had its limits; as much as he envisioned a heroic martyrdom, as much as he dreamed of going down in a blaze of glory surrounded by spent shells, dying enemies, and weeping maidens, when push came to shove, he doubted he could do it. Heck, he'd already left Andrea to deal with Alex back in the forest. But, he thought, but there was something else about running. It kept him fearful. Cowering, looking around the corner not for opportunity but for danger. And when his race was run, he'd only die tired. Something had to be done about that. Something had to change.

With every faculty of his mind screaming for him to run away, he glided over to the rock where his flashlight lay, picking up the light and joining its beam with that of Jennifer's. It was in full swing one boy charged, and the other handled his weapon like a fool. Longing gripped his heart - a new desire joining his wish for an infinite moment of time. That sword... If they were fighting, maybe one of them would drop it, and he could snatch it up. And then he needn't run any more. Nick Reid with a sword - a sight to strike terror in the hearts of his classmates. If he couldn't have any peaceful moments, why should anyone else? They could take a turn running for a while. But he wouldn't pursue them, oh, no, he would wriggle out of this trap like a teenaged Houdini. You couldn't make Nick Reid do what Nick Reid didn't want to do. And Nick Reid did not want to die on this island.

He stepped forward.

Now's no time for bravado, this isn't what I meant when I said don't run...

Can it.


This was the most dangerous thing he'd probably ever done on purpose. The flashlight beam trembled as he fought to keep his stand somewhat steady. His legs turned to jelly and his mind darted a thousand ways at once. He'd likely just die a fool - but was that any worse than dying as a hunted animal?

Slowly, unsteadily, he edged towards the combatants.
[+] 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

September 29th, 2010, 7:22 am #15

Of course, things got even worse. Jennifer watched as everything unfolded. Unlike in movies, it didn't move in slow motion. Even with the adrenaline rush that came from being this close to combat, Jennifer was barely able to tell what was going on. Phil yelled at the boy (Guthrie? His first name was on the tip of her tongue, but she couldn't quite conjure it to mind), telling him he wouldn't be hurting anyone, and also that he deserved to be attacked. Had Guthrie killed, then? Was Phil really protecting them? Or was this some sort of vengeance from before, for some forgotten schoolyard wrong?

Did it matter? Of course not. What mattered was that they were fighting, that Guthrie had a sword, that one of them was likely to be seriously hurt or even die. It was time to run, time to get clear. Time to find somewhere better. She couldn't, though. Couldn't abandon them to their fates. Couldn't just hear them on the announcements the next morning. She couldn't bear the thought that there had been a fight, a conflict, one that she could have stopped but had chosen not to.

The fight continued, Tom backing off, taking aggressive action with the sword. Nick was moving, inching closer. Was he going to try to break them up too? If he was, it would be better if she stayed back. Better if she didn't get in the way. Nick was stronger than her, almost certainly. He'd have a better shot at subduing one of the two. Of course, he also might get hurt. That wouldn't be fair at all, if Nick got wounded, or even killed, trying to stop two other people from murdering each other. Had he considered the possibility of his own injury? Was he prepared to take that chance, make that sacrifice?

Was she?

All of a sudden, Jennifer found herself frozen. Unable to decide. She couldn't run, but she couldn't move in to help either, not yet. She wasn't ready to die. She was weak and pathetic and cowardly, but she just couldn't put her life on the line here. Not with so much left to live for. Not with so much about the current circumstances unknown.

Like... what had happened to that other guy? He was gone, outside the light from her flashlight, and also Nick's. Had he stumbled down here by mistake, seen the conflict, and done the smart thing and ran? Or was he waiting until the dust settled, letting them eliminate some of his opposition before gunning down the survivors? No way to know. She had to just hope for the best.


Aaron had backed up even further, making sure to stay out of sight. It seemed none of the others had noticed him, or, if they had, they were too preoccupied to make anything of it. So now he had front row seats to this odd dance, where Phil growled something about protecting the others and lunged at Tom, and Tom slipped away, trying to bring his sword into play. Aaron was impressed with the way he handled the weapon. Tom clearly knew better than to slash around with a sword made for stabbing, and he also knew to keep his distance. He even managed the limited space of the tunnel fairly well. Aaron was quite glad that he was not the one facing the business end of the weapon.

He wondered at Phil's motivations. Clearly, the boy was playing Danya's game. Tom had done nothing to provoke him, nothing except be a clumsy oaf in the dark. Yet here, Phil was apparently ready to beat him silly, under the ostensible motive of protecting Nick and Jennifer. True, the two of them looked like they could use it, with Jennifer cowering in the background and Nick slowly making his way forward, looking, to Aaron, somewhat unsure.

All of a sudden, he realized that there was a very good chance that things were about to get incredibly ugly. Tom could come running down the tunnel, bumping into Aaron or leading pursuit to him. He could kill Phil, go crazy, and attack everyone nearby. Phil could kill him, then turn on the others. Jennifer could whip out some sort of surprise, stab the three boys from behind while they were distracted. The only certain thing was that the situation was incredibly dangerous.

All in all, it was a good time to be the most heavily armed person in the vicinity.

Aaron held up his gun, two handed, like the instructions had showed. He checked the safety. Off. The gun was fully loaded, which meant that, if push came to shove, he had twenty shots to remove all threats. He'd have to stay calm. The gun was trembling wildly in his hands, so he took a few deep breaths. He loosened his grip for a second, readjusted it. The wavering lessened. He wondered whether he should just open up now, maybe blow a hole in Phil's head. It would certainly mean Tom owed him one. Only thing was, he probably couldn't safely shoot past Tom. In fact, any shot in here could have easily hit any of the four down the tunnel from Aaron.

And, more than that, he found that he wanted to see Tom sweat a little, see how he did The boy had the advantage. He had the sword. Aaron could just step in if things got out of hand. If they didn't, if Tom killed Phil, well, his name would go up on the announcements. It would be the end of his stay in Aaron's group, and it would establish him as a danger. Aaron would slip out, unseen, and by the next day, his credibility would be completely restored, and Tom would be a fugitive. Yes. That would be best. If Tom just got beaten up a little, Aaron could bring him back, and maybe he'd have learned some respect, learned the value of a team. It seemed there was no way this situation could go poorly.

Besides, Aaron couldn't kill Phil because it was important that he not kill, period. He did not want to be on that happy morning broadcast, shown as someone dangerous to the entirety of his surviving class. It would, among other things, be sure to put Bounce on edge, and he needed her if his plan was going to work. Although...

He had a sudden temptation to just fire a couple rounds into Tom's back. The boy was an asshole. A traitor. Someone who had joined Aaron under a pretense of friendship, only to betray him, humiliate him, force his hand in various unpleasant ways. Back at school, Aaron would have given Tom a piece of his mind some time ago, and then avoided the boy. Probably found somewhere to be alone and seethe. He'd kept it together here because people were counting on him, because it was life and death, but Tom was a danger. He would continue to be a danger. And it would be so easy. The gun had a sensitive trigger.

No. Better to let Tom make a fool of himself. Aaron couldn't get his hands dirty. The future of their escape attempt depended on it, and he could subordinate his personal feelings to that. After all, no matter how problematic Tom was, he wasn't worth losing all credibility for.
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Joined: April 12th, 2009, 4:31 pm

September 30th, 2010, 5:36 am #16

There is a certain frustration involved with trying to grapple someone nimbler than you who is armed with a reach weapon and Phillip Ward was experiencing a special kind of hell as he stormed forward only to jerk backwards with each swing of Tom's blade. He couldn't get close enough to grapple him without either getting cut by the sword or have Tom simply move out of the way.

Indeed there already had been a few close calls and Phil had only been saved by the fact Tom simply did not know how to use a bladed weapon correctly. The clumsy swings were easily dodged but caused Phil to be more and more uncertain about his plan of action. Suddenly Tom stepped backwards, seeming to take measure of Phil once more. Phil took advantage of the momentary lull in the combat and moved forth once again. With his back against the wall this time there was nowhere for Tom to go.

Phil never even saw the thrust coming. A sharp pain ripped his side as he felt the sword tear skin. His eyes widened in panic. Had he been stabbed? He didn't know, but the pain he felt was very real. He let out a cry and stumbled back clutching his side before slipping on the loose rocks at his feet and falling to the ground at Tom's feet, blood trickling from his wound. There was a thud as he impacted the stony ground and a brief flash of light burst behind Phil's eyes as he lost consciousness.
Sickness: Partially suicidal... very slightly because of my report, but mostly because Jason is dead. All of my personal issues stem from the fact that Jason Harris did not win SotF v4

William 'Woozie' Wu - "Hey Pheebs, you're amazing babe."

V4
[+] spoiler
The Lost...
B046 Jason Harris - "Hey mates, you guys ready to do this?" >>> "Listen mate, we gotta group up, play smart" 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - END

...and the Damned
B091 Phillip Ward - "If I play badly I'll pick a fight in the third, just to get into a fight" >>> "You're not on the team, you're dead." 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - DECEASED
G037 Sarah Atwell - "Any message for the class of 2009?" >>> "I wanted to be behind the camera" 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - DECEASED
B053 Teo Weinstock - "Yay for Teo! I've got this." >>> "Life is a competition, one I'm going to win" 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - DECEASED
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Rattlesnake
Winner
Joined: January 4th, 2009, 9:01 am

October 1st, 2010, 12:10 am #17

((GM'ing approved. I hope my method is acceptable.))

Edging ever closer, Nick was teetering on the edge of decision. An opening came - he steeled himself - closed again. Flicking off his flashlight, he squeezed into the shadows, bouncing on shaking legs, feeling cascades of hot blood racing through his chest. He couldn't do it. He knew it. Nick Reid didn't make snap decisions, he thought everything through, slowly and surely - Phil went down hard. He was facing away. Nick's thoughts swirled with the white-hot intensity of a brilliant star. He couldn't do it -

He leaped forward, pushing off the wall and through a sea of adrenaline. Had there been anything else to see, Nick could have only seen Tom anyways. Everything was twisted, spiraling into a tunnel within the tunnel, revealing nothing but Tom, standing there, acting in slow motion, and he, Nick, racing forward with blistering heat radiating from every part of his body, droplets of sweat forming, passing through a deepening tunnel that was so cramped and so airy, flying through the boundless sky as he squeezed himself through the eye of a needle -

Contact. The spell shattered and he tumbled downwards, landing hard, half-cushioned by Tom's body. The sword was free. It was all his. But something else burned inside him, a sleeping beast stretching its wings. It shook itself, and roared.

There was no going back now. No more "accident", no more excuses, no more sneaking and hiding and lying. Years of suppressed rage, rage at the world, rage at himself, rage at everything and everyone. It all came free. There was nothing to hide any more. Twisting and spinning and jolting and burning its way into the forefront of his mind, a bolt of raw emotion burst free from the citadel imprisoning it. Rolling Tom over, he grabbed him by his shirt and heaved him upwards with untapped reserves of strength and fury. An image shot through his mind, of Maxwell holding him up, the fists pounding into his face. There, in front of him, in his hands. Taunting him, jeering, spitting in his face. Muscles fueled by the fire running in his veins, he slammed the boy's head into the wall.

"STOP IT!"

The shout tore tears from his eyes. Why was he being tormented like this? In his hands was the reason he couldn't live in peace, the boy who had stolen away the last happy moment of his life. It was traveling catastrophe, and this chaos' newest soldier.

"STOP IT!"

Another slam, another sickening sound of skull on stone. He wanted to vomit, to run, to curl up right there and die. Why was he making him do this? It wasn't fair! Ending one life and ruining another, and all because of him -

"STOP IT!"

He was bleeding now, Nick could see dark blood on the wall before him. Why was he doing that? He had no right to die! He was supposed to fight, to struggle, to man up and tear into Nick, because that was the order of things. To spill his own blood, to see his life force leaking to let him know he was still alive...

"STOP IT!"

It tore his throat. But he didn't care. Holding Tom's limp frame, looking into his glassy eyes. He couldn't be dead. There was no way. No, he would rise and chase Nick to the very gates of Hell. Just like Alex. Just like Maxwell.

"STOP IT!"

The light on Tom's collar wasn't blinking. He was free. Free from the drama, free from pain and hurt, free from the island, free from anger and depression. Free from people. But he, Nick, he wasn't free, and he wasn't going to be free, it would just keep on hurting and never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever stop.

"STOP IT!"

Finally, his trembling fingers fell loose of the boy's shirt, letting him slump to the rocky floor. They closed on the hilt of the funny square sword, a token of the bizarre reality that led him there. It was all so surreal. Sur meant over, right? So it was overreal. Too blatantly, coldly real. His body was a cold, trembling shell now, aimless, hopeless, helplessly adrift on the unflinching sea of time. No redo button, not even pause. He couldn't make things better again. Ever. Between violent quaking sobs and miserable crying wails, one short sentence escaped his lips.

"I'm sorry."
[+] 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

October 1st, 2010, 1:14 am #18

The fight did not go how Aaron had expected. Specifically, he was entirely unprepared for Tom and Phil to battle their way toward him. He didn't have enough time to duck fully out of view. Didn't really have time to do anything but get a few feet out of the way. He was standing right there, right next to the fight, with a front row seat as Tom actually managed to give Phil a good jab. The wounded boy toppled over, letting loose a cry, and hit his head on the ground. He stopped moving. Was he dead? Had Tom actually done it, actually killed someone? Had Aaron's plan worked?

Regardless of if it had, he didn't feel so good about things. All of a sudden, Tom wasn't a minor threat anymore. He wasn't a small deal. He was a full-on fighter, a potential killer, and, above all, within arm's reach of Aaron, still slightly illuminated by the distant glow of the flashlights. The gun was wobbling again. Breath in. Breath out. Stabilize. Aaron had the weapon pointed at Tom now. Had the other boy seen him? It was only a matter of time.

But... no, this was insane. Aaron couldn't shoot Tom. After all, the boy had just been defending himself. Only acting reasonably. No, they had to run. Tom was useful, that much was sure. But he was dangerous, too. There was too much to process. Just too much.

And then, Nick was there. He grabbed Tom, spun him, in the almost shadows, in the dark, and, for a second, Aaron's gaze locked with that of his ally. Aaron's gun was perfectly still, now pointed at Nick's head. Aaron could see the fear in Tom's eyes as Nick disarmed him. Could see so clearly, could imagine what would happen. It was simple. A flick of the trigger, a bang, Nick falls dead. No trouble. Certainly no morals keeping him from doing it. Nick was a murderer. Soon to be a double murderer, if he got his way with Tom. It came in a flash. Perfect clarity. Aaron knew exactly what he had to do.

He lowered his gun, shot Tom a shrug and a wink as Nick slammed his victim into the wall headfirst.

Crack.

Sorry, Tom. Looks like you're taking one for the team.

Aaron turned and started walking, heading back out of the caves, back into the early morning, back to his team. The part of his team that hadn't abandoned him.

Crack.

Good thing Nick hadn't noticed Aaron yet. Good thing it was dark, and there was nobody there, nobody to see the smile slowly spreading over his face. Nobody to watch as he abandoned his erstwhile companion to the hands of a murderer.

Crack.

Sometimes, things did work out for the best, it seemed. What Aaron had realized in that moment, that second when he could have pulled the trigger, could have saved Tom and removed a menace, was quite simple. Tom was worth a hell of a lot more to the group dead.

Crack.

And, oddly, Nick was worth more alive. In a day, Nick would be announced as a killer. Tom as his victim. The group would be devastated. Well, maybe not, since Tom wasn't exactly the most popular guy in the world, but dammit, Aaron would be devastated for them. He'd make them devastated. Make them angry. Make them want revenge, fear for their lives, imagine Nick Reid behind every corner, waiting to grab them if they left the safety of the group. Because, after all, it was true, wasn't it?

Crack.

In a manner of speaking, it certainly was. There were killers everywhere. Too many people had wandered off alone already. Aaron was willing to bet that at least one of the others who had declined his offer to team up—Francine, Rekka, Machine-Gun-Lily, the guy from the woods, and the stupid girl—had already been wasted. Likely more. They weren't playing this smart. Weren't going to have any hope of escaping. They deserved what they got. Just like Tom did. Tom had been a liability. A danger. A constant irritant. Aaron would've probably had to shoot him anyways. Nick had spared him the necessity, and at the same time, provided Aaron with a double helping of motivation for his team. A martyr and an enemy.

Crack.

Any good story began like that. Some terrible villain hurt the heroes, maybe killed someone important to them, and they banded up for revenge. Revenge was a fine goal. Of course, Aaron had already had his, letting Tom (the rebellious traitor) die. The others would be upset, though. They'd want to get back at Nick. Want to do something. Or, maybe it would just help them have the strength to see their escape through. Yes. That was how he'd play it. Tom hadn't been abandoned. He'd died heroically. He'd known that Aaron was their only hope. He'd died to protect his leader, loyal to the end, a shining example, had nearly turned the tide, but then cruel, villainous Nick Reid had taken his life. Yet, even then, he had held the killer, screaming at Aaron to run, to save the others, to tell the cameras that Tom loved his family.

Brilliant.

The story just needed a little verisimilitude. At the exit to the tunnels, Aaron knelt, and, gun still in his right hand, ready in case of surprises, he dipped his left index finger into the dirt. Rubbed it in his eyes, just a little. They stung, teared up, and he rubbed them clean again, smudging his face, tracing it with tear tracks and residue. Then, for a little color, he smacked each of his cheeks, hard enough to sting. Good. He would, of course, be back in control by the time he found the others—and just where were they, anyways? He'd left them some time ago—back to the calm, confident leader they expected, but he would have a quiver in his voice, seem sadder, perhaps nearly, but not quite, break down as he related the story of Tom's heroic end.

And nobody would dare question it, especially once the next announcements hit. Nobody would dare speak poorly of Tom, insult the memory of one who died to save another. For the rest of their stay, every time someone flinched, showed weakness, acted up, he'd just need to remind them of Tom's sacrifice, and ask them what their fallen compatriot would say.

Turns out, Tom had been the most valuable ally Aaron could have had.

((Aaron Hughes continued in Where Do You o From Here?))
((Post order change and GMing approved. Jennifer's keeping her slot in the post order.))
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Blastinus
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Joined: September 19th, 2008, 8:57 pm

October 1st, 2010, 5:24 am #19

At first, Tom couldn't quite believe it. There he was, standing over the body of Phil, the sword in his hand. He had won! For once in his entire life, he had actually accomplished something meaningful. And yet Phil was still breathing. Evidently, the wound hadn't been fatal, and the man would likely rise again to torment Tom another day. And yet, the comedian was hesitant. It was one thing to fight for one's life, and yet another to kill a man who was lying helplessly on the floor, unable to fight back. Tom shook his head back and forth and raised the sword up above Phil's chest. If there was any time to do it, it was now.

"Hasta la vista, you stupid son of a-"

Without warning, however, Tom found himself being thrown forward. Nick Reid, for whatever reason, had decided to knock him over when he wasn't looking, and he was not at all prepared for it. He went down hard, smashing his nose against the stone floor of the cave. His sword fell out of his hand, clattering uselessly out of reach. Not that it would be much use for what was to come. After all, Tom was still just reacquiring his bearings when he was suddenly turned over on the ground, and Nick proceeded to pound his skull into mush.

If Tom had still had the mental faculties to analyze what was happening to him after the first time his head had been thrust into the cave floor, he would have doubtless complained about how unfair it all was. He had been attacked by Phil, not the other way around, so why was he the one who had to die? He'd been acting in self-defense, and they should have been congratulating him for ridding them of such an unstable person. If Tom had had the chance, he would have definitely thought all those things and more, but instead, all he could conjure up was this:

Please...Please stop!

Tom's arms rose up to try to hold Nick's still, but before he could get a hold, he was crushed into the ground again. He let out a gasp of pain, and suddenly the whole world became blurry, because the impact had knocked off his glasses. It was better that a loud ringing was now echoing through his ears, because it deadened his killer's screaming. What was he screaming for? If he'd just told Tom to stop, he would have stopped willingly and left him alone. It was one of the things that he probably would have needed context for. He always hated those kinds of situations.

Another strike against the floor, and the ringing stopped, much like his irrelevant thoughts, his pitiful attempts at stopping Nick's assault, and his breathing. If he'd stuck around for it, he would have realized that Nick had given him one or two more, just for good measure. Not counting the last little thump against the stone floor when Nick finally realized that Tom had given up the ghost, and that there was no longer any need to stain the cave with his blood.

B131: Tom Guthrie - Deceased
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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

October 1st, 2010, 10:49 pm #20

Jennifer hardly even realized what was happening as Phil rushed the other boy, then went down with a bleeding wound in his side. She almost shrieked. Almost said something. Tom positioned himself for the killing blow, as Nick moved forward. For a moment, Jennifer was worried Nick wouldn’t make it in time. Worried he wouldn’t be able to stop this from ending in death.

Then, that seemed minor. Positively trivial compared to what came next. Because Nick wasn’t content simply to disarm Guthrie. Instead, he knocked the boy over, into the shadows. Jennifer swept the area with the beam from her flashlight, and then froze. The hidden boy was still there. More than that, he had a gun. Had it aimed at the combatants, like he was about to shoot, or maybe to tell them to knock it off, quit playing around. She hoped it was that. Then the boy (she still couldn’t make out who it was) just lowered the gun and walked away. Just left Nick and Tom.

And then, the noises started. One after another. Sickening smacks and cracks. Again and again. Nick was beating Guthrie's head against something hard. Each hit accompanied by a shout. Again. And again. And again.

It didn't make sense. This couldn't be right. Nick wasn't like this. He was nice. He'd killed someone, but it was by mistake. This wasn't someone acting by mistake. This wasn't self defense. It wasn't an innocent screw up. It was a killing. A killing, right in front of her eyes. Guthrie had been ready to kill Phil. Nick had killed him instead. Was that how the world worked now? Was that the reality she had to adapt to? No. No, it couldn't be. She wouldn't accept it. Couldn't deal with it. What the fuck had pushed Nick over the edge? Why had he gone mad all of a sudden?

It stopped. One final, sickening crunch. She was able to hope for a moment that Guthrie had survived somehow, that Nick had pulled back from the brink. She walked closer, shivering, though she was not cold, and flicked the flashlight's beam towards him.

It dispelled any hopes that Nick victim still lived. Not with his head looking like that. Nick was shivering, sobbing, looking for all the world like he was the one who had just been killed. He looked so sad. So pathetic. So lost. She wanted to just walk up to him, hug him and wash all the pain away, cry with him, feel with him.

And then he broke it. Shattered it into a thousand pieces.

He apologized.

A cold wind of rage blew her sympathy away.

And, for the first time in years, Jennifer's thoughts and words unified.

"You're sorry, Nick?

"You're sorry?

"You just killed a guy, and all you can say is that you're fucking sorry? Do you get it? Do you have any idea what you did? I don't think you do, do you? I bet you really don't know. That guy down there? I don't even know his fucking name, Nick. Do you? Do you know him? Do you know who he was? Do you have any idea who's crying right now? Who'll be crying tomorrow when you get celebrated over the announcements?"

It was a strange feeling. This was what she'd always been afraid of. Losing control. Letting the barrier between her mind and her mouth break. She'd thought it would feel like a release, like a great weight lifted from her. It didn't. It didn't feel like anything at all. It just was. She was dropping the smiling veneer she wore every day, the happy face that never glowered, never swore, never said a mean thing. And the scary was thing was, it didn't feel different at all.

She was shouting, screaming her words, caught up in the reverberation as they echoed throughout the tunnels, bouncing back to her again and again.

"I don't think you do. I don't think you gave a fuck, Nick. I think you were scared and angry, and you just decided, fuck it, you'd go ahead and blow off steam, or protect yourself, or whatever the fuck it is you thought you were doing. Or maybe you had some noble purpose. You know what, though? I don't give a fuck. I don't give a fuck why you did it. Doesn't change that he's dead. Doesn't change that you did it.

"You know what? I thought you were gonna go break 'em up. Gonna go stop them from killing each other. Going to be a hero. And here you turn out to just be a fucking coward. You say you're sorry? I don't buy it. You aren't sorry you killed him. You're just sorry you have to live with that guilt. Just sorry you fucked up your own comfy little situation here.

"Well, fuck you, Nick."

The icepick was in her hands, like it had materialized there. No memory of drawing it, just like every other time. Nick up against the wall, caught in the glare of her flashlight beam. She knew she was smiling.

She took a step forward, raised the icepick a bit.

Knelt, sent it spinning across the floor to bump gently against the side of the dead boy, near Nick's foot. Straightened again.

She was calm, now. Not yelling. Speaking evenly.

"Take it. I don't need this. Fuck off and play with the other killers, Nick. Just leave me that guy's bag so I can try to keep Phil from dying, since I'm a bit short on medical supplies at the moment."

She locked eyes with him for a second, her smile broader, brighter.

"Unless you're gonna kill us. I won't stop you, but I'd ask you to at least look me in the eyes when you do it."
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