Tactic Static

Joined: July 23rd, 2008, 11:45 pm

February 9th, 2011, 11:26 am #1

((Michael Moretti and Violet Druce continued from Cool Ranch.))

Mike let a palmful of sand fall through his fingers onto the lid of his guitar case. The early sun reflected off the black pockmarked hardshell and burned into his eyes. His headaches were getting worse. Dehydration, probably. He wasn’t about to dig into the water. They were dangerously low as it was, and besides, his lips were welded together from a day’s worth of silence and he could hardly conjure the energy to pry them back apart. Violet sat across from him, head down towards the piece of stale bread she was intently tearing to crumbs. The black roots in her part were clearly visible. A crack in the veneer. They were both cracked. Hilary was dead and Leila was a killer and it was all Violet’s fault. Ilario was a killer. That was all Mike’s fault. They were no closer to Liz. They were farther than ever from escape. Good morning. He thought longingly of the plant in his guitar. Fuck, his head hurt.

The bags were piled up between the pair. The morning star’s handle rested against Vi’s bag. Her blowtorch was thrown haphazardly to the side. It looked abandoned, even with its owner inches away. Her head still hadn’t lifted. Her bread was beginning to look like the sand. He was glad for the bags between them. He had a mad urge to touch her shoulder or her hand. He couldn’t comfort her, he knew. His own guilt was just as heavy on both of them. Besides, she was strong. She would realize soon enough that what had happened was out of her hands. She could only live for herself, and she would. It was why he chose to follow her. He wished he was as lucky. He thought again of the despoiled eye and the grief-frenzied boy who had become an unwitting (unwilling?) murderer.

He really wished his head would just stop hurting.

Joined: August 9th, 2010, 3:28 am

February 10th, 2011, 2:33 am #2

(Just A Kid, Napping --> Sarah Atwell & Alice Boucher)

They had walked for a long time.

Sarah was starting to get impatient. She'd gotten to the point where she'd begun calling "Maxwell! Maxwell Lombardi! Come out and get me!". Alice had gotten nervous, and at one point tried to cover her mouth, but she had brushed her off. Nine kills to his name, yeah? Surely he would want another fight.

At least, from her days as a serial killer, she knew she wouldn't have been able to resist such a challenge.

Her days as a serial killer, huh? She was hoping they were over, with a desperate, moralistic, half-forced hope, imagining the body of Chris Carlson more than was really necessary to keep the cold urge to just slit somebody's throat at bay. They'd passed a few people on the way, people who seemed not even to recognize her, and she had fought the urge to pull the scalpel from Alice's tight fist, chase after them, give rise to all their paranoid island fears. You thought I was gone? You thought I was gone?

But no. She had to be the hero now. Hero, hero, hero. This was a redemption film. And even if she was slightly crazy, off her rocker, batshit insane, she was going to redeem herself, damnit.

It was a classic theme. Everybody loved it. The redemption story.

Plus the kill of Maxwell Lombardi (when she found him, she reminded herself) would be delicious.

But for now, she had to pull back the urges to see skin, wrists and throats, as so soft. It only takes a pound of pressure to break human flesh.

Alice was still with her. Alice had the gun. Alice would keep her in check, right?


So now they were at the beach. Cool, crazy beach, in the cool crazy sand. Plenty of food and water, because they'd been smart enough to rob corpses, yeah? Good place for a picnic. They could sit down. Alice was complaining about sand in her shoes, but they were sitting down.

And then Sarah spotted Mike Moretti and Violet Druce.

Mike Moretti was unimportant. It was Violet who caught Sarah's eye. Caught Sarah's eye because they had worked on a film project together senior year. Caught Sarah's eye because Violet loved horror films--she'd shown Sarah some, back in the day, and Sarah had come home with an adrenaline rush, half from terror, half from satisfaction. And now Sarah had some horror films. Films of her serial killer days, cutting up Eve Walker-Luther, Miranda Merchant, and Alice's shaking film of Brock Mason. Horror films, the kind of stuff that made Sarah lick her lips, the kind of stuff she couldn't keep if she was supposed to be a good girl now. The kind of stuff she'd watch obsessively, over and over again, when she was on watch and Alice was asleep, terrified that she would run the battery of her camcorder dry…

She had movies. Of her killings. And the first step to not being a serial killer anymore (okay, maybe not the first step, but one of the steps), was getting rid of the videos.

And Violet could keep them. Violet would be able to use them. Maybe if everyone died on the island, someone could find them and make them into a horror film even, and Sarah and Violet could co-direct, when Sarah was back home, and better, and not having to try to not be evil anymore.

Yeah. And Alice could help too.

"Violet!" She called. "Violet!"

And Violet turned, and Sarah's heart hurt right there and then.


Things had been almost bearable.

They had walked all the way to the Eastern Beach, Sarah unstoppable, calling for Maxwell the entire time. Alice's heart had been in her throat, afraid Maxwell, afraid somebody would pop out of the trees with weapons, rage, thirst for blood, or simply some do-gooder recognizing Sarah and deciding to kill her for the greater good. But no one recognized Sarah. Most people seemed content to stay away from the crazy girl calling for Maxwell Lombardi.

From all outside perspectives, it seemed like she had cracked.

But at least she wasn't killing anybody.

And for every illogical reason, Alice still wanted to stay with her. Somehow, it seemed less dangerous. Or at least less shameful, less bad. Because if I'm with Sarah, and trying to keep her from going completely insane, I needn't' self-reflect. And self-reflection seems disagreeable right now.

Every illogical reason.

But now they were on the beach, and a group was ahead of them, and Sarah had gone silent. Alice decided this was probably important. She tried to remember their names.

Violet Druce. Mike Moretti.

Ah, right. And Violet had done that awful video project commissioned by the yearbook or something.

Oh dear.

"Violet!" Sarah called excitedly. "Violet!"

And she was running towards them both, running and digging through her bag? And Alice tried to remember, frantically, what weapons were in her bag, and Alice pulled out her gun, again, the gun, and as usual, Alice followed.

Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?

Joined: March 3rd, 2009, 10:20 pm

February 13th, 2011, 2:59 am #3

Her ears twitched upon hearing her name. Someone familiar was running towards them, excited, calling out to her.

"Take a bow, Eve Walker-Luther!"

She thought it was someone friendly, someone she could trust.

"-stabbing Miranda Merchant in the throat."

Someone that she used to work with before the island got to them.

"-made Chris Carlson the star of her latest masterpiece performance."

Someone that she thought she could rely on; someone normal, someone sane.

"Brock Mason finally found a gun that he could operate-"

But what she found-




-was Sarah Atwell.

Violet scrambled to her feet, kicking up sand as she lunged for her weapon - her only defence - the blowtorch. It tried to leap out of her hands, but she gripped hard, keeping it steady in her trembling hands. Facing Sarah now; her friend in the distance. What were they doing here? Was she going to kill them, too? No, of course not. They weren't ready to die yet, not by a long shot.

A look at Mike.

They saw the fear in each other's eyes, as they looked back from the girl to one another. She was reaching into her bag - probably to pull out a gun. What were they going to do? What could they do? They only had crap between them. Utter crap. A flail and a blowtorch against a gun? Doomed. Screwed. Fucked.

Utterly fucked.

How could this happen again?

They kept leaving themselves so open; so vulnerable, and why?!

"Leila Langford put down Hilary Strand, helping her pull the trigger."

That knot pulling itself tighter in her stomach.

No. Stop it. You can't think about that now, put it away.

Eyes watering.

Come on, stop it. You're better than this. Don't die now.

Then stopped.

She held herself back.

If only for now, she'd stop remembering those words and focus on what was happening around her.

She'd focus on Mike.


She needed to protect him.

Whatever she was about to pull out of that bag would be for her, and not for him. It had to be that way, otherwise she couldn't go on. If he died too...

"Stop! Stop right there!"

Her bangs fluttered in the wind, swatting at her eyes again. She pushed them back. Reflex.

"We haven't done anything to you! Please! Don't shoot us, Sarah! We're supposed to be friends!"
Hello again.

Joined: July 23rd, 2008, 11:45 pm

February 20th, 2011, 6:56 am #4

His aching head dully registered Sarah Atwell as a killer. He’d heard her name a few scattered times over the past days. Background noise as he listened for Ilario. But his eyes could not make sense of the frantic disheveled little girl as a murderer. It wasn't until he saw Violet’s eyes and the fear in them filled his own that he scrambled to his feet.

For a few fractions of a second he considered reaching for the morning star but then he saw Alice reaching for what only could have been a gun, because that’s exactly how you look when you reach for a gun, and he froze. One was a murderer and the other had a gun. The morning star would do nothing. Maybe make her shoot him faster. A little nag in the back of his head (behind the pain and adrenaline and more pain) began to chant. You’re going to die. You’re going to die. You’re going to fucking die. You’re both going to fucking die.

Both of them. Violet, too.

She was already talking as he stumbled up beside her. She had barely finished when he forced himself in front of her, palms splayed outward in a display of entirely false goodwill. It could buy her some time. He hoped to God it would buy her a little time. Maybe the one with the gun (no names anymore, they didn’t mean the same things anyway) would empty the clip into him and Violet would get away. He wondered what getting shot would be like. He felt insanely, nauseatingly vulnerable. His hands were closer to his chest now, a delusional attempt at protection. He took a shaky breath and tried to ignore the regret he already had for putting himself in front of her. He tried to ignore how scared he was. He spoke.

“Just keep moving, alright? Leave us the hell alone.”

He tried to breathe again. It didn’t matter how scared he was. He had to protect Violet.

Joined: August 9th, 2010, 3:28 am

February 20th, 2011, 8:14 pm #5

Alice surreptitiously slipped the gun back in her bag. Violet Druce, the movie girl, had recognized exactly who Sarah Atwell was, and seemed terrified. At least she wouldn’t have to warn them off.

But their weapons seemed like crap. A blowtorch and a—what? She hoped they wouldn’t be this panicked if they had guns. If they had guns, she supposed she was doomed—she wouldn’t be able to turn this into a standoff now that she’d just slipped the gun back into the luggage. But then, what? They shot her, they shot Sarah Atwell, the island was better. Probably.

She lifted her hands, a little. Look, you blockheads, I’m not trying to murder you, at least not right yet and probably not ever. Please don’t shoot me with whatever hypothetical concealed gun you have, or attempt to ignite me with a blow torch.

Sarah couldn’t hurt them. She didn’t have the gun. She didn’t have the scalpel. Alice could be calm.

And finally, someone else could panic.


Sarah ran toward them a few steps before she realized they were panicking. Mike had moved in front of Violet, speaking, put his hands up blue veins shielding her, and my reputation’s grown so notorious it gave her a certain amount of satisfaction.

She had always wanted to be famous. There was something so delicious about this scene.

But now—but now she would redeem herself. Better. Be better. She could think of Chris Carlson, she could resist the temptation. For a little while longer. At least, until Chris’s shouts grew pale in her memory, like a pair of worn jeans, threadbare, hard to hold—

No, no, no. I don’t want to be that again!

Shouting, protests, in her head. You’re trying to be a real human. But she wasn’t a real human anymore. She felt like a bloodthirsty alien. Something else.

Don’t be that.

"We haven't done anything to you! Please! Don't shoot us, Sarah! We're supposed to be friends!"

Violet, Violet. Violet was her friend. She could feel memories now, Violet’s fingers moving her hands, adjusting her fingers around the video camera, the love of film—God, at one point it was clean, her love of film, now it felt like carrion on her hands.

And suddenly, she felt nauseous. She had wanted to kill, wanted to cut Mike’s blue veins, like his blood, stylized, glamorized, but there was nothing glamorous about it at all. Her films, the tapes, they were nothing but—worse than torture porn, more ugly for being real. Her own snapped mind, her joy immortalized.

Stop. Try to stop yourself from doubling over at your own self-disgust. Keep your voice up. Don’t collapse.

“Violet!” She yelled. “I know you think I’m a killer—I know you don’t want to go anywhere near me—just take—“ she stopped now, struggled to get them out of her bag, pull the last tape from her camcorder, I should have planned ahead for this “—just take these! They’re video tapes of my kills! I need to get rid of them—please! Or I’ll kill again!”

Sarah Atwell, begging.

Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?

Joined: March 3rd, 2009, 10:20 pm

February 27th, 2011, 9:49 am #6

Sarah was frantic now, pleading; mania flashing in her eyes as she thrust the tapes towards them. And Mike, who now stood so defiantly in the face of such madness, only made this worse. What was he thinking, stepping in front of her like that? Didn't he know dangerous this girl had gotten? She'd killed people - something the two of them hadn't had to face so far, and hopefully, would never have to.

But what now? What could they do? Take the tapes, and accept responsibility if someone ever found them in their possession, or throw them back in her face? There was no way she could do it. Violet couldn't put them both at risk like that. She looked past Sarah. Even if she took them, how were they to know that Alice wasn't lying when she put down her gun? What was stopping her from shooting them both dead while her mentor ran for cover?

So many questions assaulted her, one after the other, relentlessly. There was too much to lose either way, and she needed to make a decision. It wasn't something she could leave to her friend; he'd do the obvious and get himself killed like an idiot. And for what? For her? She wasn't worth getting murdered over, not by a long shot. She was just as scared as he was, just as unwilling to die. They both had family and friends that needed finding again, and they couldn't do that if they died here.

No. Enough was enough.

She was sick of this island. Sick of people becoming so violent and oh so ready to kill one another. Where had their spirit gone? Their closeness? They used to be together; used to be kids. They used to fight, yeah, but not like this. Not with this amount of blood and ferocity. This game had twisted them until they didn't even look like their old selves, and she was pretty sure that if she found a mirror somewhere, she'd look exactly the same. But right now she didn't have one, and for all she knew, she could've been the only one who even had a glimpse of their old face left.

Her hand held Mike's, squeezed it tight.

It would be okay, this told him. If anything went wrong, it would be her own fault - not his.

She let go, then stepped around him. Her eyes met Sarah's, and her arm outstretched, displaying her palm to the world as they watched on in the safety of their living rooms; their offices; their eyes all glued as they looked on with disbelief.

"Alright. If it'll really stop you."
Hello again.

Joined: July 23rd, 2008, 11:45 pm

March 7th, 2011, 8:04 pm #7

You think I’m a killer.

He felt something boil at his temples and rise in his chest. No, he thought. Not only a killer. A coward. She wasn’t giving Violet tapes. She was giving her responsibility. Rage had him trembling in a way fear couldn’t have. His right hand twitched where he now wished it was gripping the morning star. He and Violet were just trying to survive. They were stretching their leashes at far as they could, keeping themselves away from the game and keeping up the thin hope that maybe the leash would snap. But Sarah. Weak, fucked-up little Sarah. Too weak to pull at her leash, to do anything but let herself be walked. A sad piece of shit that thought she could somehow undo being a murderer. Give someone else the consequences. Wash her hands of it. Make someone else the killer, some other thing. Not poor little Sarah. She was a victim. He wanted to destroy her. He wanted to take all of the desperation and grief that had made him and Violet sick for days and crush her under it. For the few brief moments before Violet clutched his hand, he understood a little of that urge to murder for himself.

Mike tried to hold on to Violet’s hand a little longer. She pulled away.
This wasn’t right.
He felt her stride in front of him.
This wasn’t fair.
She splayed her arms out as she spoke, obscuring him where he stood. His brief flash of false bravery had been worthless. Something in his chest and shoulders collapsed. He felt ill, ashamed. He was weak in his own ways.
He forced the boiling down. Something he was used to.
He watched Violet’s hand as it closed over the first tape.
Maybe she was the only one of them with any real strength. Maybe without her he’d be another Sarah.

Joined: August 9th, 2010, 3:28 am

March 7th, 2011, 10:29 pm #8

Sarah gave her the tape.

Violet's hand closed over it. For a second, her eyes met Violet's. She was manic, too desperate to act calm, too self-disgusted to plead. Take these tapes. She met Violet's eyes, level. Take my kills, my responsibility, my hands. Take the feel of veins on blades. Sarah was a coward. There was no way around it. She had played, she had killed, and whatever friendship she had had with Violet was shattered. She met Violet's eyes, and there was no warmth there. Just memory.

We were supposed to be filmmakers, once.

But now, everything was different. Violet was gone, being what Sarah might have been, trying hard not to kill, while Sarah had made herself her own horror movie universe, addictive, impossible to escape and breaking her down.

I'm sorry.

Another tape, another murder. The one Alice had filmed, Brock Mason. He'd been a good kid. She remembered him, a little bit. Moments of lucidity. A jock, special education classes. She had cackled about it before he died.

There was no final tape. She hadn't filmed Chris's death, and Alice had disobeyed her. Alice had grabbed the gun and confronted her, even after they had murdered Brock Mason together. Alice, scared, pumping her delusions, and then turning on her after one murder too brutal, one murder too many. And now following her on a quixotic quest for redemption.

In a way, she was envious of Alice. Alice had kept her sanity. It was easy to see how scared Alice had been, but she'd not been the one to play the game, lose her head.

No, that had been Sarah. Forevermore a killer.

Kill Maxwell Lombardi. Stop his murders in his tracks. He likes it, like you. He's better than you. Hunt him, bring him down. Then it won't matter when you die.

It was an impossible quest. She was cracked, desperate.

But maybe it was something.

Because apparently Mike--Mike had heard her calling for Maxwell. And Mike was saying something now.

"If you're looking for Maxwell Lombardi, the last time I saw him was coming out of the tunnels, near the mines. It wasn't that long ago."

Relief, breathing out of her eyes. Relief, a direction. Somewhere to go. And a tiny spark, hope, as fierce as religious conviction, hurting her chest, and a knowing, someday I am going to walk out of here free.


How can you say better?

But Sarah was better.

Even before all this, in school, when Sarah was a filmmaker, talkative and popular, she had always worn her heart on her sleeve. Alice remembered watching her then, envious of her easy expressiveness, directing every appropriate anti-American slur she could think of towards the girl in the privacy of her head.

But on the island, too, Sarah was easy to read.

And for the first time since Alice had seen her, she was completely lucid.

Violet had done…something. Something during the handing over of those tapes, something that Alice couldn't see. She was left out, as always. And then Mike had said where Maxwell was, and Alice was sure he was lying, absolutely sure, but she couldn't keep hope from hopping into her chest, and Sarah's entire body seemed to clear out of madness.

She held herself differently now, as they walked from the beach. Alice had been watching Sarah, paying attention to every twist of her body language for days. And something had uncoiled in Sarah. Her fingers were bent less tightly, her hands had stopped grabbing for an imaginary scalpel, her shoulders were loose, no longer bones through skin. The manic energy had drained from her body, replaced with relaxed resolve.

They knew where Maxwell Lombardi was, maybe.

And Sarah was better.

Maybe just a little bit better. Maybe only better until they found, or didn't find, Lombardi. Maybe still with all her original capacity for insanity inside, waiting to burst from her belly. Maybe she'd terrify Alice again.

I know you won't understand, Mama, Papa. But I have to stay with her. We committed a crime together. It ties us. I know, you'll say it was different--that I did it because I was scared, while she did it because she was evil. But it's not that different, really. I'm trying to think of the philosophers you had me read, but it's not coming, it's hard to explain. She's not evil, I think--or if she is, I don't think good and evil matter so much anymore, at least not in that way. And she's getting better, I swear, she's getting better!

She was getting better. It was obvious and plain to see. She was getting better.

And for now, that was enough.

(Sarah Atwell and Alice Boucher continued in Cruel Justice)

Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?

Joined: July 23rd, 2008, 11:45 pm

March 22nd, 2011, 1:34 am #9

Mike kept a steady stare on the spot where Sarah and her keeper had been as they walked past him. Vi stared at him. She saw the girls jog along he beach in the edges of her vision, shrinking behind Mike’s left shoulder. He never brought his eyes to hers. Not just statuesque but gargoylesque. Carved to give the illusion of life. Tense and angry and eerily still. It frightened her. She wished he would just fucking look at her. Moments stretched on. The girls disappeared from view. She wanted to speak but how could she? So instead she hoped, willed for something to break it. She was desperate to be unglued.

She was shocked to find herself still once Mike suddenly, furiously turned towards his luggage and began to gather it up in a frenzy.

She watched him. He kicked up sand as he threw up his bag and the morning star. He was more careful with the guitar but there was still fury in the grab. He struggled to adjust his bag with his overburdened hands and settled for erratically shifting his shoulders. She finally decided to chance saying something.

“Why did you tell them that?” They hadn’t seen Maxwell. They’d been nowhere near the tunnels. She knew the answer, of course. But she needed him to speak. She needed him to say something.

He continued to fight against the bag as he spoke. “You really thought they’d just let us walk?” She didn’t have an answer. It didn’t matter, though. Not with how he said it. Full of accusation. It hurt. It made her angry and made her feel stupid. Something began to shoot up her chest and throat. The words were out before she could think to stop them.

“At least I didn’t throw myself in front of a gun like a goddamn idiot

They both froze. His back tensed. Regret seized her completely. She wished she would see his face, read what was going on under there. She barely managed to squeak out more words.

“Shit. Mike, I-”

He probably would have ran of he could. Instead he stomped, kicking up a small sandstorm behind him. She hastily grabbed at her belongings.

“Mike, what the- hey! Wait up!”

She jogged after him.


((Violet Druce & Michael Moretti continued in Throw It On a Fire))