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

October 3rd, 2010, 11:52 am #1

((Nick Reid continued from Spelunking))
((One-off approved and whatnot))

Nick turned, looking over his shoulder at the mountain behind him. Searching, scanning, gazing back and seeing a tiny black pinprick. The tunnel. Truthfully, it was hard to tell at that distance - it could be a fold or cranny in the mountain, or a different tunnel altogether. He frowned and pressed on. There were trees ahead. Nick liked trees. Strong, towering, nigh immortal (depending on the species of course), and so hospitable. Group a bunch of trees together and you didn't just have a bunch of trees, you had a forest. An entire ecosystem running in and around the shady giants.

Shady. Yes, he would walk into the shade.

Before he passed entirely under their shadow, he swept the estoc off of his shoulder, holding it, twisting it, admiring it from all angles. He had to admit that he didn't know what it was called - even he hadn't heard of such a weapon before. He could guess its origins fairly well, though. Fourteenth, fifteenth century, he guessed. Probably on the earlier side of that, because of its length. Right when people wanted to spear knights like crabs on a pick but still liked their weapons big and manly. Swinging it around a bit, hearing it thrum through the air with a dull swoosh, it was all so pleasant. He thought, maybe, that he should've left it back at the tunnels. But Jennifer wouldn't have taken it, he was sure. He didn't even know if she'd take her icepick back. And he needed it, didn't he? Almost unconsciously, his hand brushed against the collar on his neck, slightly cooler than the skin around it. No, he didn't need the sword. But it would help.

He shouldered it and walked beneath the inviting canopy.

Walking. That was something else he enjoyed. He'd walk around at lunch, taking in his surroundings, casting an appraising eye on everything going on around him. It was all so petty, he'd known that even then. And now it seemed downright silly to think of all the things highschoolers worried about. Who said what about whom, how pathetic it was that x thought y liked them, how the cheer coach was being a fascist. Sometimes there was even someone else to talk to. But he didn't mind walking alone. Or so he told himself.

And now he was walking alone, and he wouldn't have it any other way.

He took in the sights and the sounds of the forest. Birds chirped. Leaves rustled. Branches swayed. Squirrels chattered. But Nick hardly made a noise, stepping carefully around thickets and over twigs. He couldn't disrupt nature. And that was why he had come here. One long, spindly finger brushed his collar. It was why he'd kept the sword. He could be nice and quiet, or at least try to be. There was no telling what would happen, really, when he pressed on, but he could be happy at last. It wouldn't last very long, but he thought that maybe, just maybe, it could make him happy. After all, everyone else would be happy, too.

He stopped in the shadow of a gigantic tree. He stopped, ready to move onward.

His bag made a soft rustle when he put it down, square against the niche where he would lay. Unzipping it, he peered inside. It was a bit messy - flashlight and notebook thrown in haphazardly, clean folded clothing now bunched around his molotovs. For a moment, one hand lingered on the zipper, twitching towards the other end. Then he drew it back, reached into his bag, and straightened it all out. His clothes he could smooth out, make a nice neat layer on the bottom. Notebook on one side, and bottles of water and diesel on the other. Food went on top of the notebook. Flashlight next to that. First-aid kit taking up its own niche. So nice and neat. Zipping it back up, everything was hidden again. It was a good thing, though, to straighten everything out. Maybe someone else would appreciate it too.

Even if they didn't appreciate his neatness, they'd appreciate him anyways.

Now he backed into his cozy little plot, a space between two great gnarled roots. The only thing left was to figure out the specifics. Gripping the hilt of the sword, he laid it across his body while he closed his eyes and thought. It was so nice. So, so nice. Another moment he wished could last forever. And maybe it could - he didn't know what came next. He just had something to do first. It was very important. He sniffed the breeze, slipped a hand beneath his shirt, and felt his heartbeat. Just left of center, and just below the middle of his ribcage. Taking the sword now, he knew what to do. It was the best way to do it and still look somewhat dignified. Peaceful, if he could wrangle it. The grip was too far away, the blade too long for him to reach, so he gripped in tightly in his left hand. The right hand would be the guide, feeling it out. There it was, he positioned the point, grabbed the blade with his right hand, tightened it like a vice, took a deep breath - "A far better thing" - that was all he could choke out, and then he pulled hard.

The icicle point sheared through knitted muscle, and his aim was true.

Nick Reid woke up shivering, drenched in sweat. The day had drawn on without him, and the old tree stretched resolutely towards the sky as it had for tens of thousands of afternoons like this. He shivered, but not because of the cold. And then he shivered again, because it really was cold. Dim light shone off the sword in front of his face; he'd turned onto his side, facing the weapon in a fetal position. Grabbing the blade, he felt a sudden revulsion. He pointed it away from his body as he rose to his feet, stepping awkwardly towards his bag as his vision darkened and his head spun. As soon as the blood returned to his brain, he bent down and unzipped his bag.

Then he stood back up and kicked it.

It was all so stupid. Self-serving. Masochistic, attention-seeking, Freudian something-or-other bullcrap. How could he have been serious about it? Whatever atrophied excuse for a bundle of neurons thought it was a good idea was locked away now, probably being roughed up by his amygdala or something. It had felt good to walk beneath the trees and imagine a dignified demise. But actually doing it? Stupid, stupid, stupid. There was a reason behind it all. Self-harm instinct or whatever name Freud cooked up between lines of coke. The reason why it felt good, sometimes, to stay mad, or to to miss a day of antidepressants, or to give in to the part of his brain that made him do stupid stuff. That, turned up to eleven. Thanatos, the end result of whatever-it's-called.

The scene in the tunnels came bubbling back to his mind.

He'd said he deserved it. Written that note. Offered back the icepick. He'd never been more wrong in his life. Was Jennifer that high above him? Some holy, untouchable angel of mercy? NO! came the screaming cry within his mind. She wasn't any better than him. She could make people happy, for a moment. He, Nick, had made Tom happy for eternity. There was a divide there. A fundamental difference. Jennifer, bless her heart, thought for some reason that the rules still applied. They didn't. The image of a molotov spinning through the air flashed through his mind. Nothing illegal at all. No attempted arson, because the charge didn't exist. No voluntary manslaughter, because where were the courts here? The sickening smacks and throat-tearing yells back at the cave - perfectly legal behavior. Smart behavior, in fact. Survival behavior. Because this was Survival of the Fittest. Jennifer... she could do her part. But she'd never take the grand prize. Trying to be morally straight, trying to keep "humanity", trying to be a good person - it was all foolish behavior. It was all perfectly clear.

You could play the game, or you could give up and die. He knew which path he'd take.

He wanted to make himself unhappy? He could deal. There were a lot of things he could do to indulge the terrible pointless urge. If he couldn't be happy, he could at least get his blood flowing. Where to go now? He was near a danger zone, more or less. He could walk away, back towards the tunnels and the gazebo where he'd left his mark on the student body. Towards Alex and Maxwell, perhaps. He could meet them now, armed as he was. And maybe he should, before they could arm themselves. On the other hand, why would someone want to hang out by a dangerzone? Because it was unnerving and a little stupid - and nobody would want to go there. And so nobody would go there, except people who wanted to hide. And if they were going to hide, they weren't going to play. And if they weren't going to play, they were only postponing the inevitable.

He was feeling generous at the moment. He shouldered the sword and the bag, and set off to the edge of the greens.

((Nick Reid continued in Peacemaker))
[+] 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)