Two Roads Diverged In A Dark Hellhole

Grim Wolf
Joined: November 9th, 2009, 5:39 am

August 14th, 2010, 7:33 pm #1

(Introduction of Simon Grey
Introduction of Naoko Raidon).

When Simon Grey came to he was groggy. His head was filled with hazy half-images, thoughts he couldn't quite believe were his own. A fierce lethargy had imposed itself upon his skeleton, made even the thought of moving abhorrent. But he felt he should move. For the first time in his life, Simon felt that he could not be at peace, that calm was too be foregone, but he couldn't remember...

Survival of the Fittest.

Oh my God.

He struggled to sit up, took a moment to breathe as soon as he'd succeeded, then forced himself to his feet. He fell over at once, his legs not responding to his commands, and scrambled on the round to rise, to force himself up. He was in the dark, unable to see even with his eyes open. Had he gone blind? How long had he been unconscious? His side was aching; had someone injured him? Had the drugs had some terrible side-effect? Anyone could be waiting to take advantage of this single moment of intense vulnerability.

Survival of the Fittest Survival of the Fittest Survival of the Fittest oh my fucking God Survival of the Fittest!

"Calm down," someone ordered.

A flood of adrenaline. Simon shoved himself up on his arms, stumbled forwards as the weakness in his legs caught up with him, and nearly fell. The person who'd spoken caught him, grunting. "Geez, Simon, how much do you weigh?"

The voice finally penetrated the haze of Simon's panic. "R-raidon!" he exclaimed. "Oh, god, Raidon..." He wrapped his arms around the much smaller boy, tears pooling in the corners of his eyes.

Raidon, still struggling to keep his friend aloft, patted him on the back once or twice. "Easy, big guy, easy," he said softly. "And quiet, will ya? We're not on vacation here." He paused, then gave a bitter laugh. "Well, I suppose we still are, technically. Just going to be a bit busier than we expected."

He helped Simon back to a sitting position. Simon, in spite of his first urge, had not started to cry; he had hastily wiped away the tears he'd felt there, taken a steadying breath. A thought occurred to him almost at once. "Raidon," he said slowly. "I...I can't see you." Have I gone....

"I would be astonished if you could," Raidon said dryly. He had taken a position next to Simon. "We're in a cave or something. Lucked out, though; smell that?" Simon, puzzled, inhaled through his nostrils; a salty breath filled his lungs. "It's big, in here," Raidon mused. "But we must be fairly close to an entrance." He smiled to himself, knowing Simon couldn't see. "I suppose Danya's men were too lazy to take us in very far."

Simon nodded, realized Raidon couldn't see this, and then said, "Yeah, I...I guess." He was relieved; a quick touch reassured him that his glasses were on his face, and while being in the dark wasn't exactly ideal it was better, far better, than being blind. He was still thinking very quickly, the flood of adrenaline still rushing through his veins. " found me?"

"I found a body," Raidon admitted. "Kicked it in the side, actually." Simon reached for the aching part of his torso, winced at his own touch. "Sorry about that," Raidon said, hearing Simon's quick intake of breath. "I risked my flashlight, and..."

"I'm glad you did," Simon said warmly. He reached out with one arm, wrapped a hand around his friend, and hugged him again. "Thanks, Ray."

The familiar name--the one only Simon used--struck Raidon, mixed with the guilt and the peculiar, cold certainty that had begun to rise within him. "I..." he started. "It was no problem, Simon."

Simon heard the catch in his voice--how could he not--and wondered at it. He was one of the few people who knew how profound an effect violence had on Raidon; the slender, quiet boy had been so shaken after Saw II, pale-faced and sweating, even if he did appear calm. They sat in the dark for a few minutes longer; Simon felt the tinny, drained sensation that always accompanied that first panicky rush, and massaged his temples. Raidon remained relatively still, the barely-detectable sound of his breaths the only confirmation Simon had of his existence.

"Raidon," he said. "Don't, uh...don't worry."

Raidon chuckled. "You must be joking. Don't worry?"

Simon laughed himself, albeit nervously. "Alright, alright, worry. I guess...I guess if there was a time to worry, now's it." Raidon laughed a little more, then leaned back into the dark, resting his head against the cold, dusty stone ground. Simon, still concerned for his friend, added, "You don' can hide, if you want. I know you..."

Simon broke off. He was thinking about their situation. They were in a cave of some kind--Ray had said it was big, and he had no reason to doubt him. For the moment, they seemed alone, and Simon seriously doubted anyone could sneak up on them. It was too dark and the ground too littered with objects. But...

But they were...

The smell of salt..

"We're on an island," he said numbly.

"Yes," Raidon said.

He didn't elaborate. He didn't need to; he had already had the same thought. Whatever dream they might have held for escape had just been dashed. The collars were the one insurmountable obstacle, but they had been beaten before (or so the rumors claimed. Raidon, who always had faith in the human intellect, had no trouble believing that someone would have beaten Danya's system at some point). The island made things much trickier; even could the collars be beaten...

Simon didn't say anything for a long while. Raidon allowed him his time, let the moment sink in. The Japanese boy had already had his moment of shock, stumbling along the cave in a panic, only the barest vestige of logic keeping him from using his flashlight.

" doesn't matter," Simon said. "I...I still won't let...if you need help, Raidon, hide, and I can just..." He was struggling against the sudden inertia of his cold body, the nagging voice that insisted he couldn't escape, couldn't win. He didn't want to get trapped here, didn't want to lose himself.

A sudden weight hit him the chest. Out of reflex he caught it, felt his hand run along scratchy plastic fabric. "Your daypack," Raidon said. "And your backpack, too." He threw the last item at Simon who managed to catch it along the strap. "You drew a good weapon, Simon," Raidon said absently. "And I see you brought plenty of snacks." He laughed, forcing the sound out of his mouth. "That...that'll serve you well."

Simon didn't say anything. He knew the contents of his backpack--Skittles, Starburst, potato chips, a pack of Oreos. They had, he thought absently, probably taken the hunting knife his brother had given him. He was already running his hands through the day pack, careful, just in in case his weapon was something sharp...

He tensed.

His fingers trailed across the cold metal, his hand found its proper place. As he lifted the gun out of the bag, a peculiar mixture of relief and terror stirred his innards. He had a gun. He could use a gun. He could use a gun well, very well, he could stay alive in this godforsaken place, he could...


He could kill.

"I took the liberty of loading it for you," Raidon said, with an almost airy tone. "It, took a little while to figure out what I was doing, but I figured it was best for you to be prepared."

Simon set the gun on his leg, reached back into his bag, and found his flashlight. "Raidon," Simon said. "What...what's wrong?" He could sense the disturbance in his friend, and could not blame him. They had just come to a place where violence could not be avoided, where they could both likely die at any moment.

"They don't play this game fairly," Raidon mused. "I don't know for sure, but I expect they put people in proximity who they believe will provide the most drama." He had considered this, both as he stumbled through the tunnel and as he had watched previous seasons of SotF.

"So?" Simon asked. He was confused by the topic-change; what was Raidon getting at?

"They wanted us to kill each other, Simon," Raidon said, still sounding almost casual. "They wanted one of us to kill the other. Nothing boosts ratings like a sudden, brutal, and unexpected betrayal."

Simon looked towards his friend in shock, jaw dropping a little. "Th-they don't know us very well, do they?" Simon stuttered. "Couldn't...I mean, you can't even..."

"Think about violence?" Raidon asked. "Tell me, how much Pornography have you watched?" Simon tried not to think about it--he didn't want to mix the thought of beautiful naked woman with his current terror, as though it mattered now--and Raidon went on, "But would you talk about it? Would you admit it? Does your watching it not, to some degree, disturb you?"

Simon shifted uncomfortably. "What are you-"

"They think I'm going to play, Simon."

Simon didn't respond immediately, and Raidon didn't elaborate. The idea caught Simon off-guard. Raidon? Play? Raidon could be a bit cold, sometimes, but even the sight of Hollywood violence was usually enough to rattle him. How could he possibly play? Even a situation this extreme? No, no way, no chance, nuh-uh, not gonna-

"Are you?" he asked, his throat dry.

Raidon got to his feet, trying to ignore the growing cold from his abdomen and unable to quite force it back. "I don't want to," he confessed. "But maybe...maybe I can't help myself." He shifted. "I...I think maybe..." He pictured Ichiro's face; pictured his father; pictured the Yakuza gunman who'd said...


"No," he said, almost sadly. "No, I'm almost certain. When it comes down to it, I'll do...I'll do whatever it takes to survive." He listened into the silence, failed to gain anything from Simon's breathing, and added, "Unless someone kills me first."

Simon got to his feet almost at once, his fingers tightening on his gun and his flashlight. He lifted his pistol into the air. Raidon heard the sounds, held himself perfectly still.

"You're saying goodbye," Simon said slowly.

Raidon hesitated. "I...I wanted to make sure you were alright. Wanted to make sure could..." He trailed off, closing his eyes. "I will either die," he whispered. "Or become their tool, and I don't want you to see me in either case."

Simon's mouth had gone dry. "You're protecting me," he said.

"Are you surprised?" Raidon asked. "You were always willing to protect me."

Simon said nothing for awhile. How long had Raidon been awake before him? How long had he been thinking about this? He knew almost nothing about Raidon's life, save that his father had been killed due to trouble with a gang. What had happened? What was driving Raidon to say these things, do...

He's my friend.

He closed his eyes. "Take it," Simon said.

Raidon turned his head. "Excuse me?"

"Take it. Take my gun." He had it extended, stock first. "I can sure as hell defend myself better than you can."

"I'm not going to be defending myself, Simon," Raidon growled. He felt annoyed at Simon for the gesture; he wanted him gone. What if he insisted on sticking around? Raidon couldn't kill him (or could he? But no, force that thought away, he couldn't kill, didn't want to kill, why was this cold voice insisting that he do, insisting that there was no other way?), and he didn't want Simon to be accomplice to his crimes.

"Doesn't matter," Simon said. He had lost the trembling in his voice. "You'll need it more than I will. It''ll keep you alive." He swallowed. "One way or the other."

Raidon's annoyance vanished, and his breath caught. "S-Simon," he started. "You..."

Neither of them said anything for a while. Simon kept his arm up, gun extended.

"I am afraid," Raidon said, smiling sadly. "I am already far too dangerous." He reached into his pocket, and Simon heard the dry click of a gun being cocked.

Simon nodded, face neutral, and pulled his gun back to his side. He checked the safety automatically before sticking it into his pocket. He had absolute faith in Raidon, at that moment, to do nothing. "So're sure?" Simon asked.

Raidon looked down at the gun in his hands. "You're not going to try and talk me out of it?" he asked.

Simon shook his head, "Nah," he said. "Never was any talking you out of anything. Dumbass."

"Afraid so," Raidon agreed, his lips quirking. There was a pause, then Raidon continued, "If you...if you walk away from me, I think you'll reach the sea. You may need your flashlight, be careful." He hesitated. " deserve to live, you know."

Simon pursed his lips. "Kind of you to say," Simon said. "Would kinda suck if you told me my life was worthless."

But Raidon didn't so much as smile. "Yours isn't," Raidon said. "Mine..."

He was surprised by Simon rushing forwards, the gun knocked out of his hands. For a panicked moment Raidon thought Simon had snapped, that he was simply going to crush the life out of Raidon right there and then. The part that was in control welcomed in, but the spreading cold screamed in rage, and Raidon's hands reached for the larger boy's neck...

But no. Simon only hugged his friend tightly. "You won't play," Simon said fiercely. "And you''re not worthless, you hear me?"

Raidon quivered, just for an instant, than sternly mastered himself. He returned the hug, though. "Thank you, Simon."

They broke off quickly, Simon turning to find the gun he'd knocked out of Raidon's hands. After returning it to his friend (with just a shadow of hesitation; what if this was the wrong thing to do?), Simon nodded and turned in the direction Raidon had indicated, sliding his arms through the straps of his backpack and tossing the daypack over his right shoulder. He'd inspect his things more closely later.

"Simon," Raidon said, from several feet away.

Simon did not turn around--it was too dark to see his friend, anyways. "Yeah?" he asked.

"If...if we both make it to the end..." Raidon struggled. The cold in him--familiar, numbing cold, he longed to return to it--struggled against him, but Raidon gritted his teeth. "Kill me. I'll be too far-gone then, one way or another."

Simon didn't hesitate. "Alright."

Raidon nodded. "You promise?"

"I said alright!" Simon yelled. As the echoes of his shout died, both of them froze. "Sorry," he said, more quietly.

"No," Raidon said. "Don't be. If I weren't who I am, you wouldn't..."

That was as close to a goodbye as they came. A few seconds later, Simon headed in the direction Raidon had indicated, the smell of salt growing stronger with every step he took.

Raidon, daypack over one shoulder, gun in his hands, waited until Simon's footsteps had passed beyond the ability of his ears to hear and then sank to his knees. His breathing was coming in short, sobbing gasps, gasps he kept quiet only through force of will. He had been here before, in a way, had been here twice.

Only this time, his hands would have no hope of staying clean. This time, Raidon's hands were going to be...

He welcomed the cold, then, let it fill every inch of him, silence his sobs, numb his brain. He got to his feet, not acquiescing to the demands of his new viewpoint, not surrendering, not yet.

He might get lucky. Someone might yet kill him.

Raidon turned, and headed back the way he'd come, deeper into the dark.

(Simon Grey continued in Under The Sea Is Where No One Wants To Be
Naoko Raidon continued in Rats & Bats & Blind Cave Salamanders)
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."
[+] Spoiler

G053 Karen Idel, DECEASED: Game over.

B040 Tyler Lucas, DECEASED: I had fun. You?

B046 Xavier Contel, DECEASED : " people, Arthur. G-g-gotta try. C-can't be afraid."
[+] Spoiler

B054 Raidon Naoko (DECEASED): "Dying like this isn't so bad..."

B072 Simon Grey (DECEASED): "I never was a hero, but, God help me, I tried."

B079 David Meramac (DECEASED): "Running towards nothing. Running from nothing."

G072 Mirabelle Nesa (DECEASED): "I'm a weak little girl who couldn't save anyone, even myself, but god damn it I beat you and god damn it you are going to remember that because I am Mirabelle Nesa and I am a hardened goddamn warrior and I am not going to fucking give up now!"