Clio could hear music.
The young ladies eyes flashed open, and scanned her location. She wasn't in the hut. Where was she? It was a blur, but this place seemed so...familiar.
Arms twinging nervously, she checked her vitals. She wasn't bleeding, she had mobility, and she could see, smell, feel, and hear. But she could barely see. She could hear something, but...what was it?
Her eyes yanked themselves into overdrive, the minor blurring starting to disappear, and she knew where she was.
This was that hall. This was the same hall she gazed upon in shock and awe at Pondsworth Academy of Excellence.
When she was 12, she was so stoked to be here. She'd practiced for days on end, done several performances for local concerto's, and wished more than anything she could be here. It was fancy, it was prestigious, and it was her.
And then, the incident with the little girl who just wanted to be the best.
The hall...hadn't changed at all, really. The same leather-lined seats, the high ceilings, the third spotlight on the right of the stage hanging that little too low. This was...this was her most fondest memory of this local.
But why was she here, standing in the middle of the centre isle, facing the stage?
And where was that music coming from?
Looking around confused, she blinked her eyes. In the brief moment that the world became darkness, there was a change. The hall remained the same, but the music...it became louder. And then, looking back at the mahoganywood stage, she saw something.
How could she have missed a piano?
And there was someone there!
Finally relieved at meeting another person, Clio started speedily towards the stage. Within moments, she reached the steps, her skyblue heeled shoes clacking loudly as she sprinted up the stairs. But...what happened to the song? The chord progression had changed from the movement she heard only seconds earlier, and now, it was faster...
Ignoring these technicalities, she faced the woman, who looked like she was almost finished. But, as those final few block chords made their way through the grand piano, Clio started to examine her. That hairstyle, it seemed unique and different, but everything else, her shoes, her clothes, her fingers, her hands, her...legs, those smoothly waxed and plucked legs...
Clio's eyes went wide with confusion, and she tilted her head to the side to make sure she wasn't dreaming...in her dream.
This girl was-
She didn't have time to think, as a loud, ugly set of notes resonated as the woman's fingers slipped. The lid of the piano, which would normally cover the keys, had fallen, and there was a loud cracking sound.
Gasping, Clio ran forward.
"Oh my god! Are you okay?" she yelled loudly, but before she could reach her, touch her, help her, the world went black.
But it was a different black. She could still breathe, feel, and think, but...were the lights off?
Suddenly, Clio found herself centre stage again. That one unique spotlight, dangling lower than the left, had illuminated the darkness with a loud flick, like a circuit being flipped. Clio's eyes squinted through the overwhelmingly hot light, trying to find the source of the perpetrator. Who was doing this?
But then, she didn't have to question that for much longer, as the spotlight directly to the left of her very own came to life as well.
And it showed her why she was really here.
It was the woman at the piano. There was not a single scratch on her, but now she could see her from the front. Her dress, her stance, her everything, was a duplicate, a doppleganger, of one very confused little girl.
But the only thing that put her apart from Clio was...the colour of her hair. Hot pink streaks clashed terribly with the dark blue motif she wore right now, and her eyes were only a single colour. Green. But Clio couldn't care at the moment, since...what the hell was happening?
Before Clio could open her mouth to voice these concerns, the pink doppleganger smiled and vocalised.
"I suppose you're wondering what you're doing here?"
"That's...probably what I was going to say first. What's wrong with your voice?"
"Nothing's wrong with my voice. This is my natural voice. It just so happens that it's higher than yours, don't have a stress attack or anything..."
"I remember you! You were...when I was...after...when I killing Petrushka, I heard your voice. The moment I pulled the trigger..."
"Yes, Clio. Let's just take a break from your confusion to let me explain to you what I really am. Did you ever watch cartoons while you were a kid? Wait, what am I saying, I'm you, I'd know that. You know the little good angel, that sat on your shoulder and told you to do what was right? Well...let's just say she's a close friend of mine."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't really look out for what's best morally. I just look out for what's best for you, darling."
Before Clio could react again, another voice pierced the darkness. This one couldn't have been more like her normal voice, only it seemed to be in another language.
"<And I suppose I don't, do I?>"
The spotlights groaned with pressure, and another one flickered to sentience, lighting up a third spot on the stage. The figure engulfed in this light, however, was too close for comfort.
It could have almost been Clio, since instead of pink hair like her friend on her other side, this one also had hair of the deepest purple. Also different from her other one, was the fact that she now held a gun in her hand. Not her current gun, mind you, but simply a standard firing range type weapon. Her eyes were different as well. They were multicoloured, just like hers, but unlike the girl behind her. She recognized this voice's language instantly: Italian.
"<Now, I suppose I don't need a translator or anything do I? You can understand this, right?>"
"<Good. Now lemme see if I can break it down for you in a more elegant and simple way. You are not a single person, with all these dreams, and hopes, and aspirations. No, you are a different case, hun. You can be defined as a "psychologists wet dream" but I should probably explain who I am first. I would be what they call the 'shoulder devil'. You know, the one who tells you to do bad stuff? Well, I'm kinda like him, really. I'm like your guardian angel, only, what's the word...drastic.>"
"So...you're the one who's been speaking to me? At the beach? The voice who I didn't question, only followed, just because I was so desperate to get home at that time?"
"<Kinda. I didn't really have a plan at that time. The author wasn't sure where he was going with this whole thing.>"
"<Nothing. Anyway, so I should explain who I am again. See, for most of your life, you've been a bit like pinky there. You've been nice, you did what was right, and you could probably say that you had the naitivity and trusting ability of a 5-year-old. So let's just call that one over there "Good Clio".>"
"Is this going to get complicated?"
"<Yep. Now, after a certain little incident in our childhood, you changed a lot. Self-defence, a constant need for protecting yourself, and the amazement and fascination with science. You became different, and if it weren't for your little Good Clio over there, you'd be a lot more...inhuman. Think about it: a girl who only looks out for herself, the ability to institute WAY more harm than a girl should know, and the ability to understand it's harm? If it weren't for her, you'd be institutionalised. In a way, we compliment each other. I don't ever want to really control you, I just want you to know that doing the right thing isn't really the way around any more. Things are changing in your life, and I'm here to...guide you in the right direction, so to speak.>"
Before Clio could answer again, another spotlight, this time from the stage right, flickered on slowly, but the light did not reach the stage. Instead, it started to hover over an occupied seat in the crowd.
Another one of her. God what was this, The 6th Day?
But again, this one was different. There was a book balanced haphazardly in her left hand, and she didn't seem to want to notice the act of theatre going on in front of her. This one's eyes were simply uncaring, bored. But...both her eyes were different again. They were hazel coloured, and could not be more distant from the situation. Her hair again, was different. Green streaks, like dark neon.
"<That, my friend, is your soul. She formed later, in your life, after mom and dad put their foot down. No more self-defence, no more only looking out for Clio, and forcing you to make friends. Obviously, that last bit didn't work. This girl, is the one part of you that looks out for other people. That book? A photo-album of people you care about too much to play. And also...she tells you how to act in situations where I fail. She acts human, she acts kind...in a way, so to speak. She is the other thing that keeps me from taking over. If she could, she would act on behalf of every other student out there on the island. She urges you to think with mercy, with compassion. She's everything that we can't be.>"
"...I can't...what is going on here?"
Almost at once, the three girls flicked their head towards the confused girl, centre stage.
"We want you to live Clio. But we all don't know how you really want you to."
"I don't get it?"
Good Clio, almost twinging at the ridiculousness of the name given to her, started again.
"You didn't give up hope Clio. You wanted to live, and I'm fine with that. But...can you really live with us knowing that you killed all these people? Do you know what I want you to do, Clio? I want you to hide, to save yourself from living this nightmare."
The Clio with the gun, spoke up next.
"<But can you do it, really? There are people who are going to be playing, and if you're not one of them, if you're not on their side, if you don't have a single solitary similarity to them, you're nothing. You're a body, you're a corpse. Do you know what I want you to do, Clio? I want you to fight, I want you to kill them all. Who cares about what people would think of you? They will look upon you in the future years, and know that YOU had the power, YOU had the ability to stand and fight! You are the Fittest! You deserve life more than every one of these people!>"
But then, after ages and ages of silence, Clio's soul representative, who must have also been chuckling at the ridiculousness of her given title, started to speak.
"I don't care for any of these options. They promote your selfishness, and your greed, and you're only out for yourself. I helped you back at the cabin make a decision. That girl, Petrushka, gave up. You gave her the most painless death you could find. So what do I want you to do, Clio?...I want you to save them all. You're a smart girl, you have the looks, you have the ability, and you have the heart, believe me you have the heart more than anything, to help those without hope. Good Clio wants you to live, you can do that. Your little shoulder devil wants you to become immortalised, you can still do that. But you can save everyone. Make a group, find something useful, and save them all."
"But...it's too hard!"
Clio was still trying to take it all in. What was happening to her? Did these things really exist? Was it her imagination going into overdrive? Was it simply a matter of time before she actually believed these girls, these parts of her subconcious, were real?
"...I don't know what I want to do. But...I need time to think. Give me one day. I will go one day, I will survive, I will live until tomorrow, and then I will make my decision."
The three of them each flickered a smile, before speaking in unison again
"As you wish".
The lights disappeared, and this darkness was different. This was herself going dark this time.
So she had one day, huh?
Plently of time to make her decision.
Clio awoke with a start, knocking echoing throughout the hut, and noticed the return of the island to her reality. It was night, no doubt about that, and she'd obviously been asleep a while. Her gun was back, her bag was curled into a ball with her, and she...was hungry.
She had plenty of time to try and deconstruct the dream she had, but first, there was a knocking at the door. Eyes shifting around the cabin again, she smiled with relief that no-one had come here in the time it took to get some rest. She was safe for now.
Uncurling, gun at the ready, she raised it too the door. Moving ever so slowly, she could hear the voice. It was scared, not imposing or faking, and she smiled.
Time to make a new first impression, I suppose. No killing anyone.
Clio fumbled with the lock to the door, and started it open.
There was a girl there. She had no idea who she was, though she probably had an idea of Clio herself.
Time for her rehabilitation to begin.
- [+] Spoiler
- [+] Spoiler
Brendan Wallace is a coward.
Clio Gabriella wanted to go home.
Paige Strand needed to run.
Jacob Charles had to put back his pieces.
Aston Bennett was better than you.
Ma'afu Tuigamala made the ultimate mistake.
- [+] Spoiler
Janie Sinneave wanted to ride in the clouds.
- [+] Spoiler
Maxim Kehlenbrink did nothing wrong.
- [+] Spoiler
Ezra Landau - "Pretty sure the point of life is to indulge and be pretty." - Philosophy
Hayden Lockwood - "Come to the march this Saturday and I'll show you a good time." - Pride
Allegra Varley - "Bet you I can jump from here to that boat." - Risk
Truann Coleman - "Please stop saying that." - Rage
Anya Van Doren - "Dunno why I did it. Dunno why it's your business." - Duplicity