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Romans 1:18
Nicholas Jackson did one final check of the literature piled neatly on the table. There was no reason to though: Barbara always took care of these things so well, and that’s one of things he was grateful for. She was just as organised as he wasn’t.

He smiled down at her, their height difference always being a point of comment, even after seventeen years. At first, they’d been teased a bit over it, of course by good friends whom they loved and trusted, but eventually it had turned into a practiced riff when strangers pointed it out for one reason or another, always ending in how it’d balanced out with regards to their kids. It was a shame they'd decided not to join them today, but they could worry about that later.

It was busy in the park, no surprise given the cool weather and typical Saturday rush, and naturally that was for the best. More people to hear the good word of the Lord. Given the circumstances, they desperately needed to.

Nicholas gave his wife a firm nod, and then he began.

“Friends, I hope I find you well on a beautiful day such as this, thanks to the Lord almighty! We are truly blessed to be able to enjoy a time like this!”

A few heads turned, but none of them lasted long. Nothing unusual.

“However, I know your hearts are heavy with the recent events! Evil has crept amongst us, and stolen our children! We may blame this on our fellow man, but the truth, my friends, is that this is the work of Satan himself!”

“Satan has stolen our children from us, and they will be cast into the fiery pits of hell!”

At this point the heads were starting to turn for real, just as intended. The disdainful expressions starting to appear were irrelevant: no-one liked hearing what they had to hear, after all.

“And why has our Lord and saviour let this happen? Because these children were sinners, and their families were sinners! My friends, there are too many sinners amongst us!”

Barbara began weaving amongst the crowd, holding out pamphlets to hands that pushed them back in disgust. A small number were grabbed, but the people who did so were only morbidly curious about the literature, which showed the blazing inferno in all its misery.

“Those children stolen from us, the children who still live, they were, and are, fornicators and sinners! Children who’ve never seen the inside of a church, who’ve never read a bible! These children who fornicated with each other with no remorse or shame, who fornicated with members of the same sex! What’s happened to them is clearly a sign from the Lord, and a warning of what waits for the rest of us!”

A few cell phones were in sight now, calls being made and a small number taking videos. The crowd wasn’t large, but the disgust was eminent. It continued not to phase Nicholas though, just as The Holy Son had been met with distain, he too had to perservere and get his message trough for the goodness of everyone’s souls.

“The children of Cochise were punished for their wicked ways, just as the Lord sent the floods to drown all the sinners! This was not the work of Muslims or the Government, but an act of divine retribution! The Lord is angry, and we must change our lives and seek His forgiveness!”

As he kept preaching the good word, the figures before him shifted in transition, some arriving and some leaving, but it wasn’t long before a pair in familiar uniforms appeared.

The law of man was here to stop him again.

“Mr. Jackson, we’ve been over this before.” Said Office Paige, a man he'd become quite acquainted with over the past few months. He turned to his wife, who was engaged in conversation with Officer Bates.

“And as I always say to you, I’m trying to save these people’s souls. What’s wrong with that?”

“What’s wrong with that,” the officer emphasised quite pronouncedly, “is that you’re causing a disturbance, and this is not a subject you can be preaching about.”

Officer Paige was normally a good man, or at least Nicholas thought so. He was misguided, yes, but Nicholas knew he meant well, and also knew he was a regular at church. However, the sheer impatience coming from the policeman was palpable.

“I have freedom of speech, Officer. I know my duty to lead these people in these troubling times, and tell them how we can prevent something so horrible from happening again.”

The crowd that had gathered were continuing to stare daggers his way, but it was at that point someone amidst them took action, throwing a water bottle at his head. It sailed past, but the message was clear.

Officer Paige looked back, trying to pinpoint the thrower, but his heart wasn’t in it. “There, you see? You’re going to get yourself hurt preaching about this out here, now I am ordering you to stop.”

An order? Hah.

“Officer, I am more than familiar with how people may reject my words, but you cannot deny the importance of spreading them. The fact that our children continue to die in incidents like these, is it not like the Lord taking the Egyptians' first born sons? Do you want more children to die because people are unhappy with what they hear?”

Someone from the same crowd shouted a profanity at him, which was met with inaction from Officer Paige. Several people announced their agreement with the stranger who cussed him out. Nicholas couldn’t help but notice the hypocrisy.

“Nicholas, I’m telling you this for your own good. Either pack up and go home, or I’m going to arrest you both for causing a public disturbance. You keep preaching about this topic specifically, and you’re going to push the wrong buttons. I’m ending this before someone gets hurt.”

He stared into the Officer’s eyes, a challenge to a game of chicken. Though his work wasn’t done, it wouldn’t be his first time facing such slanderous charges. Legal trouble wasn’t easy for his family or career to endure, even if what was truly important still needed to be done.

He looked into the scornful crowd, seeing how they felt written across their face. He looked to his wife, who was looking back to him with her own share of nerves.

His work wasn’t done, but this wasn’t the way forward.

It was an unfortunate mood, as him and Barbara gathered up his pamphlets and their folding table. Not because of the people leering at him from behind, or the watch of the police to make sure they really were leaving. It was unfortunate, because he felt sorry for everyone who he couldn’t save.

It was unfortunate, as he left the park literature in hand, that his kids were mingling with sinners who put their own souls at risk. It was unfortunate that his constitutional rights were ignored, as he just tried to spread his faith to the people who needed it most.

Hallelujah for the internet.

友達
Footsteps?

Nate snapped himself out of his focus on Nancy at the sound, wiping his arm across his eyes which had teared up despite his best efforts. Getting to his feet, he clutched a hand to his chest, swallowing his nerves.

“Matt?” he whispered, far too quiet for anyone to hear. He could hear the coughing echoing through the library, but that didn’t mean anything. His heart started to beat just a little bit faster.

He edged towards the noise, away from Nancy and the hatchet still at her side. With caution, he peered around a bookshelf, letting him see that his guest was not Matt after all.

Nate didn’t know Min-Jae, and only barely recognised him as someone from Cochise. He also caught sight of the crossbow laying on the ground, ready to be picked up and fired if need be. He swallowed again, gripping the corner of his concealing bookshelf.

“Hello?” he called out, though his voice caught in his throat on the first try.

友達
((Nate Turner continued from Paths of Glory))

The library wasn’t much better than the basement, with so many corpses strewn about the shelves. It was a truly macabre feeling, walking through a building filled with the uninterred dead, left to rot like trash on the streets.

Nate swallowed. No matter how many bodies he saw, he still felt the same. It was hard to put into words: some mix of fear and misery, but neither really took centre stage. Whatever it was, it was a feeling he'd rather he never had.

“Matt? You in here?” he called out for a third time, not particularly worried about who might be around the next corner, or what their intent might be. In the back of his mind he knew he should probably be a bit more careful, but that was where the thought stayed. Maybe he thought finding Matt was more important, or maybe he just didn’t particularly care if he was heard by someone with murderous thoughts.

He rounded another bookshelf, and met with another body. He was ready to turn away, until her blue hair caught his eye.

“Nancy!”

He ran to her, crouching down, putting a hand on her shoulder and asking if she was ok. That illusion fell fast though, as he remembered where he was, what he’d heard on the announcements, saw the decay eating away at her face, smelt the copper clung to the wounds on her stomach. For a moment, he might have seen his old friend, but now he just saw a corpse.

“Nancy…” he repeated, lip trembling. This was it: the first time he’d seen one of his friends' bodies, instead of just hearing the name. Those words on the announcements suddenly felt hollow by comparison, just empty words compared to the physical sight of someone you cared about dead and rotting.

He had to cover his mouth, scrunch his eyes to stop himself. He didn’t want to cry anymore, even now, but it was hard. Those good times hanging out in drama, gone forever and the proof was in front of him. It was so hard.

Amidst the trial of controlling his emotions, he continued to think, remembering what Nancy had done. He didn’t want to, he just wanted to grieve, but the truth was undeniable. He had to fight the urge to burst into tears because Nancy was his friend, but what about the friends of Nancy’s victims? He’d lost count of how many there were, but it was a lot.

He stayed where he was, looking her in the face. What else could he do?

Paths of Glory
Nate’s sad smile remained as Clarice left the room.

He sat there a while longer.

Then he followed suit.

((Nate Turner continued in 友達))

Paths of Glory
Nate watched Clarice without a word as she went through one of his few remaining water bottles. Naturally, he didn’t object, because Clarice obviously needed it more than he did. He probably wouldn't get through that much more water anyway, considering however much longer he had left.

He nodded in response to Clarice’s plans to leave, but didn’t reply immediately. He thought about what might happen, if he went with yet another person. Would he wander off again? Could he trust himself not to ditch Clarice when he felt like things were getting hard?

Maybe, maybe not. But that wasn’t why he decided not to follow her. There was still someone he had to meet, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to bring someone along with him. Maybe he didn’t want them to be put in harm’s way; maybe he just didn’t want to slow them down. He wasn’t sure why, but he could at least make his mind up.

“Thanks, but I’m going to look around here some more. I hope you find who you’re looking for, though.”

He offered her another smile. A sad one, as he thought about when they might next meet. Or rather, not.

“Stay safe?"

Paths of Glory
Nate winced as Clarice puked her guts out, a wave of nausea rising up in his own throat. He didn’t join her in puking, but it was an effort not to as the vomit mixed in with the dirty water below. How could a room full of rotting corpses smell even worse?

Composing himself, he reached over to pat Clarice on the back, being careful to avoid her wounded shoulder. “Better in than out, that’s what my mom always said.” He offered, along with a comforting smile, but the concern was still written over his face. If Clarice really was ill, well, what could he do?

“Do you want a drink?” he asked, acting on the only idea he had. He reached into Toby’s bag, pulling out one of his few remaining water bottles and holding it out. It wasn’t much, but it was better than doing nothing.

Paths of Glory
He continued to move in his seat, hanging his head down low and looking at the filthy water beneath them. It was a good question, and he needed a moment to respond.

“When I was up at the bridge, I ran into Hazel and Jordan, and they stopped me. I’m glad they did, at least I think so, but at the time I was actually really mad at them.”

He looked upwards again, leaning back onto the tub. He hoped that Hazel and Jordan were still ok.

“It took me days just to get up there, and then they got in the way, you know? So I ran away again later, but by then I was just kind of switched off. That was pretty awful, too…”

“So, in a way I guess, I was worried that might be what being dead is like? I know I shouldn’t, I want to think most of us made it to Heaven, but I don’t know if I’ve been a good enough person for that. Good people might’ve done more whilst they were here.”

He brought his legs up to his chest, resting his head on his knees. Some water from his shoes ran down the side of the tub.

“So, I guess… I guess that’s why I haven’t done it yet. I want to do something good first.”

He looked back at Clarice, face looking a just a little lighter than it had been in days.

"What about you? Is there anything you still want to do?"

Paths of Glory
Nate shook his head with more conviction than he had about anything in recent times.

“I don’t want to be that person. Maybe it’s weird, but I feel bad for them, whoever does make it to the end.”

Yeah, they’d get to live, and that was enviable, but it was just as he told Matt: what was the point? After everything they’d have seen, must have done, would it be worth it? Could they just go back to normal? Nate couldn’t imagine so.

“I get wanting to live, not wanting to be a loser, but I don’t think anything can go back to normal anymore, you know? If you went home, you wouldn't be the same person, and I don't think people could just walk away from it either."

"I think I'd rather go to Heaven from here, instead of going to that hell.”

He smiled again, still awkward and small. He wasn’t quite sure where it was coming from.

“I’m not ok with having to die, but I’ve accepted it.” He shuffled in his seat, smile wavering a little, but not entirely. “I was actually close to doing it myself.”

V6 BDA Voting Thread #8a
Here is the voting thread for Benjamin Lichter's BDA quote. Voting will run for three days.

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Paths of Glory
“Something like that, I guess.”

He let out an awkward chuckle, whilst continuing to work on Clarice’s shoulder, apparently a bloody reminder of how his friend from drama had gone into the dramatic deep end. If she’d been doing that from day one, well, maybe he was lucky to have not met her.

He frowned, uncomfortable with that thought. Maybe he could have talked her out of it, if she’d seen a friend, or at least a familiar face. Maybe if someone had given her some reassurance, someone like him, more people would be around by now.

Because he had such a good track record with that by now.

“I did meet Alvaro, a few days ago. It was actually right in here. Me and Ben and Matt,” he frowned again, decided not to talk about Matt right now “we were looking for stuff, then Alvaro showed up and pulled a gun on us.”

He continued working on Clarice's shoulder, fumbling with bandages and being as gentle as he could. It was easier to tell the story if he didn't make eye contact, so he focused on what he was doing instead.

“Ben pulled me out of the way when I tried to talk to Alvaro, and I didn’t get shot cause of that. But, well, I ran away, and now Ben and Alvaro are dead.”

He offered Clarice a weary smile, because by now it was just the simple truth and nothing more. There were still signs of guilt lingering on his look, and there probably always would be, but at least he could keep a straight face this time.

"Now that you mention it though, I guess that's the only time someone's tried so far."

He stopped what he was doing, for just a moment. He hadn't thought about that until just now.

Paths of Glory
Nate pressed his hands between his knees as he listened to Clarice, considering his response. It was reassuring, he supposed, that there could be someone else who hadn’t been attacked in a few days. That feeling didn’t really hold much water though, not when he reflected back on the announcements that were still running. Still, it was better for Clarice than the alternative.

He winced in sympathy as she prodded her wound, eyeing it up carefully. When Clarice asked for his help, he hesitated, but only for a moment.

He’d never taken any first aid classes or anything, but he did what he could. Carefully, and at her direction, he worked to help change her dressing and tried not to get too nauseous at the sight of the mess underneath, even as corpses bloated in the water around them.

“What happened? If I can ask, I mean.”

Paths of Glory
Nate flinched at Clarice’s response, her demeanour becoming more apparent by the moment. She looked and sounded pretty awful.

He looked around for a tub, but wound up edging onto the one Clarice was sat on. He kept as much distance as he could, perched on the very corner, but it was still a close position to be in. Even though it hadn’t been that long ago since Hazel had cupped his hands, it was a weird feeling to once again be right next to someone who wasn’t talking about killing him. He definitely preferred being here.

Never the less, Clarice's complexion was cause for concern.

“Are you ill? You don’t look so good.” He leaned in a bit closer, trying to get a better view in the dim underground lighting, but it was perfectly obvious what the answer to his question was. He thought for a moment on what he could do to help, then remembered that Clarice had spoken first.

“Oh, sorry. You asked me – Well, um, I’m fine.”

Wow, had he really just said that?

“I mean, all things considered. Not fine fine, but, well…“ he furrowed his brow as he held his tongue and twiddled his fingers, trying to find the words. “It’s nice to see you again, anyway.”

He offered her a bashful, unnatural smile, but it was still more sincere than it would’ve been earlier. It didn’t last long though, not when faced with Clarice’s state.

"Sorry, I probably sound like an idiot, huh."

Paths of Glory
((Nate Turner continued from This is Where I'll Stand When the Flood Comes))

He was still alive. Alive, and somehow, awake.

It was as if his talk with Enzo had sent him one way, down into the depths of bleak nihilism, and his chat with Matt had pulled him back the other. It was kind of funny, when you considered how both of the talks had gone, but Nate couldn’t deny it. It wasn’t that he had real hope, he’d never have any of that again, but he had something he hadn’t had in a while.

Purpose.

It was undirected, unclear, and pretty much every other word that wouldn’t normally describe purpose, but why bother trying to consider what was normal anymore? There was just something, a spark maybe, that Matt had put there, and then fuelled when his name had shown up on the announcements. Three times.

Maybe he just wanted to yell in Matt’s face to stop it already.

No matter how you cut it, no matter who had done what since then, these people were his friends from school, and Matt was one of them. If he was just doing this because he didn’t want to be a loser, and if he thought he’d have any kind of satisfaction when he was done, then it was up to Nate to bring him back to reality. He wasn’t sure where that resolve had come from, but who else was going to do it?

Besides, it sure beat the alternative of sticking around waiting for someone to kill him. And even if Matt did decide he was actually going to kill him this time, then at least he wouldn’t have sat around doing nothing until then. Thinking, maybe pretending, that he might actually have a shot at changing Matt’s mind was more comforting than suicide, it turned out.

He was tired, even after a night’s rest and his first meal in two days, but he pressed on into the depths of the asylum. Images of his encounter with Alvaro flashed across his mind, and they scared him, but he kept going. They’d said that Matt had won a prize (disgusting) in the asylum, so maybe he was still around. Still, Nate couldn’t risk stumbling into a danger zone, not right now, so it was best to keep a wide berth from that area and hope he'd find him somewhere else.

He wondered what Sandy’s corpse would look like. Ben hadn’t died here, he didn’t think (it was hard to remember all those announcements by now), but more people probably had. He was pretty sure that was death creeping up his nose.

He turned his way into the water therapy room, and quickly enough caught sight of its current occupant, a thankfully familiar face. He knew Clarice from drama, even though their roles took place on separate sides of the stage.

“Hello? Clarice? Are you ok?”

It was a dumb question, she definitely didn’t look ok, but the fact that he could actually start a conversation again felt like something of a relief. Maybe having a goal was actually working.

V6 BDA Quote Nomination Thread #8a (Ben Lichter)
V6's eighth BDA goes to both D/N for the death of Aiden Slattery and Mallon for the death of Ben Lichter. The two will be splitting their time, with Ben's quote going up first.

There'll be three days to submit quote nominations for Ben Lichter, followed by a further three days for the vote to decide which one will be featured. The thread for Aiden will go up later in the month.

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Slam's Creativity Thread
Today I went to an art class to take my doodling to the next level! Or something like that.

+0.5 level maybe

V6 Eighth Announcement
Thursday, May 14, 2015: Undisclosed Location

Another day, more deaths. If the students had any hope that they were escaping or getting out of the situation they found themselves it had long been extinguished by now. Just like the fires they constantly seemed to be trying to start. The halfway point was behind them now and everyone's focus had moved towards clean-up and extraction. The machine was starting to churn into life on its next project and delays would not be tolerated.

Tracen took a long gulp of his coffee as he took his position for another day. As he had been reading over the list of names in the morning he had been pleased to see that things had livened up a little. That was good, the more that happened that was memorable was better for them. He tapped his foot lightly on the floor as he waited for the clock to tick over. Once it did he pressed the button and began his speech.

"It's another beautiful morning today children! I'm feeling nice and chirpy and hope all of you are too as you survived another day."

"To allow you to appreciate the beauty of another day I'll keep this short and sweet for you all."

Tracen took a quick sip of his coffee before continuing.

"We start things off today with Wade Cartwright who got beaten to death by our newest challenger, one Matthew Moradi."

"Kiziah Saraki was shot by Alessio Rigano who appears yet again on these morning announcements. I do appreciate the work ethic on display."

Tracen stopped to let the remaining students mull over what he had said.

"It seems to me that every day I need to give you all another piece of advice or lesson about survival, but I suppose I'll just have to keep giving you these pointers until you all remember them. Don't trust anyone. Vanessa Stone found this out when Maxim Kehlenbrink tricked and then killed her. Scratch another one."

"Jaime Schanbacher met her end next after having an argument with Brendan Harte. These things happen I suppose."

"Matthew Moradi continued his strong day by beating Benjamin Lichter to death."

"In a death that shows that we may in fact be doing a service to the world. Audrey Reyes overslept and failed to leave a danger zone in time. So I'd say the punishment fit the crime on that one."

"In exciting news Matthew Moradi notched up a triple kill by beating Aiden Slattery to death. Three kills via the same method finishes off his hat-trick and I bet whoever drew him in our personal pool is very happy right now."

“Finally, Olivia Fischer bit the bullet, courtesy of Fiyori Senay. Why bother mincing words when you have firepower?”

Tracen gave the students a condescending chuckle.

"As always we have a new danger zone for you today and it is the Regular Treatment Rooms. Take the hint and vacate the premises if you value your necks”

"In the most important business of this morning, our Best Kill Award goes to Matt Moradi. Your prize can be found in the Art Therapy room, so head on over and gear up."


DAY NINE: THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2015


Weather: The sky is overcast as the clouds have finished moving in. The temperature has dropped to around 43 degrees f, 6 degrees C and the wind has stayed as a small breeze from the east. The moon continues to be in the waning crescent stage.

Here are your rolls for this cycle:

1. Penelope Fitzgerald (VoltTurtle)
2. Asuka Takahara (Zetsumodernista)
3. Lili Williams (CrossbowPig)
4. Brendan Harte (Primrosette)
5. Kimiko Kao (Deamon) - Hazel Jung (Ruggahissy, Hero Card used)

The three days for cards...

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And the seven for deaths...

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Finally, a double BDA winner congratulations to both D/N for the death of Aiden Slattery, and Mallon for the death of Ben Lichter.

Rolls

This is Where I'll Stand When the Flood Comes
Nate watched Matt as he walked away. He waited for the moment when Matt would stop and turn around, say something, but of course it never came. No answers, no insight, nothing.

Not knowing where else to turn, Nate went back to looking at the sand. He didn't feel much different to how he felt before, he realised. More conscious, as if that fog he’d been adrift in for the past while had gone away at least for now, but he still felt empty. He didn’t know any more about why he was here than he did that morning, and he didn’t feel any better about his inevitable death. The fact that Matt had admitted that he’d be willing to end it didn’t seem to mean much, either.

It should have. Matt was his friend, however short a time that had been, but now he was someone prepared to end his life. If they met again, there was no guarantee Matt wasn’t going to just finish him off without a word, with no second chances.

Still, in spite of how bleak everything seemed, he couldn’t believe that that was the case. If it was going to happen, if Matt really meant to kill him, then he would’ve done it then and there, surely.

Maybe that was naïve. That had been his outlook on this whole thing from the beginning, after all.

He gripped his arms, clenching his eyes. If only he could’ve stayed that way.

((Nate Turner continued in Paths of Glory))

Yugi's Arty Thread!
Could we get Sandy for the complete set?

Sandy Bricks