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Among these 'hallowed' walls...
((Sandy Bricks continued from Hideaway))

The silence was really starting to get to him.

Of course there were ambient noises: the creaking of the old building or some faint (imagined?) footsteps from down the hall, but for the most part Sandy was managing to avoid people as he made his way around the place. It was quiet. Too quiet.

When Sandy didn’t have anything to distract him, be it a picture to paint or music to listen to, he was alone with his thoughts. On a good day that wasn’t an issue, but on the bad days it could get overwhelming quickly, and naturally this was a bad day.

Fuck Audrey, and fuck Danny. He hadn’t wanted their company; they had been the ones imposing themselves on him. He’d been reasonable in asking them to leave, but they just spat in his face and made the closet theirs. They probably made fun of him after he’d gone as well, laughing it right up. Maybe Alvaro had gotten in on it too, regardless of how battered he might’ve looked when Sandy had brushed past him. He'd probably picked himself right up and joined the other two in having a right laugh at Sandy's expense.

Sandy wasn’t a bad guy for wanting to be left alone, not when he was just trying to get his thoughts together. It wasn’t antisocial, or cowardly, or him being a loser. He was in a life or death situation, how was he supposed to be diplomatic and friendly at a time like this?

Other people could probably pull it off though, show some civility and make friendships that would keep them alive and happy. Even if they couldn’t, they’d probably be coming along to murder him soon anyway, and then he'd die. Why should he be able to survive? He never did any sports or exercise, he didn’t have any people skills, and he’d probably just get his ass handed to him the second he tried to defend himself. In short, he was pathetic, and thinking any different would just highlight how pathetic he was.

He pressed his fingertips to his orbital bones, shaking his head to distract himself from the draining mindset. He really needed a something to occupy himself.

When he saw the door labelled ‘library’, a small glimmer of optimism formed in the bog of his mind. He loved reading, and books were indeed a good distraction. Infinitely better with a soundtrack, but he’d take what he could get.

He opened the door without too much caution, though slowly all the same, and looked around the room as he walked inside. It was a very bright room for one inside such a dingy building, and the musty interior was like something out of an old photo. He wished he had his camera with him to capture how it looked.

As focused on the aesthetics as he was, if Maria hadn’t made the overt noise of slicing a book in half Sandy could’ve very well walked right into her. Fortunately for him, he was alerted to her presence when there was still a shelf between them, the slicing blade snapping him to his senses.

He cursed to himself. He wasn’t ready to deal with people again, not by a long shot, but he really wanted the books. He couldn’t go back outside again, face being alone with his thoughts, so he decided to peer around the corner of the shelf and see who he could see. He was still holding the neck of his Molotov cocktail, never really having let go of it since he left the storage closet.

A lump was forming in his throat.

Five Finger Death Punch
“Sure is.” Vanessa nodded in agreement to Jae, carefully stepping out onto the roof to get a better look at both the view and her new company.

As she'd already acknowledged, they weren’t familiar faces. Cass was someone who kept to herself a lot and had never really done much of anything to catch Vanessa’s interest. Travis came across a bit more outspoken, but again they moved in different circles. He had a pretty good bod though, she’d give him that.

She pondered: three out of four people she’d met so far had not been people she knew well. It was almost a little weird to actually think about how many people you saw at school every day without knowing anything about them. Weirder still to think she was in a situation where that could end up putting a bullet in her face.

She decided again to put that thought out of her mind. If nothing else, Trav and Cass hadn’t tried to maul the other half of Jae’s face off, so that was a good start. More to the point, she didn’t want to become paranoid and start second guessing everyone she met. That was probably exactly what those terrorist pricks wanted.

“Been a hella morning, though, you're right there.” She smirked, moving closer to the other two but still not quite sitting, not quite able to relax. She was holding the table leg casually draped in her left hand, oblivious to how it might've looked. “You guys know some blue haired chick named Nancy? She was not taking this whole thing well.” Oh yeah, because freaking out about being abducted by terrorists was so unreasonable. Vanessa had to admit that she had grown just a little bit concerned about her; she hoped that Nancy hadn't ran into some trouble after bolting out of the staff lounge.

“Not as bad as Alvaro Vacanti’s doing though, as my fucked up friend here demonstrates.”

She gestured at her travelling companion with a flourish, as if Jae was her lovely assistant on a stage in Vegas.

B046 - Lichter, Benjamin "Ben/Squirrel"[/DECEASED]

Name: Benjamin James "Ben/Squirrel" Lichter
Gender: Male
Age: 17
Grade: Senior
School: Cochise High School
Hobbies and Interests: Kite flying, romance novels, tabletop games, climbing (trees, rocks, fences), hiking, pop music

Appearance: Benjamin is a 5'5'' boy of slight build and narrow shoulders. His skin is cream-colored, with the parts of his arms and legs that stretch out from beneath his t-shirt and shorts a slight tan. His hair is chestnut brown and always has a somewhat ragged appearance, due to it being rather thin and less than cared for on a daily basis. A monthly visit to the hairdressers keeps it short, no part of it ever falling further than an inch below his ears. His face is pinched and lacks both a chin and cheekbones, with a round yet narrow jaw. His appearance resembles that of a fourteen year old more than a seventeen year old, with the small amount of perpetual black fuzz on his upper lip serving to affirm his youth more than his being near adulthood. He has a small but pointed nose.

His eyes are mud brown. He dresses himself for comfort, with his usual outfit being shin length cargo shorts and a t-shirt, adding a dark blue hoodie when the weather turns colder. His shoes are usually one of two pairs of sneakers, one black and white and the other red, but when going on trips, hikes or a kite flying session he instead pulls on a pair of old and worn hiking boots.

On the day he was captured he was wearing a faded green t-shirt, his cargo shorts and his boots.

Biography: Benjamin was born to parents Melissa and James Lichter in Coolidge, a town just outside Phoenix, Arizona, and spent the first eight years of his life living relatively peacefully. His father was a car mechanic and his mother a clerk at a local convenience store. They had met in 1993 while his mother was on a road trip with two friends that passed through Phoenix. After checking in at a motel they drove into the city to find a bar, where they had met James and a couple of his friends. They were both twenty two and struck up a conversation on the basis that they were the only people in the bar who weren't getting drunk. This was because Melissa was the designated driver of her group and James was a seventh day Adventist. At the end of the evening they exchanged numbers and parted ways. This was the start of a relationship that culminated in her marrying him two years later and them moving into a house in Coolidge. Benjamin was born two years later on 22nd May, 1997.

Though his mother wasn't church-going, his father, James, insisted on taking him to church every Saturday from the age of three, which, as well as talks he had with him, instilled a belief in God in Benjamin. He also had a few religious morals imprinted on him this way, of which generousness, modesty and a distaste for homosexuality in particular lasted. Though James raising Benjamin as a seventh day Adventist was a matter of contention at first, Melissa relented after she noticed Benjamin displaying the first two morals and giving credit to the pastor of the church's lectures when asked. The fact James never tried to convert her and resisted pressure from the pastor to do so also made her more lenient.

At age six Benjamin's sister Minnie was born, who had asthma and an extreme dust allergy, which forced his mother to take more time off work than expected and led to her getting fired. The reduced income put a strain on the family, with Melissa having trouble finding work that would allow her enough time off to care for Minnie adequately. After two years and reduced affection between Melissa and James, James had a two week affair with a teacher at Benjamin's school. While initially angry at James, Melissa realised that their love had disappeared and they mutually decided on a divorce. Melissa and her children then moved in with her father, Horace, who lived in a spacious three bedroom apartment in Kingman. The apartment was spacious due to his wife, Melissa’s mother, dying of lung cancer ten years previously and him not wanting to move out.

James, meanwhile, stayed in Coolidge and visited his children every second week. A year after the divorce, however, he was involved in a crash on his way to visit his children. He died two hours later of internal bleeding. This left Benjamin without a father figure, so he turned towards his grandfather for support while his mother grieved for the man who was not her husband but who she still considered a good friend. In order to bond with Benjamin and take his mind off the tragedy his grandfather introduced him to his hobby of kite flying, which Benjamin immediately took to. The peace of watching it soar gave him a reason to like it, but the fact he had some talent for maneuvering the kite through the air- the first time he really had that for something - settled the deal. Horace and Benjamin went kite flying in Sumac Park or outside of town once a week for the next several years, though Horace had to stop when his back started to fail him and he was forced to walk with a cane.

Benjamin didn't stand out in elementary school and got passable grades, though he had a certain mischievous look that made teachers keep an eye on him. His grades dropped dramatically in grade 9 following the death of his father, though he managed to pass anyway thanks to the intervention of his grandfather. He made a few friends while in elementary, though he lost contact with most after starting at a local middle school. He never went to church again following his move to Kingman, since his mother was willing to let James take him, but not to do so herself. Both in elementary and middle school Benjamin became known for clambering up trees and other vertical objects, which, along with his face, earned him the semi-affectionate moniker "Squirrel". He didn't do this to impress his friends, but because it was fun, and did it even when they were not around. He reduced this habit after starting at Cochise, however, and the nickname was only remembered by some of the friends he kept from middle school. Benjamin had discovered he liked to hike in middle school as well, after a field trip had gone wrong and the entire group had to walk for three hours back to the bus. While most of the other children slumped, dragged their feet and complained, Benjamin had noticed he loved taking in the nature and views around him, waiting to see what was over the next hill and simply threading along methodically without responsibility, though he couldn't put that into words at that age. He begged his mother to allow him to go hiking outside of town, but she wouldn't let him go alone at his age and didn't have time to go with him that often. Going hiking with his mother became a rare treat.

After moving to Kingman, Melissa did odd jobs before landing a job at a convenience store in the town with an owner who was sympathetic to her plight. She still worked there at the time of writing. Minnie grew up not knowing her father, him having died when she was three, but with lots of love from her mother, brother and grandfather making up for that. Benjamin developed a bond with his sister that was stronger than that of most siblings - her being sickly made him very protective and her not having a father made her look up to him instead. This did, however, make it more difficult for Benjamin to make friends, due to him spending a lot of time with her. He would accompany her to the jungle gym in Sumac park and watch her while there, read her Dr. Seuss, go and get ice cream with her, play dolls with her and a host of other things. His mother was glad that he looked after his sister as much as he did, since this gave her the ability to put more hours into work and earn more money for all of them. At school Benjamin was mocked for hanging around with his little sister so much, and while this made him unhappy, he never resented her for it. It did make him resentful of the people mocking him, however, and this made him prone to be flippant with people who didn't take him or his actions seriously, which carried over to later in his life as well.

One refuge he had, besides kite flying, was music. The radio had always been on in the Lichter's household, and Benjamin liked to listen to whatever was popular at the time because of that. This was the only real strife between him and his grandfather, who preferred the radio off and hadn't even owned one himself before his daughter and her children moved in with him. The conflict was resolved when his grandfather got him an Mp3 Player for his eleventh birthday as well as the album of the top 50 hits of the year. He also promised to by him the new album every year, as long as the radio stayed off when he was home. Benjamin agreed. Other electronic devices he was exposed to were his mobile phones, a cheap flip phone from 2008 first at age twelve, a hand-me-down from his mother, and a Nokia Lumia at age fourteen, neither of which he could use for games, and his mother's laptop, which he was only allowed on for school projects. His mother didn't like the idea of him playing video games or using the internet for fun and took steps to make sure that didn't happen.

While his patience was great while babysitting his sister, it wasn't in regards to other areas of his life. He started a few projects, amongst them building a large kite, but gave up on them all rather quickly. He worked when he needed to, such as for school or when his mother insisted, but didn't carry through when he had to motivate himself and would go and listen to his music instead. This attitude made him continue not standing out in middle school either, with him getting a GPA of 2.73. He had an equal disinterest in in most subjects, though his favorite and best by a small degree was geography whenever climate was the topic, since his kite flying made him somewhat interested in why the winds blew as they did. This was averaged out after the field trip where he had discovered hiking, however, as topographical maps distracted him from the lesson by making him imagine himself wherever they showed.

At age thirteen, Benjamin discovered romance novels. One sweltering and windless summer afternoon, when his mother was at the doctor's with his sister for a check up and his grandfather was at city hall for jury duty, Benjamin was poking around in some cardboard boxes in his mother's bedroom looking for batteries for the TV remote. What he found instead was his mother's small collection of romance novels from her high school years. Not finding the batteries and not willing to depart from the air conditioned apartment, he flicked one open at a whim, the "Scent of the Sea". To his surprise he was soon engrossed. He saw the prose was generally flowery, hyperbolic and uninspired, but despite that was intrigued by the idea of a story set around a romance with a happy ending being certain. His own romantic feelings towards girls he had met hadn't become concrete yet, with him becoming smitten with a girl and forgetting her the next day, and he was confused and frightened by them. The book both comforted him and invigorated his imagination.

He didn't even stop reading when he encountered the first part of the story that was about sex. His morals, as influenced by his Christian father, made him blush profusely, but he continued with bated breath. He had thought about sex before and felt bad when doing so, but couldn't stop himself, as most hormonal teenagers can't. He was halfway through the book when his mother returned with his sister. Minnie, only aged seven, didn't take notice, but his mother did. He was told off for rummaging through her stuff, but she was sympathetic to the fact he had become a teenager and started to teach him about sex. She also asked her father to instruct him on the changes she thought he'd be going through soon, which he did with some reluctance. She also let him keep reading the novels, though it was months before his curiosity for the books overcame his embarrassment at being caught.

His love of romance novels was something he didn't share with even his closest friends, but it still had a profound effect on his social life: At age fifteen he was invited to join a game of Dungeons and Dragons at Larson's and surprised his fellow gamers by getting the Dungeon Master to agree to his bard wooing and marrying a random shepherdess by role-playing it skillfully and tastefully. This experience gave an outlet for his romantic fantasies, as inspired by the novels, and made him good friends with the people in that game. This sudden influx of friends, when previously there were only two people he had really considered such (one of whom had invited him), was an eye-opener to him. This, combined with the fact Minnie was hanging out with her own friends more and more instead of Benjamin, gave him an impetus to be more active in making friendships and soon was part of a larger group. During the next years Benjamin would often be found in Sumac Park flying a sky blue box kite he had gotten for his sixteenth birthday, while his new friends picnicked nearby.

Benjamin stood out more in high school, but not to a significant degree. He briefly tried joining the Bible study in school and the writing club, but he found the former boring and the members of the latter intimidating. Not knowing for sure which subjects to take for how long he imitated his peers and chose all the core academic classes for all four years. He decided against taking a language class. His subjects started to vary from being average, with him becoming better at some and worse at others: English stayed average and he got a mean GPA score of 3.67 in history, a mean of 3.45 in physical education and a 3.37 in health class, but got a mean GPA of 2.24 in math and 2.11 in science. The overview course in freshman year had been average, but the significantly lower scores in biology, chemistry and physics pulled his GPA down. The electives he chose for freshman year and beyond were shop and cooking, since he thought they would be most useful in later life, but he swapped cooking for art in junior year after a particularly trying semester and was satisfied with the change.

At age seventeen, Benjamin still didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. He had two successful social circles, but neither gave him an idea which career might interest him. He had tried writing his own romance novel, since his role-playing was so successful, but he found it trite and lackluster and quickly gave up, as happened with his other projects. He couldn't see how kite flying or hiking could ever be anything other than a hobby. He looked into being a car mechanic like his father, but it didn't appeal to him as much as he had hoped. At the behest of his mother he applied for a couple of positions anyway to find something to do after school.

Advantages: Benjamin has past experience climbing trees and other things, though this has declined due to him not doing it regularly any more. He has learned to comfort people and be somewhat of a father figure, though his slight build and mischievous look does not give others the impression of a leader. His love for his family gives him a strong motivation to survive. He likes to hike, but has only ever done so for a few hours at a time and has no outdoor survival skills. He has some very limited experience in sewing, due to the kite making project he abandoned.
Disadvantages: His slight build gives him a disadvantage in a fight and his look of mischievousness can make people less likely to trust him at first glance. His connection with his family is a weakness as well, as it'll make him distraught the longer he is separated from them and more and more likely to betray others to see them again. He won't be good at hiding this and this will make him even more untrustworthy to his peers. The peers he himself distrusts or dislikes won't be treated with diplomacy, since he never especially tried to fit in or learned to be dishonest about his feelings. If there is a project that needs to be worked on its urgency needs to be clear to him, or he'll find it difficult not to get bored.

Designated Number: Male student No. 046


Designated Weapon: Etch-A-Sketch
Conclusion: The only way this kid’s making it far is if he finds a good tree to hide in. With such a lacking skillset and an even worse weapon draw, he’ll make for easy prey. - Trent Camden


Five Finger Death Punch
((Vanessa Stone continued from デビュー))

Vanessa was listening to Jae’s complaints with the occasional ‘mhm’ or ‘aha’ of acknowledgement, but it was about as fascinating to listening to as someone bitching about stairs could be. That, and she was still a little distracted by this whole impending death thing and the fact a harmless cafe guy had mauled half of Jae's face off.

She was glad to see that Jae’s brace hadn’t fallen apart so far, though. The thought of him falling over being unable to carry himself anymore, meaning that she’d have to drag him along, was one of the last things she wanted to have to deal with. Well, that or getting murdered; that was undesirable too.

When they finally came to the door at the top of the stairs, she paused with her hand on the handle. “Shush.” She muttered in response to Jae, trying to make out the voices on the other side. No such luck.

Eh, fuck it.

Opening the door, she spotted Cass and Trav enjoying each other’s company at the edge of the roof. Neither of them known to her, personally; she knew them from around the school, familiar faces from the hall, but not people who hung out in her cliques. More importantly, neither of them were Cams, so that sucked.

Still, Jae’d made the effort to climb up the stairs and they were here now, so if nothing else she might as well say hey. Hell, maybe one of them had ran into her BFF so far and could give her pointers?

“Yo guys! Sup?”

Sandy saw Alvaro looking like absolute hell when he opened the door. He knew Alvaro from some classes, but only as a familiar face. He’d obviously gotten into quite a beat down, though, given how roughed up he looked.

He still could not give any more of a shit about any of this.

“Nope.” He replied simply, pushing his way out the door and walking down the hall. More people, more problems.

((Sandy Bricks continued in Amoung these "hallowed" walls...))

Emily Sing-Liao
This character biography has had no alterations for more than two weeks and has been put in the abandoned characters forum. This profile is eligible for resubmission by the handler in V7 or in minis upon alterations requested by the staff.

Manuel Figueroa
This character biography has had no alterations for more than two weeks and has been put in the abandoned characters forum. This profile is eligible for resubmission by the handler in V7 or in minis upon alterations requested by the staff.

Dear God
Nate really needed answers, but of course Matt couldn’t provide them. He was just as much a victim of this terrible situation as Nate was, and Nate knew it was stupid to always expect other people to be able to instantly calm the anxieties that plagued him.

How was he supposed to cope with this, though? His muscles burned from the panic he’d just experienced, and his eyes had turned a puffy red from all the agitation. His heart was still racing, refusing to slow down, and his fingertips ached from gripping the collar so tightly.

He just wanted to go home. He just wanted to go find his mom, get a hug from her and let her tell him that it was all going to be okay. He didn’t care if that sounded babyish or made him look like a little kid right now; he just needed someone to wake him up from this nightmare.

He couldn’t expect Matt to be that person, though. He really wanted to do so, shift his problems onto someone else and let them take care of it like he always did, but he knew that that wasn’t the right way to handle things, even if it was the easiest.

So what was he supposed to do?

“My head hurts.” he muttered, pressing it back into his knees as he sat there for a moment. He felt like collapsing there and then, so exhausted from everything, but the tingling sensation from the panic still coursed through his veins, keeping him consciously in his plight. When he was sick like this, he always liked a hot drink to calm him down, but it was probably stupid to hope for any hot cocoa where they were.

After a pause, Nate looked up at Matt again. "What are we supposed to do, now? I feel sick.” The exhaustion was getting to him, and the small musty room they were stuck in wasn't helping, even if it was a religious building: this one just felt spiritless and hollow. Getting fresh air with friends proved a good alternative to hot drinks when they weren’t available, and if nothing else a wander might let him see something distracting.

“Could you come outside for a walk with me?” he asked, having no better thoughts on how to phrase a fairly absurd question in their situation. "I really want some fresh air right now.”

“You look like shit.” Vanessa replied with a blunt smile, “It’s very punk rock; just roll with it.”

Teasing or not, she was still drawn down to his worry-inducing knee. Getting around the island with that was going to be a real hurdle, and she was not about to lend her shoulder to him for the whole time they were stuck there.

She wondered about how to best handle the situation. Thinking back to the time that her sister Liza had screwed up her knee trying to slide in to home base a few years back, Vanessa was reminded how her sister had been wearing a brace for a few weeks. She figured that’s what Jae needed right now, but she was pretty sure she wasn’t going to just find one of those just lying around.

She looked around the room, scanning for a good substitute. Her eyes noticed the table leg that Nancy’s axe had been buried in not too long ago, its vulnerable half-cut state proving the answer.

“Gimme a sec.” She said, heading towards it. She flipped the furniture over and leaned her weight against the leg. In its old and damaged state, it easily gave way and broke off from the table.

She managed to go through the rest of Jae’s medical tape and the whole roll of her own, but in a few minutes Jae had the piece of wood wrapped tightly against his knee, forming a makeshift medical brace. It would have to do for the time being, but she was getting better at first aid with every passing moment. “Look at that, I really am a doctor.”

Whilst Jae accustomed himself to the device, she went back over to the three legged table. The first leg had come off so easily, she wondered if she could break off a second even if it wasn’t cut in half. Lo and behold, with a fair amount of effort and some clumsy leveraging, she could.

Picking up the second leg in her hand and giving it a spin like she would a softball bat, she nodded to herself. It was small, light, and probably wouldn’t go very long without breaking in half, but it would probably do a better job of defending herself than a bag of weed would, and the grisly nail sticking out from the top was probably a good deterrant.

She didn't want to use it like that, that much was no fucking question, but Jae had given her every reason to be practical about the situation. If they did run into Alvaro again, or anyone else riding the nuttybar express, she wasn’t going to just hide behind the crippled guy and hope he could hold them off.

She turned back to Jae, waving her new weapon at him with a cocky smirk. Everything looked about ready for them to get out of there and go find some friends.

“You ready to go?”

V6 Podcast
An enjoyable and thorough discussion; I look forward to the next one.

Vanessa was a clumsy doctor, what with her reluctance to actually hold Jae’s hand in place. She gingerly wrapped the tape around at a distance, pulling his hand in a circle along with hers, before tearing it off at the end. She admired her handiwork, namely that the fingers were actually being held relatively in place. Any doctor would probably tell her that there was supposed to be a splint under there, but details.

“I’ve taken a lot of balls to the face, but I’ve never actually broken anything before.” she shrugged at his supposition. “So congrats, you’re the first patient of Dr. Stone.” She’d gone from a psychiatrist to a GP in the span of five minutes; it just went to show what Mrs. Barks knew about her science skills.

Tossing him back his roll of tape, she slouched back into the coffee table and looked back at Jae.

“You think you’re alright to keep walking? I mean, if you want to stay here for a while that’s cool, but I still need to find Cams.” She wasn’t about to leave Jae here by himself in his battered state, but she did have her other friend to find before someone tried to go slasher flick on her.

Thinking about it, Vanessa correctly realised that Jae probably had his own friends he was worried about just as much as she was hers.

“What do you plan to do to get through this shitstorm, anyway?"

Sandy could only stand there, looking at Audrey with stunned disbelief. It took him a moment, but he finally conceived the concise response to her whole peace-making spiel.

“I do not give a shit about any of that.”

Danny at least had the advantage of being in the same class as him, but he still couldn’t remember Audrey even a little, and here she was trying to peddle some bleeding heart idealism at him? Tell him that he wasn’t in danger, that she thought he was a nice guy, that him, her and Danny could team up and take on the whole world together?

“Why is this so hard to understand? I don’t want company, I don’t want to hang out with you or Danny or anyone else right now, and I don’t care if you think you’re going to hurt me or not.”

And why should he? Audrey was way smaller than him, and he knew that neither she nor Danny were well armed. Who was to say that he couldn’t take that bottle and smash their faces in with it if he had the mind to? Yeah, it was a blunt response, but they had long overstayed their welcomes and he did not care to think nice things towards people who just insisted on ignoring everything he was saying.

“Fuck your truce. Fuck you.”

He turned to head towards the door. He wanted them to leave, more than anything at all right now, but he didn’t have the energy to keep fighting for the room. His head was starting to buzz with anger and stress, and he knew a headache was coming on if he didn’t find somewhere else to calm down. All he wanted was some peace and quiet.

As his hand gripped the handle to the door, he heard Alvaro’s hacking fit from outside. “For fuck’s sake, what now?” he thought to himself, before opening the door and finding out.

“Nah man, I woke up somewhere else in the building, walked around for a while, then found Pop Idol in here.” Vanessa replied, taking a seat on the coffee table opposite Jae. “We hadn’t really been talking that long before you showed up. I figured I’d finally got her to calm down, but I guess you freaked her out, so smooth move.” She smirked at Jae as she said the last bit, still trying to keep the mood from becoming overwhelmingly bleak.

What he’d said about Alvaro was not sitting well with her at all, though. Nancy had already been acting pretty loopy, though Vanessa could hardly judge if that was normal for the ditzy idol, and she’d had a hatchet with her. Had Vanessa avoided being in a similar position to Jae, if not worse? Who knew where the line lay for everyone else? That point where, if pushed beyond it by something like terrorists sticking a bomb on your neck and saying it’s time to go on a rampage, they’d happily oblige?

She put her head in her palm, letting out a deep groan.

She didn’t think Cams was going to fall for that. Yeah, Cams did not handle stress well at all, but she wasn’t ever the type to deliberately hurt people. Sure, she fucked Vanessa off at times, but that was just part of being BFFs; there was a difference between stabbing someone in the back by hiring a replacement singer, and literally stabbing someone in the back with a butcher’s knife. Like it or not, however, she knew that didn’t mean the rest of her classroom chums would be so civil at all.

It was better not to think about it just yet, she decided.

“This is pretty fucked up right here.” She had to say, though.

It was a little bit awkward, watching Jae try to play doctor on his hand whilst she sat there without a word. She decided not to be a dick about it, and instead pitch in.

“Here, let me help you with that.”

SOTF Grand Map of Doom! v6
I'm lovin' it~

#095112 please?

Vanessa barely had time to react to Nancy running off like a rocket. She was going to call out after her, but Jae scraping against her arm made Vanessa flinch back as she always did when someone touched her.

“Where the fuck is she going?” she asked out loud, but it wasn't the biggest concern on her plate right now: Jae still needed help, after all. She reached out to grab the baton, which helpfully let her avoid having to pull him up to his feet by actually holding him.

“Alvaro? That guy who’s always talking about his café?” she replied, a look of disbelief plastered on her face as she led him into the staff room where he could rest more comfortably. She had some classes with Alvaro, so she’d made some small talk with him, but on the whole he didn’t really fit into her social scene and so they’d never hung out all that much. He never struck her as the type of guy to try and re-enact that scene from that Zombie movie (whatever its name was) on his classmates, though, that much was pretty fucking certain.

Despite what she wanted to believe about Alvaro, though, Min-Jae Parker was here before her as a living, barely walking testament to his apparently rabid state. Was this really the kind of shit that Survival of the Fittest did to people? Got them so fucked up in the head that they felt the need to rip the shit out of others like a raging wolverine?

“Christ, he’s like five feet tall.”

Dear God
Too blinded by tears and deafened by the pounding of his racing heart, Matt’s pleas for Nate to stop fell on deaf ears as he continued to tug hopelessly at the bomb. Eight years earlier and he’d be dead by now, but some stroke of luck had fallen upon him through the terrorists revitalised designs. Instead, he just flailed in a futile manner like a fish caught on a line: doomed to their fate, but struggling until the life left their body all the same.

Eventually he tripped over his own two feet, falling backwards in a mirror image of Matt and landing painfully on his rump. He stopped pulling, if only because he was finally exhausted rather than due to any realisation that he was just wasting his time. He stared back at Matt from across the room, still gripping the collar in his hands as he struggled to catch his breath. It wasn’t long before his pants turned to cries.

He asked Matt again, “What’s happening to us?”

Danny’s childish retorts and clumsy crashing into shelves would have been funny if it wasn’t so goddamn unwelcome. Sandy was getting closer to the trespasser, he could tell by the way his hair was standing on the back of his neck. It was a game of cat and mouse in a room full of rats, and when he caught Danny he’d really make him get out.

It was fortunate enough for him that Audrey intervened when she did.

Danny wasn’t the only one who could scream like a little girl when someone showed up out of nowhere. The third voice piercing through the silence took Sandy completely off guard, sending him tripping backwards into a shelf. It didn’t tip over, fortunately enough for him, but it still took his attention away from Danny for long enough.

“Where did you come from?!”

The new arrival was a stranger to him: he couldn’t place Audrey’s voice and he didn’t tend to pay much attention to students outside of his clubs or classes (and even then, most of the students there didn’t get that much more attention). Danny was a familiar enough face, and he wasn’t welcome, so what chance did this stranger have?

“Whatever; don’t tell me to calm down.” With the surprise now worn off, he went back to speaking in a short, terse tone. “I just want to be alone right now and think, alright? Why the hell can’t you and Danny respect that? Why’s Danny got to throw things at my head, and where do you get off telling me what to do?”

“Christ!” Vanessa yelped as she got a good look at Jae’s battered mug. She crouched down next to him, fairly oblivious to his sarcasm in light of his fucked up demeanour.

Min-Jae’s knowledge of Vanessa basically went vice versa: an alright enough guy from their talks at parties, but not someone she knew extremely well. She did dig his taste in fashion, but goth was simply below punk on her rating scale. That was pretty irrelevant right now though, considering how much he looked like a goth who’d gotten on the wrong side of the jocks.

Shit, she did not know what she should be doing right now.

“It’s Jae!” she called back into the staff room in response to Nancy. “He’s had the shit kicked out of him!”

She turned back to him, still trying to figure out what to do. Getting him into the out of the hallway and onto one of the nearby couches to lie down (well, lie down on something soft), seemed like the best thing to do right now.

“Can you move? Jesus man, what happened to you?”

Sandy’s stern look faltered a bit when Danny screamed like a little girl, replaced with surprise. He hadn’t been expecting such a shrill response from someone with Danny’s look, but it was enough to distract him from his irritation, if only momentarily.

A brief but tense moment sat between them as Sandy waited for Danny’s response. He had not expected it to be a CD player to the face.

It was fortunate that Sandy had been staring straight at Danny; he may not have played any sports or anything like that, but even he could manage a clumsy dodge when someone threw something straight at him, the portable player smashing into the door behind him. He looked back at where it had hit, long enough for Danny to duck out of his sight.

“What the hell, Danny?!” Sandy yelled at the darkness, gripping the neck of the bottle in anger. He was just trying to calm down and be left alone and process the unreal situation that was going on, and Danny wasn’t even going to so much as give him a hello before he started throwing things at him?

He had no idea what to make of the situation, but he had enough problems without just letting Danny try to nail him with a blunt object then leave without a word. He stepped away from the door, looking for signs of his assailant as his jaw clenched in a tight vice.

“Get out here Danny, you prick!”

((GMing approved)

Sandy’s head shot up when he heard Danny walk into the room. Shit.

Immediately he was on his feet, tensed against the wall and ready to flee. He couldn’t see the entrance from where he had been trying to calm down, so he had nothing to go on as far as who his company could’ve been. What he did know was that that really didn’t matter, because he still wasn’t at all ready to face any company period.

He picked up his bag and quietly moved around the shelves, making sure to keep one between him and where he remembered the entrance being. It didn’t take him long to get over there, and from behind the cover he could make out the silhouette with his head pressed against the door. Fortunately, his time in the darkness had given him an opportunity for his eyes to adjust, and when Danny turned around and started pacing down the room, Sandy recognised him pretty quickly.

He knew Danny from art class, but not much more beyond that. Danny’s art was ok, but not great, and his reputation around school did precede him. A social creature without a care in the world, one of many amongst Sandy’s peers.

That was not enough about Danny for Sandy to feel safe at all.

He could see the door was unobstructed from here, so it was possible that he could just slip out and find somewhere else to hide, but what would that solve? More people would show up, probably, and then he’d just have to keep moving. He had been here first; it should’ve been his place to hide. Danny should leave if he was told to.

Shit, he just wanted to be alone again.

He reached his hand into his bag, pulling out the bottle that he’d found when he was looking for his iPod. The rag stuffed in the neck mixed with volatile chemicals identified it as a Molotov cocktail, but Sandy didn’t know that. He knew it was heavy, and that it was better than having nothing. After all, this was a grand scheme where the terrorists wanted him dead, and his classmates were going to be the agents who did it.

The thought made him flinch.

Stepping out from behind the shelf, he managed to intercede himself between the door and Danny, though not intentionally. He gripped the bottle with one hand, and shot his guest an unwelcoming look.

“What do you want, Danny?”