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Woof Woof, I'm a Dog. Kill your Friends.
Out of fear reflex like a girl watching a scary movie on a date, Hazel grabbed Jordan's arm. She already knew he was safe and they'd proven to each other they weren't about to bash each other's heads in with a rock during the night.

She heard a voice sort of apologize to them about the booby trap. Still holding on, she leaned in a bit to see who was there. He said it was Jeremy and she looked to Jordan, asking with her expression if this person was alright. She didn't really know much about Jeremy. The boys were talking now and her grip loosened.

"Hi," she said shortly, sort of awkward about not being able to contribute anything else.

Another head came poking out of the door. Hazel's eyes widened a little in recognition at the appearance of the newcomer. She looked discretely at Jordan to gauge his reaction and then back to Alex. She smiled nervously and let go of Jordan.

"Alex! Hey." she positioned her hands together as if praying, with the tops of her fingers just touching her chin. She knew Alex of course from various theater activities around school. They'd been sort of acquainted for years and had now and then had short conversations. They'd complimented each other on the other's acting work, but she couldn't recall ever having an in-depth conversation, alone.

Truthfully, it was really weird being in a small room with someone you kind of know, but mostly don't know. He was a good actor at times, but that meant exactly jack squat for his trustworthiness. She was also extremely certain she'd heard an "Alex" on the announcements at least once and couldn't recall of any other Alexes in school. Bringing this up would probably rock the boat and she was unsure if it was her place to upset the delicate peace they had at the moment. Also, they were in very close quarters and as Jordan had nearly let slip, they didn't have a gun, a knife or even a piece of paper with "Fuck off" written on it.

Hazel's knees buckled and she grabbed Jordan again as if she were about to pass out. Her eyes were half-lidded.

"I.....I feel sick. Can we get some air for a second?" she said, brows furrowed and breathing heavily.

Woof Woof, I'm a Dog. Kill your Friends.
((Hazel continued from We're in this together ))

(OOC note: The last two weeks have been really tough at work and like, I'm really sick, sorry for slowness)

Hazel trailed just slightly behind Jordan. They'd hustled out of their last location which was declared a danger zone. She had mixed feelings about this. It meant they couldn't wait at the same location in case Min came back, but it forced them to keep moving which was good as far as that it provided a distraction and purpose.

The distraction element was particularly important because along with being told they had to move or risk explosion, it also announced that Min (her...what? Boyfriend? Crush? Existential dread sex person?) Had killed someone, likely not long after leaving her.

She felt herself fracture just a bit at that knowledge, but couldn't dwell with Jordan rightly telling her they had to hustle.

As if by unseen guide they ended up in some kind of basement in an asylum which she wasn't super jazzed on, but Hazel was still trying to collect her thoughts and feelings together in regards to Min and the last 10 hours or so. Jordan asked her if she was ok and it was like a very gentle pin prick that brought her back.

She shook her head as if trying to get rid of the buzzing thoughts around her.

"Not really," she offered weakly. "But I don't think there's much you can do. I mean, thanks for even asking and just not ditching me."

There was suddenly a ruckus at ankle level. Hazel looked down to see a string of cans. She looked quickly at Jordan, panicked.

"Oh god, now what?"

Debates and Dilemmas in Entrepreneurship
BZZZZ

BZZZZ

BZZZZ

9:00 a.m.


David's hand came down like a falling tree trunk on the top of his clock. The noise stopped. He sat up, fully extended his arms and then swung his legs around to the edge of his bed. He felt like he hadn't slept well, he possibly had a nightmare. He gripped the intricate iron design decorating the headboard to hoist himself up and followed up with a few toe touches.

He walked out into the living room of his apartment and looked around briefly with bleary eyes. It took a moment to remember he didn't have roommates anymore. David yawned and quickly went through his morning hygiene routine. He put some coffee on and went to change into his clothes for the day.

After a quick breakfast he rode the elevator down to the parking garage and jumped into his new Prius. He adjusted his rear view mirror and thought he saw a girl standing behind the car. David whipped his head around, looked, and saw nothing. He figured someone had been passing quickly to their car. Once started up, the car barely made any noise. He slammed on the radio button and was greater by the chatter of DJs on 106.7, KROQ.

The first two appointments of the day went well enough. Wealthy parents were eager to shell out money so their kids could learn self defense, just in case. Everyone seemed more on edge after Survival of the Fittest returned, everyone, but David. With rich people it was all about what kind of prestige you could bring. Prestige equaled quality. Not only was he a former Israeli special ops, a get in and of itself, but he had an extra "wow" factor.

"Hey, is it true you trained a winner?" asked one pre-teen at his afternoon appointment?

David laughed a nodded, making like he didn't want to talk about it. It wasn't technically false, was it? He never claimed to train her before she was on the island. Grabbing a class photo where they'd stood next to each other was enough credibility to make his claim (mostly) true and give his business a kick start. It was a brilliant bit of marketing.

"Let's get back to the lesson," he said gently.

He didn't answer, but the first thought that came to mind was "terrific advertising."

David was busier every day. Having the girl in his marketing materials got him a foot in the door with the quality crowd and the skill of his teaching resulted in happy customers. Whoever that blonde woman was, he'd have to get a drink if he ever saw her again. After his last lesson for the day he drove down to Big Wangs in West Hollywood for a beer and 50 cent Wing Wednesday with Avi.

He saw him immediately and made a b-line for the table where they hugged and talked about their day.

"Miss you now that we don't live together," laughed David.

"Well, you're a Mr. Big Shot now with your business. Mr. Entrepreneur."

David smiled and shrugged in an exaggerated manner to show false modesty. "I'm such a big shot I'll get your wings. I'm spending a whole $5 on you."

Avi mock fainted and they laughed. David pulled out his wallet, but dropped it. A few bills and a business card floated out. Avi scrambled to pick up some of the things and just as David ducked down to get his wallet he thought he saw a girl at the jukebox. Avi shoved him and held up his wallet.

"Hey, you're welcome," he said with a sigh.

David blinked at his friend and looked back at the jukebox which was being roughed up by a guy in a cowboy hat.

"Thanks," he said, tossing cash onto the table. The pair got up and went to the bar across the street for some beers.

At the bar Avi handed over the business card in between sips of his micro brew. " 'Trainer of winners' huh?"

"It's just branding. Good branding."

"Mmm," he replied, shifting. "That's all?"

"Everyone's gotta eat, ok? I think it's understandable and you know, it's not lying or anything."

"Oookay," responded Avi, slamming his beer.

The two walked out of the parking lot and waited for the cross walk to give them the flashing of a little man instead of a red hand.

On the opposite side of the street David saw her. Long black hair, small frame, gorgeous cat-eyes glaring at him.

"Hey!" he called out.

She stood as still as a statue. The only clear giveaway that she wasn't a statue was that her hair moved in the slight breeze.

"I need to talk to you!"

She turned on her heels and started walking away. He couldn't lose her. David broke away from Avi and ran out after her, hearing only his friend's shout and a screech.

A few people poked their heads out from the bar slowly and Avi ran over to the middle of the street. The girl from the other side turned around and ran to the scene as well.

"Oh my gosh! Why'd he do that?" she said, biting a pale finger, tugging on her brown hair and looking down.

V6 Second Announcement
Caleb died , but we have a spare so it's ok

The Lagniappe
She did it.

The blade tore through in one swift streak across his throat. Caleb let go of her instantly as if he'd received an electrical shock. Tears ran over the sides of his blue eyes and he smiled widely, sadly. He blinked a few times and fell to the side on the bed.

He couldn't talk, only gargle around the blood. Caleb lifted up his hands and signed.

K-E-I-K-A-K-U

His body shook and seized but he managed through the blood and tears to wink at her. If he could, maybe he'd be laughing at her a little.


________________________


Caleb was waiting with Andy for him to purchase a new external hard drive. He fiddled with some of the junk from the impulse aisle while Andy was rung up.

"Oh. You get a free pair of headphones," the employee informed them.

Andy turned and elbowed Caleb to bring him to attention.

"Don't you need new headphones? This hard drive comes with a lagniappe."

Caleb scoffed. "That's an awful big word for bumpkins like us," he said, adopting an exaggerated accent.

Andy smiled and framed his face with his hands "I have book learnin'. It's when you get like, you know, a free gift with purchase or like, buy 12 donuts get the 13th free."

"Oh, so like when you buy stuff and then get a piece of shit you don't want and you feel too guilty to be like 'No, I don't need this piece of shit.' ?" asked Caleb.

"It's about your perspective. It's a bonus."

"Or it's a junk you got stuck with once you got the thing you really wanted," responded Caleb, looking directly at Andy.


________________________

Caleb knew that it would be extremely painful for Kimiko to do this and that it would be hard for her to be alone again, but it would have to happen eventually for her to win. Maybe this would even get her another prize. He could never in a million years have been the winner, he knew that from the second he woke up. This was all he could really think to do to help her, it was all he thought he was capable of.

It was a good shot too, he thought. The terrorists would eat this up. Betrayal, love, friendship, tears. They were entertaining as fuck.

He bit his lip and looked up at her trying how to explain what had happened as succinctly as possible given he didn't have a lot of time and his signing was somewhat limited.

<You would have had to do it sometime. Ask for real cheese next time. If lucky, you'll get a gun.>

He brought up his hand up and pressed it against his mouth. Caleb then put his hand up against her lips.

He sobbed, but tried his best to maintain his smile. The last thing he wanted was for her to feel bad about what had happened. Caleb wasn't upset about dying really, he realized that he was crying because he would miss her. As much as he felt the pain pouring from his neck, the ache in his heart matched.

<You're the coolest girl in the world.>

CALEB DIAMOND: DEAD

The Lagniappe
One minute later? Another hour later? He sat watching Kimiko sleep from the door of the room she’d chosen. He’d become obsessed with the prize for the “best” kill. Gazing at the girl, he felt that he was obsessed with her as well. His heart was pounding out of his scrawny torso. The more he considered it the more it felt like someone had reached in and scooped his insides out like a molded pumpkin.

Getting more supplies and maybe a gun would be a huge advantage for anyone. On top of Kimiko’s current weapons, it could be enough to boost someone to a win.

Part of him told him that it would be unspeakably cruel to do that to her. How could he do that to her? He would have to be a monster to destroy the peace that they had found. He bit his lip so hard it broke the skin and a pinprick of salty blood ran into his mouth. Caleb’s whole body shook with one hand over his mouth to cover the sound. Tears moved over and around his hand.

He got to his feet and silently walked over to her. His face twisted as he continued to cry and shudder.

I have to do this. I have to do this. I have to.

It was the best for both of them. Staying like this would only mean more attachments, better to sever them early and if it could be done in a way that would lend an advantage, all the better.

With trembling fingers he reached down to her throat and jerked her awake while squeezing.

Do it. Do it. Do it.

The Lagniappe
Some hours passed. Was it hours? Maybe it was minutes. Definitely some amount of time had passed that was between 1 minute and 3 hours. He’d been nearly continuously tortured for 2 days, going on three. To him it wasn’t just that. Without sleep to break it up the whole experienced stretched and warped to be one horrible, inhuman day.

He laid down on a bed of the upstairs bedroom and stared straight up. Outside all he heard were the usual sounds of nature. By all accounts someone would describe it as soothing, but it was terrifying to him. Lying on that bed in the silence with his thoughts ricocheting in his hollow skull, he felt it. The fear was oozing just on the periphery of his consciousness, held at bay weakly by his efforts to keep from panicking. Staring into nothing, doing nothing, being nothing, his defenses faltered and the fear struck him in the chest like sickening, cold lightening. No one was going to help them. They would die. There was nothing he could do to save himself or Kimiko. All was lost. Caleb imagined the terror and helplessness of being lost at sea, drowning for days rather than to be done with it. He rolled over onto his side and curled inward. Despair consumed him, ate his organs and crushed the air out of his lungs.

Evil has won, hasn’t it?

Shakily he got to his feet and made another trip downstairs.

Caleb was sitting back in the living room staring at his half-eaten piece of pizza. How much later, it was impossible to tell. It felt like years had passed. A prize. It was a prize they had given her. They gave her food and a weapon like a rich sorority girl tossing a treat to a shivering inbred dog on the floor.

The sludgy, wary, painful cogs in Caleb’s mind started to turn and click together.

I love her, don’t I?

A prize for a kill. An advantage in trade for a piece of your soul. What was his soul worth?

Not much, I’m trash.

Trash for supplies and weapons. A good deal. A total bargain on his part.

The Lagniappe
She’d been asleep two hours. In those two hours Caleb had walked the entire length of the cabin dozens of times. He’d gone back and forth, in and out, counting floor boards, looking at details in the dark. At least, he thought it was two hours? He had no idea how long it had been. He kept moving. He had to keep pacing quietly just to do something.

Caleb was looking for anything to occupy his mind and he was rapidly running out of things that would do.

He had held it together more or less for two days barring some outbursts here and there. Caleb had kept from becoming unglued because he had convinced himself he had to, but he was being held together with the psychic equivalent of paperclips and chewed gum.

In regular life he didn’t even consider himself all that “together.” Caleb paced up and down the stairs slowly like a video game character unsure of the next step towards progression. Of course he wasn’t the picture of mental or physical health even at home. It was put into even starker contrast against his fitter twin. A duplicate that was better than him in every way that also just had better luck.

I don’t have a chance do I?

He walked back up the stairs one more time and walked into a bedroom, swaying and lightly running into a wall. Kimiko had said it herself. It was a joke, sure, but she was right. What could he do? Nothing. He had nothing worth offering, nothing he could do to defend from something.

Why am I so worthless? Will anyone even miss me at home? Who would when there’s good version of you? He hugged himself and rocked a bit.

The Lagniappe
Caleb didn't realize he'd been smiling the whole time until Kimiko's smile disappeared. The corners of his mouth ached a little and fell too. He was fading in and out more rapidly now between happiness and dread. Every few seconds he remembered what their true situation was and he felt sick. Then he would forget and it would start over. It was a roller coaster ride he didn't want to disembark from because he didn't know what he would do if he was mired too long in their reality.

He didn't know what he would do. Caleb had only gotten up off the floor of that cell to look for Kimiko. He was scared and didn't know if he could hold together having experienced this illusory distraction and then having it ripped away.

Caleb noticed he had just been looking at her.

She was beautiful.

He immediately felt guilty thinking about that. She was a friend and she trusted him. The hints of his feelings had been there creeping on the edges of his consciousness even in regular life, but there was enough out there to distract him and push those back to the edges where they belonged. Caleb was sure that she didn't feel the same way. There was nothing about him worthy of it.

"Prize, huh?" he said, walking around the kitchen counter, hanging on to the edge and leaning back.

He walked to the front door, dragging a chair behind him and jamming it under the door knob to secure it.

"We can hunker down here for now. You can tell me the entire story of Transmetropolitain through interpretive dance until it's time for bed."

The Lagniappe
<Is my company not good enough for you?> she asked.

Caleb shrugged once. He shrugged a second time quickly after.

"How does that help me, huh? What's that do for me?" he said, pointing emphatically at himself. "I was like, fuck, it's Kimiko. I was just clearing my throat loudly while taking a stroll and walked into a clusterfuck. Who are you even? Kimberko?"

A moment passed and he sheepishly signed <Welcome>. She made a crack back at him about him not being much in the way of physical prowess except for his extraordinary ability to chain smoke. He laughed weakly and sat back up, scratching his head through his gray beanie and looking down. Caleb noticed for the first time that they were sitting on a tiger skin rug. Kimiko gave him a slice of pizza. He picked it up and made the sign for "thank you," moving his hand from under his chin.

He took a bite of it and swallowed. Caleb made a harsh gagging sound and looked at the pizza with suspicion.

"Is this vegan? Are you serious? You know how I feel about vegan cheese! I'd rather starve. Literally, Kimiko. We're really about to die here and I don't want to eat this. God, we should have a policy as America to turn away people who can't appreciate cheese. You wouldn't cut it in my America."

He stood up and stretched, looking around the cabin. There was a kitchen. Outside the window he didn't see anything besides trees, no other people. He put the slice of pizza on a counter and delicately touched a small collection of spoons that was hanging on a wall near the kitchen. They were covered in dust, but they looked like souvenir spoons his grandma collected.

He offered her a hand to help her up. It struck him that playing house in this cabin was a bit childish and stupid and he felt embarrassed. As soon as they stepped foot outside the illusion would be broken and even now, there was a wrinkle in the scenario. It would be extremely easy to be seduced by the situation and make believe that they were on a trip to the woods together. Easy, yes. Comforting, sure, but it would only make the shock of going back outside even worse.

"Did they give you that too?" he asked, regarding the big sword.

Good news! Your music tastes don't suck!
Sleep, My Dear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VPwmFPp9Kk

Paradise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VPwmFPp9Kk

The Lagniappe
The warm light broke through the windows of the cabin, illuminating bright spots throughout and highlighting drifting bits of dust that glinted and shimmered.

Kimiko sat down next to him and he rolled onto his side. He forgot everything that had happened before that point for a moment. She hesitated to answer and given how he was even able to find her due to collecting a kill award, it was easy to infer why.

"Don't tell me whatever happened. I don't give a shit," he said quietly.

<Ok, you're better. But how does that help ME?> he signed, making an exaggerated frown.

He stretched out, laying on his side and looked up at her with his arms dead out in front of him giving him somewhat the appearance of being a giant house cat. It was true, he absolutely didn't care who she killed or why and an explanation one way or the other wouldn't change anything.

"You'd tell me if you were really a Wolverine clone, right? You'd have this in the bag," he mumbled warily.

He wanted to say more to her. He wanted to let her know that he felt like his heart had been replaced by a rock ever since he'd woken up. Everything he did felt pointless. He was just a puppet that was prolonging his own suffering while dancing for whoever put them up to all of this. If he were braver he'd tell her how much she meant to him, but Caleb didn't think himself very brave. He didn't think himself much of anything remarkable. But like she said, for now, it was better.

In the middle of his musings his stomach growled loudly.


The Lagniappe
Kimiko ran at him and wrapped her arms around him, knocking the wind out of him. Caleb let out the breath he'd been holding and wheezed. He dropped his bag and returned the hug.

"It wasn't fuckin' easy to keep up with you. Grandpa smokes like a chimney."

He lifted her just barely off the ground while still in the hug, took two steps into the cabin and put her down so that they were inside. Caleb then kicked the door shut and shortly after, collapsed lazily onto the floor with his limbs sprawled out haphazardly.

"It's times like these that make me go 'Maybe I should quit smoking.' But then like, here we are. I think the chances of me dying from lung cancer are pretty Virginia slims. Eeeyyy?"

He looked up at her from the floor with an uncharacteristic big smile across his face and bright blue eyes that made him look much closer to his perennially cheerful counterpart. The cabin seemed small, but adequate. He was tired both from the activity and from having not slept, but was now enveloped in a pleasant coziness. Caleb was just happy that she was happy to see him.

<How are you feeling, shorty?> he signed sloppily without sitting up.


The Lagniappe
((Caleb Diamond continued from Robber Barons ))

Caleb was getting tired of so much running. He ripped off the stupid Nixon mask. He had stopped following Kimiko's trail and leaned against a tree, rubbing his eyes. He was pretty tired from the previous night. He saw a flash of blonde slip into the cabin up ahead. He took a deep breath and marched up to the door of the cabin. His heart was pounding so strongly he thought he might fall over. He wondered what he should say. What would be best?

He knocked on the door.

"PIZZA, M'AM," he said in a tone much lower than his natural voice.

Was that funny? Would she think it was funny? Caleb waited nervously for the door, listening intently for any stray sounds.

Robber Barons
Caleb ran after her

((continued in The Lagniappe ))

Robber Barons
((Posting orders are for people not about to explode ))

Caleb heard someone shout out and when he heard it his blood turned to ice water.

"Mutie..."

A mute. Against the odds his plan had actually worked, but someone else had a similar plan. Caleb pulled the mask on and ran in the direction of the disturbance. His ankles became wrapped in long weeds and his toes halted by stray rocks a few times, resulting in some near misses with the ground. He managed to recover each time and kept going forward. The plants and shrubs lashed at him and marked his skin with faint red welts and shallow cuts.

He arrived to see Kaitlyn jump at Kimiko.

"Hey!" he bellowed.

We're In This Together
Hazel picked her things up and put her clothes back on. She felt more alone than ever and without looking at Min, went back to her spot in back of the car near Jordan. Tears started trickling down her face. Part of her hoped Min would hear her crying and maybe come check on her and they could talk things out, but another part was terrified of that exact scenario and wanted to just be left there. Crying always tuckered her out more than anything though and she fell asleep quickly.

Hours later the bright light of morning found its way into the vehicle depot.

Hazel blinked her eyes a few times and was pulled out of sleep by hearing her name. Wasn't someone supposed to have woken her up for her shift? She rubbed her eyes and Jordan's hazy frame started to take shape.

Slowly, she sat up and tried to push down her hair. A jacket slipped off of her. She caught it by the sleeve and looked around. Her eyebrows came up in concern and she frowned slightly.

"Jordan..."

Hazel realized what he was asking and she looked around frantically. Nothing was left of Min besides a few energy bars. She picked one up and looked at Jordan, eyes welling up a again.

"I think he left," she said quietly, still holding a food bar. She dropped it and slid out of the back of the car, sniffling a bit.

"Can we please go?" she asked, eyes on the ground.

((Hazel Jung continued in Woof Woof, I'm a Dog Kill Your Friends))



V6 Second Announcement
Would love a save like others. Not entirely sure what I'm going to do so I'm open to ideas.