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Ave Imperator, Morituri Te Salutant
Michelle seemed lost in thought for roughly 10 seconds, and then snapped out of it. There was possibly someone injured or something bad happening nearby and he cared only about his stupid book. What a such-and-such.

"Well yeah, I mean, I guess I can understand why you wouldn't want to go near the sound because it makes sense-"

Michelle was eyeing the bag while he complained about the book.

"- that like, you wouldn't want to- AH HA!"

Michelle grabbed the bag and ran towards the sound.

"You can have it back when I find out what that was!" she shouted back.

((continued in The Art of Accepting Each Other )

The Doll's House
He was just being paranoid. The rustling was probably just a squirrel or a cat or wind or something. As it turns out it wasn't any of those things and paranoid or not, he wasn't perhaps the right levels of paranoid. Someone jumped out and he was hit in the stomach. He was sent backward and stumbled on a bit of rubble ending up in the bushes himself. Paris choked and struggled to restart his breathing which seemed to get knocked out of him with whatever it was that socked him.

He'd also managed to hit his head on the way down. He groaned and blinked, seeing bright splotches dance in his vision. Presently he managed to take a few deep breaths. Everything was gray for a moment and he grabbed, trying to find something to help him stand. Paris wheezed and some leaves and small branches snapped instead of helping him to his feet. On hands and knees he crawled out and saw his friend laid out and heard footsteps echoing. A girl had hit them.

"Sven?"

Ave Imperator, Morituri Te Salutant
Michelle mostly didn't need to say anything. Virgil had told her about Dave and about the plan. She didn't mind that. She wasn't especially keen on recounting Dave's last walk to anyone else and she wasn't sure how she'd respond to having to describe it. It felt unreal.

"I want to take away the weapons. Get rid of them. I know people can still kill each other with their hands but....I think it's so much harder. Not just from like, logistics but it's easy to pull a trigger. I think it's harder to do something like strangle someone. Emotionally and physically. I think there's something about feeling the person and looking them in the face that would make people realize what they're doing that doesn't happen with a gun. We could take the bullets out and throw them in the ocean or bury them or throw them in the jungle or something. The knives too. If we all just show them we won't go along with this, I think it's the best end we could hope for."

Somewhere nearby there was the sound of a gun shot and a girl's scream. Michelle jumped and grabbed a hold of Gwen's arm, like a girl frightened by a jump scare in a horror movie.

She looked at the two and slowly wrenched herself away from Gwen.

"Should we....we have to go see what that was," she said, voice and hand shaking.

Decathect
((Amaranta "Mara" Montalvo continued from There ain't no more cowboys, only men with violent hearts))

Mara flew into the lighthouse, threw the door open which slammed shut behind her, ran into a pantry cupboard and closed the door behind her.

She started hyperventilating, gasping for breath inside the dark of the pantry with just a thin beam of light coming through where the doors weren't quite shut. Her hand was balled up into her fists, shaking.

____________

Her hand was balled up into her fists, shaking.

"Go on ahead, I'll talk to her."

Her sister Rebeca took a fleeting look at her sister before being shepherded away by their mother into the restaurant.

It was just Mara and her father. Tiny Mara, age 7, shaking and biting her tongue and willing tears not to spill over. She'd gotten caught cheating on a weekly spelling test, it was her first time so she'd only gotten a chiding at school, but they'd called her parents. She'd been yelled at by her father during the car ride to the restaurant, but she knew he wouldn't yell at her in front of other people. He wouldn't, but only if she played along.

"Don't get caught next time," he said sternly, looking away. He looked back and she was obviously fighting to look calm. He noticed her curled up fists, nails digging into her palms.

He grabbed the face of the little girl and forced her to look up at him. She swallowed and her face was blank. He didn't want her to make him look bad.

"You bleed before you cry, Mara."

She smiled and he let her go. He took his daughter by the hand.

"If you aren't crying it means you aren't sad. Let's go inside, ozo."

____________

Inside the cupboard she felt her nails cut into the pad under her thumb. Her eyes were squeezed shut.

"You bleed before you cry," she whispered.

I'll never cry. I'll never cry. I'll never cry. I'll never cry.

She held her breath, trying to get her panicked gasps under control. She was silent for 40 seconds before letting it out. Mara felt a rush of light headedness.

Mara put a hand up to the door she'd locked herself into. Some person had shot and killed the guy she was talking to in the middle of his sentence. People were dying and no one had come to get them.

"What am I going to do? I....I don't know what to do," she breathed out.

Her influence and her money wouldn't do a thing for her here. The only thing on the horizon was some unspecified horrible thing to be experienced. Maybe no one was coming. Even if they were, would she survive to see them? Who could help her? No one. It was overwhelming. The uncertainty was worst of all. She would have to come out some time. She would have to and then she had no idea what she'd do. She felt nauseous, but she wouldn't cry.

What's going to happen to me?

Ave Imperator, Morituri Te Salutant
Michelle watched Virgil's face fall as he took in her metaphor and processed what it was she really meant. It was obvious he agreed with her. He didn't tell her that it was nonsense. She bit her lip and nodded.

That's what I was afraid of.

He proposed lightening the load which only made sense now that she was a little broken. She got down on the ground to where her bag was and started unzipping.

"'kay. I don't need most of this stuff. Mostly just the first aid kit and the food and water. I've got my hoodie and I guess we've got each other if we get cold."

Michelle was a touchy feely sort who didn't see anything strange about cuddling with friends or kissing people she really liked on the cheek, so occasionally she overstepped boundaries without realizing it. The thought occurred to her and she added an addendum.

"Oh, if it's not weird or anything."

Normally her friends just kind of let her do as she pleased. She'd sometimes shove her feet under Kam's butt if they were sitting on the couch because her poor circulation meant her limbs got coldish and butt contact warmed them right up. Thinking of Kam was beginning to bring down her spirits, but someone else showed up and thankfully seemed pretty friendly.

Michelle nodded in the affirmative, their names were in fact Virgil and Michelle.

"Yeah...we're okay-ish."

She wiggled her right side of her body to indicate that there was something somewhat not-okay.

"I had an accident and this guy....he like, tried to help kindda and then my arm came out of the thing," she said pointing to her shoulder. "But..but he was just too excited to help," she said, her lip wobbling. "Oh and I yelled at him. I was so mean to him and he only wanted to help and Dave jumped off the cliff I tripped on!"

Michelle clutched Virgil's sleeve and she looked teary-eyed again. "Virgil! Remind me to say sorry to Chris if we see him again."

Gwen was still standing there though. Michelle cleared her throat and awkwardly wiped her face. "Um, so yeah."

There ain't no more cowboys, only men with violent hearts
He seemed to be keeping in line with her conclusion that he was a nice person by apologizing. It was his fault she'd bumped into him because if he hadn't been standing there she wouldn't have hit him.

But in an instant it seemed that he was a rather nice un-person. Mara's face went from a flat, default expression of listening to his apology, to shock the moment his head suddenly gushed blood like a piñata full of sweet, red jam. Her eyes were the size of saucers and she couldn't do much else than watch him crumple like a sack of trash. He was still staring at her from the ground with that kind of half apologetic look he was in the middle of going through.

The gun shot cracked the earth and now everything was kind of muffled, like there were cotton balls stuck in her ears. Maybe that's why in movies and stuff with police training they wore those earmuff looking things. Mara's heart started picking up, beating faster and faster until her chest was heaving and she took one big gulp of air at the end of one of her breaths and let out a scream that pierced the air, disturbing whatever birds that remained in the trees after the gun shot.

It lasted perhaps 5 seconds before Mara turned on her heels and ran back into the cover of the forrest.

((Mara Montalvo continued in Decathect))

The Doll's House
Sven was calming down and Paris sighed in relief and sat back on his feet. It was going to be okay. Everything would be fine. He was even up enough to be joking around a bit. Paris gave him a rough, jovial slap on the back and a thumbs up.

"Nice to have you back with us, eyebrows."

Yeah, they were going to be okay. They just had to come up with some kind of game plan. They were armed to the teeth and had each other. For all Paris knew he could have woken up with a squirt gun next to a crazy person. It was almost like they were meant to survive. There was the tricky issue of the sole winner hanging over the good fortune of their circumstances, but Paris would think about that later.

Sven came to his senses enough to notice the rustling in the bush.

"I hear it too," he whispered, nodding and looking at the shadowy area. He put a finger to his mouth and carefully picked up the rifle he'd found in Sven's bag. Sven seemed to still be recovering and the rifle could at the very least be used to whack someone or something upside the head. Deftly, Paris tip-toed towards the bush.


There ain't no more cowboys, only men with violent hearts
((Mara Montalvo continued from Last Days))

Mara's shoulder was starting to hurt from carrying around her duffle full of things. She whined and pouted and finally decided to just leave it near a shack. She took a hard look at it to remember which shack it was so she could tell the rescuers where they could go to get her stuff. She didn't plan to utilize the food bars which looked gross or the aid kit, so it was no big deal to her to chuck it.

It made the most sense to her to try and get to a beach. That's where help would show up first and she was very sure she wasn't going to miss the ride home.

Mara walked out of the woods, looking at her nails and hoping there wasn't dirt under them, when she suddenly walked into another student.

"Hey watch it!"

Mara backed up and brushed herself off. They didn't collide very strongly. Mara looked up to see who it was and recognized him as the kid who did sign language and who was friends with the deaf kid. That one piece of information was all she had to go off of, but it followed that the one thing she knew meant he'd be a nice person.

"Uh, hi."

Last Days
"Uh, if we hide how are they going to find us? Duh?" she said with her hands on her hips.


Victoria was saying something again. Who knows what she wanted. Asking nonsensical questions was a past time now or something.

"Mira...que?"

<Look at....what?>

Well, this was a tough situation so Mara supposed she could afford to be a little more gracious than usual. That and she'd thrown some Spanish in when talking to Mara, so she assumed the girl was trying to connect with her, perhaps.

"Whatever. Listen, there was a map in my bag. I'm going to go to the hotel or the beach or something. Relax a little before the rescue shows up. Stay cute, Miranda!"

((Mara Montalvo continued in There ain't no more cowboys, only men with violent hearts))



Official V5 Away Thread
Handler: Ruggahissy
Dates Away: 6/15-16/19
Days Away: 5
Reason for Away: Canceled my Internet this morning and flying to California tomorrow in the wee hours, then driving down from SF to LA and moving into new place. Starting my new job the 19th so I should be settled in by that night. I feel like a super jerk giving such short notice because I'm on the cusp of inactive with Mara so if I find airport Internet Ill try to throw a save.
Characters: Mara Montalvo, Paris Ardennes, Michelle Wexler

Ave Imperator, Morituri Te Salutant
"OOoohhhhoOOhhhh!" Michelle shook her head in frustration and eventually fell off the bench, flat on her back. She was getting too upset. Michelle sighed and once again found herself staring up at the rope course.

"You have a party and you tell everyone about the party. Imagine the party and you've got a pointy hat and noise maker," she said waving her left arm around. "When you have the party, people you don't want to show up do show up, so like, imagine Adonis or Cody came or something. They act like jerks and spill stuff on your carpet and ruin the night. Next time you throw a party you don't tell them about it so that they don't show up and then they don't find out about it until the next day when it's too late anyway and your carpet gets to stay clean."

She took a moment and then pulled herself back up. Michelle eyed the bag. Virgil said the bullets or whatever went into the gun was still in there. She supposed that was fine, but was hesitant.

"'kay. I trust you," she said quietly, nodding at the gun. "If I'm right and the terrorists won't tell the jerks about the party until the next day, then.....there would just be no reason to....worry?" she said, holding onto the collar.



Ave Imperator, Morituri Te Salutant
Michelle looked at his rifle. Her eyes went wide and then she frowned quite severely. "No, no gun. Take the bullets out at least." She sighed and her look softened. "I want to be able to do this just be appealing to reason. By talking to people. I think people are reasonable."

She crossed one arm over her shoulder and turned away. Michelle was met face to face with another blinking camera stuck in a bush. At first she was shocked, then she forgot that she was upset and stared it down. A few seconds passed before she realized how stupid it was to stare down a blinking camera light and blinked a few times herself.

"These cameras," she muttered. "It's so important for them to get all this for whatever stupid point they're trying to make."

Then she stopped, struck by something. Michelle absently ran a finger over the collar around her neck and gazed at the camera.

"Last time some kids did something or....something and like, some people found the island and rescued some of them. They found the island while this stuff was on tv."

Michelle turned back to Virgil and continued on her train of thought. "Hey. Okay. So say you're a terrorist organization and it's super important for you to broadcast your survival thingy to make some point or something. So you do it a few times and the last time you bite it and someone finds the kids during the airing and that's no bueno for you. So you wait a few years and do it again, but how do you make sure that someone doesn't come interrupt your party in the middle again?"




Rugga's Shutter!
Posted a few of my favorites from the zombie run : )

Introduction Thread
I made a mistake ;~;

Also:

I am not very good at writing endings to posts.
...in my pants.


You clever bastard

Ave Imperator, Morituri Te Salutant
Michelle tried to wiggle her arm around. It didn't move much, which was pretty much the intended purpose of the sling. She relaxed, secure in the knowledge that she just had to let her arm lay there and heal. Well, be less sore. It would never heal. Remembering that depressed her.

But you're going to die anyway so who cares about your arm I guess?

She wasn't sure if that made her more or less depressed.

"You, you're too trusting. I'm all for gathering everyone together in a big group and all sitting down in some big room like the one they- uh, the one from before and then waiting. But it only takes a small handful of people to topple that. It's like Jenga," she said, miming removing the blocks and placing them on top of each other. " It may be 80% of the people might listen to us, but there's that last 20%. I don't want the weapons if that's what you think. It'd take them apart or throw them into the ocean or up in trees."

She stopped and it was quiet again. Birds chirped somewhere. She looked down at her flip flops.

"Thank you for the sling," she said to her shoes. "You've already done more for me than I can pay back for. I understand if you don't want to come with me, but I'm doing this with or without you."

Ave Imperator, Morituri Te Salutant
Michelle moved her long curls to the side and bunched them together in her hand. She lowered her head and exposed the back of her neck.

"Just tie the top near my neck to the other end near my elbow."

Michelle closed her eyes and sighed deeply, head down, waiting for him to finish tying and speaking. He sounded so low.

"This will really cut into my job at the Thai massage parlor, tying massages together."

Maybe that would cheer him? It was no telling how well puns went over with people who weren't her. He said that other people would play. Play....as if it were a game. She frowned.

"I know there are some kids who will become desperate and they won't be able to see the forrest through the er....trees I guess," she said looking around. "I know some of them won't like it, but I think most of the people, given the time to think calmly would see it's the right thing."

Michelle grabbed one of Virgil's hands and was quiet a moment before continuing.

"I think we should destroy the weapons."



Ave Imperator, Morituri Te Salutant
((Michelle Wexler continued from Sleep, My Dear))

Michelle walked up behind Virgil, struggling under her issued bag now that she had to concentrate on not moving her arm. She tried to make it look like it wasn't bothering her. Thankfully they went somewhere not far and...rather odd. A ropes course.

"That's just like you to take me somewhere I can't play," she said, looking up at the course. "There should be a triangle bandage in the first aid kit to make a sling." She removed a package from her kit and tore it open with her teeth, unfolding a large triangle piece of cloth. She bent her arm in towards her chest, a movement that didn't cause pain, and threw one part of the cloth over her shoulder. It was then she realized she'd never done this to herself. She also realized she needed help tying the sling.

She looked up at the gray sky. The criss crossing ropes filled her frame of vision like a web. Michelle blinked and her eyes welled up.

We have to come to terms. We're going to die.

"Thank you," she said shakily. "For not telling them. I didn't want to....I don't know. Worry them I guess. In that moment I thought....I thought that I didn't want to see my friends get hurt and also that I didn't want to ever hurt anyone. I wanted to remove myself before something would happen and this place would change me. I realize now that it won't."

Michelle looked at Virgil, eyes still wet, but fierce and determined.

"I will never let this place take that from me. It is the most important thing in the world to me and I've never even thought about it before today. I know who I am. I know that I will die here and-" she faltered. Michelle swallowed. "-I'm okay with that." She started crying again and her ferocity melted a little.

"The only thing that makes sense is for all of us to come together and prove them wrong about us. Virgil, we have to run out the timer as a class and die together."


Sleep, My Dear
Michelle got lucky, well, lucky considering the situation and Virgil seemed to get that she wasn't really going to talk about what had happened with the two girls who had arrived after. However, she didn't expect the time to talk with him alone about what had happened to be right NOW.

He told her to pick up her stuff and get a move on with him. He didn't seem very upset with her berating him. Michelle awkwardly, carefully picked up her assigned duffle and scurried after him.

She turned back and looked at the girls once more and waved a short little wave. "We'll see you guys in a little, probably. Just stay safe and stay together in the meanwhile."

((Michelle Wexler continued in Ave Imperator, Morituri Te Salutant))

Sleep, My Dear
“Today we’re talking about how to treat a shoulder dislocation. “


Michelle sat in the dark air-conditioned bungalow of her EMT ride-along class with her pad of paper in her lap, staring up at the screen. She chewed on the end of her pencil, staring intently at the physical therapist and scribbled something down.

“Obviously, this is a traumatic event; it’s not a gradual thing that happens. On the X-ray here,” he said pointing to the prop, “you can see the humeral head is not in the socket. The humeral head is supposed to be here, but it’s in this location. Many times after a dislocation occurs the muscles go into sort of a titanic traction and it goes into muscle splinting and it’s hard to put the shoulder back in.”

Michelle nodded and doodled a stick man on her paper with the arm unattached and spiky pain lines coming out of the stick-arm.

“What it does is tears these capsular ligament structures here...and they don’t heal back. Once they’re torn, they’re torn.” The man walked to a bench where a grumpy, shirtless young man looked like he did not want to be apart of this instructional video. The man pointed to the boy’s shoulder and then lifted his arm up. “However, the difference between the shoulder and the knee is that you can survive without some of your ligaments attached-”

------------



“Three”

Virgil started pulling on Michelle’s arm. Her left hand gripped the earth next to her so hard she pulled up the grass, roots and all, but it wasn’t enough and her hand curled into itself and her nails dug into her palms. She struggled to keep her eyes open, she had to watch Virgil and make sure it was okay. The pain made it impossible to draw in a breath deep enough to scream and Michelle let out a high pitched sound like a kettle. The whole process took maybe 40 seconds, but felt like ten minutes. After her arm mercifully popped back into place she rolled onto her side with her knees drawn up in a fetal position, cradling her right arm and coughing.

It was done. Her arm was back in the correct position, but Michelle now had to contend with something she wasn’t exactly sure how to feel about. Her body was now permanently damaged. The ligaments in her shoulder were torn and they would never heal. She’d dwell on it later because Virgil was speaking and Stacy was asking something,

Michelle pushed herself back up into a seated position. “I'm fine," she said, trying to sound upbeat as if she really were fine. "There’s probably a triangle bandage in my kit I can make into a sling. I’ve made them before.”

She was incredibly angry. She was angry with everyone. She was angry with Chris for being stupid and angry with Stacy for gawking, she was angry with Dave for walking off the cliff and even angry with Sophie for crying. Clayton suddenly started mumbling some apology and ran off.

"Hey! Wait!"

Michelle looked after the boy, wide-eyed. She wasn't really in a position to run after him and likewise, the others sort of just let him run off. She chewed her bottom lip. She stood up shakily and walked up to Virgil and weakly punched him in the arm with her left hand.


“You! Hanging off an unstable cliff to save some girl who accidentally fell, frak!” She punched him again, but it was clear after recent events she wasn’t able to hit very hard. The word “accidentally” had a bit of emphasis on it. It was a half lie. They both knew she was on the edge purposefully. She looked at him a moment, pleadingly. Michelle didn’t really want to explain herself to the remaining girls and she hoped he understood. She’d talk to him alone later.

“Don’t you ever do something that dangerous again or I’ll give you an ass kicking you won’t ever never forget!”

She tried to cross her arms over her chest angrily to make her point, but trying to move her right arm was still very painful. She squeaked with pain at her folly and settled for just crossing her one arm over her chest, which didn’t look very intimidating.

The Doll's House
Paris looked over to the other body, unsure if he was seeing right. Surely he wasn't that lucky? The other boy woke up and hurled a piece of a planter at him, missing by a mile. Paris beamed.

"You suck!" he said happily at the toss.

He went and knelt down next to Sven who was obviously having some kind of episode. Paris had to temper his happiness at finding his friend enough to be concerned about his increasingly poor condition.

"Hey hey. Shhhhhh," he said rubbing Sven's shoulder. He looked around. It appeared they really were alone. "Okay, hold on bud."

Paris got back up to get to his bag and stumbled. He fell roughly on the bench and started digging through his duffle to find a paper bag with his lunch in it. Next to the sack lunch was something else, though. Paris put the sack on the table and carefully picked up a gun. He looked at it sternly for a moment, put it down on the table, and grabbed the bag.

Paris haphazardly threw the contents, a tuna sandwich, bag of chips and juice box, out of the bag and returned to Sven. "Here, breathe into this." There was a rustling from the bushes. Paris whipped his head around, but nothing was there. He patted Sven on the back gently and noticed his friend's bag. There was something long pushing against the material. Carefully he unzipped it and saw some kind of rifle.

Two guns. What did it mean? Why place him in this unfair, awful situation and then equip him with everything he needed to make it out? He very well could have gotten a boot and woken up next to psycho. Was it a test? He wracked his brain trying to make sense of it. He was brought out of his puzzlings when he remembered Sven.

"Feeling better?"