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"August" "Midmonth" Rolls
Nick LeMonde is the luckiest boy in the world

Director's Cut
7:25pm

"NICK!"

A young girl, not even fifteen, sobbed and choked, spitting out a word when she could manage. She watched as Ema pointed the gun at him.

She smashed her palms against the television as if pressing hard enough would send her through to him.

“Youcan’tdie. Youcan’t. Ineedyou. Bigbrotherplease” she mumbled.

The girl’s finger pulled back on the trigger.

"NO!"

The sound of the gun shot bounced through their tastefully decorated living room. Nick groaned and struggled to move. The girl took aim again.

________________________________

He'd been shot in the stomach. He could hardly breathe. The pain was stifling his ability to breathe. His stomach was warm. It was the blood running down his front.

In the darkness he saw Ema trying to move, trying to take aim. He had to stop himself from helping her, from saying "almost, just to the left a little. You've almost got it." It was his first instinct to help her.

________________________________


8:45pm

Jenny stepped into the house after a long day at work. The door was unlocked. No one greeted her. How strange, she thought.

“Sean?” she called out. No response. It was late, Natalie should have been home.

“Nat? Natalie, are you home?”

Again, no answer. Her heart sank when she saw Natalie’s volleyball duffle on the floor. She normally took the duffle up to her room and put it away.

She thought maybe her husband had taken Natalie out, but then Jenny found the note on the table. Sean was in the office. The television was off and it looked like someone had thrown the small, glass side table at it. Both television and table lay askew and broken on the floor. Glass littered the normally pristine family room. Ice cold panic ran through her veins. What if they’d taken Natalie too? She ran outside the house where she was halted by a neighbor.

“Jenny, your daughter-“

“Oh Mrs. Friedlander, thank goodness. You’ve seen Natalie?” she asked in a rushed tone.

The neighbor looked at her awkwardly for a moment before continuing.

“There was….screaming coming from your house. A lot of it. Steve and I went over to check on her and we found her in your son’s room.

________________________________

Life was flashing before his eyes, but it wasn't big, important events or dramatic times in his life. It was snap shots of everyday life.

Natalie eating breakfast at the kitchen table.

Him turning the lock on his locker.

Turning off the lamp by his bed, putting away a book and settling in to bed.

Alex trying to get a rock out of her shoe.

Snow melting and dripping off the side of the roof at Bayview.

Teo checking the time on his cell phone.

The feel of Jessica's heart beat against his chest.

It was boring stuff, stuff that wouldn't seem worth mentioning. He knew now that all that boring stuff was what made his life great. There was magic in all of those little things. Fingers, voices, faces, feelings that were imprinted on him from those little moments. They were the little moments that made life beautiful.

He was crying. It happened without him realizing it. He was crying and Ema was pointing the gun at his face. He smiled at her through his tears. He knew it was time. He didn't want her to feel too bad about it. No hard feelings.

"It's okay."


He had thought that the rules were the end all, be all. He had to kill to get out. So he did. And then he felt terrible, but he convinced himself that there was no other choice. Jessica showed him that he did have a choice. He realized his mistake and vowed that he's make it right so that he could be with her again. Then he realized that in order to be redeemed, he had to understand why he had been wrong. It was selfish to want to redeem himself just so that he could have a happy ending.


Ema held up a mirror and showed him the answer. He shouldn't have killed Mike no matter what because it wasn't his place. Everyone was just as valuable as he was, no more and no less. To place himself above them was wrong, and he was wrong to use "rules" to justify it.

He spent so much of his life confused. People were confusing. Staring down the barrel of Ema's gun, he'd never been more clear.


He was ready.

He coughed and winced.

He'd paid it all back in full and learned what he was supposed to. But for those last moments he thought about his life. How had it fared?

He'd had a loving family and good friends. Even Survival of the Fittest had its good moments. His life wasn't perfect, but he would never want it to be. If you never have bad days, you won't treasure the good days. In truth, he wouldn't have changed a thing. If might have opted not to be in Survival of the Fittest, given the chance. You make the best out of a bad situation. That's what he did.

________________________________


8:46pm

“We tried to talk to her but she wouldn’t speak or even look at us. She wouldn’t move either. It was like we weren’t even there to her. Her hands were cut up from the broken glass in the living room. We called an ambulance. They carried her out and took her to the hospital.”

Jenny stared mouth agape at Mrs. Friedlander.

“But why would she-?”

And then she went pale. She knew why.

________________________________

He was so proud that he'd figured it all out. Ema was scrambling on the floor, running around the island killing like a scared, lost child. Was he like that before? He felt grateful that it was all clear to him now. He was grateful for everything. He'd had the best life he could have ever wished for, even if it had been cut short. Better to have had it than to have never lived it at all, good and bad.

"I'm so lucky. Lucky lucky."


B113 Nick LeMonde: Deceased




Director's Cut
6:30pm

“Hello?”

The producer of the local news station picked up the phone.

“Come down? Jenny’s caught up at work and my- There’s been an update in the story?”

He tapped his fingers on the table near his desk. He had the look of someone who hadn’t slept properly in days.

“Are you sure?”

“This is big. Okay, hold on. I’ll go to the station right now.”

He scribbled “Emergency at the station” on a piece of paper and got his coat. Just before he left, he put the piece of paper on the dining room table.



6:45pm

A girl was walking home. Her sneakers lifted the pavement in front of her, carrying her long legs, protected only by socks reaching the bottom of her knees. She wore tiny black shorts and a black tank top that matched her black duffle bag, slung over her left shoulder. In her right arm she cradled a volley ball.


The streets were empty tonight, no children playing or cars pulling into the drive ways. It was eerie. She began humming to herself. She wasn’t a singer by any stretch of the imagination, but now it made her feel like she had company.

“Sweet dreams are made of this….”


A light from above flickered. She looked up and was momentarily blinded by a street light coming on for the night. She blinked and waited for her eyes to re-adjust.

“Who am I to disagree?”

Her red braids swung in motion to her steps as she grew closer to the end to the end of the cul de sac and her home.

________________________________


The girl went down, jerkily falling to her knees and then to the carpet. She looked like a puppet whose strings had been cut.

Nick stared at her as she fell. The tranquilizer was rushing through her with each heart beat.

She was a killer. She was dangerous. She fully intended to kill him. If ever there was a person he would be justified in killing, it would be Ema.

But….

He couldn’t do it. He wasn’t the same person who’d told Teo to kill Clio. He wasn’t going to take anyone else’s life, no matter what they’d done. That wasn’t for him to decide. He understood that they were all victims no matter what. This girl could have been anyone before the island. And just because she wanted to go home, didn’t mean she was bad. He sympathized.

“A life for the one I took,” he said as he looked down at her.


________________________________


7:00pm

Natalie walked inside. She felt that same eerie aloneness in the house that she’d felt outside. All of the lights were on. Someone had left the television on in the family room. She dropped her duffle bag on the marble floor in the foyer and walked down the hall towards the noise. The volleyball rolled away into the formal sitting room.

“Hello? Mom? Dad? Anyone home?”

There was a familiar voice coming from the living room. She walked right past the dining room table without looking down. Natalie sank down in her dad’s oversized red, leather armchair, never taking her eyes off of the television. Her parents didn’t let her watch Survival of the Fittest, not even now. She knew what it was, but she’d never seen it before. It was never on in their house. She sat, entranced.

________________________________



And that was the very last puzzle piece he was supposed to learn. It was what he was missing back when he was on the cliff with Jessica. He knew he had to atone, he knew that the place he was looking to go wasn’t a physical place, but he still wasn’t sure why he was atoning, other than for himself. Everyone has a story. Everyone was someone before the island. They were all victims and they all wanted to go home.


His home was the true home, the place where all good souls go to rest. It was where Jessica was waiting for him. He learned all the things he was supposed to and now he just had one thing left to pay for.

The pain.


He walked a few steps forward and was almost unsurprised when Ema grabbed his foot. She shot him in the back of the leg and he slammed to the ground.

________________________________


7:20pm

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

Her red braids were in disarray as she knelt forward on her knees in front of the television. With her arms wrapped around her, clawing the pale skin, Natalie screamed.

She shrieked over and over. Tears made her small eyes puffy and twisted the delicate features of her face.

“SOMEONE PLEASE! MOM?! DAD?! PLEASE! PLEASE SOMEONE! SOMEONE….help. WHERE ARE YOU?!”

She pushed the heels of her palms into her eyes.

________________________________

There was an incredible sense of clarity. Cause and effect were laid out before him. He saw his mistakes. All that he’d learned were the pieces and with Ema the final piece fell into place just as he fell to the floor.

MK's Mouth
I am enjoying these : )


Since we're being invited to toss suggestions without threat of punishment for stupid ones (I assume, yeah? Yeah? >_> ) I'd like to throw one out.

We talked about it a little in chat so how about something for the ladies? This one's goin' out to allll the laaadies B)


A video about the ladies of SOTF, namely, the portrayal of girls in the game. What sort of archetypes and patterns do we see girls fitting into? Who were some really good female characters? Do our ladies sometimes get a raw deal by being overly sexualized in a way the boys aren't? A lot of our ladies are obviously written by men since they outnumber us quite handily so what are some tips for the boys who wish to write some lovely girls without falling into the boxes we get placed in so often.


The Waiting Room Bar and Grill
"'You're so twisted and sick you think you're the hero. You can't save anyone. I don't accept your-"

"APOLOGY!"


Mary-Ann shouted the unfinished word with her eyes squeezed shut and her hands protectively clutching her head. Nothing happened. Slowly she opened one eye. She was alone. She also realized she'd been holding her breath and let it out, allowing her arms to go limp as well. She looked down and felt her stomach. There was no pain and no blood. Gentle light like a spot light was shining down on her from some unknown place above her. She was barefoot on grass. Everything was warm. It made her feel a little sleepy.

Up ahead there was a building. She looked left and then right. No one else was around, but she could hear talking from the building. Mary-Ann swallowed and tromped through the grass to the door.

She swept her hair away from her face and pulled it open. It was bustling inside with half remembered faces. She stepped in tentatively.

"So! Did I miss anything?"


Mary-Ann whipped around and her knees buckled. She thought for a second she'd fall over. It was R.J. yelling. Yelling. And it was so funny to her because now, she was speechless.

Director's Cut
Claire, Liz, Clio, Gracie, Jessica, Josie, Ema.

Girls.

His girls.

No, that wasn't right. They were the girls who'd influenced his journey here. He was theirs. And really, his story could be told through them.

He remembered the sporty girl all alone in the parish and filled with resolve. It was the first location he'd seen when he woke up. He'd warned her of Teo's presence and she understood him and walked away unscratched.

"Stay safe," she wished formally, turning in the direction of Nick and Julian as she began to walk away. She first passed Nick, whom she whispered a rushed "thank you" to as she waltzed by him briskly.

He saw Liz walking up, covered in dirt and blood. The head of his friend in her bag. She didn't kill him after all. He'd almost lost his cool until he heard the voice of Jess in his mind, trying to remind him that he was a decent guy that couldn't lose himself that way. Short black hair splayed out around her head like a halo as he looked down on her, full of anger.

Teaming up with Teo, they came upon Clio in the twists and turns of the warehouse. Clio, gorgeous eyes trained on the window outside while they lay in bed. He put his hand on her damaged hand and she pulled away. Clio was a beautiful bird. He knew he's never be able to catch her, but he was content to watch her for a while, for the few months they were together. She would forever flit just out of his reach. It was the start of his plunge into darkness. It was one of the various downsides of becoming paranoid as balls. Teo had convinced him as had the terrorists that his only option was murder. He thought that he had to kill. He thought the rules were what they were and they had to kill if they hoped to escape the nightmare. He told Teo to kill the girl, the newly made killer. The girl showed no remorse or sadness until she was under his thumb.

"No plea-"

They let her go so that they would not be named on the announcements so soon.

And then they met Gracie.

“I would’ve just killed her,” Gracie said, keeping her pace toward the boys “You’re better men than I am. Well, y’know, obviously.”

She stopped and flashed them a smile.

“Would you help me? I could use a snuggle-buddy. It gets cold at night, yeah?”


It was a joke, but Nick saw now, she really did want someone to stay with her. She stayed with them. Even when he was a killer, she didn't leave him. The three of them, pretty, handsome, awkward. A rough and tumble sort of girl but at the end, she'd protected Nick whenever she could. Her fine brown hair was stuck to the side of her head, caked in blood.

Jessica. He'd finally found her on the mountain. Through his aching chest and blurry sight, he felt the bloom of relief at being with her again and knowing she was safe. There was nothing left to say about Jessica that he hadn't already thought a thousand times over. Hands wringing nervously, cute little freckles, he could still feel her squeezing his hand. They way her body fit against his side when she hugged them was so perfect it was impossible.

"I want us to be together forever. I want you, like I wanted you then. You've made me feel things I couldn't even describe! I want us to be together, to feel these things.....So let's do it Nick. There's a cliff, we can end it there. Just do it without thinking. We can beat this game, we can do it together."


She showed him the only right way out right before she disappeared from the city on the edge of forever. There way that he could redeem himself. He had to refuse to play their game and in that refusal, he would be free.

He came full circle when he saw Josie, alone in the rec center. Broken glass littered the floor and mixed the glitter and rot. She was alone like the first time he'd met her. She'd been made hard by the game because she didn't understand like he did, but she was still kind.

Josie gathered her things and walked to the door of the recreation center, opening it and stopping as the light filtered around her, casting another eerie shadow on the wall. "You're really nice Nick, you know that? You are good. Don't forget it." And then she added, "See ya around," just one more time, and she was off.

He'd chased her but found Ema in her place, as if transported by magic. Some strange girl with a luminescent pale face and a hard look. Even as she went for whatever weapon was in her pocket, he couldn't help marvel at her fluid motions. Girls were so good at that. Even clumsy ones like Jessica had a way of moving that made it seem so easy, like their every move just flowed in a way he could never hope to replicate.

Jerkily he came out of his thoughts. His reflexes, terrible as they were, took hold and he let fire the rifle at Ema. A single tranquilizer dart lodged in her upper thigh.

Director's Cut
Maf

A sweet boy, not unlike Nick. He was a star of the football team and made lunches for the church on Sundays. He was even a little bigger than Nick, but a real bunny rabbit of a guy. Nick remembered it all, he was a good kid.

That one stung.

She raised her voice at him. It was louder and it cut deeper now. Her hand was twitching for something. He stopped short of the doors that she held open.


"I broke my face in a movie theater once. I was running around, joking with my friend and I tripped on the lighted strip on the floor. How funny is that? I tripped on the only lighted thing in the room. When I fell I hit the bottom of my eye, right where this bone is," he brought his hand up the the faint scar under his left eye, pressing against where there would be curved bone that leads to the eye socket, "on the arm rest of the chair. I hit the only non-padded part of the chair. I shattered that bone. My friends freaked out because I was bleeding everywhere but I guess I hit a nerve or something because it didn't hurt much. And it was my own fault, I- I try, but I can't help being clumsy. They replaced it with plastic or something. I was kindda disappointed. The doctors first told me they were going to put in metal and I was excited to be part metal, like a cyborg or something."

The two of them stood perfectly still and absolutely quiet in the empty movie theater. They were the main feature.

"The power is out on the whole island. You don't want me to help you turn on the projector, do you?" he said softly, sadly, like a father who was very disappointed in you.

Director's Cut
The girl confirmed that she was a killer. She said it with a mask of remorse. Something was....off. The girl had the face of remorse. She had the tone of voice. Everything he'd ever learned knew that this equaled sad. He thought back to Gracie, her look just before she died. He thought of Jessica's face when she looked back at him on the top of the windy cliff and Josie when she peered up at him out of the darkness, wondering if someone would stay with her.

He didn't have the same feeling now that he had when he looked those girls.

And then realized what it was. Nick had an encyclopedic knowledge of the senior class. If someone was on a sports team or in a club or student government, he knew them. He didn't know everyone, though he tried. For example, he didn't know this girl.

So when he heard an unfamiliar name he made note of it, an unfamiliar name like Ema. He knew he'd attached meaning to her name before, more than once.

And now he realized he knew the name but not the face because he'd heard it on the announcements.....more than once.

She was lying to him. Ema asked him if he would go with her into the theater to check the projector was working. Nick knew what was in store for him if he followed her into the theater. Even knowing all that he knew, he nodded and followed after her.

"Ema. Why are you lying to me?"

Blunt, as he always was, because he didn't know any other way to be. It was not said with hurt or with anger. It was just a question like "What's your name?".

Director's Cut
The girl straightened up and looked at him. She confirmed that she wasn't the one that he was looking for. Of course she wasn't. Her skin was pale white and she was so small. He thought that he might be able to crush her between his forefinger and thumb. She looked to be a girl that had been small to begin with, but now with the days filled with horror, she looked like she could break like crystal.

Pretty face, cute sort of. She was so pale that her face seemed to reflect back some of the little bit of light being let in from the roof. She glowed slightly.

Ema. A short, delicate name for such a girl. But there was the same marks of sorrow, stress and hunger on her face that Josie carried. They were all broken dolls.

"Oh, oh sure. I can see that you....uh....you aren't her," he responded awkwardly.

He was at a loss, as he so often was. Normally when coming across a new person he'd extend his hand, put on a smile and introduce himself, hoping to make a new friend. It was so strange now, knowing that he couldn't make this person his friend. Either he or she or the both of them would be dead soon. There was no point. He didn't know what else to do. So he did it anyway.

"It's a pretty name," he said with as much of a smile as he could muster. It wasn't his normal, big goofy grin. It was a hint of an upward curve.

"My name is Nick and.......ah.....and......"

He had to take a deep breath to continue.

"....it's nice to meet you."

There was familiarity in that name. Some ringing bell of recognition.

"You killed someone, didn't you?" he asked quietly.

There was the whisper of a feeling that bonded them. It was that same bond he felt with Teo, with Josie.

"I did too. So did the girl I'm looking for. So did my friend. At least, I thought he was my friend. He probably wasn't.



Director's Cut
((Nick LeMonde continued from Glitter and Rot ))

"I don't see you enough."

"I try."

"You'll have to do better than that. You spend all week with your friends, what about nights and weekends? Give me the nights and weekends."

"That's all I've got. Let's go to a movie."

"Which movie?"

"It doesn't matter."

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


Nick ran out of the recreation center after Josie. His foot caught on a bit of uneven pavement. The side walk was like the rest of the town, neglected and crumbling. He picked himself up and saw he'd scraped his knee. It was a very common injury for him. He was always tripping over his feet. From far off he heard a rustling noise and saw a door shut.

"Josie!"

He threw the strap of his bag back over his shoulder and ran towards the building with Jessica's tranquilizer rifle still in hand. Nick caught his breath, wrapped his hand around the tarnished brass handle of the large, art deco door and pulled it open.

As surreal as it seemed, he was standing in the foyer of a movie theater. Red and black carpeting lay on the floor. A large skylight provided enough illumination to see. Each step he took produced a little puff of dust from the carpet.

And there at the snack stand, peering over the glass case, probably looking for food, was a girl and she had red hair, but she was not the red head he had been trying to follow.

"You're not Josie."


Glitter & Rot
Josie stepped back away from him. There was something in her look, it was something about the way that she looked at him that made him think of a house that was collapsing. She wouldn't take the food. Josie shakily told him that she had to meet someone. It must have been someone very important. The way she fidgeted and fussed, it must have been someone she really needed to get to.

Josie told him he was nice. He didn't understand. He couldn't understand how anyone could think that he was nice. Maybe it was a kindness on her part, to him. This girl wasn't all so different from the one back at the library in Bayview. Even now, she was trying to make him feel better. She was like Jessica.

Josie turned and ran.

Nick faltered for a moment. She was someone worth protecting. He realized he wanted to help her because he wanted her to make it out of this place. She wasn't done yet.

"Josie, wait!"

Nick picked the rifle up off the ground and gathered his things. It was too dark in the building to see anything. He thought he heard her, though. He ran out of the recreation center, trying to find Josie.

((Nick LeMonde continued in Director's Cut))

"August" "Midmonth" Rolls
Alrighty. I rounded up someone to kill Nick and I'll write as fast as my fingers will go but I'll need about four days of extension. :x

"August" "Midmonth" Rolls
I'm really very sorry. I've talked to Toben a little about this but I'll put it up here:

I can't find anyone to kill me because the killers are rather busy at the moment and I'd rather not suicide. This is pretty lame sounding but I need to find someone to kill me so I'll be late on this -__-

Purity Rings
Paris is in.

"August" "Midmonth" Rolls
*Takes a deep breath*

I accept death. Because if you're afraid of death, it seems like demons are tearing your life from you. But if you are at peace, then the demons are angels, freeing you from the earth O____________O

>_>

<_<

That being said, I have no idea what the hell I am going to do. I am accepting offers to escort me from the mortal coil.

Glitter & Rot
Nick stood with the last of the food and listened to Josie. He shuffled his feet for a moment, trying to figure out how exactly to say what he wanted to say.

"Do you know the story of the Good Thief and the Bad Thief?"

She was silent a moment. He didn't wait for her to answer.

"When Jesus was on the cross, when he was being crucified, there were two thieves being crucified at the same time as he was. The faithless thief asks Jesus why he can't save them and himself if he is in fact the Messiah. The good thief defends him and repents, accepting Jesus and Jesus tells him that for his repentance and faith, he will find his was to paradise."

His voice was echoing throughout the empty building. Because they were inside, not even the sounds of nature penetrated their meeting.

"I wasn't sure how I felt about that story before. I didn't like that someone could do bad things and be rewarded by trying to do good right at the end. But now I understand. It's all about....your spirit. About whether you have goodness in your heart. It has to do with whether or not you learned something about yourself and love before you go forward. Words beget actions. I want to make up those things that I did to show that now I know what faith and goodness really are. I want to prove that I.....I deserve to find home. And I don't mean the one back in St. Paul."

He took a deep breath and set Jessica's rife gently on the floor. He looked down at it while he spoke.

"Jessica had such a good heart. That's how I know she made it. That's how I know she's there waiting for me. I could feel her faith and her purity, maybe not faith in Jesus or God but her faith.....in love."

He reached out and put a hand up to Josie's cheek, softly moving her head to gaze up at him.

"We all get lonely when there's death around. It makes us cold. I know there's not long left. That's why you should have some bread. And if you want me to, I'll stay with you. I'll stay until I can't stay anymore."

Glitter & Rot
((Inactivity save))

Alone in the dark, but now, no longer alone. This girl was ragged and tired but there was some pain in her gaze. They were together in the dark with no one around. He ran his hand through the back of his head. Nick was dirty and itchy. He wanted to tear his skin right from his bones. Everything had become ruined in such short time. It was just supposed to be a camping trip. It was just going to be a few days.


He shifted uncomfortably and reached into his bag for the bread. His hand brushes against his bladed weapons. The cold steel was a terrible reminder. He winced and looked for a moment like he might tear up again. But he did not. He pulled out the last of the bread.

Generic Relationship Thread #38561
Well, my little lady Michelle is friendly, on the swim team and enjoys some anime. How 'bout it, man? Michelle and Yukiko fraaands?