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Where Will You Stand When the Flood Comes?
((Jordan Green continued from Jenny From The Block))

They had waited for Jeremy.

How long had they waited? No clue.

Enough time to talk about what seemed like a million small things and for the sun to have clearly made a big arc across the sky and yet neither of them had decided to broach the evermore likely reality that Jeremy wasn't going to show up.

But he'd turned up yesterday, hadn't he. Far later than they'd expected, but he'd still managed to turn up anyway. So maybe it was the same thing all over again, and he was just being absurdly paranoid.

But each passing second still fed that paranoia.

They'd long exhausted any ideas they had on Les Mis, especially after they'd hit a point where the fact that there was no internet, no way for them to check the exact phrasing of the sentence, led to that entire train of conversation. But there were few other things that they did talk about, as if they were both doing this weird dance to avoid entire topics, and the conversation was never serious. Never all that personal. The kind of light, banal talk that schoolyard lunch hours were meant for.

It was familiar, it was comfortable, and yet it was so empty and devoid of meaning.

But what did he want to talk about. More musicals? Maybe something about Hazel instead? That could be- the word wasn't 'nice'. 'Interesting'? Something nebulous in that area anyway.

"So, what were you going to do after graduating? Like, if... " As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he wanted to backtrack. Sure, it was the first question that came to mind, but god, it sounded insenstive to him right now, which clearly meant that he was being insensitive.

"I mean, um, never mind. Just ignore that."

Say You're One of Them
Better, but not quite enough. As if she wasn't sick and tired of it all too. As if she didn't just watch the entire room die around her too. As if she didn't have friends dead or dying.

They were both being self-centered asshats, but at least Amanda was aware of it. But it wasn't like she had any right to complain.

"Right." The words were almost sincere. But did he really want to die? Or was it just a delusion due to all that had been happening around them?

"I don't think it's rest at all. Did you hear Will? There's still regrets, things you want done even when you're dead. " And someone needed to do it. She needed to go. She needed to find her group before something happened to them.

But she didn't go. Not yet. Maybe because there was a chance that Jon was about to off himself the moment she left. Maybe because she just didn't want his death to be another one on her own conscience. Because she didn't was already scared of the oncoming idea of her own name being read out across the island when morning came and that she'd feel doubly scared if she thought she'd have to hear it twice.

But if she wasn't going just yet, then what next? Was she going to stay here with his awkward pessisism, and the pile of dead bodies in the room?

There must be something she could do. But she didn't really know first aid. She could help out with sprains, cuts, maybe. Not whatever this was. And yet, it was all she could do for now.

"Look, if you need help, I'll try to help patch you up." Antiseptic and bandages were something she could try. It wouldn't end up looking pretty, but it would do. "I really don't mind leaving if you want me to though."

Jenny From the Block
A sheepish grin crept across Jordan's face at her reaction.

"Of course you didn't."

It was weird how easily conversations could turn from serious to light here. But humour was good. It kept thoughts away from the little things, from the thoughts that should be all-encompassing, thoughts that would consume people from the inside out. They would trust Jeremy until something happened. That's all they could do.

"We'll just hope he doesn't."

There wasn't much to pack though, the supplies in the bag were starting to run thin, though he did leave some of the wrappers inside the bag, just to make it more comfortable as a pillow.

That left the chisel and CD player that Jeremy had left on the table, both of which Hazel scooped up and pocketed.

"Are we really taking that along? I thought we were going to toss it. But, yeah. Ready."

It didn't matter even if she took it along, but they really need to? Still, he wasn't about to stop her if she insisted. Besides, they needed to go to the bridge. Jeremy might even be waiting already.

((Jordan Green continued Where Will You Stand When the Flood Comes?))

Say You're One of Them
She recoiled at his words, almost falling over with surprise, but somehow she managed to steady herself.

Amanda couldn't reply to him. She didn't know the answer, either. She had no reason to help him. She could have just left, but she hadn't. Was it because of what Will had said? Was it because she had this need to actually succeed in helping just one person instead of the constant trainwreck of bad decisions her time on the island was?

Somehow she just couldn't not do anything.

And yet, he was being rude to her and perhaps if her emotions didn't feel so burnt out from all the crying and fear and terror and people dying around her, she might have done something about it. She couldnt bring herself to be completely angry at his reaction. Not when she halfway understood what he meant, even if she would never accept the conclusion.

"Sorry. Look, if you don't need help, I'll just leave, and then you can just get right back to dying."

Okay, maybe she was a little mad at him after all. He was alive and that's all that really mattered right now, wasn't it, no matter how much he protested it.

It wasn't her fault he hadn't died, anyway.

Jenny From the Block
She did realise what she was doing with her choice of words, right? His brain wasn't just making that up, right? Was it just bad phrasing, or did she mean anything more by that?

He looked at her, hoping to see a sign of it being a joke, but none came, he only felt increasingly disquiet.

"I don't know, it's a mess, really."

She was right, he could have killed them if he wanted to. So he didn't want to kill them. Probably. But that still didn't mean they could trust him, there were so many ways you could hurt someone without killing them.

And Alex. He was with Alex, a thought half-forgotten in the jumble of days that had passed since they had last saw him. He'd thought of Jeremy as a killer at first, hadn't he, lumping together with Alex. And somehow he had been right, even if only after the fact.

"My gut says no, but I want to trust him? He's not the kind who'd... yeah, but, part of me says to watch out, I guess. I mean, just because he's not lying right now, doesn't make him one hundred percent reliable. But then another part of me says that I'm being a jerk for suspecting him because all he did was defend himself."

A sigh. It wasn't as if there was any way he could intepret Jeremy's actions based off four sentences. It just served to show how little he actually knew Jeremy. They'd talked, they'd argued, but Jordan still had no idea what made him tick.

"I really don't know, but I don't want to treat someone badly when they don't deserve it."

Say You're One of Them
He was stuttering.

The bleeding was worse than she had thought, red across his chest, a vivid reminder of what her gun had done, what she had done.

"Sorry. Sorry. Sorry."

Why was he still trying to help her even when he was dying? She couldn't understand. She shot him and he was still trying to help.

He expected so much of her, so much for a person she barely knew and she couldn't take it.

He wanted her to take his gun. She couldn't take it.

He wanted her to find her friends. She didn't know how.

He wanted her to live on. She didn't know why.

"Why are you so nice?"

But there was no answer.

Maybe if they had been anywhere else in the world, he could still be saved, but none of them on the island were doctors. No blood transfusions, no sterile equipment, nothing that could change his fate.

She'd just helped kill a man and there was nothing she could do about it.

It was unfair. There wasn't any way she could do what he wanted her to. She wasn't strong enough, or smart enough to do any of that. But she was alive and he was dead, even though everything within her screamed out that it should have been the opposite.

And yet there was some weight to the words of a dying man, wasn't there. Like some unviolable contract signed without her consent. As if, not doing so would be the absolute worst thing she could do.

Her other savior lay on the ground, face bloody from the fight. Was he dying too? She couldn't tell.

She recognised him now, now that he wasn't a blur of masks and flying toilet seats.

Jonathan was lying on the ground, unconscious or delirious or something, and he needed help, she needed to help him, but all she could remember now was every other person she'd tried to help.

"Are you okay?" She didn't know what else she could do right now.

Jenny From the Block
Dancing wasn't his thing anyway, and he merely looked on as the song played on. It didn't feel like a dancing song, anyway, and he didn't know the lyrics, so he might as well let the ones who enjoyed it have their fun.

And besides, their fun was infectious enough, and he found that he had a stupid grin on his face by the time they were done, one that almost made up for being left out of things.

--

Sleep was a thing that was hard to come by but somehow he'd gotten several hours of it that night. In fact, he'd managed to wake up without his back aching or his legs screaming, or the million other things that had assailed his sleep these last few nights.

Now if only he hadn't managed to wake up at what looked and felt like 3 am in the morning.

Jordan continued to lie there, staring up at the ceiling, wondering what on Earth he was doing.

It was weird how much fun it had been having these last few days.

How he was here laughing and talking and there were people dying outside. There were people dead right outside the door and he had helped put them there.

If he was in school he would be worrying about his finals grades, about that one play still missing everything that wasn't the opening three lines, and a silly monologue, Jacob bugging him to try out a new game or something, and a million other tiny daily worries that had seemed to stop existing for just a little bit.

And yet, it wasn't a good feeling.

Somehow they seemed to loom even larger now that he could do nothing to try to deal with them. There were ways to deal with each and everyone of those worries, and he had plans, little ones, but still plans for most of those. Nothing long term, nothing really bright, but they were there and he was going to tackle his own problems at his own pace.

But now they would be tacked on to the list of problems that would never be solved, along with perennial favorites such as why people had to be such dicks for half their lives.

A sob from beside him.

Was Hazel crying? It sounded like it, and yet it seemed like she was sleeping soundly at the same time. Was it a dream? A nightmare? Some vision that would strike astonishment into the heart of angels?

He couldn't know.

Hazel didn't ever want to show how much things hurt her. He could almost count them, the myraid half-lies that she had told. But he couldn't force someone to be better. To be happy beyond all reason. But she'd let it show once, and now twice and now all he could do was wonder how much more she was suffering than he could ever see, than he could ever imagine.

His hand moved closer to her, unsure if he could or should do anything to help.

He didn't need to decide.

She grabbed his arm, clenched it tightly, tighter than he remembered from when they had first met Alex. It almost hurt, but he couldn't bring himself to wake her up.

She was muttering something, some things he understood and more that he didn't but one name stood out from the rest. He didn't want to have heard it but he had and he could only wish that he hadn't.

He still couldn't understand. He knew, but he could never understand.

He didn't understand any more than he had that day, even though they were sharing a room with a murderer now. The first two murderers that they had met had barely felt like people to him now, more so as they started to fade into memory. Carciatures of what a murderer was meant to be. But Jeremy was different. And yet, Jordan didn't want Jeremy to be different.

If Jeremy wasn't different from Alex, if Jeremy wasn't different from Jay, that meant that-

He had moved slightly, and Hazel seemed to stir at that.

"Sorry." The words were so quiet, that he wasn't sure if she'd heard them. "Go back to sleep."

She looked at him for a brief moment, confusion clear in her eyes, then he guessed she realised what she had done, and she let go of his arm with a quiet apology.

He went back to sleep too after that, feeling just a little emptier.

--

Morning arrived and the moment that they had all been dreading arrived.

Junko was dead, confirming absolutely everything and nothing. Jeremy looked shocked, as if he didn't believe his name would be read out loud on the announcements, as if they'd somehow forget him out of everyone on the island who had killed yesterday.

But they hadn't and he couldn't understand why Jeremy would ever be shocked by something so obvious.

Nancy and Alvaro were dead too. Other names too, Astrid, Maria, killer or not, nice or not, more dead classmates joining the ever growing pile.

A real surprise came at the end though, Jeremy's name again, but it wasn't another death to his name. Not that getting nominated for "Best Kill" was much better.

What did the terrorists mean by best anyway? Goriest? Most dramatic? Did they have stupid voting systems like the Oscars? It was almost nonsensical, really.

Jeremy wanted to get his award. He didn't care, really. There was food, anyone would want to get it. And maybe some part of him wanted some of that food too. But he wasn't about to tell Jeremy that.

"I guess." Jordan replied.

Jeremy simply told them to meet on the far side of the bridge. Wait. No he'd said west hadn't he. Which way was west? It was on the bridge at least. And it wasn't as if it was all that far. They'd work it out when they got there.

Jeremy left after that, and it wasn't long before he was out of sight from the door.

"So, how much do you think we can trust him?"

Say You're One of Them
There was pain as the bag hit her, but nowhere near as much as she felt from the sight of Will. There was blood everywhere, and it was her fault. She was the one who had done it.

"Why?"

She was just trying to help. All she was trying to do was to help.

All she had done was try.

And yet again she had failed.

Will was bleeding because of her.

Will was dying because of her.

And somebody in a mask had to sweep in to save the day, because all she had done was ruin everything again.

She couldn't help.

Even as they hit the wall once more, she did nothing.

She had the gun but she was useless.

All she would do was hit the man in the mask she would be thrice damned.

She could only lie there on the ground as everything finally unwound around her, dull thud of flesh against concrete, again, again, again, someone else was dying right now, and that was her fault too.

Why did everything she do have to fall apart like this?

She wanted to cry again, but she couldn't. There were no tears, nothing, no emotion she understood in her thoughts.

She was so useless. Even Will, in his state, was doing more than her.

Why couldn't she just bootstrap herself out of self-pity?

Alex slumped to the floor, but she had no idea what to do.

How could you make up for shooting someone?

"Will? I'm so s-sorry." No apology would cut it.

"I was just trying to help." It sounded like she was just making excuses.

Say You're One of Them
She did.

She scrambled up at fast as she could, but her shaky legs betrayed her as she moved, everything lurching, nothing making sense and then she was down on the ground again, but further from the two of them. Far enough to get up and make another break for it.

She needed to get up again. She needed to do something. Will was hurt, she could hear the pain in his voice and she wanted so desperately to run as hard as she could.

But she was on the ground, and she needed to help Will and Alex was getting closer, and it took her far too long just to realise exactly where she had fallen. She was exactly where she needed to be. Was it coincdence that she was here, now? Did she mean to move her, to fall here?

Her gun was close enough for her to reach.

She could do it. She needed to help. Make up for the times where she failed to do anything that mattered. She could do something that actually meant something for once.

She raised the gun towards a person for the third time that week.

She was still scared.

She still didn't want to do this.

She didn't have the right to do this.

Even if Will had helped her, even if he was hurt, even if Alex was getting closer, even if she was angry that she failed to do it before, it took everything she had just to try.

Her fingers weren't listening to her anymore, quivering more than she expected, but it wasn't as if her brain was giving commands either.

The shot went off.

Blood flew through the air.

Say You're One of Them
She wanted to say yes.

That would have been nice wouldn't it? And she'd somehow get everything together and she'd find Emma and Jaime and maybe even Lucilly and everything would work out nicely.

But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? She needed to pull herself together to even try to try any of what she wanted to do, and Amanda knew that she was a complete mess, right now. She couldn't do it. Not like this.

And yet she couldn't say no. Not when she wanted, needed to do it so much. Not with Will asking her about it like this.

The door opened again before she answered. But there was no time to be relieved or surprised.

Alex and his knife were suddenly up against Will, knocking them against a wall.

Too close. Too close.

Will had taken his gun.

No. This wasn't happening.

She had just needed a place to calm down, not for things to explode around her again.

"What are you doing?"

Aperture Science Mafia.
@NAFT, I don't quite see you what you are pointing to when you say I'm trying to move discussion around? I feel that my play has been largely replying to the accusations on me, and engaging them for the most part instead of making pushes, so I'm not sure how you see me as someone who has been moving discussion around and looking for alternative lynches?

Furthermore, I don't see how looking for another lynch is scummy in and of itself, trying to avoid getting themselves mislynched is something I feel both town and scum would do.

If you're just talking about my first read post, this is exactly why I worried about how it looks. I already know that it'd look like trying to deflect attention for that post, but like I said, getting my reads out there before I die is better than the alternative, not giving town any info before I get lynched.

Honestly, being lynched for info isn't the worst thing given how much of a mess the conversation has become, but I really can't see where you are coming from on this specific line of argument.

Aperture Science Mafia.
@Brackie
What? I don't think the amount of words is really a great argument to base a lynch off, and since this is the first game where I've been actively suspected, I don't think writing more reflects anything other than the fact that I have been engaging with the arguments against me.

@NAFT
We are at L-4 right now if I'm counting right, so I don't really see why you say that we are at hammer?

Aperture Science Mafia.
@Dea is that meme targetted at me? First off, the reads are in response to Murder's question. Second of all, I think I might as well get my reads out there since a) I get lynched and town at least gets my reads to dissect together with my lynch instead of just my interactions, b) I don't get lynched and there's a trail for us to review in latet phases instead of having to guess what my opinions on things are.

The thing is, I'm not confident enough on any of my scum reads to start a case, and all I can do right now is lay out my reads, but I really don't like the way you're trying to throw shade on them entirely.

Aperture Science Mafia.
EBWOP: Just to be clear, NAFT is still a light town read for me. Not a null.

Aperture Science Mafia.
Okay first off, I said I'd review my read on Zetsu, but that misread post doesn't really seem to change the case? I don't really see how the way he's been playing is beneficial for scum, but it's a confusing play that seems anti-town at the same time. It looks marginally less worrisome now, leaning marginally town, but I'm still quite unsure.

Deamon and Paige are both people I'm reading as potential scum due to the way they have been pushing their case on Zetsu. Zetsu seems to not do well under pressure, and I can see his reactions as prime mislynch bait, if he is town. If he's scum, it could be a bussing attempt, so it could go either way.

Deamon:
Deamon reads badly, given that the first half of his ISO are memes and jabs that don't really engage with arguments, and instead seems to dismiss them. He does poke and prod people, especially people who are flying under the radar, but he gives few concrete reads, and the only reads he gives with explanation are prompted.

I'll admit that this feels similar to my argument on him the previous game though, so I can't outright say that this is his scum game, but it's a bad look in my opinion. Leaning scum for now.

Naft:
NAFT is someone who I'm having quite some difficulty in reading, and I think it's because his playstyle is so wholly different from my own? I mean, the absolute last thing I expected as his case for voting on me was a gut feeling.I'm also a little unsure why the pressure on my case from his side seems to have dropped off without explanation as compared to the beginning. The vote is still on me, to be sure, but he hasn't been prodding me after this post. Could be that there are other cases, that are more pressing or could be that he's worried about drawing attention to his push on me after the coaching accusation but it still feels sketchy that he stopped pushing a case he sounds sure on. Actually, @NAFT can I get an answer on this?

I'm also a little confused at why NAFT and Deamon are being seen as a block. I had thought Paige came up with it at first, but I can't seem to find it right now, so I have no idea where it came from and who supports this idea. I'm going to have to look at this one again.

Overall, though, his analysis seems credible for the most part and he has been pushing and prodding in a way that feels genuine. The recent posts have been a little sharp and evasive, though, and I'm not really liking that all that much. I was leaning towards town, but it's been slowly drifting towards a null for a while now.

Paige:
My read on Paige is largely based on her two fights with Zetsu. I think the initial point of contention that started the fight was fine, but the arguments lead to a bunch of snarky tunnel fighting that makes the exchange come off looking bad for both of them. The first push also doesn't really have a cohesive feeling to it, and that makes it feel like a potential search for mislynch bait.

On the other hand she's also making a lot of contributions that have helped to push conversations forwards and she's been pushing cases in a way that feels sensible. I'm still not liking the push on Zetsu, and I'm leaning lightly scummy for now, but this isn't exactly a strong read.

Say You're One of Them
"I don't know."

No. That was a lie. She knew exactly what she wanted to do. She just couldn't bring herself to do it. She didn't even want to say it out loud, as if saying it would make it a promise. And even if she found them, could she make things better? Was there anything she could do that wouldn't lead to people screaming at each other when she showed her own sorry face again?

But she did want to find them, didn't she? That's what she'd been trying to bring herself to do all day.

"I-" She couldn't even bring herself to stand right now, how was she going to help them? How was she supposed to apologise to them? How was she supposed to be trusted by them ever again?

"I don't even know where they are anymore."

Aperture Science Mafia.
Looks like I completely misread that post. Going to have to reconsider my read on Zetsu.

Aperture Science Mafia.
That's was my entire reasoning for the vote, and even if it is weak reasoning and looks like cover, it was what I was doing. It was mainly an attempt to move forward from NAFT's initial suspicion towards his case on me. I think the way I phrased it makes it look much more like a calculated play than it actually was at the time that I made the post. Rereading my posts was something I did because I was confused at NAFT's vote, and agreeing with him, was the first thing I thought of to move things along, and the fact that it helped identify him as town ensured that I did it.

I get that it's scummy, and I get that I've only been reactive since that point, but honestly, I don't know what I can say that doesn't make me seem scummier. Defending my bad play feels futile, because it was a weird play that wasn't well considered, while trying to talk about something else makes it look like I'm trying to deflect attention.

I had a post lined up, about one of Zetsu's posts and how it informs a few reads, but i held off on posting that since it feels like trying to push attention onto someone who is already under heavy scrutiny. Gonna throw it out anyway, since I really don't know what else I can do.

Zetsu's post on his read on Decoy is quite interesting to me. It sort of treats Murder's read on Decoy as a be all end all, gives Decoy a little too much benefit of the doubt, while dismissing Deamon on Decoy's posts' lack of content. Clearly, reads should evolve over time, so Zetsu's town read of Decoy seems misplaced.

I'm hesitant to read Zetsu as scum though, given that he seems to be picking far more fights than he can handle. While this might be a scum move trying to sow confusion, I don't really see how it's beneficial for scum to get the entire game to focus their attention on them, especially when there is another case going on at the time. It evens out as a null read for me, there's enough of a mess that I'm not willing to call it either way.

There's a lot of talk on his case, but no one seems willing to vote, so I get the feeling scum might be testing the waters for a mislynch. If that's the case Paige and Deamon rise to the top of my scum list.

Another thing of note for me is how Yugi just dropped off after his part in the Zetsu push. He makes a few points to help get the push moving, but ever since the push on Zetsu has taken a life of its own, his activity has dropped off. This doesn't look good for him, so a light scumread on him due to this.

Staying out of step with town would actually be good cover for Decoy after Murder's statement, and giving him that much benefit of the doubt is weird on my end. It's kind of been weird that Decoy has been pretty active this dayphase, and that's something that we should watch out for. But while his posts have been a little content light, I feel that the tone and content has actually been reading quite positively for him.

Flare's vote on Zetsu seems on the level. I don't think that reading Zetsu off one game is entirely fair, but he notes that and other caveats on the case well, and which makes it all the stronger. Reading him as town for now.

Say You're One of Them
"I- I left my group behind." It sounded worse now that she said it out loud.

"I didn't mean to leave them."

"I was just... so... frustrated, aright? And I was just trying to keep the group together and everything was just falling apart. And things were just so- They were a mess, and all I wanted to do was to get away and I did."

"I was kinda making all the decisions and they were all terrible. Emma and Jaime are still out there somewhere, and I can't even bring myself to go back to them. I can't face them."

She noticed that her own hands were clenched tightly; she was still shaking a little. Was she making sense? Did he understand any of it?

Words were said almost as fast as she could think, and she knew that he probably had no clue what she meant. There was so much more she wanted to say, more thoughts that could filter themselves into words at once.

Say You're One of Them
So big, bad Will Mckinley was a fuck up too.

So that was all they were right now, two fuckups stuck in a room, their weapons lying on the floor, useless.

But they were different. Lucilly was still alive. Emma was still alive. Jaime was still alive. She still had a chance to do things. She could try. But she was too weak to do it.

He'd already gone through that. She'd forgotten about Rea, but she had died, day one. And yet, Will looked almost serene, something that was completely different from anything she'd ever heard about him. Was this the same Will that Cristo had talked about?

He looked like someone who had his shit together.

Someone completely different from her.

Her breathing was steadying out, slowly, the pain didn't go away, and her throat still hurt, but she was almost under control now.

"Sorry," she wiped her face, but it didn't help much. Her hands were damp and all she managed was to smear her tears across her face.

"I mean, thanks."

She needed to say something more. Will had opened up to her, and it was only right, that she said something back.

"So, I fucked up too."