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Another kid with four threads. Thankfully, this guy doesn't have any pre-game, so I don't necessarily have to torture myself with invisionfree godawful blue. Then again, having some pre-game time is usually good for establishing a voice for a character - did they not have memory threads back then? - so we'll see how this affected the kind of kid that Darren turned out to be. He also might be the first kid I've had during a read-a-thon to ever have one consistent handler all the way through, but, we'll see.

Darren is fifteen years old, and he's my third kid in a row from Bathurst. His only hobby or interest is sleep, which already doesn't bode well for him as a character, though a pro-sleeper student would be extremely entertaining as comic relief. He seems like a normal enough kid, looks-wise, though the "lady-killer smile" rings a few alarm bells in my head, but, eh, another oddity that you can chock up the weirdness of the version as a whole.

Darren is an orphan, along with his younger brother Maximilian three years his junior, who have been orphans ever since their parents died "in a car accident," though the true cause of their death is left ambiguous to the reader for reasons unknown. Eventually, they're put into the care of the Stevonsons (yes, it's spelt that way), two loving foster parents who accept them as their own, and the family lives happily until middle school. When their foster mother dies in an accident, their foster father turns to alcohol to cope with the emotional pain. Caught between supporting his family financially, earning good grades, and looking after his brother, Darren teters on the brink of a mental and physical breakdown at any moment.

...this all feels oddly familiar…

Well, anyways, the obvious immediate downside here is that, because we don't have any pre-game of Darren, we have no way of actually seeing the dynamic between him and his brother outside of flashbacks during the game. My guess is that during his death scene he has one of these very flashbacks, and it is all very emotional and touching, and that's how it is because it is.

Darren is thrown onto the island with a dulled katana and a bag of supplies and his wits. Let's see which of these three pillars falls away first.

Upon awakening in the farmhouse, he lies down in the dirt and convinces himself that he's still asleep while his mind drifts to various topics of interest, until he eventually comes around to thinking about his brother, springs up, and finds the resolve to make it off the island at any cost. This all comes to pass within the space of three paragraphs, four if you're being generous. Regardless of whether or not this idea needed more time to visibly fester in the mind of the character, this gives him a solid motive for returning home, and a goal to work towards for the rest of his short stay on the island.The rest of the thread is him finding the katana, trying to slice some nearby corn stalks with it, and panicking when he finds out that it's dull.

"Fuck! It's dull... ducking dull..."

His unspecified job mentioned in his profile turns out to be at a steel plant, and this grants him with the knowledge that even dulled steel can cut if you want it to, a fact that he takes great comfort in. Galvanized, he sets off away from the sun, katana in hand.

He makes his way over to the river, where he runs into Seth Malvice, who just got done speaking to Tori Johnson. Seth's unmoving presence on the bridge over the river startles Darren, but he manages to keep his cool largely in part because he can't see a body anywhere, so that must mean that Seth isn't a killer. Isn't this supposed to be an honor roll student here? I understand the distinction between book-smarts and street-smarts, but underestimating a possible opponent is never smart, neither on paper nor in practice, so I was hoping that Darren would recognize that, at the very least.

Darren tries to be cool, and introduces himself. Seth responds in kind, and tries to reach into his bag to show Darren that he isn't dangero-

No, no, I'm not kidding, that's the train of thought that Seth actually had, right here, right now.

Darren, of course, interprets this as a threat, and tries to swing the katana at Seth, but Seth manages to spot it and dodge out of the way, swinging his bag at Darren and catching him square in the head. Darren manages to recover for a second attack, but is unable to find it, as Seth runs away into the Forest. Disappointed in his inability to kill, Darren continues to walk along the river, worrying that he'll never find his way off of the island if he can't bring himself to kill another human being.

Further down the river he runs into Venus Gwendolyn, while lost in thought about how unarmed Seth Malvice actually was. How he managed to sleuth this out is just "intuition" basically, but that train of thought is entirely unimportant, because he spots Venus drinking from the river on the bank across from him and decides that his chivalrous ass has to help her, because something must be wrong if she's drinking straight river water. Venus tries to lure him over, and succeeds, because the boy with the "lady-killer smile" is just so oblivious to not recognize what's going on here. The word "survive" comes up in conversation, which is enough to remind Darren of his original goal, so he swipes at her with the katana all of a sudden. I don't understand how exactly he forgot about this, or why he so instantly reverted back to attacking people, but part of me feels like Darren didn't really know that either.

Venus tries to get out of the situation by stalling, trying to talk him out of it, with the thought of seduction in the back of her mind, but Darren just answers her question of "Have you comp-letley [sic] lost your mind?" with an honest response, and tries to slash at her again. She counters by using her trademark move, Cry, which as a Water move is super-effective against Ground-types like Darren. He's lured in, has a "What have I done?!" moment, and while Venus hugs him out of thanks for sparing his life, she steals his katana and bonks him on the head with the hilt before running off.

He has a flashback - no, an imaginary mind-sequence now - where he sees Maximilian, who makes fun of him for losing to a girl. Darren snaps out of it, realizing he's still standing, and makes one last grab for the girl. Venus, however, gets around this attack, managing to steal his sheath as well before sprinting away. Darren realizes just how useless he is, but also manages to rally himself to kill someone unarmed by befriending them and then betraying them, like Venus apparently did to him.

This is less likely to work for Darren, for reasons that I don't feel like I need to state.

For his final thread, Darren wanders into the residential district, looking for people by knocking on the doors of houses. He rings the doorbell of the house that Paris Persphone, the Gossip King, had been sleeping in, which also contains Nessy Guthrie, unbeknownst to either of them. Darren asks to be admitted inside, and Paris, for some reason, allows him in, showing him kindness. So far, it actually looks like Darren's plan is working out!

Then, Garry Dodd shows up, covered in blood. He greets Paris with an ominous "We meet again," and is still invited in by Paris. All of this plays out while Nessy watches through a hole in the door, waiting around for something to happen. Garry reveals that the blood on him isn't entirely his own, and Paris throws some of the room's glass christmas ornaments at him, trying to cut Darren with one of the glass shards as well. After stunning Darren with the ornament, he tries to choke him with the plug-in cord thing for the tree lights, or something. Eventually, Paris relaxes his grip, and Darren elbows him off, stands up, but then gives out, basically already dead.

Darren's death is incredibly confusing to me and if anyone can explain what exactly happened I'd be willing to hear it.

Would I recommend this kid? He kind of just flounders around for a bit and then dies without doing much of anything, and you'll see all of him there is to offer if you read some of the other more notable kids from this version. He doesn't do much of anything at all except die, and he doesn't explore many of the plot-lines and threads that were available to explore were there time in pre-game for him. For these reasons, I'm not sure what there is to gain from reading Darren. He isn't the worst kid from V2 - you could argue that he's not really bad through any fault of his own - but he's far from the best or even noteworthy.

A quick one before the eternal worm devours us all, please.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~



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