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(B094, Ridley Landon, Start)

He had always loved to sleep in, even when he wasn't asleep. This morning was not different, though he had a strange dream. Survival of the Fittest? Yeah, right. Like his shitty little school would have been chosen out of the entire fucking country. He was awake, but still beyond groggy. It was only when he tried to turn over and find his comforter that he felt the striking chill of water splash into his face.

With a start, Ridley shook his head and sat straight up, his ass planted halfway into a puddle of mud.

"What the FUCK?!" He shouted out, his thoughts going to how much his mother would kill him for getting his nice black button-up shirt so dirty. It wasn't long after he shouted that he noticed where he was: not where he thought he was, that's for sure. His eyes widened as they darted around, surveying the area, when he felt a bag with his hand to his left. The bag had been placed upon a dry fallen log, half of which was submerged in mud. So whoever brought him there had taken more care in the placement of a duffel bag than him? Not cool.

It only then dawned on him that the dream he had just had was real. With a quick slap to his own cheek-- and an adjustment to his dirty glasses-- he assured to himself, to his horror, that it was not a dream. Not one bit.

His stomach was suddenly replaced by a void as the fear began to creep in. He thought to himself, Duffel bag! Bags have that useful stuff in them, right? That announcer guy said so, so I should get what I got. His hands quivered violently as he knelt in the mud in front of the log, failing to grasp the zipper a couple times before he managed to get it open. Just as the creepy-sounding guy on the PA system said, there was a map, a compass, some crappy food and water, and-- "A gun...?" He whispered to himself. Something that can kill the baddies? No! That's wrong! They're all just kids like me! Despite his gripes, it was as if a wave of cold had surged through his body, freezing his limbs to the point where he was steadily able to reach down and pick the weapon out from the other items.

A strange sense of security engulfed Ridley as he stared at the firearm. A slight chill ran up his spine. One not too different from the ones he gets whenever he buys a new game. He was unsure how he felt about his own reaction, but stowed away his meditations for later. Another glance into the duffel revealed that they were even kind enough to provide an instruction manual for the weapon, but Ridley wasn't about to be grateful for his situation. Thinking again on the situation brought back the shakes from before.

He had only seen guns fire in History channel documentaries and video games, and he didn't even play that genre very often. Now he was expected to kill everyone whose faces he had seen every day for the past three or four years? Sure, there were the many unsavory folks in the class, but just because they picked on him did not mean that they deserved death. He just had to remember that the whole mess was NOT a video game.

His reading of "Gunslinger Girl," however, bestowed upon him at least one rule of gun etiquette: "The gun is always loaded, even when it isn't," and made sure not to point the gun towards himself as he carefully set it down on the log next to the bag. Just as he was about to crack the manual open-- always read the manual before playing a new game-- Wait, game?-- he heard a shout from behind him, beyond a few soggy moss-covered trees. As quick as he was able he took the gun, snatched one of the magazines from the bag and shoved it into the cavity at the bottom of the gun. Unless "Black" lied to me, I pull back the top part and--

Sh-chk. The top bullet slid into the barrel slightly louder than he had intended. Nonetheless, the sound was oddly satisfying. Satisfying enough to produce a split-second grin on his face beyond his control.

He zipped up the rest of the duffel and ducked behind a nearby tree, peaking in the direction of where the shout had originated from. Beyond the trees he was dumped in, he saw what looked like a beach with a sunken ship at a dock, plus two figures at the end of said dock. He wasn't able to determine what they were doing, and decided to stay where he was, gun in hand and double-checking that the safety was indeed off. The thought of having to pull the trigger shook him to the bone.
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