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Dr. Nic
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How cute.
[ *  * ]
More pine needles to brush off, more twigs to peel off his sap stained jacket; But that was a small price for the secure feeling that this stick in his hand gave him. It wasn't much, it could barely even be called a weapon, but it was something; Better than nothing kept ringing in his head as he thought about the 'weapon' that he was assigned and what he'd chosen to use. But those thoughts, drifting to ideas of weapons, had him shaken again. It was a stick. A big stick, but still a stick; There was little point in thinking that a simple stick would help him against a more heavily armed student. But it was the false sense of security it gave him, the fact that he had something to hold on to with dear life, that really made him feel more at ease now.

It's better than nothing.

It's much better.

He placed his foot on the other end of the stick, thin and frail and useless; He twisted and bent and broke the branch beneath his heel. He held the now reasonably sized stick in his hand, measuring it silently; He didn't have an accurate method of measuring it, and his guess was very rough, but it was better than continuing without even that little bit of information.

Three feet? Maybe four?

Either way, it was bigger than he had expected, and the sense of security and safety he got from it only grew as he scraped off the twigs and shoots, rubbing the branch against the very tree that had given it up to peel away the offending bits. It tapered off, ever so slightly, at the end; When he had finished scraping it, he held it at that end and gave a few swings at the air, getting a feel for where his hands should be.

This is good.

When he was finished, his focus shifted back to the noises that surrounded him, that scratched at his mind; The noises that told him he wasn't alone, that he wasn't safe and the same ones that insisted that he start running and never stop. But he needed to know who was making the noise, who it was that sat nearby; He needed to know if it was Colin, or William or Peter. He needed to know if it was someone he knew, someone he could feasibly call a friend... and find out for himself if he could trust them now; He needed to test the waters in reality instead of in his mind, find out what the truth was.

It's nearby... and more than one. A man? And... maybe a woman?

His thoughts told him little that he couldn't soon find out for himself; He swung his bags across his back, slipping the straps across his chest as he planted the end of his stick on the ground, holding onto the one end as if letting go would sever his ties to the world. He started walking, moving towards the source of the noise; He moved cautiously, but quickly, his years of hiking, of backpacking and camping, bringing back memories. He was careful where he stepped and careful not to stray from his course. He dragged the walking stick through the leaf litter, marking his path with a line; He was not about to lose his way now.

It was only a few minutes of steady walking when he could hear the voices clearly, when he could make out the shapes among the trees; Two people, one boy, one girl, but that was all he could make out at this distance. He didn't know who they were or what the boy was holding, but it didn't exactly look like a gun from this distance; Indeed, it looked like his assigned weapon was a bottle of whiskey or something of the sort, an idea that appealed to Alex right about now, something to calm his nerves and ease his mind being a welcome sight at this point in time. Their voices were clear now, at this distance, and there wasn't a lot of activity nearby; Not from other people nor from wildlife, all having been drowned out or driven off by the sound of their voices.

Are they arguing?

The distance drowned out most of the biting poison in their quips and remarks, drowned out the inflections in their speech and the emphasis placed on statements; He couldn't make out their faces and there wasn't a ton of body language, so trying to make out how they were feeling, what they were arguing about or even how heated the argument was, it was a lost cause at this distance.

In for a penny, in for a pound.

He resumed his steady pace forward, making sure that there was a direct line of sight from where they were to where he was; He didn't want to spook them, sneaking up and jumping out from behind a tree. He wanted them to know he was there, know that he was approaching them; He didn't want to lose his life to panicked reactions.

"Hey."

He spoke clearly and loudly as he got closer, slowing his pace and making sure that when he stopped, he did so next to as thick a tree as he could find without altering his course; Next to a tall pine, he stood, and waited. His heart thrummed in his chest, pounding in his head, as it climbed into his throat; His stomach twisted into knots, unsure of what was going to happen in the next few moments, worry and fear crawling back into his mind as he struggled to hold his ground, as he strained his muscles not to move. He was scared; Fear of the unknown, fear of the obvious, fear of the dark beyond the trees, fear of what ran through the minds of his classmates. It all gripped him, froze him in place, kept him from thinking, strained his will to go on; The only thing that rang in his mind now was one word.

Breathe.

He waited in fear.

He waited for fate to cast the dice once more.

And he prayed with all his might that his luck would change.
Boy #??? - Joshua Edwards
Hanging out somewhere, playing his heart out.
Writer and local retail slave at the comic book store.

Girl #??? - Viktoriya "Vika" Starikova
Floating in the void, unfinished and half-formed.
Hot headed member of the soft ball team, secretly wishing she could fly.

Those who were
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