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Dr. Nic
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How cute.
[ *  * ]
His mind was clear; Of fear and dread, of thoughts of threats and paranoia.

He didn't see either of them as a threat now; Not physically, at least.

Nick had lashed out with his biting comments, and Andrea seemed to be distracted now; He knew they were stressed, he knew that this was the worst situation that they could have found themselves in, but he still took that spat venom as hostility. He didn't trust them, but they had more problems than even he did with his paranoia and his fear, with his stress and dread of the unknown around him; They weren't a threat to him. If anything, he was a threat to them; Either to the animosity they held or to their physical beings, he was a threat to the way things were as they stood and he knew it. Patience was in short supply, stress was already present and would only build if they took shots at eachother; Nick had fired the first volley, but would Alex return fire?

I shouldn't...

But the burning desire was still there; Nothing spread quite like animosity among a stressed out group, especially when it came to enmity aimed at one another. He was a friendly person though, wasn't he? He wouldn't sink to spite so soon, so easily, when met with little more than an antagonistic remark, would he?

I can't, not now.

He choked back the words, the remarks that had come to his throat ready to spew forth; He couldn't afford to lose his cool this soon, this easily, just because of some stupid comment. It wasn't worth it. He kept repeating that over and over in the back of his mind to drive the point home, all while his focus shot to another tree, maybe 10 or 12 feet from Nick and Andrea; His new destination when they had commented on his distance, on how he should come closer.

He didn't trust them.

I can't.

His pace was slow, always darting his eyes to each tree he passed and the ground in front of him; Always looking around to make sure no one else was there. The shadows cast by the canopy above hindered his line of sight, cutting it short, obscuring things in darkness; Bushes and trees in the distance twisted into unknown shapes, bombarding his mind with the dread of other people once more. But he pushed them aside, telling himself every time a shape in the distance looked humanoid that it was nothing but his imagination, nothing but the shadows playing tricks on his mind; But one object that caught his eye near his feet, slightly buried beneath the leaf litter and no doubt obscured by little more than a breeze moving the lighter detritus. A black shape, vaguely appearing to look like a foot, or at least a shoe; It wasn't something you saw among the leaf litter on an average day, and it caught his attention. He poked the object with the end of his stick for a moment before realizing what it was.

...Huh.

"Catch."

He caught the strap with the end of the stick, and flung the object towards Andrea and Nick; his aim wasn't great and the strength behind the 'swing' was minimal at best, leaving the object to land a few feet short of its destination. Pine needles and twigs went with it, but they mattered little. With but a few more steps left to take, Alex stood at his new destination; Less than fifteen feet from the two of them, and leaning against yet another pine tree. That was all that surrounded them; Pine trees and fir, undergrowth and leaf litter as far as he could see, all obscured in a dull dark by thick canopy above.

Pills?

Nick had dug into his pack and produced from it a pill; A name that was foreign to Alex, but it didn't match any he cared for or desired. No, his taste in drugs was more specific, but the thoughts were not something he cared to drudge up once more; Something he was failing at as Andrea dug through her own bag and also produced some pills of her own, apparently not caring for the bottle she found as she had thrown it to Nick. He wanted them to stop now, for the thoughts of pills to slip from his mind as they had done before; But every time he heard the rattle of pills inside those little plastic bottles, his focus slipped and his desire for his own built. He couldn't stand this stress, and he dreaded the inevitable fatigue that would come; It may be a few hours, it may even take well into the night, but the fatigue would come and this was the worst place to feel it. It weighed on his mind, heavier than the paranoia or the fear, clawing at him incessantly, demanding that he find his fix.

I can't.

He shook his head for a moment, trying to regain his focus and return to reality, shaking off his thoughts and shoving aside his clawing desire. His mind returned to focus on the task at hand, the lack of any task rather, mulling over what had been stated again, demanding that he do something; To take action or to speak, to move or to stay. He couldn't stand to just stand there in silence, left to his own thoughts. He drifted back to the mocking comments about the branch he held, and his fingers loosened from 'round the makeshift weapon; It really was the only thing he could trust, the only thing he felt safe with, and they were belittling his choice?

"It may not be much, but its better than what you've got, am I right?"

He glanced at both of their day packs, one left lying on the ground and the other upon Andrea's back, as they had both moved to take their respective seats; It would have been so simple to move forward, to stake his claim, to send at least one of them off with only what they had in their own personal bags. It would have been easy. From what he could spot, there were more bottles in Nick's bag, more of those flaming cocktails that were useless but oh so filled with potential. He still didn't know what Andrea held in her own bag, but he knew she had pills in her personal bag; He could take that, it wouldn't have been tough. Neither one of them were really armed...

My big stick, huh?

...And he did have a sizable advantage, his weapon in his hand; It was simple to use, just swing as hard as he could. He'd already practiced, already knew where his hand would go, it was just a matter of muscle memory if he needed to fight fast. But the stick wasn't his only advantage.

My hands...

He was as strong as he needed to be, as skilled as he wanted to be; It would have been so easy, so simple to take what they had, to disable them if they fought back. His grip upon the weapon tightened once more, the bottom half removing itself from upon the ground, moving into his left hand. He didn't know why he did it, he didn't know what he was intending on doing. But he stepped forward once more, away from his spot at the tree.

I couldn't... could I?

But that's what this was all about, right? Survival. But didn't he want to protect those he could, those he knew and called friends? Wasn't his main concern, just moments earlier, finding those friends? His mind was blank now as his body acted. What was he willing to do to protect himself, or others? Would he disarm the first people he met, for no reason that readily made itself obvious to his own curious mind? But he was protecting them... he knew what Nick had as a weapon, knew that those were dangerous; The boy could hurt himself long before he managed to hurt someone else. And if he didn't have a weapon, there wasn't a chance he could hurt anyone, himself or otherwise, right?

Right?

"Hey..."

His grip tightened. His mind went blank.

He came closer.

Weapon in hand.







...I could.
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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