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Dr. Nic
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How cute.
[ *  * ]
♪ The enemy's approaching from surrounding sides. ♫

Sofia had gotten lost in her own world of seething anger and hatred for everything that lead to her current situation, cursing and spitting and lashing out at every thought that came to mind with the rage that filled her veins and bled into her mind; She paid very little to where she was going by this point, or how far she had gotten from where she started, but she snapped out of it as another voice slipped into her mind. Someone was there, someone was nearby, closer than she had been comfortable with and a lot closer than the silhouettes she'd spotted earlier; With a tightening grip upon the metal pipe in her hands, she snapped to attention, swinging around to face the source of the last thing she wanted to hear.

♪ Awaiting the first strike...

All her anger, all her rage and seething hatred, all the things she didn't want to think about and all the things she didn't want to worry about, all came rushing to the forefront of her mind; Her heart climbed into her throat, the increasing speed of the once steady thrumming becoming the loudest thing she could hear, a quickening sound of thunder in her head, cutting through the noise of the forest and the once deafening silence she'd awoken to. Panic seeped into her thoughts, tightened her grip upon the weapon in her hands, weakened the resolve of her legs to hold her up under the sudden pressure and weight of the situation as it bore down upon her; With all her might, she wished to scream, to use all the strength she could muster and all the air in her lungs to convey the sudden wave of fear that had struck her.

But nothing came out.

...As catapults are drawn. ♫

It took all she had just to hold the weapon in front of her, to hold that white knuckle grip upon the heavy piece of lead; She knew exactly what would happen if she let go of it, if she ever left herself without a weapon, without a means to protect herself. Despite this, she couldn't summon the strength to do anything but stand there, fear holding her legs in place and a wavering will the only thing keeping her standing; In that moment, she wanted nothing more than for someone to reveal themselves, for a guardian angel to come forth, for all of this to suddenly disappear and for everything to be alright again. But that wasn't going to happen, nobody was going to suddenly appear to save her, not her parents or her siblings, not her friends and not even... not even Tony. She didn't know why everything started to blur at first, or why her eyes stung and her cheeks were wet, but it didn't take long for her to realize that she had started to cry again.

Why now?

This was the last thing she wanted now, the last thing she needed to worry about and definitely the last thing she wanted to think about. But as she finally regained control of her legs, enough to take those first slow steps backwards, everything started to slip from the deeper places she had stashed them; All her worries of not going home, of not seeing her family again, of not being able to see Tony again. Especially after what had happened at prom, after everything she was wrestling with, after conflicting feelings and memories and what she wanted and what he wanted; But if she wanted to make it back, to see Tony again, to have the time to figure out what she wanted, she would have to fight for it and make her own path.

♪ I hold the key to what lies beyond. ♫

The path was set before her, just as it always had been, and the only thing that could change it, the only thing that could determine which way she went, was her choices; With her heart in her throat and a death grip upon her assigned weapon, she had to make a choice now, she had to choose how to deal with the situation in front of her and worry about the rest later. She was the only one who could decide what would happen, and was the only one who was capable of forging that path; If she wanted to make it out, to see Tony, to feel his arms wrap around her and to feel safer than she ever did since waking up in this hell, she would have to make the right choices. This 'game' and these choices had a price.

♪ A price paid in blood. ♫

Slowly, her grip upon the pipe loosened, her arms lowering the weapon from its previous position; Her muscles had strained to keep it steady, and now they strained to obey her commands, to loosen and relax. She struggled to regain her composure, to keep breathing normally, to force her heart out of her throat so she could speak and respond; She didn't know how much time had passed, how long she had stared at the boy with tear soaked eyes and weapon bared, but she knew that she had to make a choice. She could fight, pay the price of this 'game' and that choice with the blood of others, or she could avoid that; She could talk, try to avoid the worst until she had no choice, and hope that she wouldn't regret that decision.

"I... sorry. You kind of surprised me."

An apology for the bared weapon, as she took a hand from the lead pipe she'd been assigned and wiped the tears from her eyes, hoping he hadn't seen, that no one would have to see that; She'd made her decision early not to cry, not to break down and give in to everything that was weighing upon her, and she had to stick to that decision. With cleared vision and her choice made, she stepped forward, regaining the space she'd ceded in her panic just moments earlier; It was dark, but not too dark that she couldn't make out the person before her, though it took a little longer than she had hoped. She couldn't help but smile, almost laugh, when she remembered the name that matched the face and the first thing that came to mind when she heard that name.

"Raynor, right? Like the guy from that computer game?"

She didn't know why that was the first thing that came to mind or why she had blurted it out, but it was too late to try and prevent the slip of her tongue; She just hoped that anything she said, everything she said, didn't come 'round to bite her in the ass later on. But she kept the smile on her face, trying to seem as friendly as she could with tear stained eyes and a pipe in her hand, on a island that might as well be part of hell, a missing level from Dante's tale. She hoped she wouldn't regret her choices, her decision so far to lower her guard, to try and diffuse what was already a terrible situation for everyone involved. But she had made her choice, and every choice had a price of blood in this place.

♪ Just pray that blood is not yours. ♫

"Are you the only one out here? I thought... Nevermind."

I could have sworn there were two people here...
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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When the Bite Just Isn't Sharp Enough · The Woods: Inland