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Dr. Nic
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How cute.
[ *  * ]
[Boy #14 - Alex White. Continued from Hideaway.]

He'd been walking ever since the swamp, leaving behind the ashes and charred place that Liz and Milo had been hiding out in, having burned it away with the molotov and the brush surrounding them; He left Milo on his own and chased Liz into the murky waters, but left her to her own self induced suffering instead of chasing her further. She was a threat, to others and to herself, that much was sure, but he wouldn't chase her any further than he had; He'd done his part in preventing further action from her, certain that her wounds, the burns she brought upon herself, would keep her from acting on others. She was already in bad shape when he left her, attacking someone else, trying to add more blood and gore to what she had already stained her face and the surroundings with, would cost her more than anyone was willing to give up.

Still, he had to wonder.

What drove her to do what she did, what he assumed she did, what Milo had lied to him about; He heard her name when Milo called out to her in the tree, knew that she hadn't killed anyone. Her name was not among those on the list of killers that first morning, that first announcement, but there was blood and bits of flesh scattered around her campsite and dried blood on her face; He knew she had done something, but she hadn't killed. He knew she hadn't killed, probably hadn't even attacked anyone, but he still attacked her, destroyed her place of safety and caused her to be injured. How could he say he was just protecting those he cared for, preventing what he knew was going to happen, when he was acting the part of those he sought to protect others from?

"I did what I had to do."

He'd repeated that to himself, out loud and in his mind, every time he thought of his reasons for his actions and what he would be willing to do in pursuit of his goal; That of protecting the ones he cared for and keeping them safe. Was this really the best way to go about that though? Was that list of his, of killers and their victims, the one he began writing after leaving behind the destruction he caused, really worth the cost he was willing to pay to make it just that much shorter? He knew most of the names on the list, had once called each of them a friend, was able to summon up at least one happy memory with each and every one of them. And yet, here he was, armed with a weapon and willing to do whatever it took to protect himself and the ones he cared for most. Already he had attacked someone, already he had endangered more than one life, yet he still told himself he was doing the right thing.

The right thing?

Did he really know what was the right thing anymore, after what he'd done, after what he'd risked and what he'd ignored? Could he really keep going on the way he was and still say he was doing the right thing, doing only what was needed to survive and to keep those he loved and cared for alive? He'd been doubting himself, doubting his actions and his reasons ever since he left the campground, as the hours ticked by and he passed pool after pool of murky water, every muddy bank and patch of barely dry earth; He'd check the map and the compass, try to figure out where he was, but one bad spill sent the precious little magnetic device into the mud and the muck, leaving him without direction. He could only guess at his destination now, only hope he was heading in the right direction, that the map alone would be enough to lead him to the key.

But it wouldn't.

For hours, he walked. When the sun dipped below the horizon once again, he kept walking. When it came time for him to eat, he did so while he walked. He'd been constantly moving for almost two days now, ever since he woke up in this hell to find he was now part of that horrible game, he'd never really stopped for long. Every time he stopped, every time he slowed down, he got into conflict with someone; When he stopped the first time, he fought with Nick, he brought the boy down and took from him one of his weapons. When he stopped again, he used that stolen weapon on Liz and Milo, he injured the girl and left the boy to his own devices. Would he come into conflict with another if he stopped again? The first time he stopped, it was morning. The second, it was morning. It was night now, so would it be safe to stop? No one had been around, he hadn't seen anyone or heard anyone for a while now, but he hadn't reached his destination. Would it be safe to rest?

Sooner or later, he would have to stop.

"Better do it now."

Within an hour, he had set up his campsite and spread out the contents of all three bags before him; His own personal bag, the bag they had supplied him with when he awoke and finally, Liz's bag. But were the three bags the only heavy burden he had to bear, the only weight that he carried? He began to pick through his belongings, his extra clothes and the snacks he intended on sharing with friends during their trip, the books he intended to read and in his mind, he began to pick through the memories he intended to make and share with the ones he cared for. It was supposed to be a normal trip, something that they all would enjoy, their last chance to forge new memories in their senior year of high school. After that, it would be college or a job or a combination of both for many, a future what was set or one that had yet to be decided; For Alex, it was supposed to be a choice, a final decision that would decide his future, choose where he would end up in the world.

"My future huh?"

He poked at the slowly flickering fire with the blackened end of his former torch, taking a moment to think about what his future was supposed to be, about what he would have decided if this trip had gone the way it was supposed to. Would he have followed in his father's footsteps, followed the path his brother had taken? Would he have gone off and become a police officer like his father and his older brother, risking his life every time he would stop a drunk driver? Would he have ended up losing his leg like his father had, or would he end up losing his life? But then, he had another option, one his mother encouraged; He could have gone on to study the arts, to study music and become a songwriter or pianist. No, his mother wanted him to go on and do something far more public than that, wanted to use him to follow the dreams she never had the courage to follow before it was too late. No, he didn't want to follow those paths, to follow the dreams of someone else instead of his own. Neither option was what he wanted.

But then, he never wanted this either.

"Listen up, because this is important."

It was after his first self defense class, when he was back at home and practicing with his father, listening to his lectures and his explanations, watching his examples and repeating what he taught him. He could have done without the lectures, however, or the comments made referring to a potential future as a police officer. His father was a kind man and certainly considerate of Alex and his choices or who he was; But he still had trouble picking up on Alex's indecisiveness, his worries about his future, but most of all, his desire to do his own thing instead of following what his parents wanted. But Alex would never say anything about it, he would simply smile and go along with what was suggested. High grades, extracurriculars, spending time with friends, practicing self defense, staying in shape, going hiking and camping, spending time with the family and looking for a job; It was all piling up as the years went by, but he never said a word, he simply took in stride even when it was too much to bear, too much to handle.

"Are you listening? This is important."

He shook his head and looked up, focusing once more on the task at hand.

"You remember that lecture I gave you when you signed up?"

"Yeah, I remember."

"Good. Tell me what the point of it was."

"The point?"

"Get to it."

"I'm supposed to use what you taught me only to defend myself or to defend someone else who cannot defend themselves."

"Defend from what?"

"Defend from anyone who wishes to inflict harm upon myself or upon others."

"Good. Not exactly the standard, but it'll do. What else?"

"Umm... Never take up arms against someone without cause?"

"Close enough. Now, watch what I do and repeat."

It was always like that, always some short discussion before anything ever got done; He never really understood any of it, never understood why he was always made to repeat it or why it was something that needed to be done before everything else. It seemed cliche and silly at the time, but now? Now it was different, now it had actual meaning, even if it was far more serious than anything it was ever meant to be associated with. But now, when he had the best reasons to hold true to what he'd been taught, he'd ignored what he had learned. Ever since he woke up here, he'd been making the wrong choices, had been making mistake after mistake and now? Now, it was too late to go back and change it, to change his goals or how he went about achieving them. He'd made too many mistakes, disappointed too many people to try and make it right now; He couldn't give up now, after all he'd done, after what he'd already risked. He had to keep going and finish what he started, otherwise there would have been no point to what he had already done. He had to keep going, had to keep pushing, no matter what.

He had to keep moving.

It was morning again and Alex was once again on the move, trudging through the sands and listening to the waves as the sea churned, the very sounds he had fallen asleep to hours ago, miles back; They had been comforting then, just as they were now, but he never let himself relax, never let himself feel at ease. He had slept, but he hadn't managed to sleep very well or very long, something he expected would be an issue for many and an issue that would never go away; Even if he made it out of this alive, he didn't think he would ever sleep easy again, not after what was going on here. Just as the sun was starting to come up again, the same time but a different day, just like the other morning. He awaited the inevitable.

The loudspeakers came to life once again.

Every name, a face.

Every face, a memory.

But there was one name among the list, one name he never expected to write down, one person he would have never thought capable of participating in this game, in this twisted show. A name that was matched with so many memories, so many adored moments shared between the two; One of the very people that he sought to protect in this newfound hell. William had killed someone, had killed one of their classmates, one of their fellow students, one of their friends; Despite everything they had been through together, despite everything that told him that Will would have been the last person to participate, he had blood on his hands. What would he do now that the one he cared for had killed, the one he had tried so hard to protect in any way he could?


He didn't have time to think about it now, didn't have time to worry or wonder about what his next move would be; While he had been writing, extending that list of his and marking down the new danger zones, he had been walking at a constant consistent pace. Now, he was approaching figures in the distance, figures on the beach, a boy standing over a girl huddled and bent over, the sound of her sobbing against the crashing waves getting ever louder as he moved closer. He heard the boy talking, putting his foot in his mouth, going on about how this lovely little piece of hell was just like a video game, mentioning his name as he finally stopped his lips from moving and pulled the foot from his mouth.

Micheal huh?

He stuffed the map into his pocket, pulling the branch from the crook of his arm, holding his weapon of choice before him as he continued his approach. For now, neither of them looked to be much of a threat, neither had a weapon bared that he could see, so he didn't need to worry.


"You two alright?"

He waved to the pair.

It was time to stop.

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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