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D-Day
Topic Started: Aug 8 2010, 10:27 AM (8,407 Views)
MurderWeasel
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Enter Kimberly Nguyen))

Kimberly's head hurt. A lot. But, more than that, she was confused. SOTF? No way. No way. Repeat it, like a mantra. No way. Yet here she was.

Well. This sucked.

She was lying on a beach. She hadn't been dressed properly for the trip. Tall boots. Skinny black jeans with just a few jingling chains. A old, ratty, bulky sweater. Her favorite fedora. She had other clothes in her bag. None were better. Well. That was an issue.

At least she had a toothbrush. Couldn't go on a trip without a toothbrush. Also, two packs of cigarettes. Should've been enough to last her a week. Matches. Also, one duffel bag behind her, one that wasn't her own. On the side, it read "G059". G059? Was that, like, her new identity? Everything that was Kimberly Nguyen, condensed to the number fifty nine?

Well, it could've been worse. Could've been sixty nine.

And, sand? Sand everywhere. She pulled herself up. Shook her head. Dragged the bags over. Started looking through them. A length of rope, tied to a grappling hook, immediately caught her eye. Well. Was this her weapon? Was this her defense? It couldn't kill anyone, but that was okay. Death wasn't on Kimberly's agenda. She could use the rope as a tool, tie someone up or something. Yes.

In a strange way, Kimberly wasn't so upset. She hadn't even begun to realize what this meant. All she was thinking was that, in its own way, this was a little bit like the Vietnam War. Innocent kids get drafted, sent off to wherever, and killed. Well, 'kay, could've been a horror novel too. Kimberly liked horror novels.

She liked them until they got too bloody, that is.

She quickly looked around. She was alone, so—wait, what? She wasn't alone. Not at all. There, down the beach, was a figure. A figure up and moving. Was this it? Would she have to fight for her life? Wait, no, it was one of her classmates. Kimberly chuckled. One of her classmates. They were going to become killers? Fat chance. The people in charge had fucked up when they picked Bayview Secondary School. It was the most boring school there could be. Nothing crazy. No insane people.

So Kimberly didn't hesitate at all, and just called out, "Hey, over here!"
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Bridget. The girl was Bridget. Kimberly had been in class with her, seen her around. Now she was running over, normal as could be. Kimberly smiled and stretched a bit. Adjusted her hat. Well, this wasn't so fucking terrible. They were here, but, like she'd expected, nobody was actually going to participate. It was pretty simple. When nobody died, they'd have to give up and let the Bayview seniors go home. Well, that or actually blow them all up. She nervously prodded her neck. Collar. Just like they'd said. Fuck, this was real. Wherever Stephen King was, he had to be mortified. After all, hadn't he done the exploding collars first? He was damn lucky he'd been using a pseudonym on that one.

Then Bridget was right there. She looked pleased to see Kimberly. See? Everything was normal. Everything was fine. They'd be okay. They couldn't actually blow everyone up. Well, they could, but so what? Who came off worse if that happened? One person. One person who might be better off dead anyways. It was hardly a big deal, and, man, it would fuck them over something wonderful if nobody killed. Heh. This was going to be great.

And so, with that thought process, Kimberly chuckled at Bridget's statement, and replied, "Yup. Interesting indeed. Kidnapped by terrorists, given weapons, tossed who-knows-where, and told to fight to the death. Too bad we're gonna be one fucking boring show. I mean, hell, Bayview? Couldn't they have found, like, some remedial school for troubled youth from inner-city Chicago or something?"

Whatever. Kimberly wasn't too worried. All those other schools had been full of psychos, right? She'd seen a picture online. Some boy with a mask or something. Creeps. Killers. Weirdos.

Nobody at Bayview could ever end up like that.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Well, everything seemed greatish. Great enough. Bridget was still Bridget. Granted, she was acting a little strangely now, stripping her shirt off. Probably the dampness. Kimberly couldn't help noticing the scars on the other girl's body. Strange. It seemed like everyone was set on stripping in front of Kimberly lately. It couldn't have been two weeks since that awkward photo shoot thing... Kimberly was almost starting to wonder whether cosmic forces were attempting to tempt her into bisexuality. Not that it'd work.

"Don't worry about it," she responded to Bridget. It didn't mean anything. Bridget wasn't insane, just comfortable with herself. Kimberly was, however, a little worried about those scars. Where had they come from? She wasn't worried about her companion freaking out, just... Just what? What could it be? What could she possibly be anxious about?

It had to just be the situation. Life and death, even though she doubted it would come to that. She was starting to have another worry, though. Where was everyone else? What was the lay of the land? Where should she be going?

Kimberly was willing to trust that her classmates wouldn't start killing, but she wasn't about to believe that she was entirely safe. All it would take was for night to fall and be colder than she thought, or some horrible bug to poison her, and she'd be fucked without medical care. Hell, somebody was almost sure to get killed in this situation, even if nobody was attacking. One misstep, one unknown allergy, would be all it took.

Kimberly retrieved the map from her bag, saying, "Just a sec," to Bridget, and looked it over. It was quite a large area they were in. It looked like there should be plenty of cover, though, if it came to that. After a few seconds of pondering, she turned back to Bridget, a grin on her face.

"So," she said, "we're here. What the fuck do we do now?"
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Well, here came someone else. Kimberly had seen him around, but she'd be damned if she could remember his name. It was something boring and normal, like David. Hell, maybe it was David. Didn't matter. He was still under control, still joking around just like she was. They could have a little party here. No killing, just a fucking beach barbecue, maybe rig a volleyball net and frolic in the waves in swimsuits. It didn't sound half bad.

Better still, Bridget didn't have his name either, so she asked. Everything was going so well. Kimberly figured they should all be on even footing, so she chimed in, "I'm Kimberly, by the way. Kimberly Nguyen." There. Now he wouldn't be guessing.

"So," she continued, "what do we do now? I mean, I'm sure nobody's gonna kill anyone. They'd have to be fucking crazy. So do we just, like, chill out or something? Or should we go search for a boat to take us away? Or do we just wait until the terrorists get bored and let us off?"

She kinda thought that last option was the best, but she didn't like it much. Kimberly was not a girl for whom inactivity and passivity came naturally. She was starting to get a bit fidgety, was almost ready to just pick a direction towards some shelter and start walking. The map had shown a mansion. Maybe they should go there. Kick back in comfort or something. Or perhaps go to the docks, see if there was a boat. This whole thing could just be a dumb joke. Maybe that was all SOTF was. Some kids get kidnapped, they fake the teachers' deaths, then they really just pay everyone to act it out or some shit. Kimberly was pretty sure the teachers' killing had been faked. The blood splashes had just been too perfect, flying everywhere on the front row. So campy.

She'd built herself a nice little castle of denial, and subconsciously planned to hold out against the siege of reality for as long as possible.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Well, Steve, as his name turned out to be, thought the boat idea was good. That was a positive thing. They could go looking for a boat, rather than just sitting on their thumbs. Sure, as Bridget pointed out, the odds of there actually being a boat were very poor. That wasn't really important. It was clear that the others did not understand Kimberly's thought process. She didn't give a fuck if there was a boat or not; she was just sick of waiting around. They needed to do something. This sort of nervous energy was probably why those idiotic sudokus and crosswords and shit existed, Kimberly realized. It was to burn off tension.

Bridget wanted to find shelter instead. Well, that was fine with Kimberly too. She probably wouldn't stay in any shelter for too long, unless she was forced to, though. Maybe she could rally some people, and they could throw a party or something. Have the fucking class celebration here. Why not? Stranger things had occurred. Like, well, being kidnapped in the first place. Yeah, that was a thought. Something to do. The shelter could be their base camp for that.

"Sounds like a good idea, Bridget," Kimberly said. "Then, maybe we can check for a boat later. Or maybe the boat can be our shelter."

Then she was distracted by the arrival of a new person on the scene. Kris Hartmann, someone Kimberly knew in passing from class. Seemed a cool enough girl. Though, what the fuck was that in her pocket? A gun? Seriously? What the hell? What was she doing with that? Oh, of course, it had to be her assigned weapon. Just like Bridget got the nunchucks and Kimberly got the grappling hook. She was just holding onto it for comfort or, well, something. She wouldn't actually shoot anyone.

"Oh, hi, Kris!" Kimberly shouted to the girl, waving. Bridget had asked if Kris was okay, but doing so as well never crossed Kimberly's mind. If Kris needed something, she'd say so. Otherwise, she could be assumed to be fine. Heck, she might even be a good addition to their group. She seemed like she'd be helpful enough.

At the back of Kimberly's mind, though, something was building. There was something here that was just not quite right. Just a tiny bit off.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kris explained that she'd just been given the gun. Everything was cool, then. She swung her bag a little, but Kimberly paid no attention to it. After all, what did it matter? It would contain the same stuff all of theirs did. It didn't catch her attention at all, until Bridget spoke. Wait. Someone else's bag? How could she know? Kimberly's bag had nothing but a number on it. She did a double take, though, and sure enough, that bag had a number and a name. G009-Reika Ishida.

Reika. Kimberly knew Reika. Had shared lunch with the girl. Did this mean that Reika was... No. No no no no no. Reika was not dead. That was totally impossible. The short, friendly girl who had been there that day with the food fight couldn't simply be gone. This was Bayview, well, Bayview's students, and none of them would ever kill. No way. Kris couldn't have murdered Reika. She couldn't have killed Reika in self defense, either. Wasn't possible, 'cause Reika would never, ever have attacked someone.

And so it was that Kimberly found herself talking.

"It's gotta just be a mistake," she said. "I mean, Kris kinda looks like Reika, right?"

It was a fucking terrible joke, Kimberly knew, but it would buy her a few seconds. She didn't know what she was doing, didn't know why, but it was important, oh so very important, that Kris have a justification for having that bag. She had to have one, and Kimberly didn't trust the girl to provide it on her own. Not if she was on the edge. Not if she wasn't entirely coherent.

"They must've just fucked up and made a spare. Maybe they confused the Ishidas with the Fiamettas, and made three, and were all, 'What the fuck do we do with this spare now?' or something. Or, like, maybe it's just to confuse us. I mean, look: all the bags are a bit different. Some have numbers, some have names, maybe some don't have anything. I bet they just won some mega-lot on ebay or some shit, and wrote on them 'til they got bored. This may even just be a trick. A trick, to make us fight. Stop us from trusting each other, you know, 'cause they know nobody would kill otherwise. That has to be it."

It was rationalization, and transparent at that. How the fuck should Kimberly know what had happened? But it couldn't be killing. It just couldn't.

These were her classmates.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
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Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
All of a sudden everything had just become incredibly fucked up. Steve started moving, and Kris completely flipped her shit and pulled out the gun. Kimberly just stood there, staring. Wait, were they serious? Was Kris actually going to shoot Steve? Was Bridget actually going to get close to her, hands raised, like some movie mediator? How was this possible? This was insane. Utterly insane. There was no fucking way things were going to go like this. No fucking way her classmates, her friends, were going to kill each other. This could not be happening. It was all a bad joke.

And so, Kimberly didn't think twice about what she did next. It was exactly what she would have done back in Saint Paul, if one of her friends was being a total bitch. She started walking towards Kris, making no efforts to appear menacing but not trying to hide that she was pissed, either. She was simply going to get close enough to command attention, then chew her out. Chew her out for being so stupid, so reactive. True, she could see that Kris was on edge. She didn't give a damn, though. Kris wouldn't shoot her, wouldn't shoot anyone. No way. No way in hell.

"Don't worry, guys," she said, continuing her advance. "Kris won't hurt us."

Somewhere in the back of Kimberly's mind, though, the pieces were starting to click together. Her optimism was beginning to crumble. This was her last desperate action, her last hope at maintaining her grasp on reality. Because, if things had truly changed so much, so that a normal girl, a good girl, would have killed Reika Ishida and would gun them down now, in cold blood, well, Kimberly would be out of control. She would be completely powerless, cast adrift, and that was not something that could happen. She had to maintain control over this situation, and if that meant outpacing the others to Kris, meant forcing her hand, well, so be it. If this was a battle of the wills, of Kris' panic against Kimberly's optimism, she was damn sure going to win it.

"Come on," she said. "If you're going to shoot, shoot. Otherwise, let's fucking calm down and talk, but we're classmates, so I'm not having any of this POW bullshit Bridget's taking."

Something in her mind started screaming that she'd just made the worst mistake possible.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kris was backing up, but Kimberly just kept moving. It was simple. Kris wouldn't shoot her. Kimberly would get close, push the gun down, and then...

Kris' look changed, just slightly. Hardly noticeable, but it was enough. At that moment, clarity came crashing down. Kimberly realized it all. Realized she'd been deluding herself, playing games. This was real. They were on SOTF. They were all going to die, and she was going to be the first. No, not the first. The second. Reika... Fuck. Kris had really shot Reika. She was going to really shoot Kimberly.

She had just a split second to react. She lurched to the side. It was enough to save her life, but not her arm. Crack. A gunshot. Kimberly felt it impact her left shoulder, not as pain but as force, spinning her around and around, toppling to the ground. A scream rang out. Was it her own? She couldn't tell. She was disconnected from herself. All she could see was white. The second shot would be coming soon. How had it gone wrong? How had it ended like this? Was she really going to die here, bleeding out face down on the sand of some beach in the middle of nowhere, far away from her friends and family, nothing left to do but fade into cold oblivion?

No. No, it couldn't be. It just couldn't. It wasn't fair.

Pain, now. Flowing down her arm. Her arm. Pain. She tried to move it. Couldn't. She tried to move, but just couldn't. What had happened? How could it all have gone to pieces? She'd had it under control. She was going to stop Kris. Going to calm them all down. This was Bayview. Nobody would kill. Nobody would fight. Impossible. No. Lies. She'd known. The whole damn time, she'd known, just hid from it. Manufactured this belief, this faith that wasn't her, betrayed herself just for a few more minutes of sanity, of reality. And what had she gotten for it? What had it paid out? Pain, and soon, surely, death.

Anger, now, flashed through her. Sheer rage. Kris. The bitch. Fuck her. Who the hell was she to do this? She was dead too. She wasn't making it out of here, not if she was running and gunning already. What was the purpose, then? Just to spread pain and suffering? Some sort of fucked-up revenge against the world, externalizing the inner pain? Such beautiful ideas and turns of phrase those had seemed, when Kimberly had scribbled them into a notebook in her bedroom months ago. Her poetry, so much dark and depressing shit, now rendered meaningless and hollow by the sheer reality of what she faced. Pain wasn't stumbling home from the bus at five in the morning and not getting bitched out about it, not being acknowledged. Pain was lying on foreign soil, forced into some sick fight, shot and bleeding and not even really understanding why.

All the songs that had been her companions for years flashed up again, and she understood them in a way she never had before. And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for, Kris? Don't ask me, I don't give a damn. Blackness. Edging in on her sight. No. Was she going into shock? Breaking down? Dying? Not yet. She was not dying yet. Had to pull herself together.

Had her grandparents even noticed she was gone? The thought was sudden, unbidden. Surely, though, they must have. Someone must have notified the guardians. But what about her parents? That was a shocker. They weren't so present in her life. She hardly saw them, but fuck, they were her parents. She loved them, and they loved her too, but they just weren't around. They might not even know. They'd been coming to her graduation. Would that be how they were greeted at the airport? The news that she'd died? How terrible. No, wait, her grandparents would call them, wouldn't they? Wouldn't they? They'd never paid so much attention. Never really cared. Fuck, they might just be glad to have Kimberly out of their hair.

Somehow, she managed to roll over, screaming (again? for the first time? Fuck if she knew). She flopped her head to the left. Blood. Staining the sand. Sand in the wound. Red rolling down her arm. Her fedora, lying on the ground, out of her reach. Must've fallen off as she toppled. Red on it too. Damn. Her favorite hat. Pain.

Where was Kris? When was the second shot coming? No, wait, she was gone. Gone, leaving Kimberly to die like this. Not even the decency for a mercy kill. Her thoughts were muddled. Unclear. Unreal. Bitch. Kris was a bitch. She'd seemed cool, but... no. No, just a poser. Fucking phony. How could she have... Reika. Someone Kimberly barely knew, but a nice enough girl. Gone now. Was that it? Was Kris going to go around, take everything Kimberly even remotely cared about and destroy it? Reika gone. Arm immobile. Hat covered in blood. Sure looked like it.

"Fuck! Oh god, oh fuck, oh god, my arm!" Screaming, shouting. Sure to draw attention, draw everyone nearby. Kimberly was so far beyond caring right now. She could make things out again, at least. Steve and Bridget... Were they alright? Only one shot, so they had to be.

"Help!" Oh, how she hated that. She was asking for help. Kris had even taken her independence, left her crippled and maybe dying (probably not, she realized, if they could stop the bleeding. Small fucking comfort). She'd always been able to skim by, forcing her way through situations, trusting her assertiveness, and now she'd been one-upped. The ultimate conversation stopper. Was Kris right? Had she figured out the secret here? All rules gone, the only authority or respect possible that which you command with violence? Heh. Well. Horror story, alright. As bad as it got.

Her thoughts were losing coherency. Pain and panic and, on some level, disbelief. Kimberly flailed with her right arm, though. She needed to be ready. Something. Anything. Large rock. That'll do. That would keep her safe.

Safe...
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Pain. More pain. Kimberly blinked, and Bridget and Steve were next to her. Had she passed out? They'd been standing further away a split second ago. Steve was saying something. The bleeding wouldn't stop? Her arm hurt, so much more now than when the bullet hit. It hurt all over, and she still couldn't move it, oh fuck, she couldn't move her left arm at all. What were they doing to her? She'd forgotten that it had been immobilized even before. All she could tell was that they were hurting her. They said they were trying to help her, but they weren't at all, they were hurting her, maybe killing her.

Clarity. A sudden realization. They were just like Kris. They'd planned to use her, but now that she was injured, she was worthless. The only problem was, Kris hadn't finished her off, so they were going to. Had to be it. They didn't have good weapons, and they didn't want her to struggle, so they were feigning assistance. It wouldn't work, though. Kimberly was not going to die quietly. She started screaming as loudly as she could. She had to get them off her, get them away. They were going to kill her. She wasn't ready to die. She couldn't die like this. Just couldn't. She'd imagined her death before, countless times. It came with being a horror story fanatic. Nothing she'd thought of could compare with the terror of this situation, though. She was totally powerless. Totally at the mercy of her tormentors, foes who were not drooling monsters but people she'd thought of as friends less than five minutes ago.

The rock in Kimberly's right hand was about the size of her fist. She felt around it. It had a pointy bit. That would have to be the striking surface. She was not going down without a fight. Kris might've been able to get the drop on her, but Kimberly was so over her optimism right now. She was ready to do anything to live, including beating someone else bloody. It wasn't ideal, but she'd do just about anything not to die.

She vaguely wondered whether she was wrong. Was it possible Steve and Bridget really were trying to help her? No. No, it couldn't be. She didn't know anyone at Bayview. Not really. Kris had proved that damn well. They were all potential enemies now. All killers in disguise. Had to be. Easier to understand that way. Easier to react.

Kimberly was weak. She didn't know if she'd be able to even pull herself into a sitting position. Was she in shock? She didn't know. First aid was not her strong suit. She could still move her right arm just fine, though a bit more slowly and feebly than she was used to. It would have to be enough.

She slowly brought the rock into position, then started flailing it at the hands of her would-be helpers. She couldn't tell if she'd hit them. Her angle was all wrong for any real force. At least if they were holding her arm down, though, they wouldn't be focused on hurting her. Yes. This would buy her a few more seconds to think. She couldn't die here. Just couldn't.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
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Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It was working. The rock had connected with them, both of them. She'd shown them that she wasn't some easy prey to be killed so simply. No, Kimberly was going to make them work for it. They could take everything from her except her ability to resist. That, she would keep until her dying breath.

Well, that was what she thought. Then even it fell apart. Bridget did something to her, and the rock fell from her grasp, and her good arm was useless too, and Kimberly realized that things hurt so much and she couldn't do anything about it, she could just lie here passively and hope it was quick and easy, and that was the worst, that total lack of control. She'd never felt like this before. In the past, Kimberly had only ever let a situation get out of hand when she consciously chose to do so. She'd always had something, an out, a last ditch resort, something to make a situation different, be it for better or worse.

Tears. Fuck, tears. She was crying. Kimberly never cried, but she could feel the wetness on her face, see the world blurring. Oh fuck. Please let it be blood, not tears. Anything but tears. She was really going to die, wasn't she? She was really going to fade into nothing. No more anything. No more songs, no more friends, no more late night parties. She sort of wanted a cigarette. Wasn't that the rule? Dying folks got one last cigarette? They were in her bag, though. Nothing in the world could have let her slip Bridget's grasp and make it there. Besides, would she even be able to light the damn things with just one hand? Fuck.

She wished she had another chance. It was terrible, but she wished this could all be just a dream, that she could restart this little game, wake up on the beach, and instead of talking with Bridget, brain her with the grappling hook. Slip over to Steve and garotte him while he slept. Be ready when Kris showed up, ready with a smile and a kind word, then a quick blow to the back of the head. Take the gun, and show everyone what she could do. Wait, no, if she was wishing, she might as well just wish to be back at home. Never to have taken this trip. Then there would be no regrets, no pain, no betrayal. Just her, at home. Oh, and she wished she would never see that bitch Kris again. They could all be at home, only Kris would get hit by a bus or some shit. Yeah. That'd be good.

Her arm wasn't looking any better. Steve didn't look so great either. He was talking. Kimberly forced herself to hear. Well, that confirmed it. She was fucked. Everyone knew it. Hey, viewers back home, there enough action in this scene? This beat the heart-wrenching shit on ER? "We tried, Mrs. Nguyen, but we just couldn't save you granddaughter. Our best intern used all the random shit he could dredge up, but he just wasn't prepared to remove a bullet. It's a most unusual case for a school camping trip." Fuck that shit. This... couldn't be it.

She wouldn't die yet. Not without taking these two with her. She'd have to... to bite them or something. Anything. Wait, why was she attacking them? She couldn't remember. Kris. Kris was the one who deserved it all. Kris...

Why, Kris? Poor... Reika's sister. Kimberly couldn't remember her first name right now. Maybe the girl would avenge them both. Or something. Vengeance for the dead was worthless, though. Didn't do them a damn bit of good.

Tough to concentrate now. Too much pain. Too many tears.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
She was going to die. She didn't want to, but Kimberly was sure of it now. But then, suddenly, there was someone else. Someone? Who? She couldn't tell. Couldn't really make anything out at the moment. Could've been Danya himself and Kimberly wouldn't have complained, though. As long as it was someone who hadn't been here before. She'd had some sort of instinctual aversion to the people she'd trusted just minutes before. They'd just... they'd just stood there while she got shot. It was their fault! All of it. If they'd been quicker, well, fuck, they'd have just been shot instead. Ugh. Nothing made sense anymore. At least whoever was working on her arm now wasn't making it hurt more. That was her current measure of good. Things not hurting more. Less pain seemed impossible. A world with less pain was a fantasy, a nice memory, nothing more.

Her head was in someone's lap. Felt comfortable. She'd used to lie like that with one of her boyfriends. Who? Couldn't even remember. And then, more words. The newcomer. Telling her she'd be fine. Fine? How could she be fine? She'd been shot. The voice was calm, though, in control. Being clear and confident, well, relatively so. Kimberly began to calm down just a bit. She'd didn't really think it was possible that she'd pull through this, but if someone who knew what they were doing was here, then just maybe she could hold out. Possibly. She didn't want to die. No, she couldn't die. It just wasn't imaginable. Even now, she still had some will to live.

Someone was squeezing her hand while the calm girl told her to say something if she felt sleepy. Sleepy? Kimberly couldn't imagine how anyone could sleep in a situation like this. Her arm hurt too much. She would never be able to sleep ever again. Even if, by some miracle, she managed to nod off in a week or whatever, all that would happen is she'd get fucking nightmares. Kris. No, sleep was a thing of the past. She nodded a bit, though, and grunted in what she hoped could be understood as assent, since they couldn't know that she would never be going back to sleep. Then she let out another little wail. Nothing felt worse, but vocalizing helped, somehow. She forced herself to keep breathing. In, out. In, out. Deep breaths. Focus on something else to hide from the pain. Her hand. She squeezed tightly on the hand in hers, not enough to hurt, just enough to focus on instead of her left arm. Fuck. She was so glad she was right handed all of a sudden. For all her life, Kimberly had envied left handed people, thought they were cool and different and special, but now, for once, she was so very happy to be a part of the boring majority.

She blinked her eyes, quickly and repeatedly, trying to clear them of tears. No good. She'd need to wipe her eyes with her hand, and she wasn't ready to weaken her grasp. Besides, if she pulled away, would they hurt her? She'd attacked them. What had she been thinking? It was all so crazy. This whole thing was insane. There was just one beacon of sense in it all.

A question formed in Kimberly's mind, and she tried to vocalize it, but she couldn't really concentrate. In the end, she just managed to sputter out, "F-fuck. Who?"

It was close enough.
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More people. Kimberly could tell they were there, all around her, bickering, trying to help her, getting in each others' ways. It was strange. This was about her, but she was something of a nonentity, a prop on the stage, the center of the drama yet held apart from actually participating. It pissed her off. A lot. Sure didn't ease the pain, either.

She was tilted onto her side. Bridget was still holding her hand. Someone was still pressing something to her shoulder. She couldn't see her hat anymore. She wanted to start screaming, reclaim everyone's attention by force. Tell them all to shut up and stop fucking around. Bridget was talking to someone, scaring him off. It sounded like Steve left. Good riddance. Kimberly didn't need anyone who thought she was going to die. No, she was starting to think she really had a chance. She hadn't passed out yet, hadn't faded away. She was fucked up, no doubt, but she would make it. She would make it and... and... Well, that wasn't so clear. What the fuck did she have left to do now? Clearly, everyone was going to fight. There'd even been confrontations right here, while she was bleeding, albeit not physical ones. And Kimberly knew the truth, now. She knew that people were willing to play. Anyone was a potential enemy. Even Bridget. Even the girl patching up her arm. All of them could turn on her at any second, like Kris had.

Kris. She had to warn them. Had to do something about the girl. She'd run off by now, of course, but they might meet her later. Suddenly, Kimberly found herself lost in her imagination. What she would do to see Kris again, only, this time, armed herself. She would catch the girl unaware, unarmed, and she would hold her at gunpoint, and then she would say, "Kris, do you know how it feels to be shot?" Then she would pull the trigger and shoot Kris in the arm. An eye for an eye. A bullet for a bullet. That would be so very nice. Help her reclaim a little self respect, a little self control.

"Kris," she mumbled. "Kris did this to me."

She was vaguely worried by the fact that she no longer had any trouble believing that fact. Kris had shot her. All these others had helped her. In the end, it was likely that every one of them would be dead. One person would leave the island. The odds of it being a specific person were astronomically low. What were all these people helping her for? Did they think that doing so would improve their own chances, somehow? Had they already given up, and chosen to just follow their own consciences rather than really try to live? Did it matter? Kimberly was almost certain that each and every one of them was doomed. It was a strange thought. Not quite sad. Worse.

She finally managed to blink her eyes clear enough to see, though she moved something wrong in the process and felt a jolt run down her arm. It froze her, eyes staring at nothing, able to see but not comprehend, for a good ten seconds. Then she tried to take stock of the people near her. Bridget. Sarah. Sarah was the one tending her. A few boys, too far away to be clear. Her stuff was still lying on the ground. Her bags. Her hat had to be behind her. She wanted it back. It was stupid, but dammit all, she wanted that hat.

"Can you pass me my..." she started, but then swallowed wrong, trying to clear her mouth of excess saliva, and coughed a couple of times. Bad move. More pain in her arm. This being shot thing just wasn't getting any easier. She hated it. Kimberly felt nothing but hate for her situation. She needed to change it, somehow. Needed to get her hands on a weapon or something, so she could at least feel powerful to some degree. She realized that she wanted a gun. It would be good. Helpful. Keep her safe. Let her teach Kris a little lesson. Give her back her control. Where could she get one, though? Could she use one? She had a rope and a grappling hook. Was that any good? Not now, that was for sure. She wasn't going to be climbing anything with only one functional arm.

She tried to push herself up a little, to more of a sitting position. It wasn't going so well. She tried to wiggle her hand free, just to get a bit more movement. Something. Anything. She wanted to go. To just walk away from it all, like she always did when things bothered her. She wondered if she would ever be able to do so again. Hopefully. After all, there was nothing wrong with her legs. She just had to hold it together a bit longer. Keep strong until she stopped bleeding. Then she could try to do something. What didn't matter.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
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Kimberly could see now. Her hand was free. Good. She wiped her eyes with it, slowly, clearing them. Bridget had restrained her slightly, keeping her from sitting up, and for a damn good reason. She wasn't going to look at her arm until Sarah was done. She could feel it. That was bad enough. Instead, she glanced around again. It was strange. Sarah and Bridget were there. The rest had vanished as quickly as they had appeared, though she could hear someone shouting from behind her, near the water. The lack of people made her feel better, though. She was no longer being a drain on everyone, and was also no longer being ignored by people right next to her. She was starting to actually feel like a person again.

Of course, there were still large problems, like one of her arms being useless and in pain. She wondered if it would ever stop hurting. Well, when she died, of course. That was a thought. Death was no longer imminent, but it was a very real possibility. She couldn't dwell on that. Had to find something else to focus on. Something worthwhile. Something to do with her life.

Kris. The answer was simple. She had to stop Kris. Had to stop her from shooting anyone else. Stop her from killing again. It would be alright. Track Kris down, maybe with help from Bridget, and deal with her. Take her gun. Shoot her or something so she couldn't just get another. It was noble. A smart choice. A good choice. It would be protecting others. That was the right thing to do here, right?

Well, no. What she was considering was absolutely wrong and immoral on every fucking level. Even now, Kimberly could see that. She wasn't fantasizing about protecting people, saving innocent lives. She wanted revenge. Kris had hurt her badly, taken so many things from her, and that was an action that could not go unpunished. If she was going to follow through, that had to be completely clear from the start. Anything less would be a betrayal of herself, would be a filthy lie. If she was going to actually kill one of her classmates, she had to be able to look them in the eye and pull the trigger. To smile while she did it, not because it was right but because it felt good. Could she do it?

That brought her up short. To kill someone, to look at them and realize that they were real, a person, with hopes and cares and dreams, and then to take that all away? To do that, she'd have to be pretty fucking twisted. Be like Kris herself. That wasn't such a stumbling block anymore, though. Kris wasn't a horrible person, even if she'd killed Reika and shot Kimberly. She was a bitch, a poser, but not evil. No, this wasn't about right and wrong. It was about power. Kris had taken that from Kimberly. Taken her independence, her sense of safety. That was the favor she wanted to return. The more she thought of it, the more the idea took hold. It gave her energy. It made her grin, even with the pain and the situation. She just had to communicate it somehow. If anyone here was going to help her, she wasn't going to lie to them, wasn't going to string them along. They'd know that she was going to do something incredibly petty and mean-spirited, and then they'd decide if they wanted a part of it. Kimberly wouldn't have it any other way.

And besides, she had another potential ally, someone not here right now. Because she knew that Reika had a twin sister. A twin sister she had cared very much about. Did Reiko feel the same? No way to know. Kimberly had never talked to her. She suspected, though, that she would be able to convince the girl to come along. In fact, if Kris kept at speed, it wouldn't be long at all until she had a whole sea of bereaved and angry people snapping at her heels, hounding her into hell. Kimberly just had to make sure she was at the head of that pack.

"Bridget," she said. A pause, to catch her breath. Damn, her arm hurt. "Can you... hand me my hat? Once I'm... When I'm feeling a bit better, I think... I think I'm going to want to get moving."

It sounded pathetic, and she hadn't been able to share her plans yet. No, that would have to wait until her arm was wrapped. It would have to wait until she was mobile.

Because right now, Bridget and Sarah were in a position to stop her, and she was not going to be stopped. No. She had a goal, and she was sticking to it. At least, until something more worthwhile came along.
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More shouting. More confusion. The boys who had been a distance away left. Whatever. Easier to focus on a few people. Much easier. And what was Sarah saying? Disinfect? Stitch up? Oh. That was not going to be pleasant. Well, it could probably be a lot worse. Like, say, if they left it alone to get gangrene and rot off. That'd be a pretty damn awful way to die. Then the stinging came. It was terrible. It was an entirely different sort of pain from the pain of being shot. It merged with the other pain, and made Kimberly hiss and grit her teeth. Luckily, Bridget distracted her by placing something in her hand. It felt like... yes. It was her fedora. Kimberly held it up, looking at it, trying to pretend her left arm didn't exist. The blood hadn't soaked in well, so the front of the hat was speckled with muddy brownish dots.

Hell with it. She put it on anyways, jamming it on at a bad angle because she wasn't paying good attention. Bridget was talking again. Apologizing for everything. Saying it was her fault. Promising to take care of Kimberly or some shit like that, even if it lead to her own death.

Wait.

Bridget was planning to follow her around and... and take care of her like an invalid or something? The anger was building again. Kimberly was not some sick, helpless child. She was hurt, it sucked, but she wasn't dead. That meant she wasn't helpless. She'd have preferred to drag herself by her fingernails than to be carried by someone who would patronize her. She realized that it was sweet of Bridget, really it was, and that she should be thankful, but that did nothing to dispel the cold feeling that had settled over her.

She tried to twist her head to see Bridget, but wasn't positioned right. She settled for gazing in the opposite direction as her arm. If it was about to get stitched, she figured she shouldn't watch. Losing her composure would just cause more problems, would make it harder for her to prove that she was still competent.

"Bridget, thank... thank you," she managed. "I... really appreciate it. But, I need you to... know something."

This was probably about to make things very awkward between the three of them. Kimberly had meant to wait until she was moving to spell it out. Now, there was a chance that Sarah and Bridget would try to stop her. If they attempted to talk her down, she could deal with it. She knew how to win arguments. She knew how to make the immutability of her feelings clear. If they physically restrained her, though, she would be hard pressed to work her way free. Then again, if they did that, they were no better than Kris. She didn't quite believe that of the two girls who had helped her.

"Listen. I'm going to go after her. Kris. She... she hurt me, and I can't just let her... get away with that. Do you understand?"

Kimberly kept her eyes locked on the distance. Tried to push the pains in her arm away. She had to be prepared. She had to be ready for anything. She had seen that the world could change in a second. She had to be ready for it to happen again. She wished she was armed. That grappling hook in her bag would do her no more good as a climbing instrument, not while she was down an arm, but the metal prongs were awfully sharp. She'd need to recover it.

"If you want, you can... come. But, I'm... I'm not going to be part of plans to... I don't know, escape or something. I don't... I don't know if it's possible. But I know finding Kris is. And it's what I want to do."

There. It was done. And, for the first time since being shot, Kimberly felt herself in control again. The burden of choice was now on the others. She had laid out the situation, the ground rules. They could choose how to react, but nothing could alter how she felt, what she would attempt to do.

It was a good state of affairs.
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The stitching pricked. Kimberly didn't watch. She didn't think about it. Compared to being shot it the arm, it hardly mattered. Funny, how she'd already fallen so low. What a difference in perspective a few minutes could make. Thinking back that short time, Kimberly found that she hated herself, hated the fraud she had been. Hated that she had been so scared as to pretend.

Didn't mean she wasn't gonna fuck Kris up for changing her, though.

Then Sarah surprised Kimberly by agreeing to come along. Well. That would make things easier. Not that she needed them to be. She had total confidence that she could succeed at her mission alone. She still suspected she would have to. There was a good chance Sarah was coming along, not to help out, but out of some misplaced hope of cooling Kimberly down in a day or two, when the pain and insult were less immediate. Fat chance. Kimberly had her course. She would stay true to it.

Sarah called for the others. Dutchy and Roland. They'd be coming too, it seemed. Brilliant. Now she would have some sort of fucking procession. This was going to be complicated by the fact that, when they caught Kris, it was almost guaranteed one of the group would choke, would find themselves unable to do what needed to be done. What Kimberly wanted to be done. That would pose a serious danger. Kimberly did not fancy the idea of counting on anyone but herself when the key moment came. She wanted total control of that eventual showdown. She wanted to be able to make Kris see what she had done, make her feel that helpless, that lost, make her understand just what she had stolen from Kimberly.

And then?

Time for that later. For now, they had to get moving. And then Bridget added her pledge to the mix. It was... well, it would have been sweet if it didn't piss Kimberly off. Bridget was getting good at that. She was going to follow Kimberly? Follow her everywhere she went? Like hell she would. No, Kimberly was already planning ways to get some personal space. She would be nobody's ward. It would be simple. Slip off at night, while the others slept, just for a little bit. Spend some time with herself and no one else.

She shifted a little. It felt like the stitching was done. She didn't want to see it. She wished her left arm would just disappear and stop bothering her, if it wasn't going to be useful. It certainly seemed like she'd never be using the limb again. And, just great, that was sure to mess up her guitar playing. Not that she'd ever get a chance again, most likely. Ugh. Not the time for those thoughts. Pull it together, sit up, and get moving soon. If they waited here much longer, someone was sure to find them. That, or Kimberly would just go crazy from the inactivity and take off.

"Hey," she said, "one of you... hand me my bags, okay? I need... a few things." She wanted to sort through it quickly, get what she needed, ditch what she didn't. There were a few items in particular she felt like she could use. Her weapon. Something to cover her arm. She felt exposed with the wound uncovered like it was. Weak. Easy prey. She'd be traveling light here, she realized. No other choice with her arm. Fucking Kris. She would pay for this. Each inconvenience, each trial and challenge to overcome, they all could be blamed on Kris. Revenge, when it came, would be so sweet. Speaking of, she should share her idea about finding help with the others, since there was at least one other person who would have reason to loathe Kris as much as Kimberly did.

"I think we should also find... Reiko," she added. "She'll probably want to help us, since Kris... killed her sister and all."
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