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Ten Shades of Gray; B067 Start --- Private Thread
Topic Started: Aug 8 2010, 02:05 PM (9,135 Views)
Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
((Cassidy Wakemore continued from Wood and Wire))

For a while, Cassidy could push aside her recent memories and enjoy the moment. She and Maria and Dustin walked through a picturesque forest, decorated in a variety of pleasant green and brown hues, as Maria yammered about whatever popped into her head. Occasionally Cassie managed to respond to one of her points. She completely agreed with Maria about Coke, for instance, though for different reasons. It wasn't so much a matter of how it tasted as how much better their ad campaign was. Pepsi had a confrontational inferiority complex to their ads, always making a point to demonstrate just how much better their drink was than Coke. Coke, on the other hand, completely ignored Pepsi and took the high road. The result? Well, Santa didn't get decked out in Pepsi's red and blue colors, did he?

Eventually the forest ended, giving way to a cluster of houses surrounding a small fountain. Before either Cassie or Dustin could say anything, Maria darted ahead to explore. Apparently she found people, because she started calling out to them. Cassie and Dustin ran up ahead, with Cassie being careful to keep the point of her javelin far away from any of Dustin's soft, squishy parts. Her daypack thumped against her back as she ran into the central fountain.

She noticed that Maria had suddenly gone very quiet, her gaze fixed on a prone figure on the ground. Cassie looked at it and recognized Warren, lying on the couch, watching her hook the bass around her shoulder and limbering up her muscles.

"Alright, Cassie, whenever you're ready," Zach said. He looked pretty chill with her. He was chill. Cassie didn't really even know him that well and she was getting to be pretty chill, too. No wonder Maria liked this guy so much.

She chuckled as she searched her guitar case for her favorite pick, a marbled gaudy pink thing that matched her current hairstyle. "Heheheh. Alright, guys. I've practiced this motherfucker for a couple weeks now. I dare you to top this one, Warren!"

"Whatever," he said, lazily looking up at her from his supine position.

Cassie winked at Maria, sitting behind her rather ramshackle drum set. She winked back, crossing her sticks in an X-shape. This was all the encouragement Cassie needed to play the first note of one of her favorite bass numbers of all time.

Things went well at first when she started playing. Her eyes unfocused and she began to lose herself in her own little world. The song made her think of a world of scarred and pitted metal, a forest of brass and chrome forming trees with jagged, sharp edges and gnarled, mottled branches. The leaves of these trees were razors that could slice clean through bone in their prime, but the autumn had sapped them of their strength, reducing them to flakes of rust that fell off and covered the forest floor.

Through these woods stalked a sleek creature with leaden skin and glowing red eyes. It resembled a panther, but with rather scarier attachments like wicked barbed spines down its back and covering its twin tails until they ended with syringe needles. It opened its mouth and exhaled, expelling blistering air from the furnace inside its belly. The mishmash of parts forming the creature caused it to shriek as it moved, mimicking the shrieks of Cassie's own bass.

As the song crept closer to the point where Maria would join in with drums and the tempo would pick up, the creature reared back, preparing to pounce on and chase after its unseen prey.

"Hey guys, sorry I'm late!"

The voice of an angel broke through loud and clear, dissolving the world and the creature into individual atoms all swept away by the wind, leaving only the void of space and the pounding of her own ears. She drifted in the void until she felt a hand on her shoulder.

She turned and looked at the gorgeous unblemished face of someone new, someone she'd never seen before. His flawless skin was framed with platinum-blond hair, leaving only a wisp of it over his forehead. "You okay?" he asked, looking concerned.

Cassie blinked and looked around. Maria seemed a bit confused, holding her drums up in the air and looking at her. Zach frowned and pointed to the ground, where she saw her pick lying on the floor.

"How long has that been there?" she asked.

"Since Winston walked in," Zach said. "You were strumming air for half a minute."

Oh. Oh fuck. Cassie felt her cheeks alight as she clumsily picked it back up. "You wanna try it again?" Zach asked.

"No no no thanks," she said. "I'm fine. Let Warren go."

"Really? Because that wasn't half bad. You just needed to keep a better hold on that pick."

Cassie moved in front of the couch, where Warren had pointed his face up and closed his eyes, apparently to concentrate on the music. She reached for his hand to help him onto his feet
only to find that it was deathly cold. Pale, too. Except for the red stuff on the underside of his hand, that sticky, dark, filthy red stuff.

She heard the beating in her ears again, then shook her head and took another look at Warren. It didn't change. Same lack of motion, same red stain in the center of his chest, same black hole opening into the void. No matter how many times she blinked, those remained.

The realization snuck up on her like a snake. No wonder Maria fell silent. Who could say anything to this?
WickedIcon: i just launched a baby wearing a denim jacket and a bowler hat across a hospital, through a window, killing several patients, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment, and finally coming to rest on the body of a presumably dead clown
WickedIcon: this is the best dollar i've spent in several years

chitoryu12I have yet to find gay sex that involves the men punching each other. I must not be on the internet enough

Turning Pages: Read some books along with me, why don't you?

V4:
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V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
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Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
A drop of blood flowed down Cassidy's finger to the second knuckle from her fingertip, then fell down to the soil and vanished. Cassie watched her hands and the thin layer of red that coated them. The blood had already started to dry. As she watched, she heard people talking, and knew they were speaking English, but she couldn't find the strength to understand them just yet. She didn't even notice that other girl intruding on this sacred moment and asking for whatever it was she wanted.

They talked about Warren. They voted on whether to bury him. It wasn't until Cassie heard the sound of the ground being scraped and scooped next to her that she finally turned away from her hands and blinked. She looked at Maria, an act which nearly finished off her composure.

Maria looked like a completely different person. The goofy smile that captured her frenetic spirit died with Warren. In its place there stood a tortured rictus pulling the corners of her mouth down and exposing her teeth. Her cheeks glistened with the trails of tears leading down to her chin, her cheeks and nose flushed bright red, and clear mucus trickled from her nostrils. Cassie tried to think of the last time Maria had looked like this, and realized that she couldn't. She'd never seen Maria cry, not even when Zach dumped her. Nothing could get her down, ever! If Maria's cheerful disposition couldn't even survive this... Jesus.

And so Cassie began to take on that exact same expression herself. Her vision blurred, causing her to blink. She felt hot tears flow from her eyes, then an irritation in her nose caused her to sniffle. Left with little other choice, she reached down with her red hands and started helping Maria with the digging process. By then Maria was mostly finished, having gotten the easy part out of the way. Cassie kept on going with her fresh hands, taking out rocks and pebbles as quickly as she could. She managed to get another six inches out of the whole grave, but it was bitter work. She got out of there with her fingers aching and throbbing, and upon closer inspection, fresh blood - her blood - covered a scratch running down the side of her right middle finger.

All the while, she tried to focus, tried to recall what everybody said. Nik said yes. Fiona said no. Dustin said nothing, retching instead. And Jessica also said no, but three votes beat two, and even if it didn't, these girls weren't going to listen to the naysayers anyway.

She remembered what Jessica said. She tried to sugarcoat it with all of the concerned inflections and insipid platitudes about not wanting to be the bad guy, but her point remained. Warren wasn't special. Warren was a liability now. Warren didn't deserve to be buried.

Bull. Fucking. Shit.

In a haze of anger, Cassidy retrieved her javelin and thrust it at Jessica, impaling her stomach on its sharp point. Blood flowed down the shaft of it in far greater quantities than she'd gotten from Warren, making not only her hands red but her forearms, too. She didn't look so much like an artist now. She looked feral. She looked rabid. She looked ready to bite.

"Take it back, shithead!" she said, staring into Jessica's terrified eyes as the taller girl struggled to stammer out an apology. It proved inaudible and unintelligible, which only made Cassie angrier, causing her to twist the javelin. Jessica made another sound that resembled a shrieking badger, unable to articulate anything because of the pain.

"I SAID TAKE IT BACK!" Cassie said.

Except she didn't. She didn't do any of that. Her javelin sat on the ground, too far away for her to reach it without giving the others plenty of time to react to her. Instead of hurting Jessica, she just gave her a stony, pointed glare and moved to Warren's body. She kneeled over it and let out a single sob before collecting herself again.

"Warren, I'm sorry about everything," she said, eyes closed. Flashes of her failed audition ran through her mind: the opening to Anesthesia, the pick slipping out of her hand, sitting on the couch watching with slackened jaw as the band performed a perfect cover of an Aerosmith song.

"When you beat me back then and got accepted as Blank Nation's bass... I couldn't be happy for you. I just couldn't." She hung her head as Maria enthusiastically congratulated her, looking back up only when that same girl, that same girl with raw fingers and a reddened face, gave her a pat on the back. They talked, and Maria tried her best to cheer Cassie up.

"There was just too much attraction for me in the idea of being in a band. I'd never gotten the opportunity before, and I came so close to doing it that day. It was only because of... of..." Cassie was inconsolable that day, though. She only half-heard Maria's words. She was too busy looking at Winston and Zach and Warren shooting the shit and discussing songs to notice. "-because of a freak accident that you beat me out, I thought!

"I couldn't let it go. I wanted to be a part of the band so badly. That's why I made so much artwork for it, Warren." Days later, Cassie looked far more cheerful, skillfully wielding a paintbrush and applying black paint over the pencilled outline of her brainchild, the band's logo. She painted a fakey fake country with four borders. To the east stood a perfectly straight line, tilted to the west. In the north, she painted a similarly angled border with a few kinks in it. Afterwards, she moved onto the western border, a more organic, wavy line, denoting a river. Lastly, she closed the country with a coastline that zigged and zagged in the south, painted a little star right above it, then in the center she wrote "BLANK NATION" in the font she'd seen in a Rand-McNally Atlas. "I kept painting and painting and put it on the flyers and shit, but at the end of the day, when Blank Nation was onstage... I wasn't with them. I was just another fan.

"I'm sorry, Warren. It wasn't your fault. And now I know..." Sniff. "I know that you were the better bassist anyway. We could have a thousand bass battles and you would win nine-to-one, at least. I'm not that good with the bass. I'm not that good with anything. Every time I get going, I get bored and focus on something else. I didn't have your dedication!"

She swallowed the snot that gathered at the back of her throat and reached under Warren's body, lifting him in both arms with great difficulty. "I wish I could have been honest with you while you were alive. I'm sorry." She lowered him into the grave as gently as she could; it turned out to just barely be big enough for him.

She tried to think of something else to say, but couldn't. Her monologue just petered out on her. It was up to Maria to finish it all.
WickedIcon: i just launched a baby wearing a denim jacket and a bowler hat across a hospital, through a window, killing several patients, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment, and finally coming to rest on the body of a presumably dead clown
WickedIcon: this is the best dollar i've spent in several years

chitoryu12I have yet to find gay sex that involves the men punching each other. I must not be on the internet enough

Turning Pages: Read some books along with me, why don't you?

V4:
Spoiler: click to toggle


V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
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Solitair
Member Avatar
Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
She'd seen funeral processions before, and right now everything felt oddly like one. Maria only had one thing to say before she hugged Cassidy, afraid of losing another friend so soon after Warren. The other people who were there before, Nik, Jessica, Fiona, Alex... they looked like the people at a funeral with no real connection to the deceased. They were just sad that someone died, not breaking down but looking very serious.

Jessica apologized, and Cassie looked back at her. "It's OK," she said, not because she forgave her for disregarding Warren - she was still on the fence about that - but because for a moment, Cassie saw her dying. And she liked it. But she couldn't very well apologize for that, could she? That was the best she could do.

Then, at the end of the funeral, the peripheral mourners left, chasing after their own concerns and worries. Sometime earlier, Maria had disengaged from her hug, and even someone of Cassidy's limited social graces could tell that she was a dam waiting to burst. It was almost a relief when she announced she had to take a piss. She could do with some alone time, some time to cry in privacy.

Just her and Dustin, then. She looked down at the grave they made for Warren, which Mizore had been so kind to ornament with an impromptu portrait of him. She bent down and stared at it, ignoring the sound of footsteps approaching.

Even with her lack of quality materials, Mizore still managed to turn out a great piece of work. Cassie gave the drawing a wistful smile, examining its every detail. She wasn't as well-acquianted with Mizore as she was with, say, the Blank Nation members, but they met up from time to time earlier in the semester, when Maria tried her hand at drawing and Mizore gave her a few tips.

Cassie looked up and saw that a group of four had stumbled across them, not a single familiar face among them. First came an athletic-looking guy wearing all black, looking pissed at something, she couldn't tell what. Then there was a healthy-looking black girl giving Dustin a weird look, followed by a weird-looking boy with glasses. Finally, Cassie saw the only face she could put a name to, an introverted-looking named Ash. Dustin ignored the black girl and immediately tried to make friends with Ash, only for her to summarily reject him. Groovy.

The glasses boy asked her who died. "Warren Brown," she told him. "Someone named Omar did it." She couldn't look at Simon's face, instead flitting her gaze to her feet, the trees, the buildings, the wall carving.

Hold it.

Cassie dropped everything, running past the group to look at a strategic absence of paint on the wall. It looked like something. Something familiar.
WickedIcon: i just launched a baby wearing a denim jacket and a bowler hat across a hospital, through a window, killing several patients, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment, and finally coming to rest on the body of a presumably dead clown
WickedIcon: this is the best dollar i've spent in several years

chitoryu12I have yet to find gay sex that involves the men punching each other. I must not be on the internet enough

Turning Pages: Read some books along with me, why don't you?

V4:
Spoiler: click to toggle


V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
Offline Profile Goto Top
 
Solitair
Member Avatar
Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
She got so into the carving on the wall that she reached out with one hand and felt its ragged grooves, its angles and contours. There was no mistaking the style. Radio Asuka was here. The thought of such a promising new artist dying a pointless death on the island doubled Cassidy's sorrow, but just like Titus Andronicus, she had no more tears to shed for her.

She slumped back over to the central area to set Asuka's picture back on Warren's grave. She'd heard what the other group said, including Dustin getting rebuffed by the smartass of the group. The same smartass who just offered to have the two of them accompany him on their quest. She'd also heard the announcement, but she wasn't in much of a state to place names to faces. The only name she knew was Warren's, and she didn't need the announcement to tell her what happened to him. It was more the number that registered with her. Nineteen dead. How much did that leave the rest of them, at that rate? Two weeks? Less?

The throbbing of her finger and the feeling of blood on her hand delayed her answer to the dickmeister's offer of alliance. Those feelings had been there for a while, but she'd ignored them up until now. The cut didn't seem to hit anything major, so she'd given it no attention. But now she sat next to the grave, cracking open her first aid kit and figuring out how to best apply a bandage.

"Yeah, sure thing, man," she said, unwrapping the bandage after having applied them too tightly on her first try. "Just let me fix up this gash I got from digging this piece of shit pothole grave for my friend Warren. It's kind of tricky for me to patch it up, but I'm sure someone like you would have no problem with that, eh?"

She flashed a grin in the smartass's direction and finished bandaging her finger. "Seriously, though, I think I'd better just go with my friend Maria when she gets back. We've got some things of our own to do and we should probably do them ourselves.

"As for you," she told Dustin, who'd chosen a less passive-aggressive way of retorting to the ass in black, "just go wherever your cock leads you, hound dog." She giggled a bit at her joke before the devil she spoke of came crashing through the brush, looking panicked and scared and above all, battered.

"Holy fuck, Maria, what happened to you?!" she shouted, rushing to the aid of her best friend, who didn't seem to address her injuries that much. She just acknowledged the group and promptly fell asleep. Cassie did her best to hold the taller and heavier girl in her arms. So many things happened all at once that day, from Warren's body to Radio Asuka to Maria's collapse to the oppressive, heavy feeling in her brain compelling her to shut her eyes and join Maria in her sleep.

With a sigh, she turned back to the other group, hoping that she hadn't been too flippant in dealing with them just a minute ago. "You know what? Forget what I said. Maria's not gonna be doing anything for a while. I think I'll take you up on that offer after all." She gave the nice boy in black another, rather sheepish grin.
Edited by Solitair, Sep 26 2010, 12:43 AM.
WickedIcon: i just launched a baby wearing a denim jacket and a bowler hat across a hospital, through a window, killing several patients, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment, and finally coming to rest on the body of a presumably dead clown
WickedIcon: this is the best dollar i've spent in several years

chitoryu12I have yet to find gay sex that involves the men punching each other. I must not be on the internet enough

Turning Pages: Read some books along with me, why don't you?

V4:
Spoiler: click to toggle


V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
Offline Profile Goto Top
 
Solitair
Member Avatar
Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
It was a huge relief for Cassie to see Dustin offer to carry Maria. True, he did want her to carry his guitar for him, a task made difficult by her javelin and daypack, but she was up for it. As long as Maria was going to be safe, she'd work up the cash to pay for a Jimi Hendrix original to give to Dustin when (if) they got out.

She treated the thing with care, with a respect borne out of a fellow instrument owner. There was a strap around it, thank God, and she proceeded to loop it around her head and shoulder. One step taken toward her daypack and javelin, though, made her feel it bump against the ground. Her short height meant that the bottom of the guitar hung only a few inches from the ground. She'd have to keep it in a good position; the instant the guitar left her mind, it'd get scratched the fuck up.

Fine. Whatever. They were ready to go. Asshole Zach made a location suggestion and the group was ready to move. Everyone agreed to stick together. The Simon kid and that Ash girl's well-meaning concern about their water and food, though, basically ground on Maria's nerves, because the time everyone took to comfirm that yes, they didn't fucking chomp and chug through their entire supply in one goddamn day was too much time for her tastes.

"We're FINE," she said in response. "We've all got a decent amount of bread and shit with us, and even if we don't, we can talk about it THERE and not HERE." She pointed to woods and the town center, respectively, the latter point coming very, very close to Warren's crappy grave. She never wanted to see it again. Same thing for the graffiti. She wanted to sleep like Maria was sleeping. Everything else could wait.

"Let's fucking GO already!"
Edited by Solitair, Oct 5 2010, 11:43 AM.
WickedIcon: i just launched a baby wearing a denim jacket and a bowler hat across a hospital, through a window, killing several patients, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment, and finally coming to rest on the body of a presumably dead clown
WickedIcon: this is the best dollar i've spent in several years

chitoryu12I have yet to find gay sex that involves the men punching each other. I must not be on the internet enough

Turning Pages: Read some books along with me, why don't you?

V4:
Spoiler: click to toggle


V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
Offline Profile Goto Top
 
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