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Ten Shades of Gray; B067 Start --- Private Thread
Topic Started: Aug 8 2010, 02:05 PM (9,370 Views)
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is the Soul Machine.
[ *  *  * ]
((Dustin Royal continued from Wood and Wire))

Dustin had no idea how long he, Maria and Cassidy had been walking. It had been at least an hour, but he couldn't be sure. His watch had decided to up and die before they reached the island, rendering the $200 timepiece little more than an expensive bracelet and rendering Dustin just that bit more unable to track how long it had been since his last meal. The group hadn't talked much as they cut across the top of a cliff and searched for any sign of civilisation; Dustin had attempted some singalongs, but the general mood was apparently one of apathy - well, either that or no-one cares about the classics - and he had been left to sing the back-catalogue of Bob Dylan all by himself.

The sun was high and the desire to keep a water-rationing timetable was low when Maria stopped and drew the group's attention to a cluster of buildings off to the east. The girl, whose soft drink preference and menstruation calendar Dustin had inadvertently learned during the tramp, sprinted off towards the buildings, leaving Dustin to shout a feeble "Wait!" and stand around for a few seconds, his hands flopped awkwardly over his guitar. Having never been in a scenario he could rightly call 'life-and-death' (well, aside from that one time with the hot Texan at that Hold Steady concert in '06), Dustin searched for guidance on how to approach the situation - and when none was forthcoming, Dustin murmured, "Fuck it," and followed the girl with the highlights.

As Dustin jogged up to the buildings, the duffel bag and the guitar swinging at his sides and making his run more than a little ungainly, he caught sight of Maria and four other people. Dustin recognised them all, and quietly cursed as he realised that none of them were really prospects for a bit of exotic island fun. The plain one, Jessica, was a mopey wallflower, the tomboy, Alex, had a pretty impressive chassis but ran on redneck fuel, the fat one, Fiona, was...well, fat, and Kronwall was a dude, and that was out of the question.

Dustin sauntered up to Maria's side as she started her introduction and smiled at the girls, but they were too busy intensely muttering to each other and looking to Kronwall for guidance. As Fiona looked up, Dustin's eyes wandered to a thick red puddle creeping towards the feet of the other group. His eyes fixed on the advance of the treacly liquid, he moved around to the other side of Maria, and traced the puddle to its origins - a kid he recognised as a bass player. Or, to be more accurate, a dead bass player.

Dustin went white.

He hadn't been expecting to see the game actually begin for a few days, and now he was faced with the knowledge that these four people - who had rifles and axes, which was not advantageous for Maria and he - had killed someone. Actually shot him. In the head. Struck by the circumstances, Dustin did what any reasonable person would do in his position.

He panicked.

As Maria and Fiona noticed the body, Dustin struggled with the zip of his duffel bag and pulled out the curvy sword, fumbling with the sheath as he yanked it out and brandished it. The weighty girl stuttered something about a guy called Omar pulling the trigger, but he wasn't paying attention. Dustin Royal, over-confident charmer of Bayview Secondary School, was backing up, holding his sword to his chest and shouting "OH! OH! GOD!" very, very loudly.
THE LIVING - V4
G087 - Rachel Gettys / Tambourine / The Groundskeeper's Hut / Babysitter: Ciel
B027 - Dustin Royal / Yatagan / Residential Area / Babysitter: Hollyquin
B108 - Ma'afu Tuigamala / Astra 400 (9mm) [x3 magazines (8 round capacity)] / The Tunnels / Babysitter: Inky


THE DECEASED - V4
B097 - Max Neill / The Lighthouse

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[ *  *  * ]
Dustin staggered backwards until his back thudded against a building. Almost involuntarily, he slid down the wall and sat down, his weapon still clutched tightly to his chest, his eyes still wide open. It wasn't like Dustin hadn't seen a dead body at all - he watched TV, he saw them on the news and on CSI and shit. But this was different. This was here. This was now. And if he wasn't careful, this would be him in a few days time.

The action in the town centre was building up to fever pitch. Everyone was debating whether or not to bury the dead boy, crying and yelling and flailing around. Dustin shook uncontrollably, staring straight ahead and avoiding making eye contact with anyone, even the boy with the blood pumping out of his body - especially the boy with the blood pumping out of his body. The voices all began merging together, the fat girl and the plain girl and Kronwall and the redneck and the girl looking for paint and they all kept talking and talking but they weren't actually doing anything and they were acting like the body wasn't even there how could they be so calm and so rational in a time like this "JUST GET RID OF IT!"

Suddenly, a wave of nausea hit the boy, and he jerked to one side, dropping his sword and gagging on the vomit caught in his dry throat. Threads of thick dribble meandered out of his mouth and dangled on their way towards the ground. The puke was burning the back of his mouth and his throat, and he retched again. A small glob of bread and water splattered onto the concrete. Dustin watched as it lazily seeped into the cracks in the pavement, unable to do anything else. He spat out the rest of the regurgitated rations, the taste of the acidic puke almost triggering another bout of sickness.

Slowly, Dustin pushed himself back up, his back straight against the bricks. The crisp air flowed through his burning nostrils and scoured throat. After a second, he absent-mindedly unzipped his duffel bag and began searching for tissues. His hand chancing upon a small pack of them that had apparently been transferred from his original bag, he fumbled with it and clumsily ripped it open. Pulling out a single tissue, he wiped the brown and orange sludge from his mouth and blew his nose. Staring at the gory remnants for a second, he tossed it away and took in a deep breath. Smooth, he thought to himself, derisively chuckling at his grand gesture of disgust.

He picked up his yatagan from in front of him and turned back to look at the group. Maria was crouched over the flowerbed, her hands all red and covered and dirt. She was sobbing, and the fat girl was starting too. Dustin sighed as he looked at the small trench Maria had dug in the flowerbed, presumably to give the dead boy some kind of impromptu grave. It was kind of touching, in a way.

Dustin continued watching. If this had been any other time, he probably would have made his move and hit Maria up for some grief sex.

This wasn't any other time.
THE LIVING - V4
G087 - Rachel Gettys / Tambourine / The Groundskeeper's Hut / Babysitter: Ciel
B027 - Dustin Royal / Yatagan / Residential Area / Babysitter: Hollyquin
B108 - Ma'afu Tuigamala / Astra 400 (9mm) [x3 magazines (8 round capacity)] / The Tunnels / Babysitter: Inky


THE DECEASED - V4
B097 - Max Neill / The Lighthouse

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[ *  *  * ]
"Huhwah?"

Dustin's head jerked up as he caught himself nodding off for the fifth time. He always seemed to get sleepy after throwing up - not that he'd thrown up often, but he'd done it enough to notice the pattern - and it didn't help that he'd been tramping across half the goddamn island. Exercise that intense? Never kept anyone awake.

Dustin rubbed his eyes and spat a remnant of vomit into the puddle next to him on the concrete. The collection of spew wasn't exactly the most pleasant sight or smell in the world, but Dustin could think of worse right now.

Speaking of worse...

Dustin suddenly twigged to the silence. Maybe they're just doing some memoriam shit for the dead kid. He glanced around the plaza, but there were no students, no bodies, and definitely none of that memoriam shit. Everyone had gone. They'd fucked off and left him there.

Dicks.

Dustin pushed himself up off the dusty asphalt, brushing the dirt off his jeans and picking up the yatagan lying idly on the ground next to him. He was alone on this island now. A lone wolf. A renegade. A loose cannon, deemed too 'hardcore' for everyone else. He lived on the wild side. Nothing stood in his way in the pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way.

"You're out of control, Royal!" Dustin joked to himself, his fake Boston sneer as painful as his throat, rough and sore from the spontaneous mass regurgitation. He coughed for a few seconds, flinching and doubling over as the hacking took to his oesophagus like sandpaper. Straightening up, Dustin grabbed his guitar and slung it over his shoulder, then grabbed his daypack and slung that over his other shoulder. Like some sort of Chinese peasant carrying water to his family, Dustin started off, wobbling ever-so-slightly. Then, almost immediately, he stopped.

Was that...?

Dustin dared not look behind him. He could've sworn it was her voice, but she was the year below him, wasn't she? Besides, even if she was here, what were the chances of...

"Did someone . . . oh no, did someone die already?"

Oh. Oh no.

Ever since he'd shown an interest in girls, his awesome cousin in New York had told him all about them. Terriers, he'd called them. Every man worth his salt had one. The more appealing you were to women, the more you were likely to have. They always seemed to find you, no matter how much you tried to distance yourself from them, and there was a 99% chance that any interaction between you and them would be so awkward that you would throw yourself into a furnace if it meant getting out of the conversation. They tended to be girls you wanted to avoid getting involved with, sexually or otherwise - and if you did get involved, you had to make damn sure you had enough money to go to court and get a restraining order, because it'd spiral into some creepy Fatal Attraction shit soon enough.

Samya Franklin was, as far as Dustin could work it out, his terrier.

Dustin wasn't attracted to Samya in the slightest. She was dumpy, childish, was covered in pimple scars. Given the choice between fucking her and spending a night with St Paul's most famous homeless person, University Uder, he'd much prefer sculling back bourbon and eating rubbish-bin food with the crazy guy. It was clear to anyone with all five senses and a brain to process them, however, that Samya liked him in that romantic Prince-Charming-here-to-sweep-me-off-my-feet kind of way. That kind of way was a creepy kind of way, and not the way Dustin operated. He wasn't no-one's Romeo. He was temporary, not constant. He wasn't a fucking emotional bellboy.

But there she was. Bounding in his direction like some kind of high school Oompa Loompa. If he wasn't careful, he wouldn't just be the emotional bellboy - he'd be bellboy, check-in, room service, maid and hotel manager all-in-fucking-one.

Dustin recognised one of the other people Samya was travelling with. She wasn't looking particularly happy to see him, but it was Survival of the Fittest, and besides, she didn't look particularly happy to see anyone. Ever. Quickly, Dustin put together a play to avoid contact with the simpering overweight puppy in teenage form. Pulling his guitar to his front, he began strumming a little tune, humming along to it as he ambled towards Ash Morrison, the terse girl who was cute in the same way red wine was delicious - an acquired taste. Striding right past the terrier, he stopped in front of the button-nosed potential-paramour and bowed to her, the sweeping gesture as over-the-top as it was unnecessary.

He looked up, a cheeky glint in his eyes - as there always was when he was shamelessly flirting. "M'lady," he said, a grand English lilt in his voice. "May I be of service to you?"
THE LIVING - V4
G087 - Rachel Gettys / Tambourine / The Groundskeeper's Hut / Babysitter: Ciel
B027 - Dustin Royal / Yatagan / Residential Area / Babysitter: Hollyquin
B108 - Ma'afu Tuigamala / Astra 400 (9mm) [x3 magazines (8 round capacity)] / The Tunnels / Babysitter: Inky


THE DECEASED - V4
B097 - Max Neill / The Lighthouse

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[ *  *  * ]
"I do not need your help. Get out of my sight."

Dustin had been rejected a lot of times. It was an occupational hazard, and if you couldn't take it in your stride, you had no place in this line of work. Dustin wouldn't have slept with nearly as many chicks as he had if he doubled over and had a good cry every time a girl had thrown a drink in his face or slapped him. And boy, had he been slapped in his time. Ash's riposte was like water off a Baywatch girl's back in comparison.

Dustin backed up, his giant grin still plastered across his face. "Well, whenever you need me," he teased, "my offer still stands. If you're ever keen."

Then one of the other people in Dustin's group piped up. He was a solid dude decked out in black - hell, he even had a black tanktop, as if he was heading to some sort of Brainless Thug Convention. The guy was laughing. Like, actually laughing. He didn't even bother trying to hide it, he was just guffawing away like a donkey on nitrous.
"Royal,"
he managed between laughing and gasping, "you're a sad fuck y'know that? Haha... go fuck yourself. Really. No one likes you."

Dustin couldn't help but snigger at the guy's shameless bravado. He had encountered a few of the guy's type in his time - simpletons who couldn't keep their girls locked down, that sort of thing. He'd faced down one of his type earlier, for christ's sakes. He knew how to handle them.

"Um...whatever your name is," Dustin said, waving his hand around as if winding string around his fingers, "I don't know you, so I really couldn't give a shit what you think everyone thinks. Hell, I'm surprised you can think - nobody with a brain would go around wearing that. Jesus, you look like you beat women for a fucking living."

The focus then turned to the boy in the ground, thanks to the last minute re-arrival of Cassie. Had she even left? Dustin didn't know, didn't care. He switched off from the conversation - he really didn't want to think about the dead bassist any more. He didn't really want to vomit any more. Then, the topic shifted to teaming up, instigating by the wannabe Lundgren himself. The chubby yapper added her own two cents, and Dustin shrugged. "Sure," he said without any enthusiasm for the idea, "whatever goes. As long as people keep shit civil. And y'all can stomach a bit of guitar," he added, patting his trusty instrument.
THE LIVING - V4
G087 - Rachel Gettys / Tambourine / The Groundskeeper's Hut / Babysitter: Ciel
B027 - Dustin Royal / Yatagan / Residential Area / Babysitter: Hollyquin
B108 - Ma'afu Tuigamala / Astra 400 (9mm) [x3 magazines (8 round capacity)] / The Tunnels / Babysitter: Inky


THE DECEASED - V4
B097 - Max Neill / The Lighthouse

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[ *  *  * ]
Dustin had barely wrapped up his witty and brilliant retort when loud, screeching speaker feedback ripped through the area. Dustin spun around, his guitar and pack bouncing off him as he looked around for the source of the noise.

"Kids, I have to say that I'm truly impressed with your first day showing."

Oh hell


Dustin had completely forgotten about the instrument of death in his hands. It took the sleazy, mocking voice of Danya echoing across the town centre for him to remember it. He yanked the yatagan half-out of its sheath - something bad was going to happen. That shit wasn't going to let them have it easy. That was the whole point of the game. They wouldn't be hearing him if he didn't have some delicious twist to lay on them.

Dustin listened intently as the omnipresent voice brusquely rattled off the day's dead. Dustin caught a few names in the fray, but didn't pay any attention. Danya was probably just fucking with them, and besides, they wouldn't kill people, right? He'd only known them for a few hours apiece, but Dustin was pretty sure he had a good eye for psychos. He'd probably have lost his penis years ago if he didn't.

Danya rattled off the dangerzones, which Dustin passively noted, and then a short explosion of static gave way to silence. "Huh," Dustin said quietly. It was a bit of a shock, knowing that all those people had killed and had died. And that he'd had sex with them, or been in their classes, or seen them play instruments, or what have you. Dustin didn't vomit or cry or overreact - bass boy had immunised him to all that. Besides, Danya could be lying. He could be making shit up just to get at them and stir up some conflict, because that's how it worked, right? People fought each other and killed each other and holy crap is that Maria over there what's she doing she looks terrible!

Nice rack, though.


The punk girl, sans shirt, stumbled over to the group, bruised and bloody and altogether looking like the kind of woman Alpha Male over there would enjoy. Dustin stared as Maria stopped, swayed, introduced herself to the new recruits, and collapsed. He slid the yatagan back into its sheath and, not taking his eyes off Maria, stashed it back in his daypack. A low hubbub filled the air as the newbies began discussing what they should do, but Dustin just couldn't take his eyes off Maria. Where the fuck had she been? What the fuck had she done? Where the fuck had her shirt gone?

Another kid, a solidly-built guy, staggered into the island's CBD after Maria, but Dustin paid him no heed. Eventually, Jamis spoke up, and Dustin snapped out of his trance. It was almost as though Dustin's brain wanted him to be antagonistic.

"Alright, this isn't a great place to discuss plans. We need to find a safe haven, some place to crash, whatever. There's a rec room not that far away, didn't check the place out but it looks completely empty. It's better than just staying out here. And with her around, it's important that we find a place that ain't so open. You got me? Only option we have, what with all seven of... uh, us?"

Dustin turned back to Streetcar-Brando and rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I got you. Rec centre, shoot some hoops, do some domestic abuse, blah blah blah," he said, his voice saturated with snark as he turned back to Maria. "Don't think too hard, eh, probs not good for ya."

Guess it's settled, then.

The swarthy boy walked over to Maria, slid his guitar off his shoulders, and held it out to Cassidy. "I've got her. But I find one scratch on this when we get to the middle of Harlem, you're paying for the replacement."
THE LIVING - V4
G087 - Rachel Gettys / Tambourine / The Groundskeeper's Hut / Babysitter: Ciel
B027 - Dustin Royal / Yatagan / Residential Area / Babysitter: Hollyquin
B108 - Ma'afu Tuigamala / Astra 400 (9mm) [x3 magazines (8 round capacity)] / The Tunnels / Babysitter: Inky


THE DECEASED - V4
B097 - Max Neill / The Lighthouse

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