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Come & See; open
Topic Started: Aug 8 2010, 05:20 PM (4,543 Views)
ifnotwinter
Member Avatar
half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Birds.

Cormorants? He wasn't sure. It sounded like - but he couldn't be sure. Behind his eyelids, black and white shapes exploding like black and white necks, twisting, calling. Ringing in his ears, the calls. Familiar. But not familiar - how long had it been? Three years? More? The ocean, they'd gone all together. The dogs barking, gleefully chasing each other across the sand. No dogs here. He can't hear them. Can smell the sea, though. Bittersalt, sweet, confusing smells. Remember a shaven head. Remember death - no. Don't remember death. Remember the ocean. Don't remember twelve. Remember dogs. Remember cormorants.

...cormorants?

Erik blinked once, painfully. His world seemed to be comprised of grey-black specks, with blue in the background. It didn't seem right, but it took him another few blinks to put the pieces together. And when he did, he jerked himself upright fast enough to send the blood rushing from his head, making him groan and press at his temples, black spots exploding in front of his eyes like birds. Like the birds he could hear shrieking in the distance.

He was on a beach. He. He was on a goddamn fucking beach and he - he didn't understand. He was on a beach, but he'd been on the class trip. He'd been on the bus, chilling in a seat to himself, kicking back and dozing lightly, listening to the gossip float over his head. And then at some point he actually had fallen asleep, and then. And then. And then...

Gunfire. Memories flooded back. Gunfire, students falling, a voice. Words, and names, and weapons. Video. Video of someone being shot through the head, red spatters like a bad horror movie except for the part where it wasn't. A grisly joke he hadn't been listening to making someone laugh, high and thin. Twisting his bracelets on his wrists. His fingers were there now, unconsciously moving over the braided threads. Rainbow bright, his personality woven around his skin, bright on the outside for anyone to see. And blue, for memories of twelve years old and blankets and mothers who weren't there, to make them be there with him, always. His fingers tightened for a moment, eyes squeezing shut.

Eighteen year old Erik Laurin bowed his head on the long, lonely beach, hands wrapped into a tattered blue bracelet, shoulders bucking only once as he felt the cool metal of the collar dig into his neck.

"Mom..."

He didn't know how long it was until he opened his eyes again. Maybe hours, maybe minutes, but it didn't matter. What mattered was that he was surrounded by something he'd been trying to run away from for years. Every night he'd worried about his siblings crossing the roads, school shootings, even briefly entertaining the thought of Kimber in Survival of the Fittest - he'd been horrified and fascinated by death. And now it was him, not Kimber, not Pierre, not the twins. Him.

Numbly, he slipped his pack open, searching for the promised weapon. His search turned up nothing more than a DVD he knew he hadn't packed - a porno, by the looks of it. He tossed it back in, too sickened from the gas and the realizations to bother picking at the rations.

Closing it again, he sat heavily on a chunk of driftwood. The wind was cold by the water, and he found himself, hot-blooded as he tended to be, getting chilly. He wished he'd brought a jacket. He pulled his t-shirt closer, resting his elbows on his knees and staring quietly at the surf as it lapped up onto the sand.

He was below the tide-line. He knew that if he turned, he'd see dry sand free of tangled seaweed and shells. Maybe a forest - the air smelled of pine, sharp and clean. But he knew he'd see cameras, nestled in the quiet branches, and students, guns, blood.

Erik wrapped his hands around his knees, pack sitting it his feet. The wind whipped his hair, sparking tiny moments of pain as it caught in the collar sitting just above his collarbone. He stared resolutely at the ocean, eyes following the motion of the cormorants as they wheeled and dove.

Somewhere behind him, above the tide-line, was Survival of the Fittest. Somewhere above him, there were cameras, guns, students, blood. Somewhere above him, there was death.

But down here - down here, there was just the water.

And the birds.

Mom...



marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}


phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
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ifnotwinter
Member Avatar
half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Erik was cold. The wind wasn't blowing particularly hard, and the day was bright, but by the ocean the air was thin and blew with a bitter chill. He had been cold for a while. His cotton tee wasn't doing much, but he couldn't bring himself to move yet. Standing meant turning around, meant joining the students, meant killing - or being killed.

He shuddered, fingers still twisted in his bracelets. Huddling a little closer into himself, he stared fixedly at the birds, wondering if he just sat here long enough - if he just sat here long enough, everything would just go away. But there was something mixed in with their plaintive cries. Something like...

Wait.

Erik turned. For a moment, there was nothing but the forest, outlined bright against the sun, and a silhouette in front of him. Something inside of him twisted to the snapping point, pushed by the knowledge and realization that, for better or worse, he was now a part of the game. And then it was replaced by a rush of something like relief as he took a step forwards, voice cracking as he strained to see the student in front of him.

"M-Mike? Is that you?"


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}


phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
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ifnotwinter
Member Avatar
half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
As Mike spoke, Erik couldn't help but choke on a laugh. It was all just so...normal. Two guys, standing on an island, chatting to each other. It didn't seem real - it felt like simply a bizarre, realistic nightmare. Another bout of laughter bubbled up in his chest, but this time there was a slightly hysterical edge to it and he hastily swallowed the giggles.

He cleared his throat, jamming his hands in his pockets and reflexively hunching his shoulders to try and minimize his height. "Uh, I'm Erik. Erik Laurin, I'm on the track team?" He stifled another nervous chuckle. Hi, I'm Erik Laurin, and I've been a Survival of the Fittest contestant for five hours now... "I. Um." Twisting his bracelet a little harder, he took a breath, trying to figure out where to go from here. There didn't seem to be many options. "I'm not going to kill you?"

He cocked an eyebrow. He was going for humorous, going for cool, calm, in control. He figured he wasn't doing too bad of a job, but his eyes, at least, were showing it. Erik was goddamn lost. This was so far out of anything he'd ever experienced, so beyond his grasp. In some distant part of himself, he knew he'd already begun to shut down. It was funny - it had always been that way. When things weren't so bad - when Pierre had gotten sick as a baby and spiked a temperature of almost 104, when Kimberly had been dumped for the first time and had become utterly hysterical, when the twins had run off at a park and gotten lost - he would be panicking. Hyperventilating, crying, frantic with worry, he would be unable to deal with anything, even the problem at hand. But when it was serious...

His mother, in the hospital, his father with him and the family looking to him, already tall with the first jumpstart of puberty, the oldest, the one who was supposed to know what to do. And he had. He'd shut everything else off, closed down the screaming, crying part of him and he had done what he had to do.

And now.

Now he had to do the same thing. No time for crying. No time even for ignoring the circumstances, no time to curl up and wait to die. He didn't know if he could deal with it. Christ, he knew he was just barely dealing with it, but one step at a time, right? Work with things the way he always had before. Protect. Protect everyone he could, from everything he could. That was the only way to deal with things - he could take it. He could help. He could protect.

He shook himself abruptly out of thought, taking a step towards Mike and extending a hand. "Listen, man, you - you wanna stick together? Some people might - well - you know. Some people might play, and I just." He shrugged, bring a hand back to scrape uneasily at the back of his neck. "Maybe there's strength in numbers."

Maybe. It was a faint and futile hope, but.

Maybe.


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}


phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
ifnotwinter
Member Avatar
half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
When Mike agreed, Erik felt a surge of relief. Like maybe he could do this, somehow. There had to be people on the island who weren't playing...god, who would? Given a choice? They could tough it out together. This was the fourth time, right? Someone would notice. Someone had to notice. It was all just a matter of waiting, surviving, holding out until rescue came. They could do that.

"No one should be out there alone." As Mike opened his daypack and tore into his bread, Erik sunk down again, folding his legs and resting his arms on the tops of his knees. "Christ, it's a mess. This whole situation is just..." Lost for words, he shrugged, eyes darkening. "Just fucked up."

He watched silently as Mike ate, not particularly feeling the need for food just yet. Drifting in his thoughts again, he found himself considering his classmates. Who, when it really came down to it, would...no. No, he wouldn't think about that. Couldn't think about that. He focused on Mike again just in time to see him stare in horror at a small pill in his hand, screaming about how he'd almost taken it earlier. Erik leaned closer, having just enough time to read the words 'cyanide pill' on the paper before Mike swept it away, and leaned away almost as fast.

"God..." He breathed out hard, almost reaching out to pat the other boy on the shoulder before apparently thinking better of it and pulling his hand back. "Fuck. Fuck, that's...." Messed up? There weren't even words for this. Not at all.

Mike seemed to rapidly get ahold of himself, although Erik had a suspicion that the smaller boy was doing the same thing he was...plastering over the cracks, trying to hold himself together just enough, relying on bravado and false confidence. When he inquired about the game Erik winced, wondering how exactly to phrase it.

"It's. Uh. It's kind of like a game show, except...real. They kidnap a school grade, give us weapons, collars that blow if we try to escape, and..." He choked on the words for a moment, bared his teeth in a painful grimace but kept talking, had to keep talking. "The object is to survive. One person survives a game. That's it. This is the fourth time. I never thought..."

But who ever thinks that it'll happen to them? He bowed his head for a moment, then stared into the distance, feeling hot tears prick his eyes. As he blinked them back, a shape came into focus, farther down the beach. Erik squinted, trying to make it out, but in the end it proved just too far away. Still. It was definitely someone.

"There's someone over there." His voice was soft. "You think we should...I mean...check it out?"


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}


phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
ifnotwinter
Member Avatar
half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Erik had heard Mike's soft exclamation, but he couldn't acknowledge it. He knew he couldn't. To comfort, to soothe, to understand that the other boy was feeling the same way he was - the was acknowledging weakness, pain, desperation. And he couldn't do that yet. He couldn't handle what he was feeling right now, and he knew it. He had to put it away. Another faint smile twitched at his lips - what was it Scarlett O'Hara had said? I can't deal with that today, I'll deal with it tomorrow? Something like that. It repeated in his head like a mantra.

"Careful," he said, voice absent as he focused on the distant figure, already beginning to walk forwards. 'Yeah. Definitely. We've really gotta...we need to look sharp." He wasn't even entirely sure what he was saying, mind running through endless possibilities, trying to match the body, the face to a name. Trying to figure out what the personality would lead to, whether or not it would be safe.

It wasn't until the boy said hello that it clicked. Jasper-Declan MacDermott. Quiet was pretty much all he remembered - quiet, kind of eccentric. Not the type to - but then, nobody would be the type to. No one could ever do that. There was a gun in front of him, though, and Erik felt his heart rate speed up.

"Hey." His voice wasn't entirely steady, but was doing a good job of pretending. "Hey, man. You - uh, you doing okay?" What else was there to ask? How did one start conversations on an island where the goal was killing people? This was all just so fucking surreal, he had no idea.


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}


phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
ifnotwinter
Member Avatar
half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
It was impossible not to notice the gun. Jasper was holding it, not particularly threatening but there was the fact that he was actually holding it. And a gun was a gun. Erik found his eyes being drawn to the black hole of a muzzle, some rational and cool part of his mind wondering if he would see the explosion propelling the tiny bit of metal towards him, or not. He wondered if it would be better or worse, to know it was coming.

He was taking too long. The rational part of his mind was clamoring to be heard, reminding him that he was standing in front of an armed boy, possibly one who would want to kill him (but who, really, would kill other classmates? he couldn't imagine anyone), and he needed to focus. He swallowed hard, biting the inside of his cheek and using the sharp flare of pain to pull himself back into the present.

"Great. Uh - great." Trying to seem unobtrusive about it, Erik sidled in front of Mike, shielding the slightly smaller student with his body, trying to look non-threatening and not someone you would want to take on in a fight at the same time. "So if it's all cool then, you know, we're all buddies and all, could you just - put the gun down?" He chuckled nervously. "Only it's a little. You know. Kind of intimidating."

A brief pause.

"Unless that's the point. In which case hey, man, fill your boots, but with someone else. 'Cause, uh, neither of us are gonna get in your way or anything. Or go for you. Um, I don't know what Mike got, but my weapon's a porno, so...unless you get off on a Chinese torture skin flick and accidentally blow your collar while jerking it, I'm not super worried."
Edited by ifnotwinter, Aug 18 2010, 11:46 PM.


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}


phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
ifnotwinter
Member Avatar
half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
It took Erik a few moments to place the voice and face in his mind, but the tension that had gripped him and tightened his shoulders slipped away rapidly as he was able to put a name to the pudgy boy in front of him. Timothy...someone. He didn't know the last name. But Erik didn't think he was a threat; he certainly didn't look like it.

Mike was shouting, he realized after a moment. Stress. Tension. God, the tension was thick enough to cut with...well, he hadn't gotten a knife, but it was thick enough to cut with his adult-content DVD. He felt like he was floating above it, conscious of it existing but unaffected, much like floating on a raft. Water all around, but he wasn't wet. It was a peaceful feeling, but he knew he couldn't think about it for long. A circus act; a high-wire walker who stops to think about his defiant performance and, knowing he cannot possibly balance, that this is not physically possible, begins to fall...

Mike was still talking. He realized guility that he had no idea what the Polish boy had said, not that he had long to think about it as Jasper began to speak as well. He refused to give up the gun...fair enough, and unloading it made Erik feel slightly better, but not enough to step back from his position in front of the other boys. He was a big guy, maybe if Jasper decided to play he could distract him for a while.

Jasper had apparently caught Mike's question. Sounded like the other student had asked about the game, not that it mattered. Erik didn't know much either; he never had time and - to be honest - hated the whole concept, fake or not.

But it's not fake, is it...

He didn't have time to pipe in before a fifth boy approached. This one was easily recognized, at least, as Max Neill. Generally pretty awesome dude, and he seemed...trustable. Like someone who wouldn't let him down, wouldn't play. Wouldn't have problems. He seemed calm. That was good, Erik figured he needed calm.

"Max, hey." His face broke into a surprisingly honest smile, and he stuck his hand out almost automatically, going for a high five. "Fancy seeing you here."

It was so much easier this way. Like nothing was happening. Maybe it was just a beach day, right? A change of location for the grad party. Pretending like those woods, they weren't there, like it was just the woods and seabirds and good friends. And that was all that mattered. All that mattered. All that mattered.


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}


phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
ifnotwinter
Member Avatar
half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
The cheerful high-five left Erik surprisingly relaxed. Here was someone else who wasn't worrying, who wasn't panicking, who was letting things come as they would. It was nice. Calming. Cooler heads prevailed, right? If they just kept their shit together, surely some option would present itself. It was ridiculous to think that this was it. They weren't going to...just die here, that was absurd. Impossible. No, they'd figure something out. They just had to remain sensible.

Unlike Tim Skula, who was shouting something about what gun Jasper-Declan had gotten. Erik swung around in order to listen better, just as Mike piped in that the gun was not in fact a shotgun, and then reeled off a massive amount of facts about what it was.

Well, that was...different.

And then Jasper finally decided to speak up, but in the worst way possible, rather nonchalantly informing Mike that there was no way out. Great. Erik rolled his eyes and took a step forwards, about to tell Jasper that he didn't need to be a dick about it and that yes, there probably would be a way out they just had to find it...but was interrupted before even beginning by Max's soft exclamation.

For a moment, he was confused. Then he saw Max's face, and his stomach dropped. Hard.

Had Max not realized? Erik had, waking up when he did, during Danya's speech and hell, he'd always been good at putting pieces together, but...had Max not? Suddenly, his cheerfully calm demeanor made sense. He wasn't just dealing with it, staying optimistic, working with what they'd got. He hadn't known. And now he did, and oh, fucking hell, this was not exactly what Erik needed right now.

Stay calm. Stay okay. His lips twitched for a moment in a private, inner smile. West Side Story, wasn't it? Stay cool, boy... He had a weird urge to snap his fingers, and suppressed it, leaning over instead to put a light hand on Max's shoulder, shooting a glare at Jasper behind him that would hopefully remind the socially-inept boy to shut up.

"Hey, dude." He hesitated, unsure of what to say. "Listen...I mean, this isn't it. There's gotta be...there's some way out. It's okay, it's gonna be...just. Don't worry. It's all cool."

Have to believe it. Have to.


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}


phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
ifnotwinter
Member Avatar
half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Between Mike's desperate optimism (and oh, god, Erik prided himself on being an optimist but all he could think of now was the fact that three, four if you counted the one that hadn't been broadcast, seasons of SOTF had been played out and the US government hadn't found anyone yet and sure, the law of averages were on their side but he couldn't help thinking why not before? and how do we know they'll find us this time?), Timothy's bitter cynicism, and Jasper's general lack of a clue...seriously, the guy seemed a good five miles out of the loop; didn't even talk like a high-school student, Erik was beginning to despair just a little bit. Especially when Jasper left, since there went the one chance of really defending themselves unless someone was allergic to pornography. Or could be tricked into eating cyanide, or...found hamburger phones really, really tacky.

But when Max spoke up, Erik found himself looking at the boy in a new light. Obviously he hadn't understood his place on Survival of the Fittest before, but now that he did...there was no hesitation. No desperation, just planning. God, Erik had practically gone catatonic. He'd cried. He wasn't usually embarrassed about crying, but hell, he'd figured he was supposed to be the strong one, and here was someone blasting in and taking over without a hitch. It was admirable. And...kind of sexy.

Sexy. Oh, christ, Bobby. And Brendan. His stomach twisted again as he realized two truths at the same time - one, that Brendan was still out there and could be dying, and two, that he'd thought of Bobby...unreachable, perfect Bobby Barren...before he'd thought of his boyfriend. Even being on an island and forced to kill each other didn't cure teenagers of shallow, apparently.

"Yeah. Yeah." He swallowed, shoving his hair back from his face and taking a step forwards. "Uh. Definitely with you dude, one hundred percent. And can we...look, this is a lot to ask, I know, but can we maybe keep an eye out for Brendan? Brendan Wallace? About...you know, yea high, good looking, uh...my boyfriend?"

Another thought hit him like a thunderbolt. "And Chloe! Chloe Strong, you fully know here...you know, kind of big, but totally awesome. And beautiful. God, yeah, Chloe. We should find her." He turned his head, pretended to rummage in his pack to hide the blush rising on his face. Not one of embarrassment so much as one of shame, that he hadn't thought of his friends. That he'd spent god knows how long just wallowing selfishly in his own misery.

"I don't...I don't really have a weapon, but a good size rock, maybe, or a branch...we oughta try and protect ourselves, y'know?"


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}


phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
ifnotwinter
Member Avatar
half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
((sorry sorry sorry ilu all))

Mike's plan had an unexpected spark of genius to it, one that Max and Tim both seemed to see almost instantly. Tim's smile, wide and genuine, looked oddly out of place on his pudgy features - but Erik found himself echoing it anyhow, expression splitting into a broad, relieved grin. With smiles all around, it was easy to almost forget the situation. Think of it like a team-building exercise, one of those wilderness out-trip things the school made them go on every now and again, not what it really was.

Cormorants cried overhead, but the noise was just bird-calls to his ears. He shouldered his bag, pulling his hair back into a tighter ponytail, squaring his shoulders. "Let's follow the yellow brick road, then." Setting off after Mike, dropping neatly into line, focusing all his energy on the plan, he could almost ignore the cameras in the trees ahead and the way that, far down on the beach, he could almost see figures. Didn't matter.

"Oz awaits, I guess. Let's go home."

((Erik Laurin continued elsewhere))


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}


phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
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