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Flowerhead; B025 Start
Topic Started: Aug 8 2010, 10:44 PM (3,532 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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Wake up, Liam.

Wake up, you're going to be late for school, and you have to work after! You can't get detentions!

Come on, now, the bus is almost here, get up!


Liam "Brook" Brooks, Male Student No. 025 Start

Brook squinted his eyelids shut. They felt heavy, but dry and itchy all at the same time. His back ached. His legs felt cramped. His ribs were a bit sore, and worst of all, his hair seemed tangled beyond belief. His bed was lumpy as hell, and whatever his mother was cooking... well, it didn't stand up to the breakfast of previous mornings. In fact... nothing stood up to anything of the previous mornings. Something was terribly wrong.

With a groan on his lips and an audible creaking in his back, Brook sat up with some help and leverage from his arms. All along his legs, through the seat of his pants and up his back, there was an undeniable damn feeling. Where the hell was he? Morning crust still laced his eyes, keeping them shut until Brook took the time to carefully scrape the gunk from them with his fingertips. Giving a ragged breath to hopefully yet futilely combat the cold, dew filled air, Brook opened his eyes to learn the falseness of his dream.

He could only look at the desolate scene for a moment or two before his head bowed. He had not been dreaming. The kidnapping was real, being strapped to that chair while his classmates, friends and foes alike were probably pissing themselves in terror, that was real. His teachers... what happened to some of them... the spattering of blood. When it happened, Brook could have sworn that a drop of it got on him, and the hyperventilation was uncontrollable from that point until...

What happened? Brook had been caught up in the moment to the point where it all just... blacked. He tried to remember the point at which it all went away from him, but was unable to pinpoint it. What was, important, however, was now. Now he was on an island, set to die, unless he could perform a mission simple in concept: kill every other Bayview senior on the island.

Brook's head pressed further into the cold comfort of his hands, a small, whimpering sob coughing up from his throat. He couldn't even fathom killing anybody, much less people that he had gone to school with, and his friends. He clutched at the device strapped around his neck - the device that would force him to obey the sick will of this organization.

I have no choice! No choice! I have to either play the stupid game or... no... there's gotta be something else I can do! Brook lowered his hands, standing up. "My friends... gotta find anybody, they could b-"

The sharp pang of realization pulsed through Brook's mind, fully waking him up to his surroundings and situation. He had to be quiet, and to be careful. He had to find his friends, to be with somebody who could make him feel safe, but words from last night (or was it last night at all? Maybe it was minutes ago, he had no way of telling as it still felt so much like a dream) spoke themselves in his head again.

You can't bring yourself to kill your friends? What if your friends could kill you?

Brook uttered a muffled whimper once more and turned around a full three hundred sixty degrees to get a full look at his surroundings. This area was a sad, sad waste, with trees cut down with reckless abandon... Clear cutting. He always hated the clear cutting method of woodsmanship, but there was no time to argue that now. Seeing a pile of lumber very near to where he had woken up, Brook tucked behind it. His knee brushed up against something, which upon closer observation was revealed to be the daypack that the terrorists had told him about.

He hurriedly sifted through it. There had to be something, anything he could use. Flashlight, first aid kid, water... everything that he had been told about. His groping hand felt something... cold and metal. He pulled his hand out with the heavy object to reveal a small, home-made looking gun.

"Oh... oh god..."
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No sooner than Brook had picked up the shabby yet ominous weapon from his daypack, a voice had called out to him. Before that, he wasn't sure if the silence was the most unwelcome part about the atmosphere. Its shattering held jarring results that might've been comparable to the unsettling feeling wrenching his guts to pieces, if all that slow tear on his mind and will had been condensed into a pane of glass that had now shattered.

The next second and a half felt nearly all the muscles in one particular boy's body lock up, practically tied up in knots. What was that? What was that, what was that, what was that, what was that!!!!? His head was the first part of his body to regain movement, at which point it jerked around to look in the direction of the offending voice. The rest of his body was quick to follow, his hand having already slipped into position on the small firearm. It was somebody coming to get him, had to be, for the words themselves no longer held any meaning. Any voice was a sign of somebody else near, and anybody else near was out to kill him. They had to be.

His arm was shaking, sweat was pouring out of his palms like faucets, and the gun now might as well have weighed as much as the heaviest dumbell in the gym. Even so, the gun was poised to shoot, his hand clenched on the grip so tight that his knuckles were white.

Easy...

Brook gulped, reaching with his left hand to wipe some hair out of his face; when he woke up, his hair tie had been missing. That voice... he was now trying to take it apart, analyze it as his eyes darted back and forth, trying to see who had called to him. It was somebody he knew.

Of course it is. It's one of your friends. You wanted to find them, they found you. Put the gun down.

One eye was clenched shut. He was far too scared to shut them both, but too confused to keep them both open. If he slipped up here, he was dead, his blood spilled out onto the ground and spattered on the logs. He couldn't have... have that. Who... who was there?

You couldn't listen to any of the words, you were so scared, but you know them... things are going to be alright, just stay calm. You can't kill anybody, they can't you. You're just kids.

And kids don't kill each other.


All of this had happened in the space of just a few seconds. As short as it was, Brook's wild internal rambling, waving of a gun, and frantic searching of something he couldn't possibly find in such a state had taken more than enough time for somebody to put a bullet in his brain or bury a hatchet into his skull. Yet he was still in once piece. His heart was not ready to let up, however. His heartbeat was as heavy and grueling as his breathing, and his arm remained rigid, the finger on the trigger. His eyes made a final slow sweep, settling on a sole unfelled tree, and a shape just barely visible behind it. Connected to the shape was a face and, while only a fraction of it was visible, it was enough to still jostle Brook, yank him from the current of hostility.

"J... Jason... it's you!"

His brain retrospectively heard the words as they replayed once more. He should've recognized that Aussie accent instantly, from all the ribbing he had done on it. It was the only thing that remained from a more peaceful world of balance, now thrust into chaos. "Oh god, I can't.... I can't believe..." Brook lowered the gun one inch, somewhat apologetically. Two inches. His entire arm went limp and fell to his side, with only his slightly curled fingers keeping the light firearm from dropping. He continued to stare in disbelief at a sign of solace, one that he thought he couldn't possibly receive, until he was unable to any longer. Falling to his knees, Brook tucked his head under his arm and began to cry once more.

"Ho-holy sh... shit, dude..." Brook choked and sniffed, shaking his head.
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Cheer up, emo kid.

Brook was so overloaded that, at first, he couldn't even process what Jason had just said. Jason, his friend, probably the closest he ever had at the school. Always there to be an absolute dork, woo the girls with his accent that Brook considered to be an unfair advantage, and to lighten up the mood. He thought that everything would be instantly better as soon as he found one of his friends, and here, Brook had lucked out about as hard as he possibly could. His best friend, right here to keep him company. It hadn't cheered him up one bit.

Brook stifled his sobbing, choking down what tears remained and snorting on a glob of snot in his nose that had loosened in his fit. Swallowing and clearing himself up, he straightened his back and looked up to Jason, though he hadn't the strength to lift himself up off of his knees.

He wasn't just looking at Jason, he was glaring. The gears were finally setting themselves back in place and turning, and the wires finally connected on what Jason just said. Cheer... up? Cheer up!? Just when I think you can't get any dumber... fuck... you stupid, upside-down Aussie FUCK! Brook's jaw had tightened up until his teeth began to strain under the pressure, and his masseter muscles quivered in exertion. At this very moment, his imagination was running without restraint, depicting him beating an exaggeratively emotional Jason with his bare hands, pistol whipping him a few times, and then shooting him.

Jason was looking around, though, not noticing his tantrum. Brook opened his mouth to speak, but his throat was too much of a strained wreck. Or maybe it was his mind? One or the other, he found himself unable to talk, and his mouth shut again with an audible 'clomp'. Could this get any more unbelievable?

Then Jason dropped another pun. The answer to that question was a resounding, kneecap shattering yes.

Brook rose to his feet to stare into the eyes of the other boy, shaking his head. "The hell are you on, sh-shithead!?" Brook growled. The hand that had a grip on the liberator was clenched as tightly as his left; to be completely honest, he had nearly forgotten about it, since the element of danger had been punted into the atmosphere to make way for irritation. "We're on an island, being told by some whackjob to kill each other, we're all sniveling wrecks, and you stand in front of me to make jokes!?" Brook's voice had raised by this point, his arms stretched out to either side of him. "What, you think you're punny or something!? You think this whole thing i-..."

Brook paused, his arms flopping back down to his hips. What was that he just said? ... Punny?

Oh. Oh son. Of. A. Bitch.

The poor boy drooped forward, shaking his head. "I hate you. I hate you so much..." His voice just barely managed to squeeze out the last word before Brook tilted forward, wrapping his arms around Jason in a hug. Jason was the type of guy who, hopefully, would be able to forgive him for all of that. This was just way too much to handle at one point, and he was unable to appreciate the fact that his best friend was, of all the times, putting aside his own tremendous stress to try and cheer him up. And in response, he had selfishly snapped back.

With a ragged sigh, Brook pulled back from Jason, turning in his left arm so he could cough into the crook of his elbow. A good deal of mucus had accumulated from all of his 'emo kid' tantrums, which he managed to dislodge. A bit got on the inside of his sleeve, but Brook caught some of it with his teeth and spat it out. Taking one more long, deep, ribcage displacing breath to get himself set, he looked back up at Jason and adjusted his hair while listening to the boy.

So, they had to find more of their friends, that made sense... strength in numbers. Sure. "I can't... I can't promise I'll be as uplifting as you, okay?" Brook started softly, trying to regain his indoor voice. "But thanks, man... I'll try to be as good to them as you were to me." Brook stared down to the junky little gun in his right hand, then back up to Jason.

"It isn't much... but I think if you give me a moment, I could try and figure it out. I've never actually worked a gun before, so... uh-". Brook was cut off by some sounds. It sounded relatively nearby, and, to his horror, Brook realized that they had to have come from another student.

"Oh god!" He bemoaned at his misfortune, pointing his weapon in the direction of the noise. "Y-You heard that too, huh?"
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Jason was going all alone, by himself. Brook was quick to hush up when his friend put his finger to his lips, but he couldn't stand the tension. Everything had gone so quiet all of a sudden... what if the figure had decided not to come out, to show themselves peacefully? What if they were going to leap out and shoot Jason?

Brook's arm quivered once more as panic began to set in. All he could image at this point was Jason walking around that woodpile, yelling 'freeze' similar to how a police officer would, and then...

The air erupted into pure war as a clap of mechnical-born thunder sounded, then echoed. Something slammed into Jason's chest, lodging directly into his heart and causing bits of skin, flesh, and cartilage to jump out of the point of impact. The boy, caught in the hands of fate, found himself flying back as Brook could only watch in horror. Jason never even got to scream, just screeching a short 'GA-' before hitting the ground with enough momentum to cause him to roll. When he came to a stop, blood was leaking everywhere.

Just... everywhere.

Brook's body had leaned a bit too far out of its comfort zone, thanks to him having grown a bit faint. As he shifted to regain his balance, he found Jason going to inspect the noise at the woodpile, saying something to the effect of having... whoever it was... flanked. So he was alive... Brook couldn't tell just what was real at this point, as his brain was trying to cope with what was going on.

However, he had to stay on task, help Jason. If Jason said that they were flanking this person, then... Brook was going to do his part. He was fairly tall, but that didn't mean he couldn't make himself hard to see.

Okay... nice and easy...

Brook poised his gun in front of him with both hands, like he had seen on TV once, and walked in a hunched-over stance as he rounded the woodpile. He felt a bit guilty for being able to acknowledge this, but he was sure that there was an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger that mirrored this situation. Besides... you know, being a high school senior, being abducted and put on an island with an uncomfortable device strapped to your throat, being forced to kill others... No. He wasn't doing that.

Brook had nearly rounded the whole pile, and his knees were quaking. Whoever it was, they had to be around the corner.

One.

Two.

"Hey, Jason. It's Nathan."

Wait, seriously!? Nathan? Brook let out a sigh of relief without having meant to. His cover blown, he pushed off on his lead foot and spun around the corner, gun pointed and at the ready anyway, until he saw what his ears had confirmed for him.

"That's right, you are fl..." Brook started, just in case it wasn't, but here he was... Nathan Choultard. One of his other friends, as luck would have it. Well, luck had REALLY shafted him in the ass as hard as it could as of late, so it was about time that it paid him back.

"Nathan! Is that really... oh my god..." Brook panted, standing up straight and finally lowering his gun. He wasn't safe, yet, though... it was hard to believe, but Brook had to come to terms with the fact that not everybody here was like Jason. Some people would've shot him, or stabbed him, or... who knows what else. He looked around nervously, raising the gun again... but not at Nathan or Jason. "We should... get somewhere safer."
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Jason, Nathan, and himself. The world had still been torn apart, but at least it looked like the winter frost was no longer going to be so chilly, so biting. Before, it had been so painful. It hurt Brook to even think about just a few moments before, to when he was completely lost. Jason had helped him, helped hold it all together, and for that, he was thankful. He still felt on edge, though; it was going to be him and Jason against the world, it seemed. They both had a gun, but could Brook really count on things working out? He trusted his entire life with his best friend, his foolish, idiotic best friend who was also his wisest and smartest, most caring companion. It was himself that Brook couldn't trust. He was too weak.

Nathan's appearance was at least remedying this a little. Now they had a trio, each a foil for one another, yet another level-headed flower that could be counted on the vine. Maybe he didn't know Nathan as well as he knew Jason, but he could say the same for just about any other person at school. Nathan was just about the next-best thing, and Brook considered himself highly fortunate to have found two of his closest friends having awakened near him. Maybe, just maybe, fortune was smiling down on him a bit, telling him things would be alright. Brook looked to Jason, and found solace in his confidence. He also thought... no, knew, that things would be just fine.

"You got anyone you wanna look out for Nath? You too Brook..."

Brook looked up at Jason, then back down to the gun in his hands. He idly fiddled with the clunky-looking thing, keeping it pointed away from him and everybody else. For the moment, it was just a toy, something that he could work around with as he thought and spoke. "... M... maybe Tiffany, if we run into her..." He mumbled. His anxiety wasn't going to melt away in just a few moments, but Brook's shoulders had dropped considerably from where they had been hunched before, his tears dried, and his voice unchoked. This was as good as he could get for the moment. When Jason unfurled the map, Brook kneeled to get a closer look as well. The more he could concentrate on anything mundane, such as this map, it made it a little better. Peering at the picture of his destination (Brook couldn't help but notice that the island they were on was shaped similar to a cow-skull... he had never seen anything like it) on the map, he almost felt like they were on some sort of outdoorsman camping trip: it was their mission to get to a specific area by nightfall.

And the murder of your classmates, or yourself, was a real possibility.

"Gun's up guys, we should get moving soon, but take a minute or so to figure things out ok?"

"Oh... uh, give me a moment..." It had occurred to Brook that he hadn't really given his weapon, as odd as it looked, a full-out examination. "You want to help me with this, Jason? I... I haven't had enough time to..." Brook sulked to his daypack, sifting through the contents. A manual... he remembered something about a manual that could help him with this accursed thing. After a nice thorough search, sure enough, his hand had found the smooth pages of... a guide to survival? Not what he was looking for, at least for the moment. Maybe he could read it when they got to wherever the hell they were going, but not now. Brook sniffed a little, getting the excess snot out of his nose as he scooped and groped around again. Finally, his fingers found the manual, and he set about reading it to make sure he knew how to load his gun or... do whatever.

As he got himself set, Nathan had excused himself for a moment. Well, that was just fine, he could do that. "He got a gun too, huh..." Brook mumbled to himself. Jason was the only one within earshot when he said that, probably, but it wasn't even directed towards him... just an observation. When he heard that it was a gun, though, Brook's eyes lit up. He had gotten a gun, Jason had gotten a gun, Nathan had gotten a gun... did everybody get a gun? Or did this small, isolated group just get very lucky? For optimism's sake, and to keep himself useful for everybody else, he convinced himself it was the latter. Brook stood up, slinging his daypack over his shoulder, and sluggishly returned to the other two boys with the utmost effort being put into keeping his chin up.

"JASON!"

"A-Augh, shit!" Brook choked, his hand nearly raising to point the gun again until his head had managed to process the voice, and Nathan responded in a less-than-worried manner.

It's... it's Ma'f? Hey, wh-what do you know... another friendly guy. Just... just calm down, Brook. Jason, Nathan, Ma'f... you're all gonna be cool. You're all going to make it.

His rough reactions to, well, just about everything made Brook think of something. He had already come to terms with his initial reaction of finding Jason, and that was embarassing enough to where he didn't want to go over that again... he rubbed the back of his head when he thought about it. Nathan, though... Nathan couldn't have felt too good when... "Hey, uh... no hard feelings about the gun being pointed at you... right Nat?" Brook mumbled, still on the fence about whether or not he should be worried about Ma'f, even if it was just because he wasn't in the mood for surprises today. "Hopefully we can just get out of here soon..."
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Jason...

Nathan...

Maf...


And himself. Brook thought about the four of them, the four kids who would spend their days on the island together. These days could very well be their last. Brook sniffled a little at the thought, but he allowed himself no more tears. He had already broken down, he had already hit the bottom of his depression, his wallows in the despair of uselessness. There was no more time for that now that his friends were here, though. Jason had helped him to his feet, Nathan offered hope, Maf gave him strength. They were holding up just fine, no tears, no sniveling... so why couldn't he?

The four had begun to set out for nowhere definite, but according to the map which he had peered at, there was a residential district over in that direction. This was his new life it seemed, and he was determined to live it out to the end. Sure, his nerves were still going a hundred miles a minute, but all four of them were armed with guns. Maybe, just maybe, that was enough to scare others off, if anybody decided to try and hurt them. If it worked out like that, then they wouldn't have to kill anybody!

But then they'd just die after twenty four hours, wouldn't they...

Brook looked over the gun in his hands, the gun which he'd probably have to use. Once he got a moment to sit down without some tears pouring out of his eyes, he'd have to learn to use it, at least to protect himself. He was going to die, and he knew it. End of story. He wasn't killing Jason, which meant he couldn't be the last one alive. As long as he dressed it up like that, knowing that at least Nathan, Maf and Jason were all there for him, Brook felt like he could make it. Life or death.

Wake up, Brook... wake up, and smell the roses...

((Liam "Brook" Brooks, continued in The Only Way Is Up))
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Sep 1 2010, 09:18 AM.
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