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Topic Started: Aug 13 2010, 11:03 PM (1,977 Views)
Solomir
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Nanotech Engineer
[ *  *  *  * ]
Tony was pissed.

He had just wanted to take a little break from the restaurant. Ma and Pa had been getting a lot more strict about his studies and Tony hadn't been able to get as much time to spend helping out. The senior trip would be some time away from home to blow off steam. But of course, things just had to go bad for him. Getting kidnapped and forced into Survival of the Fittest was not any definition of relaxing weekend: it wasn't relaxing to have to stalk around an island avoiding death, and it certainly wasn't going to only last a weekend.

He was going to spend most of the weekend hanging out with his buddies from the team. It would be the last time he'd be able to see most of them, besides graduation. Not that graduation mattered anymore. What mattered was that he was going to die if he didn't do something about this game. He needed to find allies, find some place safe, and avoid the killers. Tony wasn't in this to kill. He just wanted to make all this go away so he could go home.

Tony had woken up near the mouth of a tunnel that stretched into the nearby mountain, with nobody else in sight. His duffel was nearby, and nothing had been taken from it. Not that it mattered, since Tony had mostly packed clothes with a few snacks and drinks. The assigned daypack was another matter. Tony could feel the weight in it when he hefted it up. It seemed like he had quite the weapon, not that he was going to use it to kill anyone. But a good weapon would scare other people away, so that he wouldn't have to worry about killing.

Of course, it had to have been an iron. Fucking useless piece of crap, it would be useless for intimidating anyone. So he smashed it against the rock face of the mountain.

So, yeah. Tony Russo, now Boy 115, was pissed.

He had taken his stuff and gone into the tunnels. After all, it would probably be safer there than wandering the woods. Of course, the map that he had been given didn't do a good job of showing how the tunnels were laid out, so after about 15 minutes of walking around, Tony felt totally lost. Is there even anyone else on this island?

A few more minutes of walking in the dark tunnels, and Tony finally got his first hint that someone was nearby. Voices echoing through the tunnel from in front of him. Not voices he recognized though. At least I'm not imagining the whole thing about Survival of the Fittest.

Tony slowed his step, taking extra care as he moved toward the source of the sounds. He didn't know who was there, and they might not be nice. Tony wasn't sure who he would trust now. Probably Teo, or Ricky, or a few others from the team. Anyone else, Tony would need to be cautious of. He'd heard a little about what Survival of the Fittest was like in the past. Tony didn't want to become just another dead student, and the only way to make sure that happened was to be safe.

As the voices crept closer, Tony extinguished his flashlight. No sense in announcing to everyone in the darkness where he was. He waited a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. There was just a hint of light ahead, probably from the people who were talking. That gave him just enough vision to not walk into the walls. He could hear the voices more clearly now too, but he still couldn't recognize who it was. A few more steps closer, with his duffel carried carefully so as to not make any excessive sound. Words were starting to become clear now, and then Tony heard something that made his blood freeze.

Fuck my life, they have a gun. But Tony also caught the nervousness tainting the excited voice talking about the gun. Whoever this kid was, he didn't have the balls to shoot it.

At least not yet. It was only a matter of time before he got comfortable with the idea. Then people would be shot, and be killed. It was stupid. Whoever this kid was, had gotten a weapon that would be misused. He should have gotten something that was better for him, like that stupid iron that was in Tony's own pack. And then Tony would get killed because the kid didn't know how to use the gun for a good purpose. If Tony had the gun, then there wouldn't be a problem. He'd use it to make sure nobody tried to hurt other people. And once everyone was safe, he'd throw it away. If I had it... people would be safe. It would be better.

A plan began to form in his head. From what he could tell, there were only two people up ahead, and only that one kid had a gun. He could take on two guys; he'd done it before on the field. As long as he was fast enough, he could take them down long enough to get the gun. That was all he was going to do: get the gun. No matter how angry he was at Danya, it wouldn't be fair to take it out on these kids.

There was a slight turn before where the lights ahead seemed to come from. Tony edged up to it, taking care to be as quiet as possible. Then, he quickly poked his head out to get a quick look. He recognized one of them, the one with the gun: Tim Questiare. They had been in some classes together back in his freshman year at Bayview. He was pretty good in PE class, but never joined any teams. Tony didn't recognize the other guy with Tim. The two were spaced farther apart than Tony had supposed. It wouldn't be easy to take them both down at the same time. Tim was the one holding the gun; he'd be the first target.

Tony took a breath and counted to three in his head.

He broke into a run around the corner toward both boys. He was lucky there weren't many little rocks to get in the way and trip him up as he ran; Tim and Colin's flashlights gave some visibility, but the light only gave Tony an idea of where he was going. As his thundering footsteps drew him closer to the two boys, Tony made sure to keep his duffel close and up in front of him to shield from gunfire, while keeping a close eye on their position. One wrong step and everything would end wrong.

When the distance between them was closed, which took all of several seconds, Tony launched his plan into action. With a great push, he lobbed his duffel toward the boy he hadn't recognized. The fourty pounds of clothes, sleeping bag, and miscellaneous sports equipment hit the surprised boy with a thud, bringing him to the ground like a sack of bricks.

With the momentum granted by throwing the bag, Tony launched himself at Tim. After almost four years of playing football, tackling was pretty much second nature to Tony. He tucked in his head and hit Tim with his shoulder, backed by the momentum of his short sprint. The impact knocked the gun and daypack out of Tim's hands, sending them skittering across the stone floor of the tunnel. Tim himself was thrown onto his back several feet away.

The flashlights had been knocked out of their holders' hands and were now lying on the ground, illuminating far less of the cavern as before. Tony took a quick look around and found the gun had landed not too far away. He quickly ran over and snatched it up. Tony didn't know too much about guns, beyond what he had seen in movies. It looked loaded, and Tony easily located the safety and switched it off. Then he turned and trained the gun on Tim's fallen form. He didn't want to have to use it, but he needed to be sure he was safe.

"Okay," Tony said, the adrenaline adding an edge to his voice, "If you guys don't do anything funny, you'll get out alright." Tony slowly began stepping over to where he remembered throwing his duffel, continually keeping the gun on Tim. He just needed to get to his bag, and then grab it and run.

All according to plan.

((GMing of Colin and Tim have been allowed by their handlers))
V5


B036: Benjamin Ward: "Sh-shut the fuck up. Or I'll k-kick your ass."
B047: Marcus Leung: "Let's start by staying calm."


V4

Rest in peace

B004 - Peter Siu: "We're all fuck-ups."
G006 - Tiffany Baker: "Will you stay with me, until I wake up?"
G027 - Marybeth Witherspoon: "The cameras are pointing here, not there."
B115 - Tony Russo: "I'm sorry...."
G087 - Rachel Gettys: "I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell."
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Solomir
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Nanotech Engineer
[ *  *  *  * ]
Fire exploded all up Tony's right arm. He tried to whip his arm around, to point the gun at the offender, but it refused to move the way he wanted it to. Instead, it fell to his side like it was made of jelly. Tony roared as he spun the other way, bringing his free arm up to strike. He took a kidney shot for his troubles. The blow sent another wave of pain through his body, forcing it to submit to the onslaught.

To add insult to injury, as Tony fell, a heavy metal object collided cleanly with the side of his face. The blow rattled through his skull and he could taste blood as he fell to the ground.

Tony landed on his back, sending another lance of hot pain down his arm and shoulder. The gun clattered away from his grasp, bouncing a few feet away. He could feel a wet warmth trickling down his back. Not good. He'd been hit hard. He wanted to push himself back up to his feet, but it seemed his arm could no longer support the weight of a heavyset offensive guard.

Tony looked up to see the shadowy form of his attacker. There wasn't enough light to see any faces, now that the flashlights were scattered around on the ground, but Tony could guess who it was. He hadn't expected things to end up this bad. It was supposed to be a quick in and out, get the gun and nobody would get hurt. Sure tackling people wasn't the most diplomatic way of doing things, but the gun was dangerous. But clearly not as dangerous as the boy leveling the axe at Tony's face.

He hadn't wanted anyone to get hurt. He had failed in that.

Motion and noise from the side, as Timothy crawled up to the other boy and pried the gun from where it lay underfoot. The attacker, who was called Colin according to Timothy, seemed to hesitate at this interruption. Tony couldn't ponder this much as he was more acutely aware of the pain radiating from his back and the wetness that had now soaked most of his shirt.

"You gonna-" There was too much blood in Tony's mouth, as well as a tooth that had gotten knocked free from that last hit. He turned his head to the side to spit out the now useless tooth. He looked again up, not at Colin but at the head of the axe, and opened his mouth to continue speaking.

The brief pause had given him enough time to put the pieces together. Now was not the time to taunt his attacker.

"I didn't... I didn't mean to hurt anyone." Tony's voice was low, but it echoed in the narrow cavern. He lowered his eyes to the ground. How could he face up to the two boys he had just attacked? He had made stupid impulsive decisions and now all of them were going to pay for it. "I just thought that... that gun would be... be safer if we got rid of it." It sounded so much more stupid now that he'd given it voice. Tim and Colin probably wouldn't even believe him. At least Tony could trust his hot head to not think things through for that one last time.

The effect of the adrenaline was lessening, and the pain increasing to match. Tony could make an estimate on how bad the damage had been. His right arm was mostly useless from the attack. Blood was still seeping from the wound, though all Tony could feel was the unnatural wetness that soaked his entire shirt's back. He probably would die from blood loss in an hour. Even if they did manage to patch him up now, Tony couldn't foresee surviving much longer with a gaping shoulder wound.

But the pain continued to creep through his body. Either way, it was going to be long and painful. Tony was no stranger to the pain of getting cleanly tackled on the field, but this was nothing like it. It was like a fire lit up on his back and having knives stuck in every inch of his arm. Tony wasn't trained to endure this kind of pain.

"Colin," Tony said, trying to lend strength to his voice, "I'm sorry but I need a favor. Finish the job." It felt so unfair to be doing this now, but Tony couldn't do it himself. He probably couldn't have done it even if he had the gun himself. How could he expect someone else to oblige?

Because he'll need to learn to survive.

This whole game was unfair. The big able footballer had gotten a joke weapon while the two smaller kids had gotten far more lethal gear. Being fair was no longer important. All that mattered was getting the job done.

"You got me pretty good. I don't think I'll make it much longer, and it fucking hurts like you wouldn't know." Tony chuckled, but the laugh just sent more pain wracking through his body. "Just make it quick. I don't want to sit around with the hurting for too much longer."

Tony looked up toward Colin's eyes. Then he closed his eyes and took a deep ragged breath. Pain burned through every fiber of his upper body. "I'm sorry for asking this, but please." There was no way to hide the pain from his faltering voice any more. Please make it stop.
V5


B036: Benjamin Ward: "Sh-shut the fuck up. Or I'll k-kick your ass."
B047: Marcus Leung: "Let's start by staying calm."


V4

Rest in peace

B004 - Peter Siu: "We're all fuck-ups."
G006 - Tiffany Baker: "Will you stay with me, until I wake up?"
G027 - Marybeth Witherspoon: "The cameras are pointing here, not there."
B115 - Tony Russo: "I'm sorry...."
G087 - Rachel Gettys: "I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell."
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Solomir
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Nanotech Engineer
[ *  *  *  * ]
Tony wanted to turn back time. He wanted to go back before he had been stupid and angry enough to get Colin and Tim and himself involved in this mess. He wanted to not be hearing Colin's soft sobs as he struggled to make his decision. A decision that Tony had forced on him. A decision that would haunt Colin for the rest of his life.

Tony wanted the pain to just go away.

No. He wanted to live.

But what was done was done. There was no way Tony could turn back time, no way to go back and fix the mistakes of the past. Colin's words had hit close to home: Tony could have just approached calmly and talked instead of rushing in impulsively. Using words, carefully thought out and planned, instead of action, headstrong and irrational.

Just like other mistakes he had made in the past.




The night had been almost magical.

Sofia was looking beautiful tonight. As much as Tony liked seeing her all dirty and greased up from monkeying around with her cars, she definitely looked fine cleaned up and in a dress. Better than just fine. Mere words were not capable of describing how beautiful she looked that night.

Tony almost had to scrape his jaw off the floor when he had gone to pick her up. The way she had her hair done, the makeup that had probably taken her hours to put on, the dress that fit perfectly and showed off all her curves in the right places, and the way she held herself as she walked made her look more like a fine lady than the girl he had grown up with.

They had spent the night doing those things that most kids do on prom night. The food wasn't something to write home about, but eating with Sofia made him forget about the improper seasoning they had used on the chicken. They spent some time talking with each other, catching up on each other's lives in the past few weeks, as well as socializing with others. And they danced.

It was time together that Tony would never give up for anything in the world. They were memories that he would keep with him forever.

So as the night came to a close, it became Tony's gentlemanly duty to bring Sofia back home. It wasn't a particularly long way to Sofia's house from the rec hall the prom was held at, but Tony drove slowly. Even then, the trip seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, and Tony found himself with his arms around his prom date's waist as they exchanged their goodbyes for the night.

The two had gone to prom as friends. That at least had been the reason he had given Sofia when he asked her over a month ago. Looking at the beautiful girl that he held in his arms, he could no longer deny that it was just mere friendship they shared. Years of having known each other, of sharing stories of success and failure, of all the jokes and tears they had together, had all built up to this one moment. Tony leaned over and brushed his lips over the girl he had fallen in love with.

There was but a brief pause, and then Sofia lightly pushed him away.

If she had tried to say anything, Tony hadn't heard it. He had banked everything on this, and everything he had put into it was lost. He couldn't accept it. So he turned and walked away from the girl, unaware of anything besides his broken heart.

It had almost been a magical night. Until he went and screwed it all up.




"I'm sorry...." The words were too late to prevent any mistakes, too late to fix any damage, but they were the only words that Tony had left to use. It was too late to patch up his relationship with Sofia; he would be dead in a few hours at best, and there was no way she'd find him before then.

Tony could hear a deep breath, and directions from Colin for Tim to leave them alone. There was little indication of the power that had driven him into using that axe only moments ago. Tony couldn't imagine how difficult it would have to be for Colin to have to kill a defenseless person. All he could imagine was how much more pain it would be to wait to die from blood loss. Fire still burned up his arm and across his back.

Seconds became minutes. Long after Tim had walked away, Colin still stood there, loosely grasping the weapon that had become the instrument of death, that would become the executioner's axe. It was a heavy weight for one to carry; even heavier to be forced to raise it at another's request. Tony didn't know if there was anything he could do to make it easier for Colin. All he could do was say those words he probably had already said one too many times.

"I'm sorry..."

It brought Colin out of his stupor, if nothing else. With a few whispered words of apology, Colin sank to his knees, lowering the axe to the ground and wrapping his arms gingerly around Tony's semi-prone form. "Man," Tony coughed, "that's my line." The arms that held him felt warm. Not warm like the blood that had soaked his t-shirt, but a warmth that seemed to breathe life into Tony and ease his pain.

There was wetness in his eyes. Tony wanted to wipe away the tears before the torrent could be stopped, but his arm had ceased responding long ago. Even after everything Tony had done, everything he had inflicted on Colin and Tim, he was still being treated like a decent person. It was more than Tony could have ever expected. Colin was even asking if Tony had any last words.

He thought about it for a while. There were many things he could say. He could try to pass a message on to Sofia, or something for his family back at home. So many things, but that wouldn't be fair on Colin. Colin didn't want to be Tony's messenger boy, he was doing it because he felt obligated to do so. Except Colin didn't owe Tony anything.

"No matter what, Colin, don't blame yourself. None of this was ever your fault." Tony looked into Colin's eyes. It didn't matter how many tears were now running down his face or how pain-wracked and frightened his voice sounded. "I'm sorry for fucking everything up. I'm really, really sorry...." People said that when someone apologizes one too many times, each apology starts to carry less meaning. Maybe it was true that it became too reflexive, but Tony never thought that he was any less sincere each time he said it. "I'm sorry...."

Colin pulled himself to his feet and hefted up the executioner's weapon. Tony sighed in relief. He had held the shadow of doubt that Colin wouldn't follow through, especially after that last embrace. Colin spoke the last words of regret, that things could not have been better. Regret. Something that Tony was well familiar with.




"Antonio! What are you doing here?"

The shouting startled Tony out of his mindless chopping. The knife missed its mark on the onion and almost chopped off the tip of his finger instead. Tony muttered a curse under his breath. He shifted his attention from the chopping board to his Pa, who had just walked into the kitchen.

"I just thought I'd help out," Tony replied with a defiant shrug. He sure as hell wasn't going to let Emilio mess with the food. The last time that happened, the sauce got overcooked and was too thick. Tony could almost hear the complaints that the customers were a hair's breadth from saying. Even after that debacle, Pa was still letting him into the kitchen. It was almost a miracle that Tony had gotten to Emilio before any real damage had been done to tonight's food.

Pa Russo, on the other hand, didn't seem to be worried about this problem in the least. "You should be studying. Don't you have exams coming up?" Tony already knew where this was going to end up. Even though there was the senior trip coming up, the only thing his parents cared about were his academics. It had been like this for the past two years now. They'd just been worrying about school and not about his life.

Tony just sighed and went back to chopping onions. They still made him teary-eyed, but years of practice had taught him how to not end up sobbing all over the onions. Emilio would just stop every five seconds to wipe his eyes, which made the whole chopping process unbearably slow. Of course, even though Tony was far more handy in the kitchen, his parents would still make Emilio do the kitchen work while Tony got relegated to studying for school. On a good day, Tony might even be allowed to wait tables.

"Where's Emilio?" Pa's voice was closer now, and Tony tensed up in anticipation of his pa suddenly grabbing him from behind. Another defiant shrug, as if the ruse would work this time after weeks of failure. They knew that if Tony was in the kitchen, Emilio had likely been sent off on some mundane pointless errand. "You can't keep sending him out all the time, Antonio. He won't learn if you don't let him."

This was getting stupid. Always about Emilio. Never about Antonio. "It's already been fourteen years. If he hasn't learned by now, he won't learn anything." The last few words were punctuated by the audible slam of the knife against the chopping board. "He has no talent for this shit." Tony spun around to face his pa, now standing only a few feet away. Tony knew better than to raise his voice; there were customers eating outside. Still, fire smoldered in his words. "But I guess that doesn't matter right? As long as my life is miserable and this restaurant, that you poured your life into, loses business, as long as you can tell me what to do, that's okay right?" Tony stormed off to the door, brushing roughly past his pa on the way. Before he walked out the kitchen into the restaurant, he stopped to mutter one more thing.

"I'll show you and ma that you're wrong."

He didn't know it would be the last thing he'd say to them.




Tony couldn't go back to fix that. He couldn't go back to say goodbye to his parents or Emilio. "I'm sorry... Pa, Ma, Emilio," he whispered. They were words that would never reach, that would never mend anything. Apologies were all his life seemed to be for the last few years. Apologies and anger, which would be followed by more apologies. Just like now: rage followed by apologies. It seemed fitting that he would die with apologies on his lips.

"I'm sorry...." Tony and Colin both spoke in unison, tenor and baritone whispers resonating against each other seconds before the axe fell. It didn't slow down as it fell, like it did in the movies. It fell like a falling star, burying itself in his forehead and exploding in an inferno of pure agony. No longer was it just his shoulder on fire; it was now every part of his body. The fire burned out any other possible physical response. No screams. No thrashing. Just one single instant of pain so intense that nothing mattered.

Nothing except that Tony knew that this all could have been avoided. Nothing except regret.

And then nothing at all.

B115: Antonio Russo - DECEASED
V5


B036: Benjamin Ward: "Sh-shut the fuck up. Or I'll k-kick your ass."
B047: Marcus Leung: "Let's start by staying calm."


V4

Rest in peace

B004 - Peter Siu: "We're all fuck-ups."
G006 - Tiffany Baker: "Will you stay with me, until I wake up?"
G027 - Marybeth Witherspoon: "The cameras are pointing here, not there."
B115 - Tony Russo: "I'm sorry...."
G087 - Rachel Gettys: "I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell."
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