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No News is Good News; G097
Topic Started: Aug 28 2010, 02:31 PM (3,791 Views)
Outfoxd
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Lily Maclaughlin was alive. She was awake. And for the moment, she was entirely lost.

The journalist girl had her back to one of the myriad felled stumps in the area she had woken up in a short while before, her body hunched over the only thing left to her not in the daypack; her small notepad. She had it balanced in her left hand, while her right scribbled away with the small golf pencil she carried. Strands of her brown-dyed hair had fallen loose from her ponytail and hung from her head, framing eyes that seemed almost vacant.

What Lily was writing could have been notes, if it made any sense. The words didn't follow any structure, any form. She scribbled close together; letters overlapped, slipped into the margins, bullet points lost in a sea of shorthand and abbreviations that probably didn't mean anything.

She kept telling herself she was writing up the situation, that she was taking info, as if this island, this whole game was something she could take interviews on, that she could compartmentalize and put into a nice 350 word story in AP format (Updated for 2008 of course) and shoot off to the paper for editing. Honestly, it was the only way she could deal with the shock.

Halfway through her fifth little page of scribbling the pencil broke. Lily stared at it, as if it was a friend that had betrayed her. With a frustrated growl, she threw the pencil, watching it bounce off a stump before sliding out of sight. She looked back to the sketchpad, and saw, probably for the first real time, what she'd been doing. She recognized none of it.

Lily replaced the notepad in the pocket of her capris and buried her face into her hands. There were tears in her eyes, but she rubbed them out of her face with the heels of her hands. She'd already done that before, and she didn't think she could handle crying again.

She was going on the camping trip to cover it, thinking it'd be a good feature for the issue when the class came back. Not like she had any real desire to be in the woods. Then again, she might've even had fun. Then the horror started. She remembered the auditorium, the man...Danya. Lily knew plenty about Survival of the Fittest; several of the major news outlets she watched aired specials on it almost all the time. Not once, not ever did she expect she'd on it. If she didn't absolutely believe she was going to die, Lily might have believed she could've gotten an amazing story out of this whole deal.

It didn't help that they gave her a book on plants. When Lily had rummaged through her pack that was the first thing she saw, and she almost didn't want to believe she'd been saddled with it. She still didn't throw it out, maybe thinking it would be handy at some point. Maybe she just needed a talisman. She still didn't believe she'd be alive for very long. She'd heard gunfire, which meant someone was falling into the paradigm quite well.

"Maybe I'll have to write obituaries soon." She said aloud, and almost laughed with the absurdity of it.

She stayed slumped against the log for awhile, and finally grabbed her daypack. She was sure she was done for, but she'd be damned if she let the fact go without trying to change it. She shouldered the bag and pulled out the compass that had been provided, trying to get her bearings.

"A high school class of over 200 was kidnapped and forced to compete in near gladiatorial combat this week, according to reputed sources..." She muttered, and had to stop herself from giving another grim laugh.
Edited by Outfoxd, Nov 18 2010, 12:01 PM.
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Leona Van Kamp
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Outfoxd
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Lily had been about to set on her way when a cry of pain from behind her draw her attention. When she wheeled around to look who had made the noise, it was hard for her to see at first if there was anybody at all. She got lucky when she looked down a bit, and saw Miranda Merchant sprawled out on the ground, from the looks of things having tripped over the stump.

For a cold-gut half second, Lily wondered and almost believed if the girl had been stalking her, maybe thinking about killing her, but she let that thought go. Lily had seen her around when she'd interviewed the swim team once, and though the girl seemed a little bit standoffish, Lily didn't think she was anything more than that. Truth be told, Lily was just happy she'd run into someone at all.

"Hey, are you alright?" She called out, and started to hop over and skirt the stumps in her way, taking care not to trip. First thing you say to anybody on this island, and it's a question. Next you'll be taking down her initial thoughts on the game and her plans, Lily thought as she jogged, with no small amount of bitterness toward herself.

The journalist made it to Miranda and knelt beside her, taking care to put at least a foot of space between her and the prone girl. Lily wasn't about ready to give anyone the benefit of the doubt yet, If you assume, you make an "ass" out of "u" and "me".

"Are you....Are you playing this game?" She asked, and felt stupid for doing so. She felt like a hooker asking a potential customer if he was a cop or not.
Edited by Outfoxd, Nov 18 2010, 12:03 PM.
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Leona Van Kamp
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Lily flinched a little as Miranda picked the skin off of her shins. The fall she took had to have been nasty. Taste of what's to come....you're gonna see a lot worse. The thought came to the forefront of Lily's brain, but she pushed it back abruptly. It wasn't going to help anyone to think like that.

Though it didn't seem like Miranda was going to be any help either, considering she has just answered Lily's question in the affirmative. As quick as she had knelt down by Miranda, she stood up, taking a step back for distance.

But something about the way Miranda answered Lily didn't seem to hang right. Lily had the benefit of experience in interviewing people. Miranda hadn't seemed sincere. It definitely helped that the girl was still prone, a little worse for wear, and not armed that Lily could see.

But just the fact that Miranda said it added to Lilly added to her despair. She didn't want to be here. If she had to be here, then she didn't want to be alone. But the first person she had met since being dropped on this island had suggested she had killed people, or was intending to.

Lily felt her hand creep into her pocket, and it closed around the notepad she'd been frantically writing in moments before. Holding it was calming, like it was a talisman. She wish she had a pencil, wish she hadn't thrown hers into the grass. She probably could've scraped a point out of it with her fingernails.

"Who...How many?" She asked. The questions rolled off her tongue as easily as if she was interrogating a source, but with a cold edge to it. Lily slid her daypack off of her shoulder and her hand out of her pocket, reaching in as if grabbing hold of something in the pack. Lily wasn't armed, but Miranda didn't know that.

She tried to make it look like something particularly dangerous was in her hands, and kept a poker face. She hoped to God that the fact she just wanted to not be alone in this wouldn't show through.
Edited by Outfoxd, Nov 18 2010, 12:05 PM.
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Lily stared Miranda down, still holding on to her flat expression as best she could as she waited for an answer. She was scared, terrified, because if Miranda saw through her bluff and she really was playing...well, Lily was only so much dead meat. Miranda's hesitation only served to make it more difficult for Lily to hold on to her expression.

When Miranda finally answered, the building tension in Lily's shoulders relaxed and she almost folded in half, she was so relieved. She slid her hand out of the bag and threw it back up on her shoulder. She almost considered showing Miranda that she'd only been clutching the stupid fucking book she'd been given, but didn't. She didn't entirely trust the girl yet, and it might be handy to let her think Lily was armed.

"Thank God...I was...I didn't want to believe anyone was playing." She dropped to her haunches, brushing an errant strand of her hair out of her eye, and regarded the taller girl with a quizzical look. "Why would you lie about something like that? What if I had tried to k....What if I had bad judgment?" Lily's voice noticeably wavered this time when she continued her line of questions.
Edited by Outfoxd, Nov 18 2010, 12:07 PM.
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Lily let her head drop as she gave a small, almost inaudible laugh. Weakling? Christ, did all this bring out new sides to people. "You won't have to...Have to worry. I only ever wanted to cover the news, not make it, you know?" She stood up again, feeling the joints in her knees pop like gunshots.

"I think we should stick toge..." Lily was about to say when Miranda exclaimed, and followed her sight. She couldn't talk at first, struck dumb by the sight of Sarah Atwell walking into view, looking like she'd spent the morning chopping meat. Miranda beat her to the obvious question, so Lily was content to gape. She was glad the girl found them, glad to have another member to the makeshift group, but something seemed off. The girl's question unsettled Lily just a little bit. Why did it matter what weapons they have? Then again, maybe the girl didn't want to run with people who had nasty surprised for her.

Lily tried to bite down on her fear, but it kept trying to get away from her. Seeing a near-hysterical and bloody girl striding into view made it hard to remain calm. Anyone who could was a fucking robot.

"Are you....Are you hurt?" Lily ventured to Sarah after Miranda sat down.
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Lily didn't think she was skilled at comforting people. As a journalist, she spent most of her time outside of events, observing, reporting. It helped that actual tragedies during her run on the school paper were mercifully absent. This is why Lily felt awkward as she walked over to Sarah, her initial feelings of distrust initially lost in the face of whatever horrors the poor girl had likely seen.

"Hey, come...Come here. Sit down with us." She said, resting her arm lightly on the girl's shoulders, intending to guide her over to where Miranda was already sitting.

Lily looked at Miranda as she asked the girl where she found their slain classmate. "Does it matter? If our class is really participating in all this, I don't think we'll be safe anywhere."

Lily patted her pocket with her free hand, as if reassuring herself that the notepad was still there since the last ten minutes she checked. Christ, she wish she had a pen. She wanted a pen like a career smoker wanted a cigarette. Being able to write some of this down would've made her feel a lot better.

"Miranda, I just woke up. What things have you seen? How..How long have we been here?"

Maybe a tape recorder. Yeah, Lily would've killed for a digital recorder, even one of those cassette tape monstrosities, if only to keep a running record of what was going on.
Edited by Outfoxd, Sep 27 2010, 01:38 AM.
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Lily almost laughed at one of the things Sarah managed to say through her tears. Calm and collected. She couldn't speak for Miranda, but Lily was far from that. About as calm as an LA highway in rush hour. At least it reassured Lily of one thing; her ability to bullshit wasn't completely gone. Otherwise the fact that she was terrified would've cracked through the surface easily.

Lily almost felt good about Miranda being paranoid, meant she wasn't alone in how she felt. Considering what was going on, the journalist figured she'd soon be worrying about every little sound too. A cracking twig in the woods could be a classmate with a machete or a baseball bat or an automatic weapon ready to kill themselves a little bit closer to a ticket home.

Lily couldn't believe she'd been asleep for a whole day. It was a miracle that someone hadn't come along and put her down while she'd been doing her best Sleeping Beauty impersonation. Then again, maybe it would've been a blessing to not have to see whatever was in store for her in the next few days. Lily made mental notes of the names Miranda dropped, in case they (they, she had no intentions of splitting away from the group) ran into any of them. Not that it mattered right now. If Sarah said there was a big guy slaughtering people nearby, Lily wanted to have as much real estate as possible between her and him.

"Breaking off from the group is the absolute last thing I want to do at this point, Sarah." Lily said. Something about the girl seemed off, though. Lily didn't want to be suspicious, couldn't afford to be, but something didn't sit quite right. She waited as Miranda asked what weapon Sarah had, which would've been a useful piece of information.

While she waited for Sarah's answer, Lily tried to go through her mental database and try and figure out what weapon she could pretend she had in case she had to bluff her way through a situation in more detail. She thought a gun might be best; her previous ruse with Miranda had probably succeeded based on her fears that it was a gun. But what kind would be believable? Lily could've rattled off one or two names that meant little to her but hopefully meant nothing to them either. Beretta, Glock, Smith and Wesson, names she knew in general but had no models to go with them. Details are everything, she had always learned from her mom when working on stories. Details made or broke writing; a generic title wouldn't lend much credibility to her bluff.

Lily thought more, to her father. He had had a gun, some ugly, black thing with a short barrel. Lily had asked about it once when she was about 14, her natural curiosity somehow held on it until then. He had told her, simply, easily,

"Some people're unreasonable when it comes to spending money. Had one customer pull a knife on me when I told him his Caddy was about dead unless he spent quite a bit. I keep my Model 36 on me in case that ever happens again." He had ruffled Lily's hair, a gesture she was annoyed by back home but sorely missed now. "Want to be sure I get home to you, baby."

Lily wished she could guarantee doing the same for her father, but at least she had the foundation for her bluff now. Her father had a Smith and Wesson Model 36 revolver, so now, that's what she had as far as anyone else on the island knew.
Edited by Outfoxd, Nov 18 2010, 12:10 PM.
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Leona Van Kamp
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Outfoxd
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Lily looked at Sarah's key and almost laughed. What were the odds that someone would have a weapon even worse than her little paperback? Maybe better than she thought. Lily snuck a glance at her own daypack; maybe she wouldn't even have to pretend she had firepower. Not that she was going to chance telling the truth, but it was the thought that counted.

Lily shrugged at Sarah's question about it. "Maybe it opens up a military base with a tank. Or the island's supply of Little Debbie's snack cakes. Sky's the limit, right?"

Maybe there's a locked room full of ballpoint fucking pens somewhere.

Lily felt her hand creep back to the notepad in her pocket.

Lily did at least feel relieved that the group would be sticking together. Before, Lily was worried Miranda might've been trying to take off. Lily got the feeling the girl wasn't among her admirers, starting with her trying to pass herself off as a player upon their initial meeting.

When Miranda asked her question, Lily did find herself wondering at Sarah's less than optimal plan of action. Lily entertained the idea that the swimmer might've been a good journalist if she tried.

But Lily figured Sarah was just too rattled to think straight, assumed the girl had seen way too much in such a short time to have come to her senses yet.

What was that about assuming things?

In any case, Lily really did want to get the hell out of the area like Sarah said.

"Guys, I think we can ask stuff like that later. We're standing out in the open and if whoever it was that killed Eve has a rifle, a bow and arrow, a slingshot, whatever, we're in bad shape. Just too bad we're not in a spot with standing trees." Lily said, and kicked a stump lightly for good measure. The journalist adjusted the strap on her pack, ready to make good on her own advice.
Edited by Outfoxd, Nov 18 2010, 12:11 PM.
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Lily watched as the swimmer gathered up her stuff and made good on her statement, heading off quickly enough to make her a little nervous. Sarah hadn't done anything outwardly threatening short of coming into view covered in blood, but still, something about her seemed to Lily just a little bit off. In any case, Lily felt oddly unsettled with being alone with the girl.

"Let's go," She said to Sarah, making sure her pack was evenly distributed on her shoulders, and gave one more short pat to the notepad in her pocket, for luck. With that, she walked after Miranda.

((Lily Maclaughlin continued in Hearing is Believing ))
Edited by Outfoxd, Nov 18 2010, 12:12 PM.
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