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Haven't You Got Eyes in Your Head?; Private thread, but it's worth it. Trust me.
Topic Started: Aug 28 2010, 09:35 PM (3,459 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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((Ivan Kuznetsov, continued from A Solitude That Asks Nothing in Return))

His eyes had not left the position from which they were locked. Dead ahead, squinted attentively, focusing on where he needed to go, that was all that mattered to Ivan. If it weren't for the tight grip his hand had on Tabi's, he would have no idea whether or not she was lost. Ivan wished he could let go, as his right arm was in searing, white-hot pain, but as much as he wanted for the pain to go away, as much as he wanted to be alone, his body wouldn't allow him to have either. For whatever reason, he was intent on having this girl stick around. He tried to justify it with some ulterior motive based on survival: using her as a meatshield, an extra set of eyes, something that wasn't just her company.

Ivan didn't need the company of some random girl he hardly knew, he needed the company of his brother, his aunt, his mother. He needed to be home.

His body was drenched with sweat and, at least for his right arm, what was probably blood, but Ivan hadn't dared to look. He had to cover as much ground as possible, get away from Clio, away from that gun, away from what could have very well been death staring him in the face. To think that some of his classmates had already started losing their composure and attacking. Well... that was all the more reason to stay away from as many people as he could, at least until he could get his mind into order, do what needed to be done. The girl... Tabi, she had said her name was Tabi after he had thrown her to the ground (where she had subsequently pissed herself... how promising). She seemed healthy, but at the moment, fundamentally useless. Still, something drove him to keep her around.

As Ivan allowed his body to slow down, the adrenaline seeping away from him, the first thing he had noticed was just how much his arm hurt. This was the sort of pain he was familiar with; he had once ripped his shoulder open on a piece of chain-link fence that had snapped into a couple of jagged pieces. That was acute pain, just like this. More short-term terror, but as Ivan hissed through his teeth to try and combat the sting, he could at least fall back on the memory of when he had twisted his shoulder. That was far worse.

The second thing that came to him was that this area was dramatically different from the woods on the edge of that salty beach. The trees had thinned, and the terrain was more rocky, more mountainous. It had been that way for a while, as well; for all he knew, he could be halfway up a damn peak. He would have to slow down his pace anyway if he wanted to get anywhere, which Ivan reluctantly did. He looked at the girl that he had been dragging with him all this time, to her scared face, then to her hand, which he let go of. The very next thing that he saw was his arm, and the jagged streak that ran almost perfectly horizontal to his shoulder.

"Shit..."

That was all he could utter at first. Ivan took a step or two, letting his umbrella fall at his feet. So, he had really been shot. That whore, that cunt, she had really shot him. Well, of course she had. It wasn't like that sharp pain in his arm was a mosquito or anything, but Ivan had hoped that maybe he had just scratched it, or... or damn it, something! It was a stupid thing to hope, but anything was better than this, better than bleeding this much blood.

"Shit... shit... SHIT!" He built up to a scream, clutching his shoulder with his left hand and turning on his heel to glare at Tabi. "Well, hope you're happy!" He snapped at her. Maybe it wasn't fair to Tabi, but he really could care less about her feelings at the moment. He got shot over getting her out of there, so she better at least be of some use to him later. The very least he could do at this moment was survey his surroundings. A few trees, rocky dirt, a fallen log that they could sit on... the basics. Oh, and a girl who still had a giant wet spot over her crotch.

Classy.
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Aug 28 2010, 10:06 PM.
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((Tabitha "Tabi" Gweneth continued from A Solitude That Asks Nothing in Return))

Tabi had clutched the blondes hand as tight as she possibly could have when it had been reached out to her. As she did so, she began to squint and looked only ahead of him, tunnel vision taking hold of her. Her breath becoming heavy as she moved forward, turning into heavy panting. It wasn't until her rescuer stopped and let go of her hand that she began to realize where she was and how far she had gone. The pines of the forest were now sparse and the elevation had caused her ears to feel stuffy with the increase in pressure.

Tabi bent down, her hands on her hips, as she tried to regain her breath. Her whole body felt uncomfortable. Sweat beaded to the bridge of her nose, mixing in with the mud and grime of the swamp and dropping down into the gritty dirt bellow. She wiped her arm around her lip in an attempt to remove the snot under her nose and the blood that was pooling around a cut lip. She swallowed hard, and the pressure that was in her ears, dissipated into nothing.

When she stood back up and turned to her companion, she saw the blood...

It stunned her for a moment, at first it looked like a bizarre tattoo that was running down his right arm. However when the blood began to drip into the rock face she screamed. She had only seen this much blood once or twice in real life and those times there was an ambulance minutes later.

"Oh my god, oh my god! Are you alright!" she said, running over to the bloody arm stretching her arm out to it, "Can I do anything to hel-"

"Well, hope you're happy!"

Tabi reeled back, staring straight at the harsh blue eyes. She felt so small right then, the continued stare caused her to wilt away from him, fresh tears welling up into her eyes. He was right, it WAS her fault, it's because she was saved by him that he had been shot at by Clio.

"I'm s-s-so-so sorry" she sobbed turning her back to him, "I didn't mean for y-you to ge-get shot..."

She moved over to a nearby rock and sat down, she placed her arms onto her knees in an attempt to stop them from shaking but to no avail. This wasn't supposed to happen! She was supposed to go to a park and camp, have the time of her life and graduate.

"I don't even know where I am," she thought aloud through the sobs, "I don't even know who YOU are! I'm just s-so sorry..."
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Ivan shook his head to Tabi's reaction of anxiety, apprehension, or whatever the hell it was. He didn't have time for something like that when so much blood was leaking from his arm. He thought for sure that the wound itself wouldn't be fatal; there were no important organs hit, and he didn't see any blood spurting energetically (would've been ridiculous if a graze, a GRAZE, of all things, were to kill him), but the flow was still deserved some mention and thought. So, the girl was worried about him? Well... GOOD. This was her fault, and a bit of gratitude and fear was definitely nice. He followed her with his eyes as she moved about, sitting down on a rock. Great... it looked like she was about to cry. That was EXACTLY what he needed.

Ivan had a large glob of spit accruing in his mouth from working his jaw in frustration. Instead of swallowing it as he had before, he felt more inclined to spit it out on the ground. He watched the wad hit the rocky dirt with a near-silent splat, almost depressing in its insignificance. If he died, would anybody outside of his family care? Ivan knew he didn't exactly have a ton of close friends on the island... would any of his classmates care if he turned up amongst the dead? He knew at least one of them wanted him dead, possibly two, and both for very little reason at all. Others could be out to get him, and this only served to further the point: Ivan was nothing more than an extra in a large cast of this show. He'd be a statistic when somebody finally offed him.

If that was how it was going to be, at least Ivan was going to have his piece beforehand. He would die on his own terms if he had anything to do with it, and that involved, most immediately, NOT bleeding to death. Giving a short look to Tabi, Ivan walked with a foot-dragging gait over to the fallen log near her rock, sitting down and slinging the daypack off of his shoulders. He remembered checking through it earlier, finding a few important things before everything went even further down into hell than they already were. Digging past the rations for the time being (though this reminded him of his salt-spurred thirst), his hand found the first aid kid. With his trusty 'weapon' at his side, Ivan opened and rummaged through the kit with his left hand until he found what he needed; a small roll of gauze bandaging should've served his purpose just fine.

"... Hey." He looked to Tabi, repeating the verbal jab if she hadn't been paying attention. "... I need help with this. You're not squeamish, right?"
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It's all my fault, it's all my fault...The guy's bleeding like crazy and it's cause I did nothing...

Tabi tried to wipe her eyes in attempt to calm herself. She breathed deeply in an attempt to regain her composure. She found herself still shaking, but not crying. She stared down at the ground, brought her legs closer to her and hugged them, not wanting to look at the damage she had caused

"Hey... I need help with this. You're not squeamish, right?"

She turned towards the blonde man, there was a lot of blood to deal with. She had helped some of her fellow skateboarders with minor wounds, but a gunshot wound was something completely different.

Of course it was completely different, it was a freaking gunshot wound! This was a way that she could help him out! She had at least some medical experience, however minimal, but damn it she had to do something!

"Sure...um I can help yah out..."

Tabi's mind tried to wrap around what she had done to heal wounds, or at least to bandage them up...Water! She needed water to clean the area around the wound. She dug her hands into the open bag and found a canteen full of it.

"Um, I'm sorry," she said moving her still shaking arm towards his bloody sleeve, "This is gonna sting a little..."

She moved his sleeve back as far as she could with one arm, revealing the bloody mess that was the wound. She breathed a sigh of relief that it seemed to be a graze, almost like an over-sized cut. She began to pour a little water around the wound in an attempt to clear the blood away. She then screwed the cap back on and rummaged through the first aid kid.

"Um um um...oh here we are! Antiseptic spray!"

She sprayed around the area in an attempt to avoid any kind of infection. She normally used Polysporin to heal the area, but this would have to do.

Tabi finally grabbed the roll of gauze and gingerly wrapped it around the boy's wound. As she did so, she noticed that there was a slim collar around his neck, she had seen a lot of goth kids wearing some sort of collar as a fashion statement, but he didn't exactly look like a goth kid...

"Hey..." she said as she finished wrapping up the bandage, "I uh...I was wondering...wh-who are you and um...what exactly is going on I mean...why was Clio shooting at us?"
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For a moment, Ivan had felt... a little bad.

Not about making Tabi patch up his wound like that, hell no. He could hardly bear to look at or touch it, and considering it was her fault anyway, it was her job. No, he felt a little bad about laying into her so hard, rubbing it in that it was her fault. He had seen people on the court who liked to rub in the fact that they had just won. Ivan despised those types of people, and there were plenty of parallels to be drawn between them and how he had just acted.

But it WAS her fault, even so.

Ivan attempted to justify it, but he was having doubts about just how much Tabi had really caused. He could have just left her there to Etain and Clio, but with Clio there, and Etain's apparent lack of sense (and intelligibility), perhaps she wouldn't have made it out of there. Why did he care? He didn't know, but it was very possible Ivan just didn't want to be alone. There was a new thought...

But then again, the fact that he did get her out of there, and was injured for doing so, she should at least be thankful. And yet again (again), it was Ivan's choice... not hers.

Fine. I'll stop yelling at her, but I don't have to like-

His thoughts had drawn his mind away from the pain in his arm for a while, but he could only keep up the wall for so long. Tabi had been tending to his wounds, wiping and cleaning, and had apparently found some sort of spray. He didn't know how, since in his rush to find the bandage, he didn't see the anti-septic spray and hadn't really been listening to her as she was working on him, and as such, the jet of the spray had come as a bit of a shock. It hurt, and he hissed loudly to let Tabi know that it hurt, but he didn't move, and continued to focus his stare elsewhere.

Mere moments later, Ivan could feel the final touches to the gauze bandage being placed on his arm. It wasn't as though he had just gone to the nurse's office or something, but as he slowly, tentatively shifted his right arm to feel only a minimal haze of pain (to be expected from being shot), he realized that Tabi at least had some knowledge of what she had just been doing; at the very least, that was another reason to justify keeping her around.

As she had finished up and Ivan was testing the healing, though, Tabi had said something. A few things which... seemed rather basic. Well, not his name. It came to no surprise that Tabi didn't know who he was, yet he knew her. It was that way for a lot of the students, and he liked it that way some of the time, but he honestly wished that people would acknowledge his presence on the tennis team, and as its captain. They could keep the acknowledgement silent, sure, but at least it would be there.

"... I'm Ivan," he said as he stood up, trying to contain his patience. "... You're Tabi. That's not important. What IS is that we're on an island, fighting to the death. Clio is playing the game, she wants us dead. I'm not playing, but don't think that makes me some hero or anything."

Ivan tapped the bandage with his finger for a second. Damn... she really did do a good job.

"Because there are no heroes here. You understand?"
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Tabi placed the rest of the gauze roll back into the medical kit and managed a tiny smile before having a small fit of sneezing again. So the person who saved her life was named Ivan. She tried to put the name through her rolodex of people that she 'knew' and she found that she DID know an Ivan, or at least know of an Ivan. There was this Ivan that was on the tennis team at Bayview...Tabi began to feel very confused, he made it three people that she ran into that were from Bayview, not to mention herself...

What on earth was going on here...

The answer came quicker than Tabi Gweneth had expected and it started to make her tremble again. It was all starting to make sense and she didn't like it one bit! There was only one possible 'game' that was out there where people were fighting to death and explained why she had seen so many classmates there already...

"W-we're on...S-Survival of the Fi-Fi-Fittest...aren't we Ivan?"

Tabi slowly began to stand up, trying to maintain a balance while her body continued to shake. She had always thought that it was some television show. It was just like Survivor or Big Brother or The Hills. It wasn't really real right? The people in the past three versions only three had lived right. But that meant that so many others had died...

D-d-did that mean...

Tabi scrambled to stand in front of the blond athlete her hand starting to reach out for him, before her mind stopped her from doing so.

"B-but...but you saved me Ivan! I-I was going to be shot and you...you..."

She stared down into his eyes hoping for something tangible, something to say that he was didn't mean what he said, but she couldn't find anything there...

"You saved my life..."
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((Keith Christoph continued from Woods of Paranoia))

The air on the mountain was cooler, crisp. It would have seemed rather nice when compared to the duff-filled air of the darkened woods, except there seemed to be something odd about it. Keith couldn't really put his finger on it, but as he trekked up the path, looking for an ideal spot to rest, he took a peek up at the sky. Whatever this feeling was, it was... 'foreboding'? Was that the word?

Something so intangible was hardly the forefront of Keith's worries, though, and he had to keep that at the front of his mind. There were likely to be more students losing his mind just like that Brennan loser, and the odds of him running into Jimmy himself, once again, were a bit more than thin. He'd rather not run into anybody for the time being, but he was really, REALLY hoping against that crazy fuck again.

So, when the boy finally happened upon a bit of level ground, it only seemed reasonable to take a rest. There still didn't seem to be anybody nearby as he walked along the half-beaten path, only occasionally slowed by a few brambles or a patch of weeds that had managed to grow in an area that seemed somewhat formed for an otherwise 'middle-of-nowhere' place. Keith wondered a little about that... where was he, anyway? Were they on an island? He wracked his brain to see if the terrorists had mentioned that... did they say that's where they were during the video?

During that horrible assembly?

The boy was lost in thought as he rounded a corner in the path formed by a large boulder and a few dead trees, and this proved to be a bit of a mistake. There was a boy and a girl, both standing up, but also both somewhat short. They were close, though, too close! If one of them had a gun, he was finished, right there! Keith inhaled a sharp breath and took a step back, staring at the two as they had no doubt noticed him at this range.

The girl he recognized as Tabi. Just another girl in the halls, maybe a rumor or two attached to her name, and a couple of classes, but they weren't friends. The other guy was only a face. Maybe the athletic sort, but he couldn't even pinpoint what team he might've played on. Well, if they weren't armed, at least they might be more sane company than-

"Get lost!"

Keith was jarred by this. The short guy had stepped to the side so he could be fully in view of Keith, and was yelling at him. What had HE done?
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"GET LOST!"

The blood in Ivan's body had begun pumping full-force once again. His heart was now pounding in his ears, threatening to push his eardrums right out of their place. Half of this was pure shock; he wasn't expecting anybody to really follow them, and when somebody appeared from nowhere, he feared it was Clio with that gun, ready to finish the job that she had started. Or maybe it was Etain, who had somehow procured a weapon and decided to take revenge for Ivan hitting him.

It wasn't either of those people, but that did little to placate the burning that was rising up in the boy's chest. For once, Ivan couldn't even place the name of who this person was. He might've known at one point, and maybe if he was calmer, he could work it out as to who it was. Sadly for the both of them, he no longer cared. This lack of caring was only diminished (assuming it hadn't actually hit rock bottom yet) by the very fact that the boy had done the exact opposite of what he had asked; he stepped closer.

"Hey..." the strange boy started, looking mostly at Ivan, but his eyes flickered every so often to Tabi. "First off, it looks like you're injured, and weaponless, so you should probably calm down when people approach you. Also, considering I'm the bigger of the two and may just have something packing on me, it's YOU who should probably back off."


Keith watched Ivan shake, but the boy had a rather apparent and bloody bandage on his arm, and was considerably smaller than Keith himself. He didn't have any weapon more powerful than those god-awful marriage licenses, something hardly capable of doing something more than inflicting a minor paper cut, but these two kids didn't have to know that. If he wanted to survive, it was a simple fact: loot others who were too emotionally weak to stick up for themselves, then use the equipment to protect yourself from those who did.

Keith took a nice, calm breath, the best he could muster, and spoke again. "Now... why don't we start by you backing away from your backpacks so-"

Neither boy had expected or was really prepared for what happened next.

All the rage that had built up inside Ivan had been looking for an outlet to release itself on. Tabi, Clio, Etain, and now this fucker, nobody seemed to want to leave him alone. He was weakened, injured, there was blood in the water... so of course. OF. FUCKING. COURSE. Somebody had to hunt him down like a coyote, a rabit, festering, parasite-ridden dog that opportunistically sought to steal what little possessions Ivan had left. He couldn't have that.

Any scream Ivan made was purely internal, but it was louder than any true noise to him as he rushed to tackle Keith. The larger boy acted on instinct; Keith really hated fights. In his words, 'pain BAD', and he usually did anything he could to avoid getting into them. It looked like pure flight wasn't an option here, though, and he had to think fast before -

OH SHIT SCARY SHORT BLOND KID RUSHING AT ME!

Keith grabbed the arm Ivan was leading with in his charge and turned with his momentum, flinging him as hard as he could. He let go of the boy to watch him stumble and turn, trying to stop himself and failing from smashing backwards into some of the limbs of a decrepid-looking tree. He heard the crack, saw the boy fall to his hands and knees, and decided that now was the best time to turn tail and run.

Ivan hadn't realized what had happened until his back was already set for its collision with something hard, something that hurt like a bitch. As whatever it was brought itself across its spine, Ivan heard a loud 'crack' and hoped it wasn't his back. For a moment, pain coupled with the horrifying thought that it WAS his back, and his knees gave way to send him crumpling to the ground. Panting, he struggled to push up on his left arm and glare upwards at the interloper. He was... running away?

No... you're not getting away... don't run... DON'T RUN FROM ME!

His glasses may have been green, but Ivan now saw nothing but red. It took him a moment to get to his feet, and Ivan blindly reached around him for support. On the ground, his left hand came into contact with something wooden. Picking it up without much of a thought, he brought the object around to the front of him and pushed up on it: a broken tree branch... likely the thing he had just met with violently. Just as silent as before, Ivan pushed off and began to charge, ignoring the shooting pain in his body. Keith was running right past Tabi to get away, but Ivan was faster. Even with his body aching and crying for him to stop, he sprinted at full power until he was within range, striking down at the boy's legs.

Keith's cry echoed a bit in Ivan's head, playing in perfect harmony to the branch breaking once again, leaving a particularly large knot at the end of it. Keith, unknown as such to the furious Ivan, fell to the ground in pain. Maybe his legs were broken, maybe they weren't, but they definitely felt broken. The boy rolled over and screamed from the agonizing pain the branch had just inflicted, but Ivan was waiting to bring the branch down on Keith's face. Again. And again. And again.

Again.

Again.

AGAIN.

Right in front of Tabi.
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Tabi had stared into his eyes for what seemed like hours, hoping for some sort of response from Ivan but found no such response from him. Her head started to bob down in defeat, a wave of cold washing over her already shivering body. She began to retract her arm and began to hug herself.

"Get lost!"

Her head shot up to look at Ivan, she had thought for a moment that he was asking her to leave, but saw that he was staring out in the distance. She turned in the direction and saw Keith Cristoph appearing from the trees.

Tabi remembered Keith from Bayview, he was, by all accounts a really quiet kid. He was tall (then again who wasn't at her school?) and unassuming. She had tried to make friends with him every once and a while, like she always did with her fellow student body but he brushed her attempts off, preferring to read books to himself. She didn't mind that, some people just weren't very sociable and Tabi had lots of other friends to spend time shopping with or to hang out at the skate park with.

"GET LOST!"

Tabi saw the look on Ivan's face and was afraid of what she saw. Ivan had had a similar look at one point earlier today, and that lead to him getting shot to get her out of there. He was injured now and Keith was advancing closer and she didn't want to see Ivan or Keith get hurt.

As Keith began to talk back to them, Tabi found herself slowly shifting back behind Ivan once more. He kept on moving closer...and he was sounding like he had a weapon. Was he after their packs? Or was he after something more...

"Now... why don't we start by you backing away from your backpacks so-"

Tabi could barely process what had happened next. Ivan sprung up like a rocket charging towards the large boy, who then proceeded to launch Ivan towards a lone pine tree nearby. Sending him crashing to the ground with a loud snap.

"Ivan!" Tabi screamed starting to move towards where he had fallen. She had passed a now running Keith before skidding to a halt. Her jaw began to drop and her eyes began to widen.

Ivan had leapt back up again and had ran past her, brandishing a large and gruesome looking pine branch. She turned and watched helplessly as the shorter kid caught up to Keith and swept the large man's feet from under him.

She had tried to rush to where Ivan and Keith now stood.

"Stop it Ivan! Don't-"

Thwack

Tabi froze in place as Ivan brought the branch down on Keith. The world was becoming hollow again, and everything began to move as if time had slowed down into nothing. Tabi wanted to move, she wanted to run, she wanted to stop Ivan from doing this, but she couldn't move. It was as if she was back at the swamp, and the suction was pulling her down, forcing her to stay and watch what she was now seeing.

Thwack

She had wanted to cry again, but now no tears would come to her. She just stood there, squinting her eyes, but still able to see the carnage that was unfolding in front of her. She heard a loud series of screams, they weren't her own, they couldn't be her own, it was Keith's, his glasses had now shattered into pieces after that second swing. He was scared, just like she was...

Thwack

More screams, and now, there was blood trickling from Keith's nose and face, she couldn't see any more from this distance. Blood was now on the branch as well, after three swings it was already looking like it could break at any moment. Tabi couldn't tell what was going through Ivan's head, her vision starting to haze into a blur...

Thwack

Tabi's legs collapsed from under her, and she began to sob dryly. She tried her hardest to curl into a ball as if to protect herself from the world around her, she could see no more of it, she didn't want to see any more of it, but she could hear. The screams wouldn't stop, she tried to cover her ears, and press as tight as she could, anything to deafen the noise of the world around her, but it proved fruitless, she could still hear the screams, she could still hear Ivan.

Thwack

Thwack

Thwack...
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Thwack.

Ivan brought the branch up, then over his head, then down again. The boy was no longer offering much resistance. Then again, the boy no longer had much of a discernable face. But... there was no way out of this course, no way to stop the actions, because when all was said and done, Ivan's world had fallen apart. His entire life, his entire collection of hopes, dreams, possibilities, relationships, they were all locked far away to where he couldn't get them unless he waded through an ocean of blood.

THWACK.

There were screams, but Ivan no longer could tell if they were Keith's or Tabi's. They had no voice, just ghostly noises, white scattered noise in his head to counter the red that dominated his vision. The body at his feet, the one that he continued to pummel, Ivan knew it could no longer perceive much of anything, and certainly not its plight, nor his. And yet, he swung again.

THWACK.

Why? Why had this happened to them? In any other happenstance, these two would have continued living completely seperate lives. They would not have been friends, but Ivan would still be on track. Tabi would still be living whatever life she had been before, and best of all, he would have had no care nor involvement in either one of them. All of that would have been fine. So why, why!? Ivan repeated the question in a croaking, overloaded mutter without realizing it, as his own voice did not matter for the time being. He raised the branch one more time, and lowered it with no more force than what gravity had to offer.

Squish

B152, Keith Christoph - DECEASED.

...

Ivan threw down the branch, staring at the results of his actions. Just moments ago, this lifeless, bloodied and broken shell on the ground on front of him had held life. And he had just taken it away.

There are no heroes in this game.

And so the island had changed him too. Even with as meager a goal as he had given himself, Ivan could not pull through. He could not succeed, rise above what others had sunk themselves down to. Ivan stared at the caved-in remnants of Keith's face for a few agonizing seconds before his eyes, his mind, neither could take any more. They tried to escape that horrific view, only to settle upon the innocent branch that had been held by guilty hands, and now stained with the blood of his victim. The boy that Ivan had killed in cold blood, all because he was driven by fear.

There were cameras... he knew the sick fucks putting them through this hell were filming them, and it was highly likely that his family could, WOULD, watch. Aunt Vera, his mother... Louis... if they had seen, would they take him back? Even if Ivan had survived, he knew they wouldn't. They would see him as a monster, a monster who could only be redeemed by succumbing to the horrible game himself. Redemption only by lowering oneself to the equal status of their victims, which... in this case, meant that Ivan would have to die. He had never expected to live, he knew that he would have to say his goodbyes to his brother, but knowing that on the other side of that camera lens, a million miles away, Louis might not listen.... He might not want to listen to his big brother, who was now a murderer.

It was all too much to stand. Ivan's hands gripped his head at the templed. He turned and limped towards the tree that he had met with just moments earlier, or an eon ago... he couldn't tell how long it was. Upon approaching the trunk, his hands reached out to grasp at it, pushing at it with all the strength he had left to keep himself standing. His mouth opened to scream, but no words came out any longer. His lips repeatedly mouthed the word 'why', and he squeezed his lungs to try and force out as much air as he could, but his voice would not respond.

A tremendous amount of pressure had been building up behind his eyes as well, and Ivan produced the first few tell-tale heaves of sobbing. His head pressed into the rough bark of the old, dying tree, his lips pulled back and his teeth clenched tight.

No... please, not now...

If you cry... you're weak.

If you're weak, you give in.

If you give in, it really is all over.

You still haven't pulled it together, you haven't said goodbye.

You need to say that.

He WILL listen.


There was a loud hiss as he breathed in, and Ivan pulled back away from the tree, releasing the pressure in his jaw. He did what he did for a reason, in order to keep himself and Tabi alive. That was where he was going to leave it, if only simply because he couldn't afford to think of a better reason why. It was here that he could once again hear the screaming. Ivan turned, still catching his breath, to see Tabi screaming. He had a pretty good idea of what she was screaming at, and immediately moved between her and it, his hands laying down hard onto her shoulders.

"TABI!" Ivan shouted, but the girl seemed to be curtained behind a wall of fear. ... Understandable, really, but he had to get through, somehow. He moved his head with hers until he could definitely align his eyes to the screaming girl's, staring at her and hopefully blocking her view of anything else. The grip on her shoulders squeezed significantly tighter for a moment, but then it relaxed once more.

".... Tabi." When Ivan spoke again, she spoke her name softer. It wasn't sweet, it wasn't nice, but it was gentle, in his best attempt to reach out to her.

Listen to me.
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Greg The Anti-Viking
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Thwack

Thwack

Thwack...


Silence....

Tabi removed her hands from her ears, there was no sounds, nothing at all...

Her body was still quivering and her breath unsteady. Her nose and lips felt wet with mucus once more, her mouth however was dry. Her eyes were still shut tight, this had to have been a dream right? She'd wake up any minute now and find herself in a safe and warm bed. She'd run straight to her mom and she'd hug her for as long as she possibly could. Then the two of them would join her Dad and go to IHOP and have a large stack of pancakes...

She opened her eyes...She was still here...

Tabi saw the body. No it wasn't a body, not now, she didn't know what it was. All she could see was a bloody mess. Her lips began to quiver and her arms began to hug her chest.

Ivan was still here too, he didn't have the branch in his hand, but he just stood there...watching...

Ivan had killed poor Keith Cristoph...

She had closed her eyes again, she didn't want to see that...thing that was lying on the ground. If she closed her eyes it wouldn't be there, she'd just be in a dark place away from it all. It was certainly better than the alternative...

Tabi summoned up as much energy as possible and let loose a loud scream...She was trapped on an island and she just witnessed a classmate of hers get brutally murdered. Fear had taken over her, but she couldn't run, her legs just wouldn't work!

She had Ivan's voice calling out to her, but she wouldn't open her eyes, opening her eyes meant looking at the body. Accepting what she had just witnessed.

Arms grabbed her shoulder and her entire body locked up. Someone was clutching her, keeping her from moving. She peaked open her eyes and saw the green shades of Ivan...

Ivan the murderer was grabbing her!

".... Tabi."

Tabi began to panic. Her breathing was becoming more and more unsteady, causing her to hyperventilate. She closed her eyes once more, it hurt to keep them shut but she refused to open them! Her body began to squirm, trying to find any way out of his grip find anyway to get away from him. She shook her head back and forth and began to moan.

"No...No...No....No no no no no no no! Get away from me...LET ME GO!!!!!!"
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MK Kilmarnock
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Mixed feelings seemed to be a lovely concoction that this island just loved to serve out time after time again. Life used to be so simple, it really did, but now... of course it was going to be anything but. For what little of it was left, anyhow.

The drink had been forcefully poured down his throat once more as the girl's shoulders squirmed beneath her grasp, and she had begun to shout. Her screaming was, of course, perfectly acceptable. Ivan wished that he was the kind of person in the kind of situation that would let him just sit right down next to her and scream until his throat gave out. But her screaming was also getting to him, and in more ways than one.

It brought anger back to his heart and nearly made him want to bring his hand across her face, to scream at her to shut up, maybe even to forcefully shut up. That was stopped by the fact that it also brought an immense, crippling pain to his chest. They both knew what he had just done to the broken and fallen boy just out of view behind him. He had killed... he had killed, and that meant he had succumbed to the effects of the game. He was doing what the terrorists wanted him to do and, worst of all, it meant he was no better than Clio.

No... he was worse.

Ivan lowered his head for a moment, taking Tabi's screams head on, and readied his composure in the face of this storm. "Tabi..." he said, but to no apparent effect. The screams continued, the fear continued. "Tabi... Tabi, listen to me!" Ivan raised his voice, but it lacked firmness or anger of any kind. It actually sounded a bit painful, maybe even pleading.

"What just happened, I... I..."

Ivan's eyelids grew heavier and heavier. He wanted to slam his eyes shut, turn his head away, something so he wouldn't have to see Tabi's face staring right back at him, looking at him like the murderer he now was. He forced himself to remain in eye contact in the face of it all, the tinge of green in his glasses showing the torture his mind was now putting itself through.

"It's... that's going to happen, Tabi, but... no, listen to me!" His hands held her shoulders upright, but he released the pressure in his fingers, no longer squeezing them. "I told you, there are no heroes, and I'm sorry I can't be one, but you need to get your head on straight! Calm down... breathe, and don't look at... that... again."

Ivan swallowed the lump in his throat when he said that; even he didn't want to look at what he had just done, and all he had to do was turn around and look on the ground, just a few yards away. The evidence of his crime was right... THERE... and he just wished he could make it go away. Sadly, that wasn't going to happen, but he could do his best to at least calm down the frantic girl in front of him. Maybe she was something of a liability, perhaps she wouldn't hold as much utility as he thought, but he wasn't taking that into account right now.

She didn't deserve to see that.
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Greg The Anti-Viking
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On the left is a mod, on the right is a pre-made psycho...get the picture?
[ *  *  *  * ]
Tabi heard Ivan call out her name again, but this only made her squirm more. She tried screaming again but it started to become more painful to do so, her throat was starting to dry out now. Nobody would be able to hear her soon and she wouldn't be able to do anything to save her self, save for worming her way out. She tried thrashing more Now using her arms and legs to try and push her away from him, away from here and away from that...thing...

"Tabi... Tabi, listen to me!"

Tabi stopped flailing and looked up to Ivan. Her body continued to quiver and she let the occasional squeaking sob escape from her lips. She was afraid to continue looking at him, he just sat there and stared. He didn't look angry, he didn't look crazed, he just looked...sad.

"What just happened, I... I..."

What was Ivan doing. Was he apologizing to her? Why? Did Ivan think doing that would bring back poor Keith? Why? Why did he do it in the first place? He wasn't doing anything wrong! He just walked in on them and then...it was all a blur.

Why? Why was he still staring at her? Was he getting some kind of sick pleasure out of this? Tabi wanted to look away from him, but he just kept staring. Was he actually sorry?

"It's... that's going to happen, Tabi, but... no, listen to me!"

She felt her body tense up as Ivan loosened his grip on her. A rush of breath escaped her lips as he did so. He still gazed into her, she was becoming more and more confused now, her brain starting to pound trying to make sense of it all.

"I told you, there are no heroes, and I'm sorry I can't be one, but you need to get your head on straight! Calm down... breathe, and don't look at... that... again."

Tabi couldn't look at him any more, she couldn't understand him at all. She gazed down at her feet and began to breath slowly, still shaking, but the fear in her body was starting to lessen with each breath. Tabi wrapped her arms around her legs once more and nodded slightly.

"O-okay..."
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((Horrific examples of godmodding approved by Greg, hopefully))

She may have said one thing, but Tabi's body language was telling a completely different story. To be frank, Ivan had pretty much expected, and in fact dreaded, this sort of reaction the moment his senses had returned to him. The girl obviously had not seen the horrors of what was yet to come; understandable, since this was the very first day of this damned 'game', and she had been with him the entire time. Ivan was sure that they were both about as scared as they would ever be in their lives, particularly when Clio had done what she did, but nothing could have prepared them for this. Nothing in the world could have prepared Ivan for Keith, and for what he would eventually do to him.

He considered the thought of just having Tabi go, to run off to her inevitable and horrible death where it would be out of sight, out of mind, and of no concern to Ivan as he prepared for his own demise. Even with the best of his efforts, though, the thought couldn't get pushed past its mere conception, try as he might. Maybe he really was starting to feel sorry for the girl and all the trauma he caused her, even if her life wouldn't extend another week, tops.

That isn't smart. Just because I feel a bit guilty, even if it's just for making her watch that, that... had nothing to do with her. And she's going to see a whole lot more death. She's honestly just... going to have to put up with it! ... But it'll be better off if I stayed close, helped her out, kept her useful.

"... Look." Ivan was doing his best to try and keep the talking to a minimum. Today, he had been awfully chatty, but he chalked most of that up to his nerves firing off in every direction at about a quadrillion miles an hour. Maybe, just maybe, he'd settle down, find his courage to face the camera, and say goodbye, but settling down was a big enough first step. "Let's... go. Not safe here."

That should have been more than enough to get the message across that Ivan wanted Tabi to reach. He stood in front of her, contemplating reaching and pushing lightly on her shoulder or back to nudge her into a standing position, but decided against it; when the girl was ready to move, she'd move, hopefully. When the girl finally did, Ivan stood on her side, making sure she looked straight ahead and just got out of there, sheltering her eyes with his hand if he really had to... another freakout would be highly inconveniencing. His totebag slung around his left shoulder to ease up pressure on his right arm, Ivan held his umbrella to his side, as though it were the only thing he had left to depend on to save their asses.

He was probably never touching another tree branch for as long as he lived.
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Greg The Anti-Viking
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On the left is a mod, on the right is a pre-made psycho...get the picture?
[ *  *  *  * ]
Tabi gazed back up at Ivan when he suggested they leave. She found herself nodding as fast as she possibly could. She wanted to leave this place right now and as fast as possible.

The young roller skater found herself hesitating though as she looked into his eyes. This man had killed someone. He killed someone right before her eyes. How on earth could she believe that she wouldn't be the next one on his list?

Because he had helped her? Tabi just wasn't sure anymore...

Her thoughts went back to where she was now, she was sitting in a clearing. The body of Keith Cristoph was still there, she knew it. She didn't want to look at it anymore. The moment was stuck in her head now, and looking back to it would only remind her of what had happened and how she failed to do anything...

As she stood up, her mind was made up, she would leave with Ivan. She didn't know where he was going, and for all that she was concerned, she really didn't care, anywhere was better than here...

She still kept her distance from Ivan though. She was still too afraid to come withing his arms reach and too afraid to ask him why...

____

The slope began to drop in front of them, it wasn't sudden, it was just a gradual, but traversable drop in terrain. The two of them had been walking for hours and Ivan was now taking the lead. Tabi had taken to staring at the back of the blonde's head for however long the two of them had now traveled.

Tabi's mind was lost in a series of thoughts. She had been thinking about Ivan and why the boy had not killed her. She was thinking about the boy that she had only talked too a handful of times but was now left alone in a clearing, not to be bothered by anyone anymore. She was thinking about why on earth she was here and not in a nice warm bed, or on her soft, fluffy, and hideously floral couch....

She felt terrible now. She was still dirty from the swamp. Her once yellow shirt and blue jean shorts were now a mess of brown earth and gritty sand. Her hair was in shambles and she began to blush as she realized that she may have peed herself...She didn't even remember doing it, but now it was all she could think of, she felt so embarrassed and so small...

Oh god what am I thinking...

It was then that she heard the sound of rushing water nearby and she found herself blurting out her thoughts.

"Um...Ivan...um....there's uh...like a river nearby and um....i-is there a chance that....well...you know?"
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Please, message me if you have ideas, I sure don't!

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