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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 (3,463 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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Quiet was normally a comforting thing to Ivan. The less people actively approached him at school, the better. It wasn't that he didn't want them near him, it's just... well... the situation was too difficult to completely peg. For whatever reason, those loud hallways held nothing for Ivan; there was no homeliness to be found in the gaggles of giggling teens or wolfpacks of whatever jocks may have been walking through, shoving geeks aside. He didn't really qualify as one of the geeks, what with his sports background and all, but Ivan never really fit into the position of 'jock', either. Nothing seemed to be a perfect fit. And so, he remained on the outside, where it was quiet. And he liked it.

But for whatever reason, Ivan always wanted the recognition... no, he craved it. That was half of his reasoning to become the forefront of attention as far as tennis was concerned, and probably his reasons for his involvement with chess club. There was still no casual interaction to be found in either game, amongst opponents and teammates alike, but Ivan felt like the spotlight was on him. People knew who he was, they cared about him, and he didn't have to put himself out there and actually talk to him. He wasn't the shy loner in the halls, those guys were a dime a dozen... Bayview had tons of loners that nobody really cared about. He wasn't one of them, he was Ivan Kuznetsov, the tennis star. Yeah.... that's what he wanted to make himself out to be.

Home held a different kind of quiet for him at school. It was some sort of sanctuary, even if it wasn't completely peaceful (something that tended to be impossible when you had an idiot for a younger brother). Home was home, though; Ivan could smell Aunt Vera's cooking, feel the very same eagerness that he felt for years when he knew his mother was going to come back, and she'd always have time to train with Ivan, no matter how much she worked at the camp. The training was hell, the drills pushed Ivan to his physical and psychological limits, but he loved tennis with all his heart. Any time he could spend with his mother was both rare and precious.

This kind of quiet was a new brand of silence. As Ivan stared at the path ahead, the girl's form in his peripheral vision brought his mind from these happier times that he had tried to distract himself with, back into this complete silence and darkness. The unsettling roar of no noise at all was amplified by the guilt riding piggy-back on the boy's shoulders. His companion, already a fleeting and convenience-based partnership as it was, held a lot of contempt for him and Ivan knew it. He couldn't read her mind, but to him, he knew that she probably wished it was him that died back there.

He sort of wished it was too, but he wasn't ready to die.

It came to some odd sense of masochistic joy when the girl finally said something, since ANYTHING would be better than this godawful awkwardness. Still, the sudden creaking of Tabi's voice invading the air caused a few of Ivan's facial muscles to twitch. He turned to face her after a moment or so, allowing his eyes to do most of the turning rather than his head and neck.

"Um...Ivan...um....there's uh...like a river nearby and um....i-is there a chance that....well...you know?"

Ivan turned the rest of his body to square off with her, pointing his umbrella to the ground as though it were a cane, even though he dared not lean much weight on it. She wanted to stop? NOW!? For what, a drink? The gears in his head turned as he thought of some response that would tell her to stop being stupid when she should have already had some water with her, and yet wouldn't stress her out, when he gave a quick once-over of her body.

God, she was filthy... and thusly, the reason why she wanted to head to the river was...

"Seriously?" It was all he could say, as he just wasn't sure what to think beyond that. She was a little dirty, so she wanted to take a bath. On an island. Where everybody was out to kill other people... and fuck, she should have known this first hand! Ivan opened his mouth to tell her off once more, but the power building up in his chest was a lot weaker than he initially planned. Shit... what else are we supposed to do? I don't even know where I'm going, so... To his chagrin, Ivan found himself giving a sigh of defeat.

"Alright. You lead, find a spot. I'll do... I don't know, whatever."
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Sep 13 2010, 12:03 AM.
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Tabi shrunk back for a moment when Ivan responded to her question. It wasn't too much to ask was it? She felt terrible and she felt the heat from blushing on her mud streaked cheeks. The girl wanted a bath and then everything would be alright...

Everything would be alright...

Tabi tried her hardest to convey her need for bathing, staring at him as best and as strongly as she could, hoping to convey any sort of message through to him. He didn't flinch however and Tabi was starting to lose hope that she would get her wish. She opened her mouth to speak out but Ivan spoke first.

"Alright. You lead, find a spot. I'll do... I don't know, whatever."

Tabi's head perked up when he said that. She took three steps forward to hug Ivan, but stopped moving. She paused for a second looking into Ivan's face, before nodding quietly in response.

"S-Sure thing..."

The two of them walked ahead for about two minutes, following the sound of the water before they reached their destination. It was a small stream, maybe six meters wide and not very deep, but it was enough for Tabi. She turned back to look back at Ivan as she dropped her backpack down on the ground.

"Ok...so um...I'll be uh....right there," she said pointing at the small ridge nearby, "Um...if you could uh...if you could uh...go...over there I guess...I-I'll be out...soon..."

Tabi had pointed to a small batch of trees nearby. It was thick enough that she wouldn't be seen, but close enough that he could be within talking distance. She turned back to face the water staring at the reflection for a moment before slowly slipping her shoes off of her feet. She looked behind her one last time and saw that Ivan was not in view and then she slipped a foot into the water.

She felt a rush of cold rush into her leg, she had expected it, but she still shivered at the rush. The water didn't move very quickly so she was able to stand in it with little difficulty. Once she had become more accustomed to the stream she began to crouch down before placing her body next to the ridge.

Tabi never bathed with her clothing on. She'd be the first to congratulate the person that actually did that with any regularity. However today...today was a special case...She began to rub water-soaked hands onto her face and arms, before turning her gaze to the water, becoming lost in the gentle flowing current.

Did she really need this bath? Did she really?

No...

Tabitha wanted to forget the events of the day, she wanted to wash it all away. Remove all the dirt, grime and memories and let it roll down the current until it flowed all the way into the ocean, or a lake, or wherever the water went after it left where she was. This place was peaceful; the only sound that could be heard was the sound of rushing water.

The sun was beginning to rise, casting rays of light in between the mass of trees and into the water. It was morning now, she had lasted the night and now, she was at peace. She closed her eyes and took in the moment, the water washing away all the tension...

"Kids, I have to say that I'm truly impressed with your first day showing. Blood! Tragedy! Explosions! Mayhem! You've utterly smashed the record for first day kills; it makes an old man proud to see you all taking his instructions so thoroughly to heart! Congratulations to those of you that are still alive, because you've already outlasted 19 of your classmates."

Tabi's eyes shot back open as soon as she heard those words. Her head whipped back and forth trying to find a source. The voice didn't sound like Ivan, and she wasn't sure where it was even coming from. Without an idea as to where it was, Tabi was forced to listen on as the voice gleefully started to list off all of the people who were now dead.

She wrapped her arms around her chest in a hug and her knees were brought close towards her once more. Back to reality. It had all been so wonderful, but now...it was all gone again...

"Unlucky number thirteen was Keith Christoph. He got beaten to a pulp by Ivan Kuznetsov and trust me folks, it's one for the highlight reel! What do they say about the quiet ones, eh?"

Tabi looked back behind her where Ivan was supposed to be.

Keith...oh god....poor Keith...

The act had been so sudden. Tabi tried to move, she could of sworn that she had tried. Ivan just grabbed a branch, charged forward and then...that was it...

Tabi found a flood of questions rush to her mind. There were so many things that she wanted to know now. She had a right to know! There was only one thing that she could manage though.

"Why Ivan...." she said, calling out to him, "Ivan...why?"
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B054:Oscar Trig-Smoker, Artist, Film Buff

Please, message me if you have ideas, I sure don't!

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MK Kilmarnock
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Now was no time for relaxation. Now wasn't really much of a good time to take a fucking bath, either, but Tabi was about to do that, so Ivan figured a little relaxation couldn't hurt too much. They had been running across the island ever since Clio drove them away from the shore, and they had kept on going for much longer than either one of the kids had really been keeping track of. The day, or at least the lit part of it was over, and the sun had long since faded, taking all of its light with it.

While the darkness often held a tendency to stir up a very primal fear in people, Ivan found the dark a bit relaxing. He wasn't really afraid of it, and given the current situation, he reasoned that students were less likely to travel in the dark. Yes, he and Tabi had been travelling, but purely out of the necessities of keeping themselves alive and getting away from... that incident. His arms gave a few contractions or so as the unpleasant thought was brought to the front of Ivan's mind, but the twinge of pain shooting through his right arm mercifully dragged it away once more.

Ivan let Tabi lead the way, silently forming a mantra that everything would be fine. This was a cooldown period, and soon they would be able to get some rest before they had to be on the run again. They would always have to run. The only alternative was fighting, and Ivan was sick of fighting. It was also fairly safe to assume that Tabi didn't want to see any more fighting, but if they had to in order to get away, well... that was too damned bad.

But... how long has the sun been down, anyway?

It was a good question. With all of their walking, running, and living in the moment just so they could see the next hour, it was now impossible to tell exactly what time it was, and just how much time they had left before the sun was to rise. A thought like that was the exact opposite of comforting... they'd have to fight for their lives again at less than 100%. Could survival be guaranteed with conditions like that?

Ivan looked to the girl in front of him, shaking his head admonishingly. Taking Tabi along was supposed to be so he could use her in order to keep himself alive, but whether he could do that now or not, he did not know. If she didn't really serve any benefit in that sense, then keeping her around was only a liability; it made sneaking around harder, and people would probably try to take her captive or something, as if Ivan would sacrifice something for her. Even worse, maybe he would, if only because thinking about his brother... thinking about Louis watching him do something like that... it hurt.

"Um...if you could uh...if you could uh...go...over there I guess...I-I'll be out...soon..."

After adjusting his glasses by pushing them up a bit further on the bridge of his nose, Ivan picked up the pack dropped by Tabi and sighed. "Whatever... just make it quick." It would've made more sense if she had set him as a watchman, at least making sure nobody was around to kill her. Yes, it was still dark out, but the comfort that the darkness could have offered had begun to wear thin; there could very well be students lurking about, obsessed with their slim chances of survival and willing to do anything. But if Tabi wanted to just remove all of her means of protection and scream 'I'm vulnerable', well, that wouldn't hurt Ivan's conscience. It wasn't him putting her in danger.

The girl had pointed over to a small bunch of trees, which Ivan walked over to without comment. The dirt looked compact enough, but he still didn't sit down directly. Slinging his own pack off of his shoulder and dropping Tabi's pack right next to it, Ivan placed his umbrella onto the two bags and then crouched low, squatting in a similar manner to a baseball catcher. It was a good way to rest, and at least he wouldn't have to get his ass dirty on the ground - he sure as hell wanted to limit his own 'bath time'. By the time he looked back over to where Tabi was just moments ago, she was gone. Before he could so much as move his head, though, he heard the gentle splashes of Tabi entering the water, and left it at that.

Now Ivan was alone once more, the way he liked it. Tabi may have only been a few yards away in the water behind him, but she wasn't in his face. He didn't have to look at the ridiculous amount of pain in her eyes, the same look that all of them were now holding. Their life back in St. Paul, Minnesota was over; Ivan had gone over the fact before that nearly all of them were going to die, save for one 'lucky' soul who would return home, scarred by the fact that they sacrificed others so they may live, and that all of their friends were now dead.

He wasn't friends with most of the kids who went to school with him, and he was even sort of a stand-offish prick to Louis when they were in the halls together, but he still recognized that they WERE fairly good people. Tabi was annoyingly spunky and overall an irritating bitch at Bayview, but here, her energy was just... gone. Clio was sort of depressing to be around, but any part of her humanity was pretty much dead and gone. Etain seemed... almost the same, sadly including his grating voice, but without fail, each and every person Ivan had encountered was a bit deader on the inside.

And Keith... well, now he was dead, period. And there was nobody to blame but himself.

...

... No... I'm to blame to, but... it can't ALL be me. He was still stupid! He wouldn't listen!

Ivan looked up at the sky, biting his lip at the sight of the gradient dark-to-light blue. The sun was now rising... fuck. That meant it was morning, and that everybody would become active again, prepared to kill to try and recover the life they thought they could get back. Ivan prepared himself to stand up, only to fall back right on his butt when the hellish electronic creaking of some sort of speaker began to blare.

After two or three skipped heartbeats, it began to sink into Ivan's head that it was some sort of PA system, not unlike that of his high school. And the voice pumping through it was one that he honestly wanted to forget.

"Kids, I have to say that I'm truly impressed with your first day showing. Blood! Tragedy! Explosions! Mayhem! You've utterly smashed the record for first day kills; it makes an old man proud to see you all taking his instructions so thoroughly to heart! Congratulations to those of you that are still alive, because you've already outlasted 19 of your classmates."

Nineteen? Nineteen of them were already dead!?

Ivan pushed up to his feet and leaned against the biggest tree he could find, his legs shaking. There were quite a few people on this island who really meant it. They honestly thought they were going to win, and how many of them were going to find him? He listened in horror as the man began to list each and every death: a couple of them, like Remy, were based off of sheer stupidity. Clio stood out in his mind... she had indeed killed somebody, and it was a very real possibility that she had already killed by the time she found Ivan. The boy clutched the wound on his right arm as he imagined her face in vivid detail, hoping that he would never see it for real ever again.

There were others, yes, but most of the names, faces, and heinous crimes were a blur. There was... something about a bear, but the absurdity of something of that sort was lost on him, especially since just a few moments after it was...

"Unlucky number thirteen was Keith Christoph. He got beaten to a pulp by Ivan Kuznetsov and trust me folks, it's one for the highlight reel! What do they say about the quiet ones, eh?"

Ivan's throat immediately locked up at the mention of Keith's name. Keith's face, before AND after the poor boy's death, flashed in Ivan's mind. That could not be undone. Even if Ivan were to somehow survive, he was still responsible for the murder of Keith. That made him a murderer, didn't it? He wasn't a killer... Keith didn't have a weapon on him. At least, not a visible one, but neither kid really searched him. No... Keith probably didn't have a weapon on him, or he would have had it out, and that made Ivan a murderer.

Ivan placed both hands against the tree once more, almost in a reprise of his actions at the clearing just a little higher up on the mountain. His jaw locked, unlocked, and his chest heaved to let out a gag. He swallowed, trying to fight off the next reflex, stifling and choking on the next gag as the announcements went on. Nothing tangible had come spewing out by the time he stopped his reaction (which was probably a good thing since he had very little in his stomach by this point in time), but Ivan still felt like curling up into a little ball and hiding from the world. Why... why wouldn't it just leave him alone? Why wouldn't this voice shut up, and stop reminding him of what he did?

Well, the voice had one more nutshot to deliver.

"One last thing. We've been running our little poll and the runaway winner of today's best kill award is the one and only Ivan Kuznetsov! Congratulations kid, we'll be leaving your prize on the greens for you to collect. Don't worry, we wouldn't blow the collar of our MVP!"

His arms turned to jelly, causing Ivan's forehead to knock against the tree. Pushing off in frustration and rubbing what would no doubt be a bruise on his forehead, Ivan turned and pressed his back against the tree, slowly sinking down towards the ground as the realizations began to flood in. For that brutal killing he enacted on Keith, he was.... being rewared? For a 'best kill'?

This meant, that of all the kills on the island, Ivan's had somehow been the most spectactular.

Of all the acts of brutality on the island, Ivan's had been the most brutal.

Of all the monsters on the island...

I'm the biggest monster.

Whatever pain his arm had felt from a bullet was now trivial, for a bullet could not hurt Ivan in the way this had. His eyes had shut almost involuntarily, and his face sought comfort in his hands, or in the knees that he tucked up to his chest.

"Why Ivan...." He heard Tabi call to him from the water, and he wanted to just disappear. He didn't want to know what she meant or what she was referring to, but he did. He didn't want to answer... what could he tell her? He did it because of self defense? Keith had no weapon. Because he was scared? Tabi was scared too, but she hadn't just up and killed somebody. Because he didn't want to be attacked again like Clio had done? Well... according to the world, he was even worse than her. "Ivan...why?"

It was a question that Ivan could only answer with choking sobs.
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There was silence at first. Tabi could hear the water running downstream, but Ivan's voice didn't yield an answer.

It was then when she heard something from behind her. It was a strange noise to her; it sounded like Ivan, she could surmise that much. The sound though it was something she hadn't expected...

It was sobbing... Ivan the boy who murdered Keith Cristoph was crying...

Tabitha Gweneth fully turned around to face the sound of the cries. Her mouth was going slack as she listened and she felt her vision become misty. Ivan was crying and Tabi was becoming confused by it all.

Could it be that Ivan...didn't know why?

The stray tears that ran down her cheeks were hot and in turn they began to warm her cheeks. There was supposed to be an answer to this! People had a motive to killing someone, that's why people could make sense of it all. It was a way that she could make sense of it all! It couldn't just be nothing!

Ivan was a quiet kid, he played tennis on the school team and just went about his business. He wasn't the type to have done...that to anybody, let alone poor Keith. So why? Why did he do it? Why did Keith have to die? Most importantly though, why was he crying right here right now?

She let out a sudden gasp as an idea struck her.

He's...he's just like me...

The idea confused her at first. The world was supposed to be simple right? Ivan killed because he was a monster, someone that killed was always a monster right?

Monsters never cried though...

Tabi wiped her eyes dry and washed the mucus off of her face. She began to eek her way gently out of the water and onto the riverbank, letting her legs stay in the water as she sat there. Her hands came together and she began to rub them gently against each other, feeling the freshly developed wrinkles as she did so. She shivered at first, but felt her body warming as the sun shown down on her.

She sat there for a while, listening to Ivan as he continued to sob. There was something she could do, right? Something she could say that would stop Ivan from weeping further. She knew it was out there, but no words came to her. Either out of the same fear that possibly made Ivan kill or out of a concern that anything she said would just made it worse, she said nothing.

Tabi waited for a while, just sitting there, struck dumb and mute. Her eyes began to wander back to the river, hoping to get lost again in something that was much simpler than now. Even that, proved useless to her and when she next opened her mouth, words began to break out.

"I'm sorry...Ivan...I'm sorry about asking...and...I'm sorry about your arm...I'm so sorry..."
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B054:Oscar Trig-Smoker, Artist, Film Buff

Please, message me if you have ideas, I sure don't!

Fall down seven times...
Stand up eight...
Japanese Proverb
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MK Kilmarnock
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"So, I think we could make tons of money!"

"... How?"

"Duh, don't be dense! Like, Sheila keeps making baby rabbits, and we can keep selling them away!"

"That's not really going to work out. There's a lot of stuff you haven't worked out, like cost and time, not to mention space, and the fact that mom would never let us do this, Bean. It's way too compl-"

"Things are only complicated because you keep making them that way, 'Ivan the Terrible'. We can go somewhere, we can make it big! We could both be rich, and then you could get a massive tennis facility and you can take care of that, while I take care of the pet business! It's so simple!"


---

Just... why can't it be simple?

Not only did their lives have to be completely destroyed, but the game being played with the children was far crueler than anybody alive could ever be ready for, or fully comprehend. They couldn't just be trucked off somewhere, all tied up and sat in a room while the terrorists made their demands to the government. Then, once the government inevitably refused to cooperate, the children would all be slain, and their bodies would either be dumped back on a barge set for home... but even that was in a gracious world, where the more likely alternative would see them rot on the island, until some misguided explorer finds all of their bones.

Instead, they were subject to the ultimate cruelty of pitting friend against friend, and possibly even family against family. The rules, the final ultimatums seemed so simple: either you play the game and you kill, or you are killed, whether it be by a classmate, the explosive belt strapped around their necks, or possibly their own hand. But the true cruelty lay within deception, for the game was far from simple. If it was truly simple, then there would be students who killed to survive, those who resigned to their fate and died. Ivan still did not know which side of the line, blurred into an unclear ocean of ink, he stood on. Even the fact that he could only claim knowledge of some of the game's elements just thrust him further into the absurdity of it all... he would never be able to understand.

"I'm sorry...Ivan...I'm sorry about asking...and...I'm sorry about your arm...I'm so sorry..."

Ivan's body jerked when he heard Tabi's voice. The words were a slurry mess and he failed to pick them up, mixed into his own chokes and sniffs. Her voice was kind, surprisingly doting if still scared, but Ivan tucked up a bit tighter, as if curling up and burying his head an extra inch would allow her to withdraw from Tabi. Not only was every terrible, terrible action his fault, she had heard his crying; she heard his weakness, and was now taking pity on him. It was humiliating, crippling, and generally just embarassing that her 'hero' (disregarding the laughably stupid logic behind that decision) was now breaking down as melodramatically as Tabi had the day before.

Ivan pulled his face out of his folded arms and inhaled as deeply as his lungs could allow. Frigid morning air met his lungs and he coughed one more time. He had hoped it came out as a relatively manly clearing of the throat, but with his nerves shaking in the way they were, it came out more as a childish, 'I'm drowning and I'm spitting up water' cough. Before Tabi showed up to see him in the sorry state he was in (and possibly attack him, but that was an afterthought... no doubt caused by constant paranoia from this damned island), Ivan pressed his left palm against the ground to try and right himself. The effort was a slow and strenuous one, finding additional support only from the tree that he had been nestled against, all the while his knees creaked in protest.

As Ivan began to walk out of the small thicket to meet Tabi, some discomfort began to well up in his skull, until a throbbing pain began to poke against his head like a knife. Without his body heat being preserved by his curled up position, he was finally able to feel the early-morning chill.

The coldest hour is always the one before the dawn...

His arm hurt, his head hurt, and his pride was far more bruised than each, but Ivan came stepping out of the small ridge of foliage, coming face-to-face with Tabi. With as sullen as he now was, he couldn't even bother to jump, even if that had been anybody... it could have even been Keith and he probably wouldn't have reacted too much, because the pain warranted just that much more attention. Ivan lowered his head with this astounding combination of shame and discomfort, being unable to look Tabi in the face. He could notice, however, a pretty basic detail that somewhat annoyed him.

She bathed... in the river... with all of her clothes on? Uuugh... the prudity is fine... ow, arm... but unless she has a change of clothes, she's just going to freeze to death.

Ivan attempted to raise his eyes a little, but the hand that he was using as an impromptu forehead cozy and a visor prevented any eye contact. Still, he looked to her the best he could, and drew his breath for a murmured sentence.

"So... are you ready to go?"
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Greg The Anti-Viking
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((Mild GMing approved by MK))

Tabi wiped her face again, removing the slow trickle of moisture from her eyes and nose and inhaled heavily through her nose to stop it from running more. The sudden rush gave way to a small fit of sneezes and a foul taste in he mouth that caused her to moan in discomfort and attempt to wipe the area around her mouth once more. Her body was shaking and she could feel her teeth beginning to rattle inside.

She had been cold for most of the first day and now she was freezing. That bath had seemed like such a wonderful idea and something she had needed to do. Now it seemed foolish, she was clean, but now she was rubbing her arms for warmth.

Tabi had noticed, that Ivan had stopped crying and she felt relieved. At least she thought it was relief. Did that mean that Ivan forgave her? Did that mean he was ready to kill again. She didn't quite know, and although she thought it couldn't likely be option B, she still felt a little antsy.

She had turned her head when he heard Ivan coming towards her. It was odd to see him the way he looked now. There had been a slight aura of confidence about him at one point. He had looked so different from the first time she met him. He had been standing straight, looking outwardly into the ocean and, in a way, looked surprisingly at peace. It was so different now, his body had slouched, he didn't dare look upwards, his face was beet red and now...

Tabi slid her legs out of the frigid water and walked up to Ivan. In Bayview, she would have wrapped her arms around someone like him, in an attempt to comfort him or her and talk out their troubles. Tabi knew though, that today, today was...different...

"So... are you ready to go?"

Tabi looked up to his face. He still wasn't making eye contact with her, not that she was surprised. It seemed that he wouldn't be killing now. He didn't look like a killer, at least, not as much as he did before...

She began to rub her arms again as she brought them around her body in an attempt to be less cold. She had to change now, she felt terrible about asking him to wait even more but...it had to be done. Not in front of Ivan though, she wouldn't even dream of doing it in front of Ivan right now.

"Um, yeah I'm...well uh...I uh...I need to get changed...so um..."

Ivan look had shifted for a moment, but he nodded.

"Go on...just...make it quick!"

Tabi's face flinched upwards in the tiniest smile she could give and shuffled over to where Ivan had been previously, grabbing her backpack in the process.

It was strange, Tabi found, changing out of wet clothing. It clung to her body like it had been glued to her. She could hear small squishing noises as she picked the fabric off of her arms and chest. After an initial struggle she was able to remove her now 100% mud free, banana yellow shirt. She slid off her socks and then, with some effort, her jean shorts as well.

She then stopped and looked to her bag. She knew that she had an extra set of underwear inside, but...

But then I'm naked and...

Tabi felt uncomfortable, she was freezing cold and even if she put on new clothing, that would become wet too. But she wasn't alone, it wasn't just Ivan, what if some random creep was watching her...right now...

"B-b-but I'm so...c-c-c-cooold..." she mumbled through clinking teeth.

Tabi pushed herself forward, closer to the bag and rammed her hand inside, quickly feeling for her bra and panties. She clutched them tightly and then raced to pull em out. There was a moments hesitation before she had changed, thoughts lingering back to the mystery man to could be hiding in the nearby bushes, and then back to how numb her body had felt. The body won outright and she removed and replaced her undergarments as fast as she humanly could.

She let out a loud sigh of relief as she finished buckling up her bra before digging out a bright blue skirt out of her bag. It was a beautiful piece, something she was hoping to save for the last day of camping so that she could show off in front of the boys at the camp. Of course, showing off was the least of her worries now...

Tabi placed it on without any incident and then brought out a peach blouse.

As she unfolded it, she let out a huge gasp and froze. At first, she mistook it for some sort of rip in her shirt, but as she turned her shirt around, she saw it was anything but.

On her blouse were three ragged holes, one in the bottom. one in the lower chest and one in the sleeve. All in places where it was folded.

Her thoughts had raced back to the day before, she remembered the moment. It was on that beach, Clio had fired the gun four times and, they had missed her, one of them had hit Ivan, but the other three had missed...

There was no mistaking though...they were bullet holes...She had been shot at...

It had been so close. If she had been maybe a foot to the left. She could have died. She could have been another Keith Cristoph...

Tabi wanted to cry, she had wanted to cry, but she felt nothing coming out. Instead, she just began to shake, out of fear and out of cold she just sat there. The blouse was a favorite of hers, something her grandma had helped pick out with her on her 18th birthday. Now it had holes in it and it told her how close she had been, how she was able to live today, while Keith...

She brought the shirt towards her body and hugged it close to her. Her body curled up towards her knees and she let out a series of low moans.

It had been close...it had been so very close...
Edited by Greg The Anti-Viking, Sep 20 2010, 01:40 AM.
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For once, Ivan just waited. He hated waiting... anticipating was one thing, preparing was another, but waiting implied an uncertainty that you were headed for, and that you had no idea what lay in store for you at the other side of that wait. Yet, Ivan decided he was waiting. He waited for Tabi to get by him and into the thicket before crossing his arms from the cold. He waited for her to be completely out of sight before he allowed the shivers he had been fighting to get through in an atavistic attempt to warm up, and now he was going to wait for her to finish changing. The sooner, the better.

Through some strange means, the boy began to realize that Tabi had a way of... cheering him up. The most likely culprit would probably be her awkward mannerisms... she seemed so innocent and bumbling, so... currently unbroken by the island. Ivan knew that would change, but if he wasn't so bruised from the events of the night, he might've chuckled a bit at Tabi's chattering and mutterings of how cold it was. Sure, it was a bit dark as humor went, but almost everything was dark at the moment when you were to spend the last of your days here. Even then, past that, he couldn't help but listen to the nagging in his mind that Tabi was changing. For at least a moment of that, she'd be completely naked, and-

We'll stop right there... ugh... you'd think thoughts like that could wait.

Ivan took a few steps closer to the water, gazing at the stream in which Tabi had been. Maybe 'stream' wasn't the right word due to its size; as Ivan looked into its waters, he peered to either side of the river's length, trying to see where it ran. Unfortunately, the river ran quickly out of view on either side, whether behind a bank or behind the trees through with which he was contending to see. Defeated, he looked back into the water, trying to see through the ripples and darkness to gauge its depth.

A river this big on a deserted island? You'd think that an island big enough to support something bigger than a simple brook would be noticable. ... Wait... there should be a map in... Ivan looked to the sheltered ridge where Tabi was changing. As soon as she was done (and knowing women, this could take a while), they could maybe check a map to see the island and its features. It would be worth knowing the geography so Ivan and Tabi could try and avoid everybody else, but first... wherever those 'greens' were, Ivan had to head there.

He took a step back from the water's edge, shaking his head at just how desperate this all was. At least, with as early as it was, they had a nice fresh start before-

Ivan's blood filled with ice when he heard a thumping noise, and then Tabi moaning. Somebody got her... somebody was ballsy enough to attack her this early? Even without his 'weapon', Ivan wasted no time in rounding the corner of plants, running in to help the girl.

"Tabi!? Don't worry, I'll-"

Ivan froze up when he saw that the girl had fit... several qualities. The first of which, but not the first that he noticed, was that she was in no immediate danger. Second, and it WAS the first thing that he noticed, was that Tabi was not wearing a shirt. She was hugging some sort of shirt close to her, and shivering, and making a big fuss about something, but there was no indication of what was wrong. Ivan looked to Tabi's open bag, then back to her, thinking it might have been a spider, or an ant or... something else silly. That aside, he backed up, red in the face, and was about to regretfully mumble an apology for walking in on her when she noticed something.

The blouse Tabi was hugging against her had holes. Not one, but a few of them, and they were peculiarly circular. This, by itself, didn't mean much, and a thought persisted that maybe some moths had gotten to it, or maybe a mouse. Then Ivan saw the hole that was punched neatly into the side of Tabi's shoulderbag, and the wound on his arm flared up with pain once more.

It was... that bitch.

"Oh.... oh wow. Tabi..." Ivan suddenly heard himself saying, and his legs cautiously pushed himself forward to approach the girl. Here he had been, bellyaching about getting shot in the arm with what amounted to be a graze and... well, Tabi hadn't been hit at all, but the important thing to remember was that they were both scared. Tabi was terrified up to this point of Clio's actions, and sadly... even of Ivan's, but she, along with Ivan, were now both coming to the realization that she was very close to serious injury or even death. Just a few inches to the right, the hole in her shirt could have been her lung. It didn't take a genius to figure that a shot like that spelt death with no medical care in sight.

Ivan crouched down in front of Tabi, struggling with his male tendencies to keep his eyes up on her face (he had picked out the detail of a bra strap, so she wasn't topless, but... still. Damn). "Tabi, it's... it's alright. Everything will be fine." Ivan detested himself for those words, but he was willing to say anything to keep Tabi going. They couldn't stay here, but he couldn't just drag her along when she was so... understandably broken. "Things could have been very bad... yeah... but, uh... well, that just means you're lucky. And somebody really wants to keep you alive. Keep your chin up, alright?"
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Tabitha Gweneth felt numb inside. Alone once more...

She felt the fabric press against her cold skin. She woke up alone, she wanted to be in the mall, she wanted to be at the skate park, she wanted to be in her bed. Anywhere would be better...than this state of...alone...

Tabi shivered, staring at her own bare feet. The pink nail polish had chipped and flaked. Her feet were pale and her toes made tiny convulsions. The world was much smaller and simpler when she looked at them though. It was a world where, she wasn't on an island, she hadn't seen a murder, she hadn't been at a place where someone tried to kill her. She was just there, staring at her toes. They had needed new polish, but she didn't bring any on the trip. She was thinking that she would have dyed them green...when she got back...

Her hands clutched tighter to her peach shirt when she thought of that. Her lips closed tightly, trying not to quiver. Trying not to think back to the fact that she was...alone...

She heard something in the distance. Calling her name...

A voice?

Her gaze lifted up, there was a blonde man there. She remembered now, Ivan, that's right. Ivan was here...

Tabi's eyes returned to her toes. Looking at Ivan was a reminder her where she was. It was right here, with the bullet holes in her shirt. It was away from her feet, away from the grass under it, and away from the chipped pink polish.

The voice continued to buzz, coming closer and closer. She wished to cover her ears, but she wouldn't let go of the blouse. She wouldn't look up to him it was better the way it was now...

"Tabi, it's... it's alright. Everything will be fine."

The voice was calm, gentle and soft spoken. She didn't want to look up, but her head moved up ever so slightly. Her misty eyes met his icy blues, she wanted to look away, but there was something different about them. They weren't the hard stern gaze of before, it was much softer, almost nervous.

"Things could have been very bad... yeah... but, uh... well, that just means you're lucky. And somebody really wants to keep you alive. Keep your chin up, alright?"

Tabi sniffed, her fingers playing with one of the holes in her blouse. She was not as strong as Ivan was, the man had just killed someone, and here he was, dealing with her. It left her feeling weak, and stupid, but she felt safer with someone like him. It meant she wasn't alone.

She leaned over towards Ivan, and whispered through chattering teeth.

"I-its going to be all ri-ri-right...r-right I-I-Ivan?"
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"I-its going to be all ri-ri-right...r-right I-I-Ivan?"

Ivan gave a small nod of the head to the girl, a response that he knew Tabi needed, and she needed it right away. However, to actually make the promise that they were going to truly be alright was... well, retarded. Then again, even he had just said that everything was going to be alright, so maybe saying such truly impossible things was a passable act just so long as it was done on the grounds of morale. He looked to the girl and her chattering teeth, desperate for everything to just be... okay. Ivan shut his eyes a little to try and combat the swelling behind them a moment.

I just want everything to be okay, too.

He let out a sigh, a sigh with some cheeriness injected in to cover up the acute moment of sadness that had struck him; it was a moment that he was sure would soon pass. Standing up, Ivan stooped his posture a bit to look down to Tabi and gave another smile. This wasn't as forced... it was probably the most genuine smile he had given anybody all schoolyear. Things were, almost assuredly, not going to be okay, but at least he'd have somebody to break the silence with before he died. Dying was pretty much a guarantee, and that was something Ivan was very sure not to delude himself about. Tabi could do it if she wanted, since ignorance sure could be bliss to some, but...

"Come on, then. On your feet."
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Tabi glanced up to look at Ivan again and saw him nod his reassurance. For the first time on the island she felt an actual smile creep onto her face. There was hope, Ivan brought that hope and at the end of the day, it would all be fine. The two of them would be able to stick together and every single thing would be alright.

Tabi stared upwards as Ivan stood up, he smiled back at her. He had never really smiled before, not at school and certainly not here. It was odd at first, he was such a serious guy and yet this smile. It made her feel warm inside, calmer than him just nodding an answer.

"Come on, then. On your feet."

Tabi gave a small nod, "Ok..."

She still desperately clung to her blouse as she slowly got up to a crouch. After one more tight squeeze of her shirt she began to springboard up to her feet. Her eyes went from Ivan's face, to her small backpack.

Tabi knew that there was at least another shirt in there besides her now damn yellow one. A part of her wanted to change again, she didn't want to see the holes that were there, she didn't want to remember it all.

But...

Ivan had been shot at, there was nothing that he could do about it. It was a reminder of what had already happened, regardless of what she had wanted. Her fingers wormed their way into the holes, wiggling them in the empty space. Maybe she could have used her own reminder. A reminder that she could have died, just like Ivan. A reminder that now everything would be alright. A reminder that so long as Ivan was here, everything would be okay.

Tabi took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She moved the shirt away from her chest and put it on. The cotton fabric pressed close to her body, it felt nice and although she still felt cold, this was an improvement.

When she opened her eyes she immediately gazed down to the holes. They all peppered the right side of the shirt, one at her kidney, one under her right breast and one around the shoulder. A wave of fear washed over her again, but she did her best to dispel it.

She looked to Ivan and forced a smile. He was here, and she wasn't alone. That was a much better situation than the alternative...

"Let me get my shoes...then we can go..."

She grabbed a pair of socks from her bag and went back to the river. She put on her white ankle socks and slid her feet into her favorite pair of black skate shoes. After that, she found herself pausing, staring one last time at that small brook she had bathed in.

So much had happened in only a day now. Tabi had wished that she was still dreaming, but her hopes for that was a mere pipe dream now. She couldn't turn her back on it now it had happened and that was that. She had hope though, there had to be a way out. There just had to be.

Tabi ran back to Ivan and grabbed her backpack, looping it onto her shoulders.

"Are you uh...ready to go?"
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Ivan's jaw slackened a bit, and he could feel his mouth open as though he were going to say something, but the difference was that this time, he didn't intend to say anything. There wasn't really much left to say, but Tabi left him with a want for words when she suddenly went to put on her shirt, no longer able to cover her chest for that brief moment. Had she waited a few moments, he would've excused himself, turned around, done something. As it was, the best Ivan could do was to turn his head to the side a bit, trying to avert direct eye contact with the girl's chest. The thing about green glasses, however, was that he could look in a direction he wasn't quite facing, and it would be rather hard to notice.

Ivan felt a bit guilty for this, and regretful that he wasn't quick enough to allow for Tabi to put on her shirt in some remote sense of privacy. This was washed over by the fact that he was (shamefully) glad none of that had happened. Ivan prayed there was no red pigmentation in his face, but the chances of that happening prevailed up until Tabi slid her shirt down over that chest of hers.

Wow... good form, Ivan. This is a life or death situation, and you're playing the role of the typical male by thinking with your dick. ... But Tabi would've been good on the tennis team, with a body like that...

Ivan shook his head and chuckled again, wondering exactly what one of those self-administrated mental slaps felt like, because he really needed one, but he just couldn't help himself. Looking back up to Tabi from his muddled, idling thoughts, he saw her gaze down at the holes in her shirt, which drew his eyes down to look at them as well. One of them certainly seemed... precariously placed, and Ivan tried to look at the other two as quickly as possible. They looked... painfully placed indeed, but it was only one bullet that made them. Still, they were painful-looking reminders no matter how you saw it, and Ivan wondered just why Tabi hadn't put on another shirt or something.

"Let me get my shoes...then we can go..."

A low affirming hum gave Tabi what Ivan hoped she needed to hear, and he turned to watch the girl put on the last articles of clothing. With the way the sky looked, it could easily fool somebody into thinking that night was about to fall over the inhabitants of the island, but the fact remained looming over his head: it was truly morning. The timid girl and the guilty boy had survived the first day of this new hell, but another day awaited their decisions, threatening to destroy them both.

Am I ready to die?

Ivan already knew the answer to that one, but didn't really want to play around with it too much. Yes, nobody exactly wanted to die, and he knew that, but sooner or later, he would HAVE to come to terms with it. He looked back and forth, searching for one of the cameras that... that man said was going to be there, but his search returned nothing. Scratching an itch that festered underneath his collar, Ivan awaited Tabi's return, stopping his scratching when she turned back and ran to him, getting her things. It didn't really seem right to remind her of the device that was around her neck as well.

"Are you uh...ready to go?"

It was his turn now to close his eyes, thinking about the day that was to come, and he let out a long sigh before opening his eyes, smiling once more. "Yeah... let's go." They could check the map on the way, but for now, they'd have to get off of this mountain first. From there, they'd have to approach the greens so Ivan could get...

He picked up his own backpack, taking care not to forget his umbrella, which he picked up in his left hand after slinging the daypack around his left shoulder to hang at his right side. His right arm still ached, and so he wanted to rely on it as little as possible. He wasn't particularly crazy about picking up whatever 'present' had been left for him there at the greens, but if it would help him survive at least to the point where he could die on his own terms, well...

I guess I can live with that.

The two scarred children headed off the mountain, searching for the morning to come.

((Ivan Kuznetsov and Tabi Gweneth continued in Peacemaker))
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Sep 26 2010, 12:47 PM.
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