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Topic Started: Sep 6 2010, 02:34 PM (2,454 Views)
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((R.J. Lowe continued from A Pit Stop of Sorts))

Somewhere between the small town and the evergreen graveyard, R.J. had lost Kris' trail. Normally, he was a fairly competent tracker. Skilled, one might even say. Unfortunately, today wasn't his day. As he slogged through the maze of logs and stumps, he was bogged down by stress, guilt, anger, and the dirt that had clouded his eyes since he first woke. The dead quiet of the felled forest was punctuated only by the sounds of students arguing far off in the distance, the occasional gunshot, and no less than two explosions, one to the north, one to the east. It was the last one that troubled the young giant the most, but he pushed it to the back of his mind, concentrating on why he came this way in the first place. All he could really do, in any case, was hope Kris wasn't at the center of either.

"Everett? Yo, Everett man?"

His thought process was interrupted by the sound of another voice. It was still distant, but for the first time since leaving the town, he could make out what someone was saying.


R.J., neither recognizing the voice nor knowing an Everett, paid no heed to the young man's cries. The only action he took was to sigh and slap his palm against his forehead. God, shut the hell up. You're gonna get yourself and your buddy killed if you keep up with that sh-

Suddenly, his train of thought was derailed once more, as the distant young man's tone saw a marked change.

"......No... No no no, Oh god! Oh SHIT! OH SHIT, EVERETT!"

Oh balls... don't tell me...

Against all common sense, R.J. ran to the source of the sound. Oh shit, tell me that wasn't because of what I think it was. By the time he reached the top of the hill, no one was there, but it didn't take long to spot what he was looking for from the higher vantage point. To his dismay, it was precisely what he thought it was. Another student, bawling his eyes out, babbling to no one in particular, kneeling over the corpse of what was once presumably Everett. R.J. approached the scene slowly, hands hanging helplessly at his sides. This can't be happening. He couldn't make out who the crying boy was, approaching from behind and all, nor did he recognize the broken and bludgeoned corpse, though as badly battered as his face was, he wasn't sure he'd recognize him if he did know the kid. This can't be fucking happening. He couldn't do anything but stand there, staring in horror at the scene that played out now mere yards in front of him, unable to believe what he was seeing.

It's already started...

It was the first time he'd ever seen a dead body, at least one that had previously been human. He didn't know what he was supposed to do. He didn't know what he could do. So at that moment, R.J. simply did what instinct instructed him to do: he crossed himself and in the privacy of his mind, began to pray.

Our father, who art in heaven...
<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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((Posting to keep up activity.))

It wasn't that he didn't hear the girls approaching. They weren't as quiet as they might have thought they were. It just didn't matter at that moment, standing over the stinking remains of a former classmate. Burying him crossed the young man's mind, as he swatted away a fly that deigned to buzz too close to his face. He deserves better than to just rot on a tree stump like this, doesn't he? He may not have known the kid, but it seemed the least he could do. However, he didn't have very long to think about that. The piercing sound of stereo feedback bore down on R.J.'s eardrums, derailing his thought process.

"Kids, I have to say that I'm truly impressed with your first day showing."

Oh, go fuck yourself.

"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."

Wait, hold up. Fucking nineteen? That... that can't be right...

The gleefully uncaring voice listed off the names of the fallen and, where applicable, their killers. Remi Pierce, Dallas Reynolds... Oh man, Tex? This early? ...Warren Brown, Omar Burton, Eric Lorenz, Alex Rasputin... Was that a fucking pun? How sick is this guy? ...Reika Ishida... Except Dallas, no names yet that he recognized, though to be fair, he wasn't good with na-

...Kris Hartmann...

...No way... I was that close to a killer? I had my gun pointed right at her... I let her go... I knew there was a chance she had, but it never really... I wanted to help her...

...Clio Gabriella, Chris Davidson, Reiko Ishida, Sally Connelly, Cyrille LaBlanche... The tiny little figure skater? Really? ...Nick Reid, Daniel Vaughan, Petrushka Ivanova, Clio again, Megan Nelson, Resident Bear, Everett Taylor, Janet Binachi... Wait. Did he say bear? Oh fuck, there's a bear here?! Sweat dripped down R.J.'s brow. Lord knows he was scared shitless of bears.

...Keith Christoph, Ivan Kuzen... Kuzna... Kucinich... Fuck, what'd he say? ...Rob Jenkins, Paige Strand, Ra Ra Rasputin again, Robert Lerger, Brent Shanahan...

No... That can't be right. Shanny can't be dead... Of all the names so far, Brent was the first R.J. counted as a friend. The two had been on the baseball team together since freshman year. Not much of a hitter, but he'd saved R.J. at least one game with his glove. But that wasn't important. Baseball was just a game. Shanny was a friend. His knuckles cracked as he clenched his fists, palms beginning to bleed as his nails dug into them. There was no choice. He had to find the one responsible and stop them from killing again.

...Staffan Kronwall...

That name, R.J. knew. Hockey prospect, Swedish or something. Murderer. R.J. was going to find him, and he was going to blow him off this mortal goddamned coil.

...Maria Santiago, Jackie Broughten, Tony Russo, Colin Falcone, Amber Whimsy... Kris again...

Kris... son of a bitch, if I'd stopped her then and there, I could have saved Amber... Fuck it, that's it. I need to find her now. I won't make the same mistake twice. I'll stop you and Staffan both. Fucking watch me.

He knew he might not remember them tomorrow, or even in ten minutes, but right now, he took each and every name to heart. He would honor those who had fallen. He would end those who felled them. And most of all, he would get as many people as he could off this rock alive. He looked back to the crying boy, then to Everett.

There was a click. Then a snikt.

There was a crossbow bolt lodged in the side of Everett's neck.

Without thinking, R.J. drew his weapon, which was already cocked from the standoff in the town, and - Pow! - fired off a round at the figure standing in the direction from which the bolt had come. He didn't bother looking to see if it had hit before diving behind a log for cover. Shit, think, shit, think. What the fuck just happened? Who's shooting at us? He raised his head up over the log to get a look, then ducked back down. Girl. Didn't recognize her. Armed. Crossbow pistol. Still there.

In one swift motion, he stood up.

Aimed for the upper torso.

Prayed for forgiveness.

Pulled the trigger.

<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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She let go.

R.J. stood there, gun still pointed where he had aimed it. His hands shook. His everything shook. She let go. His teeth clenched in horror as blood sprayed through the air behind the girl. She fell backwards, holding nothing but air in her hands. Her crossbow lay unmoving on the ground. She let go.

His hands fell helplessly to his sides. I... I only wanted to defend myself... to defend these people...

People R.J. could not bear to look in the eye. He knew they were looking at him. He could feel it. He couldn't bear to look back at them. He had surrendered that right the moment he pulled the trigger. But... hadn't it been for the right reasons? She had shot first. It was justified. It's never justified. She could have killed someone just now. And that's why she dropped the weapon. Unconsciously, his feet carried him toward the wounded girl. He couldn't understand why; least of all, he deserved to face her. He kept the gun in hand, unable to let go. It had become an extension of his physical body. As befits one who would take a life so callously. SHUT THE HELL UP! IT WAS SELF FUCKING DEFENSE! Internally, the tall young man was in utter turmoil, but his exterior belied none of that. Visibly, he remained as taciturn as he had since he'd been on this island. He had to stay strong, to not show any signs of weakness, lest it be taken as an opportunity to attack him. Not that you don't deserve it. I said SHUT UP!

He stood over the girl, as she lay in the dirt, only barely still alive. The bullet had pierced her heart, however, so she wasn't long for this world. Why couldn't I have aimed wide? As he stood there, gazing into her fading eyes, she raised a hand toward him, index finger and thumb framing his face, before uttering a single, final word. "Title." Her arm then collapsed limply to her side as she breathed her last, blood trickling from her mouth as her lips curled into a smile. He stared into her glazed-over eyes, before glancing over to her bag, stenciled on which were the words "G088 - EVA LANCASTER." Eva... so that was your name. Taking a deep breath, he knelt down beside her, laid her hands over her stomach, then closed her eyes. The latter wasn't as easy as it looked on TV - really, it took him about three tries. Then again, maybe it was just nerves. With that smile on her face, she seemed so... peaceful. As angelic as her name implied. I'm glad you could at least find peace, Eva. Please, forgive me for showing it to you the way I did. I promise you, I'll do whatever it takes to make it right. As long as I live, I promise I won't forget your name. I promise I'll honor your memory.

Whether God will forgive me is in His hands.

Standing once more, he crossed himself, took the short walk a few feet away to the crossbow, and used his foot to leave a message in the dirt beside the discarded weapon.


With that, he set out in whichever direction he was facing at the time, not particularly caring which. He had work to take care of, and for now, he had to do it on his own. He couldn't let anyone else be burdened with what he was about to do.

((R.J. Lowe continued in Clap For The Killers.))
Edited by Stark, Sep 18 2010, 01:20 PM.
<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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