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Morning Comes Slowly; New day. New threats. New chances.
Topic Started: Sep 12 2010, 07:36 PM (1,660 Views)
Dr. Nic
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How cute.
[ *  * ]
[Boy #61 - William Hearst. Continued from Everybody's Changing.]

Minutes ran into hours, and the hours bled away as night came, as their pace slowed and the only things lighting their way were the twilight peeking through the canopy and the bright, piercing cones of artificial salvation from their flashlights; The darkness was an enemy, one of fear and of the unknown, one that hid the threats behind its veil and kept the weary ones ever watching and paranoid. At least, one of them was watching, one of them was paranoid and panicked as the moon rose higher and the hands of time ticked by without any signs of the precise moment; He clutched the items in his hands, the handgun and the flashlight, with an ever vigilant and fear-filled grip.

The wandering couple in the dark, the girl and her would be protector, had been walking for hours, through the woods and the edges of the swamp, past a road a long ways past and over a river; The boy made a point of resting there, at first, and refilling empty bottles with fresh water. But they didn't stay in one spot for too long, always getting up and moving before someone could find them; They had passed by the voices in the distance and the gunfire and the explosions, avoiding confrontation as they worked to get their bearings. The boy had read the map, tried to point them in the right direction, but they had passed their would-be destination by a long time ago. Now, it was just wandering at a trudging pace as energy and willpower slipped away from them.

Day gave way to dusk, and dusk gave way to night, and their legs refused to carry them much farther without rest, without recovery; More time slipped away as the boy worked feverishly to conjure up fire with what they had available, to make a decent place to rest and sleep in short order. But thanks to the trees, to the very woods that surrounded them hours earlier, their fire would last the night, the warmth and protection enduring as they recovered from their long and harrowing journey; Fear ruled the trip, but safety was found within the crackling flames, within the light from the ever reliable torches they carried through the night, always hoping that the batteries would last.

They had come a long way, from the emptiness and desolation of fallen woods, passing the river teeming with life in this land of death, through the thick and shadowed woods, finally arriving at the edge of the choking wood to the welcome sight of the sea; The boy had worked to make camp, and they spent the remainder of their night resting, the calming noises of the sea and its lapping waves slowly lulling the protector and his protectorate into the welcoming arms of sleep and dreams.

Throughout their trip, from the river to the woods to the very sea they would sleep by, they had spoken; About their lives and their loved ones, about those they wished to find and their hopes of survival, about those they would fear and the paranoid contemplations that came when the word 'Player' was uttered, the realization that this twisted game could claim their lives, using their once beloved classmates as pawns.

"I hope Peter and Alex are alright. I hope Colin and Everett and Maddy.. and everyone else, I hope they aren't getting dragged into the world of this 'game'."

The contempt in William's voice when he uttered the final word, when he addressed the nature of their situation with that one word summary, was clear; Behind the fear and the worry, behind the scared young man with the weak arm and the overwhelming power in his hand, there was hatred and anger, there was contempt and a frustration that was just barely being held back by the floodgates of self control. Hatred for the situation they were in, for the people behind it and the leader of them all; Anger directed at himself, at his weakness and his fear, at his panic and paranoia filled mind. Contempt for those responsible, for the ones who would kill and the ones who would disregard the lives of their classmates; Frustration at his inability to do anything, at the hopelessness of their situation and his apparent lack of control, and at the belief that he may not be able to protect the only person he'd connected with despite the circumstances.

"In the morning, we can start looking for them. If I'm right, we should be here on the map, and we can actually make use of the compass they gave us."

As he spoke, he unfolded his map, showed the spot he had marked to Tiffany, their probable path outlined and their current position marked upon the laminate coating; They'd certainly come a long way, though their pace was slow and their path was inefficient. But with new bearings, with the sight from their clearing and the landmarks they'd located on their route, their next foray into the unknown would be better informed; He handed over the map, the intention for Tiffany to copy the information wherever she saw fit. With a stick, the young man probed the crackling flames, shifting the tinder; He tested the heat and hung a plastic bottle above the soothing warmth, suspended by a shoelace from a quickly built and potentially unstable framework of branches. A trick he'd been shown during camping, one important thing he'd learned from Alex, the purification of water; He didn't know what was in the river and wouldn't chance sickness, the bottom of the plastic bottle slowly turning black and beginning to sag as the water inside heated, the occasional bubble rising to the surface. He didn't have a pot, so he made due with the materials on hand, the exact time and place he learned this trick slipping from his mind as he watched the water slowly boil.

"Heh, I suppose the things I learned weren't completely useless."

As they sat and spoke, he offered up what few personal items he had in his backpack to Tiffany; A bottle of juice with some of its contents missing, a slightly crushed bag of chips and a broken granola bar, the bread he'd been given and a half melted bar of chocolate. He emptied his bag in his pursuit of taking inventory and arranging the contents to make it easier to carry; An old sports jacket and an extra pair of khaki slacks, a pair of jeans and a couple shirts, a handful of unmentionables and little else. A couple of books showing wear, signs of use and a sign of their place on his list of favorites; Marabou Stork Nightmares and The Tempest, The Hobbit and The Blade Itself. The temptation to begin reading was there, to escape from this nightmare into a world that was not his own, but fear and worry prevented him from opening any of the books.

"Brought all these along thinking that the trip would be boring. I guess I was wrong."

No, it wasn't boring, but it certainly wasn't entertaining; He hated being there, being on that island and part of that twisted game. He hated having to hold on to a gun like letting go would kill him, knowing that was very close to the reality he was facing; He hated not knowing what was going to happen and being afraid of every little noise, every little movement spotted out the corner of his eye. But most of all, he hated not having his friends nearby, having the people he loved and cared for, the people he held dear, the people he wanted to spend his last high school trip with... he wanted to know they were safe more than anything, to know that they were alive and well, to know that they hadn't become victims or players of this game.

"I hope we can find them tomorrow. Peter, Alex, Everett, Colin, Maddy... I miss them now."

He closed his eyes for a moment, fighting back the slowly building flood that threatened to overtake him, letting out a heavy and shuddering sigh as he probed the fire once more; The last thing he wanted was to break down in front of Tiffany, to lose what little strength he had and to let the young woman down, the very one he'd decided to help and protect hours earlier. He struggled to fight back the tears though, as he continued to think about his friends, about what could be happening to them and what they could be capable of doing, of how they would react to this and how others might react to them. He didn't want to think about them getting hurt, about them dying in horrible ways or even about them being willing to kill others in order to survive. He didn't want them to make those choices, those horrible decisions that they would regret.

"You don't have a weapon, do you?"

He hadn't seen her carrying one, nor had he seen any signs of one by looking at her bag, and he'd begun to wonder what happened to it; Had someone taken it or had she not been given a weapon? Or had she abandoned it? Abandoning the weapon... he wondered if he would ever be capable of doing that, abandoning his weapon, leaving behind his only means of survival and his only tool in his fight. He'd come to rely upon the power in his hand, knowing he'd have to make the choice to pull the trigger again eventually, that it was inevitable that he would repeat his actions with Dominic, potentially with a fatal end. It was his power to use, his choice to make, and he'd chosen to protect Tiffany, to protect himself and to survive as long as he was capable.

"I've thought about throwing this away before, when I first woke up and when I held it on Dominic. After you had left, I sat there for so long just staring at it... But I can't throw it away."

He looked up from his hands, from the silvery weapon held within them, looking to Tiffany; Resignation and determination in his eyes. He'd long since resolved to keep this tool, this power, the weapon he held; He would bear the weight, the responsibility and the consequences. But he would not throw it away and would not leave it behind, and he never truly wished to ever let go of it, even for a moment; For it was his power, his strength in this time of weakness, the only thing that could guarantee his survival in this, the grandest of all fights. If he was to survive, if he was to help others survive, he would need that power, that strength and the will to use it.

"You understand, right? I can't just let it go. It's the only thing that will stand between me and death, the only thing that could ensure I have the strength to survive this. I don't want to use it and I don't even know if I could... but I still can't bring myself to let it slip from my hands. Does... Does that make me weak?"

It had been hours since they'd fallen asleep, since they'd drifted into the land of dreams and nightmares next to the warmth and protection of the fire; William had been awake long into the night, long after Tiffany had drifted off, watching the dark horizon and the sleeping form nearby. He'd kept watch early on, looking into the woods and then out to sea, forgetting himself in the movement of the waves and letting everything slip away in the soothing sound of the crashing waters; For a long time he sat and stared, he broke down and cried, he let everything out under the light of the moon above and the fire behind. He wouldn't want to wake Tiffany, hoping the sound of the sea would drown out his freed emotions, his weeping and his cursing, his lament and his sorrow, his anger and his rage. Nothing had been safe from his curses, not Danya or his lackeys, not the island that would become their grave or those who would put them below; Not even the lord on high had been safe from his curses at the night, for the once skeptical young man had broken down and spoken to God, questioning the decisions and cursing the apparent malevolence.

The crackling fire had long since burned out, the resin soaked wood having given its last to warm the sleeping young man and woman, leaving the pair to the mercy of the sun in its stead; Just as the first orange and red rays appeared on the horizon and the lapping waves of the ocean began their slow transition of the tides, the screech of feedback woke the sleeping pair, the herald of death making his announcement at dawn on the second day. With a clouded, sleep addled mind and a sore, aching body, William rose from his chosen bed, looking to Tiffany and the coat he'd lain upon her in the night; He didn't remember when, but it must have been late. Before he could realize what was happening, the nightmarish voice that had been echoing through his dreams came in loud over the speakers positioned in unknown places, the very voice he'd heard in the auditorium before darkness descended upon his mind once again; His heart leaped into his throat as his stomach tied into knots, and a sudden wave of nauseating anxiety struck him hard.

"Oh god."

He choked back the urge to empty the contents of his stomach, to run as far as he could and hide from the voice of death, the voice of fear and paranoia; The voice of Danya. With every word that bellowed forth from that man's mouth, that came out over the loudspeakers with as much sick satisfaction as in person, he fought back the sickness, frozen in place by a chilling fear. He didn't want to listen, he didn't want to hear that man take pleasure in telling everyone who had died and who had killed and who he admired for the shear brutality behind their actions, but he had no choice; No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't bring himself to cover his ears, to drown out the noise of the herald and forget where he was.












Nothing seemed right or real, and he wished it was a dream, with all his strength he wished this, he prayed for this, he hoped for this; But it would not be. It was real, as real as things would ever get, and it only got worse as everything stopped moving, as his mind began to spin and nothing at all registered for the young man as tears streamed down his face in full force; They came fast and they came hard, as he struggled to find his voice and his lungs refused to obey. The only thing he could do as the voice sounded out from above, as the messenger of death spoke the next name, was collapse to the ground as all strength left his body, as the tears fell from his eyes harder than they ever had and the only thing he could hear was his own shuddering breath.


One of the last names he ever wanted to hear come out over those loudspeakers, Death's crier speaking out his recent acquisition with twisted pleasure and a sick grin; A cold communication issued forth to announce the death of a close friend, a recent friend, someone who was loved and cared about by many, dismissed with nothing more than a single sentence as if their life meant nothing. The words rang in his ears for the longest period, the name echoing and everything he ever experienced with Everett, everything he'd ever done or said, all rushing to the fore front of his mind; Everything they'd enjoyed after prom, the slowly building friendship over the last moments of their senior year, the happiness and the laughing and everything he'd ever done or said, every last little memory.

"Everett... I'm so sorry... I..."

A dear friend had been lost, a life gone without any warning, without any chance to say goodbye or offer any last words, without any way of telling him how much he was appreciated and how much his friendship was cherished. Now there was nothing... no way to offer those goodbyes or those words, no way to tell him how much he was adored, how much he was respected or admired. Would it always be that way, never getting a chance to say goodbye to those he cared about and those he loved? Slowly, everything started to move again and his mind returned to him, his sorrow present for all to witness, as sound returned to the world and his tears flowed with less force. Death's crier was still reading off the list.









That last name was not among the dead, not on the list of those collected by the reaper, but among those that had participated in his harvest; Those that had killed their classmates, their friends, someones son or daughter or grandchild or lover. Those that he'd held in such contempt, the one he worried about and the ones he feared; The very ones he was seeking to protect Tiffany from, the ones he sought to protect those he cared about from, the ones that he would have to find the willpower to strike down with the power in his hand. But what would he do if one of his friends, someone he was close to and someone he cared for, someone he had spent time with and someone he thought wouldn't hurt anyone... what would he do now that one of those beloved friends had killed?

"Colin... He... he killed someone?"

He didn't know how to process that, how it should register with him or how he should react to that news. But nothing came to him; No explanation, no excuses, no possible reasons for Colin to have killed someone, to have gone that far. Not hate nor anger nor contempt, not worry nor fear nor paranoia, nothing but confusion came over William as he tried to process that information, as he tried to figure out why Colin would kill someone, how he would be capable of doing such a thing. But before he could figure out what to think, how to react, he heard the loudspeaker continue with its broadcast. The announcement of the danger zones, the places where none would enter and survive from this day forward; None of the names made much sense until he looked to the map that lay nearby. Resigned to the task, he outstretched a trembling hand to the laminate document, as he marked the locations on his map as ones to avoid.


He couldn't think, he couldn't talk, he could barely even move as he sat there in shock, trying to process what had just happened and everything he had just heard. He didn't know what to do or what to say to Tiffany, looking to her with tears still streaming down his own cheeks. He wanted out of this game, off of this show; He wanted to leave this reality behind, to run from everything that had been happening and to take anyone he could with him. Without saying anything, he turned away from Tiffany and pulled his knees up.

He hung his head.

He buried himself in the darkness.

He wanted out.
Edited by Dr. Nic, Sep 14 2010, 12:35 AM.
Boy #??? - Joshua Edwards
Hanging out somewhere, playing his heart out.
Writer and local retail slave at the comic book store.

Girl #??? - Viktoriya "Vika" Starikova
Floating in the void, unfinished and half-formed.
Hot headed member of the soft ball team, secretly wishing she could fly.

Those who were
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Dr. Nic
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How cute.
[ *  * ]
Alone and withdrawn, William sat in the early morning light for the longest time, his head buried in his arms, blocking out all sight and as much sound as he could as he simply listened to his own breathing, to his own soft sobbing and his own sorrow filled thoughts. Tiffany had come and gone, offering what comfort she could but William hadn't listened, hadn't done anything but remain where he was, trying to remove himself from the world as best as he could; He didn't want to be there, he never did, but now he'd lost a friend and another had killed someone and he didn't know what to do. He wanted to stop crying, to push everything out of his mind and be strong for Tiffany, to be strong where others had been weak, to push onward and fight for those who couldn't fight anymore; But nothing came of his wishes, nothing came of his desires and his silent begging. Nothing but more tears and sorrow.

I want to go home.

"Get up."

Silent voices, unheard but present in his mind, brought old memories to the forefront of his thoughts, brought out old insecurities and the solutions to old problems; The voice of a close friend, a good friend, a loved one. He didn't see anything but darkness, didn't hear anything but his own heartbeat, his own breathing and the distant sound of crashing waves; He was still alone, but he could still hear that familiar voice, the one that gave him strength, calling to him. A soft whisper escaped his lips, muffled in his arms and his knees, nothing but silence present outside his dark little world.

"I can't."

"Yes you can. Come on, it's only a little further."

He could remember that day so clearly, the rocks and the trees, the long hike and their intended destination; He could remember the meal in their backpacks, the smell of the flowers and the sound of the wind blowing the leaves in the canopy. He could remember the obstacle in their path, the first time he'd faced such an opposing element in nature; A cliff of decent size and no path around. He could still feel the pain in his legs and his arms, the impact on his back when he'd fallen the first time. That smiling face, that caring and kind look, that soft yet commanding tone of voice.

"But I can't..."

"Look at me. Just grab hold, and pull yourself up. Just like I did."

♪ Silly thoughts of small deeds. ♫

Memories of that day, of that first real trip alone, of the time he was forced to push onward despite his weakness; No help was going to be given, it was his obstacle to overcome and one he'd avoided for a long time. But even with that smile, even with those words, failure was always looming, weakness was always present; He remembered wanting to give up, to just go home and forget about their plans. But he didn't leave, that familiar voice pushing him to try again, compromising with him. One more time, just one more try, if he didn't make it they would just go home; But he would have to try his best. A small smile returned to William's hidden face as he remember that day. As he remembered pulling himself up and the happiness he felt; Even if he was sore and his hands hurt, even if he never wanted to do it again, he had pushed himself, he had overcome that obstacle on his own strength.

♪ Everything fades away... ♫

The tears had stopped flowing, his breathing had calmed down and he could no longer hear himself sobbing in the darkness. All he could hear was the distant, muffled sound of the waves, all he could feel was the soft breeze, the salt filled air fresh and soothing. He lifted his head from his arms, the faintest of light hitting his eyes and the noise of the waves coming in full, the sounds of Tiffany moving out of sight, of the proof that he wasn't really alone. He'd spent long enough sitting there alone, spent long enough on his sorrow and his sadness. He'd have to push onward no matter how much he wanted to leave everything behind, more so now than ever; He still had a responsibility to Tiffany. He still had to fight. It was she had told him last night; He had to be strong to do the right thing.

♪ Come turning of the tide. ♫

William outstretched his legs once more, unfolding his arms and coming out of his secluded little world, out of his desire to leave reality; He still had to push on and be strong, he couldn't sit there forever. He knew that if Peter was there, if Alex was there, they would be strong. He knew Everett wouldn't want him to become so withdrawn, to give up so soon and so easy. There was still an ever present sorrow and a piece of him would probably always be missing, but he couldn't let that hold him back in his fight, in his and Tiffany's struggle to survive in this hell. They still had to find everyone, to find Peter and Alex, to find Colin and everyone else they cared for; So sitting and crying wasn't going to get them anywhere.

♪ All I'm saying is don't give up, you're getting so close. ♫

Just as he was about to stand up, about to grab his things and get ready to keep moving, he spotted someone coming out from behind the trees; Not the feminine form of Tiffany that he expected, but the form of another boy, of someone he couldn't identify in the dim light. On his back there was a large item, a metal item, something that William's mind immediately reasoned to be a weapon, something that made his heart jump into his throat and his hand shoot for the handgun at his side. Before he even realized what he was doing, William had the gun trained on the boy with the bloody nose; The sights were lined up, just as they had been when he first fired the gun, his hand lacking in the trembling that had once been present when holding the imposing weapon. Perhaps that was thanks to Tiffany, to her reassurance that he would use it with good purpose.

But was this really the good purpose that she spoke of?

♪ All I'm saying is don't give up, it's the right way you chose. ♫

"Don't move."

He had to be strong to do the right thing...

Was this the right thing?

Boy #??? - Joshua Edwards
Hanging out somewhere, playing his heart out.
Writer and local retail slave at the comic book store.

Girl #??? - Viktoriya "Vika" Starikova
Floating in the void, unfinished and half-formed.
Hot headed member of the soft ball team, secretly wishing she could fly.

Those who were
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Dr. Nic
Member Avatar
How cute.
[ *  * ]
[Skipping post order to keep with the flow of the event. It's all been planned out.]

Everything fell silent and still, a moment frozen in time as the lives and paths of two scared young men crossed, as fate cast the dice and events conspired against all those involved. The soft sound of cautious breathing and the beat of his own heart once more became the only thing that William heard as he stared into the eyes of the boy before him, as he stared at Trevor and held a gun upon the frightened young man with an all too steady grip; No trembling, not of his arm or of his hands or of the finger held hesitantly over the trigger. Nothing ran through the boys mind besides the words spoken with comforting intent, the words that gave him strength enough to find confidence; In his actions and his intent, in his future and in the very reasons he would do everything he would go on to do.

He never meant any harm.

He never intended to hurt Trevor.

William hadn't moved at all since Trevor appeared, since he aimed the gun at the boy and stared down the sights to see the fear filled eyes of his would-be target; Fear had driven his actions and was holding his aim on the boy, the same fear that had frozen Trevor in place brought forth the shakiness in his voice. Trevor's voice was soft and without malice, broken and weary, betraying his doubts and anxiety over the intent behind the events in motion before him. A voice filled with worry and terror that William was all too familiar with, a tone that was suddenly similar to one he'd heard just the day before when he initially came upon Tiffany; The tone in Dominic's voice as he begged and pleaded on his knees. The striking similarity that William couldn't help but notice, the one thing he couldn't ignore as he stared at Trevor from behind the intimidating weapon.

"It's... it's okay."

He struggled to force those words from his throat, to willingly let down his guard in the face of potential danger as the paranoia in the back of his mind told him not to take his eyes off of Trevor, not to lower his weapon or lose focus. But he couldn't ignore the facts in front of him, that Trevor was just as scared as he was and didn't intend on harming William or Tiffany, that he probably didn't even know Tiffany was there; He couldn't bring himself to go with his paranoid thoughts and assume the worst of the boy begging before him. He wanted to believe that Trevor was just as anxious and alone as he was, to believe that Trevor was never going to be able to hurt anyone and that he would never be forced to defend himself from Trevor.

He had to believe what Tiffany told him...

Everything was going to be alright.

Wasn't it?

He tried to smile, to offer that sense of comfort to the distressed boy in front of him, to show that he didn't mean any harm in holding a gun on him; That it was all in self defense, with no intent other than protecting himself. He was going to lower the gun, letting the muscles in his arm relax, take his finger away from the trigger; He was even going to turn the safety back on, something he neglected to do since setting out on his trip with Tiffany to what became their campground. He wanted everything to be alright, for everything to turn out to be just fine, for everything to melt away and for them to sit down together, to confide in eachother and find solace in one anothers company; After the announcements, they could certainly use it. He just wanted to relax... to forget about it all and find comfort in the fact that someone else was there, that someone other than Tiffany would be on his side.

Was that really too much to ask?

But nothing ever turns out how we wish it would, not really, not in the end. And that realization came to late as he struggled to let his guard down in front of Trevor, to let his body and his mind relax; Struggling to force his body to obey despite all the fear and paranoia that had driven him since he woke up for the first time. He looked away from Trevor for a moment, looking to the gun and then to where he thought Tiffany had been, where she had walked off to; He took his eyes off the panicked young man for only a moment, only a second, but something caught his attention and brought his focus snapping back to Trevor. Trevor had broken his own frozen posture, had relaxed ever so slightly, enough to take a step forward; William was beginning to relax, to ease up and was about to let everything simply slip away. But a sudden movement... unexpected and immediate, even the smallest movement, the smallest action, could cause surprise and shock. Could cause a horrible, regrettable reaction.

William jumped at Trevor's sudden action.

His hand clenched.

He pulled the trigger.

The gun went off.

"Oh god... No..."
Boy #??? - Joshua Edwards
Hanging out somewhere, playing his heart out.
Writer and local retail slave at the comic book store.

Girl #??? - Viktoriya "Vika" Starikova
Floating in the void, unfinished and half-formed.
Hot headed member of the soft ball team, secretly wishing she could fly.

Those who were
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
Dr. Nic
Member Avatar
How cute.
[ *  * ]
[Sorry for the delay.]

He couldn't move.

Couldn't breathe.

Couldn't think.

This wasn't supposed to happen. None of this should have happened, none of them should have been there, should have been in the situations they were forced into; Trevor shouldn't have been there, Tiffany shouldn't have been there, William shouldn't have been there... and he shouldn't have been holding a gun. He'd never wanted to do it, never wanted to hurt anyone, never wanted to be the one sitting there with a weapon in his hand... pointing it at a friend, at someone he knew. Pointing it at Trevor... pulling the trigger...

Ending a life.

He couldn't stop shaking as he slowly realized what he was doing, what he had done, what was happening all around him... what he had been responsible for. Everything was shaking, shuddering, trembling violently... and he couldn't stop it. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't stop his hands from shaking and it took all the strength he had just to pull his finger away from the trigger, just to avoid... avoid repeating what he'd done. He didn't want to do it, he never meant to hurt Trevor, never meant to hurt anyone; He never meant to pull the trigger, but Trevor... he just...

"What have I done?"

You killed him.

"I didn't... I..."

You did it.

"Tiffany... What have I done?"

With blood on his face and tears in his eyes, cutting a path through the unnoticed spatter, he turned to face his would-be companion, the girl who'd comforted him and supported him; The very one who looked at him with fear and uncertainty in her eyes, looking upon him and seeing him as nothing more than a cold blooded killer. But he wasn't a killer... he didn't want to be seen that way by anyone, let alone by the only person who had been supporting him, the only good thing that would ever come out of the situation that had been dropped in. But he wasn't a killer, he wasn't, he just wasn't... right?

"What have I done?"

You killed him.

The accusatory stare, the look in her eyes as she stared at him, as she tried to come up with an answer to his questions, as she tried to figure out what exactly had just transpired; He saw it all, he saw it and he couldn't do anything to fix it, not now, not anymore. Nothing either of them could say would make this better, would make this go away, would help force reality away from them; They would have to face what was happening. They couldn't turn away, couldn't run away, couldn't avoid the violence and the things they would be forced to do, the things William had already done... but he wasn't forced to do it, was he? No one forced him to do it, he did it on his own, he was the only one responsible for the dead body in front of him, the ending of a life far too soon; He killed that boy, the very one he may have called his friend in the past or the future.

"I... I killed him... didn't I?"

Trevor wasn't going to hurt him, wasn't going to hurt Tiffany or anyone else, was he? He was just alone in this living hell like everyone else, he didn't have anyone to help him or support him, he was just scared, fearing for his life and his safety. And William pulled a gun on him, forced him to stare down the barrel of that overwhelming weapon, forced him to face the very thing he feared most, the thing everyone fears. The inevitable fate they were all being forced to face far too soon, far too young. And William was part of it now, part of this show, this game, this horrible game of chance fate had played with their lives. And William ended a life. He killed someone. He killed a student. He killed a classmate. He killed a friend. He killed someone's child. He killed someone's boyfriend. He ended a life.

He killed Trevor.

And nothing was ever going to be the same.

"I didn't... I didn't mean to. I never wanted to... to do this."

He couldn't stop the tears from coming, couldn't stop his hands from shaking, couldn't even keep his breathing steady; He was starting to panic as everything set in, as he realized what he had done and what Tiffany must think of him now. As he realized that his name would be among those of the killers the next time that voice came over the loudspeakers. He couldn't handle it, didn't want to, didn't know what to do now or what to think or how to react; All of this panicking, all of this uncertainty, all of this fear and worry and sadness and anxiety and everything... in the back of his mind, behind everything that was happening, he was happy. He didn't want this to have been easy, didn't want to have done it and took solace in how he was reacting, how he was panicking and how terrible he felt. He didn't want to participate in this game, didn't want to end up like so many others who lost their way, lost their minds and killed their classmates and their friends in cold blood, no remorse, no regrets; He didn't want to end up like that and he clung to every last normal emotion he could.

Even the panic.

Even the paranoia.

And the sudden cold sweat, the hyperventilating, the horror at what he had unwillingly yet willingly become, the nightmare that had replaced the reality he so desparately wanted to escape; When he brought his trembling hand to his face, to wipe away the stinging tears and sweat, when he saw the blood come away in a smear on the sleeve of his shirt... he screamed. He broke down and screamed. Visceral and filled with terror, filled with revulsion and disgust towards what he'd seen and what he saw himself as, what everything was telling him he had become. He couldn't stop his hands from shaking, however violent it became, but he couldn't drop the gun or even let that hand or that arm go limp; No matter what had happened, somewhere, however far deep it was, he still believed Tiffany's words, still relied upon the weapon to protect himself and to protect her, still believed that he needed that weapon to keep her safe, to keep himself safe... to survive.

Even if it made him a killer.

"I want to go home."
Boy #??? - Joshua Edwards
Hanging out somewhere, playing his heart out.
Writer and local retail slave at the comic book store.

Girl #??? - Viktoriya "Vika" Starikova
Floating in the void, unfinished and half-formed.
Hot headed member of the soft ball team, secretly wishing she could fly.

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Dr. Nic
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How cute.
[ *  * ]
[Joint Post for Tiffany and William, since Solomir is swamped with school. Co-Written with Solomir, of course.]


She didn't know what to do now. He sat in front of her with the gun in his hand and blood on his face, but she didn't know how to answer his questions. No, that wasn't true. She knew the answer. He was a killer. He killed Trevor. That was the obvious answer. But she couldn't say that to him. If she said that, it would shatter the fragile strings that were barely holding him together. She couldn't say anything to him. She couldn't even bring herself to move closer to him. No matter how badly she wanted to trust him... she was scared.

He continued to repeat the question. Again and again, he asked what he had done. She didn't know how to answer him, but as time slowly passed by he found his own answer. "I can't..." She still didn't know what to say to him or what she should say. She'd never been in a situation like this. She didn't know how to deal with anyone who had killed let alone one of her friends. God, please help him. Please help me. Forgive him of his sins. Please. He needs your help. The last time she asked Him to help William, to forgive him, she told him something she was struggling to believe in now. She told him that everything was going to be alright.

Looks like she was wrong.

Tiffany swallowed hard when she saw the tears streaming down William's face and how much he was shaking. She wanted to help him and make him believe that what had happened wasn't his fault. But she couldn't. How could she help him believe that when she was struggling to believe it herself? The scene in front of her wasn't hard to make out. A dead body just a few feet away. William sitting there stained in blood with a gun in his hand. It was so easy to figure out what he had done. But really, was it that simple?

Fighting back her fears, Tiffany forced herself to step closer to William. "Please, just put the gun down." He was shaking violently, screaming and sobbing. But she had to trust that he wouldn't hurt her, that he was still the same person she came to know through the night. She put her hand on his, pushing it and the gun aside. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him close. "It's okay... Everything will be alright." She held him still in her arms.

She trusted him. She had to. Trusting in each other was the only way to make it through this.

"We'll get back home. Trust me."


It was all that remained as everything began to melt away, as everything started to slip away from sight and mind, as movement ceased and his voice was taken from him; He didn't hear his own breathing or the sounds of his sobbing, couldn't bring himself to speak or question what was happening. For the longest time, he remained in dark and in silence before things came back into focus, before he noticed the warmth of Tiffany's arms around him or the sound of her heart beating in her chest. She had come close and taken the weapon from his hand, let his mind and his body release their grip upon reality and slip into the sudden and overwhelming comfort and support of such a simple gesture. She had pulled him close and held him in her arms, her voice soft as she cooed words of comfort into his ear. It had been something so simple and small and yet the effect it had on the broken boy was overwhelming.

He didn't know when the strength returned to his arms or when they had stopped shaking, but he soon came to realize that he had reciprocated the hug that Tiffany had been to gracious to offer him. The tears never stopped but the support Tiffany had extended stopped him from shaking and slowly started to calm his breathing, the haggered and shuddering sobs withering away as the moments ticked by in silence between the two. Seconds bled away into minutes before he could muster the strength to move or speak again, pulling away from the comforting embrace of Tiffany to look at the young woman with tears still in his eyes, wiping them away and struggling not to lose it when the blood on his sleeves enters his sight once more.

"I'm sorry. I just... lost everything there. I just couldn't.... I don't know, couldn't handle it. First Everett and then... then I..."

It took a lot of his strength just to offer up that explanation, just to avoid slipping back into the sobbing and the silence, to avoid losing it all over again. But now he was starting to drift back to what he had done and the reality of the situation he was in, thoughts of Everett's death and the cause of Trevor's, the twisted and terrible events that had unfolded before him and dragged him into the game they were all being forced to play. He tried to force it out of his mind, tried to retain the weak grip he had regained on lucidity, tried not to lose everything again; But he couldn't run away from reality forever and he would have to face the facts eventually. He killed Trevor and there was no going back.

"Oh god, Tiffany... I really did it, didn't I? I killed him. But I didn't... I mean, I didn't want to do it. Everything just happened and I don't even remember..."

But he did. He remembered every insignificant little moment that transpired between himself and Trevor in the brief span of time they spent staring at one another. He remembered the look in his eyes and the tone in his voice, the way he stepped forward with a cautious and fearful hope. He remembered the sudden and terrifying movement the boy had committed, the noise and the percieved threat and the reason why William pulled the trigger when he did. But he couldn't tell Tiffany that he killed a boy who had done nothing but sneeze, who had pleaded in the very way Dominic had done the previous morning. She would think him a monster and cast him aside, she would leave his side and no longer be there to save him from himself or bring him from the horrible depths he had fallen. She wouldn't be there to help him and pull him back next time...

So he lied.

"He just suddenly... I don't know what happened, he was coming closer and then he moved suddenly and everything happened so quick... I thought he was going for a weapon. I didn't mean to pull the trigger but... I just... I panicked."

He lied to Tiffany and he lied to himself despite the trust that was supposed to exist between them, despite the very request and command she had issued to him in the comfort and soothing warmth of the hug. Despite everything that they would be forced to go through and everything they had shared in the time they spent together, the hours they had spent walking through the woods or the night shared by the light of the campfire, he couldn't bring himself to tell her the truth. Deep down, he couldn't bring himself to trust her with the truth, couldn't bring himself to trust her to remain with him despite the cause of his sin.

So he lied. Betrayed the trust she held in him.

"You believe me... don't you?"

She had held him and offered comfort when he was broken. Now, thanks to her and her prayers, he had calmed down. He probably wouldn't be the same as he was before, but he was better than he had just been. She smiled briefly at this. She was able to help him when he needed it most. She still struggled to believe her own words of comfort, but she trusted William and believed they would help. "It's alright." She looked him in the eyes as he started to speak again and explain what happened.

She had to believe him, right? It made sense and she knew that he wasn't a killer. It was just something that happened. He didn't mean to do it and certainly didn't want to. So she had to trust him and his explanation. She didn't like what happened and she didn't think she would ever forget it. But right now, they had to trust eachother to make it through this. It was the only way. "I believe you." She would have to trust in his words and her own. She would have to forgive what he had done. After all, he never meant to do it. It was just an accident, right?

"Come on, we should look for Peter."

She hoped that focusing on a goal would help him. She hoped that it would help both of them. Maybe if she reminded herself and reminded William that they still had friends to find would give the two of them something to push for. Maybe it would keep either of them from losing themselves in this terrible game. But they needed to find Peter. She needed to find Peter. He would know what to do about everything that was happening or at least know how to help. He would know what to do about William and she knew that Will was one of Peter's friends, that he was closer to the troubled boy than she was. He would know how to help him.

She pulled away from William and went to gather her things as he gathered his own. She didn't want to make the same mistake she had made the other day and leave her bag behind. She didn't want to leave William to carry all of the burden any more. He had helped her and now she was going to help him. She slung the bag on to her back and turned to face Will, not seeing the silvery color of the gun on the ground next to him. She started to hope that he had done the same thing she had done with her own weapon. But sure enough, when he turned to face her it was once again in his hand. She couldn't stand the sight of it and turned to look him in the eyes.

"Should we get going?"

They had a long way to go yet. But as long as they trusted each other, they would make it through anything. Right?

[Tiffany Baker continued in High Tides and High Hopes.]

She believed him.

When she looked at him and told him that she believed everything he told her, relief washed over William's mind and when she finally turned her focus away from him, he let out a soft sigh of relief; The last thing he wanted was to be left alone in this nightmarish reality. With Tiffany at his side he would at least have a chance to keep his weak grip on reality in place, a chance to keep himself from slipping back to the mess he had become when he saw the blood that had stained his hands. He hated betraying her trust by lying to her and keeping the truth of what had happened from her, but he had no choice but to spare her the knowledge of his sins and spare himself the pain of losing his only companion, his only support in his slowly crumbling world.

Finding the rest of their friends, finding Peter and Maddy and Colin and everyone else they were close to, it had been their focus for a while now but only after the terrible events had unfolded would they make any progress; They would leave the campsite they had built and search for the ones they cared for one at a time. But who would they search for after they found Peter if the others ended up like Everett, ended up dying in the dark somewhere with no closure and no goodbyes? He didn't want to think about it but the truth of the matter was that they would eventually have to deal with more pain and more death, whether it would be their friends among the dying or if it would be them among those who were doing the killing. William had already killed, had already stained his hands in the blood of another... would he be able to do it again if it meant protecting Tiffany, protecting Peter and everyone else he cared for?


The reluctant answer he wished he would never have to admit came too easily for his own comfort, a feeling of uneasiness and dread surfacing from the depths of his once calmed mind; If the answer came that easily, what about the action? He tried not to think about it as he moved closer to his own bags and suddenly realized that he didn't want to travel anywhere while wearing the blood stained clothes he'd killed Trevor in. He pulled a new shirt, a new pair of slacks and a bottle of the unboiled water from the river from his bag and took the opportunity for a semblance of privacy when it presented itself; When Tiffany turned away to gather her things, he tore the shirt off as quickly as he could and cast it, unknowingly, onto the corpse that lay not fifteen feet away. Violently, he began to scrub the blood red stains from his face and his chest, from his hands and his arms and everwhere else; Before he knew it, he had emptied the bottle of water and had simply been scratching at his skin in futility.

The blood had washed away.

In its place were now numerous marks, scratches and cuts from frantic pace of his nails against his stained skin; All over his arms and his chest, over the back of his hands and his neck. He touched each of them and winced at the stinging pain, tracing the markings to discover their extent until his fingers touched the cold metal device around his neck. He never bothered touching it before, never bothered to look at it or examine it in any way, never wanted to admit that it was really there; Now, he dragged his fingers across the surface of the deadly promise 'round his neck and swallowed hard. It wouldn't take much to set it off... It didn't take much to set off Trevor's.

"I don't like being here. I don't like being forced to face the inevitable or commit atrocities simply to survive another day. I don't like the thought that any one of my friends may have to kill me or I them in order to live on and go home... I don't like being here."

He spoke idly to Tiffany and to the surrounding vegetation, not knowing if the girl nearby was listening to what he said or not; He spoke between movements and as he made quick progress on dressing in fresh clothes. He didn't know what to say anymore or how to carry on small conversation, not after what had happened; It wasn't right to go on as if nothing had happened, as if he hadn't committed the greatest of sins just moments earlier with no provocation and no true intent. He didn't know what to say to make himself feel better about what they would have to do or what to say to make Tiffany feel more comfortable in his presence, the uncertainty surrounding his thoughts on the girl rising to the surface as he glanced over his shoulder, watching the person who acted as a moral and physical support in his most desparate hour. He didn't even know what to think of her now after he had lied to her about what happened, after she had been so selfless and supportive, after she had extended such surprising and overwhelming comfort when he needed it most.

"Are you ready?"

He tried to ignore everything that was going on in his mind as he grabbed the bags and hoisted them up off of the ground, placing them across his back. One last thing needed to be adressed as it sat at his feet, sunlight reflecting off of the silvery body of the powerful and violent device; He racked his mind over his choices surrounding the item that he now stared at with both hope and anger, with revulsion and disgust among the percieved reliance and almost unnatural attachment held toward the weapon. He knew he would need it again in the future, that without it he was incapable of protecting himself or Tiffany or anyone else that he so desperately wished to protect. But he also knew that if he kept it with him, the events that unfolded in this clearing by the sea would be repeated in some form down the line, that his story would always carry the risk of causing more deaths as it was written.

He picked the weapon up. He held it in his hand.

He didn't let go.

"Let's go."

[Boy #61 - William Hearst. Continued in High Tides and High Hopes.]
Edited by Dr. Nic, Nov 1 2010, 04:26 AM.
Boy #??? - Joshua Edwards
Hanging out somewhere, playing his heart out.
Writer and local retail slave at the comic book store.

Girl #??? - Viktoriya "Vika" Starikova
Floating in the void, unfinished and half-formed.
Hot headed member of the soft ball team, secretly wishing she could fly.

Those who were
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