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Spelunking; Day Two, half an hour after the announcements
Topic Started: Sep 24 2010, 01:24 AM (4,178 Views)
Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Nick Reid continued from The Right Thing for the Wrong Reasons))

What a day...

A duffel bag marked B055 made a soft thud on the rocky floor and its owner followed it, groping for stable ground to rest on. The rock ledge he found felt like a plush sofa after a day on his feet, trekking through miles of dirt, dust, grass, mud, and brush. Slowly he bent forward, resting his forehead in his hands, putting his elbows onto his knees, sighing deeply. For the moment, he could take it easy. Sit down, take a rest - but not relax. Relaxation meant lowering his guard, and that was the last thing he wanted to do. And, come to think of it, the last thing he would do. But now, past the point where the fading light of day touched the rusty tracks and crumbling stone, the only thing left was to listen. Anyone coming would create a racket compared to the quiet stillness of the cave; Nick strained his ears, and his own beating heart seemed throb its bass note into the air around him.

He took a deep breath.

Breathe.

Relax.

Think.


Think. Think about what? There were so many things in the world to think about, and so little time to cover them all. There were pandas and space shuttles and arrows and derivatives and tomatoes, for example, and that wasn't even scratching the surface.
Roller coasters and G-forces and redwoods...
He reached down, finding his pack with his hand (exactly where he thought it wouldn't be, of course), and taking out of it a bottle of water.
...polymers, photons, Cherenkov radiation, water molecules. Little Mickey Mouses...
There, that was something to think about. How many Mickey Mouses in a bottle of water? Two hydrogens and an oxygen, that made 18, so one mole would be 18 grams, and if the bottle was one liter...

He frowned. No, that wasn't what he needed to think about. He started to go over the day in his head. It wasn't pretty, but he couldn't just keep himself blissfully distracted. So. Three molotovs out of six gone, two people who wanted to kill him, and one giant mistake at the Gazebo. He tried to force some other image onto the intangible velvet screen encompassing him, something other than a smoking, smoldering corpse. No, he could be alive, he hadn't seen the end result -
Get real. He's dead.

...

...

Lucky punk.


One giant mistake. One kill to be attributed to him in the morning, if he knew anything about SotF at all. But he couldn't get distracted again. There was more. The wounds on his arm. The beating from Maxwell. He ran a hand down his face, feeling the smooth shiny swelling and rough, granular matrix of skin, blood, and scab. But that wasn't all. His entire body ached, a feeling not helped by the miles he had walked. He had no idea if Maxwell or Alex were on his tail, but he couldn't leave them out of his calculations. He needed that margin of error, so when his plans went pear-shaped he could keep his head up, brain thinking, heart beating.

Yes, Daniel was the lucky one. He had no more worries about the explosives on his neck and the players on the island. But Nick couldn't take the other way out, the weak man's way out. Taking up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them, or something. In other words, keep running away. Running away... putting on a fake smile, saying "No, I'm doing well", saving his problems for later. It was a disgusting thought, absolutely repugnant. No, if the Reaper wanted him, it better be prepared for a fight.

Nick Reid was through running.

He stumbled on something, which was doubly surprising in that he realized now that he was standing. Pacing, in fact, growing warm from the exertions of his mind and body. He had ears. He had a plan. And now he could have a good rest.

...which means a thousand grams, that's fifty plus a tenth, fifty-five moles of water, so just multiply that by Avagadro's number...

---

It was morning. Or at least he thought it was. Really, there was no way to tell, and it could well be that he had just imagined his sleep. Or maybe took a nap and dreamed he'd passed a fitful night. But there was a feeling in the air, the sort of dull anticipation when you wake up just before your alarm goes off. The speakers crackled to life, and he nearly jumped out of his skin.

He knew it was coming, but it hit like a freight train.

"Hold on just a second kiddies, I'm placing an order. Hello? Is that the Nick Reid take out? Yeah, I'd like to order a number 23. That's right, the extra crispy Daniel Vaughan in the molotov sauce. Alright, thanks a bunch. Now, where was I?

He had done it. Kill confirmed. Now what? Would any sort of human interaction be safe at all? Everyone heard how he was a killer, nobody knew the circumstances. Maybe people would keep away out of fear. But it was only one. Maybe, just maybe, he'd be safer, perish the thought, but if he racked up a higher kill count...

Another shock. He didn't know how much of that he could handle. He thought again of multiple kills. Surprise and disbelief. Not as strong this time. Not as invigorating. But at least it let him know he was alive. What a strange thought.

The announcements ended. There went his plan of writing down everyone in a death register. He hadn't even listened to the second half at all, except for the dangerzones. The tunnel was not one of them, so he could breathe easy. And now what? He was safe, he had his meager rations, and some water remaining. There was no need to move out just yet. He leaned back against the wall, staring bug-eyed into the impenetrable blackness. There was nothing for it. A thousand random ideas whizzed through his mind. He took one and hung on.

It was later. Maybe an hour, maybe ten minutes. Whatever the time, something pricked at the edge of his hearing, little taps he felt more than heard. Louder and louder it grew, rising into the tangible spectrum, edging out the blaring of his racing heart. And then, an almost imperceptible radiance, invisible to all but the most straining adapted eyes yet growing like the sound. Footsteps. Someone was coming.

He coughed quietly. In the quiet of the tunnel, it may as well have been a shout. And then, in a quiet voice that echoed off the walls, "Hello? Who is there? I'm Nick Reid, and I deserve an explanation."

Good thing you totally didn't just give yourself away to anyone who didn't listen either.
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Oh bugger, she didn't hear the announcements after all. Spin it positive, just spin it positive...

"Err, I didn't mean like that..."

Well, this was awkward. In the scheme of things though, awkward was about five grillion times better than being beaten up again. He paused, considering how to move forward.

"I'm, well, being safe. I guess. Getting away from Al - from it all. Just so nobody tracks... finds me here."

The darkness was good for one thing, and that was hiding his furiously nervous face from view. Nick had always thought of himself as someone who could beat a polygraph, spitting out stories so smooth you could see your face in them. But now, sitting in total darkness, trying to cover up his kill, facing another potentially painful experience... He might have fled then and there, if the close quarters and harsh, invisible terrain didn't cut his speed advantage to nothing. The next best thing was to just lie, try to smooth everything over, pass everything off as nerves. Except...
No more running.

He heard her, closer now. Trapping him in a cage that was at once intangible and infuriatingly potent. Funny how that worked, really. He was armed and dangerous, and a good turn faster than her, at least in the short term. Smooth as an oiled snake when it came to slipping out of unpleasant situations, because you didn't just make Nick Reid do what you wanted Nick Reid to do. And yet here he was, cornered, no other options than to divulge the fact that Danya, and the rest of the student body for that matter, had pegged him as a murderer.

"Okay, gig's up, I did mean to say track me down. That's what I wanted to explain, because the way things have been going I didn't know if I'd get the chance. Hang on, I'm getting some bloody light in here."

He unzipped his pack, pulling out the flashlight he had put on top of everything else after he'd grown too nervous to use it coming in. He didn't know if he'd be able to see Jennifer, or if she'd be able to see him, but he flicked it on anyways. Even pointed away, onto the opposite wall, it was dazzlingly bright.

"So, you didn't listen to the announcements then, am I right?"
"Because I've been blamed. Framed, really, I mean I didn't do nothing, but I didn't do what they want you to believe..."
"And there was an accident, a terrible accident at the Gazebo" - he could feel himself start to choke up, could hear his voice quavering. Please don't lock up completely... "you see I've got these molotovs and there was a misunderstanding, there was something that needed to be burned there, and Daniel Vaughan ended up getting himself in the way, and there was nothing for it," He was going to lose it... "I wanted desperately for him to stop burning but Maxwell ran over," He lost it.
"I'm just trying to take care of myself, Jennifer, and I've been to Hell and back, and if Maxwell finds me, or if Alex finds me, I think... I think they'll kill me. I really do."

The last sentences faded into painful choked obscurity. Early day two, and he was going to pieces already. He knew he couldn't keep it up. But for the moment, it felt so nice to just let go, lower the barriers, take a rare chance to show some emotion. Still, the back of his mind played host not for the first time, nor for the last, to one simple thought:

People. This is why I hate people.
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
You can't do anything right.

...But I can do some things very, very wrongly. Once already...

But not after a meeting, a conversation. You haven't done that.
Couldn't do that.

He scrabbled around in the darkness, fist closing on a rock, and flung it down the tunnel. Nothing's under my control, he thought, his missile passing into Isaac Newton's care. I can't get off this island, I can't stop Alex from hunting me down, I can't even stop myself from falling apart like a house of cards. Turning to her as she stepped into the light, Of course you don't know, if anyone in this place is going to figure things out, he's sitting right in front of you...

ENOUGH.


Nick coughed, choking down the lump in his throat and wiping his running nose carelessly on his sleeve. "You stepped into the light. You trust me." The words came slowly and deliberately, quavering yet strong, the measured recitation of a man determined to keep his emotions in check if he had to use a cattle prod to do it. "Or at least," he continued, stronger now, "You don't think I'll kill you. That's... thank you."

Such was his condition that the simple gesture, a single vote of confidence, took on a significance of its own. His first meaningful interaction that didn't involve harsh words and harsher fists. There was nothing else to do but return it, show that he wasn't all bad, that maybe there could be more than yelling and fighting and killing...

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

He got unsteadily to his feet and shifted slowly over the uneven floor and into the cone of light. Now it was his turn to hope she had no weapon up her sleeve, that if she did she wouldn't use it, that if she used it she would fail to strike the killing blow. Continuing on in his lethargic gait, he crossed the width of the tunnel, leaning against the wall facing his flashlight. He turned to look at Jennifer, squinting as his eyes grew adjusted to the beam and showing his battered state.

On one side of his face, the customary purple crescent beneath his eye joined seamlessly into a still-growing shiny black bruise that encircled it. One healing split on his lip pinched its surroundings into a jagged black slash; another was oozing blood. Brown crust marked the places where blood had been pounded out of his face. Ugly yellow splotches marked where the skin had contained it. Flecks of black and brown clung tenaciously to areas he hadn't swept properly, and every bit of unmarred skin was pale, sweaty, and dusty. A face, to use the cliche, that only a mother could love.

"These," he said, raising his bandaged arm and giving an unmistakable look seeking appraisal, "Are the kinds of people we're dealing with. Thank you," he continued, rising restlessly to his feet, "For thinking I don't deserve to die."

He could feel his voice rise again - for goodness' sakes, couldn't he act calm for more then a second? He averted his eyes for a second, but returned his gaze to Jennifer, to see what she had to say. He felt his arm twitch, and when he realized why an emptiness descended upon him. He didn't care who Jennifer was, that he'd had little interaction with her before. What he saw was someone who would take the time, talk to him for however long. Someone who, in their own way, cared for him. And his natural reaction was to reach out, make contact, show unambiguously his appreciation. Feel the warmth of another human in his arms, share a moment of reciprocal kindness, think for just a second that his life had meaning and his death lay decades into the future.

He kept his arms stiffly at his sides.
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
If you had asked Nick two days ago what sort of moment he'd like to last forever, he would not have described the scene before him; standing in a dark cave who knows where, massaging stiff limbs and letting some random girl attack his face with a moist towelette by the dim glow of a single flashlight. But there he was, determined to enjoy what might have been his last moment of contentment. He had, of course, acquiesced to her halting request - "Go ahead, it's not like I know how to use any of it."

All the same, he doubted there could be much improvement in his physical state. His black eye was developing a sheen, and various swelling bruises pressed internally. The gouges in his arm at least were scabbed up, but pus oozed from various splits when they revealed the clammy skin underneath the cast-off bandage. An infection on his arm was perhaps his biggest worry of all - a fear diminished, but not allayed, by a disinfectant that hurt almost as much as the original wound. Just as a new dressing was finished off...

"Sonofa-"

He jumped almost comically, looking blindly towards its source. There was no way, of course, that he could see Phil standing there. Even with completely dark-adjusted eyes, the deeper shade of black would be impossible to discern. Missing the salutation, Nick listened intently as the rest of the newcomer's words fought to make themselves heard over his frantic heartbeat. Phil... his mind reached out, trying to make the connection, and then the word "hockey" instantly resolved the image in his mind. Built like Stephen A. Douglas, the "steam engine in britches." An apt description if there ever was one.

Thinking of Stephen A. Douglas at a time like this, way to go, Nick.

...I wonder how many more times I'll get to think about Stephen A. Douglas...


He jerked his thoughts away from the subject, scrambling to find something impressive and confident to reply with.

"It's, err, just us."

Pulled out all the stops on that one, didn't you?
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Rattlesnake
Member Avatar
Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It had been a good moment. For just a few minutes, everything was ok. He'd come across a nice girl, one who wasn't interested in playing at all. They'd overcome their fear. Began talking. Displayed their trust. It was easy to believe for such a short time that everything would be ok in the end, that maybe everyone didn't have to fight and kill and yell and scream and promise and betray and blame and accuse. But then (I should have known, nothing good ever lasts here) it all came tumbling down around him. It didn't matter if the people fighting up ahead weren't named Alex White or Maxwell Lombardi. It didn't matter that they weren't determined to see him exterminated once and for all. What mattered is they were armed, and it was unlikely that everyone would return from the inky blackness into the sunshine.

His impulse was first and foremost to run. Running kept him safe. It kept him alive. Surely nothing could be of any higher virtue than that in this place. Altruism had its limits; as much as he envisioned a heroic martyrdom, as much as he dreamed of going down in a blaze of glory surrounded by spent shells, dying enemies, and weeping maidens, when push came to shove, he doubted he could do it. Heck, he'd already left Andrea to deal with Alex back in the forest. But, he thought, but there was something else about running. It kept him fearful. Cowering, looking around the corner not for opportunity but for danger. And when his race was run, he'd only die tired. Something had to be done about that. Something had to change.

With every faculty of his mind screaming for him to run away, he glided over to the rock where his flashlight lay, picking up the light and joining its beam with that of Jennifer's. It was in full swing one boy charged, and the other handled his weapon like a fool. Longing gripped his heart - a new desire joining his wish for an infinite moment of time. That sword... If they were fighting, maybe one of them would drop it, and he could snatch it up. And then he needn't run any more. Nick Reid with a sword - a sight to strike terror in the hearts of his classmates. If he couldn't have any peaceful moments, why should anyone else? They could take a turn running for a while. But he wouldn't pursue them, oh, no, he would wriggle out of this trap like a teenaged Houdini. You couldn't make Nick Reid do what Nick Reid didn't want to do. And Nick Reid did not want to die on this island.

He stepped forward.

Now's no time for bravado, this isn't what I meant when I said don't run...

Can it.


This was the most dangerous thing he'd probably ever done on purpose. The flashlight beam trembled as he fought to keep his stand somewhat steady. His legs turned to jelly and his mind darted a thousand ways at once. He'd likely just die a fool - but was that any worse than dying as a hunted animal?

Slowly, unsteadily, he edged towards the combatants.
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((GM'ing approved. I hope my method is acceptable.))

Edging ever closer, Nick was teetering on the edge of decision. An opening came - he steeled himself - closed again. Flicking off his flashlight, he squeezed into the shadows, bouncing on shaking legs, feeling cascades of hot blood racing through his chest. He couldn't do it. He knew it. Nick Reid didn't make snap decisions, he thought everything through, slowly and surely - Phil went down hard. He was facing away. Nick's thoughts swirled with the white-hot intensity of a brilliant star. He couldn't do it -

He leaped forward, pushing off the wall and through a sea of adrenaline. Had there been anything else to see, Nick could have only seen Tom anyways. Everything was twisted, spiraling into a tunnel within the tunnel, revealing nothing but Tom, standing there, acting in slow motion, and he, Nick, racing forward with blistering heat radiating from every part of his body, droplets of sweat forming, passing through a deepening tunnel that was so cramped and so airy, flying through the boundless sky as he squeezed himself through the eye of a needle -

Contact. The spell shattered and he tumbled downwards, landing hard, half-cushioned by Tom's body. The sword was free. It was all his. But something else burned inside him, a sleeping beast stretching its wings. It shook itself, and roared.

There was no going back now. No more "accident", no more excuses, no more sneaking and hiding and lying. Years of suppressed rage, rage at the world, rage at himself, rage at everything and everyone. It all came free. There was nothing to hide any more. Twisting and spinning and jolting and burning its way into the forefront of his mind, a bolt of raw emotion burst free from the citadel imprisoning it. Rolling Tom over, he grabbed him by his shirt and heaved him upwards with untapped reserves of strength and fury. An image shot through his mind, of Maxwell holding him up, the fists pounding into his face. There, in front of him, in his hands. Taunting him, jeering, spitting in his face. Muscles fueled by the fire running in his veins, he slammed the boy's head into the wall.

"STOP IT!"

The shout tore tears from his eyes. Why was he being tormented like this? In his hands was the reason he couldn't live in peace, the boy who had stolen away the last happy moment of his life. It was traveling catastrophe, and this chaos' newest soldier.

"STOP IT!"

Another slam, another sickening sound of skull on stone. He wanted to vomit, to run, to curl up right there and die. Why was he making him do this? It wasn't fair! Ending one life and ruining another, and all because of him -

"STOP IT!"

He was bleeding now, Nick could see dark blood on the wall before him. Why was he doing that? He had no right to die! He was supposed to fight, to struggle, to man up and tear into Nick, because that was the order of things. To spill his own blood, to see his life force leaking to let him know he was still alive...

"STOP IT!"

It tore his throat. But he didn't care. Holding Tom's limp frame, looking into his glassy eyes. He couldn't be dead. There was no way. No, he would rise and chase Nick to the very gates of Hell. Just like Alex. Just like Maxwell.

"STOP IT!"

The light on Tom's collar wasn't blinking. He was free. Free from the drama, free from pain and hurt, free from the island, free from anger and depression. Free from people. But he, Nick, he wasn't free, and he wasn't going to be free, it would just keep on hurting and never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever stop.

"STOP IT!"

Finally, his trembling fingers fell loose of the boy's shirt, letting him slump to the rocky floor. They closed on the hilt of the funny square sword, a token of the bizarre reality that led him there. It was all so surreal. Sur meant over, right? So it was overreal. Too blatantly, coldly real. His body was a cold, trembling shell now, aimless, hopeless, helplessly adrift on the unflinching sea of time. No redo button, not even pause. He couldn't make things better again. Ever. Between violent quaking sobs and miserable crying wails, one short sentence escaped his lips.

"I'm sorry."
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Rattlesnake
Member Avatar
Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((I'm assuming I can skip the unconscious dude.))

Game up. It was over. He'd lost. The only way to win was not to play, something at which he had failed spectacularly.

Once again, you're an absolute failure.

No mental rebuttal. That biting thought was absolutely correct. It was failure on a truly epic scale. Most men lived and died, in fact, without having even the opportunity to fail as utterly as Nick had. Yet he had to collect himself. Bottle away the pain for later. That was the one thing he never failed at.

Breathe... relax... slow down... That last one was directed at his heart. Could you do that? Worth a shot, at least...

Time to stop crying. To master himself. To keep Jennifer off the path he'd careened onto. She couldn't become angry, he couldn't let her. Yelling, cursing, thinking vile thoughts, they all etched slowly away at the foundations of sanity. It was anger who drove people mad, that was clear to him. And he couldn't let Jennifer be angry. For his sake, for her sake, and for the sake of everyone on the island.

"Just leave me that guy's bag so I can try to keep Phil from dying, since I'm a bit short on medical supplies at the moment."

That sentence hurt. Slashed across his heart, struck a keening resonance that bit into his soul. An intangible combination of truth, guilt, and contempt conveyed her feelings more effectively than anything else she could've said. He looked down at his freshly-bandaged arm. At bandages she'd taken from her stock out of the goodness of her heart. The icepick at his foot gave a faint tinkling as slowly he heaved himself off the ground to turn and address Jennifer's feet.

"You're smiling," he said simply. "I know what it means. Don't think that way, you're worth more than that."

She probably wanted him to yell back. That's why she'd invited him to strike her, to escalate the situation, to feel the surging anger all the better. He couldn't rise to it.

"And I won't look you in the eyes, because I looked..."

There was no way he could finish that sentence. He waved vaguely instead at the battered corpse.

"...And I saw myself in them."

Seen himself, and Alex, and Maxwell. Were they really all that different? He would be naive to think otherwise. It was unlikely that either of them had killed two people, after all. Every villain thinks he's the hero.

"If you hear my name tomorrow - well, twice tomorrow, on the announcements, and I'm by myself - there's no other name the second time, you know, then I've kill - well, someone deserved it."

He had to stop again. Breathe... relax... slow down... It had flitted across his mind, of course, like an annoying sort of fly, but he'd never listened before. This was the first time he'd even acknowledged it aloud. He hoped she got what he meant, because he wouldn't say it straight. Couldn't say it straight. But if he couldn't even say it aloud, could he ever muster the courage?

A man can dream.

It was a long, long walk to his bag, a journey Nick didn't know how he could even handle. He scooped up his flashlight, but he didn't turn it on. Finding the ledge with his shin, fumbling around in the dark to put everything together, it just seemed wrong to do it any other way. Trudging back was less difficult, but for one fleeting moment he had the insane urge just to run back, find any exit other than one he'd have to pass Jennifer to get to.

He made it, somehow, over to Tom's body. The icepick was lying nearby, and also the boy's bag. Picking up the pick, he had another wild urge, stronger than the last one, to go running back to Jennifer, take her in his arms, cry into her shoulder and tell her everything he'd ever thought, until she'd look at him with sympathy instead of anger...

He could've run back that instant. But he held his ground. He didn't deserve to look her in the eye, he didn't deserve even to be near her. That was why he was leaving, after all. There was only one thing he could do, and it was a total gamble if she'd react with acceptance or more anger. But there was nothing else left.

The cave twisted as he walked away, breaking the line of sight between them. Probably the glow of his flashlight would betray some sort of action to the girl just around the corner. That didn't matter, though, just as long as she couldn't actually see what he was about to do. The familiar cone of light burst forth, highlighting the bag marked B055 and glinting off the steel of his stolen weapon. Undoing the zipper as quietly as he could, he retrieved a pen from his pocket and a notebook from his bag. He flipped to a page marked with two columns - Died and Killed By. They were both blank. He'd try listening to the announcements tomorrow, if he could handle it. But that lay off in a future he might not have. Back in the moment, he flipped a few leaves to reveal a totally unmarked page and began to write. The process was short, and before long he was finished.

And now to place it. There was nothing, unfortunately, that he could stab the icepick into. Instead, he took two sizable rocks and pushed them closely together. Into the tightest spot he could find, he jammed the icepick (carefully, as not to damage the point) with the torn-out note he'd written speared on it. She'd come from the other direction, so surely she'd be going out this way - and if she did, her flashlight beam would fall upon it sitting right in the middle of the path. For good or for ill, that was the only question.

That done, he shouldered his pack and his sword and journeyed out into the blinding sunshine.

((Nick Reid continued in Thanatos))
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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