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Sorry, Mom. Sorry, God.; Day 2 (Night) - THREAD CLOSED
Topic Started: Oct 8 2010, 11:49 PM (4,685 Views)
armeggedonCounselor
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((Kyle Portman continued from Break Up and Break Down.))

The trip was too short.

It had mostly passed in silence. There hadn't been anything to say. Kyle had dutifully followed Hayley. He had used the silence to think. And despite the length of the journey, his thoughts had never settled. Never decided what he was going to say. What could he say? What do you say to your girlfriend after she becomes a murderer and is basically ostracized by her friends? While Kyle agreed with her motives, it didn't make it any less murderous. He briefly wondered how the ones who won were treated when they got home. Were they jailed, quietly and without fuss? Or were they allowed to walk the streets, haunted by the memories, the dead eyes and bleeding bodies that littered their path home, no longer able to truly function in society. The Government usually avoided the subject of SoTF if it was brought up. It was a sore spot, what with Danya evading capture for so long. So those winners....

More importantly.... The thought had been niggling at the back of Kyle's mind since before he confronted Nancy. He wanted to win this game. He wanted to go home, to live. But.... For him to win, Hayley would have to die. The thought brought panic to Kyle's chest and tears to his eyes. It nearly made him throw up, although he quenched the nausea. He would never be able to do it himself. And letting her die.... The thought repulsed him. If they got to the Final Four together.... He would ask her to kill him. It was the only option. Although, that if was a pretty big one....

And now they were at the beach. Hayley wasted no time in taking off her boots and stepping into the sand. Kyle sedately gathered her boots and moved further down the beach to make a pile. The darkness around him seemed to mock the dark thoughts in his mind. The flashlight hidden within the day pack made his life that much brighter. He turned to show Hayley what he had found, but nearly choked. She had taken off her dress entirely, which... honestly shouldn't have surprised Kyle. She needed to clean up, and she wouldn't be able to do that with the dress on. He felt himself reddening. Despite some physical contact between them, they had so far remained celibate. From the dark whispering and bathroom graffiti, that made Kyle an outlier on the graph of relationships Hayley Kelley had had. He was aware of several of them; it would have taken much more subtlety than High School students were capable of to keep those rumors from reaching his ears. He had never confronted Hayley about it. It was her business who she dated, not any of his problem. As long as she didn't cheat on him, he was fine with her past.

A moment later, Kyle shook his head and looked down. Hayley had walked down to the water and was now, as best Kyle could see by the light of the moon (there was no way in hell he was shining his light on her with the cameras watching), crouching down in the water. Probably to allow the waves to wash off the blood and stuff. Still dutiful, Kyle gathered Hayley's dropped dress and placed it along with his other stuff. It was only now that he removed his shoes and socks, allowing the sand, still warm from the sun, to surround his feet. It was comforting. It reminded him of a long forgotten memory. No time for introspection, though. Kyle's injured hand... had it really only been a day ago? Nearly two now, he supposed. It felt like months. It occurred to him that the knife he still carried in his pocket had tasted blood once already. He might die before it got to taste blood again. A macabre thought. His injured hand twinged again, putting Kyle's train of though back on track. He quickly unwound the bandage to check the progress. It had stopped bleeding, probably hours ago. Probably even longer than that. No need to waste guaze on it then. He wrapped it with just bandages, noting that he was nearly out. He would have to hope they didn't become necessary.

With that taken care of, and a deep breath to steel his will, Kyle took his shirt off and followed Hayley's path down to the ocean. He paused at the shore, took his knife from his pocket, and tossed it toward his stuff. He didn't see where it landed, but a pass over with the flash light showed a glint where it was hiding. It was near enough to the pile of stuff that it was no worry. Kyle turned off the flash light and approached Hayley, making sure to splash loud enough that he wouldn't startle her. He didn't think she would hurt him, not on purpose, but you never knew.

"Hey. Do you... um... need help washing your back or anything?"

Oh God. It even tasted lame.
Edited by armeggedonCounselor, Oct 9 2010, 12:43 AM.
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Kyle smiled and laughed a little when Hayley laughed at his failure of a comment. It felt good, like for a moment he could forget what had happened. He nodded when she said that he could help her keep warm. She pulled him down to a seated position, a move he acquiesced to without resistance, and snuggled against him. With only mental hesitation, Kyle wrapped his arms around Hayley, pulling her in a little closer.

"I'm... sorry."

The apology surprised Kyle a little. He thought about it. She would probably be feeling guilty, upset because of her friends being upset. But Kyle would never have apologized for that, not here on this island. Here, the name of the game was survival. Literally. It was right there in the title- he was getting off track.

"I don't think you have to be."

There it was. The thought that had occurred to him back then. There was only one way to survive, and that was to kill everyone else. Sure, playing got you marked, but anyone trying to take out Hayley would find themselves on the pointy end of his knife.

"I think that, in this case, your explanation was the truth, most importantly, and it was a good reason."
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Kyle noticed the silence, and Hayley's mild discomfort with his statement. It wasn't overly surprising; she was obviously feeling very guilty. It was to be expected; very few people could murder somebody and feel nothing, and those that could didn't function well with the rest of society. Hayley wasn't a psychopath, she was a scared little girl who was in over her head. ... Something about that thought was unsettling to Kyle's stomach.

The Hayley did something that was unexpected. She turned around and kissed Kyle. He was a little surprised, not that it was unwelcome. Just that it didn't seem.... Didn't seem....

His mental faculties appeared to have left him, flowing out of his brain with the kiss. He let the moment linger before pulling back and looking into Hayley's eyes. He smiled softly, reaching up to brush a stray strand of hair out of her face. He considered asking her what the kiss was for, but it seemed like a bad idea.

The cold water was beginning to get mildly annoying, because of his hands shaking from the cold. Annoying.
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Kyle was not surprised by Hayley's increased affections. She was trying to distract herself from the severity of the situation they were in. 'And here you are, ruining the moment by overthinking it, just like always.' The thought, though harsh, was true. Most harsh thoughts are; truth bites deeper than lies. He tried to relax and just go with it, enjoying the feeling of Hayley's lips against his, her hand on his chest and running through his hair.

And then a voice- female, calling out to Hayley. Hayley sat up, pulling away from Kyle to look at the shore. Then she stood, nearly jumped, and ran for the shore. Kyle rolled over, pushing himself up. Hayley was already on the shore, facing the newcomer without wariness. Kyle heard a part of what she said- the newcomer was named Ema, and Hayley cared for her. Kyle mentally encircled her with the group of people he should strive to defend- a frighteningly small group. He stood, approaching the shore slowly, giving himself time to think. Not slowly enough; he was soon standing awkwardly by Hayley's side.

"Who's your friend?"

He tried to keep his question from being too gruff, but it came out a little short, which felt like an incredibly assholish way to put it.
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Kyle nodded greetings to Ema. Hayley's ex, eh? The undeniably male part of Kyle gave it's approval- girl on girl is hot, after all. But those lower brain functions were mostly useless and served only to embarrass Kyle at inappropriate times. More important was the terminology Hayley insisted on- "best friend" instead of "ex-girlfriend." Hayley was trying to shield Kyle's feelings. How cute. He would have to make mention of it later, tell her that it was unnecessary but adorable. Still, he would use the terminology that she insisted on. She also lied. Kyle wasn't always the best with memory, but he knew he had never been introduced before. In fact, Hayley seemed to have taken special care to avoid mentioning her exes. A note to be made.

More important still was Hayley's story of events. Kyle knew slightly more- no mention of the shooting was made- but still learned a bit about what Hayley had been doing before they reunited. Most importantly, she did not mention the... incident. Probably a good idea. Ema looked... well, she looked like a tomato now. But Kyle didn't know her well. Her reactions to Hayley's incident were unknowable. Hayley extended an offer to Ema, for the purposes of joining their merry band. And she suggested sleep- a semi wonderful suggestion, except for... Kyle wasn't tired.

That's not to say he wasn't fatigued- that he was, and he would be sore come the morning. It was that... sleep wouldn't be easy to reach. He usually had troubles sleeping without his pills anyway- restless fidgeting and the urge to arrange things on his bedside table into groups of three kept him awake. Here though, there were additional problems. For one thing, completion of his normal nightly ritual would be impossible. For another thing, and it was a thing that would likely plague Hayley too, he could still see that boy's face in his mind. The blood would never be entirely washed away, from him or from Hayley. He kind of hoped that those who had stayed behind would bury the boy, or at least perform some sort of last rite. Last thing they needed was restless dead coming after them.

"If we do sleep here, I'll keep watch. I'm not tired."
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Hayley's exclamation of disbelief in Kyle's lack of tiredness was met with a shrug. The explanation of why he wasn't tired would be one he would not tell, due to it involving secrets kept from Ema. He walked up the beach to where he had dumped his stuff and pulled his shirt back on. It stuck to his wet skin, making him itch slightly. His pants were covered in sand. It was strange- he couldn't think of how it had happened. Perhaps his walking kicked sand up onto his pants, where it stuck. The stuff was pervasive- Kyle was certain his daypack had been closed, and yet when he sought his water inside, there was sand at the bottom. If he were more philosophically inclined, he would muse on the similarities between sand and... something... else. Whatever.

While Ema and Hayley were setting up their sleeping arrangements (Kyle bristled slightly at Hayley's casual suggestion that she and Ema lie together- it was an uncommon display of jealousy, and he mentally crushed it before it could continue), Kyle gathered Hayley's blood covered dress and sword. The sword he wiped off (using, as it was the only thing close to hand, Hayley's dress) and placed by his supplies, while he placed the dress at the bottom of his bag. It was rolled up unceremoniously and without care- the dress was probably ruined anyway. He picked his knife up from where it lay, knocking the sand off gently before placing it in his pocket, then transported his and Hayley's supplies up to the small campsite. He leaned the sword against a rock, then leaned against the same rock, the sword close to hand. It was a far more useful weapon than his own knife. Out of deference to the third wheel, Kyle did not give Hayley a good night kiss. No need to make Ema uncomfortable.

There would be enough discomfort in the morning- with two nights gone past without sleeping, Kyle would be reaching the limits of his energy the next day. He was fortunate to be well hydrated from daily life, and he had rationed his water carefully to keep himself feeling hydrated, but hydration only did so much for energy before sleep deprivation destroyed that bonus. And the announcements, just a few short hours away.... Hayley's name would be among those called out, the players and the played. If Kyle were Alex and the others, he would probably not want Hayley with them after that announcement; it made them seem dangerous, which would certainly get them hurt.

Time would tell.
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The night passed. Kyle watched the ocean, listening to the gentle sound of the waves. He fell into a meditative state, letting his mind filter through the events of the last two days. No students approached them, with night time travel being an almost certain death sentence- there was, after all, a bear somewhere on the island. He tried not to react with jealousy when Hayley unconsciously snuggled closer to Ema- it didn't matter. He trusted Hayley would remain faithful. And then... the thing he had been dreading.

Danya was happy, elated, even, with the results of the previous day. 21 students. That meant that there were now 210 left on the island, if they had started with 250. How large was the senior class, anyway? 250 seemed like a good estimate. Hayley's name stood out, although Kyle didn't think that was anything about her name- just that he had been listening so strongly for it. He stood taller, stretching his exhausted muscles. His eyes were carefully locked on Ema, who could attack Hayley at any moment- he didn't think she would, his first impression of her had been that she was fairly gentle.

Hayley was already taking a drag of a cigarette. Frankly, Kyle wished he could join her- something to remove his stress would be welcomed, but he had no addiction or dependency for nicotine. Also, cigarette smoke made him wheeze. He sat down beside Hayley, putting a comforting arm over her shoulders. No words filled his head as the "appropriate" thing to say. There was nothing to be said. Any words of comfort would ring hollow. The repercussions of the announcements were a huge deterrent from the concept of playing. There was no anonymity if you played, nothing to keep your identity secret, except maybe losing your mind and fashioning a ninja mask from your own pants. And only then if the collars didn't transmit the identity of the wearer.
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Kyle winced slightly at the damning tone in Ema's voice. It didn't surprise him, but at least she didn't react violently. Hayley was staring ahead, her cigarette burning down slowly. Ema asked another question, quieter, slipping into despair. And a third, quieter still. Hayley finally piped up, explaining herself. It felt weak, and Hayley knew it too, her voice weak and low.

One night. One night before they were wanted people, one night before they were dead men walking. Kyle wasn't sure if Hayley was aware, but he certainly was: Hayley's presence in a group was a danger to everyone in that group. There was a reason why players very rarely traveled in groups. One night. Who could begrudge her that? For his part in it... of course he wasn't going to just tell somebody. Especially if Hayley had specifically avoided saying it. One night. To be with her ex-girlfriend? It was strange that she had said that so... blatantly, especially with Kyle there. He forgave her, of course. How could he not? If she turned to him and said that she still loved Ema, and that she had made a choice, Kyle would.... Well, he would be upset, surely. But still, he would walk away if that was what Hayley wanted. One night....

Hayley had fallen silent. She was shaking a little, probably keeping back tears. Gently, Kyle hugged her slightly. She had said her piece, now it was time for his part.

And he had nothing. What could he say? Sorry for lying to you? Hayley had already said that, what more could Kyle say that would make it better? There was nothing to make this better. This wasn't something that could be fixed by eloquent apologies, or explanations. Kyle could snap at Ema, put her on the defensive, keep her from probing at Hayley... but he wouldn't. Hayley would almost certainly disprove.

For the second time in as many days, Kyle felt absolutely useless. A wave of nausea and fear washed over him, his willfully strong chains bending against the raging of his obsessions. His grip tightened on Hayley's shoulder and he gagged slightly. With some effort, he calmed his unsettling feelings.
Edited by armeggedonCounselor, Oct 13 2010, 10:44 PM.
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Kyle stood with Hayley, enjoying the moment when she hugged him. It was strange- either she sensed his nausea and fear, or she felt guilty for something. The hug was not appropriate for the moment she did it. Oh well, it wasn't important. He took a deep breath, focusing his mind. The lack of sleep hadn't really set in yet, although it would soon strike against his mind.

More importantly, and with mixed reaction, Ema had decided to stick around. Kyle felt that twinge of jealousy again, that little voice that said that Hayley wanted to be with her instead of him- it wasn't important. It was important that Hayley be protected, that she be safe. He had already failed once- a thought that made his stomach clench. Well, technically it wasn't a failure. Hayley hadn't been hurt... physically. Mentally... well, Kyle still wasn't sure on that account.

Hayley was talking about leaving, but she was still naked. Kyle held up one finger, indicating a moment to wait, then got his stuff and pulled out his own change of clothing. He handed it over to Hayley with a smile- his pants would likely be both too long and too wide for her, but it was better than nothing. Also, he took no small satisfaction in having given Hayley clothing before Ema. If his pants were not serviceable, his shirt would be long enough to kind of preserve decency. He shouldered his bag, eyes slightly downcast. Despite his calm outward demeanor, internally he was feeling... a little depressed, honestly. Between his OCD and unwillingness to kill someone.... He felt useless.

He hated being useless.
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"I gave you a shirt with t-"

A gunshot. Kyle immediately, though he knew it was mostly useless if he was being shot at, dropped into a fighting stance. The shot had come from the forest overlooking the beach. Hayley had already grabbed her sword- the girl could move fast when she wanted to. She told them to stay here. Kyle's first reaction was to say no, but Hayley had already set off.

"Hayley! H-hold on!"

She was already too far- she hadn't heard him. Kyle nearly set off after her, but.... Ema was here. Hayley wanted Ema safe. Therefore, Kyle wanted Ema safe. He pulled his knife out- another useless gesture.

"Stay nearby. I don't think we're being shot at, but we should be ready to hit the dirt, as it were."

He said this without looking directly at Ema, instead watching the forest.
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Kyle was surprised at the boy coming out of the forest. He didn't move, didn't flinch, watched the boy watch the ocean for a moment. It seemed he had failed to notice Ema and Kyle.

And then the boy turned. Eye contact was made. And the situation took a downward turn.

The gun came up, leveled at Ema. The boy was yelling, it wasn't coherent. And Kyle's mind betrayed him.

'He's aiming at her. That simplifies the problem. If he shoots her, Hayley is all mine.'

'NO. SHUT UP. SHE IS HAYLEY'S FRIEND, NOTHING MORE. AND YOU SHOULD PROTECT HER.'


He raised the knife slightly. The movement caught the boy's eye. And now the gun was on Kyle. And the boy was screaming again, telling Kyle to drop the knife. And then he made a fatal mistake.

He called Hayley a whore.

Now, normally, Kyle could deal with that. It happened. Hayley had a reputation, and Kyle had heard about it. But right now, Kyle's nerves were shot, what with his OCD acting up and the lack of sleep, and the overly stressful day he had had yesterday. So his brain shut down.

"YOU SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!"

The yell tore itself free of his throat, a primal roar that begged for satisfaction, for blood. The hand with his knife dropped back as Kyle dove forward, setting off at a run straight for the boy. This was when his brain started screaming. The gun was still pointing directly at him. Then he saw Hayley's sword rise up behind the boy, and strike down. Kyle's momentum kept him moving forward, the knife spinning in his hand as he drove it point first toward the boy- insult to injury, as he was already dead from Hayley's strike.
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Just as quickly as it had begun, the attack was finished. The knife in Kyle's hand sunk easily into the boy's stomach muscles, sliced the lining of his stomach and, as the boy slumped sideways due to being dead, sliced through more flesh with nearly no resistance as it slid free. Kyle was drenched in blood, even more so that Hayley. She had mostly gotten it at head height, only a little going much lower than that. Not only had the primary spray from the neck wound been more in Kyle's direction, but his hand and lower arm were drenched in blood from the boy's knife wound. The color transfixed Kyle for a moment as he stared at his knife. It's brown color was complimented nicely by the dark red. Laced with a brighter red, actually. Kyle had learned in Anatomy that blood from different veins or arteries was different colors, but he had never had experience in that. Apparently the stabbing had sliced through both types of blood movers.

Hayley was already going through the dead boy's day pack, when Ema asked a weak question from behind Kyle. He didn't turn his head to look at her, although he did sort of snort in a half-laugh. Hayley offered an explanation- it was slightly terrifying to Kyle exactly how calm her voice was. Someone who had just... beheaded someone should not be able to be so calm.

'You just cold stabbed a guy, for something people had been saying for the length of your relationship. You're also calm and rational. Why does Hayley's calmness terrify you?

SHUT UP, RATIONAL VOICE.'


She inspected the gun and turned the safety on. Kyle felt a cold shiver. If that boy had been a little less panicked, or a little more, he would be trying to breathe with a nice hole in his lung. Thank God for panic, for people who couldn't react to a shifting situation.

Hayley had just noticed the blood on Kyle's knife. It seemed the sequence of events had happened too quickly for her to register it right away. She looked up at him.

"Thanks."

Thanks? For what? For joining her in the kill ('It's fun times for the whole family.')? For defending her honor? Kyle had just watched Hayley turn that safety on. He had been moments away from death. He took a breath, took his glasses off, and smiled at Hayley.

"He shouldn't have said that."

Simple- not as witty as he would have liked, but everything witty implied a next time. Nor was it what he really felt, which was something like panic. He was covered in blood, and every fiber of his being was freaking out. Between no sleep, OCD and general panic, his emotional state was New Jersey.

Nobody likes New Jersey.

Hayley gave her sword to Ema. It was an interesting gesture. Perhaps it signified the change from Hayley who was afraid of killing, who couldn't kill without that debilitating collapse, to....

Whatever. She had a point- they needed to get out of here. But....

"Can we wash up a little bit before we leave? I feel sullied and unusual."
Edited by armeggedonCounselor, Oct 19 2010, 04:40 PM.
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Hayley nodded her agreement to the washing up plan. It took Kyle a lot of control not to charge down the shore and dive into the water. He took his shirt off first, and wiped his knife clean. Cleaning his shirt in salt water would leave it stiff, but it would be better than having it be coated in blood. He slowly walked down, keeping his eyes on Hayley's back. Concentrating on the retention of his calmness, despite how much he wanted to scrub his hands with sand until they bled. It reminded him of Macbeth- Out, out, damn spot. Of course, Macbeth was flipping out because he had just cold murdered his king. Kyle was flipping out because of his OCD- blood always made him flip out, even when it was his own.

It was strange though- Kyle did feel a little guilt for killing James, even though his attack was almost entirely superfluous after Hayley's decapitating strike. It was probably how he had lost his temper- he never lost his temper. It was something he prided himself on: being able to look in the face of people who tried to get him to attack them and just walk away.

And then this happened.

Kyle put it out of his mind, as the ocean was already lapping at his feet. He walked in until the water reached his waist, dipped his shirt into the water and began to wash the blood out. Methodical, slow. Let the metaphoric cleaning take place on his soul, too. He ducked down, washed his face, scrubbed hard. Air. Stand up, breathe. Down, scrub. Up, breathe. Repeat, repeat. Allow the compulsions room to breathe, room to act. Three times washed, three times clean.
Edited by armeggedonCounselor, Oct 20 2010, 09:46 PM.
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Kyle felt clean now. There was a difference (for him, at least) between being clean and feeling clean. During biology, after dissecting fetal pigs, he had felt dirty even though there was no viscera on his hands. It had taken nine washings to stop himself from feeling dirty- three threes. Nine was an important number to Kyle, because of his OCD. It was why September was his favorite month- he rarely felt harried or nauseated during September. He despised June and December because they were two and four threes, respectively. But that was a digression.

Kyle felt clean now. He stood up, brushing his wet hair out of his face. His jeans were soaked, and felt stiff, but he didn't mind. He paced toward the shore, where Hayley was discussing their plans with Ema. Go to the Hut. Meet up with the others. Kyle hoped they got there first, simply because of some things niggling in the back of his mind. Like Hayley's status as a player, and the danger that posed. He was almost certain Hayley had thought of it too. Methodically, Kyle pulled on his soaking shirt, pulling at the bottom three times. He had gotten good at making his triple actions seem natural, seem like the normal nervous reactions people have to things. Touching the ear- he always brushed his hand against his three times.

Kyle felt clean now. And even cleaner. He had noted, and worried over, an increase in the urge to do things in triplicate. His inability to complete his normal daily rituals had not gone unnoticed. Neither had his body failed to notice that he still wasn't truly protecting Hayley. It was strange- she wasn't hurt, but she wasn't... whole either. It seemed like her mind was degrading- not her intelligence, but her sanity. She wasn't acting insane, but there was a remarkable difference from when she had been incapable of... anything complicated after her first kill, to not even caring after her second. To be fair, her second kill had had it coming, but....

It was scary.

Kyle stood on the shore and looked out at sea. He had been having trouble focusing- an artifact of no sleep and thinking about all the dead people.

'This reminds me of a song....'

He turned to look at Hayley and Ema. "Are we ready to go?"
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