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I Swear I Won't Shoot
Topic Started: Oct 11 2010, 08:51 PM (2,938 Views)
Dr. Nic
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How cute.
[ *  * ]
[Boy #14 - Alex White. Continued from Hideaway.]

He'd been walking ever since the swamp, leaving behind the ashes and charred place that Liz and Milo had been hiding out in, having burned it away with the molotov and the brush surrounding them; He left Milo on his own and chased Liz into the murky waters, but left her to her own self induced suffering instead of chasing her further. She was a threat, to others and to herself, that much was sure, but he wouldn't chase her any further than he had; He'd done his part in preventing further action from her, certain that her wounds, the burns she brought upon herself, would keep her from acting on others. She was already in bad shape when he left her, attacking someone else, trying to add more blood and gore to what she had already stained her face and the surroundings with, would cost her more than anyone was willing to give up.

Still, he had to wonder.

What drove her to do what she did, what he assumed she did, what Milo had lied to him about; He heard her name when Milo called out to her in the tree, knew that she hadn't killed anyone. Her name was not among those on the list of killers that first morning, that first announcement, but there was blood and bits of flesh scattered around her campsite and dried blood on her face; He knew she had done something, but she hadn't killed. He knew she hadn't killed, probably hadn't even attacked anyone, but he still attacked her, destroyed her place of safety and caused her to be injured. How could he say he was just protecting those he cared for, preventing what he knew was going to happen, when he was acting the part of those he sought to protect others from?

"I did what I had to do."

He'd repeated that to himself, out loud and in his mind, every time he thought of his reasons for his actions and what he would be willing to do in pursuit of his goal; That of protecting the ones he cared for and keeping them safe. Was this really the best way to go about that though? Was that list of his, of killers and their victims, the one he began writing after leaving behind the destruction he caused, really worth the cost he was willing to pay to make it just that much shorter? He knew most of the names on the list, had once called each of them a friend, was able to summon up at least one happy memory with each and every one of them. And yet, here he was, armed with a weapon and willing to do whatever it took to protect himself and the ones he cared for most. Already he had attacked someone, already he had endangered more than one life, yet he still told himself he was doing the right thing.

The right thing?

Did he really know what was the right thing anymore, after what he'd done, after what he'd risked and what he'd ignored? Could he really keep going on the way he was and still say he was doing the right thing, doing only what was needed to survive and to keep those he loved and cared for alive? He'd been doubting himself, doubting his actions and his reasons ever since he left the campground, as the hours ticked by and he passed pool after pool of murky water, every muddy bank and patch of barely dry earth; He'd check the map and the compass, try to figure out where he was, but one bad spill sent the precious little magnetic device into the mud and the muck, leaving him without direction. He could only guess at his destination now, only hope he was heading in the right direction, that the map alone would be enough to lead him to the key.

But it wouldn't.




For hours, he walked. When the sun dipped below the horizon once again, he kept walking. When it came time for him to eat, he did so while he walked. He'd been constantly moving for almost two days now, ever since he woke up in this hell to find he was now part of that horrible game, he'd never really stopped for long. Every time he stopped, every time he slowed down, he got into conflict with someone; When he stopped the first time, he fought with Nick, he brought the boy down and took from him one of his weapons. When he stopped again, he used that stolen weapon on Liz and Milo, he injured the girl and left the boy to his own devices. Would he come into conflict with another if he stopped again? The first time he stopped, it was morning. The second, it was morning. It was night now, so would it be safe to stop? No one had been around, he hadn't seen anyone or heard anyone for a while now, but he hadn't reached his destination. Would it be safe to rest?

Sooner or later, he would have to stop.

"Better do it now."

Within an hour, he had set up his campsite and spread out the contents of all three bags before him; His own personal bag, the bag they had supplied him with when he awoke and finally, Liz's bag. But were the three bags the only heavy burden he had to bear, the only weight that he carried? He began to pick through his belongings, his extra clothes and the snacks he intended on sharing with friends during their trip, the books he intended to read and in his mind, he began to pick through the memories he intended to make and share with the ones he cared for. It was supposed to be a normal trip, something that they all would enjoy, their last chance to forge new memories in their senior year of high school. After that, it would be college or a job or a combination of both for many, a future what was set or one that had yet to be decided; For Alex, it was supposed to be a choice, a final decision that would decide his future, choose where he would end up in the world.

"My future huh?"

He poked at the slowly flickering fire with the blackened end of his former torch, taking a moment to think about what his future was supposed to be, about what he would have decided if this trip had gone the way it was supposed to. Would he have followed in his father's footsteps, followed the path his brother had taken? Would he have gone off and become a police officer like his father and his older brother, risking his life every time he would stop a drunk driver? Would he have ended up losing his leg like his father had, or would he end up losing his life? But then, he had another option, one his mother encouraged; He could have gone on to study the arts, to study music and become a songwriter or pianist. No, his mother wanted him to go on and do something far more public than that, wanted to use him to follow the dreams she never had the courage to follow before it was too late. No, he didn't want to follow those paths, to follow the dreams of someone else instead of his own. Neither option was what he wanted.

But then, he never wanted this either.




"Listen up, because this is important."

It was after his first self defense class, when he was back at home and practicing with his father, listening to his lectures and his explanations, watching his examples and repeating what he taught him. He could have done without the lectures, however, or the comments made referring to a potential future as a police officer. His father was a kind man and certainly considerate of Alex and his choices or who he was; But he still had trouble picking up on Alex's indecisiveness, his worries about his future, but most of all, his desire to do his own thing instead of following what his parents wanted. But Alex would never say anything about it, he would simply smile and go along with what was suggested. High grades, extracurriculars, spending time with friends, practicing self defense, staying in shape, going hiking and camping, spending time with the family and looking for a job; It was all piling up as the years went by, but he never said a word, he simply took in stride even when it was too much to bear, too much to handle.

"Are you listening? This is important."

He shook his head and looked up, focusing once more on the task at hand.

"You remember that lecture I gave you when you signed up?"

"Yeah, I remember."

"Good. Tell me what the point of it was."

"The point?"

"Get to it."

"I'm supposed to use what you taught me only to defend myself or to defend someone else who cannot defend themselves."

"Defend from what?"

"Defend from anyone who wishes to inflict harm upon myself or upon others."

"Good. Not exactly the standard, but it'll do. What else?"

"Umm... Never take up arms against someone without cause?"

"Close enough. Now, watch what I do and repeat."

It was always like that, always some short discussion before anything ever got done; He never really understood any of it, never understood why he was always made to repeat it or why it was something that needed to be done before everything else. It seemed cliche and silly at the time, but now? Now it was different, now it had actual meaning, even if it was far more serious than anything it was ever meant to be associated with. But now, when he had the best reasons to hold true to what he'd been taught, he'd ignored what he had learned. Ever since he woke up here, he'd been making the wrong choices, had been making mistake after mistake and now? Now, it was too late to go back and change it, to change his goals or how he went about achieving them. He'd made too many mistakes, disappointed too many people to try and make it right now; He couldn't give up now, after all he'd done, after what he'd already risked. He had to keep going and finish what he started, otherwise there would have been no point to what he had already done. He had to keep going, had to keep pushing, no matter what.

He had to keep moving.




It was morning again and Alex was once again on the move, trudging through the sands and listening to the waves as the sea churned, the very sounds he had fallen asleep to hours ago, miles back; They had been comforting then, just as they were now, but he never let himself relax, never let himself feel at ease. He had slept, but he hadn't managed to sleep very well or very long, something he expected would be an issue for many and an issue that would never go away; Even if he made it out of this alive, he didn't think he would ever sleep easy again, not after what was going on here. Just as the sun was starting to come up again, the same time but a different day, just like the other morning. He awaited the inevitable.

The loudspeakers came to life once again.

Every name, a face.

Every face, a memory.

But there was one name among the list, one name he never expected to write down, one person he would have never thought capable of participating in this game, in this twisted show. A name that was matched with so many memories, so many adored moments shared between the two; One of the very people that he sought to protect in this newfound hell. William had killed someone, had killed one of their classmates, one of their fellow students, one of their friends; Despite everything they had been through together, despite everything that told him that Will would have been the last person to participate, he had blood on his hands. What would he do now that the one he cared for had killed, the one he had tried so hard to protect in any way he could?

"Shit."

He didn't have time to think about it now, didn't have time to worry or wonder about what his next move would be; While he had been writing, extending that list of his and marking down the new danger zones, he had been walking at a constant consistent pace. Now, he was approaching figures in the distance, figures on the beach, a boy standing over a girl huddled and bent over, the sound of her sobbing against the crashing waves getting ever louder as he moved closer. He heard the boy talking, putting his foot in his mouth, going on about how this lovely little piece of hell was just like a video game, mentioning his name as he finally stopped his lips from moving and pulled the foot from his mouth.

Micheal huh?

He stuffed the map into his pocket, pulling the branch from the crook of his arm, holding his weapon of choice before him as he continued his approach. For now, neither of them looked to be much of a threat, neither had a weapon bared that he could see, so he didn't need to worry.

Right?

"You two alright?"


He waved to the pair.



It was time to stop.




Again.
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.
[ *  * ]
...He didn't really know how to respond.

Seriously, the first answer he got to his inquiry in to their health was simply enough, an answer amid sobs and tears and a reaction of a panicked girl. That was expected, that was normal... but this? This was just silly, listening to the boy ramble on and on, making constant references to games both old and new, giving away the nervousness he felt at that moment. He had to admit that he probably didn't have the appearance of someone who inspired safety or anything, that maybe the two of them were nervous at his sudden appearance with weapon in hand. Maybe they were right to be nervous around him, knowing what he's done already and what he was capable of doing, what he'd already decided he was capable of doing.

William had done it. Alex should be capable of doing it too.

The boy continued on as Alex came closer to the two of them, his eyes locked on the gun in the hands of the girl and the boys bag, his mind wandering and racing towards the conclusions and assumptions made about the people before him and their belongings. The question at the forefront of his thoughts quickly became what the boy may have as a weapon in that bag, if it was more of a threat than the gun in the hands of the girl or if it would pose an issue to Alex should he try to disarm them. But would he really need to resort to the force he used before to disarm them of the dangerous weapons in their possession? He jumped the gun with Nick, that was certainly a mistake, but Liz was already gone and he'd told himself he had no choice.

But now? Now he was faced with a nervous gamer and a girl who'd been crying just moments earlier.

Would he really jump straight to violence when handling them? He certainly didn't need to, it would be unnecessary and pointless, he already made that choice the last few times he'd been faced with the decision and things... things didn't work out too well. Maybe... maybe he should try something else, maybe he didn't need to go through this alone and maybe he could trust someone. Maybe he could get someone to trust him in this 'game', trust him enough to rely on him for their protection and keep them safe, trust him enough to let him use their weapons to defend them. He wouldn't need to use force to make sure the weapons weren't used against his friends, he could use trust, but in this game was that really a good choice?

Well, it was better than the choices he'd made before.

"I could be better, but everyone could, I suppose."

He responded to the boy's question of his own state of mind and body, his mental and physical and emotional status, as best as he could although he was not willing to admit that at least one of those probably wasn't in the best shape. He took a moment to examine any injuries he had accrued during his time spent wandering the island in search of the people he cared for; A cut on his arm covered with bandages that were likely dirty and a growing bruise on his side that had him worried some time ago. His back and arms were sore, not to mention his legs, but otherwise he was healthy. He was in a lot better shape than the people he'd fought, as far as he knew.

"A few cuts and bruises, but I'm no worse for wear. Emotionally... I'm... I'm alright, I suppose. I'd like to find a few people in particular, make sure that they are alright and that they haven't... y'know."

He didn't specify any names. Not now. Among the names of the ones he was looking for, two had already appeared on the announcements, had already killed their classmates for one reason or another. He wanted to find out those reasons, but their safety was the first thing that was on his mind and had been for a long time. He turned to face the two of them, digging the end of his chosen weapon into the ground as he leaned on it, making sure to avoid the soot covered and blackened end.

"Ran in to a few people that weren't exactly... friendly. But I'm in better shape than they are, I suppose. I guess I have my dad to thank for that, with everything he taught me. I just wish... I just wish I could do more. I just want to be able to keep someone safe, but I've already failed..."

For a moment, he looked to be visibly shaken by the thoughts running through his mind and the words he was trying to bring forth. Maybe they weren't of the subject he was speaking of, but they certainly seemed to have some effect, shaking the athletic young man as they did.

"I suppose you already heard, but Nick Reid killed someone. Thing is, I could have stopped him. Before it ever happened, I could have kept him from doing anything but I wasn't able to. He was right there, I had him right in front of me and despite everything I tried... He still got away with his weapons. He still ended up killing someone. He killed someone else yesterday, apparently."

His expression changed as he talked, shifted from the upset look he carried moments earlier to one of anger. Thing is... he didn't even know who that anger was directed at more, himself or Nick.

"I could have kept him from doing any of it and yet I made a mistake and failed and now... now two people are dead. Despite everything I tried, I couldn't protect anyone, couldn't prevent anything."

Without realizing it, he'd said far more than he needed to, said a lot more than he originally wanted to say to the two of them. He turned back to look at the two of them, unsure of what to say after all of that. After all of that, what could his point be to confide in them? A moment of thought brought out the answer.

"I just want to help but... I can't do it alone."
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.
[ *  * ]
"Honestly?"

A relatively cold stare was the only thing he could give the girl as she stammered out a response to what he'd been talking about. The questions came and they were quite simple. Was he trying to recruit people?

"Yes, I am."

Was he trying to form a group?

"There is safety in numbers."

But what about her confession? She wasn't exactly capable of much, even with the gun; here she was, sitting on the beach, barely able to keep composed. When it came down to it, she was likely to die the moment she was in danger. Of course, he couldn't just tell her that, though he thought she knew exactly what would happen if one of those killers on the list were to find her there instead of the nervous little gamer or the track star with a few problems. Yeah, she knew exactly what would happen... but so did Alex and despite everything he'd done, he still thought he could help, still thought he was doing what was right. Prevention was the best medicine right?

"We stick together and you won't have to do anything. I've handled myself here in two fights and my dad... well, he taught me just about everything I know."

That's right... almost everything he knew, he learned from his dad and his older brother. Hell, the entire idea of protecting his friends was probably a result of what they'd taught him before, what they had always believed in with their professions. Despite his desires to do what he wanted to do instead of what others insisted he do, he was still following in his father's footsteps in one form or another. Of course, the way he was going about it wasn't something to be proud of. For a moment, he wondered what his dad would do if he were there.

But he's not here. I am. These are my choices. I just have to make the best ones I can.

But really, were they the best choices? In the long run, wouldn't every decision he made just end up hurting him or someone else? He hadn't exactly been the best judge of right or wrong here on the island... but really, who was?

"That gun..."

He'd never quite taken his gaze off her weapon from the moment he spotted her holding it; it looked old and slightly worn but still in good shape. Foreign in design, that was certain, but it was still a gun and any gun was better than no gun here in this hell. The entire time he'd been speaking to the two of them, spilling his story of what had been happening so far in his run of the game, he'd been contemplating how to get that weapon away from her. Could he just attack them, take their weapons and run without issue? No, not really; that was a gun he was staring at, not a molotov or a knife. He didn't even know why Micheal had yet, but that kind of thing wasn't the best to guess about and hope for the best; for all he knew, Micheal was hiding a something worse than a handgun in that bag.

Before he could respond further, Micheal was off again and didn't look to be stopping any time soon.

On and on and on and on.

"Don't you ever shut up?"

Alex interjected with that little bit of hostility as Micheal rambled. Yeah, the first instance was bad, but this was just worse; every few seconds it was another reference and another term. All of them from video games; RPGs and strategy games, first person shooters and other such action filled genres all seemed to have been covered by his gamer styled nervous rambling.

"Seriously, you jump off like that and spew shit no one understands."

Right, probably not the best idea to get angry.

"This is not a fucking video game."

This... is not looking too good.

"We don't have statistics to determine our skills and we don't have a fucking scoreboard telling us if we're beating the other team. This is not a game and we're not fictional characters and yet here you are spewing more shit every five seconds about this character or that."

Alex certainly didn't look happy now, thrusting his hand forward and pointing at the boy as he talked; he didn't step closer now, not without knowing what the boy was hiding, but he wasn't about to sit and listen to more game related bullshit. Not here, not in this place and not after what he did. He'd made too many mistakes and done far too much to let this idiot play it off as a video game. There was no chance in hell that he was going to let that happen. This was not a god damn video game!

"God damn it, this is fucking life and death! This isn't some fucking video game you can just save and quit! These are peoples lives we're talking about, not character sheets and dice rolls."

He'd done far too much since this all began to let him treat it so lightly. He would go on to do far worse as this all went on as well and he knew this and he wasn't about to let it all just become a game. This was real, he had to believe that, he had to control what little he could and help however he could and this asshole was treating it like a game and--

Fuck!

Nothing quite made sense now. Really, it was so small and yet Alex had suddenly become so irate. Here he was, confronting this boy he knew was just scared and nervous, yet Alex was barely able to hold back the hostility that he was throwing Micheal's way.

"God damn it!"

Within a moment, he was clutching the strap of Liz's bag as it hung from his back and ripping the apparently offending object from it's place among his belongings; the other two remained where they were, but the bag with Liz's name stitched unto the side was soon hitting the ground with a dull thump. It was certainly better than his original idea of throwing something at Micheal but it didn't exactly do much for his temper or anger. Speaking of which... why was he suddenly so angry, anyways? It didn't make much sense, really, for him to have gotten so riled up over Micheal's relatively small and inconsequential comments. So why in the hell was he so fucking mad?

"Damn it... I should have taken those pills."
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.
[ *  * ]
"What am I doing..."

Alex's outburst had silenced Micheal, that was certain, but it seemed to have done far more damage than intended. When everything was said and done with his anger filled monologue, Gloria was left stammering out a response in fear of further reprisal. She sounded hysterical and her words eventually broke away into crying, Alex barely able to make out the last few words she said. Was he really that terrifying? Did she really think he was going to try and kill her? Well... yeah, she did. Of course she did, who wouldn't? After all, he just came out of nowhere with that outburst, spurred on by something so small and insignificant, especially when you looked back at it. Really, anyone could make that assumption of him now, concluding that he had gone insane and was capable of killing people.

After all, hadn't he resolved to do just that not so long ago?

"I'm not going to kill you and I'm not going to hurt you."

A heavy sigh, sagging shoulders and a few deep breaths followed his statement before he grabbed the strap of the bag lying there in the sand and slung it across his back once again. It wasn't his bag but he still didn't want to just leave it there; food, water, various other little things, all of it might be useful so why abandon it. Alex turned to look at Gloria, dropping his gaze when he saw her still crying hysterically. God damn, he didn't mean to make a girl cry... now he just felt like shit. Nothing snaps you out of a moment of irrational anger like a crying girl.

"I'm not going to make you do anything."

You'd be useless anyways.

He didn't let that last part go anywhere but his mind, trying to calm down a bit before he did end up attacking either of them for whatever reasons he had. Could attack Micheal because he was the clearer threat, a boy who didn't seem to take any of this seriously and didn't know when to shut up. He could even attack Gloria and take that gun from her, she certainly wouldn't know how to use it and he really could just take it from her at this point. But really, did he want to do that? Sure, he attacked Nick and Liz, but they were actual threats at the time, or at least appeared to be. Could he really attack a crying girl and take her only weapon under the pretense of keeping it from being used on the wrong people?

"I could, but I won't."

I should but I can't.

When it came down to it though, he couldn't bring himself to do anything but turn away from the two of them. They hadn't done anything, they hadn't looked to be anywhere near hostile, neither of them were a threat to anyone just yet. There was no way he could feel right taking any weapons they had and he certainly didn't believe Gloria would be a threat to anyone with that gun of hers. Sure, he should take it just to be safe, take the both of them with him and actually do something right, but after that outburst from something so small... he knew he wouldn't be able to do anything until he got things under control. He knew exactly what was going to start happening to him and there was only one way to stop or delay it.

"I'm not going to force you to come with me and I can't promise something like that won't happen again, but believe me when I say that I didn't intend to hurt you. If you want to come with me, I can promise that as long as I am able, I'll do my best to protect you."

He didn't speak directly to either of them and refused to turn to face them, simply making sure all of his things were together and grabbing the pine branch.

"I'm sorry for that outburst but this isn't a game. No matter how often it is referred to as a game or nothing more than a show, our presence here should tell you this is all very real. Start treating it that way or else you'll end up dead very soon."

Alex didn't want to admit it, but even he was wrong in his approach to everything that was going on; there was reason to take this seriously, of course, but treating everyone as a killer or a victim and nothing else? That would end up with him dead or with someone else dead by his own hand. For all his wondering and all his worrying and all the anxiety and paranoia that filled his mind at all times, he doubt if he really was prepared to do whatever was necessary; he'd told himself he was several times over, but there are always doubts when it came to that sort of thing. Of course there were doubts; he knew that if there were no doubts at all, that if he really was willing to do everything needed than he wouldn't be much better than the people who killed without reason. After all... what was his reason?

Did he even have a reason anymore?

So many of his friends had become killers and so many had died, so was his reason really valid anymore? He failed to protect anyone with his method and it didn't look like he was going to make any progress in doing so, so what was his reason for any of this? How could he say he just wanted to protect people when every time he met someone he attacked them, tried to take whatever weapons they had, come to the assumption that everyone would be better off without the weapons... except himself. He really was doing more harm than good with his methods and yet nothing else seemed to make sense; maybe he really was losing it like Gloria and Micheal must have thought he was. After all, how long had it been? Three days? Maybe more? He couldn't remember the last time and now they were gone and there was no escape and their was no reprieve. It was just him and no support and his choices and no help and maybe he was wrong and maybe he was right and maybe there was no choice and maybe there was no other way and maybe his father was right and maybe he shouldn't try and maybe everyone else was right and maybe he really did have problems and...

Enough.

"I'm going to look for Andrea. Even if you don't trust me and even... even if you think I'm nuts, just promise me something okay? Don't end up on the announcements."

Just like that, he walked away.

...

That was it?

[Boy #14 - Alex White. Continued in Late Dawns and Early Sunsets.]
Edited by Dr. Nic, Nov 21 2010, 10:33 PM.
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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