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Walk Away; Private. Sunset, Day 3
Topic Started: Oct 31 2010, 11:23 PM (1,476 Views)
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((Omar Burton continued from instinct•algorithm))

((Omar's story is being handled by James' request, and with the approval of all involved))

Omar was standing near the northernmost point of the island now, amidst a field of toppled trees. The sun was setting, casting the last rays of light over the land, oranges and yellows washing the scenery, leaving the hundreds of dead trees looking eerie, unreal.

That didn't matter to Omar in the slightest. His time for appreciating the beauty of his surroundings was long past. He had spent the day searching for Sierra, combing the eastern part of the island, then looping up to the north. He had avoided groups, coming only close enough to ensure that Sierra was not among them, and had not seen any individuals worth confronting. His killing of Warren had been justified. Useful. What he needed to gain an edge over the competition, to see Sierra safely through. Shooting unarmed, non-hostile people would be counterproductive, wasting ammunition and telegraphing Omar's dangerous nature to everyone else. With one kill under his belt, he could get close enough to someone to be a danger. With four or five, he would be shot at on sight, and, worse, Sierra would be endangered if she stuck too close to him. There was a time to cut loose, but it had not yet come. When he started to run low on food, then, perhaps, but not until.

His plan for finding Sierra was simple. He would methodically cover the island, searching the outdoors areas first, since they provided the greatest visibility, then move into the areas with buildings. He would move quickly, giving things a cursory investigation. Time was of the essence, and it seemed a better choice to maximize his area of coverage than to get bogged down checking every nook and cranny. If he couldn't find Sierra easily, then the same would be true of any of the other killers.

He kept the gun at the ready at all times now. As a lone target, and a killer at that, he had to constantly be on his guard. Someone could see him, could gun him down in seconds, before he could even react. He wasn't invincible. Wasn't unstoppable. It was intelligence and drive that would win this, not reckless optimism.

Glancing around, Omar paused for a second, found one of the water bottles in his pack, took a sip. Wondered how Jessica was doing. She hadn't been on the announcements, so maybe she was alright. It would be best if she lasted a good while. Still, he hoped that she didn't stick around too long, or, if she did, that someone else ended up finishing her off. It wouldn't do at all for Sierra to refuse his help due to his killing of a friend of hers. She was good. Not the sort to understand the necessity.

Then Omar put the bottle away, zipped up his pack, brought his gun to the ready again, and prepared to keep moving. He wanted to find Sierra soon. Ideally before the next announcements. He had a horrible, gut-wrenching fear that—no. She wouldn't be on them. Couldn't be. He would find her, and he would keep her safe.
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The shout surprised Omar. Tom? Who the hell was Tom? The guy couldn't mean Tom Guthrie, right? He was, after all, dead. Sure, he was around Omar's height, same color hair, but...

No. Now was not the time to be getting confused. The guy was running towards him, waving like a total idiot, being loud and probably drawing the attention of anyone else in the area. And, look, the guy in question was Julian Avery, everyone's best friend, Bayview's "nice guy". Couldn't even be bothered to remember people's names, though, couldn't even be bothered to know if they were dead or not. How had this guy survived this long? How had he not been shot by someone just on the basis of being an overly loud prick? Omar was half tempted to blow him away right then, to spare himself having to flee this area due to the noise. But gunshots would force him out anyways, and would draw even more attention, attention he did not need focused on him right now.

Besides, Julian had that sword still safely put away. He'd come over, realize Omar was not Tom, maybe try to make friends anyways, and Omar could chastise him and send him packing, then move out himself. There was really no reason to bother with Avery right now. He was an easy out, someone who truly stood no chance of surviving. It would just take one wrong word, one misplaced moment of trust, to undo him.

One misplaced moment of trust...

Like that, it hit Omar. His gun was nearby, but Julian had closed the distance rapidly. So rapidly, with that friendly routine. Only now, now he was close enough that it would be an actual contest of speed if it came to a fight. He was close enough that he could very well get to Omar and mess him up before the gun could even factor into the situation. The look on Julian's face... the bastard had been trying to play him. Wouldn't work, though, no way. He'd bought himself a few seconds, a better option, but Omar still had a gun. Avery couldn't know his speed.

"Nice try," Omar said, putting all the confidence he could into his voice. His hand was on the gun. Just had to pick it up. Make it clear he was willing to.

"Don't come any closer. I'm not afraid to use this."
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It seemed, just for a second, like Julian was going to do the smart thing. But no, that would have been too easy. Omar had judged him correctly, had caught his ploy just in time. Julian wanted to know what had happened with Warren. That meant that his whole "Tom" routine was a total sham. Omar didn't really feel like explaining what he had done to this guy, though. He didn't owe Julian an explanation, and he didn't want to give him anything, except maybe a quick shot through the head.

"You know, maybe we can talk about that later. Right now, I think you should be worrying more about how you're going to walk away from the guy with a gun than the guy he may have killed for whatever reason two days ago."

Yup. There it was, all laid out. Julian had a choice, a very clear one. Keep up his little revenge routine, or whatever the hell he was doing, and risk getting shot, or try to worm his way out alive. Omar was expecting him to cave. Julian was everyone's friend, or at least he liked to play the part. He wasn't the sort Omar could see looking out for others. Maybe he'd been Warren's buddy or something, but chopping up the guy who wasted him wouldn't bring him back. No, Julian would probably try to slink off, try to escape to fight another day. Of course, Omar was pretty sure at this point that he would shoot the guy in the back as he left. It seemed the safest course of action, especially since someone this phony could present a threat to Sierra. If he knew about Omar's history with the girl, he might go after her out of sheer spite.

And then, Julian was talking again, with that stupid grin again, turning Omar's perceptions on their head. Turned out, he wasn't in it for specific revenge. He'd decided he was going to kill all the psychos, maybe to make sure nobody killed their way off the island. Oddly, it made sense to Omar. It gave him sympathy for the boy, sympathy he couldn't have mustered even if Julian had been completely innocent in his intentions. After all, Omar's own goals involved killing all the psychos too. His ideal position inn this crazy mess would be second place, propelling Sierra out of here. She'd probably have to kill him, in the end, but... he was okay with that. She wouldn't do it willingly. He knew that much about her. He might have to provoke her somehow, might have to... but that was for later. No need to dwell on such uncomfortable thoughts in the middle of a tense situation.

Omar didn't consider that Julian could be lying about his goals. The admission was too frank, too dangerous. No, he was telling the truth, for whatever reason. And so, Omar found himself having a bit of a change of heart. He actually started to talk.

"You know what, Avery? Fine. I'll tell you. Yeah, I shot Warren. I found him when he woke up, grabbed his gun, and shot him. I did it because I needed the weapon, and I couldn't afford to get hurt in a struggle if he decided to make it an issue. I'm not planning to kill my way to the top of this, though. There's a girl, Sierra. My girlfriend. If there's one person here who doesn't deserve to be, it's her. I needed the gun to get Sierra through to the end, because I'm not going to let someone like her get killed by some sadistic fuck, and there's no way she'll fight her own way out. So, yeah, I killed Warren, and I'd do it again. I'd kill any one of those psychos, too, to stop them from making it out of here."

As he spoke, Omar watched Julian. And, strangely enough, the boy seemed to be believing him. He'd been prepared for rejection, for denial, prepared to have to defend himself against ridiculous accusations of dishonesty. It didn't look like that would happen now, though. That left Omar time to ask a question of his own, one that he was honestly curious to know the answer to.

"And how about you, Avery? What are you gonna do once you've gotten rid of all the players? You planning on sitting down and singing songs until your collar pops, or are you gonna carry it all the way, make it back to a hero's welcome?"
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Avery started to answer the question, and in a surprisingly frank manner, at that. He hadn't thought things out, so he was...

Omar caught his movements a split second after they began, a split second too late to stop the boy. Omar grabbed for his gun, but his opponent struck first, slashing him across the palm. He flinched backwards instinctively, withdrawing his hand, cringing away from the pain, and then, a second later, he yelled. It hurt, more than anything he'd ever dealt with before. Blood dripped from his palm. He glanced at it, recovered slightly, looked to Avery again (and the boy had grabbed his gun, so maybe that was all he wanted, maybe he'd leave now, maybe—

Then he stabbed Omar in the stomach, and his hand suddenly didn't feel so bad. It was shocking. Totally and completely stunning. Avery had seemed reasonable. Seemed to believe Omar. Seemed likely enough to go away. But then he'd gone and attacked anyways. And why? He was saying he wasn't letting Omar escape. That couldn’t be it, though, right? There had to be another reason, something better and more immediate. It was all Omar had to focus on now, something to puzzle out to keep himself from screaming. He wouldn't give Avery that satisfaction.

And, sure enough, there it was. None of the killers had been eliminated yet. Julian was going to keep up his crusade, then coax someone to kill him so they could escape. Omar almost laughed. How noble. Goading a pacifist for their own good. Like someone who threw away their morals that easily really deserved to live more than anyone else.

The pain was welling up, becoming harder to push out of mind. Omar was mad, though. Really mad. He probably wasn't going to survive this. It was dawning on him, slowing oozing its way into his consciousness. He was going to die, not even having seen Sierra again, much less having helped her out. And it was all because this asshole couldn't be content to prioritize the major psychopaths, couldn't focus on the most dangerous people first. No, he had to get his name out there or something, had to play the big old hero by messing up the first killer he'd come across. Would he have stabbed Omar if Warren's death had been self defense? No way to say, but it was quite possible. And now, who would watch after Sierra? Who would keep her safe? Maybe Josie, or... or Jessica. Omar was really glad he'd let her live, now.

He'd still try, maybe. Still try to... he didn't even know. So he started talking.

"L-listen, Avery. Is it really worth it? All this, just to send a message or something? You're going to be a killer too. Other people will come after you. You see how it ends? You really think—"
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The cold metal of the sword, still slightly damp with blood (his blood, his blood) touched Omar's neck, and he stopped talking. It was instinct, pure animal fear, not any sort of rational thought. No, rationally, he knew it didn't really matter if Julian stabbed him again now or left him to wait. The end result would be the same. Omar knew it. Julian knew it. Somehow, it actually seemed to relieve some of the tension. No more mystery here; the final outcome of this encounter, much as Omar hated it, was preordained.

Avery went on and on, explaining Omar's wrongdoing, talking about the differences in their philosophies. So, really, what it came down to was that Avery wasn't comfortable stacking the deck so a specific person made it out. He wasn't happy about innocents getting killed. It was... well, it was a bit infuriating. And then he got going about this whole redemption and apology thing. Like Omar wanted to say sorry to Warren's ghost or something. He wasn't going to, though. He'd known what he was doing, known what it meant, and he'd taken that path anyways. It was an absolute insult for Avery to imply otherwise, for him to assume Omar was dumb enough to have not thought it out.

Omar's vision was blurring slightly. Not enough, though. No, Julian was right. This wasn't going to be a quick, painless death. It was going to linger. It was hurting, hurting so badly. His stomach felt like it was full of acid. And this sadistic fuck expected him to repent.

"Listen," Omar said. "I don't see how you think you're g-gonna pull this off. Even if you kill all the killers, who's going to whittle it down until there's just one pacifist left to shoot you? And hey, m-more than that, how're you even going to ensure you make it that far?"

Those were minor questions. The important bit came now, though. He forced himself to focus, forced his eyes to lock onto Avery's, even through the pain, through the distractions.

"You say you want me to be sorry? I'm not going to change my mind just because you're asking me to. Maybe you should think about yourself for a change. You think shooting someone in cold blood's bad? How 'bout stabbing someone and walking off while they slowly bleed out? You don't think that's just a little messed up? You think it's better than just quickly pulling a tr—"
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The blade slashed along Omar's throat. Compared to everything else, it didn't hurt so much. It cut off his speech, though. Left him without much to do except listen to Julian and watch. He almost wanted to lunge at the boy, but it wasn't worth it, not now. There was no way he had the strength left to do anything. There would be no running around the island, no protecting Sierra. It was over, and all because he'd let his guard down for one split second.

Warren could say the same thing. Kind of funny to think of that.

Avery was talking now. Saying he had a lot less time to repent. Yeah, sure, he was gonna change his mind like that. Gonna just go ahead and admit he was wrong now that he was dying sooner. No way. No...

As the other boy looted his bags, Omar grasped futilely at his throat, trying to buy just a few more seconds. Just a little more time. Every moment he lived now seemed to stretch for days. He staggered backwards a step, slumped against a log. Sat there, propped up. All of a sudden, there was noting to say, nothing to think. Omar found himself completely and totally at a loss for something to do. Here he was, dying, and he couldn't do a thing to make it worthwhile. Couldn't even focus coherently. At least the pain was going, flowing out of him with his blood. Everything was dimming. Avery was walking away. He vanished into the night, and Omar was alone. Alone with his thoughts. Alone with Avery's words.

Repent.

It was still a joke, but Omar found he was sorry. Not sorry for what he'd done to Warren. The boy had had it coming, as careless as he was. No, what Omar found himself regretting was what he had done to Sierra. He'd failed her. Hadn't found her. Hadn't had the strength, the drive, the ability to see her through. He just had to hope now, hope someone would watch after her, hope she'd still miraculously make it. Without him, it was unlikely. He'd squandered not just his life, but hers as well.

And then... what would she think? What would she do when she heard about this? What did she think of him now? He'd killed. She knew that, but now she would never hear his side of the story, never find out what he had done for her. Maybe it was better that way, though. Maybe she wouldn't have understood. Maybe...

Maybe time was running out.

He couldn't see anything now, couldn't feel much, though the sharp sting in his neck had become so very, very clear. It was all fading. All slipping through his grasp. He tried to pull himself out, tried to rally, to seize one last second, but he couldn't. He just couldn't.

I'm sorry, Sierra...

B043 - Omar Burton: DECEASED
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