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High Tides and High Hopes; A late night, an early morning. [Day 3 -> Day 4]
Topic Started: Nov 1 2010, 04:22 AM (1,306 Views)
Dr. Nic
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How cute.
[ *  * ]
[Boy #61 - William Hearst. Continued from Morning Comes Slowly]

Hour after hour slipped on by as they kept a steady pace along the coastline, idle chatter between the pair of companions kept to a relative minimum compared to the previous journey. A slightly more somber tone followed the two until considerable time had passed, the first words between the two since they set forth from their camp were spoken only as morning gave way to afternoon and they sat down to eat what little they could. A meager offering of boiled water that became pine needle tea, some edible plants gathered along the way and what little remained of their combined personal snacks.

"About Peter..."

William initiated the conversation as he took the bottle off the line that held it above the fire, offering the improvised flavored drink to his fairer companion for the better half of two days. Up until then, little had been spoken since they left and little had been done; they simply walked on and on, focused on the task at hand with neither straying for long. They'd come to rely and trust in one another, or at least that is how the young man saw the situation; despite the events and the unspoken thoughts and feelings, they were in this together and would stick together. He knew her misgivings and was hesitant to voice his own... until now.

"What do you think of him? Or about him and Maddy?"

A silly question dredged up from a safer time when death didn't loom around every corner and behind every tree, hiding within every bush just a moment away. Where the decision to harm or kill another was never thought of outside the context of fiction and fantasy, of books and games and the other visual mediums.

"I mean, how do you feel about it? I'm curious..."

With hours to do nothing but think on things long past, there was little to do besides to turn to old feelings and old flames; maybe they wouldn't make much difference from now on but it was all he really had to dwell on, the only thing he really wondered about. He knew how the others in his life felt and the events that had transpired between them told him exactly how much he would be cared for and missed in this hellish situation of nightmarish proportions.

"I mean... I... well, with what we're going through now I'm just wondering where I would stand, y'know? I know everyone has their priorities and the people they want to find the most and it's just..."

He didn't really know how to put it or explain it without it sounding overly strange, without it coming off as something that was inappropriate or just plain weird to bring up in this place. He didn't want to push Tiffany away, certainly not, but they were still students with problems and issues and concerns that related to normal life; perhaps bringing up something that was at least resembling a normal issue just felt... right. Just felt, well, normal.

"I trust him and everything but I worry now about running into people we thought were friends in school. The names that get mentioned on those lists, they were friends too, some more than others, but they were still friends. And yet, they've turned around and killed each other. And I just... I can't help but wonder and worry."

This wasn't coming out right at all, he felt it and he knew it but he didn't know what to say to make it better. In the end, he didn't even really know what he wanted to come out and say to begin with, ending on a point that just made things worse instead of making them better; at least, that was the conclusion that he had jumped to in his mess of a mind. Without proper nutrition or proper rest, nothing was really making much sense now or fitting just right. Then again, would anything every make sense again?

"I worry, Tiffany. I worry a lot."




Night came again, uneasiness settling over Will's mind as he stared out at the ocean the very same way he'd done so the night before. Everything came back, everything he thought of and everything he said in silence to the waves and to the one said to be listening at all times. He thought of the curses he flung at everything he thought was to blame for the situation he'd been placed in, for the horrors he would have to face as the days slowly passed by with little respite. Now, sitting again with his sights set over the horizon and the shifting waves as a small fire crackled behind, he began to regret his words; blaming everyone else he deemed responsible and seeking to find someone to direct his anger at. He believed it to have been the cause of... of what he had done.

He believed it to have been punishment.

Possibly for what he had said or any perceived sins he had committed, but then and there at that moment he truly believed had been punished for what he'd done. So, for this night for what may very well have been the first time in his life, he turned to the nearest member of an organized religion. He turned to her and tried to figure out what he was about to ask of her in confidence, what he was going to seek her assistance with in this moment of fear and uncertainty.

"Tiffany? Um... You're religious, right? Do you think..."

The words caught in his throat for a moment as he forced the request to come forth, forcing himself to accept it as a possibility in this new reality. Things up until now had yet to look to rational to him, so now it was time to turn to the alternatives; he may not have liked them in the past but they were there now and they may be the only means of support he would find outside the arms of a dear friend. Perhaps it would give him the strength she had lent him so many times already.

"Do you think we could... I mean, I'm not really sure about all of this stuff, but do you think we could pray?"

There was much to be hopeful for in the coming days and nights to follow this, much to seek forgiveness for and much to be thankful for. In a moment of uncertainty, of doubt and fear of the things that have happened and the thing that would come, he turned to the only thing he could at that moment. He turned to the only source of religion he knew of, the only source he trusted in this place of horror and nightmares brought to life. Outside of the weapon that he relied upon to give him the strength he'd need to face the reality of what they had been forced into, Tiffany and her undying faith looked to be the only real strong pillar of support remaining. In that moment, it was a source of strength, of any kind, that he was not willing to pass up.

"So, um... how does this go?"




Sitting through the second list that morning was hell again, but one that had been expected; it was hard to deal with, that was certain, but there weren't any named that struck William hard. At least, none that struck him as hard as Everett's had, still mourning the loss of such a good friend and yet there was nothing to be done about it now but go on living in his stead, doing what he could not and surviving in this hell. If they ever got out of this, he hoped to let everyone rest with a proper burial... but he wasn't likely to get home, was he? No, he may end up just like the others on the list of those who'd died before him, but he could hope and wish for the smallest thing; in this case, a proper burial instead of simply being left on the island. Surely that would be a reasonable request to make.

Of course, the people who ran this weren't exactly... reasonable.

That voice that dripped of sarcasm and sick joy from the goings on of the students on the island... he hated it. He hated it with every last drop of anger and fury he had in him and just listening to that man read off the list, offering up his little quips and quotes with the mention of murder and tragic deaths was just...

"Fuck!"

He swung the old branch hard against the tree, snapping the dead wood in twain with splinters flying off in all directions; he was gathering wood for a fire to keep them warm through the coming night, something he'd done many times already. He'd gotten quite good at dredging up old methods of fire starting in this place of little and this island of plenty; even without the proper tools, he had enough knowledge from his time with Alex and Peter out camping and hiking to make due. Perhaps he would have been better off with Alex's expertise, his perceived and believed superior knowledge of such wonderfully useful little things would have been most helpful now.

"Sorry... I just... I can't stand thinking about that man, that bastard that put us here. I can't stand to think about the joy he's getting from watching us down here, toiling away to survive the night in this god forsaken hellhole."

His temper had boiled over in his rush to gather the materials, the sun sinking fast beyond the horizon as he worked at a furious pace; they needed enough to last the night and more just in case a storm rolled in. There hadn't been any rain yet, but he wasn't leaving things to chance here; one bad rainy night could end things for the two of them and he wasn't about to let Tiffany down like that. So, he worked tirelessly, breaking the larger pieces of dry wood as best he could before gathering them up, carting them back to the place they would sit to rest. Well, the place they planned to rest, but things were never sure here; something could happen that they didn't expect, something that may leave them without a place to stay and seeking shelter elsewhere.

But it's best not to dwell on such things now.

"Anyways, from what I can tell, we're right around here on the map. If we can set out in that direction tomorrow morning, we should be able to cut back towards the building here. It's the only large building out this way, so let's hope we find Peter or Alex there."

With the rush to get things done, he wasn't focused on thinking back on what had happened or what could happen in the next day to come. He didn't want to end up dwelling on that again, didn't want to always come back to the fear and the uncertainty, to the panic and the paranoia that drove him to... drove him to...

Damn it! Not now! I can't let her down now.

He shook his head, shaking off the thoughts and the doubts that began slipping their way back in. He had a job to do and damn it, he was going to do it whether he liked it or not.

"Mind bringing that pile of shavings over here?"

He had to get the fire started. It was already dark. Already late.
Edited by Dr. Nic, Nov 1 2010, 04:24 AM.
Boy #??? - Joshua Edwards
Hanging out somewhere, playing his heart out.
Writer and local retail slave at the comic book store.

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

Those who were
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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Kari Nichols continued from Missing Those Lost))

Kari was exhausted. There was really no other way to put it. It was now nearly three whole days since her last meaningful human contact. After the incident in the felled forest, she'd kept searching, telling herself that everything was fine, that Carol and Simon and Rein would be just around the next corner, that they weren't the unseen group near he explosion. But the more she searched, the more her hopes seemed to crush under the weight of reality. Parish? Empty. Well, nobody capable of holding a conversation - or breathing, even. The little town? There were almost as many ways to get herself killed there as there were places for the group to be hidden away in. She couldn't stay long where her footsteps crashed loudly and died on stark, unfriendly facades. Screw it, she'd said after that. I don't owe them nearly enough for a wild goose chase. And that was that.

Or, at least, she wished that that was that. She didn't need to care about them. She didn't need to relive her ill-fated impromptu land survey in her head, regretting every step. She didn't need to feel indebted to Carol, to Simon, to Rein, to the people who should be in her debt.

She didn't need to, but she did.

And to convince herself of that, she'd set off in the opposite direction to where she knew they - no, where she knew their corpses - were. First order of business: get a plan. That wasn't too hard. Survive. Simple enough for a girl with her resources. But where to go, who to search for, when to talk and when to just slip away, all of that had to be played by ear. She'd seen other students in the distance, gotten glimpses of hoodies and bags and in one case what had to be a sword. That didn't help things at all.

As night fell, she'd journeyed to the seaside. It wasn't really as great as people always said it was. Real life ocean breezes weren't really something you'd want to put in a bottle for people to smell. They smelled like dead fish and rotting seaweed. All the same, it was quite an amazing sight, so mind-bogglingly vast, so flat, so blue. And the rhythmic waves, those were nice. They would've been something good to fall asleep to, if only she'd been tired at all. Watching the stars inch across the sky, she got a sense, really, of time. It was one thing to say that it was late night of day two, but it was quite another thing entirely to watch it all happen. Foregoing sleep, the night ticked on resolutely - no force in the world could stop it. She couldn't quite put her finger on it. Of course time always went on and on no matter what. But to live an entire day uninterrupted by unconsciousness really drove that point home, somehow.

And so began another day of Hell. The announcements came. Carol wasn't listed. Neither was Rein, or Simon. So they were alive. But they didn't need her, and she didn't need them. She could strike off on her own - and that's what she did.

And now here she was, watching the sun go down once more, brushing the tiredness out of her eyes, off her face. Someone swore loudly. There were no gunshots, though. No screaming. Her first thought was to move off silently. Her second thought was that that idea could go shove it, and that she'd had enough sneaking around in the shadows. She could still acquire a target just fine in the gloom. And if they were friendly, maybe they wouldn't make her keep watch all night. It seemed like a nice payoff. Thinking for a moment, she made her introduction.

"Hey! It's Kari here. You're not playing are 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.

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Solomir
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Nanotech Engineer
[ *  *  *  * ]
((Tiffany Baker continued from Morning Comes Slowly))

It was another long day of walking. Long hours interspersed with the barest traces of communication. The sand shifted slightly under their shoes; some crept up the sides and slipped into the empty spaces between sock and insole. Every so often, someone would stop to empty the buildup of sand grains back onto the beach. Tiffany would try to smile reassuringly at William whenever she caught his eye, but his general response was a possibly a hint of a smile overshadowed by a somber frown.

The tide was low, the waves lapping gently against the beach.

When the sun hit its apex, William decided that it was a good time to stop for lunch. They only had a few things left over from their snack stores, and some tea that William had assured her to be safe to drink. They shared the food for a few silent minutes, before William broke the silence with some quiet musing about Peter.

Tiffany didn’t know how to respond to his question. Tiffany had always felt that she had been anything but subtle about how she felt about Peter. At least some cheerleaders had noticed and made some light teasing of it.

((Uh, I'll add more here in a bit))




((Placeholder for nighttime events, as they’re not plot relevant and I don’t have time due to DZs))




After that night came another long day, which was heralded by Danya’s updates to the student population on the progress of the game. It was a nightmare being added onto the ones she’d had throughout the night. Just hearing about people, friends, being callously murdered by their peers made her sick.

It was another long day of walking. The two kept closer to the tree line as the sandy beach gave way to rocky outcropping overlooked by steep cliffs. At some point, they moved inland, as rocky terrain was far more difficult than the twig and leaf covered dirt of the forest. They had some long hours of silent walking, broken occasionally by some light conversation about their route.

The beginnings of twilight began to descend on the travelers before they knew it. William hadn’t seemed to have anticipated this because he started scrambling to gather firewood. Tiffany had done her best to help, but she just didn’t have the eye for finding large enough pieces of wood. Of course, William didn’t tell her that she wasn’t doing it right, but she could tell that the branches she could find weren’t anywhere as big as what William put on the woodpile.

A word that Tiffany would not repeat rang through the evening sky.

Reflexively, she whipped around and narrowed her eyes at William. She would have admonished him; if they were back home in St. Paul, there would be nothing stopping her. Except they weren’t home. On some level, Tiffany understood how much stress it was for William. He had to worry about keeping her safe, about watching out for killers, and even about just building a fire and shelter for them each night.

William seemed to catch the sudden outburst before it could continue. He muttered an apology, one that he didn’t need to say because Tiffany already understood. He returned to his work of finding and breaking the pieces of firewood, while Tiffany did her meager best to help.

They took a break, as the sun started to dip below the horizon. William showed her the map and they discussed their plan for the next day quickly. Tiffany didn’t have much to add, so she responded mostly with silent nods. Afterward, they gathered up all the wood and transported it over to where William had already marked out the spot for their fire. He hadn’t wanted to start one so close to the low bushes in the woods; they were more dense on this side of the island and there hadn’t been a clearing nearly as open as the last night.

Tiffany watched as William hunched over and started prepping the fire. She probably should learn how to do that so she could at least help the next night. Standing around was sort of pointless in comparison. Maybe she was supposed to be keeping a look out for other people approaching. Of course, the only reason that she had that idea was because she heard someone calling out over the light crash of the approaching tide.

Tiffany turned around to where she thought the voice came from. It wasn’t a familiar voice, but Tiffany had heard it before. Kari Nichols, from the school orchestra. They had shared a class in US History back in their Junior year as well. Tiffany had been amazed watching Kari work magic with that colorful puzzle cube; Peter had no talent with those whatsoever.

The idea that Kari might be dangerous hadn’t really crossed her mind. After at least a day of not seeing anybody but William, the prospect of finding more people to band together seemed like a hopeful prospect. She waved her arms at the girl on the beach, directing her over their way.
V5


B036: Benjamin Ward: "Sh-shut the fuck up. Or I'll k-kick your ass."
B047: Marcus Leung: "Let's start by staying calm."


V4

Rest in peace

B004 - Peter Siu: "We're all fuck-ups."
G006 - Tiffany Baker: "Will you stay with me, until I wake up?"
G027 - Marybeth Witherspoon: "The cameras are pointing here, not there."
B115 - Tony Russo: "I'm sorry...."
G087 - Rachel Gettys: "I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell."
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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!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
So, so tired...

But she could push through it. It was now what, 40 hours since she'd slept? She was reaching the point now where her body was begging for sleep, getting down on its knees and pleading for a nice soft warm bed, kicking and screaming when none was available. She felt so, so tired when she'd tried running. She shivered against warm air. Her mind swayed like broken swing, twisting this way and that and never actually going anywhere. She felt awed by the ocean and its vastness, and then she felt crushed by its stark immensity. The gun hanging off her shoulder was comforting and reassuring, except when it was horrible, nasty, ugly, heavy, and brutal. A wave of general malaise swept over her, and she really thought that she'd literally kill to get some rest, if that even made any sense.

It was with immeasurable relief to her that the pair beckoned her over. With lightness in her heart and a knot of fatigue in her chest, she made her way over.

She recognized them both. Tiffany, the cheerleader, alternating between sickeningly and infectiously cheerful. William, the murderer, was in a few of her advanced classes.

Wait...

She should have pulled the trigger then and there, taken both of them out, made off with the spoils. Another weapon or two (wait, what had William used? She could only remember something about a collar...), more food, clothing, medical supplies...

No, she told herself. He's probably like Simon and Rein. Too many nerves and too much ammunition. And something about a collar, maybe it was an accident?

She might have turned back had she slept the night before (pulling the trigger, she wouldn't admit, was right out), but in her present condition... Honestly, she thought she might share a campfire with Reiko if she had a spare blanket. Nonchalantly handling her weapon, she hoped to reach a sort of tacit agreement to shove thoughts of lethal force and enjoy their time left.

The night wore on, and evening gave way to true night, leaving only the blaze of their little fire for light. They were talking like any group of people sitting around a campfire, and for just a while she could almost pretend there was no collar around any of their necks, no guns at their sides. She toyed with her Rubik's cube, taking comfort in finding patterns in the shifting colors that moved too fast for an untrained eye to comprehend, applying the correct algorithms, laughing as she mixed up blue and green, red and orange due to the fire that bathed everything in its monotone glow...

It was hypnotizing, looking into the crackling flames, watching the wood evaporate with the same deliberate inevitability that spun the stars above her head. Huddled in her hoodie, she barely remembered her determination to keep an eye on William. He was so nice, and she was so tired...

Finally, after that hideously long stretch of wakefulness, she slept.
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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Dr. Nic
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How cute.
[ *  * ]
Not long now.

William woke up a short while ago, not quite able to get a good night's sleep. He'd been watching the horizon ever since he woke, watching and waiting for the sun to come up; he knew exactly what was going to happen when the sun rose. The only thing he had to do was wait for it. He'd spent his morning getting all of their things ready, snuffing the last of the fire they'd slept near and burying the ashes beneath the sand of the beach. There wasn't much to prepare as a meal for their breakfast, but he would worry about that after the announcements came. Just need to sit and wait. Not long now...

"Kari, Tiffany."

He turned to his current companions, one from the beginning and one as of last night; the gun Kari was carrying had worried him when she first showed up. He had left his gun in his pocket when they were gathering the firewood and when Kari called out to them and he saw the weapon she had... he hesitated to pull it out. He was concerned for Tiffany's safety as well as his own, but the last time he'd panicked and pulled his gun on someone, they ended up dead. He did not want to be responsible for yet another death... so he never pulled his gun on Kari and kept it hidden as best he could. It had been a good choice in the end. Yeah, a good choice.

"Come on Kari."

He nudged the sleeping girl a couple times, trying to wake her up; it had been a long night for everyone and she certainly seemed exhausted given how fast she fell asleep, but she would need to be awake for the announcements. Yeah... a long night. It was a nice night though, filled with idly chatter about this and that, an escape from the hell of this game and everything that came with it. William had tried to avoid mentioning anything about Trevor or the cause of his death, but the question inevitably came up. It wasn't one he could avoid forever, not after his name came out in the announcements. But he didn't blame Kari for bringing it up; he understood where her concern came from, hoping that William wasn't some cold blooded killer who would snuff her out in her sleep. He explained what he could, just as he had done with Tiffany; he had panicked and Trevor looked to be going for a weapon. He didn't want to do it, that much was certain, it was just... just something that happened.

He lied again.

But now? Now he was busy poking the exhausted young woman and trying to wake her up; he'd nudged her numerous times, spoken loudly and tried just about everything he was comfortable with trying. But eventually, something worked. He turned to Tiffany next, hoping to have her up and follow conscious before the announcements came; she was definitely the easier of the two to take up.

"Time to get up. Announcements will be coming soon..."

He didn't want to be the only one awake for the announcements and certainly didn't want to be tasked with repeating that list to the two of them once they did wake up. Some names may have been important just as before and despite such news being terrible, they would all still need to listen. They would all need to know the names of those who had killed, the ones they should be wary of and avoid at all costs... but did that mean William was among them now? Would others look to avoid him no matter what, treat him with hostility at every turn... even kill him simply because his name had been called out as the name of a killer? It was possible... but that was something to be concerned with another time. For now, he turned back to the horizon and waited.

Not long now.

He dug the map out once again before he sat back down and waited; he watched the sun slowly come up over that horizon, staring at the sea. Like clockwork, the speakers all around the island came to life and that horrible voice issued forth. Will would always hate that voice. Even if they made it out of this alive, he would never forget that voice or the hatred he held toward it and its owner, the man behind all of this. The one who picked their school and brought them to this island, the one who was forcing them to kill each other to survive. He would always hate that man.

As the names were listed, he thought hard to conjure up memories of the people who were dead and the people who had killed them. Every name was that of a friend, a classmate, someone he'd spent even the shortest amount of time with. They were all someones daughter or son or grandchild and they all wanted to go home and see their families again. Now... now those that had been listed off would never get that chance. But William wrote down every name, adding them to his own list; one that held the name of every person he would remember, every person that would be missed.

He stopped when he heard Dominic's name called out.

"Dominic is dead?"

Among the first people he ever ran into on the island and the first he ever held his gun on; the one who'd begged for William to spare Tiffany's life, to take his and spare the girl. The one who ran away from him when all was said and done. Will regretted ever making Dominic stare down the barrel of his gun the way he did. He always would just as he would always regret Trevor's death. In his mind, he was responsible for both now. Despite never pulling the trigger on Dominic, he felt responsible; if he had never held that gun on him, he might be alive now. He might have come with Tiffany and William, but not after what Will had done. Despite knowing the name of the one who was responsible for Dominic's death, William saw himself as guilty of that crime just as much as Alex Seymour.

The names kept coming and he continued writing them down. At least, until he heard Lucas Lupradio's name.

He didn't remember the boy too well, but it wasn't the dead name he heard that he was concerned about; it was the living one. Peter's name had been called out on the announcements as one of the killers, just as William's had the day before. But Peter wouldn't succumb to this game would he? He wouldn't turn on his friends and end their lives just because he was told to do it in order to survive... would he?

"Peter..."

Any questions that he had would have to wait, however. As he idly marked down the new danger zones, thinking about Peter and all the questions he had regarding the kill made with his name attached, he realized just where they were and just where the danger zone was.

"Shit. Shit!"

In a panicked rush, he grabbed his things and threw them into his bag; he kept the map out and double checked their planned route; it wouldn't be far and they could make it there quickly. But they had to move now. They wouldn't have time to worry about breakfast or taking a moment to talk about their plans for the day. They wouldn't have time to change or get cleaned up, at least not while they were still on the beach.

When their collars started beeping, it was all the proof he needed.

"Ready to run?"

With a final glance at the map and the compass, Will grabbed Tiffany. He wasn't about to let her fall behind. After four days of trying to protect her, he wasn't about to let either of them die because of a danger zone. Anything they might have had planned and anything they might have done that morning would have to wait. Right now, they needed to run and do so as fast as they possibly could.

"Just follow us Kari!"

William had a plan to survive that morning.

The plan? Run like hell.

[Boy #61 - William Hearst. Continued in March to Your Death.]
Edited by Dr. Nic, Nov 17 2010, 03:44 AM.
Boy #??? - Joshua Edwards
Hanging out somewhere, playing his heart out.
Writer and local retail slave at the comic book store.

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

Those who were
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Solomir
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Nanotech Engineer
[ *  *  *  * ]
Kari came over warily and joined them at their small fire. The sight of the large gun slung over Kari's shoulder was definitely a concern for Tiffany, but that concern faded when Kari made no move to draw the gun on them as she approached. William seemed a little on edge, but he made no aggressive action. Tiffany trusted him to handle the situation well.

The three sat around the fire, just talking like they weren't on an island of death; it was a refreshing change from the quieter and more somber nights of the last two days. Their spirits rose with the tide, as the conversation shifted to light-hearted and nostalgic things. The waves lapped gently against the beach, beating a rhythm in time with the crackle of their little campfire and the clicks of Kari's puzzle cube. Eventually, the dark of night took over, and sleep followed shortly afterward.

William was up way before Tiffany and Kari were. She knew this because he had been up early in the previous mornings as well. His attempts to wake up Kari were enough to stir Tiffany from her sleep, and she was just about to wipe the sleep from her eyes when he turned his attention to her. She quickly packed any loose clothes into her daypack and went to join William in watching the sunrise. The announcements were something she wasn't looking forward to, but it wasn't something she could escape.

The speakers screeched to life, like the previous mornings. Danya's voice rang out from behind her, where the speakers were hidden in the trees. Tiffany listened to each name called out, silently mouthing a prayer for each of the dead. There were a few names in particular she prayed for: Max Neill, the former student council representative and anti-bullying advocate; Dominic Stratford, who she had helped her on the first day of the island; Samaya Boen-Hillstrand, a girl with whom Tiffany loved to sing with in the Madrigals. The killers too, were in her prayers. All of them including-

Peter.

Tiffany's breath caught in her throat. That wasn't right. There must've been a mistake. Peter wouldn't kill anybody, especially not a ruthless murder like Danya had said. There must've been a mistake. Maybe it was an accident, or someone forced him to do it-

She was still reeling from the news, trying to figure out what had gone wrong, when William grabbed her arm and dragged her across the damp sand of the beach. He yelled something back at Kari as he ran, and Tiffany thought she might've heard some loud beeping coming from somewhere. That wasn't important. She needed to find Peter, to find out what had happened; he wasn't a murderer and she was sure of it.

As she ran, she prayed as hard as she could that Danya was wrong, and that when she found the man she had fallen for, that he would still be able to turn to God's forgiveness.

((Tiffany Baker continued in March to Your Death))
V5


B036: Benjamin Ward: "Sh-shut the fuck up. Or I'll k-kick your ass."
B047: Marcus Leung: "Let's start by staying calm."


V4

Rest in peace

B004 - Peter Siu: "We're all fuck-ups."
G006 - Tiffany Baker: "Will you stay with me, until I wake up?"
G027 - Marybeth Witherspoon: "The cameras are pointing here, not there."
B115 - Tony Russo: "I'm sorry...."
G087 - Rachel Gettys: "I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell."
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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!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"And I didn't even wake up until, like, the third night."

"That's one long dream."

"Yeah, it was kinda like - what is it, Devil's Arithmetic? that we watched in middle school. Where the kid drinks a bit too much booze and spends like a year in their magical concentration camp dream, and-"

"Hey, did you kill anyone?"

"No, I didn't. I did have a big heavy gun, though. It was kind of funny-looking, I wonder if they make anything like it in real life?"

"Heh, didn't think you'd have hit the scoreboards."

"I-Hey, what's that supposed to mean? I totally could have, you know. I was too busy saving people and stuff."

"Come on, Kari."

"What? I totally woul-"

"Kari, wake up! It's time for the announcements!"


"...Whaaa?"

For a moment, she wondered how she'd suddenly fallen asleep. She fought to return to the dream world, to reveal the collar and the gun and the island and the G090 to all be fake, to be the dream she'd woken from, to be something she could sit around a fire and laugh about with her friends on the class trip.

But she couldn't.

Slowly she sat up. Looked up at William. Bent over, hugged herself. Shivered. She felt horrible. It was (she counted off on her fingers) the fourth morning? Her hair was starting to clump a bit from all the grease and dirt and grime. She was dirty from lying on the ground, and probably didn't smell to great either. Resentfully (why did he have to wake her up so early?) she ran her tongue over the scum building up on her teeth when the announcements came on.

She didn't want to hear any of it. It was enough to be carrying around that gun, to be in a situation where she had to consider actually using it on other people, but hearing the fat man rattle off friends and classmates with indecent glee was just too much, especially for the mood she was in. Trying to block out the noise, she tried focusing on the barrel of the M50. Too macabre. Maybe a random bit of ground would do. She focused with all her might on ignoring the game, but one hand reached up absentmindedly to her collar...

BEEP

She almost screamed. For one terrible moment, she thought she'd set it off somehow, that she was going to die, or that she'd already died, or something. And then it became clear that both of those were wrong - no, one of them was wrong but the first one was true if she didn't high-tail it.

"Ready to run?"

You bet she was. In the space of a moment, she was collected and ready, stumbling into a run after William and Tiffany. The morning's grumpiness seemed to just melt away, replaced by pumping adrenaline and a determination to reach the border of the dangerzone. Feeling the light thrum that accompanied every beep, hearing it so viscerally, right under her chin, so blatant and so personal, she stared at William's running form and thought - what would have happened if he hadn't been there to wake her?

A killer just saved my life...

((Kari Nichols continued in Ghosts))
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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