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Ghosts
Topic Started: Nov 9 2010, 02:10 PM (3,060 Views)
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[ *  *  * ]
Her clock was so off she slept at noon, under a windy, weedy overhang coming off the side of the mountain. When she woke up, Zach was still there. He had been with her like an old, mean dog; the hours when she slept, he might have guarded her or curled up next to her. All she knew was when she woke up, he was standing outside the overhang, knives in his hands, as the sun began to set.

They ate food then, hardly talking, ripping pieces off their respective baguettes. The mountain was full of sounds and hollow light, birdsong and wind and the pink air of sunset. Mizore spotted a cavern in the mountain then; a bubble in the tunnels, it looked natural-made, a cavern of shallow, fresh water a few feet within the rock. Of course the mountain had natural caves--the fresh water on the island must come from somewhere, and an underground lake would explain the crux of the three rivers--but this particular cavern was still surprising, lit from above by a chink in the mountain, and roughly, mistily from the outside. Pillars of rock came from the shallow water, rippling, wraithlike and tall.

"Don't you think it's a little too late to be painting?" Zach said.

But Mizore was already peeling off her stockings, replacing them with a pair of loose, painted patchwork jeans, stuffing her tights and her skirt in the rucksack and bringing out a couple of safety pins to pin the legs up. She stepped into the cold water, barefoot, and waded shallowly over to the first rocky pillar. Started to paint.

"... yeah, go have fun." Zach resignedly sat down at the pool edge.

Several hours later, the pillars were covered in painted ghosts.
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Zach Jamis was afraid that he had been retracing his steps.

Afraid was about the only word he could have used. Scared shitless, tail between his legs? Fuck it. He wasn't scared. Wasn't scared of anything. Except for turkeys. They don't count though. Just stupid birds. Stupid.
No, all he was... was... shit. He had lost his train of thought. He knew it had something to do about how he had come up around the same place he emerged when him and Sam found their way out of the tunnels. There was a little cavern nearby with a pool of water in it. At the time Zach didn't really give two shits. His memory was fading in and out. He could recall vaguely that he had eaten shitty bread, drank shitty water, walked across shitty grass. That was about it. Rec center, then cave.

Zach turned to look at Mizore. She was looking at that wall like it was a fun little merry-go-round. Zach sneered.

"Don't you think it's a little too late to be painting?" he asked.

She didn't answer him. Damn it. Was she just going to ignore him now? He hadn't uttered a peep to her the whole time. Was that what she wanted? Fuck. Why the hell did she follow this nut anyway? She was no Sam. She had her own ideas. A backbone as big as her, well, back. Sam had a spine, she wasn't a little lackey who agreed with everything Zach said. She was lenient though. Patient. She had put up with Zach's shit because Zach's shit was Zach's shit and she understood that. Mizore didn't understand that. In fact she didn't seem to care about what he thought. Thought it'd be more important to finger paint on fucking rocks. Bullshit. What was he supposed to do? Talk to her about art?

"Yeah, go have fun." He said dismissively. She didn't respond to that either.

Zach didn't take off his boots. He just sat at the foot of the pool, just watching Mizore. His mind slowly tuned everything out until the only thing he could do was watch her light shit up. It took him a while to recognize what she was drawing, mostly because he was more focused on the act of drawing rather than the creation itself.

Zach cracked his neck and spoke.

"Is this what you did back home? You a graffiti artist or something?"

Stupid question. Zach wanted an answer though.
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

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[ *  *  * ]

"Is this what you did back home? You a graffiti artist or something?"

Mizore was almost done. She added a bit of red shadow to the rocks, and put down her spraycan.

"Yup."

"Why'd you say you were famous?"

Mizore pulled her ruined pencil out of her pocket. Sucked her lips in. Began her signature. "Radio Asuka. Some semi-famous graffiti artist. Was me." Oh God, the English language hated her. "Got into Bennington off it. But now I'm here. I guess it's better for me than most people. I can still draw 'till I drop. And most of my friends aren't here."

A twist of the wrist. End of the signature.

"You?"
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Uhh. Zach Jamis... of Zach Jamis fame..."

Zach scratched the back of his neck. "None of my friends went to this school. Hell, I never spoke during class, just sat in the back of the class and just pretended I wasn't there. Only kid I like from school is here. That was Sam... uhh, the kid from before. Franklin?"

Zach didn't like talking about himself. What the hell was he supposed to tell her? His life story? There wasn't much. Why should he bother? It just made him feel like a complete idiot.

"Yeahh..." Zach crossed his arms. Awkward pause. "Well, yeah, shit happens. What can you do about it? Actually kill people?."

Zach kicked at the pool of water. He wanted a smoke.

"If there's one thing I know, it's that I ain't getting into that shit." Zach shrugged. "Killing, I mean. It's just a copout. Only cowards would ever think of killing their own classmates, no matter how much they hated them."
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

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"Coward…" Mizore licked her lips. "I don't believe it. I figure it's got to take a lot of bravery to kill someone, although perhaps it takes more strength of will to not pull out a weapon when things get really rough." She shrugged. "I just find the urge to kill--to play--foolish. Trying not to come to terms with your own death. If Danya had said everyone was going to die, then we'd all be spraypainting rocks or whatever, maybe killing a chump a day. But because he said that one person would survive--well, now we're all killing people. As if we think we'll be the lucky ones. It's like putting a conscience round in a firing squad. Suddenly everything's a lot more vicious."

She flopped to the ground. "But maybe I'm wrong. And needless to say, I'm glad you're not playing."
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Bitch just called him a coward. Zach sneered.

"Foolish? I just call it dumb. Even if you were big enough to go killing people that you know, you'll find a target the size of a tire painted on your back. I mean jesus, it's common sense. The fat fuck goes on and on about each death every day so someone's got to be eating up every word he spews. Some asshole's probably got a blackboard and some chalk, making complicated equations about each murderer, thinking that's how they're going to live when it's all about not being stupid."

Zach wanted a smoke. He kept talking.

"What, are you glad that I'm not playing because you like me? Or glad because I won't try to knock you off?"
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

releases greatest hits album, is an one-hit wonder
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[ *  *  * ]
Mizore saw Zach sneer, and thought grimly--he thinks I just called him a coward. Does he ever listen?

He went on. "Foolish? I just call it dumb. Even if you were big enough to go killing people that you know, you'll find a target the size of a tire painted on your back. I mean jesus, it's common sense. The fat fuck goes on and on about each death every day so someone's got to be eating up every word he spews. Some asshole's probably got a blackboard and some chalk, making complicated equations about each murderer, thinking that's how they're going to live when it's all about not being stupid."

You think they're stupid. Also, dumb. In other words, foolish. Which is what I was saying. If you didn't yap so much, I'd say you were deaf.

But she couldn't be too snappy at Zach now. The rocks around her were ghostly in the moonlight, spattered, gleaming red. Beautiful.

"What, are you glad that I'm not playing because you like me? Or glad because I won't try to knock you off?"

Zach's voice knocked her back to reality--he didn't stop talking--and yes, now she was snappish for real. Nothing to do with him, poor boy, other than the fact that he was talking. But because she had just spotted the loudspeaker, glinting darkly in the corner of the cave, and realized that announcements were coming soon.

Not Raidon, not Raidon, not Raidon, not Raidon…

And bam, like that, she was cold again. And this puddle she had her feet in on the bottom of the cavern was slick with streaks of algae.

And Zach was clicking his tongue, waiting for an answer.

And she snapped at him.

"Because I like you? You're fishing for compliments now? I thought you didn't care what people thought of you, Zach Jamis." She laughed, and put her head back. She should really get her sleep schedule back on her track; she didn't like the darkness that was in her now. "Isn't the fact that you're not killing me good enough? I'm not ready to die yet."

Pah. And she was supposed to be ready to die. She was cracking like an egg. Little spidery cracks. All because of Raidon. Stupid Raidon.

Yeah, it would be easier if she just liked Zach Jamis. Fell right smack in love with him. At least he shared her views on playing. She could live with him for her last days of island life. In peace, because it was foolish to go to war.

Foolish to fight. Nothing left fighting for.

And that, that made her bitter.

Mizore, pacifist to the core, had always had something to fight, or fight for. A piece, a cause, a counter-protest, a personal demon, an ugly world. But now, here in this cave, her feet doused in algae water, spraypaint used, she felt empty.

Danya had won. There was nothing left to fight for anymore.
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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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 High Tides and High Hopes))

Sleep. It was something Kari had gone without both in her former life and this new one.

It was a funny thing to think about - calling her days on the island a new life. But that's what it seemed like. There was a disconnect there, a giant rift in time that seemed to divide two separate Karis from each other. One of them was was active, competitive, cheerful, whirling her cube around like butter in her hands, studying instead of sleeping. The other was filled with constant dread, plodding around the island in search of safety, determined not to die but not sure how long she had; stroking the barrel of her gun for comfort, unable to sleep exposed to her classmates. Neither of the groups she'd found were satisfactory. One of them was short on security and long on firepower. The other one, much briefer, was just too uncomfortable to stand. A killer had saved her life - and she really didn't know what to think. She'd put up with him just so she could get a good night's sleep, a night's sleep that was almost eternal.

Sleep. It was something Kari had gone without. But soon, she'd sleep forever.

She'd headed for the tunnels for some reason she didn't really know. They weren't pleasant, not at all. There was a body outside one of them, a boy with his head smashed in. She shuddered, turned away, closed her eyes, grabbed her gun, solved her cube, anything to calm her nerves. And then she'd headed right into the depths. Not that specific tunnel, though. A different one, as if that really mattered. She'd tried to get some rest. But sleep just wouldn't come on the rough, uneven, rocky floor. In the cold, in the dark, undercover yet out in the open - if anyone did come by, they'd find her all to easily. The tunnels were a place to hide, but there were no places to hide in the tunnels.

Ghosts. Was she hallucinating now? She hadn't hallucinated from lack of sleep, not that she remembered. And then, some ghosts-to-be, a couple of students that she'd never in a million years attack but who had to die if she wanted to live. She didn't want that. But she couldn't bear to lose.

There was nothing for it. They'd notice her one way or another, whether she tried to slip back into the tunnels or not. Could she trust them? It didn't matter, really: the burden of trust lay on those without the machine gun to back them up. The gun. Hands off of it, let it slip to the side, show it but don't brandish it. And now, put on a friendly face.

"Erm... hey."
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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"Hey," Mizore shifted her legs under her and crooked her hand in a proto-wave.

The girl who just entered shone with exhaustion. Mizore remembered her name--Kari Nichols. She had noticed her in class, red hair, green eyes, sketched her surreptitiously once, for the color contrast. She also did speedcubing, which was cool.

And apparently she'd been given a machine gun.

Shrug. That would be interesting.

But she didn't look like she would be mowing them all down, which was, Mizore supposed, a relief. She looked tired and pinched and cranky and possibly unnerved by the red ghosts. But non-Zach company would be nice. She was a bit sick of confrontations for today.

"Ghosts are not real. I've just been painting." Nice way to state the obvious, Mizore. "You can sleep here, if you want. We're not playing, and one of us will take watch." Her body clock was so screwed up that she probably couldn't help but take watch. "Announcements coming soon though."

Not Raidon, not Raidon, not Raidon…

Agh, Raidon. Once upon a time, Mizore had been careless and unbreakable. The island hadn't mentally shook her, not more than death usually did--she knew she would die one day, and then, when she had been put on the island, she knew it would be sooner. It was even a relief in some ways, to know that she didn't need to do anything else but draw, find paints and draw, sketch ghosts and learn the lines of death. Her friends were elsewhere, in a commune, in Saint Paul; the only person she had to care for was herself. And she was pretty low-maintenance.

But then Raidon had come, and now she was cracking. Little spidery cracks in her mind: she could feel them. She needed to meditate again. She needed something different to happen. An escape plan, a breakout, a bit of bloody hope, because suddenly it had seeped into her bones, it wasn't just her death she cared about. Zach was here, for all his annoyance, a boon companion, and Zach's friend Samya, and Raidon, Raidon…

She swallowed. She needed to find Raidon again. Something would happen, then. She'd stay with him. She'd insist on it. She'd be an utter and complete bitch if she had to.

Yup. Things had been much simpler when she just wanted to paint.

The Nichols girl took a cautious step into the cavern, and Mizore remembered one more thing.

"Watch out. The middle of the floor is covered in water."
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Zach didn't have a response for that. He wasn't fishing for compliments but he wasn't exactly NOT fishing for them. It was strange. It wasn't like Zach would actually care if Mizore didn't like him. Even so, he hoped that Mizore had a positive opinion about him. That it wasn't a relationship akin to a flak vest and a chest. Fuck, she sounded mad. Oooo, scary. Zach just stopped thinking about it altogether. He shut himself off. Blah blah blah you're not killing me blah blah blah. What the fuck ever. It was only a fucking question. He tried to think of something else.

... well. Looks like Sam didn't get herself killed. Yet.

Wonder where she was.

Was someone watching him right now?

Probably not. Who the fuck would miss Zach Jamis? King of the assholes.

... Maybe Lacy. Yeah, maybe Lacy.

Zach only had a second girlfriend. At least the chick liked to call herself his girlfriend. Her name was Chloe and they only lasted for seven days. Their relationship consisted of Chloe hitting on Zach and Zach just pretending she wasn't there. Chloe accidentally rubbing herself against Zach. Zach sneering. Yeah, that brought back memories that he wished he hadn't conjured up. He did scream pretty loudly at her. Maybe Chloe was glad he was on here. Just another log on the fire.

He never liked Chloe though. Whore. Lacy though. Damn. At the risk of sounding like a sadistic bastard, he kinda wished she were here right now.

He finally noticed the newcomer. Mizore seemed to be all too willing to let the other girl in. On the other hand, Zach had never seen Kari before in his entire life. He knew this for a fact. She had red hair and green eyes. How the hell could you forget that? Zach never looked to broaden his social circle. He was perfectly happy just ignoring his classmates. Mizore and Sam were the exceptions. Dustin Royal was a fluke. So yeah, when he saw Pippi Longstocking he didn't know a damn thing about her. Frankly he didn't WANT to know a damn thing about her. Even the machine gun didn't phase him. It was as if she were holding a PEZ gun.

Zach just sighed. He looked at Kari and gave her a hearty, warm welcome.

"Yo."

Yeah, welcome home champ. We're happy to have you. Zach turned away and just zoned out again.
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

releases greatest hits album, is an one-hit wonder
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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!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The tension broke - what was left of it. Really, Kari was too tired to care about walking the knife edge or the wheels of fate or whatever other stupid metaphors people used. They were friendly, so she'd be friendly back. And if they weren't, well, she'd raise the gun to her shoulder, close her eyes, and try with all her might to squeeze the trigger down. Someone would die, hopefully not her. Simple as that.

But she didn't have to worry about that. Or ghosts, apparently. Good to know. Aliens, she thought, might not be bad if her collar wasn't set to go off if she left the island. And there was a lake here, if the Loch Ness Monster showed up maybe they could eat it...

She shook her head and took a step into the cavern. And then another, and another. She walked over to a convenient boulder and sat against it. Not too close, not too far. She figured she could get off a round in two, two and a half seconds if it came down to it. She'd squeeze the trigger for one second, let off five or ten or however many rounds, then decide whether to go onto half-second bursts from there-

It was a very uncomfortable train of thought, and one she wished would stop intruding on her mind. She'd thought endlessly about it on her wanderings. Honestly, she didn't know if her firing strategy was any good. But it was something to stick to.

But now she didn't want to stick to it, and just trust people. Mizore was painting for goodness' sakes, she was probably the last person on the island who would snap and go for her throat. And the guy, he was rather curt, but not really threatening. And if she was looking for a guard while she slept, she'd have to trust them. That was the point, wasn't it?

"Thanks guys," she said simply. "I'm so tired, I've hardly slept since we got here." She grabbed the strap of the gun and made to take it off her shoulder, but choked halfway and let it fall back onto her. Quickly busying herself with her pack, she took out a bottle of water and drained its contents. She looked sadly into the empty bottle, then to the pool around the ghosts.

"Think this stuff's safe to drink?"
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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"Think this stuff is safe to drink?"

Kari Nichols dipped her water bottle into the stagnant water at the bottom of the cave. Mizore winced before the lip of the bottle touched the surface.

"Don't do that." She made a motion with her hand as if to block the curve of the bottle. "That water's been likely sitting here for weeks." She rummaged through her bag, found her remaining water bottle, and rolled it toward Kari. "Have mine."

She could likely pick up another bottle from a corpse around here. There were corpses near here, right? How many people had died?

Some shuddering to think of it.

And I have been so safe this whole time. I was rude to players, almost put myself in the middle of a murder, and yet I've seen the minimum of actual violence.

No shootings, falls, bloody scalpel-cuts. Just shadows. Raidon's bloody resolve, clutching his gun, Janet's justifications, Samya crying in the recreational center, and now, redheaded Kari Nichols who wouldn't let go of her gun.

How long before the violence comes to me?

There was an odd edge of almost hysterical excitement in that question. Mizore wanted to know how she'd react to actual violence. She'd been brave in the face of protests turned violent, police raids, and anti-graffiti sweeps, but SOTF was different.

Because no one expects me to live.

Kari Nichols was looking cockeyed at the water bottle. Paranoia Mizore was lucky to be without. "If you want me to take a sip to prove it's not poisoned or something, I will."

I've been lucky.
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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[ *  *  * ]
(Sorry I'm replying to myself...this is an exitpost)

Kari drank, and slept, a relieved, desperate sleep. Zach snerked, and then settled down too--Mizore's suspicion that he had not slept as much as she when she had slept under the mountain ledge was apparently right on.

She stayed up, and fixed herself. She undid her hair, brushed it, rebraided it with the dingy ribbons that she smoothed out and scrubbed in the pool. She changed her foul shirt for a clean purple one, sparingly rhinestoned, which made her smile. She unpinned the hems of her jeans.

Her spray paint was almost done, so she refused to use it anymore. Instead she stayed by the smooth, water-worn walls, using the best-preserved of the wax pencils; she refused to be disciplined, use the worst first anymore, when it was likely that all of them would only be crushed further the next time she moved.

The next time she moved, she was finding Raidon. It was an ache in her throat.

Her hand drew whorls on the cave walls, twists and vines, all black, shattered by swords and consumed by curling fire. The wall was smokey, deeply lined, and her pencil clung to the scars and cracks. A lantern swayed, a rope, a noose. Spike-leafed flowers and bleeding thorns. She licked the walls and scraped the wax to make the shapes savage and perfect. Am I drawing Hell?

But hell would never be so alive. And this place, whatever she was drawing, was paralyzed, terrified by life. Wild and human things became animate, alive, under her hands. Her tongue was black, like a parrot's, covered in bitter wax.

I can't go on like this.

It wasn't even a guess. It was a fact.

She had to put down the pencil now. It was worn to a nub, callousing her fingers to draw.

She was tired, drifting, dreamy. Maybe half-insane.

She took the map out of her pack, held the last remains of the wax pencil, closed her eyes and pressed down. When she opened her eyes, she had worn a black dot into the Parish. The church. Of course.

She smiled and put the wax pencil back in her backpack. She used the disinfectant solution in there to scrub off her hands and her face.

Now there was only a note to write.

Pen and paper out. Chewing on the pen cap to figure out what to say.

GOING TO LOOK FOR NAOKO RAIDON. APOLOGIES FOR ABANDONING YOU. GOING TOWARD THE PARISH.

THANK YOU FOR STAYING WITH ME.

Yeah. She liked Zach, despite his snerk. And she liked Kari Nichols too.

She hoped she saw them again.

Tucked the note under Zach's arm. Shouldered her daypack. Closed her eyes.

And Mizore Soryu was gone.

(Mizore Soryu continued elsewhere)
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(There's no excuse for this. Sorry Rattle.)

THANK YOU FOR STAYING WITH ME.

Why the fuck was she thanking him?

No. Seriously. Why? If she was so thankful, then why did she leave?

Everyone was leaving. It was the new trend. Zach Jamis hate trends. First Sam, now Mizore.

Fucking people always fucking leaving.

Zach threw the paper on the ground and exhaled. Why the hell did she have to go and do something like this? She was perfectly fine here. She had two other people protecting her fucking rebel ass. Out there, she'd get ripped alive. Just like Sam. God fucking damn it. It was enough to bring a guy to chain smoke fifty packs in a hour.

Zach Jamis didn't know what to do, which wasn't unusual for him. However, for the first time in this entire game, that really urked him.

... well.

Zach Jamis surmised that he'd have to go after her.

Was Zach Jamis actually worried about this bitch? Fuck no, no, no no no, of course not, where would you ever get an idea like that, stop being dumb. He just didn't want to be the asshole that would let people go off and get themselves killed. This was his pride on the line, what was left of it at least. And if Mizore was willing to ACTUALLY leave her , it probably meant she wanted them to follow her. At least that's the kind of reverse logic Zach was sure Mizore would use. "You want a cookie?" "No." "Alright! Fine! Be a little bitch, see if I care." "Jesus. Alright, give me one!" Of course Zach Jamis had always assumed that he was a good judge of character, so much so that he would make such a leap with such little evidence.

Zach Jamis was a pretty good detective in his own mind. He picked the letter back up and started walking.

"Hey." He said, prodding Kari with the edge of his boot.

He let the letter fall to the ground, right in front of Kari. Zach ignored the fact that she was probably still asleep. This shit was important.

"She's gone." He said, cigarette dangling from his mouth and his pack looped around his arms. "You know anything about this?"
Edited by Ciel, Dec 14 2010, 12:36 PM.
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

releases greatest hits album, is an one-hit wonder
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kari had to agree, looking into the water on the floor, that drinking it probably wasn't the best idea. She drank from Mizore's bottle, unaware of how parched she'd become. Gulping down all of it, of course, would be a bit rude, so she set the depleted bottle down aft

"Hey."

If there was one thing she really hated, it was waking up. Once she'd got into the groove, staying up hours and hours past a reasonable bedtime wasn't that bad. But in the morning, before she could gather her willpower - ugh. And this time it was even worse than normal, because she was faintly cognizant through the haze of where she was. She'd dreamt of being safe and sound in St. Paul. But that world was slipping away, peeling off in fragments like an onionskin, and it seemed that if only she wished hard enough the swiftly retreating fantasy could become reality...

In short, she couldn't be bothered to move for a simple "Hey."

The next thing is what did it for her.

Gone.

Why in the world would someone do that? The cavern felt like a fortress, and as long as it didn't become a dangerzone-

Dangerzones. She'd slept through the announcement. For a moment, she was furious. The next, she was grateful. He hadn't woken her up then, and she could have died if the caves had been declared off-limits. But then, she realized, he hadn't woken her up because the caves weren't a dangerzone. Still, uncertaintly gnawed at her mind. How was her group faring? Were they in danger? Had she let them die by her absence? Worse yet was the heartrending thought - what if they'd died while trying to find her? She shuddered a little, then forced herself slowly to her feet.

"No idea why Mizore is go-aaaahhhh-ne," she said, failing to suppress the yawn in the middle of her sentence. "I've been asleep since she gave me her water bottle. Like, is her stuff gone? And I think I missed the announcements, too. Did Carol or-" She paused, pressing her forehead into one hand, wishing she could sleep properly and restore her powers of recall. "Ugh, brainfart, Simon Grey, and, uh, Rein? I mean, was there anything about them? 'Cause I was with them, and I dunno... ugh, I dunno what's happened to them. You know anything?"
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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