Welcome Guest [Log In] [Register]
Welcome to Survival of the Fittest, a RPing board loosely based off of Koshun Takami's Battle Royale, with its own unique plot and spin on the 'deadly game'. We've been around quite a while, and are now in our thirteenth year, so don't worry about us going anywhere any time soon!

If you're a newcomer and interested in joining, then please make sure you check out the rules. You may also want to read the FAQ, introduce yourself and stop by the chat to meet some of our members. If you're still not quite sure where to start, then we have a great New Member's Guide with a lot of useful information about getting going. Don't hesitate to PM a member of staff (they have purple usernames) if you have any questions about SOTF and how to get started!

Let the games begin!

Username:   Password:
Add Reply
Blackout; Private thread between Kimberly Nguyen and Liz Polanski (with possible guest appearance by ???)
Topic Started: Dec 24 2010, 05:07 PM (3,723 Views)
MurderWeasel
Member Avatar
You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kimberly waited for a while. Let that one sink in, Liz. Let it fester. Let's see what you say then.

And lo and behold, it did not disappoint. Seemed like Liz was smart enough to puzzle it out. Made sense, since she was the one causing the terrorists all this trouble. She realized what she'd done, that she'd killed and stolen. The question now was, what came next? A breakdown? Crying? Screaming? Suicide? Kimberly didn't really give a damn, in the grand scheme of things. She'd won. She'd caught Liz Polanski, and she'd rubbed her face in her crimes.

And there was Liz, suddenly stripped of her veneer of heroism, and she was looking to Kimberly, now, looking for help or support or something. Kimberly smiled. Nodded. Good. On the right track. Let's keep going a bit further, though, shall we?

Liz asked a question. She wasn't better or worse than the others, right? Kimberly didn't even bother replying. Better? Worse? That didn't mean anything. Not now. Maybe, just maybe, not ever. She'd picked a comparative technique to play on Liz's insecurities, not her own.

And then, Liz spoke, and suddenly, Kimberly was surprised. Liz was okay with it? Okay with it? With being a killer? A murderer?

"Really?"

An honest question, for a change. Not a jab, not exactly. A request for clarification. Kimberly did not like being surprised, but, for a change, she wasn't too pissed by this turn of events. This was more like what she'd expected. Sure, she'd been satisfied to see Liz a wimp, a loser, but then it didn't mean anything. Then utterly destroying her was just a pointless exercise, a waste of time. If that was the case, she'd be better off having never stopped in here, having gone straight for Kris, forget Liz, forget the gun. After all, Liz was right on one thing: Danya had stopped the collar explosions, at least for now.

Liz was looking away. Talking it out. Puzzling things through. It was fascinating, listening to her thought process. Of course, Kimberly was also taking advantage of the time and Liz's distraction, quickly extracting the second clip for the gun from the bag, stuffing it into her pocket, taking the risk of using her good hand, grasping with her two smallest fingers. Better safe than sorry. Someone could show up at any moment, and that would be highly unfortunate, especially if she actually used all her ammunition.

And Liz went on and on, just kept talking, but it was making sense. It was actually making some fucking sense. Problem was, it was making too much sense. Sounded an awful lot like the reasons Kimberly had gone off after Kris, the reasons she'd gone after Liz. And, if Liz was like Danya, then wasn't that perfectly fitting? It was a never ending chain of sorrow, a string of dominoes just starting to tip. Someone would come for Kimberly if she killed Liz. Someone else would kill Liz if she didn't, and then yet another would come after them. None of it mattered, and Kimberly loved it.

She loved it because it was what she'd known since the start. She loved it because Liz didn't get it yet. She loved it because Liz thought she had won. She'd parsed the information, figured out her little moral imperative. She said she was a serial killer. Seemed she actually got it, at least a little. But there was understanding, and then there was grasping, and Kimberly didn't really think Liz grasped the matter yet. Time to change that.

Kimberly smiled.

Knelt in front of Liz.

Looked up at her, and pointed the gun straight at her face.

"Put your hand out, nice and easy." Of course, Liz complied.

And never flinching, never breaking her smile, Kimberly smoothly flipped the gun around, into Liz's hand, and guided it down a notch, pressing the barrel into her forehead.

"Well come on, serial killer," she said. "Time to get a mark by your name, ward off some of the people who mean business."

Safety off. Gun between her eyes. And Kimberly just kept smiling, because, she knew, oh yes, she knew that no matter what happened, she had won.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
storyspoiler
Member Avatar
Leader
[ *  *  * ]

Liz didn't want to shoot Kimberly.

At this point, tired, headached, and distantly intellectual, she hadn't expected any kind of instinctive morality to kick back in. It seemed like a thing she was, for better or worse, done with.

But now Kimberly wanted her to shoot, and she really, really didn't think that shooting was correct. Some of her was also wondering why Kimberly had given her this opportunity in the first place, but that seemed tangential.

So Liz held the gun to Kimberly's head, and focused on the number of times she could see the vein in Kimberly's forehead pulse. Heartbeats. The entire world felt very strange and distant now, peaked and motionless.

"Why would I shoot you?" She asked, finally. "You don't want to die. And you just gave me a gun."

Kimberly smiled crookedly. "Like you said, we're all gonna die sooner or later. Killing me serves as a deterrent. It shows the others that you're dangerous, can take some fucking care of yourself. Might keep the hunters away."

There had to be a reason why killing her was a bad idea. This couldn't be just instinct. Instinct didn't matter. There had to be logic.

"I think," Liz said slowly, "that if I killed you, it would just give all the moral people who haven't yet let themselves hunt me an excuse to. Also, I don't want to shoot you. I never said I liked being a serial killer."

That was probably not the best defense she could give, but with this entire confusing situation, and her head pounding and saying _you'll never smoke a cigarette again_ and the gun bringing unhealthy energy back, the sort of energy she could use to scatter plans and smash cameras, it was the best defense Kimberly was going to get.

So she removed the gun from Kimberly's forehead, and put it in her sweatshirt pocket. Another weapon for the stash.

And then, both of them heard it. Footsteps moving closer to them in the tunnels.

Liz tensed, glad her energy was back. Stood, slowly. Cocked the gun, in her sweatshirt pocket--the mechanism was frighteningly intuitive. Worked to wrap her burnt hands around the trigger.

"Looks like you need this more than I do." Kimberly said. She was grinning again, a little, as she dumped the spare clip out of her pocket. "Catch you later."

And she winked at Liz, and left.

What?

Liz was more confused than she had ever been in her life.

But never bloody mind that.

She kept the gun aimed at the dark.
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
MurderWeasel
Member Avatar
You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Wait. Wait. Wait. Was this the end?

Not a fucking chance, seemed like. They waited a bit, Liz with the gun in her hand, the barrel pressed against Kimberly's forehead, thinking or something. Thinking. And Kimberly was thinking too, wondering. Would she be satisfied if Liz pulled the trigger, blew out the back of her head and dropped her lifeless corpse to the ground next to Daisuke? She thought she would. Lots of things she'd left undone, lots of things she'd do if she got a chance, but she had no regrets. After all, she was playing with Liz, playing to win, all in, cards on the table.

So when Liz got nervous, started talking, Kimberly didn't bail her out. When she tried to talk her way out of it, to logic her way clear, Kimberly didn't just let her off the hook.

"Like you said," Kimberly told Liz, "we're all gonna die sooner or later. Killing me serves as a deterrent. It shows the others that you're dangerous, can take some fucking care of yourself. Might keep the hunters away."

Think that one through, Liz. Kill one now, save yourself some trouble later. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Way in the back of her mind, part of Kimberly was screaming at her, telling her to stop fucking around, to run now, apologize and run and hope Liz didn't change her mind, seize the time she had left and go find Kris or something, anything, anything except dying here in this underground maze, the smell of blood and death lingering in the air around her. She shut that part of her mind off, though. Didn't take much effort. She was going to be honest with herself, and she wanted this. Not to die. To force Liz's hand.

And Liz backed down. Decided not to do it. Turned out she was a wimp after all. She didn't want to shoot Kimberly. Great call, there, but what if Kimberly wanted to shoot her, decided to pull a backup weapon and mess Liz up?

Liz pulled the gun away, and Kimberly loosened up a bit. Considered speaking. The footsteps stopped her. She froze for a second, and in that second, Liz cocked the pistol and stood up.

And with that, Kimberly was smiling again, as she stood as well.

"Looks like you need this more than I do," she said, dropping the spare clip to the ground, listening as it clinked off a small rock.

"Catch you later."

She shot Liz a wink, and then she was off, back into the tunnels, into the darkness. A flick of her fingers, and her flashlight was extinguished, the world gone, vanished. She felt her way slowly along the walls.

It was maybe five minutes later, far from Liz, that she started laughing, laughing and laughing, the sound bouncing around, chorusing and duplicating itself.

((Kimberly Nguyen continued in In Theory, This Should Be Easy))
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(Mirabelle Nesa continued from The Middle Children of History)

She's caught her break when she'd stumbled onto the first of the destroyed cameras.

A quick run to the Sawmill, rifling through the bags of the fallen. Some of those crappy, cardboard-tasting rations; some of the water, as yet unopened; and then, quick as she could, off across the island, hunting.

She had to here somewhere. And Belle had to find her.

She moved with desperation, with anxiety, with hope and fear. If she'd been killed since the Morning Announcements, Belle was well and truly fucked. She couldn't think up something like this on her own; she didn't have that kind of skill, that kind of knowledge. She needed someone who did, and someone who had used it successfully before.

She needed Liz Polanski. She needed someone to help her through.

She lost them, for awhile--she found one, then two, then three, but then she lost them, and she couldn't find a single one. She ran frantically here and there, trying to find something, anything, that showed her what she needed to-

She found an entrance to the Tunnels, and without a second thought she descended into the darkness.

There would be time for thoughts of Samantha Ridley and Garrett Hunter later. For now, she was going to get out, and Liz Polanksi was going to help her do it.

The tunnels were labyrinthine and intricate; she could see and feel nothing. She turned on her flashlight without a thought for her own safety; she ignored the two bodies she found, stepping over them.

She had been content to fight. Now that contentment was gone; Samantha Ridely had taken it from her. She was going to live, and Liz Polanski was going to make that happen.

There was someone there. Someone not dead.

Belle stopped moving.

She was wearing all black. She had metal in her face. She had severe burn marks around her neck. And she was pointing a gun at Mirabelle.

Belle recognized her. Seen her in the halls, they'd shared a math class.

"Liz," she said, and as she said it something burst in heart, a warm something she hadn't felt since she'd stood over Garrett's unconscious body all those days ago. "You're...you're alive."

Drink in the reality. She'd actually found the girl she was looking for. She had, Samantha Ridley to the contrary, actually done something right.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
storyspoiler
Member Avatar
Leader
[ *  *  * ]
It was Mirabelle Nesa.

Liz remembered Mirabelle Nesa. She'd shared a math class with her. Mirabelle was intense, that was the word, which Liz liked. Liz was often described as intense.

And Mirabelle didn't look like she was going to kill her. If anything, she looked awed. Or horrified.

"Liz." She said. "You're…you're alive."

Liz was still holding the gun at Mirabelle, but she really wanted to put it down. Really wanted to sit down. Her legs were trembling from standing, she probably still wasn't in great physical shape, water aside. Hunger fatigue. She still--she still had some crackers from Isabelle Guerra, yeah?

"Yeah." Liz said. It was a dumb answer. Obviously she was alive. Mirabelle was probably asking something different, but Liz couldn't intuit what it was. People are hard.

Liz squinted to see if Mirabelle had anything in her hands. She couldn't see anything. No weapons? Mirabelle might not be trying to kill her, then. She really didn't want Mirabelle to be trying to kill her. She might be too tired to do anything about it.

Damnit, Liz, you suck at this. Game. Win. Danya. Fuck him. Stop being exhausted and wishing for cigarettes.

But oh, Liz didn't feel badass at all. Not that she had felt badass since, oh, two seconds before she had burned half her neck off.

So. Let's take a risk so you don't faint like an asshole. Ever so slightly. Lower the gun.

"From your expression, I'm going to assume you're not going to murder me." Liz said crabbily. You idiot, you're a mess at telling people from expressions. "So I'm going to quit standing up, like a mess, and lower this gun at least far enough to not immediately shoot you, and get something to eat. Because Jesus, I'm hungry."

So. Let's see how Mirabelle took that.

Yeah. If she got murdered, it was all her dumb fault. Good luck.
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Yeah," Liz said. She seemed as surprised as Belle, and for a little while neither of them moved. Belle, for one, had no desire to piss Liz off--she had the gun, after all, and anyways she was going to need Liz to help her if she was going to escape.

Although the burns on her neck...

Belle was saved from having to think anymore by Liz herself. "Oh, yeah," Belle said weakly. "No, I..." She trailed off as she realized that the other girl was barely standing, teetering back and forth, and while the gun was still in a position to shoot her Belle didn't care. She had done too damn little on this island, she had, after a week, finally found some(thing)one that gave her a sense of purpose and she was not going to let her collapse in this darkness.

"Yeah," Belle repeated, taking three quick steps and slipping in under Liz's shoulder to keep her upright. "Hold on." She maneuvered Liz to one of the walls and laid her gently against it, pulling her bag off her shoulder and digging around for food. "I ran out awhile ago," she continued, just trying to keep talking, to stem off worry or thought. "But some, uh..." She swallowed. "Some of the people who..." She faltered again and shook her head. "There was some stuff left," she said. "I took what I could."

She offered Liz a slice of stale bread.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
storyspoiler
Member Avatar
Leader
[ *  *  * ]
Liz took the bread, and braced herself against the rock wall, lowering the gun. She was breathing a little harder than she wanted to, closing her chapped eyes, trying to ignore everything stinging. There were questions she could have asked, like why are you helping me? and will you get scared and run? but she kept them to herself now. Someone was helping her. It was surprising and unsettling. She'd probably have to think this through at some point. But now she was tired, too tired, and the relief of someone handing her a piece of bread, making her stomach stop gnawing and tying, was something she wanted to accept quietly, close-eyed. For now.

Scarfing food, next to Daisuke's corpse, she looked half-dead herself, hollow-eyed, plucking at the bread with agile, swollen fingers. Only the starved tearing at the bread was lifelike.

Mirabelle sat down next to her, Indian-style. Liz couldn't imagine how Mirabelle had brought herself to touch her; her neck was black red char veined ugly, infectious yellow Frankenstein monster part-dead. Liz saw herself as disgusting, even before the burns; after the burns, she could have been monstrous. Charlie's compact wasn't much of a mirror.

But Mirabelle had grabbed her, braced her, touched her. Liz didn't know what was driving her shit, but it had to be something big. She'd taken the bag off Liz's shoulders, and Liz had been grateful, not even trying to protest. Something bad's gonna come of this.

So she ate the bread, first savagely, then, when Mirabelle mutely handed her a second slice, trying to savor it, slowly. When she was done (and wanted to knock her head back, go to sleep) she pushed herself up on her own power, bringing her pad and pen with her.

I'M GOING TO KILL THE CAMERAS, OKAY?

So now she was taking a risk with her rescuer's life. If she were suddenly in Danya's position, she'd blow Mirabelle's collar now. But Danya had blown collars randomly before, not the collars of the people who'd rescued her from the river, given her weapons. It was a calculated--

This is bullshit. Remember the part where you're not a good person?

So yeah. If Mirabelle said it was okay it okay? she was killing the cameras.

Mirabelle looked at Liz's sign. Then nodded.

Liz took out her knife and killed all the cameras in the room. Mirabelle remained unharmed.

Killing the cameras is okay.

Liz balled up one of her last copies of the plan and lightly tossed it at Mirabelle's bag.

Then she wrote.

THAT'S THE PLAN. IT NEEDS TWO PEOPLE, OR ELSE YOU'LL GET BURNT LIKE ME. I ALSO DON'T HAVE MATERIALS--THEY'RE IN BUILDINGS.

LEAVE, IF YOU WANT, OR STAY WITH ME. I'M GOING TO KEEP BREAKING CAMERAS SO THOSE SHITHEADS HAVE TROUBLE MONITORING.

Maybe Mirabelle didn't want to plan. Maybe she was just here to come along for the ride, or to be saintly. But it seemed obvious.

Yeah. That was the way to go.

Liz's breath was shaky. She felt sick.
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
They sat in silence. Belle kept her flashlight on; the thought that she might be in danger as a result didn't even occur to her. She simply didn't want to sit in the dark; she wanted to take in the full reality of her circumstances, to feel the danger and life of her decision.

She helped Liz, as the other, injured girl ate. She pulled the bag off her shoulder, set it next to hers. Didn't look through it; she didn't want to antagonize the girl she was relying on.

Without any warning, Liz sat up and got to her feet. She had a pen and paper underneath one arm; she pulled these out and scrawled something out on it. It took Belle a moment to work out the haphazard scrawl, though she was admittedly distracted by how tired and hurt the goth girl looked. The message itself--the question--took another few seconds to register. Why would Liz need Belle's permission to destroy the cameras? It was what she'd been doing, and it wasn't like they could...

Oh.

Belle's hand fluttered towards the collar around her neck (bound like a dog, those sons of bitches) and then back down to her knee. She took in a steadying breath and focused on Master Xiang--to fight is to be out of peace to fight is to lose to flow is to be at your center to flow is victory in itself. She focused on her father (they'll try and goad you into being aggressive, Belle, and you need to watch for that, you need every advantage you can get) and her mother (risk is inherent in dreams you don't get to pick and choose and even if you lose you gained something if you accepted the possibility of loss).

She had sought out Liz Polanski herself. She was not going to back down now that there was danger.

Belle nodded.

In spite of her attempts to reassure herself, Belle was never more terrified than when Liz made her way around their little cavern room, knifing each camera in turn. Each crackling stab was an electric thrill in Belle's stomach, a flare of adrenaline that made all her limbs feel weak. She could taste the flat, dead rush on her tongue...

Her collar did not go off. She did not end up a decapitated, bleeding wreck. She was, in fact, quite alive.

Liz returned and tossed a crumpled sheet of paper at Belle's bag. Belle started to move for it before she saw that Liz had started to write something on her notepad again. Belle read each message in turn.

Okay.

Belle glanced down to the plan Liz had offered her. It was interesting; she could get rid of this damn collar, she could rebel, she could wander the dangerzones and keep away from the players. She could, in fact, become unstoppable. She could survive.

But that wouldn't be victory. Not really.

"You're clearly smarter than I am, Liz," Belle said. "So I'll assume the stupidity you're displaying is a result of how tired you are and not of actual mental disadvantage." She smiled. "They have offered a bounty on you, Liz. They are going to come hunting. The one who kills you may survive."

She broke off.

"This can wait, however," Belle said thoughtfully. "Because you look quite tired and I need you alive if you're going to get us out of here. So, here's what you're going to do. You are going to sit back down, and you are going to take these clothes," and she dug out the old clothes she had stored in her bag from when she'd changed into her martial arts gi. "And make yourself as comfortable as possible. You are going to get two hours of sleep, at least. And when you wake up, I'm going to tell you what I need from you." Liz opened her mouth to protest and Belle shook her head, her eyes flaring. "I won't lie to you and say I won't force myself on you, because god damn it I'm betting everything on you, but you look rough. So." She pointed down to the clothes she'd arranged in makeshift bed on the ground. "You are going to sleep," Belle ordered. "And we will talk when you wake up."

She needed Liz Polanski to be less of a wreck. That was the only way any of them were making it out of this alive.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
storyspoiler
Member Avatar
Leader
[ *  *  * ]
Mirabelle was going to let her sleep.

She didn’t know why she put herself under Mirabelle’s command like that—Mirabelle would let her go to sleep. Perhaps she could logic it out—Mirabelle had helped her, Mirabelle was more deadly than her, Mirabelle was taking risks that would have made Liz choke—but mostly, she figured, she wanted someone to give her orders now. She was exhausted. In her current state, she was unintelligent, useless. And someone had seen it. Someone was going to let her sleep.

It was a relief, really, right now, to take orders. To have someone talk sense (she should parse what Mirabelle was saying, Mirabelle could be off her rocker, but God, she didn’t want to) and to listen, and to obey.

Liz, you’ve got to have more faith in other people.

Mr. Kwong. God.

She needed sleep.

She knelt on the rocks where Mirabelle had spread out a blue dress, thin cotton cloth blurring the stone. Mirabelle had orders. Mirabelle had a plan, or at least a goal. And Liz right now was—no, she was not aimless. She would think of an aim tomorrow.

She was tired. And Mirabelle had helped her. She was grateful. And her natural distrust, her much talked-of inability to have faith in others, was nothing compared to her goddamn helplessness.

There was a relief in someone telling her that she had been pushing herself too hard.

She dropped her head. “Thank you.” Whispered, hurting throat.

Some kid was depending on her, yeah. But someone would guard her now. Guess breaking a collar makes alliances.

Yeah. It was hard even to be cynical.

Sleep, yeah.

She curled up on the blue cotton dress. Nodded at Mirabelle, pointlessly. And closed her eyes.
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"You're welcome," Belle said, smiling at the rather-battered girl now dozing off. She grabbed the mud-splattered summer dress she'd woken up in her first day on the island and tossed it over Liz; it wasn't likely to be much of a blanket, but Belle didn't think she had anything else to offer. Did she?

She checked her bag, rifling through it's overstuffed contents. She should probably get rid of some of it, she thought, but she wasn't sure what to get rid of. Many of her excess clothes she'd already discarded--no need to keep the boys entertained when several of them would likely kill her on sight--but the bag was still a bit too heavy. Belle had some endurance, no doubt about that, but she wasn't sure she could carry this much...

Her fingers trailed over glass, and she frowned and pulled out the object in question. It was a bottle of wine--the one her mother, Belle remembered, had stowed into her bag.

Bittersweet thought, that. Her mother only drank wine when she'd been looking over her manuscripts.

Sitting in the darkness with a bottle of wine in one hand, Belle looked up towards the ceiling and sighed.

She had found Liz Polanski. There was something to be glad of, right? She had found Liz, Liz was alive, Liz was making plans and fighting the system. This was everything Belle wanted.

And she still wasn't sure it was enough.

She leaned heavily against one of the rough tunnel walls, still staring at the invisible ceiling above her. Awakening in this place had been a nightmare Belle had no desire to repeat--that sense of complete helplessness, of terrible fear. To be afraid for one's life wasn't what she had imagined it to be; it wasn't a fear of death. It was an instantaneous and total sense of loss--not only of her life but of her dreams, of her potential experiences. Everything she might do or feel was at risk, and she had felt that risk as a yawning gulf deep within her heart.

Until she'd put on her gi. Until she'd remembered that the only thing she'd ever wanted to do was fight.

And what vindication! Finding Garrett again, taking him down, and taking him down hard; leaving his arrogant ass out in the wind to suffer unconscious. When she'd won, she'd lost some of her doubt; when she'd won, she'd thought she could do as she needed to do.

Except there was Jackie. And Samantha Ridley.

Grimacing, Belle set the bottle down and pulled her bag closer to her, digging around until she found a hairpin. After a few tries, she managed to uncork the wine. She took a long pull to quiet the flutter of rage and doubt in her stomach.

Samantha Ridley. Christ.

What Samantha Ridley was doing was wrong, Belle had no doubt of that. But in spite of her certainty, Jackie had been willing to take Samantha's offer--Jackie had been willing to die. Samantha had accommodated her, but the act--the surrender--had all been Jackie's. And in Samantha Ridley's mind, she was doing them a favor.

Belle took another pull, savoring the aftertaste and the sweet ache of a regret.

Why hadn't Belle paid attention?

No answer was immediately forthcoming. Liz was asleep, and anyways Belle wasn't going to trouble her with entirely personal concerns--Liz looked like she'd gone through enough already, exhausted as she was and with those burns on her necks. Belle fingered the collar around her neck, wondering if that was the only way to disable them. She considered herself to be fairly tough, but she didn't think she could handle that much pain.

Darkness, and doubts, and questions.

I can't forgive Samantha Ridley.

The thought came like a bullet, shocked her out of the half-doze she was in. She sat up a little straighter. Why? She'd let Samantha go; she'd spent the past two days thinking about what she'd said and what she'd done. She had let Samantha go because she had been ashamed of her own anger, of her blindness to the problems of those around her. Samantha had at least acknowledged Jackie, even if that acknowledgement consisted of a fatal arrow.

Samantha wasn't evil, just misguided. Everyone on this island, every killer and every victim, was the same. Maybe the things some had done were monstrous, but none of it would have been possible without the actions of the ones who'd brought them here. Danya was the true evil; every time she got caught up in petty grudges and anger, she gave him a victory. She was only going to make it off this island if she could this collar off and break Danya; to do that, she would have to rise above herself, above her fury and her stupidity.

But Samantha Ridley and those like her could not be forgiven. It wasn't a question of circumstance; they had accepted Danya's terms as their own, and had chosen to play his game. Belle might be stupid, but she wasn't weak; she'd avoided getting trapped in that idiocy.

She wasn't going to let her dreams die here. She wasn't going to let the dreams of others die here. And she sure as hell wasn't going to allow Samantha Ridley to kill so freely, so completely devoid of guilt.

Liz started to stir besides her. Belle glanced over, frowning, and then looked at the bottle of wine in her hand. She waited a moment or two, then whispered, "Liz?"

A moment of silence. "Yeah?" the other girl croaked.

Belle swallowed. "Wine?" she asked, offering the injured goth some of her bottle. Liz didn't say anything for a few seconds, then shifted and took the bottle from her hands. They passed it back and forth in complete silence, until the bottle had been reduced by about a third.

"I came looking for you," Belle said. "I...I can fight, but that's pretty much all I can do." She looked at the bottle in her hands, feeling a bit light-headed. "And there's no shortage of people who can fight, here. Who can fight better than me, if they got any sort of weapon. Much less a gun." She grimaced and looked towards her hands. "I got...I got distracted. I was picking fights I couldn't..." She trailed off. "I want to go after Danya," she said. "He's...all the evil that happens here is his fault. I'm not saying we're blameless, but...but it couldn't have happened if it weren't for him." She looked at her hands.

"I needed to find you, Liz," Belle said simply. "I needed someone who could free me."

She didn't speak for a little while, and neither did Liz.

"I don't know if you've got a bigger plan," Belle continued. "But Danya put a bounty on you, and he hasn't killed me yet. Whatever you're doing, I...I want to help out. Try to protect you. But I've...I've got kind of a thing I need to deal with." Samantha Ridley's face appeared in front of her. "A girl. A killer. We agreed to meet at the Sawmill tomorrow." She shrugged. "If you, uh...if you don't have any plans, I think I need to..." She struggled to find the words. "I can't forgive anyone who could lose that much hope. Enough hope to start-"

A larger evil doesn't mitigate lesser evils. Sins are still sins. And just because she could understand why Samantha had done what she'd done didn't make it any less monstrous.

"If you don't have other plans," Belle continued. "We could head that way."
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
storyspoiler
Member Avatar
Leader
[ *  *  * ]
When Liz woke up, Mirabelle offered her wine.

Could be poisoned.

But no. It wouldn't be poisoned. There were much easier ways to kill her, so many easier ways. And this Mirabelle chick--Belle had found her. Let her break the cameras, risk killing her. Stayed by her while she slept.

There was no reason not to trust Belle.

But I...

And Liz wanted to trust Belle. Liz was powerless on her own. With Belle--oh God, she couldn't remember much about Belle, her powers of knowing gossip were slipping away with burnt skin around her neck--with Belle she could do things. Ruin Danya's game. Get off the island.

I want that.

Belle's wine burned her throat, but she kept drinking, passing it back to Belle in companionable silence. It woke her up. And alcohol, even grape-alcohol, was good for infection. Right?

Companionable silence.

She hadn't had it since she'd gotten on the island. Everything had been action, reaction, trying to act, trying to escape. Sleeping in a tree, constant exhaustion. Running. Her throat had burned even before now.

And she had never found someone she could trust.

But I trust this kid.

Maybe because it made her chances better. Maybe because there was no choice. Maybe because Belle looked tired and somehow old, and Liz was used to trusting that.

Trust you.

And Belle began to speak.

"I came looking for you," She said. "I...I can fight, but that's pretty much all I can do." Pause. Beat. "And there's no shortage of people who can fight, here. Who can fight better than me, if they got any sort of weapon. Much less a gun." She grimaced. "I got...I got distracted. I was picking fights I couldn't..." She trailed off. "I want to go after Danya," she said. "He's...all the evil that happens here is his fault. I'm not saying we're blameless, but...but it couldn't have happened if it weren't for him."

She was looking at her hands now. Shame? Liz couldn't tell. She had always been bad at picking out emotions.

And Belle spoke simply now.

"I needed to find you, Liz. I needed someone who could free me."

Faith. Agh. Someone was putting faith in her. No, no, no, no. Liz felt like enough of a failure already, fluttering, unsure and running for her life. She had a plan--really, she did--but it depended too much on other people, on Danya's ignorance and the intelligence of everyone she'd collected gossip on and hardly knew. It had variables it's not a very good plan, it's incomplete, it doesn't have contingencies and it was sloppy, and it would totally fall apart as soon as anyone decided that they knew where Liz Polanski was and wanted to kill her. And you have faith in me?

"I don't know if you've got a bigger plan," Belle continued. "But Danya put a bounty on you, and he hasn't killed me yet. Whatever you're doing, I...I want to help out. Try to protect you. But I've...I've got kind of a thing I need to deal with." Another pause from Belle, this one seeming internal. "A girl. A killer. We agreed to meet at the Sawmill tomorrow." She shrugged. "If you, uh...if you don't have any plans, I think I need to..." She trailed off, and restarted. "I can't forgive anyone who could lose that much hope. Enough hope to start..."

She cut herself off again, and Liz winced. A killer. The other drama on the island. The drama Liz had been ignoring, perhaps trying to pretend didn't exist but that's why Danya's so cruel in the first place. We all have weapons. We're all trying to kill each other. Escape wasn't supposed to even be in the game.

And Belle had a killer she wanted to catch. A grudge. Liz felt herself twist in annoyance--can't you see this is more important than a killer? She wanted to laugh at her own arrogance for the thought. After all, if Danya hadn't caught Mr. Kwong, she wouldn't have begun smashing cameras so vengefully. She would have hid. Been sensible.

Not tried to beat Danya at his own game.

"If you don't have any other plans." Belle said in the dead air. "We could head that way."

Liz lay her head against rock, and thought about it. In truth, she wanted to go back to sleep--her head felt heavy still, and the wine, placebo or no, wasn't helping. But the alcohol had stung her throat, and trying to sleep with sharp, throbbing neck pains didn't seem like it would work.

Pick up the pen, the paper in trembling hands. Begin to write.

MY PLAN IS CRUDE. I DID NOT EXPECT THE BURN OR THE BOUNTY, ALTHOUGH I PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE.

I FIGURE I SHOULD SPELL IT OUT TO YOU--RIGHT NOW I WANT TO BREAK CAMERAS IN AS MANY ZONES AS POSSIBLE, AND LEAVE INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOW TO GET THE COLLAR OFF WHEREVER I CAN.

That wasn't--that was hard.

THE CAMERA BIT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT. IT'S HOW THE TERRORISTS KEEP TRACK OF US. MORE CAMERAS DOWN, MORE PEOPLE CAN ESCAPE--MAYBE BY FUCKING WITH COLLARS LIKE I DID, MAYBE A DIFFERENT WAY. WANT AS MANY ZONES AS POSSIBLE SO THEY CAN'T DZ THEM ALL. WANT TO HIT ALL THE ZONES EVENTUALLY.

GAVE YOU THE PLAN. WANT TO GIVE IT TO MORE PEOPLE DIRECTLY AS WELL AS INDIRECTLY. NEED TO FIND SUPPLIES TO MAKE IT GO AGAIN (THE PLAN, I MEAN); MOST LIKELY IN THE REZ DISTRICT OR THE MANSION. NEED TO FIND PEOPLE WHO WON'T KILL ME, SO I CAN GIVE THEM THIS STUFF. BUT THE DANYA-PEOPLE WILL BE WATCHING ME, HOPEFULLY WATCHING ME TOO MUCH. I WANT PEOPLE TO CLEAR OFF THEIR COLLARS WHEN I'M NOT AROUND--THAT WILL FUCK THE TERRORISTS UP.

ONCE MORE PEOPLE GET COLLARS OFF, THEN WE CAN FIND WAYS TO GET OFF THE ISLAND. RIGHT NOW, MY FOCUS IS MAKING AS MANY BLACKOUT ZONES AS POSSIBLE.

Passed the page, full of cramped handwriting, to Belle. Belle read it, squinting, and frowned. Liz shrugged.

WE CAN GO WHERE YOU WANT.

Stop being powerless, Liz. She'll decide you're useless. She already thinks you're useless. She's seen your neck. She's going to kill you for the bounty.

Liz closed her eyes. I don't want to die.

Paper again.

IF YOU COULD PROTECT ME, IT WOULD BE A BIG HELP.

Belle nodded.

Liz felt way too weak. This girl could betray her. This girl could rip her throat out. And she was depending on her because you have no choice.

And she suddenly felt the urge to cry.

No. No. You're not that girl.

She still had the weapons in her pockets. And she still had Daisuke's gun.

Trust her.

The wine hadn't poisoned her yet.

Trust her.

You need to. You won't get home otherwise.

Trust her.

Liz Polanski, you need to have more faith in other people.

Trust her.

Liz Polanski emptied her pockets. Net gun, crackers, kitchen knife. Search and rescue, compact mirror, semi-automatic pistol.

YOU'RE THE FIGHTER. DIVIDE THESE UP INTELLIGENTLY.

Trust her.
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Liz started writing. Belle grabbed her flashlight, flicked it back on, and peered over her shoulder, but the writing was cramped, hard to read; she frowned at it without really understanding until Liz passed the notes to her.

Alright. Time to read.

As she read, she began to understand. And as she came to understand, she grew progressively more and more excited.

This was what she'd been looking for. This kind of insight, this kind of ability, this kind of audacity. Liz Polanski had not just conceived a plan; she had conceived a plan that forced the sons of bitches responsible for this to pay attention to her and then went farther and hoped they were paying attention to her, so much attention that her fellow classmates would be able to escape, and it didn't matter if she was doing it to be a good person or just to cause as much damage as possible, the point was that she was doing it, she had conceived a plan and enacted it, and by God it was working.

Of course, in order to do make sure it worked, Liz wanted to go somewhere that wasn't the Sawmill.

Liz took her paper back while Belle was thinking about this and wrote out new messages. Belle read them without really thinking about them; most of her thoughts were oriented on Garrett, Samantha, the Sawmill. On taking care of those who'd lost hope. On vengeance, and on doing right.

What was she supposed to do, let Samantha go?

What was she supposed to do, let her selfishness interfere with the greater good?

The answer came to her when Liz dumped her weapons out on the tunnel floor and offered her another message--YOU'RE THE FIGHTER. DIVIDE THESE UP INTELLIGENTLY.

Liz was trusting her. Liz actually believed that she could make a difference, that she might be worth something. Liz, who, alone of the people on the island, had done something to free herself and beat the system.

Alright.

"Take the gun," Belle said immediately. "It'll keep you safe." She grabbed the knives and placed them in the belt she wore around her gi. It was fairly tight, so the knives felt secure. The net gun she took a moment to examine--she needed to figure out how it worked.

"You've been doing a lot more than me, Liz," Belle said simply. She grabbed the cork from the ground, brushed it of, and shoved it back into the bottle--no telling when she might need it in the future. "This is a fact." She put the bottle in her bag and slowly put that on before offering the girl on the ground a hand.

"I'll go where you lead, Liz," Belle said simply. She was trying not to think about Samantha and God it was hard; she'd finally reached some kind of peace over Jackie, and she couldn't allow Samantha to go on killing, but...

She couldn't forgive a lesser evil simply because there was a greater one. But she couldn't be distracted from the greater evil by the lesser. And if she wanted to remember what had become of Jackie...

I should have listened.

Liz would agree to go, if they went to the Sawmill. But Liz had her own plans, and god damn it Liz's plans had sure as hell done more than Belle had.

She hadn't listened then. She sure as hell was listening now.

"You want to go to the Residential Area, or the Mansion?" Belle said. "Let's go. We've got...we've got to do something."

I couldn't take it if we didn't do anything.

She offered Liz her hand.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
storyspoiler
Member Avatar
Leader
[ *  *  * ]
And then the announcements came on. More people had killed each other. Danya had stopped mentioning Liz, which Liz found troubling; she wanted them panicking, not knowing what to do, making idiot threats on her life. The silence indicated they had something else planned.

They didn't mention Belle, though. That was a relief. Liz would be pissed if they'd waited 'till morning, to blow her up as an example.

And Belle--Belle was offering her a hand.

Liz blinked a little, before realizing what this gesture meant, and let Belle pull her upright. She liked Belle, funny as that sounded in her mind. Belle was helping her. Belle was giving up her own grudges to help her. That was something.

And Belle offered her painkillers and wine, and Liz took them gratefully, four at a time, to numb and dry and pain in her throat. The Residential District was a danger zone today. Tabi Gweneth was going to get a giant weapon there. So Belle couldn't go to the Residential District, and it would be full of drama, besides.

"Mansion." She managed to croak, sounding more pathetic than even she expected. She scowled. Belle had given her the gun, and she tucked it into the pocket of her written-up sweatshirt. COLLARS HAVE MICS. Right. Well, it's not as if the terrorists wouldn't have figured out they were going to the mansion
soon anyway.

There was more clothing she needed to put on. She wore black lipstick like Belle wore her gi--unecessarily, to give her power. Charlie's compact helped her apply the makeup to her eyes too, now that her eyeshadow had drowned in the swamp.

Bandages tied around her neck like a scarf. It's not like she needed to give every sociopath in the world the obvious clue to who she was.

Outside the cavern was dank and cold. Time to wake up. Smash more cameras. Find ways of spreading her it-should-really-not-be-this-painful collar technique without blowing the people she gave it to up.

She had already given it to Belle. That was a relief, at least, even though Belle would be first against the wall if the terrorists panicked again.

Liz, you've got to have more faith in other people.

Kids, I believe in--

A pen, driven with sufficient force, could smash through a camera lens as easily as a search and rescue knife.

There were a lot of cameras left to smash.

(Liz Polanski and Mirabelle Nesa continued in "The Beggar King")
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
1 user reading this topic (1 Guest and 0 Anonymous)
ZetaBoards - Free Forum Hosting
Fully Featured & Customizable Free Forums
Learn More · Sign-up for Free
« Previous Topic · The Tunnels · Next Topic »
Add Reply