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Hmmmn
Topic Started: Jan 18 2011, 04:52 AM (1,636 Views)
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 Ghosts))

Kari looked out across the water, sparkling and shimmering in the sun. Somewhere out there was home. ...Maybe. She knew this was the northern beach, which meant that the water lay to the north of her. She was probably staring out towards the polar ice cap or something stupid like that, imagining sailing off in that direction and thinking that Minnesota lay that way. She might have mentioned it aloud, had her companion not been named Zach Jamis. As it was, she simply pulled out the Rubik's cube she'd been scrambling in her pocket.

The little colored squares whirled around too fast for the untrained eye to see. But from her vantage point, it couldn't be clearer. No thoughts or even words broke her mind's silence. There was merely cognizance of the puzzle as her hands threw themselves into algorithms that were truly no more than muscle memory - she'd tried them experimentally one step at a time and got lost halfway through as often as not. She rotated the last layer, launched into the permutation algorithm-

-sighed and leaned forward, resting her elbows on her legs and letting the cube dangle unsolved between her knees. She flipped it over a couple of times to validate her guess at where it had gone wrong. She was so, so tired. Which was why she'd switched a couple pieces inadvertently, slotted in a yellow where a white should have gone. Starting to scramble again, she looked down at the sand beneath her driftwood perch, and then sidelong to Zach.
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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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kari quickly resumed looking at the cube in her hands, then gradually lifted her gaze back onto the ocean as she absentmindedly scrambled it. She didn't know what it was, but there was something about the situation that she found oddly comforting. Here she was, sitting on a log, being snarked at by Zach Jamis. Never in a million years did she envision their little bit of repose. She almost laughed, but a bit of churned-up sand caught her eye and the mirth died in her throat.

"Umm, no, I was just thinking..." She winced. That was something she needed to strike out of her "trying to converse with Zach Jamis" strategy. Anyways... "Well, this is just kind of where my, uh, 'game'" (such a horrible word to use...) "...started. Those could even be my footprints over there. Carol was there. I heard her screaming and I ran over to see what was going on. She doesn't - um, didn't like water at all." Kari slipped the cube back into her pocket.

"And now she's dead," she said simply, pathetically. "And Simon, too. They were so nice, and I left them for just a few minutes while they were sleeping, just to see what was going on. And it didn't take very long-"

She blinked a few times. "Umm, sorry, this breeze is drying out my eyes. But here, if you look at the map, Mizore said she'd be heading for the Parish, didn't she? If we're where I think we are, she should be somewhere nearby."

She proffered her map, fighting to keep it flat and readable while it flapped it her hands like a paper bird. There was no real doubt as to where exactly they were on it. She'd been pushing North the whole time since they'd left their sanctuary, suggesting forks and turning ever so slightly towards their goal while she pretended to be just as aimless as her companion. They'd find Mizore, listen to her explain what business had pulled her so urgently away, do some talking and laughing, take a celebratory nap under the safe umbrella of 64 high-velocity rounds. It would all work out in the end, thanks to the magic of persistence. She'd made a grave mistake with her last group. And that was something she couldn't afford to repeat.
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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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Talking to Zach required a certain something to avoid acting on the growing urge to beat his face inside-out. A special kind of patience that Kari was running out of. Rapidly.

She couldn't say that she cared, really, if he was actually listening to her. She couldn't really expect him, or anyone else for that matter, to sit through her depressing rambling. And she wasn't speaking for his benefit, anyways. It was for herself, all for herself. Catharsis, getting it off her chest, whatever you wanted to call it. Some things needed to be said, some for one reason, and some for another. Forcing the reality of everything onto her brain, but eliminating her guilt by acknowledging that it existed, because if she felt guilty, then that meant she was still doing ok, right?

And then Zach pulled out what amounted to a verbal punch in the face. He said that it was inveitable that everyone had died, that she'd let it happen. That was so, so...

Well, she had said it first. Maybe he was just agreeing with her.

No, came the though surfing on a roiling anger that washed all thoughts of sleep away, He did that on purpose. Being an idiot for idiocy's sake. She turned back to him, trying to keep her shaking hands off the gun. She opened her mouth to speak. She'd gotten a great beginning to a tirade down, and if she could fill in the rest while she spoke-

"Are you sure we could find her?"

Find who? The last person I've met that's still alive? The one that's about to die anyways, because, hey, I can't-

Right. Mizore. She had half a mind just to walk off, try to say something snarky and piercing, leave Mizore to be Zach's problem. But Zach wasn't the one who had turned ever northward, hinting and leading the way to where Mizore said she'd be, to save another life. If Zach didn't care about her, at least Kari could. She was the one packing lead, anyway.

That settled it. "Well," she said deliberately, "In a word, yes. She said she'd be in the Parish, so maybe she's in the Parish. And if she's not, well, you found her once and we can find her again, unless you want to let something happen." She turned her head further, to address him more straight-on. Something caught her eye. Something short and bloody. And armed.

In an instant, she was standing on the sand, gun raised to her shoulder, trying to focus on one set of sights out of the several swirling in front of her face. "Oi! What do you want?"
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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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kari's left hand squeezed the safety lever in a menacing fashion, or what she at least hoped was a menacing fashion, as menacing as something that nobody would actually notice could be. It made her feel dangerous and in control, which was important. And it made the gun actually work, which was potentially even more important. At any rate-

The muzzle drooped towards the sand. She suspected Zach must know something about the threat in front of her that she didn't, a suspicion he confirmed by greeting her like - well, like Zach Jamis. As if she'd showed up half an hour late for a date or something. Kari's head spun. Part of her wanted to put the gun back up. Squeeze the trigger and watch the horrible, unending tension explode. Make everything black and white again, kill or be killed, put and end to the days of sitting and waiting and searching and speculating. Replace it with danger, excitement, something other than just waiting to die.

The space of a breath, and it all swirled mercifully out of her mind. She was just Kari, and he was just Zach, and Samya was just Samya, and all the blood was just something or other that she'd work out, but the point was that she felt calm again, glad to lose the weight of the gun from her arms. Happy, she supposed, that Samya was right. They weren't hurt.

She was ready to voice her thoughts, apologize for menacing Samya, suggest they go check out the Parish. The announcements came on.

Her head spun again. They were apparently almost exactly halfway through.
Half the competition gone, without firing a shot!
No.
Half of the senior class, murdered.
She scarcely had time to dwell on that meeting forever ago where she'd met three dead people. Or two, if Rein still lived. She had no clue how he'd fare with the group dying around him. Probably ended up trusting the wrong person. But that didn't matter, because her collar was beeping, and there was nothing to do except make a run for it, bent once more by the game that kept jerking her around but that, so far, had given her completely a miss.

So far.

((Kari Nichols continued elsewhere))
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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