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Tactic Static; a film by David Cronenberg
Topic Started: Feb 9 2011, 06:26 AM (1,771 Views)
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[ *  *  * ]
(Just A Kid, Napping --> Sarah Atwell & Alice Boucher)

They had walked for a long time.

Sarah was starting to get impatient. She'd gotten to the point where she'd begun calling "Maxwell! Maxwell Lombardi! Come out and get me!". Alice had gotten nervous, and at one point tried to cover her mouth, but she had brushed her off. Nine kills to his name, yeah? Surely he would want another fight.

At least, from her days as a serial killer, she knew she wouldn't have been able to resist such a challenge.

Her days as a serial killer, huh? She was hoping they were over, with a desperate, moralistic, half-forced hope, imagining the body of Chris Carlson more than was really necessary to keep the cold urge to just slit somebody's throat at bay. They'd passed a few people on the way, people who seemed not even to recognize her, and she had fought the urge to pull the scalpel from Alice's tight fist, chase after them, give rise to all their paranoid island fears. You thought I was gone? You thought I was gone?

But no. She had to be the hero now. Hero, hero, hero. This was a redemption film. And even if she was slightly crazy, off her rocker, batshit insane, she was going to redeem herself, damnit.

It was a classic theme. Everybody loved it. The redemption story.

Plus the kill of Maxwell Lombardi (when she found him, she reminded herself) would be delicious.

But for now, she had to pull back the urges to see skin, wrists and throats, as so soft. It only takes a pound of pressure to break human flesh.

Alice was still with her. Alice had the gun. Alice would keep her in check, right?


So now they were at the beach. Cool, crazy beach, in the cool crazy sand. Plenty of food and water, because they'd been smart enough to rob corpses, yeah? Good place for a picnic. They could sit down. Alice was complaining about sand in her shoes, but they were sitting down.

And then Sarah spotted Mike Moretti and Violet Druce.

Mike Moretti was unimportant. It was Violet who caught Sarah's eye. Caught Sarah's eye because they had worked on a film project together senior year. Caught Sarah's eye because Violet loved horror films--she'd shown Sarah some, back in the day, and Sarah had come home with an adrenaline rush, half from terror, half from satisfaction. And now Sarah had some horror films. Films of her serial killer days, cutting up Eve Walker-Luther, Miranda Merchant, and Alice's shaking film of Brock Mason. Horror films, the kind of stuff that made Sarah lick her lips, the kind of stuff she couldn't keep if she was supposed to be a good girl now. The kind of stuff she'd watch obsessively, over and over again, when she was on watch and Alice was asleep, terrified that she would run the battery of her camcorder dry…

She had movies. Of her killings. And the first step to not being a serial killer anymore (okay, maybe not the first step, but one of the steps), was getting rid of the videos.

And Violet could keep them. Violet would be able to use them. Maybe if everyone died on the island, someone could find them and make them into a horror film even, and Sarah and Violet could co-direct, when Sarah was back home, and better, and not having to try to not be evil anymore.

Yeah. And Alice could help too.

"Violet!" She called. "Violet!"

And Violet turned, and Sarah's heart hurt right there and then.


Things had been almost bearable.

They had walked all the way to the Eastern Beach, Sarah unstoppable, calling for Maxwell the entire time. Alice's heart had been in her throat, afraid Maxwell, afraid somebody would pop out of the trees with weapons, rage, thirst for blood, or simply some do-gooder recognizing Sarah and deciding to kill her for the greater good. But no one recognized Sarah. Most people seemed content to stay away from the crazy girl calling for Maxwell Lombardi.

From all outside perspectives, it seemed like she had cracked.

But at least she wasn't killing anybody.

And for every illogical reason, Alice still wanted to stay with her. Somehow, it seemed less dangerous. Or at least less shameful, less bad. Because if I'm with Sarah, and trying to keep her from going completely insane, I needn't' self-reflect. And self-reflection seems disagreeable right now.

Every illogical reason.

But now they were on the beach, and a group was ahead of them, and Sarah had gone silent. Alice decided this was probably important. She tried to remember their names.

Violet Druce. Mike Moretti.

Ah, right. And Violet had done that awful video project commissioned by the yearbook or something.

Oh dear.

"Violet!" Sarah called excitedly. "Violet!"

And she was running towards them both, running and digging through her bag? And Alice tried to remember, frantically, what weapons were in her bag, and Alice pulled out her gun, again, the gun, and as usual, Alice followed.

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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Alice surreptitiously slipped the gun back in her bag. Violet Druce, the movie girl, had recognized exactly who Sarah Atwell was, and seemed terrified. At least she wouldn’t have to warn them off.

But their weapons seemed like crap. A blowtorch and a—what? She hoped they wouldn’t be this panicked if they had guns. If they had guns, she supposed she was doomed—she wouldn’t be able to turn this into a standoff now that she’d just slipped the gun back into the luggage. But then, what? They shot her, they shot Sarah Atwell, the island was better. Probably.

She lifted her hands, a little. Look, you blockheads, I’m not trying to murder you, at least not right yet and probably not ever. Please don’t shoot me with whatever hypothetical concealed gun you have, or attempt to ignite me with a blow torch.

Sarah couldn’t hurt them. She didn’t have the gun. She didn’t have the scalpel. Alice could be calm.

And finally, someone else could panic.


Sarah ran toward them a few steps before she realized they were panicking. Mike had moved in front of Violet, speaking, put his hands up blue veins shielding her, and my reputation’s grown so notorious it gave her a certain amount of satisfaction.

She had always wanted to be famous. There was something so delicious about this scene.

But now—but now she would redeem herself. Better. Be better. She could think of Chris Carlson, she could resist the temptation. For a little while longer. At least, until Chris’s shouts grew pale in her memory, like a pair of worn jeans, threadbare, hard to hold—

No, no, no. I don’t want to be that again!

Shouting, protests, in her head. You’re trying to be a real human. But she wasn’t a real human anymore. She felt like a bloodthirsty alien. Something else.

Don’t be that.

"We haven't done anything to you! Please! Don't shoot us, Sarah! We're supposed to be friends!"

Violet, Violet. Violet was her friend. She could feel memories now, Violet’s fingers moving her hands, adjusting her fingers around the video camera, the love of film—God, at one point it was clean, her love of film, now it felt like carrion on her hands.

And suddenly, she felt nauseous. She had wanted to kill, wanted to cut Mike’s blue veins, like his blood, stylized, glamorized, but there was nothing glamorous about it at all. Her films, the tapes, they were nothing but—worse than torture porn, more ugly for being real. Her own snapped mind, her joy immortalized.

Stop. Try to stop yourself from doubling over at your own self-disgust. Keep your voice up. Don’t collapse.

“Violet!” She yelled. “I know you think I’m a killer—I know you don’t want to go anywhere near me—just take—“ she stopped now, struggled to get them out of her bag, pull the last tape from her camcorder, I should have planned ahead for this “—just take these! They’re video tapes of my kills! I need to get rid of them—please! Or I’ll kill again!”

Sarah Atwell, begging.

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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Sarah gave her the tape.

Violet's hand closed over it. For a second, her eyes met Violet's. She was manic, too desperate to act calm, too self-disgusted to plead. Take these tapes. She met Violet's eyes, level. Take my kills, my responsibility, my hands. Take the feel of veins on blades. Sarah was a coward. There was no way around it. She had played, she had killed, and whatever friendship she had had with Violet was shattered. She met Violet's eyes, and there was no warmth there. Just memory.

We were supposed to be filmmakers, once.

But now, everything was different. Violet was gone, being what Sarah might have been, trying hard not to kill, while Sarah had made herself her own horror movie universe, addictive, impossible to escape and breaking her down.

I'm sorry.

Another tape, another murder. The one Alice had filmed, Brock Mason. He'd been a good kid. She remembered him, a little bit. Moments of lucidity. A jock, special education classes. She had cackled about it before he died.

There was no final tape. She hadn't filmed Chris's death, and Alice had disobeyed her. Alice had grabbed the gun and confronted her, even after they had murdered Brock Mason together. Alice, scared, pumping her delusions, and then turning on her after one murder too brutal, one murder too many. And now following her on a quixotic quest for redemption.

In a way, she was envious of Alice. Alice had kept her sanity. It was easy to see how scared Alice had been, but she'd not been the one to play the game, lose her head.

No, that had been Sarah. Forevermore a killer.

Kill Maxwell Lombardi. Stop his murders in his tracks. He likes it, like you. He's better than you. Hunt him, bring him down. Then it won't matter when you die.

It was an impossible quest. She was cracked, desperate.

But maybe it was something.

Because apparently Mike--Mike had heard her calling for Maxwell. And Mike was saying something now.

"If you're looking for Maxwell Lombardi, the last time I saw him was coming out of the tunnels, near the mines. It wasn't that long ago."

Relief, breathing out of her eyes. Relief, a direction. Somewhere to go. And a tiny spark, hope, as fierce as religious conviction, hurting her chest, and a knowing, someday I am going to walk out of here free.


How can you say better?

But Sarah was better.

Even before all this, in school, when Sarah was a filmmaker, talkative and popular, she had always worn her heart on her sleeve. Alice remembered watching her then, envious of her easy expressiveness, directing every appropriate anti-American slur she could think of towards the girl in the privacy of her head.

But on the island, too, Sarah was easy to read.

And for the first time since Alice had seen her, she was completely lucid.

Violet had done…something. Something during the handing over of those tapes, something that Alice couldn't see. She was left out, as always. And then Mike had said where Maxwell was, and Alice was sure he was lying, absolutely sure, but she couldn't keep hope from hopping into her chest, and Sarah's entire body seemed to clear out of madness.

She held herself differently now, as they walked from the beach. Alice had been watching Sarah, paying attention to every twist of her body language for days. And something had uncoiled in Sarah. Her fingers were bent less tightly, her hands had stopped grabbing for an imaginary scalpel, her shoulders were loose, no longer bones through skin. The manic energy had drained from her body, replaced with relaxed resolve.

They knew where Maxwell Lombardi was, maybe.

And Sarah was better.

Maybe just a little bit better. Maybe only better until they found, or didn't find, Lombardi. Maybe still with all her original capacity for insanity inside, waiting to burst from her belly. Maybe she'd terrify Alice again.

I know you won't understand, Mama, Papa. But I have to stay with her. We committed a crime together. It ties us. I know, you'll say it was different--that I did it because I was scared, while she did it because she was evil. But it's not that different, really. I'm trying to think of the philosophers you had me read, but it's not coming, it's hard to explain. She's not evil, I think--or if she is, I don't think good and evil matter so much anymore, at least not in that way. And she's getting better, I swear, she's getting better!

She was getting better. It was obvious and plain to see. She was getting better.

And for now, that was enough.

(Sarah Atwell and Alice Boucher continued in Cruel Justice)

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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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