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What Goes Up...; (Day 6) Private
Topic Started: Feb 16 2011, 12:12 AM (2,962 Views)
Outfoxd
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((Permission granted to start this thread by mods, since one of the mountain threads only has one person left in it))

((Raymond Dawson and Annaliese Hansen continued from Corpsewalker))

In all his years wrestling, Ray had gained a certain ability to go for long periods without eating much at all. He usually cut about ten pounds in the weeks leading up to meets. Stuck to eating egg whites in the morning, maybe some bread in the evening, and lots of water. The emptiness in his stomach that he was feeling now was something he was accustomed to. Since he woke up on the island he hadn't been through too much of his procured rations, but even stretching it wasn't a whole lot.

And let's face it, practiced at starving yourself or no, being hungry sucked.

After their flight from the cell-phone tower where Kristina "Fuck your Decency" Hartmann (Annaliese had filled him in on her name), the two had started back down the south side of the mountain. Ray figured one direction was as good as any at this point, and Annaliese....well, Annaliese didn't seem to be all there anyways.

He talked with her as they walked down, and Ray found his cohort was...interesting, if anything. She went from referencing about a dozen movies he'd never seen to chastising him about the ozone layer in the space of about five minutes. It was exhausting, but it took his mind off of his stomach. For a little while.

They had stopped to make camp in the night, as it was slow going. Partly because it was a big fucking mountain, partly because Annaliese seemed to be ok with strolling around and enjoying the sights. She talked his ear off more, too, until she finally drifted off to sleep. Ray was grateful. He stood watch over her for a couple hours in the night, and went down himself when he was sure Kris wasn't gonna come screaming down the mountain for them.

When they woke up (Annaliese by shaking him awake; not exactly welcome), they started moving again. They managed to make the base of the mountain by a little before midday.

Ray's stomach growled, loudly. He had skipped breakfast (and a meal or two before that), and he wrapped his arm around it to stifle the sound.

"They coulda gave us some sandwiches or something..." He said, his free hand tugging at his unravelling cornrows.
Edited by Outfoxd, Feb 22 2011, 02:50 PM.
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“The bear climbed over the mountain, the bear climbed over the mountain. The bear climbed over the mountain….”

Annaliese stretched out the last lyric in that song as she meandered along behind Ray. Humming the rest of the song, she contemplated their situation. Ray had saved her from Krazy Kris when he just snatched her up and ran. They had wandered for a while, taking in the sights as they headed down the mountain.

She had kept up a steady stream of conversation. They had talked about some of her favorite topics, ranging from the deforestation of Brazil to the waves of hive collapse spreading across the globe. Well, she had talked and Ray listened. Downside was that Ray had not sung at all. That was a little disappointing. All in all, apart from the “running for our lives” part, this had been her most pleasant day here on Anti-Fantasy Island.

The angry growl of Ray’s stomach stopped Annaliese dead in her tracks. Her eyes widened at the sheer volume coming from his midsection. He must have been embarrassed about the noise since he was trying to squeeze it into submission. Dude, it sounds like his tummy is eating itself. I wonder if those starving little kids in refugee camps have tummies that make that much noise?

Annaliese felt a stab of guilt as Ray complained about the lack of decent food. She still had those extra rations she’d taken from Frankie all those days ago. She had food she could share and Ray was hungry. He had saved her from Princess Crazypants. What was wrong with her, not offering to share?

“Dude, you should have said you were good to eat. You’re in luck. I have,” she cheerfully called out as she dropped her bag and began to paw through it. She held up Frankie’s mostly rock hard load of bread. “Lembas bread! And look, lembas bread. Oh, wait for it…more lembas bread!”

Sitting back on her heels, she grinned at Ray as she held out the bread. “Swear to you, this Danya guy is a LOTR fan. The bread, the killing, the need for stoicism and manliness. Dude wants to bliss out on Middle Earth.”
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Ray didn't know if lembas bread was what the brand of whatever it was Danya supplied them (He'd seen Lord of the Rings a long time ago, and didn't much care for it; too much walking), but when Annaliese started pulling a bakery out of her bag he found he didn't give a shit. Still, it wouldn't be cool taking all the girl's bread, he was sure he could last another couple days off what he had left.

"Nah...you keep it. You'll need it more than m-" His stomach positively roared this time, as if calling him a dumbass.

"Ok, one. Just one." He begrudgingly took one of the proffered loafs and bit into it. Hard as a brick, but his stomach didn't care. It just wanted the nourishment. As he chewed he pulled his bottle of water out and took a sip. His mouth had been dry before, and the water made eating the bite less of a chore.

A food break seemed as good a place as any to pause, so Ray found a rock and sat down on it. It felt as fine as a plush chair at the moment.

"You never told me nothing about you....How have you been making out in the past couple days?" He asked. There was no dessert, so Ray figured some conversation would sweeten the meal. Even if it was meandering, nonsensical Annaliese conversation.
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Annaliese tried not to giggle as Ray gnawed on his bread. She pulled out her partial loaf and tried to pluck some chunks off of it. Watching Ray drink reminded her of her water situation. She got out the loathsome plastic water bottle and eyed what remained as Ray made himself comfortable. She’d ask him about the water situation later she decided as she popped a piece of bread in her mouth.

Her chewing slowed as she contemplated Ray’s question. She thought back to all the places she’d been and all of the people who died. It wasn’t really something she wanted to dwell on, but ducking the only question the guy who saved your life asked seemed like really bad form. Looking anywhere but Ray, she tried to keep her voice upbeat as she recounted the days.

“Well, uhhh, lessee…I woke up and met a guy named Frankie. He seemed really nice. Then we met his unrequited love. I think her name was Erica? Uh yeah, they had some issues to work out. Frankie attacked Erica and Erica killed him. I, uh, left after that. Then I met up with Jackie Myrie and her friend Allie. We were gonna have dinner together, outside the church. It was cool, for about six seconds. Then Lily MacLaughlin showed up and went all ‘mall violence, film at eleven’. Well, she threatened to kill us because I guess she killed someone else, so Jackie freaked the fuck out and channeled her inner Connor MacLeod. For whatever reason, Jackie then went all spaz-mo-tron at me so I booked it outta there. I still don’t know how to feel about that,” she admitted with a sigh.

“After that, I ran into Tyler and Sarah and the spiky French chick in, umm….uhhh…the place with the houses?” She wrinkled her brow. “Yeah, I think that’s where it was. Things were pretty cool, but the girls made it obvious they wanted to be *alone* together. So I beat feet from there too.”

As she recounted her travels, she realized that an awful lot of people seemed to die around her. Her eyes widened as the implications of her travels hit home. Quickly looking at Ray, she tried to reassure him. “But don’t worry. Nobody died there. I swear. At least, nobody died while I was there. I can’t be held responsible for what happened afterwards. So I left them and then I found Kris, but you know, that boy was TOTALLY dead when I got there. I mean, you were there. You know I had nothing to do with it.”

Realizing that she sounded desperate, Annaliese tried to calm herself down and play it cool. “So…uh…yeah. That’s my travelogue here on Crapfest Island. What, uh, what about you?”
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Ray had finished about half the bread by the time Annaliese finished her story (if you could call it that; it was more like a strange list of happenings). She didn't give him a whole lot of last names, but he figured he wouldn't know too many of them anyway. Lily Maclaughlin, at least, had come around once or twice to cover wrestling meets. She had always looked kind of bored, and he didn't blame her. Sweaty men grappling each other wasn't exactly a fun way to spend the evening.

"Yeah, I know you didn't. That girl was with him when I got there."

Then she asked him about his own experience. Truth be told, he was probably worse at telling stories than Annaliese. A lot had happened, but he didn't have much to see about it.

"I woke up, met a couple of guys. Saw some people die."

He shifted on the rock, rested his elbows on his knees and looked at the ground.

"Got split up from them. Neill Robertson and Bobby Barron, maybe you know them. I was looking for them when I got to that phone tower and found Kris instead. Then you showed up." He shrugged; Annaliese knew the rest from there.

Something was bugging him, though. "Why did you come up there, exactly? Kind of an out of the way place to wander." Not that Ray would have put it past her; Annaliese seemed like the kind of person that could meander into a volcano and not wonder how she got there.
Edited by Outfoxd, Feb 16 2011, 12:48 PM.
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Annaliese was relieved that Ray didn’t seem to be bothered by her recap of events. His was even shorter than hers. She nodded in understanding as he looked at the ground. It was easier to remember when other people weren’t looking at you. You didn’t have to worry about being judged if you couldn’t see them judging you.

She really hoped they found his friends. Ray was definitely the nicest guy she had met here. He deserved to have good things happen to him. His helping her was probably doing awesome things for his karmic stores.

"Why did you come up there, exactly? Kind of an out of the way place to wander."

Annaliese popped another bread bit into her mouth and chewed solemnly as she pondered Ray’s question. Why was she on the mountain? There wasn’t anything she need, like water, up there. It hadn’t provided any shelter or safe place to hide. So why had she spent all that time and energy climbing up there?

The only positive thing to come out of her mountain experience was meeting Ray. She heard him singing, followed him, and he saved her from Kris. He was the first person since Frankie who *wanted* to spend time with her. Surely, the reason she found herself on the mountain was because Fate and the universe wanted her to hang out with Ray for a while. He must have something to teach her.

Still chewing, Annaliese studied the young man. He seemed really grounded and reasonable. Experience told her that grounded and reasonable guys didn’t really go for the idea of Fate and predestination and karma and universal life lessons in unexpected places. If she told him what she was thinking, he might want her to leave. And then she would never learn what it was she needed to learn from him.

Smiling sunnily at him, she swallowed her bread and shrugged. “I dunno. It was there and it seemed like a good idea at the time, ya know? Why were you up there? Do you think your friends would have gone there? Oooooh, was the cell tower thingy your ‘let’s meet here in case we get separated’ place?”
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Ray chewed another piece of bread as Annaliese talked, listened to her question.

"No, actually. Was gonna see if I could see something from the tower. Vantage point." He chewed, swallowed, raised an eyebrow and rubbed his chin.

"You know, having a place to meet up with them would've been a good idea. Don't think we were banging on all cylinders when we were running for our lives."

Ray rolled his shoulders to loosen them up a little, kept his eyes on Annaliese. She was a damned weird one, that was for certain. Very little about her made sense. He doubted she even made sense to herself.

What was craziest was how she had seen as much as him, apparently, and still stayed alive. And seemingly alright. His track record with people who weren't Neill and Robert wasn't that great.

"Don't you have some friends, or somebody from the school here you know? Someone you could have found and stayed with?"

Edited by Outfoxd, Feb 17 2011, 01:34 AM.
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Annaliese tipped her head, acknowledging Ray’s point about having to run for his life. She had been running for life since she got here. Well, not always running, but probably walking quickly. She was about to take another bite of bread when Ray asked where her friends where.

She stopped picking at her bread as she looked at her hand in her lap. She hadn’t really thought about that before. There wasn’t really anyone on the island she was looking for, and she didn’t think there was anyone who would be specifically looking for her. At least, not for friendly reasons.

It wasn’t like she didn’t have any friends. She knew lots of people at school, and she was known by many in return. Annaliese had always been social, joining many groups and clubs and interest groups. She had just never, you know, seemed to form any super deep connections with anyone. She usually just sort of bounced from group to group and had always been content with that. It had seemed like a good thing, bringing awareness to issues and fostering kinship within the group.

Only now, she was seeing how hollow those relationships had been. Maybe this is what the universe is trying to teach me, she silently wondered as she poked her bread. Although the universe didn’t have to be such a harsh bitch about it. It could have made me aware of a lack of meaningful relationships without bringing me here to Suckfest Island. God, I feel like such a loser now. People have always said that the stuff I talk about is annoying, but I didn’t think that meant that NOBODY liked me.

She glanced over at Ray out of the corner of her eyes, which wasn’t easy as her vision was a little blurry with unshed tears. Everyone else has friends here, and I have no one. The universe is telling me I’m gonna die alone and friendless. She sniffled once, softly.

“I, uh, I guess not,” she admitted, shrugging again. “I’m kind of like a leaf on the wind, you know,” she added, trying to keep her voice upbeat. “A rolling stone gathers no moss, and jazz like that.” Looking to get the attention off of herself, she pulled a hunk off her bread and jammed it in her mouth.

“So where do you think your dudesons might be,” she asked, a few crumbs escaping her full mouth.
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After asking his question, Ray realized he just might have overstepped his bounds. He had to give Annaliese some props; she didn't cry, even though he could see that whatever realization she was having was hurting. She sniffled, but Ray was already up on his feet before that. His sister had cried before, and he fell back into the role of big brother again easily.

"Hey, hey, hey, easy." He strode over to her, wrapped an arm around her shoulders in a half-hug. "I'm sure you got some friends, somewhere. I was just wondering if you'd managed to find 'em, yet." He said. It sounded lame coming out of his mouth, but he needed to backpedal.

"I have no idea. We split off pretty fast, I didn't even see which direction they went in. I had to be a distraction." Ray's thoughts turned to the crazed Alex, the spear hitting him in the leg as he ran.

He gave Annaliese's shoulders a squeeze.

"Tell you what, girl. You come with me, help me find them. I didn't take you down off that mountain just to leave you. Cool?"
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Annaliese leaned into Ray’s hug. There was something about the way guys hugged when they were trying to be comforting that seemed universal. Her brother always hugged her with that weird, one armed hug/squeeze. She smiled at his attempt to smooth over her awkwardness. Leaning over, she bumped her shoulder into his side.

“You got yourself a deal, Mister Man. I will most definitely help you find your buddies. If they are anything like you, they will have found other people to hang with, and when we meet up, we can totally have a party. But like, a good party where nobody gets killed, okay?”
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Ray smiled, gave another small squeeze. "Yeah, a party. I'll bring the chips, you bring the drinks. Be a fuckin' riot. No killing. Unless one of us drinks too much and wakes up wanting to die in the morning."

He let go of her shoulder, went to go sit back down. They'd have to get going soon, but at the moment, Ray was content with chilling there for a minute. As far as he could see, no one was coming. The horizon seemed empty, and up the mountain, back the way they came, was empty as well. Seemed like as good a place as any to rest.

"Don't mind if we stay here for awhile, huh?" He asked. Annaliese seemed to have a bit of wanderlust, but he figured even she had to sit down once in awhile.

He patted the space next to him on the rock. "Just a minute, and we'll get going. Tell me what you been doing before all this shit happened."
Edited by Outfoxd, Feb 22 2011, 02:49 PM.
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Annaliese unfolded herself, only slightly awkward in her attempt to gracefully rise from the ground. She stretched, arching her back to work some of the stiffness out before ambling over to the rock and sitting next to Ray. “Yeah, dead people at a shindig is a total party foul. That’s why zombies are so unwelcome. They total bring down the atmosphere. Well, that and the fact that they carry the rage virus. But you know, they can’t help that part.”

Without missing a beat, she drew her knee up and rested her chin on it, wrapping her arms around her leg. “Before all this, I’ve been doing the school thing like everybody else. Got apps in to a bunch of colleges, got in to a few places, waiting on a few more. You know the drill. I volunteered at the ASPC during the summer. I helped out at a couple of homeless shelters. I looked into interning with some of the state representatives or senators. You know, to get the lay of the land. I’m thinking about majoring in like, sociology. Or maybe psychology and becoming, like, a family therapist. Environmental sciences sounds good too. Politics could be cool too but they say you can’t fight corruption without becoming corrupt yourself. And unfortunately, grassroots political activist isn’t exactly on my parents’ list of approved careers.”

"What about you?" She canted her head to the side and looked at Ray, then gasped. Her hand fluttered in the direction of his head. “Dude! What the hell happened to your ear? It’s all, like, manged and stuff!”
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Ray was confused at first. His ear? Mangled? For a minute he almost panicked, brought his hand up to his ear to feel for cuts or something that he somehow had forgotten about. As soon as he touched it, though, he knew what Annaliese saw.

It had been a long time since anyone had asked him about his cauliflower ear, and he'd honestly forgotten he had it. It wasn't particularly bad; some guys he had seen had ears that looked like fucking baseball gloves sticking out of the side of their face. Ray has just come to accept his as a normal part of his ear now. Could have been worse. It could have affected this hearing.

"Nah, it's not mangled. It's just cauliflower ear. Wrestlers and boxers and stuff get it alot. I got dropped on the side of my head in a tournament once. Kid hit a slick double leg, got too enthusiastic, and I cracked my ear rolling to my belly. Basically the cartilage separates from the rest of the ear and dies, and you get..." He pointed to his ear, or at least the dead tissue that used to be his right ear. "This."

"I've had it for years, you know. To be honest, I'm kinda proud of it. Grappler's badge of honor. Even if it is ugly as shit." Ray smiled and shrugged, sheepish. It was odd to explain to someone, that he was proud of a disfigured part of his body. But he loved the sport of wrestling, and the ear explained that to the world.

"Sounds like you got a lot of stuff going for you. I just wrestle. Have since I was six, and I'll be doing it until..." He flinched, realizing too late what he was about to say and remembering where they were. "Until I die."
Edited by Outfoxd, Feb 22 2011, 02:46 PM.
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Annaliese let out a sigh of relief as Ray assured her that his ear…issue was an old injury. She nodded in understanding as he explained what it was. She thought that cauliflower ear was a strange name for his condition. It didn’t really look like cauliflower to her. Mostly, it just looked super poofy, like maybe he had got stung by a bee and it swelled up really bad.

She grimaced at Ray's comment. Now it was her turn to feel embarrassed by the topic. Wow, way to be a dick and make him feel bad, she chastised herself. Steer the conversation away from the potential of dying. It’s a bummer.

“You boys,” she said, her exasperated tone off-set by the big grin plastered on her face. “I’ll never understand how, like, scars and mutilation get to be big things with you. My brother Aric has played hockey for as long as I can remember. He’s going to school in Maine on a hockey scholarship. He talks about all his hockey injuries like a Spartan recounting his war wounds. The time he had to get stitches and the time he got a tooth knocked out are some of his favorite ones to tell. He’s actually tried to pick girls up with that crap. It’s a little pathetic.”


Annaliese drummed her hands against her thigh. "But, uh, yeah. Do you have any brothers or sisters?"
Edited by BetaKnight, Feb 23 2011, 10:42 PM.
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Ray shrugged, had a smile to match Annaliese's. "What can I say? Chicks dig scars. Or so I've been told. I'm not the finest example of a ladykiller in the world."

Cold, stone truth. The only women in Ray's life had been his sister and his mother. He'd been hoping to change that this semester, but now....


Ray leaned back against the rock, looking up at the sky as Annaliese asked him about his siblings. Thinking about Alicia hurt, of course. There was virtually no chance he was coming back to her, and just thinking about it reminded him.

Keep fucking up, huh? How long till you lose Annaliese, too? Chalk up the list. Keep a tally. You're bad at this guardian shit.

"A brother and a sister. Nathan's in the pen. Stole a car and got caught. I don't know when he's getting out, but it's probably a few years."

Ray sighed, tugged at his cornrows again. They were half out. A little longer and he'd be sporting a nappy afro.

"I got a sister, too. Alicia. She's got cerebral palsy, but she's smart as shit-"

Ain't no love

"She's going somewhere. Me and Nate, we always said she'd be the one who'd go on to do something real with her life, you know?"

In the heart of the city

"I watched after her while we were back in the D. People used to talk shit about her. I made it so they didn't talk anymore."

Ain't no love

"When we moved to Minnesota, I didn't have to be the muscle anymore. She's got a tutor, doesn't have to be around other kids."

In the heart of town.

Ray looked over at Annaliese, still laying down on the rock.

"You hear me sing? That what brought you up the mountain?"
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