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The Gully
Topic Started: Feb 22 2011, 05:33 PM (5,125 Views)
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[ *  *  * ]
(Liz Polanski, Brendan Wallace, Mirabelle Nesa, Jeremy Franco, Garrett Hunter and Madeleine Smith continued from The Beggar King--Evening, Day 6)

Her stomach was pressed, nauseous, over Brendan's shoulder. Breathing hit her throat hard, scratching. The energy she'd had earlier was gone, sapped. Inevitable, maybe.

I'm not going to survive this.

Staring at the crackling skin on her hands.

Brendan was carrying her as gently as possible. It wasn't working. Her hands were stinging around the gun.

"Terrorists…" she whispered "…probably fixing cameras. Go where I point."

Rasp, rasp. Shooting pains. Trachea burns were slow.

I beat your game, Mister Danya, but I killed myself doing it. Bet you're happy.

Bubbling laughter, stuck in her throat. Came out as a cough. Ow.

So. One last stand. Going out with the glory, going out with a bang. This is shitty. Why am I doing this?

Fluttering memories. Tearing up a corpse as soon as she understood the island. Survive, survive, survive. Why the shit was she going on a suicide mission?

Easy answer: tracheal trauma. Also, a bounty and a death squad.

But no, that wasn't it. That was too simple.

Closed her eyes. Tried to ignore the pain. Tried to give herself adrenaline. She needed energy now.

Kids, I believe in--

It was funny what memories could energize her.

They were close to the caves now, and Brendan looked confused. She pointed. There were sounds in the distance, muffled to her ears, shouting and buzzing. The other people? She could deal with sounds later.

She needed memories to get her energized for revenge--recalls of her broken hand bandaged in first grade, memories of herself, pale ugly girl, in math class, the clean feeling of the solution, Liz, I would never give you a problem you couldn't solve, everything falling into place, working nights on a formula that was beautiful, beautiful, the only beauty she'd ever appreciated, Liz, you need to have more faith in other people, teaching her how to throw a softball pitch, clean curves and arcs it's just formulas until it was easy, easy enough to get her on an athletics team she hadn't even wanted to be on. And other memories, voices on the bus now, full of fear, and Belle heaving her upright, and Jeremy talking to Danya on the cameras, Garrett wanking on about the revolution and Liz was laughing at herself because this was so stupidly perfect, but it came out as a cough again.

And Brendan put her down on the gravel of the cave, keeping her feet away from broken camera glass. He was confused at her wheezing cough.

She continued to sputter after he put her down. She looked up, finally. Too hard to speak.

I'VE BECOME A REAL GIRL, FINALLY.

She had stopped giggling, finally. Her legs were shaking. She had to hold the Beretta in both hands, if she wanted to conserve energy.

Brendan raised an eyebrow. She pulled off a sheet of paper, went on to the next page.

DIDN'T THINK I'D HAVE PEOPLE CARE ABOUT ME UNTIL UNIVERSITY.

That wasn't quite all. She crossed it out and wrote some more.

DIDN'T THINK I'D HAVE PEOPLE I'D CARE ABOUT UNTIL UNIVERSITY.

Crooked smile. Even smiling hurt now.

FUNNY OLD WORLD, ISN'T IT?

That was something Mr. Kwong had said, a lot. She'd always wanted to say it.

No more paper on the notepad. Just the cardboard backing now. She tore off the last sheet of paper and wrote one more thing.

THANK YOU FOR CARRYING ME.

Then she was gone.
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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End this.

Bang.

That was the wrong sound. Guns sound like small bombs going off by your head.

Stupid girl.

Clear your mind.

Almost out of bullets.
 
For the last while, she had been hearing echoes in the cave. The soldiers were close now.

She was going to die here.

Those are not the right thoughts.

Brendan, Garrett, Belle, Jeremy. Belle had instructions, Jeremy had instructions. Faraday cages. It should be easy. Plans around the island. Everyone knew about the blackout zones. Mr. Kwong could tell her. He was right. Liz, you need to have more faith in other people.
 
She was looking around, mentally calculating the area she'd covered, the relays left. Someday she should learn the properties of radio waves in caves. She'd been here before. 

Ethan Kent.

Ethan had been the one with the note, by the ranger station.

And she had two relays left.

One was nearly above her, the one that she and Feo and Ethan had spotted. She had tried to smash it, then. Now she could destroy it for real. She had enough bullets.  

Bang.

It shattered.

There was another one. Had to be another one, up where she had first met Ethan and Feo, and Frankie, and Duncan, and Haruka, who'd been scared of her. They had all missed it.

Come on.

Running. She was using the edges of the wall for balance, air pushing out of her throat. Wheezy and stumbling, half-falling.

Closer.

Stagger. Land. Pick yourself up again. Rest soon. Try not to think.

The relay was now painfully obvious. Haruka. Feo. Duncan, Frankie, Ethan. The voices were closer now. Liz swore silently. She hadn't thought about the tunnels manipulating sound. 

Last relay. Far away. High up. 

Bang.

Just like pitching. 

It shattered.

Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? A softball cheer. Now she could let herself stumble against the wall, let exhaustion sap her movements.

I've won.

Jeremy, Mirabelle, Brendan, Garrett, all needed to do their part. Liz, you need to have more faith in other people. 
 
She could lean against a wall. 

She could stay alive a little longer, wait until the terrorists came, kill one or two of them with her. For Mr. Kwong. It was the least she could do.

But standing in the open wasn't the best way to do it. There was the alcove she'd been in before, the bag where she had stolen Cyrille's clothes, the corpse. Cyrille's body was rotting; Liz breathed through her mouth. She stepped into the alcove as Danya's mooks rounded the corner.

A crackle of voices. They had her location now, surprise surprise, and were arguing over who had to go first.  Liz almost sighed. She had heard this so many times. People asking for drugs, people asking for math help. You're afraid of me.
 
Yeah. Danya's soldiers were afraid of her. It wasn't a bad thing. 
 
She grinned reflexively.

No life flashing before her eyes, just people. Jeremy, Brendan, Garrett, Belle, her makeshift team. Kimberly, with her vendetta and Daisuke's gun. Dave, Isabel, Charlie, Winnie, Helen. The ever-bewildering Milo Taylor. Teo Weinstock and the bruises on her neck. In school, Jeremy counting cards, the fleeting camraderie of the girl's softball team. Hammy, Mom and Mr. Kwong.

Dad.

Had she thought of him that way before? She didn't know. But it seemed obvious.

Her voice could take a little more. And it's not like Danya would show it to him, but it was good for posterity. Or something.

"Bye, Dad." She said. "I love you."

Was she crying? She hadn't realized she could cry anymore.

Bye, Dad. Thank you for teaching me. I wish I could save you. I think they're going to kill you now, and you're scared, I know you're scared, and I wish I could be there, take your place, drive a bargain. I wish I was cleverer. You always taught me to be clever. I wish I had done this better, gotten you free...

The soldier was getting closer.

I'm sorry, Dad.

She made sure the gun was steady, pulled off the safety. Something complicated, factorials of multiples of nine, could calm her hands.

Concentrate.

She could hear the soldier's gun click. A squeak of shoes. An intake of breathe.

Bang.

(G055 Liz Polanski: Deceased)
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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