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The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
Topic Started: Mar 7 2011, 01:30 AM (6,180 Views)
BetaKnight
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In some cultures, what I do is considered normal.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Annaliese giggled at the mental image of Ray bare assed. “Yeah sure, you betcha,” she confirmed as she spun in a lazy circle. The walk from the mountain to the residential area had been nice. No one had tried to threaten them or kill them. Sure, they could hear some kind of carnage off in the distance, but they had been able to travel unchallenged. This was less like a senior trip and more like surviving a zombie apocalypse.

“Where are Ving Rhames and Sarah Polley when you need them? They would totally help us.” Ceasing her twirling with a frown, she reflected on the nature of that thought. Ray was battle weary and seemingly skilled at fighting off the forces of evil. Plus, he was a protector, just like the cop Ving Rhames played in the movie. Sarah Polley had been all alone until she had run into Ving Rhames. That was when her true potential had been tapped. Was she…were they? Was it possible?

With a gleeful clap, Annaliese abandoned her look out position to bounce over to door Ray had left cracked open. “Ray! Ray! Guess what I just figured out,” she cheerfully announced. “I’ve given it serious thought, and you’re Ving Rhames and I’m Sarah Polley. This is epically awesome! Now all we need is for someone to get run over by a speeding ambulance and life will be perfect!”
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Pleased that Ray not only got the reference but added to it, Annaliese grinned and nodded before heading back to her position. The steady thrum of water from Ray’s shower filled the air. She leaned against the wall, watching the world outside the window. There was no movement on the street, which made the small enclave of houses seem detached from reality and eerie.

There was something unsettling about the slightly dilapidated condition of the houses, the emptiness of the street, and general air of decay that permeated the scene. Like maybe there really was a zombie apocalypse going on and nobody bothered to inform her. After all, in case of a real zombie outbreak, it wasn’t like she would stay in her own house. She would have to move, making carefully coordinated jumps from safe house to safe house until she met up with a plucky band of survivors and they could hole up some place secure. Like a mall. Or a Walmart.

As much as she disliked Walmart for their unfair hiring practices, exploitation of their workers, and the general economic destruction they visited upon the small, independent stores of the cities they operated in, Annaliese had to admit that they were probably easy to secure and chocked full of the supplies one would need to successfully survive a zombie apocalypse.

Shivering at the thought, she glanced over her shoulder at the cracked bathroom door. Ray wasn’t singing or talking or making any sound. There was only the steady rush of the water. If she didn’t know better, she would think that she was all alone here. In this empty house. By herself. With no one to stand beside her to face the coming zombie onslaught. As she stood in the unbarricaded window, an easy snack for any of the walking undead.

A creak somewhere behind her made her jump, whirling towards the sound. Her heart hammered in her throat, urging her towards action. She wanted to scream but only a strangled squeak emerged. Wide eyed, she stared in the direction of the sound, waiting for the shambling, decaying creature to show itself. But nothing came as the seconds ticked by.

Feeling incredibly foolish, she chastised herself. “See, it’s nothing. You’re being silly.” Her eyes flicked back to the bathroom door. She could call out to Ray, just to see if he would answer. Which he totally would, since he was still there. She wasn’t all alone. He would be back out in a few minutes, just as soon as he finished cleaning himself.

She fought the urge to creep back towards the door and call out to him, just to hear him respond. “You are a big girl and there’s no such thing as zombies,” she firmly reminded herself. “Stop being a baby. If it’s bothering you that much, go find something to barricade the window with.” A plan in mind, sort of, Annaliese cast one last fretful glace out the window before beginning to prowl around, looking for something to make a barricade with.
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BetaKnight
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Happy to be in motion doing something productive, Annaliese hummed to herself as she dragged a piece of a bed frame towards her guard post. It was a little unwieldy but not unmanageable. The scavenged piece should make a great first piece of her window blockade. Slightly winded, she stopped for a second to catch her breath.

“This shouldn’t be this hard,” she reminded herself. “I’ve hauled way heavier stuff way farther.” Exhaling heavily, Annaliese looked to her right and spotted the large glass sliding door that lead to the house’s backyard. “Oh, damnit to Hell. That’s not gonna stop any zombie.”

Sighing, she moved closer to inspect the door’s track, trying to see if it could at least be jammed closed. A flutter of movement outside caught her attention. She took a step to the left to get a better view. What she saw made her heart skip a beat.

There was someone outside. There was a raggedy someone outside. There was a raggedy someone stumbling around outside. The information quickly clicked together to form the only rational conclusion. THERE WAS A ZOMBIE OUTSIDE!

“Uh, Ray? Ray?” She was surprised at how calm she sounded as she called for her partner.

It was only a momentary calm which dissipated like fog as the sun rose. Her heart began to race and she broke out into a cold sweat. “Ray, I know it can’t possibly be true and I’m gonna sound like a total crackhead but…” Annaliese watched as the zombie in the yard sat down and eventually fell over.

“Ray,” she called out, her voice high and thready. “Ray, there’s a zombie in our yard.”
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((Sorry I took so long. I just go back from Faire. Make of this what you will.))


Annaliese pulled a face, feeling extremely uncomfortable about Ray’s decision to bring the potential rage virus carrier into their sanctuary. Sure, she looked harmless and, you know, not conscious but if there was anything that years of television and movie watching had taught her, it was that those that are helpless looking end up being the biggest threat to your safety.

She frowned at the unconscious girl who was now upsetting the vibe of their little Fortress of Solitude. “Yeah, sure. I’ll get her some food but I’m outta water. Unless, like, she can drink the shower water or you got some in your bag?” Annaliese let her voice trail off as she twisted her fingers in the hem of her t-shirt. Ray didn’t answer since he was busy with the newcomer, so Annaliese decided she’d just figure it out herself.

Moving with purpose, she sprinted towards the pile of their gear. With a few quick movement, she had gathered up a small portion of their rapidly dwindling supply of anti-lembas bread and a bottle of water from Ray’s bag. Terrified to leave Ray alone with the girl, Annaliese nearly fumbled the water as she climbed to her feet.

Running back, she skidded into the room just in time for the mystery girl to stare at her and announce that she was Isabel. Annaliese nodded, as if the name had some meaning for her. She had seen Isabel around school, in the hallways and such, but she didn’t think they had any classes together except for maybe PE and some brainless elective like maybe keyboarding? She couldn’t really remember and it wasn’t really important.

“Hey, I guess.” Looking down at the objects in her hand, she remembered why she had left Ray alone with Isabel. “Oh, um, yeah. Here,” she said, lamely holding out the objects to Ray. “Since you’re sure she’s not a rage carrier or anything, I guess I should go back to keeping watch? I guess?”
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Annaliese nodded yet again, hearing Ray’s words but not really paying attention. His hair was totally distracting her. As Ray ran his hands through his hair, in her mind, he segued from Ving Rhames Junior to Sideshow Bob. It’s like his hair is eating his head. Welcome, Robert Underdunk Terwilliger, to Suckfest Island.

It was nice that Newcomer Isabel was willing to confirm that she wasn’t a dreaded rage carrier, but Annaliese still couldn’t shake the feeling that this little get-together was like the exposition of some horror flick. The main characters had unwittingly stumbled into a situation beyond their comprehension. Being the fine, upstanding character that he is, Ray selflessly helped the damsel-in-distress. A decision that would not go unpunished since by helping Isabel, he had accidentally exposed them to attack by the unholy hordes that were chasing the damsel. That the impending doom was just slowly building until it crashed down on them, intent on destroying them.

She silently eyed Isabel, wondering which of the two damsel categories the other girl fell in. Was Isabel the wholesome sacrifice who escaped from the forces of darkness and they were now expected to stand as a barrier between Isabel and a terrible, bloody demise in order save the world? Or was Isabel the unwitting scientist who blurred the lines between man and God and now her well-intentioned but inherently evil creations were looking to destroy her?

"Also my own fault that I gave the last of my food to Liz Polanski but what are you gonna do?"

That single line told her exactly where Isabel fell. Doctor Isabel would lead destruction to their doorway since she was in league with Liz Polanski. Great. Just…fucking great. Heaving a sigh, Annaliese tried to console herself with the knowledge that at least she knew what kind of evil she should expect to see coming.

Without another word, she slipped from the room, leaving Ray to get the rest of the information. She had a zombie barricade to be working on. Maybe if she built it sturdily enough, she would have time to bring up the rear and follow Ray and Isabel when the inevitable blitz attack occurred.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Annaliese went back to the unguarded portal to Hell, more commonly known as the sliding glass door, and retrieved her piece of wood. She chewed her bottom lip and debated where she should start her zombie barricade, here or at the front window where she had started Zombie Watch 2008.

“If I block this door and more helpless characters come wandering in, needing Ray to rescue them, he won’t be able to get out there quickly to save them. But if I don’t block the door, the forces of evil will just steamroll right in here. Hmmmm…decisions, decisions.”

She listened to the indistinct sounds of Isabel and Ray coming from the bedroom. It was nice to hear normal conversation, without anyone screaming and threatening to kill everyone. For a second, she could almost pretend things were normal.

Maybe this house was their house, hers, Isabel’s, and Ray’s. Maybe they were all just broke-as-Hell college students, struggling through their first year of classes and being away from home. That explained the general lack of food stuffs. Maybe Isabel or Ray would get a job at a restaurant or the school cafeteria and smuggle home food for the others to eat.

She would have joined at least a dozen different clubs, trying to suss out which were legitimately trying to make a difference and which ones were just excuses to hang out and get altered together. In the evening, the three of them would hang out and laugh and talk about their day and their classes. Life could be good.

Resting her head against the cool glass, Annaliese willingly lost herself in her happy little daydream.
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Continuing to bliss out on Planet Annaliese, the lanky blonde was content to simply rest and continue spinning out her fantasy scenario.

And then on Friday, if the weather holds and everyone is done with class, we can have a barbeque on our back patio. I’ll refill the bird seed holders and sweep and straighten up our collection of milk carton chairs because we’re too poor to afford proper furniture inside, let alone for our patio. My folks will call to check on us, like they do every Friday night, and will assure me that the weekly care package is on the way. Ray will call his mom and step-father, but spend most of the evening on the phone with his sister. It will be the perfect way to unwind after a week of hard work in the classroom.

Annalise watched as a small bird landed in the too-tall grasses of the backyard and began foraging for its food. “Hey there, little dude or dudette,” she softly called out as she fought the urge to tap on the glass. “I’ll get out there and refill the feeder soon, I promise. And maybe this week, there will be vegetable seeds in the care package and I’ll finally get started on that all organic veggie garden. That’ll definitely help out with the food bill.”

Humming to herself, she stood and watched the world outside, momentarily unconcerned with anything except planning her invisible garden.
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‘You do realize that there is no package. This isn’t your house, and there won’t be a freshman year veggie garden,’ the ever-so logical portion of Annaliese’s brain pointed out. ‘We won’t survive that long. We’re out of water. Food will be gone soon. This is not let’s-talk-it-out kind of place. And I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to have to kill anybody. These factors do not help out our longevity.’

“Shut up,” she muttered, squeezing her eyes closed. Why couldn’t she just keep pretending? It wasn’t hurting anyone. It was so much easier to pretend. If she pretended to be an airhead, if she pretended that none of this matter, it didn’t hurt so much. The deep, nagging ache in her heart was manageable. The urge to just sit and weep uncontrollably because she would never see her family again could be put off. She could keep the fear and terror and regret all under wraps. Then the ugliness of this place, this situation, couldn’t touch her.

It was almost easier to tell herself that this was a horror movie or some zombie apocalypse or dark, deranged buddy comedy. At least those were predictable, safe. She understood exactly how those things worked and what would be expected of her in that situation.

As she thought back to the first time she woke up, strapped to a chair and sick from whatever it was they had all been given, she started to tremble. Shaking her head, she tried as hard as she could to banish the images from her mind. ‘Think of zombies. Think of Evil Dead. You’ve got to pull it together. Ray and Isabel are in the next room,’ she silently scolded herself. ‘We can do this. We can keep it all up and running. You’ve just got to be a companion worthy of Ash.’

For the first time since they were dumped off on the island, Annaliese took some time to practice her yoga breathing. Dropping her head to her chest, she softly exhaled. “We can do this. We just have to ask ourself: What would Ash do?”

She slowly lifted her head and opened her eyes. The scene outside was still and serene. Trying to take her cue from her environment, she walked back to the front room window. Scanning the area, she spotted someone approaching. After a moment, she realized she recognized the approaching girl. It was Alex, the outgoing half of the Jackson twins. She also remembered that Roman’s name had been read off a few days ago. Her heart went out to Alex, who she hoped hadn’t had to watch her brother die.

“Ray,” she called out. “There’s half a set of twins heading this way. What should I do?”
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Hearing Alex’s voice, Annaliese charged up behind Ray and Isabel, who was thankfully short enough for Annaliese to see over her head. “It’s not Alice in Wonderland! It’s very Lord of the Rings,” she called out with a manic grin. “The line is ‘Not all those who wander are lost’.” She waved enthusiastically, trying to make the newcomer feel welcome.

“Hey, Alex. Come on in. Chill a while.” Annaliese practically vibrated in place, trying to contain her glee. She’d had numerous classes with both the twins over the years. Alex was always the more outgoing Jackson while Roman was the quieter of the pair. Unless the two of them were together. Then you had trouble getting a word in edgewise. She processed what the other girl had said about her brother and sobered. “Oh. Sorry to hear about Roman. Are you doing okay?”
Edited by BetaKnight, Mar 26 2011, 11:06 PM.
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Annaliese fought the urge to swing around and look at Ray and echo Alex. She was sure he knew what they should do next and would tell them when they needed to know. Until then, they would simply chill out here in their little Fortress of Semi-solitude and wait.

Instead, she looked at Alex Jackson and raised an eyebrow. “Macaroni salad? You didn’t put mayo in the dressing for your salad, did you? Because, you know, if there’s mayo in it, we can’t eat it. It’s not safe because it hasn’t been refrigerated. Do you have any idea what kind of bacteria can colonize on improperly refrigerated food?”

Annaliese’s eyes were solemn and huge as she stared at the new arrival. Her voice dropped to a whisper as she leaned forward. “Warm mayo can kill you.” She looked at Ray, Isabel, and Alex in turn before standing up straight again.

“Also, it doesn’t have raisins in it, does it? I hate raisins. They’re the souls of little dead grapes,” she matter-of-factly reported. Without waiting for an answer, she grabbed the first piece of the zombie barricade and dragged it in the direction of the front windows.
Edited by BetaKnight, Mar 29 2011, 12:02 AM.
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Annaliese eyed the two girls sitting on the couch as they talked to Ray about shirts. ‘The lazy girls always die first. Well, first the ho-ish girls die,’ she corrected herself. Which really didn’t apply to the situation as it stood since she didn’t think Ray was going to sneak off to go get biz-zay in the woods with either of the couch dwellers.

“You know not of what you speak,” she said, finally addressing Alex. “Raisins are an unholy evil that should not be tolerated to live. They are the gateway dried fruit. First raisins. then you escalate to crap like craisins and prunes. Eventually, you’re consuming the dark forces that should not be named.” She looked Alex in the eye. “The disgusting, evil inhumanation: dried banana.”

Annaliese struggled to lift the keystone of her zombie barricade. She rolled her eyes at the other girl’s ignorance. “I am building this,” she said, her tone lofty, “because, obviously, the ravening zombie horde will roll right in through the windows uninterrupted if I *don’t* block them.” She let the unspoken ‘duh’ hang in the air before turning towards Ray.

“Are we really going to the grocery store? Because I was thinking….” Her voice trailed off as she got a good look at Ray for the first time. Her train of thought completely derailed onto a new track as she processed what she was seeing. ‘Oh, Ray has no shirt on. Hello shirtless Ray. Your hair doesn’t look like it’s eating your head anymore. You have a nice flat tummy. It’s all ripple-y and…good and stuff. Shirts are not required.’ Annaliese continued to look at Ray and blink. After a moment, she giggled and spoke.

“You have a nice button,” she said with a grin. Shifting her grip on the wooden piece, she began laying the groundwork for her barricade.
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Annaliese half listened to Alex’s narrative. She felt really, really sorry for the other girl and her loss but she couldn’t allow herself to focus on it. It was just too sad, losing the person you loved to the callowness of others.

Glancing back at the sliding door, she realized that this whole place was like the Swamps of Sadness. If you gave up, it slowly sucked you down until you were gone. She had to fight it before she wound up like Artax. She had to distance herself from the sadness before it swallowed her whole.

With a grunt, she jammed the first piece of the zombie barricade into place. Feeling a little satisfied that she was accomplishing something tangible, Annaliese looked up. Her eyes widened as she noticed the gore-covered person erratically surging towards their shelter. Heart racing, she fixated on the shotgun he carried, tracking it as he moved it from its passive position to a much more threatening stance.

A squeak of alarm escaped from her mouth. Oh God, he was heading right for them. What should she do?

He was covered in blood. Literally. Covered in blood. Oh God, what should she do?

The urge to run and flail was almost more than she could bear. Every fiber of her being was telling her that this was not a good thing and that they needed to get out of the way out this on-coming threat. She needed to get them all out of here. She needed –
Ray. She needed to get Ray. Ray would know what to do.

Trying to keep her voice even and calm to avoid panicking the others, she called for him.

“Ray? Ray, I need you to come here please.” She looked over her shoulder at the direction he had disappeared in. Without giving him a chance to answer, she called again, unable to keep the panic out of her voice.

“Ray, there’s a ginger rage zombie toting a shotgun who’s Robert Patrick running towards us. What do we do?”
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Annaliese cautiously edged past the two girls who had the common sense to stay out of the line of fire and stepped out to stand next to Ray. She nodded in agreement with Alex. There wasn’t any reason to fight Jimmy for the house. Let the little ghoul have the place. They could move on without difficulty.

As she studied Jimmy, she felt a little less foolish for calling him a rage zombie. Based on his battered, gore covered appearance, Jimmy had not only embraced the nature of the experience, he was enjoying the chance to torture and kill his classmates. The boy had to be covered in bad karma to match all the blood of his victims. The sooner they got away from him, the better.

Moving slowly so as not to provoke the bloody little ginger, she rested her hand on Ray’s shoulder. “Yeah, Ray. Let’s just go. Little Big Man here as to provide for his woman. We can head out. This house is not special, and it’s definitely not worth dying over.” The wind shifted a bit, carrying the stank of Jimmy to her. Grimacing, she turned her head and began to breathe through her mouth.

“Besides, he’s just gross. All that funk and his karma will contaminate the house,” she explained in a low voice, hoping Jimmy wouldn’t hear. “Staying doesn’t do us any good anyway. There’s nothing we can eat or drink here.”

A random male yelling off-scene startled her and made her shy away from Ray. She swung her head around, looking for the source. Holy Hannah, when had this area become packed with people? If this really was a real, live horror film, they needed to vacate as soon as possible. Because when a bunch of people got together, the body count skyrocketed.
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It was too much for Annaliese to take. Between Jimmy Brennan standing in front of her, screaming at them while waving a shotgun around and the banging and howling at the front door, it was really more than she could take at the moment. She could feel herself getting…thin.

Stretched in a way she wasn’t comfortable with in the least. As though something very fragile was in imminent danger, only she couldn’t identify what the ‘it’ was. This whole situation was so unnecessary. If only Jimmy would calm down long enough for them to leave, they would go. They would go and leave him far behind if he would just shut up and let them go.

Her heart hammered in time with the blows on the front door. It was too much. It didn’t have to be this way. If only it would slow down and give her a chance to catch her breath.

The indefinable ‘it’ shattered with Jimmy’s next words.

"An- and I swear to God, if you're not out of there in two minutes I'll blow your stupid nigger brains out!"
….

Annaliese blinked in shock.

The fuck? The FUCK did this guy just say? WHAT the FUCK did this greasy little subhuman have the nerve to say to Ray?! How DARE he! How FUCKING DARE he talk to Ray like that!

“FUCK YOU,” Annaliese screamed at Jimmy as she leaned forward. Without any thought, she balled her hands into tight fists, fingernails digging into her palms. She had never in her whole life been so enraged. Who did he think he was, saying something like that to Ray?

That Jimmy Brennan, who spent all of his time at school getting picked on and disrespected, would think it okay to turn around and say something that filthy to Ray, who had been nothing but kind and good and noble the whole time Annaliese had known him, made her shake with anger.

Where did he get off? Ray was protecting people too, but he wasn’t full of bravado and other people’s vital fluids. Ray had protected her without violating anyone else’s dignity or well being. But here was Jimmy, taunting and threatening and using racial slurs. That made him a monster, not the swaggering bad ass he always thought he was. Someone needed to tell him.

Fuck Jimmy Brennan.

FUCK.

HIM.

“You disgusting degenerate piece of shit. You shut your goddamn fucking worthless crybaby mouth, you limp dicked motherfucker! How fucking DARE you! You’re a big fucking man while you hold a gun, Jimmy." She explosively flung her right arm out towards his gun with a careless gesture, sneering at him.

"And you may look like the shit to anybody who doesn’t know you, but we all know you for what you really are, Jimmy. We know you,” she hissed at him, her eyes narrowed.

Almost as soon as the last word left her lips, her common sense began screaming at her. What was she thinking, saying all that to the person holding a gun on her?! The one who obviously didn’t hold any respect or regard for human life, as evidence by the gore covering him.

Oh god. He would kill her. Rearing back in panic, her eyes widened in shock. Oh god oh god oh god….
Edited by BetaKnight, Apr 23 2011, 10:42 PM.
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As Annaliese tracked the movements of Jimmy’s shotgun, she fully expected to see her life flash before her eyes. That was, traditionally, what was supposed to happen when one was facing down certain doom, right?

There was no PowerPoint highlight reel of her past. Instead, time stretched out as everything slowed to a crawl. Ray surged towards Jimmy and batted the shotgun, sending it flying as Jimmy’s expression shifted from one of rage to one of sheer horror. Annaliese couldn’t help but track the gun’s tumbling descent, fearful that it would discharge when it hit the ground.

The only rational thought ricocheting through her mind was a scene from Army of Darkness. ‘This... is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. You can find it in the sporting goods department. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.’


‘Focus, damnit! FO-CUS,’ her brain screamed at her. Annaliese tore her eyes away from the gun just in time to see Ray wrap his arms around a flailing Jimmy and pull off a maneuver she had only ever seen performed on television. In a move that looked effortless, Ray lifted Jimmy clean off his feet. As the two hit the apogee of the lift, Ray arched backwards, taking Jimmy with him.

Time began to resume its normal flow as the boys turned head-first towards the ground. Annaliese, however, was still frozen in place by the time slip that had obviously occurred. Ray and Jimmy were going to bounce off the ground and there wasn’t a thing she could do about it. She willed herself to move, open her mouth and call out to Ray.

It was the abrupt end to the screaming that finally spurred her into action. As they had moved, both boys were screaming; a visceral, savage song of fury and despair. It was hard to tell apart Ray’s voice from Jimmy’s until Jimmy became silent and only Ray remained.

Horrified by the sight of her travel buddy mounting Jimmy’s thrashing form, Annaliese could only flinch and gasp as Ray stood up and grabbed the discarded gun in possessive fashion. During all the time they had spent together over the past few days, never once had Annaliese been frightened or intimidated by anything Ray said or did. In fact, being with Ray had been the most comforting and relaxing part of this whole trip. She had felt secure because they were sharing their burdens, concerns, and worries. They had started opening up to each other, really connecting on a basic level. It had been part of the universe’s plan. She had been sure of it.

But now…

What had happened? Who was this man standing before her and where had Ray gone? Ray wasn’t a yeller. Ray wasn’t Sam Jackson on steroids. Ray was the calm, logical one of their duo. Ray didn’t react to threats like this. He sure as hell didn’t react to Kris like this.

‘Still waters run deep,’ her inner voice supplied. The silent comment only served to heighten her awareness that she didn’t really know Raymond Dawson. They had spent some hours together, but she didn’t really know what his triggers were or how sensitive they were. She certainly hadn’t thought that he was carrying around this type of explosive rage.

Annaliese bit her lip to keep from making any noise that would draw his attention. She had yelled at Jimmy, who turned the gun on her. In turn, Ray turned into the goddamned Hulk. And just like the Hulk, Ray’s rage hadn’t worn off yet. She winced as Ray planted a foot on his fallen rival and bellowed at him. The whole scene was turning into something out of a National Geographic special.

She knew Ray was an athlete, just like her brother. She should have seen that competitive edge in him, the hidden alpha male instinct. The part of him that would not take kindly to being challenged by another. The part that would goad him into proving that he wasn’t just better, he was fucking superior in every way and would grind the challenger into dust under his heel to prove it.

It was coming out now, and it was coming out in spades. Except, unlike hockey and wrestling and boxing, this wasn’t a game. This was literally life and death. Ray continued to berate Jimmy and menace him with the shotgun. Oh god, what was she supposed to do?

Afraid to say anything, Annaliese simply stood in mute witness as Ray came to a decision and launched the gun that started this all somewhere far away. She dropped her eyes to the ground, suddenly afraid to make eye contact with Ray. Her fingers twitched restlessly as she tugged and played with dozen or so gel bracelets on her wrist. She felt like she should say something, but what? What do you say to a display like that?

Ray saved her the trouble by barking that they should get their things, they were leaving. She shrank back a bit to allow him to enter the house unhindered. Without saying a word, she submissively trailed after him. Maybe if she just gave him space, everything would be okay. He obviously needed time to cool down and get things back under control.

Annaliese winced at Alex’s snarky comment and frantically shook her head, trying to warn the other girl. Alex had a brother too, but Roman hadn’t seemed the type to Hulk out like Ray just had. In fact, of the two, Alex was probably the more confrontational of the pair. That was the last thing they needed at the moment, another person to challenge Ray. ‘Oh Jesus, please don’t let Ray turn and pop her in the mouth. I don’t know how amped up he is, and I know there’s no way I could stop him. Shut up, Alex. Please shut up,’ she silently begged.

Alex had been inside, so maybe she had missed the full extent of what had taken place outside. That had to be it, or else she wouldn’t be talking to Ray with that tone. Annaliese stopped next to the other girl and gave her a one-armed hug. “Just…just get your stuff, okay? It’s all gonna be okay. Just don’t make him more mad, okay?” she whispered, her eyes flicking nervously to Ray. She glanced back out the door and gave her head a brief, tight shake. “We’re getting the hell out of Dodge, okay?”

Something bumped against her and Annaliese skittishly jumped away from Alex before she realized that the other girl already had her belongings and was ready to go. Letting out a shaky laugh, she nervously brushed her bangs back from her face. “Oh, you’re all ready. Sorry, sorry. Let me grab my stuff and then we can motor.”

A few big strides brought Annaliese to her bag and what was left of her supplies. She shouldered it and cleared her throat. “I think that’s it for everybody who’s going ashore,” she said as she glanced at Ray before quickly looking away.
Edited by BetaKnight, May 4 2011, 10:38 PM.
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