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I Was a Teenage Hand Model; Open
Topic Started: Mar 14 2011, 10:01 AM (3,234 Views)
MurderWeasel
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((Claire Lambert continued from Doesn't Matter, I had sex))

Claire hadn't let go of her gun since leaving the gazebo. She supposed she probably would never let go of it again. Not after all that had happened. Not after the announcements had told her that Aislyn had been killed.

Aisyln. The one friend Claire had known she could trust. The one who would have been a reliable teammate, who she had been searching for her whole time here on the island. It was difficult to imagine Aislyn gone. She'd been killed by some girl Claire didn't know, Kimberly Something-complicated-sounding, and now she was gone. JJ was gone. There was no one left on this island Claire could even begin to trust with her life.

"And that's what it all comes down to, isn't it?"

Claire didn't plan to die here. Part of it was that she just didn't want to die, but another part, the bigger part, was that she didn't want to see her parents hurt again. They'd lost one child already. They didn't deserve to lose their daughter, too. They didn't need any more pain.

She'd come out here, away from the main section of the island, to recuperate and wait things out a little. Half of her class, half of her friends and fellow journalists and tennis teammates, were dead now. Maybe more, given the time since the announcement. Claire was still largely uninjured, excepting her bruises from the fight with Dan, and she was well-armed, with his gun and her own original mini magnum, now in her pocket again, just in case. She figured she could wait here for a little, maybe hunker down in the wrecked ship, and let things calm down a bit more. She wasn't feeling too confident at the moment, not with Aislyn dead. It was still so unreal.

She'd meant to thank Aislyn again for helping her out at Prom, for keeping her clear of JJ.

Her thoughts were interrupted when she saw another pair of girls ahead. One of them left as she watched, the other returning to... whatever it was she was doing.

Claire nearly turned around. She wasn't going to trust people or get into unnecessary altercations. This girl, however, had just parted peaceably with someone else. She was also working on something mysterious. In this sort of situation, information could be as much of a life-saver as a weapon. If there was some escape plot that could actually succeed, Claire would be in it in an instant. She doubted she would find one, but it wasn't worth dying over being too worried to check.

Claire stepped out, trying to catch the girl's eye. She kept her gun in her hand, ready to bring it up at a second's notice if she had to, but content to keep it lowered for the time being.

"Hey," she called. "What are you doing there?"
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Juliette Sargent
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MurderWeasel
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The other girl pulled out a gun too, pointing it in Claire's direction. Instantly, she had her own weapon readied and aimed. The other girl... Claire now recognized her as Autumn O'Leary. No kills, as far as she could recall. Autumn had always seemed a pretty decent girl, but none of that meant anything now. Jimmy Brennan hadn't killed for days. JJ had been an asshole. Everything was different here.

Autumn said she was making a pyre. Claire glanced around the area. There was a body, certainly. Somehow, she had avoided any more than a passing interaction with the older corpses throughout her time so far. Autumn's mission made her think for a second. Would she do the same for Aislyn, pay her body some sort of respect, deliver a posthumous thank you?

"Aislyn wouldn't want you to risk your life, not for something that wouldn't help her in the slightest."

Autumn's choice here seemed like a potentially fatal one. She was going to be distracted, prone to ambushes. Besides that, if she succeeded, any smoke could draw nearby players. Claire made a mental note to be gone before things reached that stage. This wasn't looking like such a safe haven after all.

"Friend of yours?" she asked. She kept the gun angled a bit off, just like Autumn was. She was paying very close attention to the other girl's movements, though, ready to respond at the first sign of something wrong. At the same time, she made sure to keep an ear open for anyone else. This wasn't a good tactical location at all.
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Juliette Sargent
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MurderWeasel
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It seemed Autumn was willing to show where things stood. Her threat was honest. That didn't make Claire feel a whole lot better about things, particularly where Autumn's mental health was concerned, but at least she was now forewarned. If Autumn caused trouble, or if conflict became inevitable, she'd have to be sure to take the girl's advice.

And then, Autumn explained that the pyre wasn't for the dead girl's good. Claire considered that, and quickly realized that what she had before assumed to be a negative side effect of the burning was actually its likely intended purpose. Smoke. A signal. The question now was, what for? The girl could be hoping to wave down a passing ship, but at this point in the game, that was a lost cause. She could be hoping to reunite with friends, using a prearranged signal. Or...

"It could be a trap. This may be the bait."

It was a decent plan for killing people, as long as the ones who showed up weren't on guard. The presence of a body, and the appearance of a funeral, would help put them at ease. The fact that Autumn hadn't fired yet meant nothing. She could just not want to risk Claire shooting her, too.

Claire was definitely not letting go of her gun, that was sure.

Autumn held out the lighter, and told Claire to make a wish. Slightly confused by the role she was expected to play, but not about to drop her guard and turn her back in order to light the fire, Claire smiled and said, "I think you'd better do the honors."
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Autumn dragged her pyre out to sea. As it turned out, she was planning a sort of viking burial. That would mitigate the direct attraction of players factor, and it also lent credence to the theory that Autumn was hoping to flag some rescue down, delusional as that was. As the body drifted away, Claire stood and watched. Autumn began to speak, talking to herself about how this wasn't fair. She was upset that things hadn't worked out for her, but, hey, weren't they all? The sense of entitlement was disconcerting, though. That was the sort of thinking that could easily lead to her deciding she was more deserving of survival than anyone else.

So Claire didn't interrupt the other girl's speech. She just let her go on. Autumn had, after all, dropped her guard to at least some degree while sending her raft off, a mistake Claire hadn't made during this encounter. She was pretty sure she was better equipped to deal with a conflict than Autumn.

She still didn't like it, though. She didn't like any of this. Being unable to trust people was the way to survive, but it also took a tole. Claire's friends had all died, though. All her stagettes were gone now, except for Samya, who she hadn't seen and wasn't as close to as, say, Aislyn. She was utterly, painfully alone.

She'd have been happy to have JJ back right now. Happy to have another shot at Brennan, for that matter.

Instead, she was stuck with Autumn, awkwardly waiting to see if the girl would snap.
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Snap.

Autumn was having some problems, it seemed. She was working herself up. Perhaps she felt judged. Her questions were clearly rhetorical. As she turned to face Claire, she practically whined, practically begged Claire to agree with her. It was just a little bit scary. Claire still had her gun in her hand, though. She would be fine.

And then, Autumn made a mistake.

She started talking about independence, talking like she was some paradigm of self-reliance trapped in a world of nepotism and handouts. She acted like she was the only one who'd been through bad things, like Claire had had someone holding her hand this whole time. That burned. After all, what had the trust Claire had extended to others brought her? Trouble. Pain. The only people she could have relied on were dead. She'd never even gotten to see Aislyn again. She'd determined to go it alone after all of that, determined that that was the better path, and now this girl was patronizing her.

"Yes," Claire said. "I can survive on my own. What, you think you're the only one who's seen shit? You think no one else is as tough as you? Well then, Autumn, why are you here lighting bodies on fire? Why aren't you already home free? Why is this even still going on?"

"Yes, I can say everything she said, and I suspect I'm being a damn bit more honest about it than she is."

Rising to this was, of course, not a perfect solution. It didn't resolve anything. It didn't do much except antagonize an unstable girl. But Claire was sick of being talked down to, and she had absolutely no reason to put up with it from Autumn. After all, she had her gun. It wasn't like Autumn would be able to try anything without Claire reacting first.
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Claire's words had stung Autumn, that was certain. The girl's voice crescendoed into a scream, an order to stop talking, to stop tearing her words and delusions into pieces. She pulled her weapon loose, and Claire tensed, ready to stop any conflict before it properly started. She didn't pull the trigger, though. It seemed Autumn still had enough self-control to avoid making a fatal mistake. Even while she pointed her gun, it was clear that she wasn't about to start shooting so easily.

And then she decided to question Claire, to try to turn things around and hurt her, perhaps. It wouldn't work. Autumn wasn't worth the thought. After what Claire had been through these past few days, Autumn's madness ranked as hardly even an irritation.

"I lost people," Claire said. "Everyone has."

She didn't feel any need to spill her personal pains and losses to Autumn. The girl was probably insane. She wasn't a friend, wasn't someone Claire could rely on or confide in. Everyone who fit that description was gone. Maybe after this, at home, she could talk to her parents about it. Until then, well, Aislyn was gone, and no one else fit the bill.

It was becoming ever clearer that there was nothing here for Claire, no reason to linger. At this point, she simply had to extricate herself from the situation in a manner that left no windows for Autumn to shoot her in the back. As a start towards this, she took a small step backwards, increasing the distance between herself and the other girl by a few inches.
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Juliette Sargent
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Autumn's reaction showed quite well the continued deterioration of her mental state. Even if her comments did make a little sense—albeit not in any logical fashion, but on an emotional association level—Claire didn't want to stick around to see what new insanity she manifested. Autumn hadn't become violent at any point, but she'd gotten close. She was now suggesting that Claire leave. That had been Claire's goal ever since she figured out that Autumn wasn't quite there.

The only trick was doing this safely. She had to be very careful. She had to make sure there was no opportunity to spring a trap.

"Do not let her shoot you in the back."

So Claire backed away, keeping her gun up and aimed. Throughout this whole encounter, violence had seemed nearly inevitable, but now they were done with each other, finished with this little standoff. Autumn could finish her silly plan, and Claire could get back to work actually making it out of here alive, making it home to her parents.

"Bye," she said. She could've said more, but brevity seemed politic here.

She kept moving backwards, not dropping her guard for an instant, until she was under the cover of the swamp. Once she was sure Autumn didn't have a line of fire, she turned and headed back towards the center of the island. She'd find somewhere better next time, somewhere without unstable people. Assuming, of course, such a place still existed on this island.

((Claire Lambert continued in So Close))
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