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I Will Follow You into the Dark; Private. Day 8
Topic Started: Apr 18 2011, 01:06 AM (5,613 Views)
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]




Had she bruised something?

Her legs still weren't working right.


Fuck this all.

Melissa was dead.

Lying on the ground.


You could have saved her.

You should have saved her.

Some superhero.

Deep breaths.

Choke back the tears.

A crash.






Not quite what she'd expected.

He had a gun.

He was angry.

Nick too.

This was supposed to be happy.



They all meet.





It's tense.

She calms them down.

Happy ending.

Fat chance now.

She was afraid.

More than that, though:


This was all wrong.

Too late to stop the fight.

Too late to do anything.

Always too late.

Nick had moved.


The two last people she cared about were going to kill each other.

It didn't matter who won.

No one could win.

One sure thing:

Jennifer would lose.

Stop this.

She started crawling towards her bag.

Stop this.

Stop this now.
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Maf was done following instructions, just doing what everyone told him to. No more.

No more was he going to stand idly by as once again, someone who just couldn't stop doing what he was doing to so many different people did it once again, and once again had the gaul to ask him to leave him alone.

He was up to his knees in over one hundred and seventy dead people, he wasn't going to let him get away with this any longer. He'd just killed one of Jennifer's best friends...who was next? Jennifer? There was nothing stopping him, no matter what, he just had to make sure that Nick didn't do anything more.

But killing was off the table.

Not to Nick though.

So what was he supposed to do now?

Well, Nick made that very decision for him. He charged.

Okay, this was it. Maf had to do it now. Just...close your eyes and tighten your finger.

Nick was getting closer.

Do it.


His hands couldn't move.

Nick's hands were at his side.

Maf's mind was screaming.

Do it.


His hands couldn't move.

Nick was close enough to see the tears in his skin.

He was supposed to pull the trigger now.

But they weren't moving.

C'mon, move.


Pull the trigger, you can do it.

But Maf's hands wouldn't move. He couldn't do it. It wasn't that he wouldn't do it, it was physically impossible for him to pull his finger in and discharge. He looked into his eyes, as they reached so close he could reach out and touch them, feel the veins pump fluid...

It was funny, in a way. In all the places that someone like him could be useful, it was here, in his most dire of times, that he fell short.

Which hit him like a hilt to the gut and a tackle to the upper body a split second later. In any normal situation, an assault like this wouldn't have meant anything. Nick was substantially weaker, smaller, and a hilt to the gut hurt no more than a fly to the gut. But this wasn't a normal situation, there was no way on earth that these sets of events could even scrape the concept of a normal situation. He was tired, fatigued, and hadn't gotten real exercise in a week, nothing substantially more intimidating than a real run, anyway.

Add onto that the unexpectedness of the assault and the ground underneath him having quite the unsubstantial footing, and you have yourselves a situation on your hands.

Maf tripped over. He fell over, in some way eerily similar to what happened to Quincy at the warehouse
which was not important now
and in the dimness of the day's light, he could see Nick moving with that sword. He felt a sharp pain in his back, something was digging into the back of his head. Did he hit something? He was standing over him, about to swing it down.

His breath was sharp, and fleeting. Leaving him. It could be his last one, but Maf saw down his self, and watched his foot lay in between Nick's feet. There was no time for thinking now. Maf was just acting on pure, concentrated instinct. His life was in serious danger, unparalleled to the warehouse, hell it overtook the warehouse by a mile.

His foot swept to the left. It bucked his legs, sent the strike to the side, where it could have embedded itself in his skull had he not been any quicker, or at least what anyone in his situation would naturally conclude. Naturally.

As Nick fell, Maf scrambled to his feet, clumsily and slowly. His eyes stuck on Nick's figure, holding that sword with such a purpose.

He didn't want anyone to die here. No one more.

But Nick was making it hard.

Maf strode forward, his head spinning like a top set to overclocked speeds, and wasting absolutely no precious seconds here, clasped his left hand over Nick's wrist, and his opposite hand to the sword. He ripped it out fiercely, no concern for Nick's wellbeing, not that he even deserved it in Maf's eyes.

"Now. You've got five seconds to explain yourself now Nick. 'And God help you if you think I'm joking'," Maf let the mirrored words sink in, just because...he didn't even know why he was doing that...

So much bitterness in his voice, every little bit of hate was just bubbling to the surface after all these years.
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I can't sing but I wrote you a song

Wrong notes but the melody's so clear

When I'm lost, I'm still close to gold

cause I found my treasure in you
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Nick sprinted over uneven ground, jumping in a harsh zigzag to frustrate Maf's aim. Whether that artifice was what kept him safe or whether it was simply Maf's own stupid unwillingness to pull the trigger on a sextuple-murderer, he wasn't sure. But there was one thing he did know: if you hesitated in SotF, you were as good as dead.

He bent his knees, gripped his weapon, powered up and forward, drove the hilt of the weapon into Maf's gut and his own shoulder into the boy's chest. The effect was nothing short of miraculous. Maf slipped, lost his footing, fell backwards. It surprised even Nick, who scrambled to keep his own footing. He'd bowled the kid over. Right onto the ground. Absolutely vulnerable.

No hesitation.

Righting himself completely, he whipped the sword free of the belt loop, placed his right hand on the blade, took one step forward and plunged it-

Right into the ground. He fell forward after it, hitting the earth with a mixture of confusion and frustration. Maf had managed to strike back, take him down in return. That wouldn't do. He hopped back to his feet just after Maf, heaving himself off the ground with his sword. He swung the swordpoint out of the ground in a wide arc, feinting high before coming in low, moving with deadly speed and power, driving home to shatter Maf's kneecap. Or at least that was the plan. In reality his swing was arrested midway by one meaty hand closing around his wrist, followed shortly by one around the blade.

He jockeyed for position, tried to aim the tip at his opponent, but there was an almighty jerk and blade and handle ripped free from his hands. The ferocity of it was shocking, frightening even. Nick's formidable grip broke almost instantly, his lifeline of a weapon wrenched free with a force that brought tears to his eye.

And that wasn't the worst of it. Maf was gloating. Insulting him, seeing how deep he could cut his his words. Adding insult to injury in the most literal way. He probably thought he'd won, thought he'd saved Jennifer, thought he'd brought a quick end to a gleeful murdering spree. Nick clenched his teeth, seething with resentment, roiling with waves of hot anger. He'd would show him. He'd show him just how wrong he was.

"Why should I explain myself to a dead man?"

He slipped the jutte from his back pocket and drove forward. His breath was coming harder now, his arms and legs alight with the warning of fatigue. He had to finish this, fast. Before he wore out completely, before he lost the element of surprise, before Maf used his superior range to run him through.

He pressed forward like a man possessed, scanning the battlefield, determined to take seize any edge he could find to overwhelm Maf's defenses. He snatched at the sword with one hand, nudged the tip aside and jumped in to strike, looked for something that would take him inside Maf's defenses, where he could end it all with a stab between the ribs.

He found the something.

Melissa's sword. It was just lying there, abandoned, shining in the sun. He could win with it. Quickly. He just needed to fight his way over, grab that beautiful shining blade. There was no doubt, absolutely no doubt in his mind that once he seized Melissa's weapon, engaged Maf in a real, honest-to-goodness swordfight, he'd find himself the victor the space of a breath. He could see himself already, making great flashing arcs of blood and steel, carving through flesh and bone, cutting Maf down like a tree.

He tested the tip of Maf's sword with the jutte. He just needed to get over there...



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She hated it.


The icepick had found its way into her hands.

Stand up.

Her legs felt better.



Maf went down.


Nick too.

Definitely fear.

It was all going wrong.




She hated it.

They were back up.


The two remaining people she cared about.


Trying to kill each other.

Always have to play peace keeper, eh?

Fuck it.


Deal with this.

Stop it.

A quick glance:


Still dead.

No waking up from this.

And still:


Jennifer was furious.

She was terrified.

She was sad.

Not crying anymore, though.

One step towards the conflict.



Pulse increasing.

Breathing speeding up.

Like at the beach.


She'd do it.

She'd stop it.

She'd fucked up one time too many.

Glance at Melissa.

One time too many?

Many too many.

She was supposed to be good at this.

Her one fucking skill.

Suddenly applicable.

All her normal words were gone.

Her speeches.

Her sympathy.

Her persuasiveness.

All that was left:

A plea.

"Just stop."

Too quiet.

Too weak.

Too useless.

She raised her voice.

Spoke loudly.


Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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In all his days of imagining how it could possibly end, a sword-fight never even came to mind. Of course, it wasn't a sword-fight, really, but a sword taking on a dagger, something that was nothing compared to a sword.

But that wasn't what mattered right now, technicalities. He wasn't expecting that new weapon to come out, or him to fight back more. Maf should have expected it, the same thing happened all those days ago. Nick had no hope, yet he was fighting anyway.

'The cornered rat will bite the cat.'

Nick was one hell of a biter it seemed.

The dagger ground against the tip of the sword, with power unknown. Instead of trying to press forward, Maf instead slowly started backwards, and pushed the tip of that...thing, in Nick's hands, away. But he didn't give up. He tried again, trying to slash at his neck now. Maf brought the sword up in defence, and it clanked soundly in defence. His attack didn't linger this time, he brought it back and struck forth, faster than before.

Maf once again stepped backwards. Whether he liked it or not, this was bad for him. He could lie to himself and say that it was safe to do what he was doing, but Nick had him right where he wanted him. Nick must have known by now. He knew that Maf wasn't going to kill him, known that if he pushed all the right buttons, all the right motions, he'd just be a big fat marionette for him to control in his own game.

But what could Maf do about it? With each strike Nick took at him, with each parry, block, and dodge, Maf found himself being thrown further steps backwards. Throughout this, he told himself that it'd be alright. It'd be alright, Nick couldn't kill him.

I just have to wait it out, what am I gonna do nex-




"Um, thanks again for the ride. And the food."

"No problem. Just...don't get involved in that again."


They say a voice can change everything.

Maf wasn't sure who 'they' were, but they were right. Jennifer's voice broke through the fight like she had her own blade, cutting away the opponent and lifting Maf as metaphorically as possible off his feet. As Nick's next attack clattered off his own sword flinchingly, it broke through to him, clear as the first day they ever spoke. The day she tried to fight his battle for him.

But he couldn't let this happen to him, or to her. However much he didn't like it, Nick had made this battle about him, not Jennifer, not anyone else on the whole damn island, but about Ma'afu Tuigamala and Nicholas Reid.

And this was wrong. It went so wrong. Maf took his eyes off his opponent for only a brief few seconds, and that was all it took. All it took for the whole thing to flip itself on its head and shit like crazy.


Nick must have seen him falter, and took this as a give. Before he knew it, there was a sharp and stabbing pain, overwhelming all his senses, on his waist as Nick's blade punctured his side, just missing his pelvis, and miraculously missing organs and the very important things that would help him die faster, before it was yanked out just as quickly.

This didn't do jack-all to the pain though. Maf let out a yell, almost a scream, and fell to his knees as he felt his own blood seep through his shirt, out the new piercings in his side. Now is where it got blurry for Maf. Through the pain, he didn't drop the sword. The gun was gone, a long time ago now, irrelevant. He didn't see it, didn't feel it, but as his hand was brought to his side, in some sort of attempt to grab at the wound, keep himself from bleeding out any more than he must have already been, he sliced through the air in front of him.

He could have sworn he felt resistance as the blade clattered to the ground beside him. But all his efforts were towards controlling the pain, and stopping himself from doing anything rash.
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
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I can't sing but I wrote you a song

Wrong notes but the melody's so clear

When I'm lost, I'm still close to gold

cause I found my treasure in you
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Nick rushed forward, jabbed, darted back out again. He'd done this sort of thing a hundred times before. Taking on a swordsman with just his little backup surprise. Coming out on top more often than not with the less experienced fighters. It hadn't been real back then, though. Back in St. Paul. Back in the old life. This wasn't a bridge battle, or a zombie match, or a bearpit. This time he was playing for keeps.

He tested the tip of Maf's sword - no, his sword, darnit, his sword that Maf was temporarily borrowing. The sword he'd won with his bare hands. He tested the tip, at any rate, with the weapon in his own hand. He needed to think. Look for openings. Imagine himself back at the park, battling a spearman. You had to get inside, avoid the point, throw the weapon wide and rush in. Do it right, and there was nothing they could do.

He pushed at the sword, swatted like a cat, tried baiting thrusts with his own body. Several times he closed in for the kill, and several times the opening proved too fleeting, his style too conservative, and he was forced back out of the killzone.

A word flitted through his mind like the memory of a fading dream. Stop. He shrugged it off. Stop? It was pointless, counterproductive. Why had he thought the word stop? It was clear, so abundantly clear that someone was going to die. Either he'd out-think and out-fight Maf, or - screw the second option. He'd out-think and out-fight Maf no matter what. He wondered where that though had come from, anyways. There wasn't anyone else there to say it. Just him and Maf and the jutte and the estoc, locked in their deadly dance until one of them was gone.

Stangely, Maf's eyes flicked away, as if he'd heard it too. That was his chance. Darting in, uninhibited, instinct and experience screaming out against the waste of a single precious second, he engaged the estoc, threw it wide, rammed the jutte forward.


It slipped in with that feeling that was like nothing else on earth. That shhhk sound, the resistance of human flesh, the insane knowledge that you were stabbing a human being, trying to kill someone and not doing a bad job of it. It was horrible, insane, bone-chilling, nightmare-inducing. And so fulfilling. It meant you were doing something about your situation, doing something about the competition, coming another step closer to home. And it resonated deeper still, darker still. It meant, through sheer revulsion, that you were still capable of human feeling.


It meant so much.

They didn't know what it was like not to feel. What it felt like to stumble through school and home in a daze, wearing that grim little face that wasn't a face, just pure unadulterated impassiveness. Carelessness. Apathy. There was an idea, it seemed, that emotion bred only weakness. The unshakable, unfeeling assassin. The endlessly logical Vulcan, genius unimpeded by feelings. They didn't exist. Stoicism wasn't a show of strength. It was a denial of all that it meant to be human, a thinking, feeling, imagining, creature with a brain that ran off of emotion. There was nothing to fall back on without the ability to feel. No hidden reserve of knowledge or strength. Just an endless waste, an expanse of nothingness that would rub one's mind raw and prolong every miserable second of it. It was instinct that made him ditch the drugs that stabilized his emotions into a flatline, all the way back on the first day. And then he'd carried on, half-denying the flood of adrenaline and endorphins and all those other chemicals that made his brain tick, half-terrified at the prospect of having to wrench it all out with a price paid in blood.

He pulled the weapon back, brain sparking like a loose power line. There was something else he knew. Jumping back, darting out of the way, moving just a little slower than he could have.

Pain exploded across his face, a searing agony more intense than anything he'd felt in his life. It almost obliterated his senses, sending him crashing to his knees, blacking his vision for a fraction of a second.

But when it flickered back, not all of it returned.

Blood. He was covered in it. Spattering, spraying, gushing, oozing, crusting over, flaking off, tacking skin together as it dried. He'd seen it all, felt it all, smelt it all. There was no shortage of it. Maf's blood trickled onto his hand from the bloody jutte. Melissa's blood daubed his shoes a muddy, dirt-caked rust. And his own blood oozed through his fingers, soaking his free hand clamped tightly over what was no longer an eye.


The exclamation tore from his mouth almost of its own volition. He had to do it. There was no other possibility now. He could see clearly now his future. And it all depended on pressing the attack, keeping the offensive, never for a second letting up.

Breathing heavily, drenched with sweat and blood, he hurled himself again at Maf.




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They didn't stop.

For a second, she misunderstood.

Thought they hadn't heard her.

Thought she hadn't spoken loud enough.

Thought she hadn't given it her best shot.

Thought there was still something she could do.

Thought she just had to raise her voice.

Thought she just had to cross her fingers.

Thought it could still be okay.

Maf turned.

Finally noticed her.

Nick didn't.

But nothing changed.

Nothing shifted.

No one threw down their weapons.

No one called for a truce.

No one asked for understanding.

No one apologized.

No one explained.

There was no miracle.

Just more fighting.

More aggression.

More anger.

More blood.

She hoped it wasn't for her sake.

No one dead.


Only a matter of time.

No other way for this to end.

She couldn't stop it.

She was helpless.

She realized that now. She'd done her best. She'd been sure it would change things. Sure it would fix them and make the world go back to normal. Sure that Nick and Maf would calm down and talk it out. Sure that it would somehow make Melissa's death have some meaning. It didn't. Nothing changed. Jennifer's best friend had died in front of her eyes, and now the only two people she still cared about were killing each other in front of her. This was what Survival of the Fittest was all about, wasn't it? This was the truth of the show, of the experience. It wasn't about dying. Not entirely, at least. It was about taking everything away from the people who didn't die. It was about making you watch your entire world fall apart. It was about burying you under the reality of your thoughts and fears. It was about giving you just enough hope to hang yourself with. It was about teaching you that dreams didn't come true. It was about leaving you a broken, sobbing wreck. The death was nothing but the end. Perhaps, for some, it was even merciful. Maybe some people had faith in a better world afterwards. Maybe Melissa had. Jennifer, though, knew there was nothing. There was here. There was now. There was Nick. There was Maf. There was blood and stabbing. There was inevitable death. There was heartbreak. There was knowledge. Intrinsic knowledge. Horrible knowledge. The knowledge that this was the end. Maybe not the end of her life. Probably not. Either potential victor would let her live. Either would take her along with him. Either would care about her. Either would try to keep her safe. Either would watch as she was eventually shot in front of him, or would die in her arms. Here, now, this wasn't the end of her existence. The end of something, though. Happiness? Not quite the right fit. That had been over a week ago. Any signs otherwise had been the emotion's death throes. Maybe togetherness. Yes. That was it. There would be no more togetherness. She would be with one of them, but they wouldn't be together. She would be alone with someone else. That was how most people were on the island, she realized. Just different people, lost and alone. She had never been alone before. She had been without people, but she had known that there were others out there she cared about. She had had goals. Hopes. Friends to look for. Friends not to look for. Friends. She still had friends. She would still be alone. She didn't quite know why, but it was the truth. There was nothing in her future now. Nothing but loneliness. Nothing but more of the same. Nothing but tagging along with whoever came out on top. Nothing but being a hollow shell trying to play therapist to a damaged husk. Nothing but regret. Nothing but reminiscence. Nothing but wishing for the past. Nothing but fantasizing about better days. It didn't matter who won this game. It didn't matter who won this fight. There was no winning. Jennifer didn't think she could look either in the face, though she knew she would travel with the survivor for the rest of her life. She wanted to die. She wanted to hide. She wanted to be at home. She wanted Melissa. There was just too much. Too much. It was crushing her.

This all took two seconds to realize.

A second later, as blood sprayed from Nick's face, as he started to yell, Jennifer found her escape hatch. It wasn't perfect. It wasn't good. Probably wasn't healthy. She would hurt Nick, hurt Maf, hurt herself. She had to take it, though. It was what she'd always done when the conflict got too bad, when she couldn't calm things down, when she was completely helpless and alone and out of options.

She took off, away from the fight, away from the pain, away from Melissa's body. Somehow, she maintained the presence of mind to grab one of her packs on the way.

It was the one she'd packed for the camping trip. The one containing the clothes she would never wear again. The one that didn't have any water, or food, or medical supplies, or map, or compass, or flashlight.

It was the important pack. The one she needed.

And she left the conflict behind.

((Jennifer Perez continued in Better Days))
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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((So fucking sorry about the wait, personal shit has just been getting in the way lately))

It hurt so much, so fucking much, the gaping wound in his side was pulsing a small current of blood, staining his shirt and the skin beneath it like dye. It wasn't controlled, just getting larger and larger and larger as the pain kept growing and growing and growing; all his senses were snapped towards it, his hand feeling the wound, twanging with pain every time his clumsy fingers ventured through the roughly cut cloth and into his own body. The the nerves would light up like a fire, sending a grunt of displeasure up his throat, uncontrolled, but he had to control it.

Jennifer wanted him to stop. He'd stopped. Maf had even stopped raising the sword in his defence now, and now look where it lead him. Bleeding. In so much pain.

But Jennifer didn't see it that way, she was gone. The only ones left on the mountainside were himself and the guy who just gave him a permanent reminder of what he'd done-

-and Maf had unintentionally returned the favour.

Never in his life did he imagine what it would be like to see what was happening in front of him. Nick was clutching his face, dangerously close to his eye, where blood was dripping out, almost the mirror image of his own wound, but...


...that was him.

Whatever it was, Maf did it.

He'd broken his mental promise from all those days ago. Maf did have it in him to harm someone, but as far as he was concerned, it wasn't him harming someone, it was just an accident.

...accident. That didn't resolve him of guilt at all, it was still his fault.

He should have known that.

But it wasn't the time to be thinking. It was the time to be acting. Nick was screaming, the blood covering almost his entire body, now that he saw it. He could see the spit spray through the air, the ferocity in his lungs and in his words flung through the air, leaving nothing to the imagination.

And then he flung forward.

Nick closed the space quicker than Maf could comprehend, and quicker than he could think.

But basic instinct took over him.

This was it.

He was going to die here.

Jen would remember a murderer.

Nick would write him down as a notch.

Bret would get the satisfaction of seeing him die.

Jason and Nathan and Brook would get the satisfaction of not having to put up with him again.

Worst of all, he'd die here, and everything he'd ever done so far on the island would amount to nothing.

Maf never even got to say one word to Jennifer, only the mere fragment of such.

Maf never got to find out what happened to Brook.

Maf was never going to apologise.

To everyone he'd dissapointed.

For doing what he did.

For hurting someone.

For hurting Nick.

For lying to them.

To himself.

Which was why it didn't fly through his head when the basic instinct of the human body took over. Maf's left hand left the wound, and clenched at the sword as Nick got ever so close again. The dagger was almost close enough to pick at his teeth, and Maf swung the sword in front of him. Instinct.

There was an almighty tear. A knife through a raw steak.

And Maf's hands felt warm.
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
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I can't sing but I wrote you a song

Wrong notes but the melody's so clear

When I'm lost, I'm still close to gold

cause I found my treasure in you
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Come, sweet death))

I'll kill you I'll kill you I'll kill you I'll kill you I'll kill you

He ran. The ground pounded beneath him. His heart pounded inside him. The world spun around him.

Just him and Maf, alone in the world. A world of blood and pain and blood and death and blood. Thick, pungent, salty blood staining his teeth and reddening his tongue. Endless, gushing, slippery blood running between his fingers, down the back of his hand, along his arm. Crunchy, rusted blood on every flat and fold of his body. And above it all, more persistent than the dribbling warmth, more pervasive than the smell of iron,


It was what drew the world close around him, obliterating everything but him and Maf, bound their fates so that only one could ever walk away. A maddening, frenzied pain that would have a man splitting his fingernails against his opponent's bones before the end, just to spite him. They'd die together, a thousand stab wounds apiece, cut and jabbed and bled to death.

But he could end it right there.

He was flying through space, rushing forwards ever faster, flushed with purpose. Driving his starved, reedy body towards the massive boy with the massive sword. Maf was moving, too. Nick watched the estoc whirling in an arc, glimmering and bloody, beautiful and deadly. The motion wasn't practiced, the aim not precise. A telegraphed swing. So simple to dodge. It would be the work of an instant, just a tiny sidestep and the point would skim his billowing jacket instead of ramming through his side. Half a dozen instinctive movements flashed into possibility. One of them fired.

He moved.

The point missed his side.

It hit him dead-center instead.

He surged forward, feeling his body splitting around the cold steel as it passed deeper into his gut, watching his blood run in gushing rivulets down the blade, over Maf's hands. He threw a wild stab, but his target was retreating, moving back, drawing the sword out and leaving a gaping hole behind. Nick took a faltering step, dropping onto one knee.

It's over.


No more.

"Hah. Ha, hah."

I'm done.

He laughed. His throat seized, his stomach tore, his entire body shook like a leaf, but he laughed. He vomited up each syllable, bubbles of blood and spit and bile popping over his lips, splashing his cheeks with tendrils of sticky ooze. But he laughed nonetheless. He wanted to grin. He wanted to cry. He wanted to live. He wanted to die. He wanted to touch off every emotion he'd ever locked away, feel them surging through his body as they shot off like fireworks. There was so much to do, and so blessedly little time to do it all in. So he laughed.

Over. The word hammered itself into his mind. It was all over. Everything.

He was going to die.

He rose unsteadily to his feet, pressed the attack for the hell of it. Grabbing, parrying, creating openings he was too slow and weak to take advantage of. It was his last fight ever. He was bleeding out. Exsanguination, that was the fancy word for it. Not that it mattered. Not that anything mattered now. There was nothing on earth that anyone could do to him now. No one could save him. No one could damn him. There was only pain and bleeding and dying to do. He was never going home again - except that this was his home now. His new home for his new life, where all that he'd become lay rotting in the caves and on the grass.

He staggered forward, still laughing, still floating on a cloud of pain and adrenaline. There was an opening there, an opening no one but him would ever take. An opening that wasn't really an opening.

Starting as fast as his quaking legs would move him, he moved forward. One hand swinging the dagger toward Maf's gut, the other stretched out to intercept the tip of the sword.

The bloody point slid into his outstretched palm.

It didn't stop there.

He stood silently for one second, looking at his ruined palm, tracing the blade where it protruded just past his elbow. He stood for just one second before Maf released his grip. The sword fell. He collapsed. The crossguard hit the ground, wrenched his bones apart, pushed every pain receptor to its white-hot screaming limit and beyond, blocked out all his other senses with the explosion of agony.

Pain wracked his body, pain so intense he wondered that he hadn't died of it already. He was lying on his back, staring with one eye at the brilliant sun overhead. It wasn't a bad last thing to stare at. The progenitor of life on Earth, the silent witness as four billion years of evolution ticked off another failed attempt. Everything else was growing dim, fading away, swirling into blackness.

But he didn't mind.

His ruined arm was just a little split, a burst seam on an empty shell of a body housing an empty shell of a life. A life that was finally, mercifully, over. There would be no more coasting through existence in a haze of antidepressants and sleep deprivation. No more expectant silences by doctors and psychologists. No more quiet sobs drifting under his door while his parents thought he was asleep. No more wondering if there would ever be a light at the end of the tunnel, no more gazing at a bottle of sleeping pills and pondering for just a second how nice it would be to take them all at once. No more wondering if his endless thoughts would ever leave him at peace. The stage of his mind would be finally, mercifully, blank. The last curtain call. The end of thought. Oblivion.

He couldn't laugh. He couldn't breathe. His mind was spinning away, shutting down, dissolving into nothingness.

For the first time in a long, long time,

He smiled.

B055 Nick Reid: Deceased
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There was nothing there on that mountainside.

A few drips of blood scattered from the end of a blade, tip to the sky.

They joined another blade.


The blade he stole from Nick.

Lying on the ground, just as wet as the blood from the body.

And Maf's body.

Still flowing deep.

It was so clear now. The breaking darkness as the sun finally took over the scene after minutes of motionless idling. Light crept across the uneven ground, slowly reaching that small patch of land.

Maf's eyes broke to watch it creep.

It reached Nick.

He blinked.

And just like that, the full impact of what he had done swept over him. His normally strong legs buckled beneath him like rotted tree trunks under pressure, and his upper body followed suit. Maf doubled over on the ground, his hands clawing at the dirt, and the contents of his stomach bubbled over after a minute of violent coughing. Cups of violent green bile forced its way up his throat, and burnt badly enough and smelling noxious enough to almost start the whole process all over again. Sure enough, once what he thought was the final mouthful of acids and waste splattered to the ground, the violent coughs started all over again, and his stomach emptied itself on the mountainside once more.

When his head finally stopped hanging low, he looked back up at the body...and this time he stopped acting and his mind started dragging itself out of proportion.

I killed him.

It wasn't possible.

I killed Nick Reid.


I had the sword, I could have just run, but I killed him.

There was no excuse. He hadn't been forced to kill, Danya hadn't won. He couldn't have just proven him right, if he hadn't been so eager to look for Jennifer when he knew, he KNEW that Nick was going to be here. No, he hadn't just suspected, he'd been certain to a tee that he was here. And he'd charged here, not even thinking.

And now Melissa was dead, and Jennifer was gone, and Nathan was nowhere, and Nick was dead, and Liam was somewhere having just killed again, and he was just like Liam now, and Jason, killers.

There were no words to describe, in English, in Fijian, in any sort of language, the amount of shame, and guilt, and every encompassing emotion that was pecking at his metaphorical liver as he stood planted there on his hands and knees, rooted to the ground, just unable to look away from the horrific scene that was all his fault.

And this was it now.

This was the beginning of the end.

Nobody would ever want to even think of being near him ever again. He would die, and Jennifer, and Nathan, and everyone else who was still out there, each of them their own percentile, wouldn't see him again as the same person. He felt different, a new mask. It wasn't his choice. He didn't want to be painted in this colour for the rest of his life, but this was the hand he was dealt.

The most painful thing in the world was knowing that it was all out of his control. He had no say in this. It was way beyond that now. Maf didn't even realise the red flag of choice was waved in front of his face a long time ago, but since he'd been so single-mindedly focused...

It was still so silent on that mountainside...

But he couldn't stop.

There was still time.

His own conscience was overwhelming him, but to everyone else he wasn't a killer yet. His name was still Ma'afu Tuigamala, and...and he had to make sure he could find Jennifer again. He had to find her, because...because if she could still want to find Nick, after everything he'd done, after all those people he'd killed, and she'd forgiven him, like Maf knew that someone like Jennifer Perez could do...then she had to do the same for him.

She had to.

He'd never stop feeling guilty, he'd never get over it, he'd never take this in his stride like so many people seemed to be doing thus far, but it was a step in a direction.

But even though he wanted to do this so badly, it seemed fate had other plans.

It was such a bad position to be kneeling in for such a long time. Such a bad angle, the wound was being drained faster and faster each minute, and the moment he tried standing up, taking his bag from a short distance away through tiny steps, his head was rocked by a rush of dizziness.

No no no way, not now...

Every step felt staggered, every breath felt weak. He'd lost so much blood Maf couldn't even tell which way was up anymore, it all blurred into a single direction: downwards.

Which was where he ended up going.

His legs gave way once more, but this time there wasn't nearly enough energy in his arms to catch him. He hit the slope, and his body followed.

Maf fell down the mountainside, and before he could even rationalise a way out, he passed out.

But he kept on falling.

((Ma'afu Tuigamala continues elsewhere))
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I can't sing but I wrote you a song

Wrong notes but the melody's so clear

When I'm lost, I'm still close to gold

cause I found my treasure in you
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A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.
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((Jason Harris continued from Legoland Empire))

Jason had run as fast as he could but he was tired and hungry, his adrenaline all worn out. He had caught of with Nathan pretty quickly but the two had separated, not too far but far enough to be out of earshot for the time being. Jason was confident enough they would meet up again. His chest heaved as he leaned up against a solitary tree sprouting from the side of the mountain. The foliage here was sparse and every step he had made echoed down the mountainside. Everything felt ominously quiet, perhaps a subconscious hint that more and more of his classmates had fallen prey to Danya's machinations. Jason refused to acknowledge that this was a game. This was real and anyone not treating it as such would pay the price.

His train of thought was interrupted by the clash of steel on steel and the throaty shouts of men engaged in a fight. He recognised the yells of Maf echoing down the mountainside and he picked up his pace; his friend could be in danger. The yells had stopped now as he clambered around a large outcrop and continued on his way up, Jason hoped he was not too late.


Jason's voice echoed around the mountain amplified by the rocks around him. There was no answer.

Not good, this is not good

He turned the corner and paused. There was blood everywhere. The smell of burning flesh. Bodies. Plural. Something had gone down here and the aftermath was grisly. Jason pulled his gun out and carefully moved in to the area, firstly checking the two bodies and then the packs laying haphazardly around the small battle site. Melissa. Nick. After he was sure the coast was clear he made careful note of the two deceased students. His nose rankled as he dragged Melissa's pack away from the body and slid the Kampilan away, jamming it in to his belt. The smell of burning flesh was something he did not appreciate.

There was food and water in here. Even more in the second pack he found. Extra medical supplies too and a cooker. An extra flashlight.

Fucking Jackpot mate Jason thought to himself despite the situation. He wolfed down a loaf and took a swig of water from the bottle before continuing his investigation. He was starting to get seriously worried about the effects of dehydration but now he was confident about lasting a few more days with this new found cache. As he gathered up the other items around he noticed a glint of metal. Not the dagger gripped in Nick's cold hands but the oh so familiar shape of Maf's Astra 400. Jason picked it up tentatively and checked the magazine. It was full but there should be more bullets around the place. Sliding his own pistol in to his backpack Jason placed the Astra in his waistband and continued to look around.

Maf wasn't here and judging by the packs everyone else was dead. Which could only mean one thing. Maf had killed. Jason wasn't sure about the ramifications here. Ever since that accident on the football field Maf had been the very essence of a gentle giant, keeping to himself and not willing to hurt anyone. There wasn't time though if he was going to catch up to his friend. There was only one blood trail leading away and Jason followed it closely dreading where it would lead every step of the way.

It took him all of five minutes to reach the slope where the blood trail ended. Far below he could make out a figure, sprawled on the ground far below. Jason took a sharp inhalation of breath as he took in the sight.

"Shit. Nathan! Over here!"

Jason closed his eyes for a second to steel himself before beginning his descent.

((Jason Harris continued in Not Fade Away))

Edited by Fanatic, May 19 2011, 12:42 AM.
Sickness: Partially suicidal... very slightly because of my report, but mostly because Jason is dead. All of my personal issues stem from the fact that Jason Harris did not win SotF v4

William 'Woozie' Wu - "Hey Pheebs, you're amazing babe."

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On the left is a mod, on the right is a pre-made psycho...get the picture?
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((Nathan Choultard continued from Legoland Empire))

Why was he following him? More importantly why was he allowing it to happen? Jason had said nothing about the announcements and instead the primary frocus was Maf.

It was one of the reasons that Nathan now allowed Jason to lead. He felt safer when he wasn't in front. Now he hoped that he could find Maf, before it was too late.

His body felt heavy. Weighed down by all that had happened before. All the things he could have done to stop the events that had happened. The split of the group, the murders the situation in the warehouse. Whether they were his fault or not, he took responsibility.

Nathan's legs froze when he reached the scene before him. It was chaos before him there was a bloody mess around the head and body of a woman, Melissa Li. There was the smell of something frying that nearly made him dry heave. Turning away he found another body with a bloody mess around his chest and arms. A smile was still on his face and that was what made it worse. Here lay the body of Nick Ried, notorious killer and he was smiling.

Nathan had covered his mouth and nose in a weak attempt to numb his senses. The smells assaulted him and left him with a desire to gag, but nothing came out. The only time he had been thankful that he had eaten and drunk little.

Jason, instead of taking in the situation. Ate bread and drank water that he found from their packs. He ate bread...in the midst of a murder scene. And then he laying on the ground, as if he was some salvager that was just looking for parts he could use. How could he be so casual?

Nathan gulped. That was it wasn't it? That was the proof that Jason had been a murderer. Did he not care? He showed no remorse at the scene. Was it the same when he killed Tiffany?

"Shit. Nathan! Over here!"

Jason quickly decended down the cliff. Clearly he had scene something that caught his eyes. Seeing as the scene before him didn't, Nathan was unsure if he had wanted to see such a scene. Even so, something new had taken over his mind.

His eyes turned to his small pack. The pack that had carried the tiny little pistol that he had been assigned since the very beginning. It hadn't been loaded throughout his entire stay on this hell of a place. He gulped again, placing the pack down and unzipping the bag. There was not a real sheen to it, it looked more like a dark metallic tube with a rubber end. The bullets had the real sheen, looking more like fresh copper tubes than anything else all of them lined up in neat little strips of 6.

Geoffrey would want an answer, just like Nathan would.

Nathan reached for the gun and the stip. His quivering hand recoiled when he touched the gun again. He frowned turning back to where Jason had gone. He gulped and grabbed the gun. He fumbled with it for several minutes before he could slide the strip into it's container.

It had been really easy. Loading the gun. It's easiness made Nathan shudder. He grabbed the bag and walked to the edge. His hand wouldn't stop shaking he tried to restrain it, but it just wouldn't stop.

"I just need an answer..." he mumbled to himself before descending the slope.

He was more scared than when he was trapped in the warehouse.

This is the right thing to do...right?

((Nathan Choultard continued elsewhere))
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B054:Oscar Trig-Smoker, Artist, Film Buff

Please, message me if you have ideas, I sure don't!

Fall down seven times...
Stand up eight...
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