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A Slight Change of Plans; See Midmonths
Topic Started: May 18 2011, 06:37 PM (5,636 Views)
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((Mike Moretti & Violet Druce continued from Throw It On a Fire. written by Hallucinogenic & posted on his behalf))

Goodbyes were never easy. For Violet, they were all too final.

Her mother had died when she was tiny, so she didn’t have that closure. Whenever she got asked what her one wish would be - had they found a genie someday – she wouldn’t answer. She’d clam up, and keep the truth to herself because she didn’t want to spoil the game. Sometimes she’d fake it, tell her friends something funny to keep the atmosphere light, but if they asked right now, as she and Mike headed towards the beach, there was only one thing she would say.

That’s why she’d been so quiet since they left the house. Mike didn’t want to upset her, so he didn’t push for a reply, yet all he wanted to do was make sure she was alright. He wanted to hold her again, just for a little while, but he knew he shouldn’t. Whatever feelings he’d grown for her were destined not to flourish; her mind was always elsewhere, always focused on someone else. But that was okay. If they started anything now, here, it would only end in heartbreak either way. That’s how life went on the island. Couples tore themselves apart, friends lost each other, siblings turned to rivals, and they all ended up alone.

One by one, the tin soldiers fell, and there was no-one there to catch them.

At least, that’s what he believed before the announcements came earlier than they should, and the voices weren’t familiar and sadistic.
And that’s why they’d travelled so far in so few an hour.

They weren’t looking for a pit stop, or a house full of supplies, not this time. They’d heard the voice of God, or his human counterpart, and he decreed it the rapture. They were going home. All their hope had been made real, and all he could think about was his family, his old friends, his neighbours, his whole entire life that he thought he’d never get the chance to live again. His face still felt sticky where the tears had ran, and though he hugged her and laughed and cried over and over again, he never noticed the look in Violet’s eyes, nor the falsity of her smile.

Because you see, Violet was never any good at goodbyes.

---

Reaching the shore at long last, stained as it was with blood and debris from days of fighting, the two of them stared out at the sea with breathless gasps of disbelief.

Nothing could’ve prepared them for the emotions they felt when they saw that shimmering lifeline to the real world for the very first time. It was as though they’d both been born again, like someone had given them new blood; new eyes to see with. Everything glowed and sang as the boat bobbed up and down in some mad hypnotic fashion. It was real, and it was here, just for them. There were others on board that they could see from where they stood, and a surly-looking man stood tall in front of them, beckoning them both with a wave of his hand.

Mike didn’t think it could be possible – how could something this good happen to them when they were so definitely doomed to die. All that running, and starving, and guilt, and death, and what had it accomplished? All of that was a dream to him now, to both of them, like they’d finally woken up and saw the sun for the first time in years. It blinded them, but softly, and warmly, and as they bathed in the miracle the tow of them began to fall away from one another.
He couldn’t contain himself, as he dropped his pack to the ground and shambled forwards out from the trees and the shade. His face felt wet once more, but he didn’t care; of course he didn’t, no-one would, not when he was about to be set free. The sand felt different too, gentler on his feet, as though he weighed nothing at all, like air. Such liberation, and yet, still, there was a jabbing in his heart. Something was wrong. What was it? The sand felt a little less gentle again as he turned his head to the side.

There was Violet, that hadn’t changed. But why wasn’t she moving? Was she afraid? He looked back to the man on the boat, who beckoned them furiously with his whole body, screaming for them to get on board. If they didn’t leave now, they’d be stuck here until they died. He knew she didn’t want that, so what was keeping her here?

It hit him suddenly, like a bullet.

He knew the reason why.

He’d known it all along, whenever she mentioned his name, or when she found that jar in his bag. Every time she thought about him, her face would light up, and she’d remember another one of their times together, back when they were filming, or whenever he stayed over just so they could stay up late watching the entire Elm Street series. The two of them may have drifted in the past year, she’d told him one night, but she missed him. So much it kept her awake some nights, she’d said. He remembered how he felt when she told him that part, how long he’d spent not knowing her. It didn’t matter before all this, when they were just kids like everybody else. They moved in different circles and they didn’t share a class, but here, everything was different. They’d been drawn together, and now that they were so close to escaping, he couldn’t let her go. He had to tell her. Trent was probably on the boat already, waiting for her, so this was the last chance he had to say something before they headed back. He took her hand-


“I’m not going.”


-before she took it away.

Even though he hadn’t seen it coming, he wasn’t surprised. It was always going to end like this, wasn’t it? That guy was always going to come first.

“I’m sorry, I just, I need to find him. I need- I need to know he’s okay before I leave.”

She was torn. He could see it in her face. Every rational part of her wanted to grab hold of him and run for the boat, faster than she’d ever ran in her life, but she knew that she couldn’t. She just couldn’t.

“I’m so sorry, Mike, I- I just- I know we’ve been through so much, and oh God, I’ve been so lucky to have you with me, I-“

More tears. They’d shed so many today, but these were different. These meant she would never see him again. Those were the kind that came out in fractured cries and hiccups, showing him just how much she actually cared about him. Then came that desire again, the one that told him to hold her, to never let go. This time he’d oblige, because he finally understood. He’d never been second-best, not even when he let down his guard and she got hurt, and it all made sense now, all of it.

She tried to say something, but he shushed her quietly as she fell back into his chest. The man was still shouting far behind them, but he waved him away. I’ll be there in a minute, this told him, just give me this before I go.

And once she’d settled down, and her body stopped twitching with the force of this farewell, they both began to laugh. It always felt good to laugh, didn’t it? Yeah, he thought, always good. He wiped away her bangs with his fingers, like he’d always wanted to do, and smiled as their laughter trickled into silence.

This was the last time he would ever see her face, or say something encouraging, but nothing seemed to come. It was too hard to lie and say it was all going to be okay, because they were beyond that now. Once he got on that boat, they’d be apart, and he’d never forgive himself for letting her go, not ever, but he knew there was no going back for her. Not now. Not while someone out there needed her, much more than she needed him.

She smiled sadly, wiping another loose tear from her eyes, and exhaled deeply.

He smiled too, then held her tight.

She felt his breath wash over her hair, then listened as he spoke into her ear.

“I wish we could’ve had what you’ve got with him.”

Another breath, as they stood in the light, then he steadily slipped out of her grasp.

By the time he looked back, when he was halfway to the boat, she was already gone.


But he swore he would always remember her.

B073, MICHAEL MORETTI: ELIMINATED

((Violet Druce continued elsewhere))
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((Jennifer Perez continued from A way a lone a last))

It was total coincidence that Jennifer found herself staring at a boat on the east beach. She'd passed out of the felled forest after dealing with the other girl, not really sure where she was going or what she was doing, just looking for somewhere to be. She'd figured she'd just go somewhere safe and be there for a while, but nowhere was safe in this game, not anymore. Everywhere was full of death and destruction. Everywhere was a graveyard.

There was, however, one place where she had felt safe recently, where she had been able to escape everything for a while. The roof of the groundskeeper's hut had been her sanctuary, and, more than that, it was a place other people were unlikely to be. Okay, it was also a danger zone, but that would be cleared at the next announcement. She could just go there again and sit on that roof until she died or was forced to move. It was as good a goal as anything else.

So she'd backtracked through a little pass in the mountains, avoiding the place where it had all gone wrong, avoiding where Melissa and who-knew-who-else lay. She'd looped past the house of mirrors again, and she'd remembered, and she'd wished she'd never left that note. It had brought Nick to them, and that was why Melissa was dead. It was so fucked up. All she'd done was try to remain with her friends, to find some comfort and safety in this game, just for a little while. She hadn't asked for much. Fuck, she'd not even wanted to live that much longer. She hadn't even really expected Melissa or Maf or Nick to get off. They were just supposed to outlast her, to spare her the pain of seeing them go.

She'd moved quickly, covering the entire ground in maybe four or five hours, walking tirelessly. It was quicker, moving when you no longer gave a fuck that someone might stumble over you and fill you with bullets.

It wasn't like they would. No one except Jimmy Brennan had made so much as a move to physically harm Jennifer during her stay on the island. She was protected by diplomatic immunity or something, the fucking Switzerland of Survival of the Fittest. Neutral. Not a threat to anyone. Someone you could go cry to, no matter how many murders you'd committed.

Her hands were entwined in her hair, yanking at the short strands, not hard enough to really hurt, but plenty to keep a constant pressure on her scalp. She didn't even know what she was doing. She was lost, not in any geographical sense, just lost with herself. Maybe she'd never been anything but lost. She'd never been the most collected person, never in her life. She'd been one push away from a nervous breakdown before the trip. It was a fucking miracle she'd kept together as well and as long as she had.

And now she was pretty much ready to throw it all away, to just give up and sit and die. She just had to wait until the announcements cleared the hut. In the meantime, she was sitting in the greens, looking at the mansion and wishing it was full of people, wishing she could go insane enough to repopulate this island in her head. A strong grasp on reality really fucking sucked right now, seemed like.

But maybe she was going crazier than she'd thought, because, just so very dimly, she'd heard voices, promising safety and salvation. She'd heard the siren call of a rescue, a return to reality.

She'd gone.

It hadn't been easy. She'd burned the majority of her energy earlier, on the trek here. She'd stumbled and wheezed, a stitch in her side and blisters on her feet and all the time so close to sure that she was being tricked, being led into some slaughter. She didn't care. Not a bit. Death was inevitable. Maybe someone would finally just shoot her, prove that she actually mattered in some way, that she was worth a bullet or something.

It had taken her a couple hours just to get from the greens to the beach. Her legs were cramping badly. Her mouth was dry. She'd had plenty to drink from streams, but that had been some time ago. Maybe if she wasn't shot, if they kept up the usual routine and looked at her funny and maybe talked to her a bit, maybe she'd go back to the mansion and hope it had a well.

Only, it hadn't been a trick or a trap.

There was a boat, and Jennifer was down the beach from it, a ways away from it, staring at it, and it was so incredibly, painfully clear that they were real and saving people and taking them home and also that they were wrapping it up right now, that she'd fucked around too long and was going to get left behind.

She only had the slightest moment of hesitation, of guilt. She was leaving her friends behind, those who were still alive. She didn't know if there were any, if Nick or Maf or—through some miracle—both, had managed to limp away from that fight. In that moment, though, looking at the boat, she didn't give a fuck.

At the end of the day, Jennifer Perez had always been a selfish person, and she knew it well.

She wanted to live. She wanted to keep going. She didn't want to find out what happened after death, didn't want to lie rotting on this island. Yeah, she'd probably die on this boat instead, probably be sunk, probably have her corpse picked clean by the fish, but she just didn't give a fuck. It was better than this. Anything was better than this.

She knew what she was signing up for, of course. Psychology was her favorite subject, so she knew all about PTSD and Survivor's Guilt and Stockholm Syndrome and all those other awful things. She knew she was probably going to regret this moment to at least some degree for a long, long time, if she made it past the next couple days.

She could live with that.

So she ran. She ran as quickly as she could. Fuck aching muscles and burning lungs and throbbing sides. She ran and she called out, though it was more of a wheeze, "H-hey, um, hey w-wait for... um, wait for me."

And she made it. She made it into view, and the boy running things, he gave her an odd look and gestured for her to hurry, and she couldn't speed up but she made it anyways, and they did something to her collar and it fell away and she collapsed into the little raft and was ferried to the boat, and she just sat there and cried again, just like she always did.

G005, JENNIFER PEREZ: ELIMINATED

And she didn't even notice until the boat pulled away that somehow the icepick had left her hand, that it was still lying there on the beach, glinting in the sun.
V7:
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As the flow of students steadily decreased, Nate continued to glance around, making sure there were no unpleasant surprises in store. Not a single killer or player had seen fit to grace his beach. It was a real pity, too. He'd been ready to make his point with bullets, ready to smoke some smug fucker. Lombardi would've been absolutely perfect. Really, though, any sick, sadistic monster would've done. All the better to make the people next season reconsider. All the better to mess up Danya's game once and for all.

The players were nothing more than Danya's goons, his pets and disciples. They were the sort of people who came up with ideas like SOTF. It was fitting that they lost their lives to it. They might be a new batch of killers, but they were no different from those of past versions, of Test Run Eight.

Nate had never forgiven them. Never even come close.

"Get moving." A voice from his radio. "You're gonna have company soon. Looks like a couple patrol boats decided there was something more important to do than saving the boss."

"Damn."

Nate hadn't been expecting that. Their group was about as poorly-armed and prepared for conflict as could be. They could tangle with some half-starved, crazed, murderous high-schoolers with hardly a bullet to spare. A boatful of armed and trained operatives was a different story altogether.

"Pack it in, people," he called. "We're going. Now. Collars are top priority. If they've decided to make a point, they may have some tricks ready there, too."

The last collar came off the last student, and Nate gestured them on, running himself. No time to spare. No time to mess things up. Within minutes, they were on the boat, roaring across the ocean. Pursuit would take time. It would be uncoordinated, he hoped. It would still be their heads if they got caught.

He just hoped the assault team had had a smoother time of things.





Of course, the rescue attempt and its aftermath were not broadcast live. The terrorists still had enough control to cut the feed. When it did air, half a day later, the only shots were from an extreme distance. It was hard to tell what was going on, hard to identify the students moving around. The boat was nearly invisible.

The film cut to another shaky shot, clearly from the deck of a boat, of a pair of distant explosions, though what exactly was blowing up was impossible to discern. Text scrolled over the screen:

"An attempt was made by a military organization to rescue some of the contestants in this season of Survival of the Fittest. The lives of many students were lost as a result of the actions of your governments. Any future attempts will be met with an immediate and total detonation of all collars."

Then, a list of block red letters scrolled over the screen, lasting over a minute:

G125, Jacqueline Myrie: DECEASED
G047, Samantha Ridley: DECEASED
B128, Joss Joiner DECEASED
G085, Alice Blake: DECEASED
B008, Peter McCue: DECEASED
G014, Yelizaveta Volkova: DECEASED
G046, Alexandria Jackson: DECEASED
B056, Raymond Dawson: DECEASED
G048, Kaitlin Anderheim: DECEASED
B140, Cisco Vasquez: DECEASED
B121, Allen Birkman: DECEASED
G105, Isabel Guerra: DECEASED
G122, Mizore Soryu: DECEASED
G106, Sarah Tan: DECEASED
G001, Bridget Connolly: DECEASED
G003, Hui "Sarah" Xu: DECEASED
B042, Brendan Wallace: DECEASED
G010, Anna Chase: DECEASED
G082, Felicia Carmichael: DECEASED
G077, Andrea Raymer: DECEASED
B138, Garrett Hunter: DECEASED
B142, Harun Kemal: DECEASED
B041, Simon Telamon: DECEASED
B105, Jeremy Franco: DECEASED
B132, Jay Holland, DECEASED
G079, Eiko Haraguchi: DECEASED
G018, Acacia Salinger: DECEASED
B073, Michael Moretti: DECEASED
G005, Jennifer Perez: DECEASED
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