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The Stoner Always Dies; In which Jay Holland catches a break.
Topic Started: May 23 2011, 09:04 PM (2,185 Views)
Little Boy
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STICK IT IN ZEE BOOOOOOOT~~~~
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
((Jay Holland continues from Everyday is like Sunday))

Jay had left his lungs far behind him. He wasn't quite sure how he was still running- it seemed like sheer force of will was propelling him now. Janet was with him- a few feet behind, but he couldn't be bothered to look back and check. He prayed to God she was still with him- the frightening back in the forest had been furious. If she was hurt any worse then before-

NO NO NO DON'T THINK THAT

He wasn't sure when he'd stop. The coast seemed like a safe bet- a chance to regroup. To evaluate what had happened... The thought gave him a fresh burst of terror.

And that's why I'm still running.

He laughed, and the laughter quickly turned into choking gasps. He fell forward, skidding to a stop on his knees, hacking up spit, feeling like he was dying. After what seemed like an eternity he stopped, wiping his mouth. The beach was ahead- the ground was that odd mixture of sandy dirt he'd never been too fond o-

There was a ship.

Jay's eyes went wide. For a second, he was sure he was dead, or the entire game was a terrifying practical joke. But he was knocked back to reality at the sound of the others crashing through the forest behind him. Tears streamed down his cheeks and he sniffed his nose, panting to catch his breath. He didn't turn back to look at them.

"Janet." He began, his voice cracking.

"Janet- is this- are we on drugs or something...?"
Edited by Little Boy, May 23 2011, 09:05 PM.
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A friendly clown welcomes you to LOCAH. It seems he would like to be your guide.
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
[[Hayley Kelly continued from Everyday is like Sunday]]

Charlene Norris was dead. Presumably. Not like there was an announcement or anything, quite yet, not like Hayley'd seen her die. But she'd seen the blood. It would be enough.

Hayley was somewhat happy about this. Not as happy as she'd like to be, but hell, the alternative was...she wasn't gonna think about the alternative. The alternative, really, would've been to let Charlene run off and to have gone on their merry way being best friends and toasting marshmallows or whatever stupid shit best friends were supposed to do. She could've done that. Charlene had been running. But what would that have done? She'd have friends, they could've come back later, could've killed them all, maybe, probably, yeah, right? Totally. Hayley absolutely refused to remember the situation as anything but I shot her because we'd be in trouble otherwise.

Also Charlene Norris was a stupid bitch who deserved to die. This was almost besides the point.

But now they were running, which was really high up there on the list of Hayley Kelly's Least Favorite Things, along with stressful moments without cigarettes and beaches, two things which were also obnoxiously present in her life right now. This was really shaping up to be a shitty day, especially if Jay refused to do the cool thing and slow the fuck down. Weren't smokers supposed to have, like, no lung capacity? Shouldn't he be gasping for breath and shit? cause Hayley sure was, and it sucked, but she absolutely refused to let the boy out of her sight. Soon as he was gone, he was gone for good. Nature of the game. That's how she'd lost Maddy and Alex and she sure as fuck wasn't gonna let Jay Holland go out the same way.

She burst past the tree line, Ema close behind, hot on Jay's trail, even as the hot sand burned her bare feet, god she hated sand, god she hated the beach, hated everything about it, didn't she keep promising herself she wouldn't be back? Every time she came back, someone ended up dead, someone ended up miserable, and Hayley ended up freaking out over something and with sand in places where sand shouldn't be. Why did people come to the beach again?

She would've complained but she was kind of busy trying not to fall, trying to catch- did he just fall? Damn, boy was clumsy, least she could catch up with him now, silver lining on a cloud of bullshit. She kept running, looking up for the first time, away from Jay, making sure th

Boat.

Boat.

B-O-A-T. Spells boat. That was that thing that was sitting in the water. Being all...boaty and shit.


Holy fuckballs, Batman.


She couldn't blame Jay for hitting the ground, not as she stumbled over to Jay and Janet, utterly in shock. A boat. What the fuck did it mean? There couldn't be boats here, this island was supposed to be cut off from the universe. It was like Survivor, but with murder, and Survivor wasn't really cut off from the world anyway so that was a shit analogy. It was supposed to be, like...just untouchable. So who the fuck got here on boat?

Danya's men. That was her first thought, probably because she was paranoid as balls and because the only alternative seemed so unlikely. But no one was storming the beach. No one was shooting. The boat was just...sitting there. Being a boat. On the shores of Survival of the Fittest, where no boat could be. And what would Danya send a boat for, anyway? Why the hell...what would be the point? There wouldn't be. But the alternative was impossible. So impossible. It really just...it couldn't...

"Good morning, death island."

Hayley jumped about a foot. There was a voice, a loud-as-shit voice, and for once it wasn't coming from a loudspeaker and it wasn't the voice of Danya. It was coming from the boat, and she was all ears. This was going to be either very good or very bad and it very, very quickly revealed which it was.


"We're here with your friendly taxi service, offering an all-expenses-paid trip back to the good ol' USA-"


Her brain, likely in an attempt to save her for at least a moment, to give her a few seconds of joy, the last she was likely to have- or maybe more cynically, to completely secure its own future self-destruction- canceled out the second half of that sentence. Instead it gave her visions of things so far out of reach but for exactly three more seconds, oh-so-close.

Home. Escape. That was the word she'd been avoiding like the plague, escape. So impossible. So unreal. You did not escape from Survival of the Fittest. You went home either in a body bag or, if you were really lucky, with some major PTSD and a kill count that would make Jack the Ripper feel inadequate. Those were your options and Hayley'd always thought it was stupid to dream for anything better. All it would get you was killed by someone who knew the truth, knew how to play and knew they'd rather be a killer than dead. That was why Maddy and Alex were gone, right? Maddy was too good to kill, Alex too good to let anyone else get hurt. They both dreamed of escape, and Hayley had practically laughed at them. And now they were dead, and she was here, and so was the boat.

So much for impossibility.

There was a tinge of resentment there in Hayley's immediate thoughts. Resentment towards these mystery rescuers who chose now of all times to arrive. Now, when Alex Campbell, the last person left on this island who she'd always consider an absolute good- he'd died less than 24 hours ago. The boy who dreamed of escape, and of a way that everyone could go home and live in peace, he was dead now and no rescue boat was gonna save him. Okay, it takes time to get a rescue effort together, okay, this was probably hell to work out. And okay, she couldn't really blame them. Resent them a tiny bit, privately, sure. Hell, she'd resent them for not showing for a week ago, before her boyfriend was dead. She'd resent them for not taking them all out of this hellhole before they'd even had the chance to start killing each other.

But those were just bitter, Survival of the Fittest-survivor thoughts. They would pass. She'd miss Alex and Maddy and Kyle forever, but the hate would pass. The anger would pass. All this negativity.

She had home to change that. Or she would, if her three seconds of happy denial weren't just about up.


"Killers, players, and cannibals welcome too, for the bullet-in-the-head special, if you want the easy way out of this."


...Oh.


Hayley heard the rest of what he said, sort of. Something about Happy Meals and a list of sociopaths. Something like that. Killers, players, and cannibals. That just kept echoing around her head for a while. Bullet-in-the-head special. Extreme lead poisoning. Death. A list. A list of killers, he had a list of killers and if they tried to get on the boat, tried to escape, tried to go home-


Boom.


It was like she was setting an all-time speed record for the five stages of grief.


I...n-no, okay. Okay, so they're not letting certain people on the boat, they don't mean me, right? I mean, I'm a good person, sort of. I mean I've got kinda a lax sense of morality but that's...I'm just a teenager, a selfish teenager, and I just didn't know what else to do. Right? I mean...I'm not Maxwell Lombardi. I'm not a monster. They...they'll let me on. Have to let me on. I want to go home, I just want to go home...they...


...They can't just judge us like that. They can't. They can't just say "oh you killed someone okay now you're stuck on the goddamn Isle de Muerta, have fun with that," who the fuck are they to make that call? It's like...like they stuck a bunch of soldiers in a war and then wouldn't let them on the plane home cause they killed people. It's not like they had a fucking choice. Fuck, fuck, what do they think they'd do if they were stuck on this island?! Sit around and wait to be rescued? Maybe some people did that, but I'm not a fucking idiot, so I decided to actually try...maybe if these fuckers had showed up on time...


What can I do, though? Think they're gonna go for the whole "didn't think there was gonna be any other way out of this" excuse? I mean...there is a way out of this. On that fucking boat. God, there has to be some way I can convince them I deserve this. If I could just get home...I know I've been pretty fucking awful here but it's the game, I'll change...fuck, I can change, I can, I just need a chance...


But it won't work. They've already got their minds made up, haven't they? They've decided. They put me on a list with fucking Maxwell and fucking Brook and fucking Reiko and none of us are getting on that boat. They're leaving us to die. They want us to die. They think we deserve it. Death penalty without trial.



I...I'm not going home.




Hayley realized suddenly that she had not moved or in fact reacted at all, physically, to the announcement or to anything at all. She was still staring at the boat like it was a mirage on the horizon.

The first thing that came out of her mouth, like so many other things she'd vocalized lately, was strangled, choked, broken, a shadow of what it could been. It was a short burst of laughter. The closest thing she could get to speaking the truth.

She'd fought so fucking hard to go home and for that, she wasn't allowed to leave.

The irony would be delicious, if it wasn't going to kill her.


"Hah...ahah...well, that's new."

With something that might have been a grin, if only it had reached her eyes.

"Well, Jay? Looks like you're gonna see that video after all."
being meguca is suffering

[V5] ALIVE:
[x] Aidan Flynn [B???] // Passing slowly though the vector, damp with fog, the bog that grows the former business sector...
[x] Chitose Saionji [G???] // 公園に千歳は本を読む!

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armeggedonCounselor
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D--> I need a towel
[ *  *  *  * ]
((Janet Binachi continued from Everyday is Like Sunday.))

Janet was gladdened when Jay released her hand about ten minutes into their run. For one thing, having one hand pulled out in front of her killed her running rhythm, and for another, the physical contact was causing her some feelings of discomfort. She could, clinically, recognize the signs of a crush, or lust, at least, but she refused to admit to herself that she possibly had feelings for this stoner. She failed spectacularly at denying them, but at least she didn't admit them, right?

Right.

So she found herself running about three feet behind Jay. It felt good. First time she had really run on this island. She regretted that she was wearing jeans, and tight ones, because she had packed for a campground and not la Isla de Muerta. Still, even spurred by fear Jay wasn't that fast. And he would probably end up collapsing or otherwise being forced to stop by his own body, judging by the way he was gasping for air. Turns out, smoking isn't good for your lungs. A real shocker, that.

Sure enough, Jay came to a screeching, hacking, wheezing halt. Janet barely stopped in time to avoid trampling him, and quickly caught her breath and surveyed the surroundings. Nothing out of the ordinary. Trees, sand, ocean, boat, rocks, waves, clouds, boat, boat, boat.... Wait. Her eyes widened in surprise, in shock and, momentarily, in joy. They were going home. They were getting off this stupid fucking island and they would go home and everything would be good again. Forever. She would get to see her parents, and her grandfather, and she would be able to.... To be free. To no longer live in fear, every day.

She was vaguely aware of Jay saying something to her. It took her brain a moment to decipher and register, and then a moment more to formulate an answer that wasn't just pointing and saying "boat."

"Jay, I've never used a mind altering substance in my life. That is a boat. And we get to go home."

For some reason, voicing it actually made it hit her even harder. Home. Home. They get to go home. All of them. She choked, collapsing to her knees, and finally, fully, letting all of it come out. She cried, heaving sobs of relief and fear, letting everything she had been saving out. It was embarrassing, but for once, she didn't really care. Home. She was going home.

Then the PA system sounded off once again. She jerked up, listening. It would be just like Danya to blow the collars of all those who were getting ready to get on the boats. He was an ass like that. But the voice that came through was different, younger. It was the voice of the savior, those who would be taking them away from this. But the words that followed....

"Killers, players, and cannibals welcome too, for your free bullet-in-the-head special, if you want the easy way out of this."

Janet sat there on the ground, feeling shock permeate her entire body. She wasn't going home. She wasn't going home. She sobbed again, then clenched her fists and stood up screaming, unintelligible words of rage and grief and pain. Her gun came up, pointing at the nearest speaker she could see. The hammer dropped twice, and her rage was over. She collapsed to the ground again, breathing hard. When she looked up again, her face was devoid of emotion.

"The-" She coughed, her voice raspy and low from her own rage tearing her throat.

"The only one of us who can leave.... Is you, Jay."

It was a statement of the obvious. But it helped her concentrate again.

"And, um.... That little display may have been noticed. I apologize, I'm usually more... in control than that."
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Chib
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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
[ *  *  * ]
[Everyday is Like Sunday --> Ema Ryan]

Running. There was an outrageous amount of running involved. Who'd have even thought Jay could run so far, so fast? Stereotypes weren't necessarily always true, Ema knew that pretty well, but still, Jay didn't just look like a stoned slacker, he blatantly was one. How could he even do so much running?

Oh yeah. That whole survival thing. Gunfire bad, being far away from it good. Same mysterious source of stamina that had kept Ema walking in spite of all the weight she was carrying for the first few days, through swamp and forest and she could scarcely even remember what else any more. Staying alive was a motivation Ema was all too familiar with, come to think of it, as it had essentially been her primary motive for the past nine days. Even the shameless Hayley-related lust came a close second to not getting killed.

And so it was that she was running as fast as her puny legs could carry her without falling over themselves, several feet behind her slightly fitter companion, in pursuit of a uncharacteristically fast-moving Jay. It eventually dawned on her, with the sea behind her and a downward slope before her, that they were moving north. Back towards the beach. Again. It was almost like the stretch of sand called to her, like it was where she belonged on the island. Again, she recalled that almost every favourable thing to happen to her had happened there. Good omen, all things considered.

In all her thoughts of good omens and enjoyable evenings on a beach with a certain someone, the memory of why they were even running soon slipped from Ema's mind. So Charlene had been shot, big deal, that was the last thing on her mind. Ema didn't even know the girl's name, she could only identify her as "that girl that shot Kyle a while ago". In hindsight, she probably ought to be thanking Charlene, as it was mostly due to her actions that "Ema and Hayley" had become a thing again. But of course, Ema wasn't thinking about any of those things, even she didn't have time to dwell on just how easily she could be described as a heartless opportunist. Only time to chase down Jay and calm him down, and remember that this particular beach was a good omen.

It was around the point that she was solidifying her opinion that the beach was "her place" that Ema actually reached its sands. Hayley had slowed down in front of her, and in front of Hayley, Jay and Janet had come to a dead halt. They were staring at something, transfixed. Hayley soon joined them in the staring. So did Ema. She couldn't even comprehend what it was she was looking at, for a while.

A... boat? A fucking BOAT!? A small affair, the kind you'd usually see ferrying people to and from bigger vessels, a zodiac or something. But big enough to take a good portion of the surviving population of the island away, if not for the collars. Yeah, definitely a zodiac, that's what they were called. There were people on it too obviously and they didn't look like how Ema imagined Danya's people would look. A lack of fancy equipment and that general assholish look a terrorist would probably have. What they had to say reinforced the assumption too. They'd come to rescue people.

Wait, Ema needed a few moments to get over that news.

...they came to rescue people.

Holy fucking shit. She wasn't going to die here after all. She wasn't going to have to look forward to killing perhaps the last friend she had left, or dying to let her go on to survive herself. She was just going to go home, alive and (mostly) uninjured as she was, and perhaps only slightly unhinged. Nothing that couldn't be solved by returning to normal society, surely. She and Hayley and Jay and Janet were just going to go back to Minnesota and then maybe to college and hopefully she a--

"Killers, players, and cannibals welcome too, for the bullet-in-the-head special, if you want the easy way out of this."

What.

That was it. A flat what, permeating every inch of Ema's conscious thought. What.

No, surely that didn't include her. She'd only killed one person, and that had technically been a mercy killing.

They don't care about technicalities. I'm a killer.

But I panicked, I hit her by mistake! She asked me to finish her!

Okay, I can argue that much. What about Hayley? She can't explain away what she did. Following her around like a lovesick puppy and not complaining about the whole random serial killing thing, kind of inexcusable too.

Fuck.


Even if Ema could come up with some brilliant excuse for not raising a single objection to Hayley's mass murdering ways, not since this very same beach six days ago at least, leaving her behind was far from an appealing prospect. She'd have Janet, but how long would two small girls last, on an island where the only other survivors were presumably hardened killers by now? Charm and wits could only stretch so far, they wouldn't survive the finale, if either of them even made it that far.

...survival, though. Going home to her family and what few friends she had that weren't dead by now. Living without fear of being shot dead at any moment. Living past seventeen. They were all very appealing thoughts.

"Hah...ahah...well, that's new."

And again, Hayley showed that remarkable ability to laugh, and not shrink into herself and silently curse the world in general for fucking her over, as Ema had been about to do. It was sarcastic, it was hateful, but it was still laughter. Close enough, at least. Laughing at the tragic irony of it all, after all they'd done to secure their survival, to make sure they were alive and in one piece to make it home, they were denied the chance to just leave. Thinking about it that way, Ema laughed too. Quietly, under her breath. It was a mirthless laugh, sarcastic and hateful as Hayley's had been. And more than a little bit unhinged.

Well that's that then, escape's a crapshoot. We all know what choice that leaves.

So there went any preconception of not having to kill anyone else, there went the technical pacifism, which Ema could finally admit was born mostly of cowardice anyway. She didn't have any actual objection to killing her peers, she'd only been afraid to go through with it. She was sure of that now. But she'd killed Sapphire. It had been easy. She could do that again. Why not? It would be just as easy. Easier, even.

"The only one of us who can leave.... Is you, Jay."

Of course. Jay, on the other hand, he could still leave. He'd done nothing wrong. And for Ema's part, whether she could kill or not, circumventing the need to was always preferable. Getting Jay off of the island was a win-win. Someone she was moderately fond of got to live, and it was one less person she'd potentially have to kill on her own way home. Janet and Hayley were out of luck, but at least he could go.

"Yeah. You should go."

That sounded weird. Kind of like the context was throwing him out, not giving him salvation. Ema had always sucked at making conversation sound right, and even trying to tell someone they deserved to go home and survive, her voice seemed "off" somehow.

"Before they just go ahead and shoot us three, you know?"

Ema tried to laugh at the end of that, make it seem like a semi-innocent joke. She really did. It came out closer to an awkward cough. So much for verisimilitude, she just sounded odd and like she was trying to get rid of the poor boy. Either way, he probably wouldn't need much convincing to go onto the magical survival salvation boat, so it was kind of moot. At least that was something.
Every time you fall asleep you die. Someone else wakes up in your body, thinking they're you.
You are alone and trapped in your own mind, the world around you is your lie.
Soon you will be nothing, you will never again hear sounds, never again see colours, never again be anyone.


Riley Moon appreciates that Action Needs an Audience, but it's hard not to watch. Hair Status: Bubblegum Pink
Parallel with: The Heavy Weapons Guy

The Past
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Little Boy
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STICK IT IN ZEE BOOOOOOOT~~~~
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Jay felt a terrible feeling rise up in him, spreading out through his limbs. He hadn't taken his eyes off the boat, he panted, blinking trying assure himself what he was seeing was fact, not fiction.

"Jay, I've never used a mind altering substance in my life. That is a boat. And we get to go home."

"Yeah." He said absentmindedly, barely paying attention. "Yeah- yeah I knew- yeah."

Hayley and Ema crashed to a halt in the brush behind him, noticing the ship. There were a few people already there- Who exactly he didn't know. A knot developed in his throat. Would Jojo be there? Jasper? Were they saving, everyone? He turned to look back at them, just as the announcements cracked overhead. Jay jerked his head upwards, listening-

It was real. It was all fucking real. No joke, no mirage- they were getting out of this shitstorm alive.

"Holy shit. They got Danya by the fucking balls." He said to himself, breathing a sigh in relief. For the first time and days he felt a weight lift off his chest- the fear of death was gone. He was a few paces away to freedom. Maybe not the most perfect freedom, but it sure beat the Island. He was absolutely fucking petrified- if things were due to fuck up spectacularly, this would be a good time. He hoped to God Maxwell wasn't lurking around- or one of those crazed fuckers who'd catch a bullet instead of a lif-

Wait.

Jay felt a lump in his throat. He coughed. Something was up. He felt like he'd stumbled upon something horrible, and was inches away from realizing the true implications. It was unsettling to a degree he'd never experienced before, nearly as potent as pain.

What was he missing?

The feeling wouldn't go away. He stopped thinking, sorting through his thoughts slowly.

"Guys- I think-"

The announcements continued. Jay's world stopped spinning. Whoever the fuck it was- they began listening names. Cannibals, rapists, murderers need not apply. That sinking feeling finally identified itself. Jay let out a tortured groan, realizing what was about to happen.

No, no no no, why in the fuck would all this happen, I thought- we're all the victims, right? We- fuckin' - I'm on there, I'm fuckin'-

Maxwell Lombardi.
Reiko Ishida.

How many- fucking how many did Charlene say? She- she killed... Shit. Oh fucking shit.

Raidon Naoko.

Five. Sweet fuck th-

Hayley Kelly.

Jay sank down, his heart ripped out of his chest. The girls were a blur around him. His heart was beating fast and he felt like he was going to have a panic attack-

Ema Ryan.

Oh fuckin' GOD-

For some reason, he expected his own name. Why exactly, he wasn't sure. In terms of Good and Evil, he'd definitely not been hanging with the right crowd. Maybe for not stopping Janet-

oh no

The names continued on, his panic rising with each listed student. Jimmy Brennan. Nick LeMonde and Teo, the boys who'd attacked them back at the fair. And then-

Janet. Binachi.

"Shit...-" He whispered. Janet screamed.

He jumped back, falling to the ground. Janet was nearly frothing at the mouth, her pistol raised in the air. For a split second he thought she'd shoot him, but the gun was up far too high. She emptied the gun into the sky, the bullets as loud as thunder. Jay covered his ears, failing miserably to mask his terror. He was white faced as he watched Janet scream, tears falling from her face. It was such a stark departure from what he was used to he nearly took off down the beach. Jay was shaking by the time she was done.

Janet breathed deep and looked back toward him- The look was more terrifying then anything else. Nothing. Acceptance. Not even that. Just nothing. He nearly pissed his pants.

"The only one who gets to leave-"

No no noooo...

"-Is you Jay."

Well if that wasn't completely fucked up, he didn't know what was. God didn't exist, and if he did, he was a cruel fucker. It went quiet. Hayley laughed, looking down at him with a look that broke his heart in two. He had no idea what she was feeling- she'd missed it. They'd all missed it. He was the lucky one- he was the one worth saving.

Fucking. Irony.

How was Jay Holland worth saving? In any way shape or form- he didn't want to die, true. But he was worthless. Janet was far smarter- Hayley and Ema had a future ahead of them. Alex had been the smartest kid he'd know. Jay had looked up to him- Alex was everything he wasn't. Talented with a guitar, a vast intellect, fuckin' beautiful accent. A hero. Morals and goals- what could he do? Jay could make drunk chicks laugh, and that was fuck all.

The realization nearly broke him all together. Alex Campbell was dead, and Jay Holland had the fucking privilege to go home, drink martinis and waste his life away, never amounting to anything.

He wasn't planning on going to collage. He wasn't planning on going anywhere. He had no motivation for anything, no interests and no talents worth saving him for. He'd wanted to drop out, laze about and do fucking nothing for the rest of his life. How was that in any way attractive, in any way appealing? He wasn't worth saving. And yet, he was the one going home. A group of individuals he'd never met were risking their lives, probably loosing them- to save his sorry ass.

Why? Fucking- why? He didn't understand. It scared him. He wanted to cry and oddly enough, he wanted to run away. Deny them- tell them they were wrong. Maybe pull a hero move, have Janet go in his place, or Hayley- anything. Jay didn't realize it, but he'd decided his place in Survival of the Fittest long ago- lazing about on a couch, beaten down by his own unconscious mind.

He wasn't going to play because he didn't deserve to win. He was the coward who couldn't cope- destined to die alone and afraid, because that was what he was worth. He would run away and giggle like a little kid, failing to grasp the fucking implications of what was happening all around him...

He was the only one worth saving.

Bull fucking shit.

Janet apologized. He looked up at her, still shaking from her breakdown, and his own thoughts. He fixed his hat, mumbling something completely incoherent that he'd forgotten it as soon as he'd spoke. His eyes were wet and he blinked back tears, looking at the other members of the group. For some reason his heart was still pounding- he felt unsafe. He badly wanted to be asleep right then. Fall asleep for fucking ever.

Hayley spoke, trying her hardest to grin.

"Well Jay, it looks like you'll see that video after all."

Shut up.

"Yeah, you should go." Chimed in Ema, "Before they just go ahead and shoot us three, you know?"

Ema's words hit him hard. His hands were balled up, tearing up chunks of dirt, crushing them in his fists. He looked up at the others from the ground, anger on his face.

"It's not funny." He said plainly.

"It's not fucking funny Hayley so don't- just- just be fucking- Be fucking outraged, okay?" He breathed in deep, a painful choking nose coming from his throat.

"Okay? It's fucked up. It's fucking fucked up and I really don't need that right now, okay? So just- shit- just be quiet. Please."

He was silent for a long while. Everything seemed very still, his ears were ringing from the gunshots, but he was far away-. He could hear his own heart beating. For a second he considered up and bolting it to the beach, jumping on board and huddling in the back corner, falling asleep.

Falling asleep would be very nice.

"Why me?" He finally said, staring down at his feet. His voice cracked and it was painfully obvious to see he was on the verge of hyperventilating, or breaking down completely. Jay let go of the dirt in his hands, bringing them up to massage his temples. It was all too much- an emotional overload. He couldn't cope.

"Why in the hell did they leave me off?"
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Oswaldo Marx --> "Chicks dig scars? Yeah, I'm calling bullshit." --> Cicada Nights
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"My dick did the Mexican Hat Dance and I had to suppress the moan that wanted to escape." - Casey


NOTE TO SELF: Burns on the left side. LEFT SIDE.
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Hollyquin
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A friendly clown welcomes you to LOCAH. It seems he would like to be your guide.
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
It was kind of weird, how Janet's panic just slipped past her ears like nothing. Almost funny how she didn't even blink at the sudden screaming, the utter meltdown of the girl beside her. Ema's reaction was more like her own. Silence. Silence that could've gone on forever had it only been them two. Had it only been them two, they'd stare, and Hayley would have done this horribly awkward laugh thing she was doing, and the two would melt back into the trees. This would be one of those horrible dreams, the kind that lures you in with promises of happiness and then turns everything into monsters. This would be a bad trip. This would be absolutely anything but true, only revealed for itself by the sudden depopulation of the island, the missing people not mentioned on the announcements. And who but Ema would Hayley even miss?

But they weren't alone. Janet she could ignore. Janet was having the proper reaction to this. Freaking out. Hayley should freak out, shouldn't she? The look on Jay's face said that that was what he expected. Anger. Frustration. Tears. All of those things lingered somewhere nearby in her brain, aching for the chance to show themselves and oh would they get their chance. Probably. But for now she was listening to that list with her very best p-p-p-poker face. Being an angel and shit. Ema's name sent a sharp pain through her head, the physical manifestation of thoughts that would have to be addressed sooner or later. Her own name got nothing. Everyone else's name got nothing. She recognized the vast majority of them, this happy band of psychopaths.

Her name fit right in. The princess sociopath.

This stupid bitch who woke up one morning and thought, let's play Survival of the Fittest. Let's play.

How many people beat her in terms of kill count now, with Charlene dead? Maxwell Lombardi, okay, given, but anyone else? She was a fucking mess. How could she have honestly looked at the boat and thought, "hey, I get to go home and be normal now"? Six people. People had gotten the chair for less. Even if she'd gotten home, who would forgive her? Johnny, she'd been thinking, her best friend would forgive her, but honestly? She wouldn't bet on it. Wouldn't bet on anything. Wouldn't bet on her parents not dumping her ass out on the street. Wouldn't bet on her not being shipped home and sent straight off to spend the rest of her life in a federal penitentiary.

So she made a stupid joke, because that was the thing to do, and Ema made an equally stupid joke, and Janet was so broken up, but there was this bitterness, this resentment, in each of their voices. They tried to hide it, but there it was. She hated herself immediately for it, because bitterness was stupid and pointless and what did she have to be bitter about, really. So she was going to die here. No news. No fucking news. So she'd had all her hopes given to her and ripped away in the space of five goddamn seconds-

"It's not funny."

The look on Jay's face brought Hayley back to earth. He was supposed to be happy. Why wasn't he happy? He was going home, that was good, right? He hadn't killed anyone. Didn't have any bullshit on his conscious, to follow him around for the rest of his life, he could go home and eventually, somehow, forget all of this. Maybe work through some shit with a professional, Hayley was damn sure every kid on this island needed a lot of therapy after this, but eventually it'd all pass and Jay would be okay. Hayley would be dead, but Jay would be okay. That was something.

"It's not fucking funny Hayley so don't- just- just be fucking- Be fucking outraged, okay?"

She couldn't be outraged. Why couldn't she just keep doing this thing where she wasn't breaking over this? She could scream all she fucking wanted, she probably would, later, when this hit properly. She could be bitter and resentful and angry all she wanted, at these assholes on their high horses (boats?), deciding who was allowed to live and who wasn't, who arrived too late to save the people who most deserved to live, who could've showed up just a few days ago and saved everyone she loved, who had completely fucking failed her in every possible way-

Stop.

It was Jay Holland she refused to be bitter towards.

"Okay? It's fucked up. It's fucking fucked up and I really don't need that right now, okay? So just- shit- just be quiet. Please."

I hate quiet. Quiet leads to thinking about things and thinking about things never, ever leads to anything fun. Can we leave? Can we please just leave? Can this be a bad dream, let it all be a bad dream, just let Jay go home and the rest can all be shitty hallucinations and I can keep being the fucking crazy person I apparently am.

She fell quiet anyway, at least for a few moments. Eyes on the horizon, on the boat. People were coming. Apparently non-members of the sociopath club, as they were getting on the boat. Somewhere in the back of her mind it occurred to her that Danya must be rather occupied if every kid to step near that boat wasn't getting their collar popped. Something big was happening. Alex had been so right. Why hadn't listened to him? Idealistic bastard that he was, he was always right. Kid was so fucking smart. Kid was so fucking dead and they weren't even on time to stop it, Hayley, it's not their fault. Not anyone's fault.

No one's but yours.


That ugly voice. That niggling fucking feeling that this was the beginning of the worst kind of epiphany. A kill count of six, right? She'd dispute that. Skew it higher. Just because she hadn't shot someone, didn't mean she didn't kill them.

"Why me?"

Why anyone?

"Why in the hell did they leave me off?"

"What kind of question is that?" Hayley interjected, breaking this whole quiet rule. "'Course you're not on the list. You haven't done anything worth damning. I...shit. I know I have. They oughta take Ema and Janet and everyone else, just leave me here with Lombardi, that'd be a fuckin' show." She grinned that grin, the one that didn't touch her eyes. Bad jokes again. First line of defense against emotions.

"Jay, stop bugging out and get on the fucking boat. You deserve it. I mean that." She felt something stinging her eyes. Ignored it. Tears were so not worth acknowledging right now. "Go home, okay? Just...pour a couple out for me and Alex when you get there."

Her voice had gained strength in the silence, but by that last sentence she was breaking again. Her voice cracked.

Stop it. Shut up. Shut up. Stop crying. Stop fucking crying, you goddamn baby. Nothing's changed. Absolutely nothing's changed...
being meguca is suffering

[V5] ALIVE:
[x] Aidan Flynn [B???] // Passing slowly though the vector, damp with fog, the bog that grows the former business sector...
[x] Chitose Saionji [G???] // 公園に千歳は本を読む!

[V5] CONCEPTS:
Winston Evans aced the last English test and would like to point out how gorgeous your shoes are.

Those Who've Known - V4
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armeggedonCounselor
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D--> I need a towel
[ *  *  *  * ]
((I apologize for the shortness of this post. I'm going through a ton of shit in my personal life, so I'm just gonna pound this out and not bother making it shiny.))

Janet stared at the ground again, listening to Hayley and Ema tell Jay to go. Yes. He needed to leave while he still had the chance.

And then Jay started blathering about how he was not worthy and blah blah blah. A bolt of rage shot through Janet. She looked up and gave Jay her best death glare.

"Shut. Up. Don't you think any of us would rather be going in your place? Do you think we want to be here? We're all pissed off, or upset, or... what have you about this. The bottom line is, we fucked up and you didn't. So take the gift fate, or God, or whatever has given you, and leave while you still have a chance."
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Chib
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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
[ *  *  * ]
There were complaints. In hindsight, maybe Ema should've expected that. But they were meant to be minor things, that "I feel really bad about this BUT OKAY SURE WHY NOT" kind of complaining, where you acknowledge that it's totally not fair to everyone else, then just get on with it and go home and survive. She could sympathise with a brief moment of "Why do I alone deserve it?", but taking it to heart and literally not wanting to leave? Genuinely considering remaining on the island as the better option? Jesus fucking Christ, what was wrong with him?

"Why me?"

That was the clincher. Objection she could deal with. Disbelief she could deal with. Even not considering himself worthy of it, she could deal with. But "Why me?", that was almost insulting to Ema. Disregarding that he had a choice in the matter, he was acting as though he was being forced to receive possibly the most valuable gift available to anyone on the island. And he was acting as if it were a bad thing. Why you? I'll trade if you don't want it, mate.

"Why in the hell did they leave me off?"

Could there have been a more stupid question? Jay hadn't done a thing to deserve being left to die. Ema could argue with herself until the proverbial cows came home as to whether she deserved it or not, but Jay had evidently done nothing wrong. And yet again, talking as though he wanted to die. It didn't even annoy her any more, she'd gotten past that and into the "This just makes no sense to me whatsoever" stage. Having had survival at the forefront of her mind for over a week without respite, shunning the best chance at it just didn't compute. There really wasn't anything she could think of to say or do.

On the other hand, Hayley and Janet didn't seem to be coming up short in that department. No sooner had Hayley's tirade ended did Janet's begin, explaining in no uncertain terms that Jay should stop being such an ungrateful moron and just get on the bloody boat. And under the metaphorical cover of their raised voices, Ema slunk back off, inland, away from the coast. The conversation was getting ugly, and she knew she'd only end up saying something stupid if pressed, so once there were a good few metres between her and the start of the sand, Ema sat down on the grass, and she waited.

Because the way she saw it? Either Jay was going to get on that boat or he wasn't, but in the short term, it really didn't make a bit of difference to her. Either way, she and Hayley were going to leave that beach exactly as they arrived - with their best case scenario for the future involving killing a lot of people, including each other. Easier to come to terms with that without having to listen to angry teenagers shout at each other.

Yeah, just sit out of the social stuff true to form, kiddo, and regroup when the bit she could actually deal with came back. What could possibly go wrong?
Every time you fall asleep you die. Someone else wakes up in your body, thinking they're you.
You are alone and trapped in your own mind, the world around you is your lie.
Soon you will be nothing, you will never again hear sounds, never again see colours, never again be anyone.


Riley Moon appreciates that Action Needs an Audience, but it's hard not to watch. Hair Status: Bubblegum Pink
Parallel with: The Heavy Weapons Guy

The Past
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Little Boy
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STICK IT IN ZEE BOOOOOOOT~~~~
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
((Sorry for skipping order Chib, but I've gotta get Jay moving))

Jay swallowed hard. Janet's retort had stung a lot worse then he'd expected. He was surprised the girl hadn't just up and hit him for what he'd just said. He flinched back, looking back down the beach toward the ship. More people, things were picking up. There was a sense of urgency about them now, like it was nearly time to go. His heart pounded in his chest as he stared toward them.

Escape. Home.

Would they even be able to take him home? Danya wouldn't be too happy about that. He prayed they'd just up and blow the fat bastard's fat fucking balls off- but something was telling him this was a mere hindrance, nothing more. Survival of the Fittest would go on and he'd live a life on the run-, a prospect not very pleasing. But it was that or death.

"This isn't fair." He said, looking toward Janet and Hayley. "I haven't DONE anything! I didn't save anyone. I didn't try to escape. I fucked around and-"

He shut his mouth, looking down towards the ground in shame. Hayley's words were ringing through his mind. He gritted his teeth, blinking to avoid tearing up. This would be the last time they would talk. He felt afraid- how many people had chances like this? He didn't deserve it. Out of everyone on the entire island, a waste of space like him had a chance to say goodbye properly, without the bullets flying, without blood and darkness and all that horrifying shit he'd expected. It was unreal. Despite his salvation minutes away, he wanted to retch and break down.

"I don't-" He began, before stopping abruptly.

A memory flickered in his mind, his Mother sitting in their kitchen, sucking on a half-finished cigarette and looking at the newspaper, brushing off flicks of ash. He had just come home from somewhere- a party, Alex's maybe. His eyes were bloodshot, and no amount of Axe would be able to hide the stench of weed. It wasn't like it mattered. His Mother didn't approve of it, but she'd been exactly the same way at his age. If there was one thing she was committed to, it was the role of the "Cool Mom". Jay had the freedom to make his own choices for better or worse, and if nothing else it kept their relationship healthy.

His excuse was pitiful. Lost track of time- the smell was from a campfire- something stupid like that. She hadn't listened for long, her questions cutting through his cover story as if it were butter. Not that he'd cared. She'd stopped, put the cigarette down. For the first time in a long time, he'd felt unsure, more then a little confused. She was angry- why he didn't know. It was the same call and response they'd always done. It held little meaning, she said the same empty threats, he promised the same senseless things. They both knew it held no truth, but it seemed necessary, almost comforting. A routine befitting a normal family, one with actual structure and rules.

"Cut the bullshit." She'd said point blank. Her tone was demanding, harsh. He flinched back at it, blinking and trying hard to focus his haze filled mind.

"What?" He'd managed to croak out.

"I said cut the bullshit. Just stop talking Jay."

She flicked the cigarette off the table, it landed on the floor. He watched it descend until her words brought his head snapping back up, focused once more.

"Are you high right now?"

"What?"

"Will you remember this in a few hours, or are you just going to up and forget?"

"No."

"No what?"

"No, just- no, what is it?"

She let out a sigh, and almost all at once he noticed how old she looked. Almost a shell of what she'd once been, beauty rapidly being replaced by wrinkles and crows feet, her roots dyed to hide the grey strands. He'd never payed her appearance much mind. She had always appeared stagnant in time, a constant from one day to the next. Now she looked tired, old. It was scary in a way Jay wasn't familiar with. She looked up at him, a completely different person.

"You were out getting high. Don't give me an excuse."

"Uh-"

"You're not in trouble. I don't care, okay? Just listen to me."

"Okay Mom..."

"In life, people lie, and it hurts. People tell the truth, and that hurts too. People constantly drag one another through bullshit, because that's the way they've always done things. You following?"

"Uh-"

"It's not hard Jay. If you want to be happy, cut out the bullshit. Truth or lies, shit- people don't care as long as they're happy. So make them happy. This," She swung her arm around the table in a careless motion. "This shit right now. Quit it. Okay?"

"Oh- Okay."

She let out a sigh, the slightest hint of a smile returning to her face. She sniffed the air as she reached into her back, grabbing at another cigarette.

"And take a fucking shower, you stink."


It all flooded back to him, such a vivid memory it made him stumble over his thoughts. It had been a year ago, at least. One of the oddest conversations he'd had with his Mom. A part of him thought he'd simply imagined it, like some weed-induced dream. Lord knows he'd had plenty of those. His Mother's attitude hadn't stuck. Within a week, it seemed like all thought of the conversation had drifted from her mind.

It was as if the moment had been a brief flash of light through the fog of their existence, a plea for something Jay couldn't understand. Misunderstood and ignored, it had faded on its own. The entire incident had been unsettling on a level Jay wasn't used to. Different from paranoia about school or the future, friends or money. It was something else he'd never touched on, something he wasn't sure he wanted to think about. The more he remembered about the incident, the more he wished he could just push it toward the back of his mind, forget it had ever occurred. In time, he did just that. But now, he'd stumbled upon it again, like a disregarded toy, found in the corner of a messy closet.

Jay stopped talking, going back to staring at the ground, at Janet and Hayley's feet. He wanted to start again, he wanted desperately to convince them of his guilt, of his Grade A bastard tendencies- but he just didn't have the heart for it. It was like the memory had sucked all initiative from him. He felt the guilt churn in his gut, but it was buried for now.

Fuck.

He pulled out his pistol, handing it toward Janet.

"Heh. Akimbo style-, you'll need it more then me."

Jay sighed, looking over toward Hayley.

"I-" He faltered again, clearing his throat. "I really don't know what to say Hayley. You think of something- pretend I said it."

He turned away, digging his hands deep in his pockets.

"Shit. There's uh, some more clips in my bag. For the- y'know, game ahead."

He took a deep breath, looking up once more, staring into their faces. This was the end. His lip quivered slightly. As odd as it was he didn't want to go. But he knew if he didn't walk over they'd never forgive him. He scratched his head before bending down and collecting his pack, staying deathly silent. He threw his supplies on the ground, compass, map, remaining food stuffs, ammo... Anything to give them the edge. He hefted the noticeably lighter bag over his shoulder, clearing his throat one last time.

"Well... Keep safe. I'll be watching you all."

He turned to leave- before jolting forward one last time, planting a kiss directly on Janet's lips. He didn't linger long- spinning abruptly Jay jogged off through the trees down toward the ship, praying to God she didn't decide to take aim and blow his presumptuous head off. His heart beat fast and he picked up the pace, waving his hands toward the boat, signalling his intentions.

Let's do this. Let's get this over with.

((Jay Holland continues in A Slight Change of Plans))
Edited by Little Boy, May 29 2011, 12:53 AM.
V5
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Oswaldo Marx --> "Chicks dig scars? Yeah, I'm calling bullshit." --> Cicada Nights
Mikko "Mike" Korhonen --> "Interesting, very interesting!" --> A Casual Question
V4 / Mini's
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"My dick did the Mexican Hat Dance and I had to suppress the moan that wanted to escape." - Casey


NOTE TO SELF: Burns on the left side. LEFT SIDE.
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Hollyquin
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A friendly clown welcomes you to LOCAH. It seems he would like to be your guide.
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
See, with Maddy and Alex, it was one thing. With Maddy and Alex, one day, a while ago, days ago, they were there. Right in front of her, both of them, Madelyn and Alexander and fucking Charlene. And she'd waved goodbye, because at the time she was breaking under the strain of that head she'd just removed from its body and she needed them to understand what she was doing and why. And when she'd said goodbye and said, meet me at the Groundskeeper's Hut, she had meant meet me at the Groundskeeper's Hut, she hadn't meant go out, get lost, get suicidal, get your goddamn arm chopped off. But then they didn't show up at that Groundskeeper's Hut, and the last image she'd ever have of either of them was at that bastion of irony, the Fun Fuckin' Fair, with their eyes full of fear. Fear of her, Hayley Kelly, the girl who killed. The baby princess sociopath. That had been over a week ago. They were gone, and she knew it, and it hurt. A lot. But she only knew it from the words over the announcements. In her mind, they were still standing under the ferris wheel, wondering exactly why she'd done what she'd done.

Dutchy, that was something else altogether. Her mental image of that kid would always be as he was once upon a time. Happy. Always happy. God, she was almost glad she hadn't seen him on the island, the absolute last thing she wanted to see was the sweet little blonde boy sobbing and scared. Just thinking about it, honestly, that had been enough to break her. But still...at least her memories were untainted. At least he was whole in her mind. And his death, at least, she couldn't blame herself for.

And then there was Kyle. Kyle, the boy who she may or may not have had time to love, with his glasses and his OCD and his awkward smile and his blue eyes. Kyle who tried so hard to protect her, who'd loved her despite all her stupid mistakes and insecurities and selfish moments, like the one that made her drag the boy into the woods. The place where she watched him die. She'd watched the light fade from his eyes, and as broken up as she was- that was okay. Her therapist would've called it a healthy outpouring of grief. It was too sudden, it was too short, but it was something. As nothing as it was, it'd been Kyle's funeral.

This was new.

This was, somehow, worse.

"I really don't know what to say Hayley. You think of something- pretend I said it."

That meant nothing. That was bullshit. That was a bullshit sentence. Hayley couldn't even muster a response to it. She was so taken aback by Jay's sudden transformation, by his sudden willingness to go, by...by how this was suddenly happening. Some part of her hadn't wanted him to leave at all, yeah? Some bullshit, selfish-as-fuck part of her refused to let him leave. He was something that was hers, and she had so few of those things left, and okay, yeah, the rational part of her said that anything of hers that stayed here was destined to belong to the ground before much longer, but still- still, nothing. Still, she was being an idiot. Still, she had to let him go and not resent how he was handing his gun over to Janet. How he kissed her lips before he ran away, and how he didn't say goodbye.

"Well... Keep safe. I'll be watching you all."

And how she knew it wasn't her Jay'd be rooting for.

This was worse than seeing him die. This was seeing herself die through someone else's eyes. She was at her own fucking funeral, and her last witness, the last person who'd be left to mourn her- he was gone.

"Bye," she whispered, but he wasn't there to hear it.

It took Hayley a minute to recover. A minute to stop staring at the boat, the mirage on the horizon, taunting her. She wanted so fucking badly to just go, see what they had to say to her. Maybe they'd just shoot her; that would be easy, at least. Quick. Maybe Jay'd convince them that she, the stupid bitch who played the game, she wasn't such a terrible person, really. Hah. She couldn't even think that with a straight face. She was a good liar, but not that good. She saw that Jay had left his stuff behind, left it for either of them to take, but she couldn't. She couldn't take his help. It wasn't for her, anyway, not really. All for Janet. What could she say?

Eventually, though, she turned her head. Saw that Ema was gone. Blinking, she whipped her head around, desperately searching f-oh. Ema was close by, just wandered off, just...just probably wanted to deal with this just as little as Hayley had. Hayley had stayed because she adored Jay, because she wanted to see him off properly, because she wanted to say goodbye, and that had totally worked out for her. She'd wanted...something, something like closure, something to make her feel good about this, make her feel like she'd done something worthwhile. Instead she felt like the last twenty-four hours had been ripped from her. Like Jay Holland hadn't existed at all.

Hayley looked at Janet. The girl who, if Jay had his way, would be winning this game. I should kill her now. I really should. She's dangerous and she's probably distracted and...hell. I'm distracted. We're all distracted. She has two guns. I...don't want to do this right now, even. I'm so...tired. It wasn't like her hand left her Vera, it wasn't like she wasn't ready to shoot to kill if Janet looked like she was gonna make a move. But when she opened her mouth, all that came out was

"I...hope I never see you again."

It felt like some stupid killer-to-killer code, but they both knew the other couldn't live, and Hayley hoped so hard Janet wasn't more willing to kill her than she was to kill Janet. Hoped she wouldn't kill her with Jay still close enough to hear the shot. That last thought was the one that gave her the courage to turn around, leaving herself completely defenseless, so she could return to her poor, lost Ema, so they could go back to doing that killing people thing they'd gotten oh-so-good at. Back to Survival of the Fittest. Cue the cut from the dream sequence.

"You're bleeding."

Ema was, still. It wasn't bad, Ema would be okay, but it had to hurt like a bitch, and it was Hayley's fault, like so many things lately seemed to be. She kissed the girl softly as her hand dug into her daypack for- bread, no, flashlight, no, first-aid kit. She fetched the bandages, the rubbing alcohol, and she patched up Ema best she knew how. Really, it was hardly more than a scratch, but when your best friend dies after his wounds get infected- well, that'd make any girl paranoid. Ema wasn't allowed to just be okay. Ema had to be perfect.

And then they had to leave. They had to leave, now, because this place had to dissolve from memory. If there really had been a boat, if they really had come this close to escaping- well. This island, this whole fucking game, the fact that there were still a shitton of corpses she'd have to leave between herself and salvation- it all became just that much more unbearable. Or, hell, maybe it helped. Maybe she could just remember she was damned already. The princess sociopath. On the list of people not worth saving. Maybe if she remembered how little faith they'd had in her, maybe it'd make her stronger.

Or maybe not.

Either way. Hayley took Ema's hand, and left this shit behind.


[[Hayley Kelly and Ema Ryan continued in Harlequin Girls]]
Edited by Hollyquin, May 30 2011, 08:31 PM.
being meguca is suffering

[V5] ALIVE:
[x] Aidan Flynn [B???] // Passing slowly though the vector, damp with fog, the bog that grows the former business sector...
[x] Chitose Saionji [G???] // 公園に千歳は本を読む!

[V5] CONCEPTS:
Winston Evans aced the last English test and would like to point out how gorgeous your shoes are.

Those Who've Known - V4
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armeggedonCounselor
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D--> I need a towel
[ *  *  *  * ]
Jay started to say again how he didn't deserve it, but cut himself off. Janet stared at him, too tired to say anything. Emotional exhaustion was setting in. She didn't know if she could do it. This moment, this... it was almost too much, to have salvation denied to her. It was, well, exhausting.

Jay turned to her, a far away look on his face. It seemed he had resigned himself to his fate, as he was giving her his gun. She took it quietly, looking down. She couldn't face him. It hurt too much, to know that she may never see him again. To know that, in the end, he would probably hate her. She would have to kill a lot of people to get off this island. Possibly his friends. Possibly his closest friends.

She looked up again as Jay dumped his bag contents, opened her mouth to say... something. She couldn't find the words. Her brain was slowly processing. She wanted to stop him, to let him go, to tell him... something, to never tell him anything. She knew that he needed to go. She desperately wanted him to stay. She opened her mouth again as he turned away, forming the words.

Then he kissed her. It wasn't passionate, and it wasn't very good. She didn't see fireworks or feel a fire in her belly. But it said enough. And then... it was over, and he was walking away. And for the second time that morning, Janet felt tears stinging in her eyes. She bit her lip and swiped an arm over her eyes, then stood. Hayley said something at her. A shared sentiment.

"I hope we don't. Next time we meet... we're enemies."

She pocketed Jay's gun, listened to Hayley and Ema walking away. She knelt, scooping up the supplied Jay had left. Food, about three more days worth. Ammo, and plenty of it. Map, compass, superfluous but possibly useful. She stood again, looking out at the boat. Salvation would not be coming for her. She would have to fight to earn it.

"Goodbye, Jay Holland. I... love you."

With her private admittance completed, she shouldered her much heavier pack and walked inland. She would go first for the swamp; she needed to get more water anyway. After that... who knows?

((Janet Binachi continued elsewhere.))
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