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Feel a Fear; When it feels like there's no escape
Topic Started: Jun 14 2011, 10:56 PM (1,754 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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((Ivan Kuznetsov continued from Maria Grahams' series of unfortunate events))

They had finally left the ghost town behind them, hopefully never to return. Too many memories found themselves lodged within the walls of those cookie-cutter abodes, none of which seemed to be positive. Clio had found them there for their final showdown, Maria had died right in Tabi's arms and broke the girl's heart, and Imraan dragged every nightmare kicking and screaming to the surface of Ivan's mind. He was done with that place.

He and Tabi hadn't stopped running until the suburban landscape gave away to the familiar darkened woods, shading the ground below the canopy and offering an ambience that tried to at least be a little soothing. However, the woods that the two ran through were a far cry from the forest they had camped out in a few days before. They probably hadn't even run for a full minute after entering the woods before Ivan noticed the density of trees getting thinner. Rather, the density of uncut trees.

When they stopped running, they were no longer in an actual living forest. Heaving in a pitiful attempt to catch his breath and slow his heartbeat, Ivan turned himself around and saw nothing but stumps and some stacked logs. Before he could so much as comment on this, the pain in the higher regions of his stomach forced their way up his throat, causing him to double over and gag.

This accomplished nothing more than a few painful sessions of dry heaving, after which Ivan groaned and collapsed onto a large stump, reaching to the bag that he had dropped just a foot away. "Gotta... get some water in us or something... I think we lost them."

What they had lost, of course, was six feet and eight inches of terribly misguided 'justice': Imraan Al-Hariq. It became clear he wasn't going to leave them alone by choice, but IVan was a fast runner. Tabi, luckily, had proven to be just as quick... that's why she was still alive right now.

She was why they were both still alive right now, and he could not let himself forget that.

"Where... where the fuck did that come from?" Ivan asked as he pulled out a canteen of water. "Back there... you know."
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Jun 14 2011, 11:28 PM.
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MK Kilmarnock
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Even though it was just a simple answer, and the one that Ivan had come to expect from her, he was still very glad to have heard it. His body felt like it was running on empty after having to struggle for his life once more, and in more ways than one. He was hungry and still somewhat thirsty even after having that water, but his tank of willpower had started to run low as well.

At least, it was, until Tabi filled it up like this as she was apt to do. It was for her, after all, that Ivan kept putting himself through hell and facing freaks like Clio and Imraan when one bullet to his own head could've ended this charade days ago. Even so, as he had recently discovered, there was more to this - what the two of them had - than just his unkillable drive to keep Tabi safe.

As he looked back at the girl who sat across from him, he took in just how much of a different person he was looking at now. Maybe she didn't know it, and maybe he didn't quite have the bravery to say it yet, but she was so much stronger than he was at times. He took a longer look at her, noting her form. He knew next to nothing about who Tabi Gweneth was before all of this, but she might've been an athlete of some sort. As slight as her build was, it still had some nice tone, wonderful shape, and the way her shirt stuck to her chest like that-

What the fuck am I doing!?

His gaze had rested for just a little too long there, so Ivan quickly picked up his eyes to Tabi's and prayed his glasses had done enough of a job obscuring them. "U-uh... hey, Tabi..." he started, trying to break some awkward silence. "Tell me... you play any sports back home? Anything?"

If I learn more about you, I can forget this hell for a little while.

The weapon that he still clutched in his hand had been heated by his tight grip on it, but even then it wasn't hard to imagine the former coldness of the metal. He had a gun, but Tabi did not. She might not like it, but she would need something to protect herself in the event they had no other choice. If he were to be incapacitated again, it would be up to her to save him yet again. He hated to have to put Tabi through killing somebody, but if they were going to see this spectacle through to the end, well...

They'd have to do some things they wouldn't like.

"Hey..." Ivan added, rummaging through the daypack. "You're not going to like this, but hang onto..." He pulled out the other of Clio's guns, not daring to look Tabi in the eye as he did so. He didn't want to see the expression on her face, lest he not arm her at all. And he needed to.
"This. Just... hang onto it in case anything happens, okay?" He held it out.
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Jun 21 2011, 07:36 PM.
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She was smiling. These days, that was the best Ivan could hope for at times. It came as a relief that she smiled after he handed her the gun, something that he would have expected to extinguish any happiness in her face rather than spark it. Now, though... now it seemed they were finally on the same page. He would keep her alive like he had been doing, and she would keep him alive.

At least until it came time for one of them to die so the other could live.

If it's just the two of us...

No, he shouldn't have thought about that. Now was not the time for thinking about that; his strategy had been simply to live day to day, and he only had to modify that slightly when Tabi stopped being his meatshield and became his girlfriend. Actually having a girlfriend... it sounded so weird when he repeated it to himself in his head, that he was now basically 'going out' with Tabi. He would have never dated anybody in Bayview, let alone the spunky skater who likely would've annoyed him back then. Back then when he was somebody else.

Ivan was musing to himself about how poor of a choice the island would be for a date when Tabi began to speak up about sports. She had time to respond in the negative before yet another explosion tore through their day, and Ivan's mind became lost in the storm. At first, his hand flew up to his chest, feeling expectantly for the spatter of blood as proof that somebody had finally claimed him. Out of carelessness, he had let himself be killed, and Tabi would be next to pay the price for his failure.

Ivan looked down to the hand that he turned palm-up. No blood.

"RUN!" Ivan heard Tabi scream, and he didn't need to be told twice. His gun remained clenched in his left hand, and his right hurriedly fetched the bag at his side and threw it over his shoulder. He winced in pain when the weight set just a bit too hurriedly... another thing to worry about later when there wasn't the imminent threat of being murdered. Survival mode was kicking in again: Lungs went into overdrive, the adrenaline surged through his muscles, and his brain resumed screaming the signal to 'GO GO GO!'

During the first few steps of his takeoff, Ivan looked behind him to see who their pursuer was, and couldn't believe what he saw. There was just... no way.

"No fucking way..." he uttered, then repeated the phrase louder in exasperation. When was Imraan going to quit?

Don't answer that, Ivan. Just... don't.

Ivan stayed on Tabi's tail, praying that they could shake the man's conviction before somebody had to die.
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MK Kilmarnock
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What did he fall on?

He had been so dazed from the fall, filled with the incredible and animalistic drive to get away from Imraan, and preoccupied by the need tp keep Tabi in his sights that nothing felt wrong until he felt his chin dig into the earth.

Here's right behind me... get up! GET UP!

Panic had wormed its way into Ivan's mind, and now his mind had been drowned in it. His arms scrambled to pull him up, but the weight of the daypack that had landed on top of him was too much to move with his uncoordinated and flailing attempts to get to his feet. Imraan would be coming any second, just waiting to get in range.

Images of the shotgun flashed through Ivan's mind, followed by a recollection of what happened. There was a log that Tabi cleared. It was right over the top of the hill, he hadn't seen it and now because of his folly, both he and Tabi were in more danger than ever.

Just as Ivan finally managed to tuck an arm underneath of him, both arms clamped over his head when three deafening shots rang out just over his head. Almost as immediately as his right arm had done this, a hiss escaped his lips and it tucked under his body again. This time, though, it was not to support him... instead, it was to try and cope with the burning pain that suddenly re-emerged along his upper arm. Was it the same cut from before, or had he been shot again? He knew that he needed to clear his mind and face, unless he wanted to wind up dead.

Get up. Don't die. Where the hell is...

A hand had reached down in front of him and before he knew it, he was grabbing on with his right hand, his left still clutching the gun. One of his only lifelines, and thus a chance for survival, was in that hand; he couldn't risk losing something like that. But as Tabi pulled him off the ground, Ivan was reminded that the most important thing keeping each of them alive was the other. Even if they were supposed to-

"Come on! We have to get out of here!" Ivan couldn't think of a more satisfying time to hear that voice.

"No shit!" he instinctively replied, his words less sweetened by his gratitude at the stupid... but brave thing Tabi just did, and more bittered by the searing pain that stewed in his arm. Nonetheless, he gave an affirming squeeze of her hand before letting go, stumbling a few steps down the hill until he hastened into a run. "Let's go, let's go!!"

As he and Tabi ran, Ivan allowed her to run ahead once more and slowed his pace, craning his neck and shoulder to spray a few rounds over the hill that they came over. He couldn't even see Imraan, let alone hit him, but maybe it would give them the few seconds of suppression they needed to get the hell out of here.

"
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