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Into The Jaws of Hell; Private
Topic Started: Jun 24 2011, 05:19 AM (1,276 Views)
Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(Naoko Raidon continued from Radio Nowhere)

"Well!" came the voice, but Raidon was already turning--he'd heard the light scratch of pebbles underfoot, the sounds of another soul making its way up this lonesome mountain. He felt a little light-headed and woozy from lack of food and from his recent bout with sickness, but the past few days and the injuries he'd acquired over their course had sharpened his instincts, honed them until he could react surely, confidently, without fail.

Except then it was Maxwell Lombardi and he couldn't fire because he suddenly felt the weight of the jacket around his shoulders and all his thoughts came whirling back to life.

He'd left the Logging Road in something of a daze, his dead friend's jacket around his shoulders, his conversation with God temporarily forgotten. By now he had a decent sense of direction--he knew where the Residential Area was, where he could enter the tunnels, he could have found the swamp and the different coastlines by instinct. There were too many memories scattered in all directions, and he was trying his very best not to think at this moment.

So, he'd gone somewhere no stubborn memories persisted. He'd gone to the mountain. Found an edge on which to sit, to stare out over the island that had brought the students of Bayview so much loss and tragedy.

He examined Maxwell Lombardi. Lombardi examined him. Raidon suspected they were both evaluating each other's wounds--the bruises all along their faces and arms. They'd inflicted those on each other; Lombardi was stronger than him and better in a figh, but he was also much less clever.

Keep that in mind.

"If I'd had time to stay behind, you'd long since be dead," Raidon mused, more to himself than to Maxwell.

"True. I guess I should be thankful."

They were staring at each other, but there was nothing knowing or familiar in Maxwell's gaze. Raidon waited a moment, struggled to figure out why. When it came to him, he could not quite believe it; no other reason, however, made sense. There was something both funny and annoying about it, but he had to confirm it first.

"You don't remember me, Lombardi?" Maxwell cocked his head, then shrugged. Raidon smiled, half in actual amusement, half in livid dissapointed anger--the man who'd become his target had no idea who he was. "Naoko Raidon. We had U.S. History together for a semester, before you transferred out."

He wasn't sure Lombardi had heard this second part; after he'd said his name, the killer's face had practically glowed with excitement, and a broad grin snaked its way across his face. "Oh, so you're that Naoko Raidon the Announcements keep mentioning!" Credit where credit was due, mentioning the announcements made Raidon's blood turn to ice in his veins; he swallowed and focused on the deadly weight of the gun in his hand. "How many has it been so far now?" Maxwell asked. "Five? Six? Damn, that's almost half as many as me."

Raidon remembered their fight--the thorough beating he'd suffered at Maxwell's hands, until his gamble had turned the tables.

"Fine by me," Raidon said coolly. "Means I've got enough bullets to finish the job." He waved the gun a little, just enough so Maxwell's eyes were drawn to it. They widened in recognition.

Neither of them moved for several seconds. Neither of them said anything, either. In those seconds, Raidon wasn't thinking about Maxwell Lombardi--at least, not directly. He was thinking about Peter Siu and his denial of any moral right; he was thinking about Julian Avery and his indecision; he was thinking about Mizore Soryu and the unparalleled commitment to her ideals; he was thinking about Simon Grey, waiting for Lombardi behind a truck.

"Why are you doing this?" Raidon asked, and when he had done so his question took on an importance every bit as fundamental as his urge to kill Lombardi and his urge to get Soryu out--it was related to who he was, and to what he had done. He did not merely want Lombardi to answer; he needed him to.

"Why not?" Maxwell Lombardi asked, shrugging, and the casualness of his answer made Raidon's whole body go numb. "I mean, let's face it, you heard how well that whole escape plan went, didn't you? The only guaranteed ticket off this island is by playing along like a good little boy and not giving a damn about who the hell you have to crush beneath your feet along the way." The words were different but the substance was not--Of course killing boosts my chances to survive. Probability alone dictates it will. "That's how I've played," Lombardi continued. "And apart from the odd mishap it's worked very well. Not that I have to tell you that, after all you've been doing a pretty good job yourself, haven't you?"

Raidon's anger and vengeance were giving way to doubt; he struggled to hold onto his cold certainty. "I'm playing to live," Raidon growled. "You're just playing."

"Oh, come now!" Maxwell scoffed. "Surely you enjoyed it to some degree? Hasn't the thrill of the hunt ever gotten you fired up?" He saw Victoria Logan fall as his cold certainty let him pull his trigger without hesitation; he felt the rush of air past his face as he leapt forward, racing Jacob Charles for Soryu's life. "Doesn't the sheer adrenaline of the kill make you feel more alive than anything else in your entire life? That sweet satisfaction of someone you hate lying dead at your feet..." He remembered Peter Siu; he saw Maddy Stone struggling beneath him, heard her satisfying screams as he pulled his trigger. He rained blows upon a fallen Maxwell and felt his heart accelerate as he thought of new ways to hurt him.

"N-no," Raidon started, and cursed his once-sure tongue for the stutter. "This isn't about enjoyment, it's...it's about..."

Maxwell's smile had widened. "You don't sound so sure."

Raidon swallowed, tried to ignore the doubts that now besieged him. He had given Maddy Stone stigmata wounds, and he had killed Victoria Logan so easily. Had Roland Harte really posed a threat, or had he just been desperately trying to justify his fear?

"By the way," Maxwell continued. "I couldn't help but notice that you didn't get on that boat alongside Mizore whatshername. Pity, I guess that means you weren't there to comfort her when she got blown to pieces alongside the rest of those idiots who thought they could cheat their way off the island."

There was something so petulant and petty about Maxwell's tone as he said this that at once a part of Raidon's confidence returned to him--he remembered that Lombardi wasn't some ideal killer, that he had until a few days ago been exactly the same as any other high school student. "Don't be an idiot," Raidon said, laughing. "They're alive."

Maxwell's eyes narrowed. "Oh?" he said, and Raidon could hear how forced the attempt at casualness really was. "What makes you so sure?"

"They're playing their own game," Raidon answered. "You don't tell your pawn there's a way off the board that doesn't involve getting taken by the opponent's piece." He thought for a moment--remembered Soryu facing off with the guards of the boat. "Not that it matters to us, I guess. We're in until checkmate."

Maxwell thought for a moment. "I suppose that's one way of looking at it," Lombardi conceded grudgingly. "Although, if you ask me, it sounds like you're trying to come with another excuse to hid the fact that you actually enjoy this game a lot more than you'd like to admit."

Raidon's mouth twisted to one side. "Why are you trying so hard to convince me that we're the same?" he demanded.

"Why are you so determined to prove we're different?"

Raidon wished the question had a complicated answer, an abstract philosophical point he could have argued about. But the truth was, it was frustratingly simple. "You killed Simon," Raidon replied, remembering the bloody, rotting pulp that had once been his face.

Maxwell cocked his head to one side, his brow creasing in thought. "Simon?" repeated the Brit. "Simon who?" A look of dawning realization. "You mean that fan ginger who didn't know when to run?"

Thank you, Maxwell Lombardi. Thank you because by saying that you'd temporarily banished Raidon's doubts and made this issue as uncomplicated as his answer to your last question. Whether or not you and Raidon are different is no longer the point; you killed Simon Grey, and you had the gall to disrespect him to Naoko Raidon's face.

Raidon pulled the trigger and threw himself to his right.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Jan 31 2012, 03:40 PM.
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Grim Wolf
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
He heard an answering shot almost immediately, biting into the ground where he'd been. Without thinking Raidon rolled, gritting his teeth against the pain in his left shoulder, and then scrambled to his feet, firing blindly in the direction of Maxwell Lombardi. He saw the vague shape of Simon's killer also moving, gun aimed in his general direction.

Raidon slid behind a large, near-at-hand boulder and settled in, panting. He glanced towards his bag, which appeared to be mostly intact, and then risked peeking his head around his cover. At once a bullet bit home inches from his face, sending jagged splinters of rock flickering out over his face. He cursed and, coughing from the dust, pulled back. He wiped the back of his hand across his forehead and looked down to see a thin smear of blood.

There was also a blossoming wet patch on his left shoulder. It appeared he'd torn his wound.

Raidon turned the gun past the boulder and fired three shots completely blind--he didn't want to expose himself again, given how close he'd come to death moments before. But he didn't know what new weapons Maxwell had managed to acquire over the past two days. He'd gotten hold of a gun readily enough; what else did he have?

Could risk a flashbang... he mused, risking a quick peek and pulling back before Maxwell had time to fire. He didn't know where his enemy was hiding, however--he hadn't been watching.

Don't know where he is. Shit.

Only one choice then. Had to get closer.

He dashed from cover, gun at the read, eyes flickering here and there and oh, hell, there he is. Maxwell was about thirty feet away, his own gun already moving towards Raidon.

Raidon pulled the tirgger, heard the dry click, of his gun, felt every inch of him go numb with terror. He threw himself forwards and skidded two feet along the ground, only then registering the clicking of Maxwell's gun.

Neither of them had any bullets left.

Raidon scrambled to his feet and reached for the knife at his waist, too late; Maxwell grabbed his wrist. Desperately Raidon hurled a punch with his weak left hand; Lombardi easily caught it and twisted to one side before kicking Raidon in the chest. Raidon stumbled backwards, gasping even as he reached for his knife. He took two steps backwards to open up some distance between the two of them.

On his third step, he found only empty air.

No.

No.

No no no no no no no no no no no no nonononononono-!


He threw himself forward even as he felt, slammed his chest into the raw cliff edge and knocked what little air he had left clean out of him. He dug his fingers (even the missing pinky, much to his agonized dismay) into the side, scrabbled to hold on-

Two of fingernails were snapped clean off as he fell; as he finally lost his purchase on the cliff, his head thundered into one sheer mountainous wall, and darkness took him whole.

(Naoko Raidon remembering in Original Sin)
Edited by Grim Wolf, Jul 2 2011, 07:52 PM.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
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