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Failing to Reappear; Anyone's invited.
Topic Started: Jul 8 2011, 03:05 AM (5,943 Views)
Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
You shot me.

Nothing else to say.

Nothing but stillness in the air and a ringing in her ears. And the boy in front of her, this silhouette standing so still. Wished he would move just so she could know time was still going. Just blink. Just anything.

He blinked.

Okay. Still going. Still breathing. Heart still beating. Still. Nothing moving nothing happening nobody making the first move, and she sure as hell didn't want to because the next move she made was probably gonna be to die.

Not yet not yet not yet. Any time would be soon would be good but please not yet. Let this next heartbeat work. And the next. And the next. And the next.

So far so good.

And she took another breath and she didn't want to admit it hurt. Didn't want to think about any moment now or while it lasted. Get those words out of her head please get them out of her head please.

Let the ringing stop now so she can come back to the world while she can. Let her face her killer and say something and mean it. Say,

“Dude. What the fuck?”
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Things were not going according to plan. Both of the people in Aaron's sights dropped, but the dangerous one did so of his own accord, creating a bit of impromptu cover to keep himself safer. Whether or not the table would stop a bullet was inconsequential; it broke Aaron's line of sight to his target, meaning any shots fired would be counting on luck to inflict any real damage. That was bad. That the girl was probably dying was totally superfluous information. She wasn't dangerous, unless she tried something. Aaron relegated her to extremely tertiary priority.

Then, Raidon was breaking cover. Time to end this, remove one of the major remaining threats. Aaron spun, saw the object flying, and was about to dive for cover when it went off. Luckily, he had shielded his eyes somewhat on reflex; his vision was blurred, his eyes shedding tears, but he could still get impressions and shapes.

He was just a second too late to finish things the right way. Raidon got in close, knocked the gun flying. It was at this point that the fact that Raidon was holding what was probably a pistol of his own registered. Aaron lunged, sending Raidon into a wall. There was a flash of motion, then the sound of a gunshot.

Aaron froze for a second, sure he'd been shot, sure he'd have to fight through the pain to finish this. No pain. Just silence. Everything hung for a moment. As Aaron's vision cleared, he saw what had happened. He saw Raidon, the pistol, Charlie. He saw that he'd made the right choice, having allies along. He saw that she'd just saved his life, at the probable cost of her own.

He saw an opportunity.

Raidon was distracted. Why was beyond Aaron's capacity to imagine or care about at this moment. He scrambled for the pistol on the ground. Near the door. Good.

"Aileen," he called. "Come on." Raidon had a pistol. He'd fired a single shot, proving both his accuracy and his willingness to kill. Aaron didn't care whether he stood a chance in this fight, whether he could help Charlie by staying, whether the other girl, the bloody one in the corner, was dead, whether anyone else was listening or approaching. His goal was to come out of this game on top. That meant losing battles in the name of the war. It meant staying uninjured. His arm was aching, his eyes stinging, his chest sore. Things were bad enough already.

So he ran, ducking around the corner, keeping low and under what cover he could find, getting the door fram between himself and Raidon. He hoped Aileen was following him. Everything else was unimportant. He'd regroup, reassess, but he had to survive to do so.

No shots followed him out of the infirmary. Somehow, that was the scary part.

((Aaron Hughes continued in Loyalty Rewarded))
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
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Limisios
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"Sure thing, Dog Moon."
[ *  * ]
The light shined into Josée's eyes, blinding her for a second. "Hey, thanks." she said, smiling a little as she walked towards them until she was standing right in front of them. "Thanks, I haven't talked to many nice people since-" She was cut off by the insane crackling of a nearby loudspeaker. As the announcement played, Josée was shocked to see that that Maxwell kid had finally got what was coming to him. It reassured Josée to think that even the most powerful killer was not invincible.

After a couple more names Josée suddenly felt something heavy drop on her foot as Raidon suddenly dropped the torch in shock. Josée immediately went to pull it off before she started to show that she was hurt. "Hey, what did you do that for?" she asked angrily as she picked up the torch and saw all the colour disappear from Raidon's face. Josée immediately realised that something was up. "Is everything alright? I didn't mean to snap at you. Trust me, I know how it feels to lose someone dear to you on this island," she smiled. The other girl was patting him on the back so Josée felt obliged to go the same. "Perhaps we should leave, I get the feeling we're not safe-" Josée was cut off by someone else barging into the room, light flooding through the entrance as bullets began to fly everywhere.

Josée simply didn't feel like being scared, she was beyond that. Everywhere she went people were trying to tear each other to shreds, there was no room to sit down and wait happily for everything to blow over. If you have a weapon you fight, if you don't you just wander around and wait to die.

But Josée didn't want to die. In a thought, she ran back the way she came and out into the sunlight, gasping for air. She wanted to escape, but as she set foot onto the damp grass, her foot slipped and she landed on her side, next to the great stone facade of the building. Tiny lumps of stone fell onto the ground as bullets slammed into the other side. She hoped that Raidon boy was alright, she didn't want to leave him but she couldn't go back in while Hell was breaking loose.

She sat on the ground and listened to the dim noises on the other side of the wall. She could barely hear anything above the stream of bullets, but at least that meant that there was still a possibility that Raidon was still alive.
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KamiKaze
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Can you hear me?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Aileen was too distracted by the dead body that she wasn't paying attention to the sights around her.

But as a bright light hit her eyes, she instinctively covered them. The cracking sound was so loud, as well. Did... did he throw a bomb at them? Shit shit shit! This wasn't going well. They had murdered someone and now they had things being thrown at them!

She heard a gunshot, and the sound of physical violence. Aileen couldn't concentrate. As she moved her hands away, everything seemed so blurry. At first she presumed that her glasses had fallen off, but a swift touch to her face proved otherwise. So a flash bang, presumably. Great.

Aileen wasn't sure what she could do. Here she was, freaking out over a dead body in the middle of a crisis. She wasn't sure what was happening, but... she didn't want to be here. She was supposed to be at home, graduating or something. It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair. Aileen felt so numb. She didn't feel like existing at the moment.

And then Aaron's voice.

He was calling her name. Presumably he was running away after all the chaos he caused. Hopefully Charlie would be right behind him. Aileen lifted herself off the ground with some difficulty, and followed what she presumed to be Aaron's shape out. She wasn't sure it was him. But the shape suggested it was, despite the blurry, tearful vision.

As she ran out, she could hear Charlie mumbling some sort of explicative. Well, she felt the same way. Of course Aileen would feel the same way. But she couldn't focus now. She couldn't even reply back right now. All she was focused on was leaving.

Was there still hope? Maybe. But if hope still existed, then she wasn't sure if it would come to her. After all, they killed someone again for no good reason. Again, Aileen, which side are you on? Really now? Maybe you should let Raidon shoot you. Oh man, wouldn't that be swell? Just shoot everyone and render the whole mission moot. What a way to go! After all, they killed someone who may have been close to him for all they knew! Of course he would want vengeance.

Maybe she was losing it. But she didn't care for right now.

((Aileen Borden continued in Loyalty Rewarded))
RICHARDS/BAINES OTP!

Coming to a V7 near you.
Bree Jones- "I'm not exaggerating when I say that my fish are smarter."
Roxanne "Roxie" Borowski- "Next video? Oh man, tons of ideas, dude. Lemme get the makeup for that."

In Loving Memory

Humiliating things I caught you guys saying

Kami's Promise for v6 (doing this again)

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Let's show that private threads aren't necessary! I pledge not to start any private threads on island in V6. If I started a thread, you are welcome to join it.
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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
You're not Aaron Hughes.

It was a stupid thought, but it was all Raidon could manage at the moment he saw her. His impact against the wall had jarred the same spot he'd hit a day ago against the cliffs, so his vision was shaky and his head foggy, but...

But she wasn't Aaron Hughes.

Hughes.

He looked up, lifting the shell of the gun he now held before letting it drop to one side. Hughes was gone; so was the girl he'd been guiding towards him with his flashlight. He and the woman he'd shot were now very much alone.

He looked back to her. She was still on her feet, staring in disbelief between the blossoming wound in her chest and Raidon. Raidon stared between the same wound and the girl.

"Dude," she said. "What the fuck?"

And then she slumped forwards.

Without thinking Raidon dropped his gun and table leg, stepped forwards, and caught her under his right arm. He hissed through his teeth as his injured ankle quivered under him, then, struggling under even her slender bulk. He steadied his grasp using his injured left arm and, gritting his teeth against the curses building in his throat, set her against the wall.

Then they stopped and stared at each other for a little longer.

"I'm sorry," he finally said.

It was hard, so hard, to feel. He wanted to be guilty, but he had been in danger; he wanted to be outraged, but he'd already seen too much. He had been attacked--attacked completely logically, attacked in all likelihood for all the same reasons Raidon himself thought he might well condone. Raidon was dangerous--the most dangerous man on the island, at least by reputation. He had been attacked, all too logically. He had protected himself, all too logically.

And their perfectly logical attempts to kill each other had ended with two innocents taken down in the crossfire.

He glanced back to Fiona, now quite still upon her wall. He glanced back to the girl in front of him, her breathing shallow but her eyes wide and still very much alive.

"I'm sorry," he repeated, and shrugged helplessly.
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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."

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Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
And everything within her begged at once that if she was gonna fall, if she was gonna admit to that bit of mortality, if she was gonna give up on the hope of poking her belly and cracking her neck and realizing she wasn't dying after all, could she at least fall backwards? Fall away. From him and his gun and his blank fucking look and his arms already spreading out to catch her. No please back please away no this wasn't fucking okay this isn't okay. You don't get to do this. Don't know who you are don't care who you are, you're not okay and you're not a friend and get away get away get away.

In a voice so weak he didn't hear.

And she fell

Forward. And wanted to protest this, to shake and to cry out and to pound her fists. Wanted to use every breath she had left to say no to all of this. Wanted backwards, more than anything else.

He said he was sorry.

He said what? He- there he went again. Sorry. Not proud. Not happy. Not smiling not laughing not waiting for his latest kill to bleed out in his arms just because that made it feel more personal. A kid who'd made a mistake.

“Oh.” She looked up at him and blinked. “Well, fuck you anyway.”

But it was already getting harder, pretending not to care. An apology was bullshit, an apology did nothing and made nothing better and ceased to be the moment it was spoken, this was all true. But he was there and he was sorry. A kid, a fuckup, wounded and stupid and scared. Now without looking back, tell everyone who that last sentence describes.

“Hey, um.” And she paused, because what she was about to say was probably gonna sound pretty profoundly stupid.

At any other moment in her life she would've given a shit about that.

“I wanna die happy. And I figure I got a better shot of doing that if the- if I get to like the guy who gets to live.” And for the first time since she was dying she smiled just a little.

“So tell me something cool about yourself.”
Edited by Jonny, Aug 16 2011, 12:31 AM.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Oh," she said. Her voice was slightly slurred, but he could still sense the surprise in her voice. "Well, fuck you anyways."

"That's fair," Raidon agreed. Again, he wished he could feel something about this--some crushing guilt, some indignation. But there was nothing; he couldn't have acted in any other way. To try and act on anything but instinct in the heat of the fight was dangerous; if he'd learned anything from Lombardi (that last charge, the moment of indecision as he'd tried to understand the blind hatred and rage), it was that.

A fight was about action. Hesitation got you killed. Didn't mean he wasn't sad he'd hurt her, but he could be no more than distantly, dimly sad, and that thought made him feel very heavy all by itself.

"I could...I could try to treat you," he said weakly, but he wasn't sure it would do any good; the front of her shirt was already thick with blood, and anyways the past few days had not gone easily on his medical supplies. Even so, he started to move to the side to grab the first aid kit, do what he could; maybe she'd make it, people had lived with worse injuries, who knew what she could-

"Hey," she said. He looked back down to her. She spoke. He listened. And when she was finished he smiled and shook his head.

"You're not going to like me," he said. He knelt, if only to give his injured ankle some rest, and looked her in the eyes. "I'm Naoko Raidon," he continued. "I've hurt a lot of people over the past few days. You are only the third person I feel bad about." He let that hang, then glanced down to his battered and beaten body. "I wanted very badly to be a moral person," he said. "I...the first time I really heard the story of Jesus, I couldn't believe..."

He stopped himself, caught off-guard; he'd only ever talked about this with Father Cassidy and Simon; with Julian it had always been a question of resolve, and with Mizore the moral dimension had been purely ethical. "I have...had," he corrected himself, grimacing. "Several moral friends. Two of them are dead. I got the last out safely, much against her will."

He paused, thought about her question, smiled. "That's it," he said slowly. "In spite of all my stupidity, I did save someone."

He looked at her, remembered she'd been asking after the rescue. "They're gone," he said. "The rescuers. Grabbed a bunch of us and took off. Promised to come back for us, if they could. They..." The memory of the beach was washed in golden light and dark thoughts. "They did the moral thing, and didn't bring me with them."

He couldn't take his gaze off the girl's face.

"What about you?" he asked, glancing over his shoulder to the open door--the direction in which Aaron had fled. "What were you doing with Hughes?"
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


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Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
Don't be shy now.

“Dude, that's bullshit, Aaron isn't even- you didn't even answer. You weren't always on this island. Come on, eighteen years worth of cool stuff and you've got nothing? Go."

A whirlwind of impotent childlike rage wishing so hard she had the strength left to yell at him and sound like she meant it. A pair of still-wide eyes asking one thing, asking please don't be boring please don't be boring please.

“Seventeen,” he said, and she nearly hit him for it. Please let there be more to this boy than a number, a correction, a little pile of words that said nothing at all. Please let her drag out her one foot already sinking into the hell of other people.

“...I don't think I really lived, before I came here." If a livejournal poem was about to fall out of his mouth, it was at least better than nothing. “I've spent the last four years living on my own. I saw my brother die and I...was there when my father...” Broke off, looked down at the ground. “I lived a passive live. I tried, very hard, to pretend I was a good person. But it was just pretend.” Shook his head.

“I really don't think I lived till... here. A place where what I did... where people died if I fucked up. And people lived if I stayed cool.” Looked back up at her. “I got someone out. I saved a life. I let friends die. I killed people with malice and with rage and with despair and with fear and even, occasionally, with stupidity. Being her made me realize who I am. What I am."

She didn't get mad.

She said,

“"I'm a dancer. I do ballet, I do jazz, I did a little tap... but ugh, seriously, fuck tap. I was in a production of Rite of Spring a few months ago, it was amazing. If you get out of here, look it up Youtube, it's the greatest ballet of all time because it's so fast and alive and beautiful it doesn't just stand still and look pretty it's motion it's always motion.

“But, umm... I've been to Paris with my family and it's the most beautiful city in the world. Pirates of the Caribbean is my favorite movie. I love Johnny Depp but I hate Tim Burton. I love the All-American Rejects. I went to the Harry Potter 5 premiere at midnight dressed as Tonks, because I'm a huge fucking nerd.”

She said,

“I've never killed anyone but I kicked a beer bottle out of some douchebag's hand on our first day here, so I think that makes me a badass.”

She said,

“Your go.”

And there was something not quite dead in his eyes when he started to speak.

"Only time I can think of where I felt this alive before was when I was debating. Something about...about having to understand an idea even if you don't agree with it. And understand it well enough to defend it. I think that might be why I've had such trouble deciding on anything here. I can always see too much of what the other person's thinking."

And there was something alive, so alive, in his eyes when he said it.

He cared. He cared about something and it could've been anything or debate or hiking or Johnny Depp in a pirate costume. He cared and it was beautiful and it was true and it was cool. Her world was all resounding cheers in that moment because she wasn't going to die alone but with someone just a foot in front of her but alone.

Say more. Make it easier to smile, make it harder to hurt.

“The person you saved. Tell me about 'em.”

“She's...” He sighed, shook his head. “She never compromised her ideals. She...she didn't just want to be moral. She was moral. Me, I couldn't...I wanted to live, more than anything else. She was willing to die for what she believed in. Better than me.”

A smile. “Stupider, too. Wanted to stick around, keep me out of trouble. Wanted the rescue to happen on her terms or no terms at all.” A shrug. “I happened to thing there's a point at which compromise is more practical.” He made a hitting motion with his right hand and looked down at the ground. “I got her to the boat.”

“Your girlfriend sounds cool,” and a weak smile to go with it. And Raidon turned to a camera and started to say something that sounded profoundly stupid. She tuned it out, tried to get mad, found it wasn't nearly as easy as a few minutes ago.

---

“Ugh, no, fuck you!” With laughter in her voice and a nose as upturned as she could manage. “You're seriously going with-”

“My Dinner With Andre.” Raidon, next to her, leaned against the wall and smiling without even a hint of shame. The monster.

“Nothing happens in it.”

He shrugged and kept smiling at his own terrible taste, and she liked him a little more for it.

“Next time you need to kill someone, just start talking about that movie and watch their eyes glaze over and their soul leave their body.” And it hit her and she cast her eyes down and spoke softly. “Sorry. If that was a mean thing to say.”

Not to the movie, the movie deserved that and more. To the boy who'd killed eight people- was it... eight, or was it seven and she was the eighth, or... figure that out later...- and wasn't feeling too glad about those kills. It's mean to rub it in and it'll make him feel worse and he didn't even mean it except for all the times he did.

But if it made him feel worse he didn't show it.

And she was glad.

---

“No way. Radio Asuka? No way, fuck you, you're kidding me.”

“I was as surprised as you,” he said. Laughed. “Came across her working on this ridiculous death portrait and I sorta recognized it right off the bat.”

So look at this little starfucker, look at him grin at what's waiting for him should he make it off the island. Good for him, good for him, good for him. An hour ago she'd have said the same thing, difference was now she meant it.

She sat herself up, which by now took all her blood sweat and tears to do. And she craned her neck and found her audience and started to say,

“Hey Radio you should draw me or you should make a mural or you do something and I won't be mad at your boyfriend anymore but you have to promise.” Something profoundly stupid, into the camera.

She fell back against the wall and hoped nobody was laughing at her.

---

Some kind of awkward lull that was probably her fault. Unacceptable.

“Hey. Keep talking.”

So he did. And it was too hard to concentrate anymore so she just let the vague sound wash over her and remind her someone was there. And she'd call it the best feeling in the world but now seemed like a particularly silly time to hyperbolize.

So there was his voice going on and on, murky and warm, and there was the image in her head of a ghost that looked just a little bit like her. With a wispy little tail where legs would have been, reaching out to catch some of those fish that lived in the sky but were too sneaky for the living to notice.

She blinked and realized how stupid it all sounded.

She blinked again and didn't care.

She closed her eyes and it had to be a long time later when she opened them again because it was a lot darker. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.

“Hey.” She'd never gotten around to saying she forgave him. Never gotten around to wishing him luck.

“I'm Charlie, by the way.”

It seemed like the right thing to say at the time.

G071 Charlie Duclare: Deceased
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Seventeen," he corrected automatically, stalling as he considered her question. What could he tell this girl about? What did he owe this girl, really? She'd moved in on him in the midst of a fight, she had paid a perfectly fair cost, she-

And again, this isn't about you.

“...I don't think I really lived, before I came here," he mused. "I've spent the last four years living on my own. I saw my brother die and I...was there when my father...” He broke off, surprised by his own forthrightness, but he didn't know this girl nearly well enough to confide in her things he'd said only under court order before. “I lived a passive life." he continued, as he said it the gun dropped from his hand and Ichiro's blood pooled on the ground. "I tried, very hard, to pretend I was a good person. But it was just pretend.”

He scratched the back of his head and tried to think of something else to add. “I really don't think I lived till... here," he repeated. "A place where what I did...mattered. Where people died if I fucked up. And people lived if I stayed cool.” And here he suddenly remembered that for all his stupidity he did nurse one small point of pride. "“I got someone out. I saved a life." He smiled, thinking of Soryu; his smile vanished as he thought of what she would have said. "I...I let friends die," he said softly. "I killed people with malice and with rage and with despair and with fear and even, occasionally, with stupidity. Being her made me realize who I am. What I am."

Didn't live 'til I reached the island of loss.

And then she started talking. And Raidon listened, because she was dying because of him and instead of weeping or yelling or raging she was demanding to be treated like a god damn human being.

He considered her words. "Yours was way better than mine," he thought aloud. "And anyways Tonks was always the best of them." He offered a small smile as he realized he did have something prior to the island that had captivated him. And without further ado he told her about debate.

And then, stupidest of all, he told her about Soryu. Because all his little thoughts, all his little attempts to focus on other things were ultimately secondary to the overriding worry for that still-living pacifist he'd forced to choose life.

"Your girlfriend sounds cool," said the girl.

Raidon started. "Girlfriend?" he repeated. It was so hard to think of Soryu in those terms; he was caught up in the strange glamor she wore around her, the peaceful current in the midst of the turbulence of the island, the high-minded ideals and the desperate feel of her lips upon his. "Girlfriend," he said again, savoring the word. His eyes flickered to a camera in the corner and he gave a little wave. "How about it, Soryu? We'd make quite the spectacle." His smile flickered and the vanished. "Did make quite the spectacle."

His mouth twisted to one side and he shook his head and turned his eyes back to the bleeding girl. "What about you?" he said. "I can't be the only one with some stupid romance hanging over my head."




"My Dinner with Andre's a great movie!" Raidon protested, laughing a little. "Two men, different stages, different view points, trying to understand how-" But the girl, now sitting next to him on the wall, was laughing too hard. Raidon scowled.

"Oh, and you're so much better?" he asked. "Dirty Dancing? Really?"

The girl flushed. "It's a good movie about love and the classes and-"

"It's about Patrick Swayze in a leotard playing a Cuban man," Raidon grunted. "No one puts baby in a corner? That's his big line to resolve the class conflict?"

Her eyes narrowed. "I notice you're not protesting Footloose."

"Footloose ends with Kevin Bacon ninja fighting a football team. Nobody protests Footloose."



Raidon made a face somewhere between guilt, amusement, and exasperation. "Oh, don't tempt her," he said, rolling her eyes. "She wanted to stay on the damn island to paint pictures, she's not going to refuse." He shook his head. "I'm not sure I want there to be an immortal testament to someone who likes Dirty Dancing, but she won't mind."




There came a lull in their conversation that was anything but awkward; it was just silence, them staring at a wall as the girl's breaths grew increasingly ragged. This wasn't anything Raidon had prepared for; no panic, no fear, no necessity. Just death, sitting like a quiet third member between the two of them, in that invisible space separating them by inches.

"Hey," she said. He looked over. "Keep talking."

Raidon considered her for a moment, as she shut her eyes. He thought about what to say.

"This island makes you feel alive," he said softly. "Because there is always so much to lose and you're losing it every moment of everyday." He was still looking at the girl. "The best I've been able to do so far is break even, and that rarely," he said. "I found a girl I barely knew, I found a soul who saw me in all my terrible wretchedness and didn't care because...I still don't know. In every other case..." He shook his head.

"I've gained, a little--my sense of self again, and something that actually looks a little like a moral compass if you kind of squint your eyes and-" he was rambling and this probably wasn't what the girl had in mind when she-

"Hey," she said. Her eyes had opened but she wasn't looking at him; her smile was soft and pale and serene, like moonlight drifting down over a dark night. "I'm Charlie, by the way."

Raidon stared at her, then nodded and looked back to the same ceiling they'd both been staring at a few minutes before. "A man who I might have killed became my friend," he said. "As did a girl I killed by chance alone." He thought about them all--his victims, his friends, his monsters. "Can't even break even, on the island of loss," he said. "Only the winner stands to gain a damn thing, and that's..." He shook his head.

"Charlie," he said. "It was nice meeting you."

Charlie didn't say anything. But Raidon had no immediate inclination to stand up.
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"Sure thing, Dog Moon."
[ *  * ]
Josée put her fingers in her ears as bullets poured against the wall, closing her eyes, she fought back tears as she waited for the noise to stop, and after what seemed like an eternity; the entire area fell silent. Josée got to her feet, not knowing if this cease-fire meant that that boy with the gun had actually killed Raidon and the other girl. Taking a deep and brave breath in, she slowly crept to the door and listened for any clues as to what had happened.

It was almost impossible to see inside and she didn't want her shadow to be cast into the building from the sunlight, so instead she just leaned next to the door frame and listened; just catching the words "Charlie, it was nice meeting you" leave Raidon's lips. Slowly, Josée creeped in through the doorway.

"Raidon?" she called into the darkness,trying to find the light that Raidon had switched on before without much success. "It's me... Josée." her voice was trembling as she spoke, hoping that everything was safe. "I'm not going to attack you; even if you have managed to kill someone. It wouldn't be the first time I forgave someone for that." She said into the darkness. "If you're there, then can you please shine your light again, I can't see a thing."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Raidon looked up.

He'd forgotten...it had been sometime since Aaron Hughes had attacked, since Fiona had fallen and Hughes had fled. And he'd forgotten about Josee even before that--when he'd heard Julian's name...

For a moment he thought about yelling at her, threatening her, scaring her so that she ran, but after talking with Charlie he simply didn't have the energy; it was as though all the hate and rage and passion had gone out of him, leaving him only a dim, distant sadness--like staring at a crying child from afar, or watching a mourner shake with grief without grieving yourself. He felt empty, and he wasn't sure he disliked the feeling.

"Sorry," he called, sitting up and making his way to the fallen stable. Blood was in a sticky pool under Fiona, whose eyes were still slightly open. He shook his head and grabbed his flashlight, discarded to one side. "This way," he called. "Mind, it's bloody as all hell..."

He glanced towards Charlie, now quite still herself, and then looked down at his feet and let his light shine into the darkness separating him and Josee.
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"Sure thing, Dog Moon."
[ *  * ]
The light shone in Josée's general direction once again, she had to squint to adjust her eyesight. Once again, she walked into the centre of the infirmary.

"This way. Mind, it's bloody as all hell..."

It was at that point that Josée first noticed the body, both of them lying on the floor, Josée felt slightly sick but she tried hard not to show it. "Jesus." she gasped, her mouth hanging open. "What... What did that boy want..." Josée stared at the decaying body of the girl she had just talked to a few seconds before. "I mean... You'd think that someone who had got so far on this island would actually aim for people when he tried to shoot them..."

Josée tried not to think of the fact that standing in the same room as one of the island's most dangerous killers may have put her in a large amount of danger, perhaps not from him, but certainly from anyone who thought they could make a quick hero shot.

"Is it scary?" She started to say, cautiously stepping towards Raidon. "Killing people I mean..."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"What did that boy want?" she asked.

"What indeed." Raidon wasn't looking at Josee, or Charlie, or Fiona; his eyes were on the door through which Aaron had attacked and fled. "Me, dead, of course, but..."

They drifted into a moment of silence. He was looking after Aaron, and the more he looked the more disquieted he felt--whatever transitory sense of well-being he'd earned talking with Charlie was now gone, replaced with...what? Something restless, something dangerous, something intriguing, and he had to figure out what it was...

"Is it scary?" Josee asked, moving a little closer. "Killing people, I mean."

He looked towards her. She was staring at him without fear--with simple interest. It was the first time anyone had asked the question, and certainly the first time the subject had come up with so little emotion. Just a question, like any other.

"Sort of," he said. "But less for...less for them. More for you." He looked at Charlie. "Once you've killed, you realize just how dangerous you are, you can't..." He closed his eyes. "Doesn't matter how moral you tried to be. You realize you were always evil, deep down." He looked up and smiled.

"Oddly liberating, though," he admitted. "Murder's the ultimate sin, and death's the ultimate fear. Get past them, and, well..." He shrugged. "Free." He thought for a moment. "What about that killer you forgave? What made him worth forgiving?"
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[ *  * ]
"Sort of" was the first couple of words he uttered in response. "But less for...less for them. More for you." Josée would have thought that if you were being killed then it would be pretty scary, but she let Raidon continue. "Once you've killed, you realize just how dangerous you are, you can't..." He paused, Josée toke a deep breath in, her heartbeat rapidly accelerating. "Doesn't matter how moral you tried to be. You realize you were always evil, deep down." Josée didn't know if he was building up to something, was he getting ready to kill her too? Josée put the idle thought to the back of her mind and continued to listen.

"Oddly liberating, though. Murder's the ultimate sin, and death's the ultimate fear. Get past them, and, well... Free." Josée's heart nearly jumped out of her ribcage on that last word. "What about that killer you forgave? What made him worth forgiving?"

Raidon had asked her a question, he was asking about Cisco.

"Cisco..." She started. "Cisco wasn't a killer... He did kill someone, once. But it wasn't his fault." She really wanted to show Cisco in an innocent light and prove to Raidon that not everyone who killed on this island was truly evil. Even if it was only a few. "You see, the island made him... Confused. It was probably some sort of fear related thing or perhaps he got a bump on the head at some point... You see, I don't know how it happened, but on the island, Cisco met a boy named Joe Rios. I guess he sort of made Cisco his slave. Cisco was terrified of this boy and so he wouldn't leave his side, probably through fear that Joe would kill him if he stepped out of line. Cisco even told me once that he believed that Joe was the Grim Reaper in human form."

Josée hoped that she wasn't boring Raidon. "Well, me and my brother were walking through the forest on the island, we had just met this other girl... I can't quite remember her name. When Cisco and Joe spotted us. Cisco told me after the whole thing had finished that Joe wanted to ambush us and kill all three of us so he sent Cisco out as a decoy. We told him to throw his weapon out..." Josée paused, hanging her head a little at the memory. "So he did..." She paused once again. "But it wasn't a grenade or a bomb or anything like that, it was a sawblade. Cisco wasn't looking when he threw it so it spun right into us and cut the girl right across the neck... And she bled to death."

"I never saw Joe, I guess he ran away when he realised that we were now alert. He just left Cisco to his fate at the hands of me and my brother. And he might've died too it hadn't been for me. My brother leapt on him, he would've killed him on the spot without thinking had it not been for me. He looked so pathetic, he was rambling and muttering about the 'Grim Reaper'. So I decided to look after him, to save him from death and in the end I managed to get him safely onto the escape helicopters. Cisco never killed again after I found him, we talked a lot, his brain was pretty screwed up but he was still able to talk about things and I saved him... I thought I had saved him..."

Josée tried not to cry, she thought that she was done crying over Cisco. "So that's my story. If everyone on this island has just one story to tell, then that's mine." She hoped that Raidon at least approved of it and waited for him to say something in silence.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Raidon listened. He felt he should have found the story funny--spinning sawblade across the throat--but after what he'd seen he simply couldn't. Black humor isn't quite so funny in the face of the black.

"Good job," Raidon said, focusing on Josee. "Getting him out. I don't know if he was as much trouble as mine, but..." He shrugged. "It's a good feeling, actually managing to save someone."

Her last line--about the story--hadn't really registered; he was thinking of Cisco's "Reaper." A kid who'd abandoned his tool as soon as shit had gone down. Raidon's eyes flickered back to Charlie, then back to the door through which Hughes had fled.

"I had a good friend," Raidon said. "My best. Kept me sane, back in school. I...I told him we should our separate ways. I didn't want to have to take care of him. I didn't want to fail him, by letting him die; and I didn't want to get myself killed trying to save him." He looked back to Josee. "But when I met up with some new people, I just..." He shook his head. "I saved someone, too."

He didn't offer any more details--he'd just rehashed Soryu and didn't want to bring her up again. "That was really good of you," he added, walking across the room, searching. "Saving someone. Just...not everyone would have." He offered her a weak smile. "Really good."

Something was building in his head, pressure reaching towards a crescendo. He'd been patching himself up prior to the attack, and two people had died, both caught in the crossfire. What got to him was the speed of Aaron's attack and the speed of his withdrawal; it had taken Raidon days to gather up the necessary strength of will, and even then it had been his damage more than anything else that had allowed him to do it. So...

He risked a glanced towards Charlie--the girl he'd killed without any malice, who Hughes had abandoned so easily.

"I'm going to make a radical proposal," Raidon said, as he spied an undamaged cabinet and moved towards it. "I'm going to suggest we be friends. Not "I'll die-for-you" friends. Just friends. Two people without any hostility." He pulled open the cabinet and found what he was looking for--white sheets. "How's that sound?"
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