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Director's Cut; The extended, unabridged version! Ema Ryan / Nick LeMonde killin' post.
Topic Started: Sep 17 2011, 08:14 PM (1,845 Views)
Chib
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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
[ *  *  * ]
[Et dans ces instants, j’aimerais être comme toi par moment --> Ema Ryan]

The trip from the far-western reaches of the logging road all the way back to the sawmill was a shorter one than Ema anticipated. Maybe it was adrenaline, still running like wildfire through her veins and nerves alike, but she felt energetic. Alive, even. She felt like she could walk for miles on end, and probably want to keep going, because there was just so much energy in her. Maybe having just killed someone, decidedly brutally at that, shouldn't have such an uplifting effect on a person. But maybe Ema Ryan wasn't a normal person any more, maybe she'd liked that nauseating crunching sound when her heel had impacted with Meredith's neck, maybe she'd relished the feeling of power as the other girl's flesh had simply given way under the force of her attack, maybe she'd enjoyed killing her, and that was most likely why she felt so good about it.

Actually, maybe that wasn't why. Maybe it was just adrenaline. Because Ema Ryan was a good person, right? Sure she wasn't normal, not least since she'd killed four people and all, but she was the good guy in all of this, wasn't she? Like a horror movie protagonist, she'd just defended herself against more than her fair share of monsters and psychos. Hell, if it wasn't for the sex and the homosexuality and all, she could even be that wholesome and chaste final girl that always survives. Except that would be in a horror movie, Survival of the Fittest was obviously, like, young-adult thriller or something. A foreign, ginger, gay and female protagonist probably fit right in in stories like those. Yeah, Ema was the hero, she was going to win and nobody would blame her for her sins.

It was around about that point that our self-proclaimed protagonist found herself on the outskirts of some kind of town. She'd seen it on her map before, and always figured it would be small, but in person that was far from the case. Then again, no town ever looked small from the inside, there were buildings and roads and things making it look like it might go on forever. Looking from side to side, she could see where the U shape curved off, but it was a rather long way off on either side.

More importantly, though, she recalled the western side of the town being labelled "Residential Area". Residential meant houses. Houses meant beds. Beds meant another good night's sleep. And that meant being in good shape for the next day. Because she was going to live to see day thirteen arrive, and anybody that tried to prevent that was going to get viciously killed.

"Ha ha, oh man, who am I kidding with this hero bullshit?" Ema caught herself muttering sarcastically, again blurring the line between thoughts and words. Not talking to many people made it hard to tell. "Yeah I'm the good guy, I'mma brutally murder anyone that tries to stop me saving my own life. There is no bloody "good" any more, is there?" The redhead continued in silence for a short while, before finally adding "And still talking to myself. Great."

A few minutes of silence passed, and, not paying attention to where she was going, Ema wandered straight past several perfectly inviting houses, and found herself instead standing right at the front doors of a modest recreation centre. The posters outside spoke of films now playing, and money saving deals on gym membership, topics that now appeared so blissfully normal to Ema that she even caught herself thinking that even being subjected to regular exercise in the real world was probably preferable to the everyday battle that was SotF. In fact, in hindsight, maybe getting fit would've been a good idea. Might've saved her a shoulder wound, at least.

Dangerous as it should have seemed, curiosity got the best of her, and Ema went inside. She had the Nambu in her right pocket, the Vektor in her left, she could draw both whenever she needed and be properly armed, she was going to be fine, no point worrying. There must be, what, fifteen people left alive? Unlikely they'd bother stopping at a cinema to waste their time, right? In fact, in all the solitude, maybe she could try putting something on. The projector couldn't be that difficult to work, right?

Yeah, this was going to be awesome. Ema Ryan was going to take a break and watch a film.

Entirely oblivious to the world outside, she continued into the rec centre, pausing at the lobby of the cinema half to consider whether any of the snacks would still be edible by now.
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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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Nick LeMonde continued from Glitter and Rot ))

"I don't see you enough."

"I try."

"You'll have to do better than that. You spend all week with your friends, what about nights and weekends? Give me the nights and weekends."

"That's all I've got. Let's go to a movie."

"Which movie?"

"It doesn't matter."

------------------------------------------


Nick ran out of the recreation center after Josie. His foot caught on a bit of uneven pavement. The side walk was like the rest of the town, neglected and crumbling. He picked himself up and saw he'd scraped his knee. It was a very common injury for him. He was always tripping over his feet. From far off he heard a rustling noise and saw a door shut.

"Josie!"

He threw the strap of his bag back over his shoulder and ran towards the building with Jessica's tranquilizer rifle still in hand. Nick caught his breath, wrapped his hand around the tarnished brass handle of the large, art deco door and pulled it open.

As surreal as it seemed, he was standing in the foyer of a movie theater. Red and black carpeting lay on the floor. A large skylight provided enough illumination to see. Each step he took produced a little puff of dust from the carpet.

And there at the snack stand, peering over the glass case, probably looking for food, was a girl and she had red hair, but she was not the red head he had been trying to follow.

"You're not Josie."

things
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Chib
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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
[ *  *  * ]
Yeah, so the display things were a bust. Popcorn, nachos and such? Dry and stale and so unappetising that Ema didn't even need to try any to be quite certain they weren't fit for human consumption. The things growing in the ice cream, likewise, didn't bear thinking about. She could conceivably shoot out the lock to one of the storerooms and raid a freezer or something, but that would require ammunition and effort. So that was a bust too. She'd even tried kicking, shaking and otherwise brutalising a vending machine in hopes of getting it to give up a lukewarm drink or something in a sealed packet, but that hadn't worked either.

So, there the girl was, taunted by all the inedible or unavailable food, remembering that all she had left to eat was bread that got blander by the day, and a few crackers she'd been trying her best not to just wolf down all in one go - by comparison to the bread, they were ambrosia. "Well balls," she muttered, leaning once again over the refreshments counter to see if there was anything underneath it.

"You're not Josie"

In spite of all she'd been through, nothing could prevent Ema's automatic response from at least beginning. "You don't s--" wait, no, sarcasm isn't the best way to not get killed and yeah now that I've turned around he's carrying a big rifle no definitely don't piss him off he's a brick shithouse. "--uh, yeah, no, not me." Ema's eyes seemed to look everywhere in the room other than towards her jeans' pockets. Playing it safe, trying not to look dangerous. Never mind the two additional guns or the sword in her daypack, she was appearing to be unarmed and non-threatening here. Maybe it'd make the big guy less likely to shoot her.

Of course, if he wanted to, not much she could do about it. The bullet would've left the barrel and probably entered her body before Ema had a chance of diving out of the way. Even if she did, there probably wouldn't be time to draw her own weapons before a follow-up came her way, be it another shot, or something more physical. So that was the strategy, look not worth killing, wait until his guard's down, kill him and take the nice rifle... and anything else of value he might be carrying.

"I'm Ema, Ema Ryan. Sounds like the normal but only one 'm'. My parents were hipsters, I guess."

A forced laugh. Oh yeah Ema, greatest actress ever over here. He totally doesn't think I'm a nutter.
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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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The girl straightened up and looked at him. She confirmed that she wasn't the one that he was looking for. Of course she wasn't. Her skin was pale white and she was so small. He thought that he might be able to crush her between his forefinger and thumb. She looked to be a girl that had been small to begin with, but now with the days filled with horror, she looked like she could break like crystal.

Pretty face, cute sort of. She was so pale that her face seemed to reflect back some of the little bit of light being let in from the roof. She glowed slightly.

Ema. A short, delicate name for such a girl. But there was the same marks of sorrow, stress and hunger on her face that Josie carried. They were all broken dolls.

"Oh, oh sure. I can see that you....uh....you aren't her," he responded awkwardly.

He was at a loss, as he so often was. Normally when coming across a new person he'd extend his hand, put on a smile and introduce himself, hoping to make a new friend. It was so strange now, knowing that he couldn't make this person his friend. Either he or she or the both of them would be dead soon. There was no point. He didn't know what else to do. So he did it anyway.

"It's a pretty name," he said with as much of a smile as he could muster. It wasn't his normal, big goofy grin. It was a hint of an upward curve.

"My name is Nick and.......ah.....and......"

He had to take a deep breath to continue.

"....it's nice to meet you."

There was familiarity in that name. Some ringing bell of recognition.

"You killed someone, didn't you?" he asked quietly.

There was the whisper of a feeling that bonded them. It was that same bond he felt with Teo, with Josie.

"I did too. So did the girl I'm looking for. So did my friend. At least, I thought he was my friend. He probably wasn't.


things
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Chib
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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
[ *  *  * ]
"My name is Nick and.......ah.....and......"

Goofy grin, polite-yet-awkward response, looking rather like he felt out of place? Apparently Nick was far less of a threat than Ema had appraised him as being. Maybe not a gentle giant, so to speak, but certainly gentle enough that he probably had no interest in hurting Ema just yet. Maybe when she figured it was a good time to try shooting him he'd get a bit more hostile, but until then. Nick took a deep breath.

"....it's nice to meet you."

Ema wasn't sure what to say, she hadn't really been in a "friendly" situation for quite a while. It felt like forever since she'd even spoken to someone that wasn't Hayley, besides the few lines she'd exchanged with Meredith before, well...

"You killed someone, didn't you?"

Yeah, killed her. Ema nodded, trying her best to look remorseful, or something like that. To be perfectly honest, or vague? Vague seemed safer. "This girl, just this afternoon. She came out of nowhere, I, uh... yeah." Not necessarily untrue, she just didn't mention the three people beforehand, or that she'd shot her, and indeed still had a small armoury on her person. That wouldn't help her position at all.

"I did too. So did the girl I'm looking for. So did my friend. At least, I thought he was my friend. He probably wasn't."

Good, not judging, not some kind of vigilante hero type. She'd been worried he'd get self-righteous at her for admitting that, even with the implied self-defence story. But apparently he'd killed too, as had his erstwhile companions. Huh. Maybe he could make a decent ally for herself. No, bad idea, she'd end up getting attached or something, it'd only make it harder to kill him later on, when it came time to be the last alive. Which she was going to be. Better just deal with him quickly. Make a distraction, then put a bullet into his skull. Simple. "Hey, I was gonna see if the projector still works. Bit of light relief from all the... death and shit. You wanna come?"

She made for the doors, towards the theatres, quite brazenly showing her back to the armed boy. Luckily that also meant he couldn't see the uncertainty on her face, the shiver in her gait. This was the moment of truth, or one of them, at least. He could shoot her now, it would be all over. Ema didn't like it, but it was the only way she knew to get a shot at him herself. She had to make him feel safe around her, so she could kill him without fear. Just focus, be natural. Eyes on the prize, Ema. Not far now.
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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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The girl confirmed that she was a killer. She said it with a mask of remorse. Something was....off. The girl had the face of remorse. She had the tone of voice. Everything he'd ever learned knew that this equaled sad. He thought back to Gracie, her look just before she died. He thought of Jessica's face when she looked back at him on the top of the windy cliff and Josie when she peered up at him out of the darkness, wondering if someone would stay with her.

He didn't have the same feeling now that he had when he looked those girls.

And then realized what it was. Nick had an encyclopedic knowledge of the senior class. If someone was on a sports team or in a club or student government, he knew them. He didn't know everyone, though he tried. For example, he didn't know this girl.

So when he heard an unfamiliar name he made note of it, an unfamiliar name like Ema. He knew he'd attached meaning to her name before, more than once.

And now he realized he knew the name but not the face because he'd heard it on the announcements.....more than once.

She was lying to him. Ema asked him if he would go with her into the theater to check the projector was working. Nick knew what was in store for him if he followed her into the theater. Even knowing all that he knew, he nodded and followed after her.

"Ema. Why are you lying to me?"

Blunt, as he always was, because he didn't know any other way to be. It was not said with hurt or with anger. It was just a question like "What's your name?".
things
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Chib
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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
[ *  *  * ]
Apprehension. That could accurately describe Ema's state of mind as she stepped through the doors, and waited to hear them swing shut again. Nick was closer than she thought, and she heard what was presumably him stopping a door mid-swing to follow her first. That was something to bear in mind, if he were to get hostile, the first she'd know of it could well be the barrel of that rifle at the base of her skull.

They walked in silence for a few seconds, approaching another set of double doors, the nearest screen. Nick's voice broke the silence, casually asking why she was lying to him. Ema shrugged instantly at the tone, before realising what had actually been said. Why was she lying to him? What had she lied about? Ema stopped dead, standing a few feet from the theatre doors, trying to think how she could answer that one and not ruin the veneer of innocence she'd been maintaining. Though, with four kills to her name, the girl was lucky to have that.

Eventually, somehow, she found the guts to turn around and face her accuser. Her executioner? No. Not without a fight. He was close enough that she could try and wrestle that gun away from him before he could raise it. Yeah, just overpower Bruce Banner over here and everything's fine. Idiot. It struck her then that he probably meant her heavily abridged version of Meredith's death, being that it was the last thing she'd said to him, barring the movie bit. There was nothing for it, just come clean and claim it was all self defence, hope he was still content not to see her as a threat.

"Okay, she attacked me, I shot her. I guess I provoked it by pointing the gun first, but I panicked. And... yeah. Before that I killed a girl called Sapphire and a boy called Ma'afu, similar circumstances, I panicked and made sure they couldn't hurt me."

That was close enough to the truth. Sure she didn't mention that Sapphire and Maf had never actually actively threatened her, but the former had made her jump, and the latter was about as big and dangerous looking as Nick. The excuse should be passable enough, the girl decided. She'd left out the part about Hayley, of course, not exactly willing to talk about it just yet. And she didn't really count as someone she had killed, she'd just sped up what was otherwise going to be a slow and painful end. For a moment, sadness flashed across Ema's features, she couldn't help it. Euthanasia or not, shooting her first love in the head didn't really bear thinking about at the best of times.

"I just... I tried to survive." she finally added, left hand hovering close to her left pocket. Off-hand or not, a handgun at this range could be a godsend. But the hostility wasn't forthcoming, not just yet. So, with apprehension just as strong as it had ever been, Ema turned and pushed open the door before her, and stopped to hold it open for Nick to follow. Yeah, be polite, professionals have standards.
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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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Maf

A sweet boy, not unlike Nick. He was a star of the football team and made lunches for the church on Sundays. He was even a little bigger than Nick, but a real bunny rabbit of a guy. Nick remembered it all, he was a good kid.

That one stung.

She raised her voice at him. It was louder and it cut deeper now. Her hand was twitching for something. He stopped short of the doors that she held open.


"I broke my face in a movie theater once. I was running around, joking with my friend and I tripped on the lighted strip on the floor. How funny is that? I tripped on the only lighted thing in the room. When I fell I hit the bottom of my eye, right where this bone is," he brought his hand up the the faint scar under his left eye, pressing against where there would be curved bone that leads to the eye socket, "on the arm rest of the chair. I hit the only non-padded part of the chair. I shattered that bone. My friends freaked out because I was bleeding everywhere but I guess I hit a nerve or something because it didn't hurt much. And it was my own fault, I- I try, but I can't help being clumsy. They replaced it with plastic or something. I was kindda disappointed. The doctors first told me they were going to put in metal and I was excited to be part metal, like a cyborg or something."

The two of them stood perfectly still and absolutely quiet in the empty movie theater. They were the main feature.

"The power is out on the whole island. You don't want me to help you turn on the projector, do you?" he said softly, sadly, like a father who was very disappointed in you.
things
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Chib
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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
[ *  *  * ]
Ema let the door swing shut as Nick eventually followed her inside. Something she'd said seemed to have had some kind of effect on him, maybe he'd known Sapphire or Ma'afu before the island. That would be awkward, avenging a dead friend or girlfriend or whatever sounded like a likely thing for, well, for anybody to do. And now they were in an enclosed space. Though, then again, that favoured the weapons Ema herself was carrying, if video games were to be believed - pistols and melee weapons were meant to be much less unwieldy, and thus more practical in a room with plenty of obstacles and narrow spaces. Didn't make it true, but the girl took comfort in believing it was the case.

Nick was telling her something about an old injury, being silly and being clumsy combining in the form of falling over and smashing his face on something. Sounded like something she herself would probably do, given the chance. Thankfully she'd rarely gone to the cinema back in the real world, more of a DVD person. And when she did, there was always that air of reverence, so running around wasn't really a thing to do.

For a moment, the two just stood, hovering, Ema looking at the scar under Nick's eye every so often, Nick looking... pensive, like he was trying to think of the right way to phrase something. Disappointed, too, behind that. Disappointed at what?

"The power is out on the whole island. You don't want me to help you turn on the projector, do you?"

Oh. Oh. That would make sense, then. In truth, Ema hadn't really thought of that. There'd been enough light in the foyer due to the skylight, and she was accustomed to the corridors being dimmed, so being completely unlit hadn't seemed that different. It only now occurred to her that the theatre itself was basically pitch black, her eyes having adapted at least slightly to the darkness on the way in. She could only actually see Nick in front of her because he was so close. Yeah, about that being observant thing. Now he thinks I never meant to put the projector on, that it really was all about killing him. Okay maybe that was most of the plan after he showed up but still how did I not see this!?

"Oh, yeah. I, uh, I thought they'd maybe, uh, have a generator or something. You know, emergency power?" she offered, quite obviously hopefully. Nick wasn't going to buy it, nobody would be so stupid, even if it was actually more or less true. How did that Enter Shikari song go again? OKAY, TIME FOR PLAN B!... oh and THIS MEANS WAR is appropriate too really.

So Ema took a step back, and as quickly as she could, stuffed her hands in her pockets in search of her guns. It was now or never. Nick knew she was hostile by now and she knew it too, the only thing left to do was to be quicker on the draw.
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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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Claire, Liz, Clio, Gracie, Jessica, Josie, Ema.

Girls.

His girls.

No, that wasn't right. They were the girls who'd influenced his journey here. He was theirs. And really, his story could be told through them.

He remembered the sporty girl all alone in the parish and filled with resolve. It was the first location he'd seen when he woke up. He'd warned her of Teo's presence and she understood him and walked away unscratched.

"Stay safe," she wished formally, turning in the direction of Nick and Julian as she began to walk away. She first passed Nick, whom she whispered a rushed "thank you" to as she waltzed by him briskly.

He saw Liz walking up, covered in dirt and blood. The head of his friend in her bag. She didn't kill him after all. He'd almost lost his cool until he heard the voice of Jess in his mind, trying to remind him that he was a decent guy that couldn't lose himself that way. Short black hair splayed out around her head like a halo as he looked down on her, full of anger.

Teaming up with Teo, they came upon Clio in the twists and turns of the warehouse. Clio, gorgeous eyes trained on the window outside while they lay in bed. He put his hand on her damaged hand and she pulled away. Clio was a beautiful bird. He knew he's never be able to catch her, but he was content to watch her for a while, for the few months they were together. She would forever flit just out of his reach. It was the start of his plunge into darkness. It was one of the various downsides of becoming paranoid as balls. Teo had convinced him as had the terrorists that his only option was murder. He thought that he had to kill. He thought the rules were what they were and they had to kill if they hoped to escape the nightmare. He told Teo to kill the girl, the newly made killer. The girl showed no remorse or sadness until she was under his thumb.

"No plea-"

They let her go so that they would not be named on the announcements so soon.

And then they met Gracie.

“I would’ve just killed her,” Gracie said, keeping her pace toward the boys “You’re better men than I am. Well, y’know, obviously.”

She stopped and flashed them a smile.

“Would you help me? I could use a snuggle-buddy. It gets cold at night, yeah?”


It was a joke, but Nick saw now, she really did want someone to stay with her. She stayed with them. Even when he was a killer, she didn't leave him. The three of them, pretty, handsome, awkward. A rough and tumble sort of girl but at the end, she'd protected Nick whenever she could. Her fine brown hair was stuck to the side of her head, caked in blood.

Jessica. He'd finally found her on the mountain. Through his aching chest and blurry sight, he felt the bloom of relief at being with her again and knowing she was safe. There was nothing left to say about Jessica that he hadn't already thought a thousand times over. Hands wringing nervously, cute little freckles, he could still feel her squeezing his hand. They way her body fit against his side when she hugged them was so perfect it was impossible.

"I want us to be together forever. I want you, like I wanted you then. You've made me feel things I couldn't even describe! I want us to be together, to feel these things.....So let's do it Nick. There's a cliff, we can end it there. Just do it without thinking. We can beat this game, we can do it together."


She showed him the only right way out right before she disappeared from the city on the edge of forever. There way that he could redeem himself. He had to refuse to play their game and in that refusal, he would be free.

He came full circle when he saw Josie, alone in the rec center. Broken glass littered the floor and mixed the glitter and rot. She was alone like the first time he'd met her. She'd been made hard by the game because she didn't understand like he did, but she was still kind.

Josie gathered her things and walked to the door of the recreation center, opening it and stopping as the light filtered around her, casting another eerie shadow on the wall. "You're really nice Nick, you know that? You are good. Don't forget it." And then she added, "See ya around," just one more time, and she was off.

He'd chased her but found Ema in her place, as if transported by magic. Some strange girl with a luminescent pale face and a hard look. Even as she went for whatever weapon was in her pocket, he couldn't help marvel at her fluid motions. Girls were so good at that. Even clumsy ones like Jessica had a way of moving that made it seem so easy, like their every move just flowed in a way he could never hope to replicate.

Jerkily he came out of his thoughts. His reflexes, terrible as they were, took hold and he let fire the rifle at Ema. A single tranquilizer dart lodged in her upper thigh.
things
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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
[ *  *  * ]
It was almost going well. By the time her hands had started to close around the grips of each pistol, it seemed to Ema that her target hadn't even started to raise his own weapon yet. Maybe all that time spent indoors had heightened her ability to see in the dark, and whilst she could still see him, Nick couldn't see her? No, that was silly. Maybe he just wasn't going to shoot her, maybe...

Ouch, what the fuck!?

To begin with, all Ema felt was a sharp pain in her leg. Right thigh, just below the hip, like someone had jabbed a pin or a needle into it at absurdly high speed. She couldn't help it, she looked down, tracing the line from Nick's half-raised rifle to the small dart poking out of her jeans like some kind of obscure accessory. For the moment, she had no idea what it was, just that it stung like a bitch. Ema's eyes found their way back to Nick, lazily, slower than before. "What the f-fuu... fuuuuuuhh," she said, or tried to say, finding her tongue remarkably heavy in her mouth, trying to hard to produce the words she wanted, and just not quite succeeding.

By now, the room was spinning. Or was that her head, feeling like slightly too much of a load for her neck to bear any more? Eyes tilted forcibly toward the floor, the girl watched the darkness shift about bizarrely, impossibly, whilst her fingers found it harder and harder to keep their grip, and her hands seemed to want nothing more than to fall out of her pockets and just hang limply.

They didn't, however, because by then Ema had lost all feeling in her right leg, and her left was well on its way too. With the former simply giving way beneath her, the girl dropped onto her left knee, and soon afterwards fell face-first into the soft carpet of the theatre. With all of her strength, she managed to look back up at Nick, struggling to keep her eyelids up. The colours of the carpet and his clothes swam before her eyes, whilst the shadows twisted like a mass of Vashta Nerada... heh, no time to count the shadows... he's gonna wanna... finish this now...

Even the thoughts came sluggishly, and only then did the Irish girl realise that what she'd been shot with was a tranquilliser dart. Thump. What was that? Thump. Right by my head. What is it? Thump. Footsteps? Sure enough, they were the sounds of Nick's feet. He was leaving. Leaving the girl to her forced sleep. Leaving her behind. But why? Fucker... at least... kill me properly.

Ema still had her right hand in her pocket. Her left seemed to have found its way somewhere over to her side during the fall, how it had gotten there was unimportant. The familiar feeling of adrenaline was returning, fighting off the effects of the dart for as long as it could. Long enough to decide that not being taken seriously as a threat, now that she wanted to be one, was deeply insulting, and that Nick was going to pay for that. Her fingers closed tightly around the grip of the Nambu, index resting on the trigger. With her left hand, she flailed about, eventually grabbing a handful of her target's... something, probably sock, it didn't matter. What mattered was mustering the strength for a badass one-liner, and to actually point her gun at him afterwards, that was important too.

"Geh thuh..." a good start, it was almost what she intended to say "...fuh daohurr."

No, Ema wasn't going to lie to herself, that was pathetic. No matter. She had a pistol pointing for the back of the boy's knee. Or maybe his ankle. She couldn't quite tell. But it could definitely do the talking on her behalf.

Bang.
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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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
6:30pm

“Hello?”

The producer of the local news station picked up the phone.

“Come down? Jenny’s caught up at work and my- There’s been an update in the story?”

He tapped his fingers on the table near his desk. He had the look of someone who hadn’t slept properly in days.

“Are you sure?”

“This is big. Okay, hold on. I’ll go to the station right now.”

He scribbled “Emergency at the station” on a piece of paper and got his coat. Just before he left, he put the piece of paper on the dining room table.



6:45pm

A girl was walking home. Her sneakers lifted the pavement in front of her, carrying her long legs, protected only by socks reaching the bottom of her knees. She wore tiny black shorts and a black tank top that matched her black duffle bag, slung over her left shoulder. In her right arm she cradled a volley ball.


The streets were empty tonight, no children playing or cars pulling into the drive ways. It was eerie. She began humming to herself. She wasn’t a singer by any stretch of the imagination, but now it made her feel like she had company.

“Sweet dreams are made of this….”


A light from above flickered. She looked up and was momentarily blinded by a street light coming on for the night. She blinked and waited for her eyes to re-adjust.

“Who am I to disagree?”

Her red braids swung in motion to her steps as she grew closer to the end to the end of the cul de sac and her home.

________________________________


The girl went down, jerkily falling to her knees and then to the carpet. She looked like a puppet whose strings had been cut.

Nick stared at her as she fell. The tranquilizer was rushing through her with each heart beat.

She was a killer. She was dangerous. She fully intended to kill him. If ever there was a person he would be justified in killing, it would be Ema.

But….

He couldn’t do it. He wasn’t the same person who’d told Teo to kill Clio. He wasn’t going to take anyone else’s life, no matter what they’d done. That wasn’t for him to decide. He understood that they were all victims no matter what. This girl could have been anyone before the island. And just because she wanted to go home, didn’t mean she was bad. He sympathized.

“A life for the one I took,” he said as he looked down at her.


________________________________


7:00pm

Natalie walked inside. She felt that same eerie aloneness in the house that she’d felt outside. All of the lights were on. Someone had left the television on in the family room. She dropped her duffle bag on the marble floor in the foyer and walked down the hall towards the noise. The volleyball rolled away into the formal sitting room.

“Hello? Mom? Dad? Anyone home?”

There was a familiar voice coming from the living room. She walked right past the dining room table without looking down. Natalie sank down in her dad’s oversized red, leather armchair, never taking her eyes off of the television. Her parents didn’t let her watch Survival of the Fittest, not even now. She knew what it was, but she’d never seen it before. It was never on in their house. She sat, entranced.

________________________________



And that was the very last puzzle piece he was supposed to learn. It was what he was missing back when he was on the cliff with Jessica. He knew he had to atone, he knew that the place he was looking to go wasn’t a physical place, but he still wasn’t sure why he was atoning, other than for himself. Everyone has a story. Everyone was someone before the island. They were all victims and they all wanted to go home.


His home was the true home, the place where all good souls go to rest. It was where Jessica was waiting for him. He learned all the things he was supposed to and now he just had one thing left to pay for.

The pain.


He walked a few steps forward and was almost unsurprised when Ema grabbed his foot. She shot him in the back of the leg and he slammed to the ground.

________________________________


7:20pm

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

Her red braids were in disarray as she knelt forward on her knees in front of the television. With her arms wrapped around her, clawing the pale skin, Natalie screamed.

She shrieked over and over. Tears made her small eyes puffy and twisted the delicate features of her face.

“SOMEONE PLEASE! MOM?! DAD?! PLEASE! PLEASE SOMEONE! SOMEONE….help. WHERE ARE YOU?!”

She pushed the heels of her palms into her eyes.

________________________________

There was an incredible sense of clarity. Cause and effect were laid out before him. He saw his mistakes. All that he’d learned were the pieces and with Ema the final piece fell into place just as he fell to the floor.
things
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Chib
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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
[ *  *  * ]
There was just about enough energy left in Ema Ryan's body for one last action. Later she'd wonder whether Nick had known his rifle only shot tranquillisers, or if he'd always intended to just knock her out. She'd wonder why, if he knew, which he probably did, he chose to spare her life. Could he just not go through with killing her, was it mercy, was it mockery? It would be a conundrum for quite some time. But in this precise moment, Ema had no time for such thoughts. Only that if she didn't finish what she'd started, Nick could quite well finish her off instead. She had to act, as fast as her sluggish limbs would allow.

So she took as tight a grip as she possibly could on the boy's leg, and dragged herself forwards, swinging her arm in a wide, lazy arc to aim for the head. Adrenaline was fading, the room was spinning again, and in the combined darkness and gently swimming mess of dim colours, accuracy was completely down to luck. But by the law of averages, Ema knew if she pointed the gun in the right direction and fired enough times, she had a decent overall chance of hitting him.

She just had to muster the strength to pull the trigger that many times.

Alright. Focus. Stay awake. Squeeze.

Nothing.

SQUEEZE.

Bang.

Shortly after the first shot, Ema ceased to be able to tell whether or not her eyes were open, either way, the darkness was complete, vision was completely useless to her for the time being. She could still trust sound, though, and it didn't sound like her target was dead. One more... she released the trigger, tried to press back down on it, ...just one m... one more time... but the stiff metal denied her, refused to be forced. ...fucking... SHOOT.

Bang.

The gunshot was barely a dull thud, to the drugged girl's ears. Even with her entire body slumped on the floor, she seemed to relax a little more, collapse a little further. And before she lost consciousness entirely, all she could hope was that she'd managed to hit him. ...that fucker... better... bloody die...
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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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
7:25pm

"NICK!"

A young girl, not even fifteen, sobbed and choked, spitting out a word when she could manage. She watched as Ema pointed the gun at him.

She smashed her palms against the television as if pressing hard enough would send her through to him.

“Youcan’tdie. Youcan’t. Ineedyou. Bigbrotherplease” she mumbled.

The girl’s finger pulled back on the trigger.

"NO!"

The sound of the gun shot bounced through their tastefully decorated living room. Nick groaned and struggled to move. The girl took aim again.

________________________________

He'd been shot in the stomach. He could hardly breathe. The pain was stifling his ability to breathe. His stomach was warm. It was the blood running down his front.

In the darkness he saw Ema trying to move, trying to take aim. He had to stop himself from helping her, from saying "almost, just to the left a little. You've almost got it." It was his first instinct to help her.

________________________________


8:45pm

Jenny stepped into the house after a long day at work. The door was unlocked. No one greeted her. How strange, she thought.

“Sean?” she called out. No response. It was late, Natalie should have been home.

“Nat? Natalie, are you home?”

Again, no answer. Her heart sank when she saw Natalie’s volleyball duffle on the floor. She normally took the duffle up to her room and put it away.

She thought maybe her husband had taken Natalie out, but then Jenny found the note on the table. Sean was in the office. The television was off and it looked like someone had thrown the small, glass side table at it. Both television and table lay askew and broken on the floor. Glass littered the normally pristine family room. Ice cold panic ran through her veins. What if they’d taken Natalie too? She ran outside the house where she was halted by a neighbor.

“Jenny, your daughter-“

“Oh Mrs. Friedlander, thank goodness. You’ve seen Natalie?” she asked in a rushed tone.

The neighbor looked at her awkwardly for a moment before continuing.

“There was….screaming coming from your house. A lot of it. Steve and I went over to check on her and we found her in your son’s room.

________________________________

Life was flashing before his eyes, but it wasn't big, important events or dramatic times in his life. It was snap shots of everyday life.

Natalie eating breakfast at the kitchen table.

Him turning the lock on his locker.

Turning off the lamp by his bed, putting away a book and settling in to bed.

Alex trying to get a rock out of her shoe.

Snow melting and dripping off the side of the roof at Bayview.

Teo checking the time on his cell phone.

The feel of Jessica's heart beat against his chest.

It was boring stuff, stuff that wouldn't seem worth mentioning. He knew now that all that boring stuff was what made his life great. There was magic in all of those little things. Fingers, voices, faces, feelings that were imprinted on him from those little moments. They were the little moments that made life beautiful.

He was crying. It happened without him realizing it. He was crying and Ema was pointing the gun at his face. He smiled at her through his tears. He knew it was time. He didn't want her to feel too bad about it. No hard feelings.

"It's okay."


He had thought that the rules were the end all, be all. He had to kill to get out. So he did. And then he felt terrible, but he convinced himself that there was no other choice. Jessica showed him that he did have a choice. He realized his mistake and vowed that he's make it right so that he could be with her again. Then he realized that in order to be redeemed, he had to understand why he had been wrong. It was selfish to want to redeem himself just so that he could have a happy ending.


Ema held up a mirror and showed him the answer. He shouldn't have killed Mike no matter what because it wasn't his place. Everyone was just as valuable as he was, no more and no less. To place himself above them was wrong, and he was wrong to use "rules" to justify it.

He spent so much of his life confused. People were confusing. Staring down the barrel of Ema's gun, he'd never been more clear.


He was ready.

He coughed and winced.

He'd paid it all back in full and learned what he was supposed to. But for those last moments he thought about his life. How had it fared?

He'd had a loving family and good friends. Even Survival of the Fittest had its good moments. His life wasn't perfect, but he would never want it to be. If you never have bad days, you won't treasure the good days. In truth, he wouldn't have changed a thing. If might have opted not to be in Survival of the Fittest, given the chance. You make the best out of a bad situation. That's what he did.

________________________________


8:46pm

“We tried to talk to her but she wouldn’t speak or even look at us. She wouldn’t move either. It was like we weren’t even there to her. Her hands were cut up from the broken glass in the living room. We called an ambulance. They carried her out and took her to the hospital.”

Jenny stared mouth agape at Mrs. Friedlander.

“But why would she-?”

And then she went pale. She knew why.

________________________________

He was so proud that he'd figured it all out. Ema was scrambling on the floor, running around the island killing like a scared, lost child. Was he like that before? He felt grateful that it was all clear to him now. He was grateful for everything. He'd had the best life he could have ever wished for, even if it had been cut short. Better to have had it than to have never lived it at all, good and bad.

"I'm so lucky. Lucky lucky."


B113 Nick LeMonde: Deceased



things
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Chib
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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
[ *  *  * ]
When Ema awoke, it was dark all around her. She assumed it was night time. In fact, the time scarcely mattered to her, she was more worried about the faintly warm thing she was sprawled across, and the sticky substance clinging to her from beneath. She was groggy, too, quite unable to see and barely capable of rational thought. For all intents and purposes, she was laying atop a slowly cooling blob, stuck to the floor by already-cooled goo of some kind. It didn't make any sense.

Seconds passed, maybe minutes, the girl couldn't say. Her eyes gradually adjusted to the low light, providing at least vague outlines of what was before her. Her own arm. There was a gun held loosely in it. She turned her eyes to the left, downwards. A leg, she was gripping that, too, or had been. Ema tried to stand, but the strength eluded her, and what she now knew to be congealed blood conspired to keep her stuck fast to the floor.

I'm in a cinema, he shot me with a tranquilliser dart, I shot him in the face, and... yeah now this.

That was the state of affairs as best Ema could remember it. She'd led the boy in, he'd shot at her, she'd shot back. He'd probably never meant to kill her, but it was hostile enough that she retaliated with lethal force. Sounded like something she'd do, at least, like something island-Ema would do. Yup, fuck bitches get kills. That's me.

She tried to stand again. Her hands pressed against the floor, levering her elbows up and out of the sticky pool beneath them. Feet and knees followed. Had the experience not already been mildly familiar, from extricating her sword from a similar mess back in the woods, it would've been rather nauseating. As it stood, pulling herself free of cooled blood felt remarkably normal to the Irish girl.

He seemed to think the projector thing was a ploy all along. Funny, first time I'm not even being malicious, turns out I was just forgetful and looked it instead.

...I really did want to watch a movie, though.


It was moot, of course. The boy, who Ema would later learn had been called Nick, was dead. He'd assumed she was out to kill him, and in doing so, essentially started it. It was his fault, not hers. He didn't have to shoot her. That Ema had gone for her own weapons first was immaterial, she'd just been making sure she could defend herself. Right? Feh, I've lied to myself pretty effectively before. Did I ever really think there'd be power in here? It was hard to say. The self defence part was most definitely a lie, but she couldn't remember for sure exactly what she'd intended with regards to the power. Had she just forgotten somehow? Wilfully disregarded how there was no mains supply on the island, to chase a fantasy of an hour or two of leisure amongst the carnage? Or had she been so masterfully self-deceptive that she'd convinced herself that was the case, and gone along with it to ensnare Nick? ...fuck this, fuck lying to myself so much. I'm a bloody killer and that is the case why don't I just deal with it and remember, remember that the best justification is still that I don't wanna die?

That's what this is, after all. Survival of the Fittest. The strong will survive. The weak must die. Strongest gets to go home, everyone else gets nothing.

Fuck everyone else.

I wanna go home.


With that resolution in her mind, Ema stooped down, grabbed her and Nick's daypacks, and Nick's gun - Could be handy - and stumbled her way back towards the welcoming light of the foyer, and the great outdoors beyond.

[Ema Ryan --> Dead-End Scenario]
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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