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Fluffytown
Topic Started: Aug 17 2013, 09:56 AM (1,182 Views)
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((Mallory McCormick continued from Good Day Sunshine.))

The rest of the day hadn't gone well.

Stephanie hadn't followed. Mallory hadn't realised it until she'd gotten too far from the houses. Then she'd half gone back, but turned around again when she remembered that she'd stormed out and that she couldn't go back because then she'd have to think about how futile escape was. But then she wandered off across the island and she didn't see anyone and the further she went the more one thought was drilled into her head.

Why had she left?

It had been a dumb decision. A dumb, impulsive decision, just like everything else that Mallory had ever done. Running off because she thought it would be easier.

It wasn't easier. Being alone was way harder, and the silence was getting to her.

She got lost a lot. She thought about going to the clubhouse. Maybe Stephanie would turn up there. But she hadn't. because she just kept going in the wrong direction and her eyes were so tired because she hadn't slept and everything was just shit.

She'd found her way to the shopping center by evening, after a day of walking around in confused circles. The shopping center had a Linen and Things.

She was hardly in the mood to make that pillow fort. But she had to do it while she had the chance. Even if it was much less fun, and felt much less important, without anyone to do it with.

She cobbled a pathetic little pillow fort (she didn't have enough pillows) out of the pillows and sheets she'd brought with her and the ones within the Linens and Things she was currently in. She used a check-out counter as one side of the fort because she didn't have enough pillows. She padded the floor with sheets, but they all smelt like dust.

When she crawled into the fort, she pulled a flap of the sheet down behind her so she could block out the rest of the world entirely and pretend this was a fort in her home. She wanted to go home. She wanted to go home so badly, and see Dad and Mum and Riley and her sisters... she'd even settle for seeing Jim, even though he was kind of an assface. And—

Beep.

Her collar beeped once. Mallory let out a high-pitched scream and crawled out of the fort, clambering to her feet and running off. Ten feet away from her fort, she realised that there'd only been one beep. She stopped, confused, before walking back to her fort.

“The hell was that all about.” She crawled back into her fort and pulled down the sheet again. Her collar beeped again, and she shoved back the sheet. Once she did that, it stopped again.

“What the fuck is with this. I just wanna stay in my damn fort.” Talking out loud didn't do much, but it made her feel a little better, even though she was frustrated as balls.

There was a camera near, pointed very close to where her tent was. She stared up at it, then back at her fort. She reached up for the flap, keeping her eyes on the camera this time, but her collar beeped preemptively before she could pull it down again.

...She was out of sight if she was in the fort. Maybe they didn't like that. It wasn't entertaining that way, was it.

She flopped back down on the blankets, this time leaving the flap open. She sighed, before making a thumbs-up and trying to force a smile. If her family was watching, they would see that. Happy, fluffy, not at all musty-smelling times. They'd think of her like that, instead of--no. No thinking. Stop that.

She rolled over and fell asleep almost immediately. Little sleep and a long day of traveling with no company had worn on her pretty bad.

She woke up a lot during the night, half-hoping and half-fearing someone would walk in. No-one did.

---

She was woken up by the announcements.

She didn't move after they were done.

Francis was dead.

Becca was dead.

Venice was dead.

Mallory lay there, the images of those three friends stuck in her mind. Good friends. People that had never rolled their eyes and tried to shoo her off. Francis, who she'd played soccer with and occasionally ribbed on because she liked to pretend she was a better soccer captain than he was, even though that probably wasn't true. Who'd always hung around those meaner kids that Mallory hated, but he'd never lowered himself to their level so they'd still been okay... And Becca, who was great at basketball and had such confidence in what she did, which Mallory had always been kind of jealous of, but in an admiring way. Venice, who liked swimming and drums, and she was really good at both and the noise from those things had been nuts, and she was really friendly and...

Gone.

Mallory tugged the sheets around her until she was just a little bundle of sheets with her face peering out. She didn't move. Didn't cry. She'd gone rather pale, but that was the only sign she'd heard anything at all.

She just stayed still.

For the first time in her life there seemed no point in moving.
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((Hansel Williams, Ain’t No Reprievement Gonna Be Found Otherwise))

Sleep was hard in coming, even without the throbbing headache. Anytime Hansel stopped moving, anytime he slowed down long enough to seriously consider the possibility, he would hear things moving in the night, rustling and shaking and quaking. In his mind's eye, he saw disturbing images - Mara's silky caresses, Tyler's contorted face, Ray with a throwing knife this time - and deadly accuracy.

His enemies were everywhere on the island, waiting in the shadows. They coalesced and festered in the darkness, waiting with weaponry and bad intentions for him to make a move, take a step, drop his guard. Vigilance was the only way out, now.

His father’s voice murmured to him in the back of his mind like a caress, aiming to soothe and calm. His father’s voice murmured words he’d heard before, words that had been shouted from a parapet, announced to a room filled with believers.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

And just as loud, just as invasive, another voice joined in.

You could be wrong.

The brief feeling of comfort was immediately shattered, replaced with unease and distraction as Hansel picked his way through the bottom floor of the mall, hollowed brown eyes and deep bags giving him a raccoon-like appearance. He paused often to check over his shoulder, his hands gripping the gun between clenched fists, jaw aching from the constant clenching and grinding of teeth.

When he arrived at the Linens and Things, he arrived with purpose; to shut out the noises, lock the doors, close himself inside and finally - finally - rest. He spotted a wadding of pillows and blankets on the store floor, and didn’t think twice.

With heavy, hard footfalls, he approached them, his gun pointed at the center of them.
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She heard footsteps. She'd heard a lot of noises during the night and kept sticking her head out of her fort to see if anyone was approaching, but during the night she'd been hearing things. This time she was sure she wasn't. The noises were too loud and constant.

Clomp. Clomp. Clomp.

At any other time, she would have rolled out of the blanket fort and gone to meet whoever it was happily. Because there was just no point to a pillow fort otherwise. And footsteps were a welcome change to the silence that had filled most of her day since storming off from the others.

But she just wants to lie there and ignore everything for now, and she can't find the energy to get up. She just feels lethargic.

Clomp. Clomp. Clomp.

She doesn't move.

And then someone is there and they're pointing a gun at her. And it's the goddamn Cowboy.

If there was someone out there who controlled fate or destiny or whatever, they were a fucking asshole.
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((Stephanie Wright continued from Good Day Sunshine))

It seemed obvious after the fact.

She had tried to follow Mallory. But by the time Stephanie had left the apartment that they were hiding in, Mallory was already too far to hear her. She had shouted for Mallory to slow down, ran after her, but it hadn't been long until she was out of sight.

She had thought that she had caught a glimpse of her, almost an hour later, as she made her way back across the island somewhere south of Central Park. She had ran after that image, only to find that there was no one there.

It was of course ridiculous. How had she expected to find one person on an island that was as big as Manhattan. And there was enough forest for an entire army to conceal themselves in. Impossible.

And yet, she trekked on, towards the clubhouse where they had said that they were going to. She wasn't going back to Brian and Zubin after all. Brian would kill her if she didn't manage to tell Mallory to meet back at the apartments. Besides, going back this late would make her look stupid. That was the last thing she needed anyone to think at this point.

But she had found the clubhouse occupied, two people within the building and with weapons by the looks of it. She wasn't going to wait there long, and instead decided to stake out the road so she could see when Mallory walked in.

But somehow the stakeout turned to aimless wandering in circles, and even that turned into wandering down the road as boredom overtook her. It was only late in the evening that she realized that this whole thing wasn't going anywhere and she was caught out in the open with nowhere to go.

It was too late to return to the apartments now, and she simply found a place to rest, breaking into a house near the hospital. She regretted having to stoop to that, but it was better than caught outside at night.

The morning brought with it announcements and names that she didn't want to hear. This time she didn't try to blot them out. It hurt to hear every name that Danya was reading, but that was better than being ignorant.

It was hunger that had brought her to the building in the first place. It was only upon entering it she found the place that should have been obvious, if only she had known it was there. Linen and Things. If there was one place on this island to find Mallory McCormick, this would be it.

She opened the door and walked in.
Edited by Randomness, Feb 26 2017, 06:03 AM.
"I have the heart of a young boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk" -- Stephen King

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The noise of the door opening behind Hansel barely registered with the sudden revelation of who exactly this was. In a flash, even with his sleep starved brain, he had the rifle aimed at one of the blanketed legs of Mallory, the safety free and trigger unguarded. In Hansel's mind, Mallory was even more a threat now than she had been on day one. Who knew what she had heard from other people? Who knew what she had changed, twisted to become?

He jabbed the barrel of the gun at one of the lower parts of her body - thigh? Calf? - and snarled.

"Give me a damn good reason why I shouldn't shoot you before you pull one on me."
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"Oh, so I'm the bad guy here, am I?"

Mallory was terrified.

The gun barrel pressed against her thigh felt cold, even through the sheets she was swaddled in. Her daypack, including the screwdriver she'd been given as a weapon or any other items she could throw as a distraction, were lying behind her, slightly deeper in the pillow fort. She had nothing except her own self to try and get out of this, and she couldn't even play football properly. Let alone fight off a maniac cowboy like Hansel.

So yeah, she was about ready to shit herself.

But she'd always dealt with bullies by pretending she wasn't. That's all Hansel was. A bully with a gun.

"Way I see it, only assholes think they need a reason not to shoot people. And I wouldn't have had to pull shit on you if you hadn't been waving that thing at me to begin with. Only reason I can give is that only bullies go around poking unarmed girls with guns, fuckface. But I don't think that would mean anything to--"

She swung her blanketed legs forward and tried to kick the gun away.
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She should run. She should help. Both thoughts came to her mind almost simultaneously. There was too long of a moment where she didn't do either, standing there in shock at exactly what she was seeing.

She had a shovel. She could knock him out. He hadn't seemed to have noticed her. She could. She should. If there was any time where it was okay to hit someone, it was now, wasn't it?

But she still held herself back. She was scared. She was afraid of fighting and she was afraid of dying and she was afraid of doing nothing and watching Mallory die and she was afraid that struggling with the decision that she was making would be the worst choice she could make.

Then, Mallory kicked the gun.

There was a short moment of hesitation, but Stephanie realized that the struggle was a chance. She picked up the shovel.

"Oi, Cowboy!" She shouted at him. "Let go of my friend!"

And with that said, she charged at him.
Edited by Randomness, Feb 26 2017, 06:04 AM.
"I have the heart of a young boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk" -- Stephen King

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Not unlike Hansel’s first taste of gunfire, this happened in moments.

There were two of them; one yelling and charging towards Hansel, another swaying to reach and kick upwards at his rifle. He managed to step backwards and avoid the thrusting kick of swaddled feet, his mind going a mile a minute, fog from sleep deprivation exiting and cold, hard calculations filling the space it vacated. Where he was once sluggish, unsure, he was now crisp and clear.

He felt the air move past his lips in sharp inhalation, the taste of it slightly sour with the stench of his own sweat, her bravado. He heard the echoes of Stephanie’s cry as she moved in for the interception, the swish of the blankets as Mallory’s feet fell back towards the ground. He smelled fabric softener, mould, and tension.

Resetting the rifle on his shoulder, he fired into the still falling legs of Mallory. Felt the jolt on his shoulder, heard the echoing boom that left a ringing sensation in his ears, cloudiness in his mind, smelled heat and smoke and gunpowder.

Without hesitation, he was swirling around - the other girl was close, too close - and swung the rifle butt upwards, aiming to catch the newcomer on the chin with all the force he could muster.
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Huh? Steph?

For one stupid moment, while her blanketed legs were still in mid-kick, Mallory felt elated that her traveling buddy had found her. And then everything became noise and pain.

Mallory didn't see anything except a huge gush of red when the bullet hit. For a few seconds, she lost track of what was happening around her. Because FUCKING OW. Like every injury she'd ever sustained had been mixed together and then been lit on fire or something, aaargh. And there was so much blood, more than Mallory thought people had.

As she fumbled, half-blindly, to try and stop the bleeding by wadding up and pressing the sheets to the wound (they were quickly soaking through) the initial pain started to fade and the wound started to go numb. ...That was fast. Was numbness good? It hurt less. So good. Right? Right! The blood just looked like a lot because she was scared, it could be much worse!

She blinked profusely, trying to make the blurriness go away, before remembering that Steph and the cowboy were still around and--

"Steph, he's... he's got a gun, l-look out!"
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The gun went off. Then pain.

It took Stephanie a second to realise that she wasn't the one shot and that she had merely been hit by the rifle.

But she had barely noticed her own pain. The sheets were red with blood and Mallory was still there. The guy had gone and fucking shot Mallory. Fucking shot her. Just what sort of crazy bastard was he?

And he had hit her in the shoulder with his rifle. What was wrong with him? Stephanie wasn't shocked or scared anymore. She only felt hate. Hate for a person who had showed so much contempt for another person that he could shoot them.

"You." Stephanie brought the shovel up above her head and swung it at Hansel, forgetting everything she had been taught about self control.

"Fucking. Shot. My. Friend." She punctuated each of her words with another swing of the shovel. She was going to make him pay for this, one way or another.
"I have the heart of a young boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk" -- Stephen King

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When the shovel came down after the impact of rifle butt on shoulder, Hansel twisted away, the shovel whistling past his head, sending one side of his hat fluttering with the force of it. The angle was awkward enough now so that when Stephanie swung again, he was able to jump nimbly back, shouldering the rifle again as his back hit a countertop, sending sheets and pillows scattering. He sighted Stephanie as he backed towards the exit, eyes narrowed, adrenaline piped through his system.

"I did," he snapped back, "and if you hadn't had run in, I wouldn't have had to. She ain't the first person I've shot, she ain't gonna be the last. You follow me, you'll be next on the queue."

Without a backwards glance, Hansel broke into a run, putting to use his long legs, sudden adrenaline, and cardio built from years of hard labour.

No thoughts. No remorse. No questions.

Just running.

((Hansel Williams, A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him.))
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Cowboy ran. He didn't shoot Steph. And Mallory had only been shot in the leg. All in all, things could have been much worse.

"Don't go after him... he'll shoot you and... and it'll suck." Mallory's words were punctuated by shaky breathing. The sheets were soaking through and her hands were all damp. She lifted a hand from the wound so she could grab some more of the sheets nearby and was stunned at how red it was. Like she'd dipped her hand in a can of paint. She clumsily grabbed more sheets and pressed it to the wound at the front of her thigh. It was fine. It was fine. No-one died from being shot in the leg. It was also those who got hit in the torso and the head that keeled over.

"Don't worry, it... it looks worse than it is. Can't even feel it."

Each breath felt a little harder. But she could power through it. Mallory let out a long hiss of breath as she shifted to look around. Her fort was totally soaked. She couldn't sleep here anymore.

"Bastard ruined my fort," she mumbled.
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"Gah!" Stephanie threw the shovel to one side, where it bounced off a mattress in an unsatisfactory manner.

"And he just walks away!" Stephanie shouted, kicking a mattress aside, moving towards Mallory. Hansel may have been right. He might not have shot if she hadn't decided to charge in like a crazed murderer. And now, Mallory was shot. Shot! If Mallory hadn't told her not to go after him, she would have. In fact, she still had half a mind to go out there and give him hell.

"I'm such a fucking idiot!"

It was obvious how bad the situation was. There was enough blood here to tell that she needed medical attention immediately. She had passed by a hospital yesterday but that was almost a mile away. And she needed help now.

"Tie that down. We're leaving. Now." Stephanie's voice was filled with urgency. The adrenaline was fading and reality was beginning to sink in. "We're going to the hospital. Gonna patch you up. Come on."
"I have the heart of a young boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk" -- Stephen King

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"Idiot?" Mallory frowned as she attempted to tie the sheets to her leg. It wasn't going well. Her hands were all shaky and slippery and they were starting to feel kind of numb. "Why? I'm... I'm the one who, uh..."

...Shit, what had it been? She'd done something stupid. Recently. Brian had been there. God, why was it so hard to remember?

Why was it so hard to breathe?

Why was she so sleepy?

"Can't... tie the..." Mallory's fingers scrabbled weakly at the blankets. "Need help."

Mallory let go of the blanket as Stephanie started tying it up for her. That was nice of her. Steph was pretty great. And they still hadn't played tennis. That was less great. They should do that. Next. Well, she supposed they should go to the hospital first. Tennis sounded better, though.

Her eyelids felt heavy. She couldn't feel her arms any more, either.

"Okay... Hospital... Then tennis..."

Mallory only meant to shut her eyes for a moment.

G043: MALLORY MCCORMICK - DECEASED
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Stephanie brought Mallory up to her feet. Even though the girl hung limply there as she did so, Stephanie was absolutely sure that there was no way that she could be dead, was there?

After all, she knew that the movies were all lies. Bullets weren't made of magic. People didn't simply just die when they get shot. So there was no way that the girl who had dragged her around the island for so long was now dead.

She picked up Mallory, carrying her by piggyback, and stumbled out of the store. A part of her brain told her the truth but she ignored it. After all, it sounded just like the part of her brain that was paranoid.

Stephanie began to run, making her way back out of the shopping center and into the glare of the sunlight outside. The hospital wasn't too far. A kilometer. Or a mile. Or two. Like distance mattered now. All that mattered was that she keep going.

((Stephanie Wright continued in Voyage of the Dawn Treader))
Edited by Randomness, Feb 26 2017, 06:07 AM.
"I have the heart of a young boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk" -- Stephen King

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