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Topic Started: Nov 20 2013, 09:51 PM (819 Views)
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
((Jack McDonald continued from Rise and Fall of a Teenage Girl))

Well... he hadn't gone in the completely wrong direction.

Jack probably should have figured walking aimlessly without a compass wouldn't get them where they wanted to go. Luckily, after completing their trek through the woods, the group found themselves on the edge of a different block of buildings. The large nuclear plant that could be seen in the distance confirmed that they were at the nuclear living site. At that point, Jack didn't really care (... too much) that he had led the other two in the wrong direction. It was getting dark, and now they had shelter an a nice place to sleep. That was what mattered.

The three moved quietly through the streets. Part of it was fear of alerting their presence to someone else who had already set up shop there. The other part was that the rest of the trip had been just as quiet. After Yukiko had run off, things had felt a lot more... tense. Even more tense than after David had died. Something had happened, but no one wanted to talk about it, and Jack sure wasn't going to be the one to bring it up.

They chose a house as close to the center of the town as they could. Jack's logic was that if anyone with murderous intent came into the area, it would take a lot longer to find them, if they even bothered to go that far in.

Jack quietly opened the door, almost wincing at the heavy creaking it did. It just reminded him how abandoned this place was. After a few seconds, though, no one had jumped out and attacked them, so he figured it was safe to enter. Squeezing his bag in through the doorway, Jack took a look around the place.

It was just like any ordinary home, if a bit worn out. That almost came as a bit of a surprise to Jack. It really shouldn't have, but after two full days in this living nightmare, something being normal was almost shocking in and of itself. Still, it was nice and homely, so he wasn't complaining.

To be honest, Jack was dead tired. He didn't have the brain power or energy to plan or strategize or anything like that. Sleep was his one and only goal. It didn't take long to find the hallway where the bedrooms were, and there happened to be a block of four rooms. Relief. He muttered a simple "need sleep, night everyone," and went right into the nearest bedroom, shutting the door behind him.

He was just about ready to collapse onto the bed when he felt his stomach growl. Oh, right, he had barely eaten these past two days, if at all. No wonder he was so tired.

He looked down at his duffel bag, the strap still slung upon his shoulder. He hadn't even opened it at all since he had woken up. It just felt... off-putting. Like the minute he opened the thing, he would be accepting his fate, accepting the fact that he was in this twisted game of survival.

Unfortunately, it was either accept it or die. Jack wasn't ready to die just yet.

He slowly unzipped the bag, dug around, and pulled out an energy bar for consumption. The bag was quickly zipped back up before he hungrily chowed down.

He wasn't going any further in than that.

---

Jack had no idea when he had fallen asleep and when he had woken up.

All he knew was that he was now staring at the plain wall opposite the bed. He turned his head a bit, looking out the window and seeing that it was still early morning. He had actually woken up before the announcements.

Unfortunately, unlike when he woke up on the first day, he wasn't able to deny where he was or why he was there, even for a second.

Jack silently slid off the bed, standing up and grabbing his glasses off of the nearby end table. He stretched out his arms a little with a slight groan, still a bit tired but feeling he could at least stay awake. Trying to fall back asleep now would probably be pointless.

Right now, Jack had to pee.

Figuring the other two were probably still sleeping, Jack crept out of his room, heading towards the bathroom. The silence of this place was really starting to creep him out. It was like watching a horror movie late at night - you felt like with every corner you turned, something was going to jump out at you.

Still, Jack made it to the bathroom without incident, shutting the door behind him and getting a good look around. The place reminded him of a downtown public bathroom - pretty grimy, but still usable. That is, if there was even any running water in this place...

A quick twist of the faucet quickly settled his doubts. It also brought something else to his attention, though. He was filthy. Jack normally wasn't too incredibly concerned with his cleanliness, but two full days basically spent in the wilderness was too much, even for him. He put his hands under the faucet and began to scrub hard.

While he was doing that, Jack looked up into the mirror, seeing his own reflection for the first time in what seemed like forever. It looked... fairly the same from what he remembered. It WAS only three days in, after all. Still, it didn't feel like a face that belonged on Survival of the Fittest.

Jack grumbled to himself. Great. Another reminder of how he wasn't cut out for this at all. He felt like he was being a load to Jenna and Yukiko. He felt like he was being a load in general. So far his greatest contribution had been leading them all in the wrong direction. He needed to step things up. He just didn't know how.

First, though, he would take a piss. Then maybe he could work on that.
Edited by Flare, Nov 21 2013, 06:39 PM.
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((Yukiko Sakurai continued from Rise and Fall of a Teenage Girl.))

Sleep hadn't come well for Yukiko during the night. Every time it felt like she would be able to doze off, she saw Stacey's face just before she fell and was instantly jolted awake. Yukiko mentally scolded herself for that. It wasn't her fault, and she couldn't let that one action keep her like this. But to no avail, as that image wouldn't leave her mind.

She was only sure that she had been able to get some sort of sleep because when she blinked it was suddenly morning. She'd probably been able to get a grand total of three hours of sleep. She sat up, but didn't have the energy to leave the bed, so she just leaned her back on the wall, waiting for someone to come and pick her up.

And of course, she shouldn't have been surprised when the crackling noise sounded all over the island.

Part of her wanted to drown out the announcements that would no doubt have her listed. Why even bother? But she listened anyway. Two names in particular stood out to her.

"Becca Everett was killed by Maximillian Sawyer. He shot her after distracting her with an exploding cigar."

"Jaquilyn Locke and Joachim Lovelace were both trying to kill Miss Carmina Maliksi, but Joachim got to her first."

oh

Yukiko vaguely remembered seeing a body in the clearing as she left. A recognizable body. The thought crossed her mind at the time, but she didn't want to think...

And Max... what the hell were you thinking? He'd drifted away from the group lately but... he couldn't have done that. He would never...

But then, Yukiko would never push someone off a cliff, yet it happened.

Yukiko hugged her knees to her chest again, as the rest of the announcements played.

She didn't even react when her name was listed. It was so nonchalant, listed in the middle of two other names, as f the death wasn't even worth getting a full sentence.

The announcements ended. Yukiko didn't move.
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((Jenna Rhodes continued from Rise and Fall of a Teenage Girl))

So, as it turned out her worst suspicions had been correct.

Jenna was outside the door to the bathroom when the announcement began, biting her lip with anticipation as the names were read out. Despite hoping that she was wrong about Yukiko's involvement in Stacey's death, not only did the announcer prove that she had been the one who had killed Stacey, but that another one of her friends had gone on to kill one of their classmates.

She wasn't sure which surprised her the most. The fact that not just one, but two of her friends were now confirmed killers, or the fact that she wasn't nearly as shocked about hearing Yukiko's name during the announcement. Perhaps it was because she had already suspected that to be the case for the past dozen hours or so, and that the announcement all but confirmed her suspicions.

Maximilian however was a genuine surprise either way. And judging from the way the announcer worded it, unlike Yukiko it didn't sound as though it was an accident. Of course, there was always the chance that it had been done in self defence, but with no evidence to suggest otherwise she could only assume the worst. At least with Yukiko she knew that it was unlikely that she had intended to cause Stacey to die, although that still left the question as to how she should approach this situation. Accident or not, there was no way she could overlook what had happened. Stacey was dead, most likely because of Yukiko's incredibly rash behaviour. But as much as Jenna wanted to talk to Yukiko about what had happened, a part of her just couldn't bring herself to face her friend at that very moment, not in Yukiko's current mental state anyway.

Admittedly, this was part of the reason as to why she was intending to head off for a bit.

Not for too long of course, but she needed some time to be alone to gather her thoughts. As it happened, there was also something she had intended to do anyway, so she figured she would get that out the way whilst she had the chance. On the way to the house they were staying in they had passed a number of shops. Shops that Jenna intended to return to in order to see if they had a certain product she intended to make good use of.

First though, she had to let her friends know that she wouldn't be gone for long, hence why she waited for Jack to leave the bathroom.

"Hey..." she began the moment Jack opened the door. "I... Guess you just heard the announcement too."

She paused for a moment, trying to get her thoughts straight before continuing.

"Listen, I need you to do me a favour. I'm going to head down to the shops to pick up some supplies, and I was hoping that you would watch Yukiko whilst I was gone. Look out for her, make sure that she doesn't do anything rash. Maybe even try to find out what... Well, what exactly happened back at the hilltop. Could you do that for me?"
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He had been leaning against the sink, staring into the mirror again when he heard the speakers crackle to life.

Jack took a deep breath and held it. This was it. He had been wondering about what had transpired for a while, and now there was a chance he could get some answers. He braced himself for almost anything.

What he didn't brace himself for was how quickly it ended up happening.

That was it. Just a short little note slipped in the middle of a sentence like someone was reading off of a grocery list. "... little Yukiko Sakurai shoved Stacey Mordetsky off a small hill..." And that was all he was getting, apparently.

This was one of those "you don't know how you'll react until it's actually happening" situations. Heck, the entirety of Survival of the Fittest could be summed up by that phrase, but also this moment in particular. Jack had known throughout the entire night that he was probably going to have to face this, he just didn't know how.

How ended up being leaning down even further, settling his head against the cold faucet, and doing some more thinking.

Stacey Mordetsky. He knew Stacey Mordetsky. Well, at least he knew OF her. Rich. Popular. Kind of snobby. Now lying dead at the bottom of a hill Jack didn't have the freaking brainpower to think of peering over for just one second.

"Oh god... Yukiko KILLED someone. She friggin' KILLED someone."

The bathroom was starting to feel cramped. He quickly stood up, turned around, and went right to opening the door...

... finding Jenna standing RIGHT there.

He nearly jumped a foot back. He did NOT need a jump scare while he was trying to process this information.

Of course, the announcement was the first thing that was brought up. It was pretty hard to ignore, after all. Jack nodded.

"Yeah... was kind of hard to miss," he added. Leaving much silence in the conversation was just bringing him back to his thoughts. And his thoughts weren't really reassuring him.

Since life didn't seem to want to give Jack a break, though, what Jenna told him next was just more bad news. She was leaving the group. OK, she was leaving them temporarily, but she was also expecting him to be the one to talk to Yukiko about all of this. The one thing he had been banking on was having her around to help him deal with all of this. Sure, Jack was usually happy to try and help with a leadership position, but all the past couple of days had proved to him was that he thoroughly sucked at it.

Still, what was he going to say? No? Getting supplies WAS a valid reason for heading off, and denying them that because he didn't want to deal with this problem was just selfish. That option was off the table.

"... Sure. I can try at least," he responded after a few seconds. His eyes drifted over to the door of Yukiko's room. "Just... be careful. Try to be back by the end of the day. And take a map and compass with you," he added as he turned back to face Jenna. Another casualty was the last thing any of them needed.
Edited by Flare, Nov 21 2013, 06:38 PM.
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Yukiko shut her eyes again, as she listened to the voices coming from from beyond the wall. She found the situation strangely familiar, as she opened her eyes and squeezed them shut again. A face came forward again, but not of Stacey this time. It was of a young boy, sitting on his bed, looking down and to the side while two adults stood facing him.

"-and this is not how we raised you, young man. You can't just hit your problems until they go away; that's not how real life works. When you grow up, fighting like that will get into even way more trouble right now, do you understand?!"

Yukiko heard footsteps, leaving the room.

"Son, you're grounded. No going on the computer or playing with your friends for a week, alright?" A sterner, lower tone. "And I want you to apologize to that boy. I'll make sure that you do."

Another set of footsteps.


Yukiko had never been as scared of her own parents since then. She began to cry as the voices outside continued. The fear was coming back, and her mind raced.

They were judging her. Scrutinizing her. They were people she trusted, but they were wary of her. Why were they talking about her? Couldn't they realize it was just an accident? She wanted to plead with them, or to tell them they were wrong.

All that came out was a choked sob.

They didn't even hear it.
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"Thank you. Don't worry, I'm sure I can look after myself..."

Jenna glanced back at the door to Yukiko's room. She wondered how her friend was taking the announcement, seeing as there was now no way she could deny having anything to do with Stacey's death. A part of her also wondered whether deciding to head off on her own was the right thing to do, seeing as if anyone needed comforting right now it was Yukiko. Was she being selfish for deciding to leave Jack with the responsibility of watching over her friend?

Then again, at that particular moment in time she didn't feel as though she was in the right mindset for comforting her friend. A part of her was still furious with Yukiko for how she had acted back at the ropes course, which was just worsened by the fact that her thoughtless behaviour was the most likely cause of Stacey's death. Any attempt of comforting Yukiko would quickly turn into her chastising her friend, something that she knew for a fact would not make this situation any easier. No, she had to head off on her own, if anything just to get thoughts straight so she actually knew what to say to Yukiko when she returned.

"I'm only going as far as the shops we passed on the way here, so I shouldn't be gone for too long. That said, if i'm not back within the next several hours it'd be best to assume something went wrong. And if you hear gunshots... Well, I won't hold it against you if you and Yukiko decide to head somewhere safer."

She paused for a moment, again wondering whether this was a remotely bright idea. Maybe she should ask Jack to follow her? Maybe they should all go together when Yukiko was feeling better?

Or maybe she was just making excuses because she was more afraid than she was willing to let on?

"Anyway, I'll see you in a bit. Stay safe..."

On that note, she headed off down the corridor, making her way downstairs towards the front door.

However, before leaving their shelter she stopped when her eyes fell upon an old wooden table, an idea quickly springing to mind. She walked over to it and grabbed one of the four legs, pressing her foot against it's frame as she kicked and tugged with all her might. It took her a couple of minutes, but eventually she was able to break off the table leg, wielding it as though it were a club of some description. It wasn't exactly much, and probably wouldn't last that many swings given how relatively easy it had been to remove it, but at the very least it would do her for now.

Now that she had something to defend herself with, Jenna took one final look at her surroundings before leaving via the front door, taking care to shut it behind her. Anything to make sure the house looked less inviting, seeing as the last thing she wanted was for Jack and Yukiko to receive any unwanted guests whilst she was out.

((Jenna Rhodes continued elsewhere...))
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Jenna Rhodes - Hotel

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"... You too."

Jack brought up his hand to wave goodbye, but quickly brought it back down when he saw that Jenna was already heading down the hallway, not looking at him anymore. A couple seconds later, she was out of sight. Pretty soon after that, he heard the door being shut. They were alone.

Jack felt a chill run up his spine, and he quickly turned around, his subconscious half-expecting to see Yukiko there, ready to stab him or something. But, of course, she wasn't.

Jack suddenly became aware of his breathing, namely how heavy it was. He went to work getting it back to a more normal rate, but that was easier said than done. Jack knew he really didn't have much to worry about... but that didn't stop him. He started absentmindedly pacing up and down the corridor, trying to ignore the soft creaks of the wood panels.

"It was an accident. No one breaks down like that after intentionally murdering someone. Still..."

His mind seemed to drift off at "still..." as he stopped in front of Yukiko's door. Even with his quite sound logic, Jack kept reminding himself that she had a weed whacker and he had nothing.

He paused, took another deep breath for reassurance, and knocked three times.

"... Yukiko? ...Can we talk?"
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"...Yukiko? ...Can we talk?"

The door to her room opened, and her mother came in, looking at Yukiko with a gentle smile. She sat down on the bed, and she looked at Yukiko, her pillow stained with tears.

"It's okay. Yukiko. We're sorry about that, okay?" she laid her hand on Yukiko's head, petting it.

"Your brother got into a fight. And we got very upset at him, but we really are sorry you had to hear that. We promise we won't yell like that again, but your brother needed to learn that fighting people is not okay."

Yukiko looked up at her mom's face.

"Promise?"

"Promise."


"What do you want."
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Jack paused, thought over the rather innocuous question, and sighed, resting his head on the door in front of him. This was already harder than he had hoped it would be.

"Look... I... I was just hoping we could talk about... you know, what happened."

Nope. This wasn't going to work. This wasn't going to work at all. Why couldn't he just be able to talk to people? Why did every single freaking thing he did have to end up being some super convoluted social nightmare just because he could sputter out a single sentence without-

"... Can I come in?"
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"... Can I come in?"

Yukiko momentarily froze, and her breathing stilled. There were no ulterior motives in those words, nothing but an honest, friendly question. Still, at that moment she paused, trying to shake the feeling that there was a sinister reason for it.

She had to calm herself. It was okay. It was only Jack.

Yukiko shakily stood, wiping her eyes, and took her cap and placed it back on her head. She moved, slowly, towards the door, before slowly opening it.

She looked at Jack, bags under her eyes, her face red from crying.

She said nothing.
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Jack bit down on his lip. Nothing but immediate regret, despite the lack of any negative consequences so far. It just felt... wrong. He felt nosy. He felt pushy. He felt... wrong. He knew, rationally, that all these fears were unfound, but that tiny glimmer of confidence in his brain was being shoved down by heaps and heaps of anxiety and worry, even if he wasn't showing it all that much.

He was looking inwards so much it took him a few seconds to realize that Yukiko had opened the door and was standing right in front of him.

More silence.

"Um... hey."

Oh god, she's been crying. Not good. Not good.

"Look, I... I..." He paused, still unable to find the exact words he wanted ot use. "Well... I - we know about what happened. You know, with Stacey. Then again, well, I guess you already knew about that..."

Jack's mind was urging him to bail out immediately, but he knew that wasn't a possibility at this point.

"We... look, we don't blame you. We don't know EXACTLY what happened of course, but... we trust you, I guess. I mean... we know you're not a psychopath or anything like that."

He felt... a bit more at ease.

"Look... it's rough out there. Well, duh, but I mean... I know how these things go. People turn on each other and go crazy and all that stuff. We just... gotta stick together. Above all else. I think that was just... a one-time thing, and that we can, you know, kinda... move on from it, I guess."

Jack let out a deep breath. Still not the exact words he was hoping for... but not bad.

"... Oh, sorry. You OK?"
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Yukiko was looking straight at Jack's eyes, but her face fell the moment he began to talk again. She had to, at the very least, hear him out. She could figure out what to do after he had finished talking.

She wanted him to say that everything was alright. To reassure her that she wasn't a killer, that it had been an accident. She wanted him to trust her.

Thankfully, it seemed like that was what was happening. As Jack began to talk, stumbling over his words, Yukiko felt a certain pressure lift of her shoulders. Even though Jack was stuttering and pausing, she found it more effective that way. It felt natural.

It took a bit of time to register that he'd finished talking.

"Oh... yeah. I'm alright. Thanks," she replied.

It was a thanks for helping her feel at ease, even if just a little bit.
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Jack smiled. "No problem. Oh yeah, Jenna kinda went to go try and find supplies and stuff. She should be back soon. Until then, I guess we just... hang here."

Still not feeling confdent enough to actually spend time with Yukiko yet, Jack opted to head back down the hall to the front of the house after a meek goodbye to his traveling companion. Once he knew he was out of her line of sight, Jack couldn't help but do a little twirl. He had gotten through the conversation. Things were cleared up. The group wasn't broken up or anything like that.

For being in this psychotic game, things could've been going worse.

---

Some amount of time passed. Jack was definitely starting to note how time on the island was hard to keep track of, what with the lack of cell phones and much working electricity. Or any sort of regulation, really.

Jack was lying on the couch, staring up at the ceiling. His mind was heading in a million different directions, and yet he was getting nowhere. Definitely no new ideas on how to get home, other than... well, the obvious way. And that was pretty unlikely. He felt like he was trapped in a labyrinth. There was definitely an end somewhere, but all he got was the frustration of endless corridors.

What was almost worse was the boredom. He still had no one to talk to except Yukiko - and he still wasn't comfortable in doing that yet. Besides, even if he had the confidence, what was there to talk about? There was no amount of small talk that could distract from the situation at hand. And besides human interaction, all there seemed to be in this place was desolation and a sick sense of fear. Not exactly anything to entertain yourself with. He just wanted... something.

That something ended up being the loud creaking of the front door swinging open. Jack nearly rolled onto the floor in surprise.

Oh god, someone found the house! All my stuff's in my room, even if I HAD a weapon, I couldn't reach it, and Yukiko... I don't even know...

Jack shot straight up, on his feet in seconds, tense with anticipation... only to breathe a sigh of relief upon seeing who was ACTUALLY at the door.
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"Hey..."

((Jenna Rhodes continued from... Well, this very thread.))

"Sorry for barging in like this, probably should have knocked first..." said Jenna as she stepped through the front door, her makeshift club hanging limply by her side as she entered the lounge.

"I'm afraid I wasn't able to find what I was looking for, so I guess we'll have to look elsewhere. I'd like to leave soon-as if possible."

On that note, she quickly headed upstairs towards her bag, silently passing the room where Yukiko was residing in as she quickly got her things together and headed back downstairs.

"I'll... Just be waiting outside, see you guys in a bit."

((Jenna Rhodes continued elsewhere...))
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((Skipping post order just because it's so close to crunch time.))

Jack nodded in agreement at Jenna's plan. A big part of him really didn't want to leave such a comfy, stable shelter... but another part of him was getting paranoid about sitting around in one place for too long. Some movement would be nice.

"Sure, sounds good to me. Just need to go grab my stuff."

The house, which had been fairly devoid of noise just a minute ago, was suddenly bustling, though Jack was mostly focused on his own preparations. Said preparations mainly involved throwing a few loose items back into his bag, but Jack wanted to make sure absolutely nothing was left behind.

"Coming!" Jack called out, pulling his bag over his shoulder and bounding out the door. He was feeling somewhat pumped to be setting off again, though he suspected it was because the adrenaline was the only thing keeping him going.

((Jack McDonald continued elsewhere.))
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