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Sunrise; Formely known as "Paint Your Truck"
Topic Started: Dec 7 2013, 04:15 PM (1,500 Views)
Fiori
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The Fiorious One
[ *  *  *  * ]
((Jenna Rhodes continued from Crowds))

It had been a good dozen hours or so since they had left the nuclear living site. As Jenna suggested, they had mainly kept to the roads, slowly working their way around the woods via the coastline. At one point, Jack pointed out what looked like an airfield to the south, and the idea of investigating it was briefly brought up. In the end though they decided against it, seeing as Jenna was almost certain that the only place where she would find what she was looking for was in the town to the north.

Other then that, not much else happened that day. It was a relief, in a way. Despite all the anarchy and death going on around them, their group had been relatively lucky thus far since the fateful hilltop. At the same time, they were still no closer to finding any of their friends, something which Jenna suspected was still bothering Yukiko.

Not that she actually asked her friend or anything. Not once during their journey did she muster up the courage to even look Yukiko in the face. She couldn't quite fathom why, but for some reason talking to Yukiko was last thing she wanted to do right now. Had she still yet to forgive her for something that was obviously an accident? An accident that could have easily been avoided had Yukiko not been so desperate to get herself killed, sure, but still.

They were still on the road by the time it began to get dark, partly due to the fact that Jenna insisted that they take things slowly and cautiously. Whilst that meant that they avoided trouble, it also meant that a journey that could have been done in a day took twice as long to complete. Since none of them wanted to continue towards the town in the dark, they decided to head for the nearest shelter they could find.

Thankfully, they had been able to find a small house on the outskirts of town to stay within for the night. It was nicer than the previous place they had stayed at, not to mention a little roomier. Plus it wasn't too far from the rest of the town, so it could have made for a more permanent hideout.

At least, it would have were it not for the announcement the very next day.

It was typical, really. The very house they had decided to stay in was declared to be a danger-zone, forcing them all to leave. It was almost annoying enough to make Jenna forget about the somewhat distressing reveal that not only had Max gone on to kill several more people, he had also won the "Best kill" award and was heading towards the very area they were staying in.

Best Kill award. And for a minute Jenna thought that the terrorists couldn't find any more reasons to make her despise them.

In any case, despite the fact that Jenna wanted to stay and wait for Max, the beeping sound her collar was making was enough to convince her that sticking around would not be a good idea. Still, at the very least they were able to find some pencils and notebooks, which she decided to take with her as the three made their way out of the town and towards the beach. It was at this beach that they happened across was looked like an abandoned food truck alone in an empty car park.

"Well, it isn't exactly a house, but it's better than nothing I guess..."

She turned towards her friends, her lips forming a forced half-smile. "So... Who wants to be the first one to go look inside?"
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[ *  *  *  * ]
((Yukiko Sakurai continued from Crowds.))

Yukiko had been silent since the walk from the town. She'd trudged along, not really aware of what was going on, only vaguely aware of Jenna's form as she followed in line.

What was there to say anymore? Yukiko couldn't, not after the emotional roller coaster that one announcement had put her in.

When more names were called out: Sadness. When Max was listed for three kills: Disbelief. When the town was declared a danger zone: Panic. And now there was a slight uneasiness. She could feel it. Everyone was feeling it.

She'd stopped when Jenna did. Only then did she look around, and realize were they were. The beach. They'd stopped in front a large truck.

She'd vaguely registered Jenna's question, and began to move towards to back of the truck to climb inside.
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swirlythingy
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Oh no!
[ *  * ]
((Edgar Tolstoff continued from I'm a Mechanical, I'm a Mechanical, I'm a Mechanical Man))

He was barely aware of anything any more.

The steady thud, thud, thud of the cracked concrete beneath his feet gave way to a crunch of gravel. The stale draught funnelling between the apartment buildings became a brisk sea breeze. Everything else was lost beneath the spinning in his head, the burning in his lungs and the shaking in his legs as he continued to force himself forward at an ever more unsustainable pace.

Apart from the collar around his neck. He was never going to stop being aware of that.

It was the voices which finally did it. He hadn't heard any voices since the previous day, discounting the announcements. Somehow the relatively distant voice of one of his classmates pierced through the fog in his mind and brought him to a halt. It was only then that he realised the beeping had stopped.

In the brief few seconds before reality caught up with him, he took in his surroundings. He was standing at one end of an expanse of gravel. In the distance, down the side of a hill, was the sea. At the other end looked to be a vehicle of some kind, and...

People.

Six... no, three of them. He thought.

Should he talk to them? Should he turn and run? Should he just stand there, paralysed by indecision, waiting for one of them to come over and attack him?

But before he could make any kind of choice, his legs made it for him. Exhausted by his panicked sprint from the danger zone, and drained by his lack of sleep and food, his knees buckled and before he knew it he was lying face down in the cool gravel.
Edited by swirlythingy, Dec 8 2013, 04:43 PM.
...in my pants.

B065 Edgar Tolstoff (adopted from aristeia) - Syrup of Ipecac - Lost a debate with a chainsaw (Storage Yard)

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*insert dance song here*
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
((Jack McDonald continued from Crowds))

Beep.

After three full days and three full nights on the island, Jack finally learned what the sound of the collars being primed to explode was. In fact, their kidnappers had been 'generous' enough to give him multiple experiences with it - first a singular one with their little fake-out, and then multiple in succession once it was declared that they were in a danger zone. Now that beep was firmly registered in the forefront of his brain, and it was doing its best to interrupt his thoughts. The face of the grim reaper is not one easily forgotten.

Eventually, the three managed to find their way to a beach. It was actually... kind of impressive. The sand wasn't the brown, plain stuff you'd find at a local beach. It was a pure white color, like the kind you'd see in a vacation brochure. He could even admire the place from a practical standpoint - after the hotel room and the house, it was nice to be in a place that was so open, being able to see someone coming from pretty much any direction. It was probably the closest thing to paradise they were going to find on this island.

Jack and Yukiko followed Jenna silently up the beach and towards a parking lot. The only sounds was that of the waves rhythmically crashing against the shore, which, he had to admit, was kind of soothing. Some non-awkward social interaction would be pretty nice, though. He DID have to fill Jenna in on what had happened with Yukiko, after all. As well as maybe ask about the paint cans, if he found a place to slip that in.

"Eh, screw it. We're probably not going to find anything better," he replied, unceremoniously dropping his bag on the ground and doing a much gentler job of sitting on it. "Not while the town's off limits, at least."

He paused, considering Jenna's question. There was still a tense part of him that definitely did not want to be the first one to go in. A bit of paranoia never hurt anyone, after all.

"Um... I'd rather someone else-" he started to reply, cutting himself off when he noticed Yukiko wordlessly move to step inside.

"Oh. Never mind."
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Fiori
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Without saying a single word, Yukiko headed towards the back of the food truck, reminding Jenna once again of the huge imposing elephant in the room.

How long had it been since Jenna heard Yukiko say anything? Thinking back, apart from the hill, Jenna couldn't think of a single time during the past day or so when she and Yukiko had spoken to one another. Then again, it wasn't as if Jenna was making any huge efforts to speak to Yukiko, not after what happened back at the hill. Especially not after the announcement the other day confirmed all her worst suspicions.

What could she say? Jenna had no idea where to even begin. She knew fine well that rebuking Yukiko would probably only make things worse, but at the same time she couldn't just say that it was an accident that could have happened to anyone. Stacey was dead for crying out loud! That was not the kind of thing you could just shrug off and call an unfortunate mistake, nor was it something that should be ignored.

No, something had to be done. After avoiding the topic for nearly two days straight, it was about time that they addressed it head on. The only question was what they should do.

"Jack, I..." Jenna began as Yukiko entered the building, taking care to not saying anything whilst Yukiko was within earshot.

"There is... I don't know how to say this, but I... I think we need to talk about Yukiko."

She gulped. No going back now.

"After what happened back at the... Back at the hill, I feel as though... I mean, you heard the announcement right? We can't just keep acting like nothing happened."

She briefly glanced back at the truck before returning her gaze to Jack.

"As much as I'd like to pretend that everything is fine, if we keep ignoring this then things are bound to only get worse..."
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[ *  *  *  * ]
As Yukiko finished climbing into the truck, she was hit by a terrible smell. It was, she presumed, food in the truck that had rotted. She wanted to hop again, and almost did. She fought against it, plugging her nose. She began to move inside, the footsteps reverberating through the cab. She paused to turn, looking into a small space between two stacks of boxes.

It was a bad time to stop.

She could hear Jenna talking. To Jack, presumably. She stopped, perking her ears to listen.

What was happening? Why were they talking about her now? They were... they were over it, weren't they?

She wanted to pretend she hadn't heard it. But she didn't. She just kept listening.
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swirlythingy
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Oh no!
[ *  * ]
((I know I said you could skip me, but I'm gettin' the seven-day activity itch. Sorry.))

Whoever they were, they hadn't noticed Edgar yet.

He wondered whether he should do something to correct that. Maybe he could call out, with his tortured lungs? Maybe he could wave, with his heavy arms? Maybe he could haul himself up and run off somewhere else, try to find something to eat on the other end of the island, brave things unknowably worse than not being noticed?

Nope, that was definitely off the table.

He listened to the best of his ability, taking into account his position and his current state. Unsurprisingly, he couldn't hear very much, but there was no mistaking the word "announcement".

His mind indulged in one of its regular obligatory little flashbacks to the last time he'd drawn attention to himself within earshot of someone preoccupied with an announcement.

The gravel smelt nice.
...in my pants.

B065 Edgar Tolstoff (adopted from aristeia) - Syrup of Ipecac - Lost a debate with a chainsaw (Storage Yard)

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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Honestly, at this point Jack wasn't sure whether he liked it better when everyone was silent or when people were talking. When there was talking, he felt restless; when someone was speaking, it was always something bad. It exhausted him way too quickly.

And, of course, it was about Yukiko.

He carefully rested his head on the cold metal of the truck. "Look... I totally get why you're concerned. But, well... I talked to her when you were out. It's not like she INTENDED ki- do it or anything. I..."

He paused, letting out a loud sigh. He failed to find energy at a time when he needed it most. No winning.

"... We're not acting like nothing happened. I just don't think it's going to help anyone to keep dwelling on this."
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Fiori
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"Ignoring it isn't going to make things any better either" said Jenna, briefly glancing back at the food truck.

"I just feel that shrugging off what happened just because it was 'an accident', like how what happened to David was 'just an accident', is just... It just doesn't feel right. Last time I checked manslaughter was still generally frowned upon. I'm sure she never intended to hurt anyone, but that doesn't change the fact that what happened could have easily been avoided if she had just been a bit more careful..."

It was at this point that Jenna thought back to their chase through the woods, and how frustrating it had been for them to try and keep up with Yukiko.

"I mean, Stacey could still be alive right now if she hadn't of ran off like that! I still can't believe just how careless she was, blindly running around this island without any clue as to where she was going. It's no wonder something like this happened..."

She regretted that last sentence almost immediately after saying it.

"Sorry, I didn't mean that. It's just... I'm just worried about her, that's all. You've seen the way she's been acting ever since, right? What if it only gets worse if we keep going on like this? I've heard of how things like this happening in the previous versions... Changed people. Made them do things they would never normally do. And whilst i'm not suggesting that anything like that's happened with Yuki, I just feel that we should make precautions in case... Christ, I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore."

She leaned back against the truck as well, rubbing her forehead as she thought back on everything she had just said.

"This whole situation is just... I just don't know what to make of it. Ignoring what happened doesn't feel right, but neither does anything else. I... I just don't know what I should do, what I should say to her..."

She looked Jack in the eyes. "You understand, right?"
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[ *  *  *  * ]
She gripped her weapon tighter as she continued to listen. What was Jenna talking about? It was an accident. She... she didn't believe her? But...

Then there was that word she used. "Precautions". Huh? What precautions? What were they going to do to her? It was fine, wasn't it? Why was there a need for precuations?

Yukiko wanted to run. She felt betrayed. All that talk about them putting it all behind... it was a lie, wasn't it? She thought it would have been fine. She thought they would be fine never talking about it again.

She thought they were her friends.

She took a few steps towards the back of the truck. They weren't going to betray her. No. She wouldn't let them.
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Jack was standing now - no, pacing. He was looking straight at the ground, not even able to look at his conversation partner for the time being. It was just...so much. He had thought they were past this point by now. He thought they were making progress. Now to feel like they were back at square one... his stomach was churning at the idea.

After taking a few seconds to mumble to himself and think things over, Jack stopped and glanced over at Jenna.

"What kind of precautions are we even supposed to take, though? It's not like we can just... abandon her or anything. And, like I said, it's not like we're brushing it under the rug, it's just not something we can change or really do anything about."

One of Jack's habits was getting too loud when he got really involved in an argument. Was one of the few things that really got people's attention, he found. He felt that he should probably quiet down a little bit... but in a rush, he continued with only a subtle attempt at toning it down.

"I talked with her. She's not going crazy or anything like that. She's scared... just like we are. It was a terrible, terrible mistake on her part, but the best thing we CAN do at this point is keep moving and, well, make the best of it. If you have a problem, talk to her."

There was a flash of color. Jack's eyes darted over to the side of the truck. Had... had he seen someone there? No... he was probably wrong. This whole thing was making him paranoid, even more jumpy. He needed to calm down.

He took two loud, deep breaths, not really caring how he looked.
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swirlythingy
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Oh no!
[ *  * ]
"What kind of precautions are we even supposed to take, though? It's not like we can just... abandon her or anything. And, like I said, it's not like we're brushing it under the rug, it's just not something we can change or really do anything about."

The voices rang out across the hushed car park, clearly audible even at Edgar's distance. There were two people talking, a boy and a girl. The former was louder than the latter, but what the second lacked in force it more than made up for in familiarity.

Jenna was a familiar face, and even more familiar voice, to any regular member of the debate club. Edgar had, in common with most of the rest of the student body and indeed Seattle, never quite seen eye to eye with her. She was one of the members who had long since learned that, in a pinch, correctness (in Edgar's humble opinion) was no substitute for sheer tenacity.

She and Edgar, in short, either didn't mix well or mixed very well indeed depending on exactly what one thought the purpose of debate club was. Edgar was fastidious and methodical, and strongly disliked leaving things unfinished. This was ironic, considering the multiple debates they had been on opposing sides of which felt as if they would never end.

Edgar briefly contemplated how funny it was that he kept running into people he thought he knew like the back of his hand, until he remembered that this was literally the entire premise of the 'game'.

So, what did he know about Jenna? More than he knew about someone like Travis, no doubt, but did that make him more likely to be right or merely doubly wrong?

Republican (which he'd thought had mattered once). Hotshot policeman's daughter (the policeman was the hotshot, that is, not the daughter). Swimmer (not that that was likely to be relevant unless they were all going to go for a jolly dip in the sea after murdering each other).

She'd never been anything but friendly to him personally, and for his part he'd tried as hard as he always did to reciprocate this. But get beneath the surface, and nothing good came out.

And what was Survival of the Fittest, if not the world's most infamous attempt to demonstrate what happened when you forced people to get beneath the surface and unleash all the horrors so carefully hidden away for society's sake?

And which was he more terrified of - what lurked beneath her surface, or what lurked beneath his?

He'd thought, on the first day, that he wouldn't let the game win. That he wouldn't let it get to him. That he wouldn't be like Cody, like Travis, like... like Jenna?

It hadn't been going well.

He had heard enough to guess at how much he hadn't heard. Words like "accident" and "scared" and "mistake" and "precautions" floated across the hilltop, terrible, dangerous words, seductively beckoning everyone in with excuses and promises of moral deniability, words that he'd been trying to beat off ever since that fateful morning at the school, words he knew meant nothing in the end when the truth of what you had done was sent sneering across the island in the cold light of the morning after. And then the retribution would begin, and the attempts to make it 'right', and the justifications umpteen times removed, and over and over until - just as promised - only one lucky bastard remained.

Was he culpable in this? Heck yes. He didn't want to think how, he suspected he might never know exactly, but he had an uncomfortably precise idea in his mind of what he was about to hear.

He should do something.

Do something, that's what he'd been promising himself since he woke up to the first day of the last days of his life. Get people together, stop it happening, beat them round the head with his oh-so-infallible moral superiority. Solve the puzzle, come up with a nice, neat answer, strategise his way out of the twisted, sickening tangle of fear and excuses and violence which ensnared all of them, except of course for him.

He should do something.

...Soon enough.
...in my pants.

B065 Edgar Tolstoff (adopted from aristeia) - Syrup of Ipecac - Lost a debate with a chainsaw (Storage Yard)

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Fiori
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Jenna sighed to herself. As much as she hated to admit it, Jack was probably right.

"Maybe... Maybe you're right. Like you said, there's nothing we can do to change what happened, and the last thing I want to do right now is exacerbate things."

Admitting that someone else was possibly right was one of the hardest things Jenna ever did. After all, as a committed member of the debate club the very idea of submitting to someone else's argument was something she rarely did without feeling the slightest bit defensive. But even she could see that she was potentially in the wrong here.

"I was not suggesting that we tie her up or abandon her or anything like that. I mean, Yukiko's one of the few friends I have left on this island. I'd hate to see something awful happen to her, or anyone else for that matter."

She bit her lip, taking a deep breath as she thought about what she was going to say.

"It's just... I just don't know what to say to her. What can I say to her? Christ, I can't even look at her without thinking about what happened. I know that what happened happened, and that there is nothing any of us can do to change to change it. But I just... I just can't keep going on like this without..."
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Yukiko hadn't heard the last parts of the conversation. Jumping out of the back of the truck, tears in her eyes, as she gripped the weapon in her hands and looked at the two people she once considered her friends, she muttered two words.

"Please stop."

She closed in.
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Despite the harrowing circumstances, Jack couldn't help but let a small smile slip out when Jenna backed off a little. It was a miniscule victory, not to mention one only over another member of the group he was already in, but it was a start. It honestly wasn't that often that Jack won a serious argument, but that just made it nicer when it did happen. He felt like he was in control.

"Hey, it's alright, we're all a bit stressed out. If you want, I can be there when you talk to her and help you work through it or-"

He was suddenly cut off by the voice of Yukiko coming in, completely catching him off-guard. Even without hearing exactly what she said, he felt like smacking himself? How could he do something so dumb? Talking so loudly about her when she was so close...

Even when I succeed, I find some way to screw up.

Jack instinctively turned his head to meet her... but it didn't take longer for his eyes to meet the more intimidating object in her hand.

He immediately assumed the worst.

"Hey, Yuki. Uh... why don't you leave the weed whacker in the truck?"

He forced a smile, though it didn't last long, as he focused in on the rather sharp blade of her weapon. He gulped, and took a small, instinctive step backwards.
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