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Crushed Dreams and Broken Hearts; PM for entry
Topic Started: Dec 15 2013, 10:56 AM (1,729 Views)
MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"See," Steven said, "the problem here is that you think those people who've done this before are trash. Like, they're different somehow? They weren't real people too? Maybe a few of them were psychopaths, but most were just coping however they knew how, I bet. It starts simple and pragmatic and then it spirals out of control. Nobody wants this. Telling yourself people before did, that's just to make you feel better. There've been, what, a hundred kids who killed for all sorts of bad reasons over the last four times, and how many of them did it help?"

And what now? She was going to do what she was going to do, and who would stop her? Steven couldn't. He couldn't dive in and wrestle the gun away from her. He couldn't threaten her into backing down. Maybe he would have to come back later, but maybe that wasn't how this was going to end.

After all, hadn't he admitted that he'd never be able to stop everyone? He'd taken the approach he deemed most likely to work on Kat, and it hadn't budged her an inch. She'd started to think, and maybe she'd change her mind later, but maybe not. He'd done what he could, though, and Kat was almost reasonable. To try to force her now, that would be a misapplication of power. He'd become a crusader rather than a missionary, and it wouldn't take too many steps down that path for him to end up exactly what he was trying to fight. There were lines, and he couldn't always tell where they were in advance, but he knew them when he found them.

It felt like the right time to call it a good effort, go find Hansel or something and see if he'd have more luck there. He'd tried to save Kat, had told her the truth, and if she was really going to keep going and try to keep others scared of her, she'd quickly become a problem which resolved itself. It didn't feel good, letting someone march to their doom, but he'd really, honestly tried.

He sighed.

"But, in the end, I guess it's your choice. Your life," he said. "Be what you have to be. Live with it if you can."

And that was that. He gave hr a nod, let the bottle hang limp by his side, and turned away, back towards the exit. He hoped Sharon had found better results with Theo.
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
She wanted for a second to fire back, to go on about how nobody who sat around waiting for their own death found disappointment in that regard, how racking up nightmares like trading cards wasn't something she could quite see spiraling out of control, but they'd both said enough. They were two extremists - and her path was extreme, she couldn't forget that - butting up against each other, because as clear and sharp as they made their motives known, they'd never drag the other through the full spectrum of intent to stand on equal ground. And yet, they weren't that far apart when it came to it. The horseshoe of extremism, they called it, where one side bent gradually around almost to meet the other. He believed in something so strongly that he was willing to die for it, and she to kill for it.

He said his final words and turned.

"You too," she said before she could stop herself. And her heart began to race as he showed his back. There was an energy that welled within her, as if she were about to start striding suddenly after him, but her legs stayed planted safely on the ground. It was something else she begged to send after him. Swifter, more direct. She thought of how she'd woken on the island, seen Rosemary Whatserface and her cute little knife. She'd wanted it, but she was reasonable, and so she hadn't taken it. They'd laughed, in fact. They'd laughed and she was bending double and grabbing her scythe for support because what the hell were they doing. And now Rosemary was a threat, if not by intent then by armament. But she didn't regret it. Maybe she would, later. The one mistake that would be her undoing. She couldn't afford any more. But, she thought, how could she? How could she carry on a debate, part amicably and shoot him right in the back as he turned to leave? There was comfort to be found. She'd showed Theo that.

She saw herself curled up on her mattress, clutching her comforter close to herself, throwing it over her head and digging out a little hole for her nose to draw fresh air. Her brothers laughed downstairs. Her cat ambled gently in and gave a little mew and settled in the crook of her body. That was home. A different life. It wasn't the island. There wasn't any comfort here, and searching for it was a fool's errand. Her sweet half-hour on the bench in the fairground, that was an anomaly. A bubble in time with different rules, a world as different from the daily horrors as they were in turn to home. She pulled herself into Theo's grip, but he was nervous and smelly and bony. Like some revulsive drug that offered manufactured happiness and dulled your other senses when you took it. Made you vomit in the morning and crave more in your harried shivers. No, there was no satisfaction when your life relied on killing, and to pretend otherwise was folly. You needed to hate it with every fiber of your being, or you'd never dredge up the hidden reserves of strength you needed to pull through it. That's where others had failed. They'd found enjoyment. Let themselves ride the high. She would fight it, and she would hate every second of it, and she'd be all the stronger for it.

She looked at Steven's bag, full of food that made her want to vomit, food that gave her an edge in strength and speed and endurance once everyone else ran short and she kept forcing it all down. Her breathing quickened, eyebrows twitching, fingers chasing each other over vertices of gunmetal, stabbed themselves on the point of the corner of the trigger. He understood her, like nobody else ever likely would. He was friendly, articulate, reasonable. He was a good person. And so there only one thing she could ever do.

Palms sweating, heart racing, "Hey," she cried. "Wait a sec!"

When he turned, she had both hands on the gun, and she squeezed the trigger and then she squeezed it again.
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
He shouldn't have turned back. He heard it in her voice, and he had a pretty good idea what was coming, but he turned around to face her anyways. Never could leave an argument without getting the last word in. Never knew when to quit. Always had to see how the story ended. Always had to get personally involved.

The first spray of bullets he barely felt. The bottle exploded in his hand, and he felt a light punch in the stomach, another in his upper left thigh. As he took a step backwards, the second spray rattled around him, his bag jerking and dancing against its strap as holes materialized in it, and something caught his right arm, straight in the shoulder. He spun with the impact, and the third spray brought two heavy thumps against his upper left chest. He couldn't hear anything but echoes of God-only-knew how many misses rattling and ricocheting around the area.

He dropped to a knee, then keeled over onto his side. The pain was starting to mount, but at the same time the blackness at the edges of his vision also was.

So, that's how it all was going to end.

He hadn't stopped Kat. Hadn't changed her mind. Hadn't accomplished a whole lot. He'd set Sharon up with some equipment, then sent her after one of the most violent people on the island. He'd abandoned her twice. He wasn't going to make their rendezvous. He wasn't going to be there to help her stay sane.

There was this part of him screaming no, no, he'd done it all wrong. Better to go after Theo himself. Better to send Sharon here. Maybe her strong-armed approach would've worked. Maybe she'd be dying in his stead, and after all, he was the one with the big master plan, the big noble goal. Or, no, even better to tell ideals to fuck themselves, to use everything in his disposal to stop the killers, force them to give up their weapons and cripple them if they didn't agree, and if they kept trying then let them die for their stubbornness. Was it so wrong to kill when there were no other options?

But that wasn't right. He was dying. He'd be lucky if it was quick. There was a puddle of red forming along the ground in his vision, red and black all he could see, and he'd done what he'd intended to. He'd tried his hardest, and that was what made him different from those people who might very well still be sitting in the mansion, waiting for a rescue that would never come. He'd changed, and maybe it hadn't been for the better, but he at least didn't feel like he was a worse person now.

A sharp, piercing pain ran through him, and he contracted in around it, cradling his stomach, pulling into the fetal position. Funny, how what felt the least at first could now stab the hardest, and also funny how he hadn't been able to breathe for a few seconds now, how he just gurgled and sucked more blood into his lungs. The red was gone now, and his comforting thoughts were gone, and the only real positive thing that could be said was that it all hurt too much for him to really process it.

But he still couldn't get any air, and that was a blessing in disguise, because the pain and the thoughts and everything else slipped away faster than they otherwise might have.

B025, Steven Salazar: DECEASED
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Her murder's bounty roared like a dragon in her hands, snapping her wrists back to vertical and spewing a veil of heavy white smoke. Once, twice, three times she pulled the trigger, wincing and shaking and loosing each burst with more determination than the last, because horrible, terrible things would happen if she stopped. A dozen and a half or more rounds she loosed, the speed and violence of the reports melding into a series of stuttering blasts beyond her counting. But she knew immediately that her line of thinking had been correct; she was no marksman, and she'd sent more than a couple shots straight into the air, but she could see Steven turning and staggering and finally falling as the law of averages did its work.

And now he gurgled on the ground, shooting goosebumps up and down her arms. It was hard to tell when or where her shots had found their mark, but now streaks and puddles blossomed up and down his huddled frame like flowers opening up to full bloom in fast motion before melting disturbingly away. How had she come to this? came the dull though amongst his dying throes. Days earlier - not even a whole freaking week - there was no question of which side of the fence she stood on, because the argument of murdering or being murdered didn't even exist. And then she'd come to a sudden fork and gone barreling straight down one path with no hesitation, the path that saw her standing with palms sore from the recoil of her gun, breathing in the lingering pall of sulfur that stuck to her clothes, listening to Steven Salazar breathing his last.

She strode slowly toward him, daring not to tear her eyes away for the briefest instant. She couldn't do the disrespect of shying from the sight that was a mere shred of his suffering. There were bubbles in the ooze around his chest. He convulsed as he tried to breathe, found himself choking on his own lifegiving blood. The first time she'd seen a former acquaintance, a would-be friend, dying in broad daylight. The first time she'd done it so coldly, so calculated. Hadn't used impending terror to force herself through the nerves. There wasn't a word she could call it other than wretched.

Steven's life ebbed away before her, and Katarina found herself standing all alone in the garden. She stepped the remaining distance, stared down at the body. Made herself reach out, poke his chest with her toe. He'd died, and she'd done it, and she soaked up every second of it. She flicked a finger back over her forehead to calm her stomach. She brought her foot back. No reason not to. It was just a body. Swung it forward, kicked him - it - in the gut. There you go. No reaction, but to flop like the inanimate object it was. A smear of blood on her boot. There'd be worse before the end. She turned her eyes on his bag. There would be food in it. That's what she'd wanted, wasn't it? What she'd decided under that tree. She'd get some food somehow, and Steven had rolled up and she'd decided she could squeeze out some intel while she was at it. What he and the people like him wanted in their insane quests, how to protect herself against it. Get a little practice in. Meet up with the other handful of bedraggled souls at the end and say she'd left her reservations about pulling the trigger in the past. That was what she'd wanted.

Any way you sliced it, the meeting had been a resounding success.

She busied herself collecting the essentials from his bag. A few bandages, just in case of course. Some food. No weapon she could see. Probably chucked it away, back when he was a person that walked and talked and breathed, she figured. He'd be the type for that. And then she had an idea and she turned up the bag and dumped everything out but kept the pile in her arms. The last things he'd owned spilled out. Some small possessions. His clothing. The bag itself and supplies she'd keep. The rest she'd leave behind. She was scavenging what she wanted and leaving his underwear in a pile by his body, because she didn't feel like stealing it.

And so she stood and turned and she had to stifle a sudden laugh, because it was so surreal. One thing had lead directly into another, an unbroken chain of events where she'd marched knowingly forward, and yet she'd slipped by that process into such an alien world. So much suffering and death around her, and she danced above it all like the people on that Japanese gameshow she'd watched a few times, where they tried to run across a pound and half the rocks were real and half of them sent the contestants plunging into the water if they tried to put their weight on them. It wasn't the first analogy she thought might spring to mind, but it rang true all the same. One misstep would do it, and there she was already lamenting her misfortune. Maybe she hadn't fallen yet, but she had to keep it forefront in her mind. Because if she let the tiniest weakness show, deviated from the course she knew best, second-guessed her judgement for a second, she'd seen exactly what awaited her.

Horrible things awaited her on that path. Terrible, atrocious things. But she felt a twisted sort of comfort in herself, in her ability to bear it out and make the correct decisions. Because she knew that when the next hurdle rose before her, the next dilemma and then and the next and the next, that the horrors she faced by any action had to compete with the shots and screams still echoing in her ears.

((Katarina Konipaski continued in It Looks Good on Paper))
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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