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Walk Among the Cobras, Pt. 1; one-shot
Topic Started: Mar 16 2014, 11:08 AM (459 Views)
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Trained for combat by a cabal of hacktivists.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
[Zoe Leverett, continued from Rio Bravo.]

Everything dies.

Life is unrelenting decay, a desperate cycle of sex and death intent on prolonging a brief and insignificant existence on a world strained to breaking point. A forever war waged against a vicious and unconquerable foe. Everything on our planet will eventually die. Our sun, our galaxy, and, eventually, the universe itself. This is simply how things are.

It is inevitable, and Zoe Leverett accepted it.

What Zoe would not tolerate- what she found unacceptable- was the unnatural acceleration of this end. Survival of the Fittest had provided that accelerant for her own brief and insignificant existence and Zoe had been aware of this from the moment she woke up on the island, but Zoe had been hesitant to accept this truth of her situation. Instead she played at being above it all. First she was the tragic artist, wandering from alliance to alliance bereft of purpose. Second she was the agent of the status quo and her aspirations had been appropriately grandiose. Preventing the escapes had been a fool's errand even without stagnation and inaction but it had provided both purpose and justification, and the means to say that everything she did was out of necessity.

Ultimately, it had proven pointless. Her inaction had only led to more deaths; the group of self-indulgent martyrs Zoe was gathering allies to stop had received their mocking epitaphs on that morning's announcement. But Martyrs bred martyrs. The immediate threat had been decisively crushed but the dead numbered too few and their deaths would only serve to inspire other selfish morons with messiah complexes to throw themselves to the meat grinder. Some remained and more would come and Zoe was prepared to hunt them all down if it meant that no one would else die because of their selfishness. No, she realized. It had never been about the safety of others. The island called for blood, and she answered. No greater good, no just cause. Only survival. Paris and Joachim had tried their hardest to break her but their toxic stagnation had not stripped Zoe entirely of purpose. Instead it had chipped away at the surface thoughts, the posturing and the justifications, reminded her of who and where she was and what she had to do to get home.

Zoe spent the next couple of days holed up in a small house on the nicer side of the power station, sheltering from the storm and trying to shake the thought of Paris and Joachim and Cho from her mind. It was likely that they were dead. Zoe certainly believed- and hoped- that they were. They were so firmly entrenched in the school building that it had come as no surprise to Zoe that the area was declared a danger zone a day or so after she left. If they had stayed in the building until then, Zoe guessed that it would have been impossible for them to get out of the area in time. If they were dead, and buried, then she had little to worry about.

Zoe was sprawled out on a beaten couch in the living room, staring at the ceiling. The stucco was chipped and cracked and the corners were stained black with damp. It was past midnight and the only light came from the flickering bulb of her flashlight. The marching drum patter of raindrops against the single-glazed windows was the only thing stopping her from falling asleep. Of course, it was possible that they were still alive... and looking for her. If Paris was still alive, Zoe knew that they would be looking for her. Paris didn't seem like the type to let people escape his grasp easily. Half the reason Zoe left was the implication that the only way you left his group was in a body bag.

Zoe crossed the threadbare carpet and ascended the staircase with her machete in one hand and her flickering flashlight in the other. It was a pathetic ritual but one rooted in common sense. The building was too large to defend by herself and Zoe knew she needed to be prepared at all times. It would have been easy for someone to sneak in while she was asleep and cut her throat. Zoe walked across the landing and pushed open the door to the bathroom with her shoulder. She placed her bag and her machete in the corner of the room and balancing her flashlight on the yellowing basin. She wiped the murky mirror with her scarf and came face to face with her reflection for the first time in days. It took her a moment to recognize the face. Her face was thinner than she remembered, her eyes abnormally large and her cheekbones more gaunt. Her hair was a tangled mess, matted with sweat and grime and clumped together in greasy tendrils that looked, and smelled, disgusting.

Her grip tightened around the hilt of the machete and Zoe hacked at her hair in the dim torchlight. Clumps of hair fell into the sink and onto the linoleum floor. When she was done, Zoe ran her hands through her hair and surveyed her work in the mirror. Even in the dark she could tell that she was a far better artist than she was a hairdresser. The final result was a patch and uneven fuzz of hair that hardly suited her. Zoe barely recognized herself though, so she deemed it a success. To complete her metamorphosis, Zoe finally discarded her broken reading frames and rubbed at the corners of her eyes.

Zoe grimaced. Her parents would be proud; she finally looked less like her sister.

With her hair out of the way, Zoe unbuckled her fraying, torn jeans and peeled them off the body before doing the same with her shirt and her underwear. Zoe glared at her naked form in the mirror. Days without food had made her body unhealthily skinny, almost emaciated. Looking at herself like this made her feel sick. She felt empty. Zoe choked back bile and traced the outline of her individual ribs with her finger, visible through her skin for the first time in longer than she could remember. She washed herself with stagnant water from the basin and scrubbed at the dirt and accumulated grime with old, crumbling soap. Zoe washed her face with her hands and steadied herself to choke back hoarse sobs. The game had destroyed her, both physically and emotionally, before she had ever killed.

Zoe knelt down beside her bag and took out a fresh set of clothes, a black tank top and a clean pair of jeans, and quickly pulled them on with some effort, eager to cover herself up as quickly as possible. Her old clothes, save her sweater tied around her waist and her scarf in her pack, were left in a pile on the floor in the corner of the room. There was no point in taking them with her.

Shouldering her pack, Zoe descended her stairs with her machete ready. It was becoming apparent that she needed to leave before dawn. Each announcement was permanently closing off an area. The island was closing in on itself and the large, empty areas were being made inaccessible. The woods were still a danger zone and the school buildings had just followed them. Before long, the residential areas would be closed off as well, or people would be funnelled towards them. Zoe wished to avoid either outcome.

If Paris and Joachim were alive and looking for her, they must have found her tracks by now. Zoe was not prepared for a confrontation with them yet. Zoe left the house through the back door and clambered over the fence in the garden into a backstreet. Back to square one but with renewed purpose. Kill the escapees, kill Paris and Joachim, kill anyone who got in her way.

The island called for blood and Zoe answered. No greater good. No just cause. Only survival.

[Zoe Leverett will return in I Forgot to Remember to Forget.]
V5:
B035 - Ray Gilbert - DECEASED - Guy Fawkes Mask - Too Far Gone
G029 - Zoe Leverett - DECEASED - Machete - To Really Be Alone, To Pick At All the Bones
[/spoiler]
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[18:10] <Laurels> WWJD? Fuck corpses, apparently

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[15:16] <Naft> My college once nearly burned down because someone tried to make a bong out of dollar bills and the fire alarm didn't work
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