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Two Opponents; "no boys allowed" written in crayon (pm for entry)
Topic Started: Apr 14 2014, 08:06 PM (2,071 Views)
Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Time to get to work.
(Ami Flynn continued from Litany Against Fear.)

Returning to the hospital was unplanned, unexpected and bittersweet in every sense. The plan was to go to the Hotel, find a room and hole themselves up. Taking one look inside the hotel nixed those ideas almost immediately. And so they wandered back at the hospital, with Ami praying that no one had thought to stay there for the night.

Her wish was granted, as far as the lobby was concerned. Matt and Finn were gone. The bodies from before were still there, all of them decomposing underneath their makeshift coffins. All of them, except Mallory, Ami made sure the white sheet covered her whole body and not just her head. She looked so... It sounded absolutely mad but Ami swore Mallory was sleeping. Was she breathing?

It was this abstraction that held Ami's attention, and she imagined herself standing there, just watching. As if any minute Mallory would open one of her eyes and flash a bright, slightly goofy smile. The mental image made Ami smile, but it also brought her back to reality. Mallory was dead. Not sleeping. Dead. How could she, of all people, forget that?

How funny would it be if she really was sleeping though? Just waiting everything out? It seemed the type of decision Mallory would fling herself at.

They were no longer in the lobby. That had been minutes ago. Mira and Ami were further into the hospital. Ami stopped briefly, bracing herself against a wall. She closed her eyes, giving herself a brief moment to rest. Turning her head, she found Mira, standing only a few feet away.

"At least the rain's cleared up," Ami said, casually, directed towards nobody but aimed at the back of Mira's head. "Maybe the sun will be out later."

Mira didn't respond. Or if she had, Ami did not hear her. The hallway was so dark, Ami found herself wondering if her mind was playing tricks with her.

Then again, her friend had her head turned away, seemingly preoccupied with something else. Ami didn't repeat herself, and she stood up straight. Mirabella had not spoken a single word since they arrived. Ami wasn't sure what she was thinking about. She could certainly guess. Something inside told Ami to keep her distance but...

Distance is a good thing, sometimes. You need space, personal, emotional, and otherwise. Sometimes you don't get the luxury of distance, sometimes you are forced to get close. The worst is when you have no choice in the matter. It reminds you of just how small you really are compared to the much larger picture.

You don't forget your 'first', when the storm hits someone you know. Ami's first was sometime in elementary. The girl's mother was in a car crash. She was hugging her father's arm the entire time, and Ami kept her distance then too. It wasn't due to any shame on Ami's part. She just had to keep her distance, just like she was keeping her distance from Mira.

You don't forget where you were when the storm hits you and you don't forget when someone tells you. You don't forget the loss, the torn gaps in fabric, the ones that you can flip inside out and still see the patchwork.

But you never quite look it in the eye either, especially if you grow up in a crypt. There are rules to funeral homes, rules of respect and civility. You are taught to embrace, to present yourself to the cognizance of others. These people are paying customers and the customer always comes first. At the same time, you are taught to keep your distance and speak nicely but not too kind, and sound sincere but not too candid. Lastly, you learn how to bury it so you may not get any on you. You still have to live there, after all. So you smile. You nod your head, say your regards. Then you turn and cross the street. Do it enough times and it will become so natural that you cannot distinguish the act from the real thing.

She stared at the back of Mira's head as she thought. Ami considered all of the things her father taught her and how almost none of them were relevant to her situation. Even so, she frowned when she realized that Mira could not say the same for Garrett. Mallory's death hit Ami pretty hard, harder than it should have. She could not imagine how much pain her friend was in.

So when Ami placed her hand on Mira's shoulder, there was no doubt in her mind.

"Hey," Ami said with a smile. "I'm here for you, okay?"

She squeezed, gentle, before she let go and gave Mira room. Ami didn't want to smother her.

The last door at the end of the hall was the staircase, and it opened with an audible echo. Ami winced as she opened the door all the way. A black mist made of dust hung over the staircase, making it hard to see. Ami unzipped the dufflebag, dug her hand past the machine gun and pulled out her flashlight. She gave Mira a look, a sad frown punctuated with a slow nod.

Each step had an echo too, and Ami swore someone was in the stairway with them. By the time she reached the top of the stairs, Ami had to hold the light with both hands just to keep it from shaking. That wasn't the only cause for apprehension. A pungent odor wafted from the second floor door. It reminded her of rotting meat, and rot in general. Considering Ami's background and the amount of bodies in the lobby, the fact that it was so strong here was not a good sign.

Ami stood at the foot of the door for ages. She slapped her cheek, bracing the machine gun under her arm as she reached for the door.

"I'm going to go in first," Ami said, "see if the coast is clear. I'll signal you when it's okay to come in. If someone's there... you'll be the first to know if I see something.

Her fingers gripped the door knob. She creaked it just enough to peek. There were holes drilled into the side of a nearby wall. Her blood went cold. With one hand braced against the door, she closed it as quietly as she could. It still clicked, loudly, doing nothing to sate her fear. Without a second thought, Ami turned back to Mira and held the machine gun out to her.

"You should take this. If someone's in there and they see me with a gun..." She shook her head. "If you have to use it, don't hold the trigger down, just squeeze it quick. It starts to shake if you hold it down for more than a second."

Giving instructions about firing a gun in a hospital. It did not fit the definition of irony, but Ami figured it was close enough. She reached for the knob again.

"I won't be long. I promise."
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

releases greatest hits album, is an one-hit wonder
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SansaSaver
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[ *  *  *  * ]
((Mirabella Strong continued from Litany Against Fear))

Another set of announcements had gone by and Bella was finding it harder to care. She’d long since resigned herself to the regular listing of the dead, the inevitable listing of a friend - as the killed or as a killer - any trace of optimism or hope that everybody would drop their weapons and stop fighting having fled her a long time ago. It almost seemed like it’d been years since then, as though she’d spent most of her life on the island. To think of times where she wasn’t running through streets and ducking behind doors, spending every waking moment in a constant state of adrenaline and fear and was instead stressing over Mr. Stanulis’s grading of her Latin vocabulary or the quote she’d flubbed at a debate meet; it seemed almost foreign to her, now.

Andi had gotten the daily award for taking her Garrett away from her, and she hoped the bitch choked to death on her food or walked into the wrong Danger Zone to retrieve what they’d given her. None of that mattered though. Bella knew Andi wouldn’t be making it home - wouldn’t allow it, rather - and whatever fate eventually befell her would be too good an end for her. She’d wanted to scream at that point, wanted to collapse onto the ground and release the rage that’d risen within her once more, but she just couldn’t. She’d expected to cry at the very least, but couldn’t even do that.

Bella wondered what that meant.

They’d reached the hospital shortly after the skies had cleared up, Bella having spent the lattermost half of their trek steeling herself for what they’d see once they returned there. She wouldn’t allow herself to become queasy or feel faint, not this time. This time she’d face the constant reminder of what would inevitably happen to them without almost collapsing in the process. In spite of her revolve, however, she’d found herself looking away as they’d approached the collection of bodies, allowing Ami to do whatever she needed to do; think whatever she needed to think; say whatever she needed to say. Ami would’ve done the same if the roles were reversed, she was sure.

When they’d ascended to the upper levels and Ami had requested that they’d split off in order to investigate some noise, she’d nodded in consent and let her friend depart, gently taking her weapon in her hand. Though Bella herself hadn’t heard anything, much too preoccupied with her own thoughts to take notice of it, Ami had done well by her so far and she saw no reason to protest, no reason to cling to her or beg her to stay by her side or question even further why she was leaving. She trusted Ami to let her do her own thing, and it would only be fair, would only be equal if that trust was mutual.

The hallway seemed even quieter with her as the sole occupant, every breath she took and every footstep seemingly amplified amidst the hollow corridor.

Bella readjusted her bags over her shoulders and took a step backwards, feeling the coolness of the wall against her back as she leaned against it. She clutched the gun against her chest and breathed a little easier, comforted by the warm metal of the weapon in her hands.

She hooked a finger around the trigger.
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


Past Characters:
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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!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Katarina Konipaski continued from Drawing to an End))

In the bowels of the dark, desolate hospital, Katarina shivered.

It really wasn't all that cold, she thought. She'd certainly been colder. Watched the sun struggle to clear the horizon, crunched icy puddles beneath her boots and picked up to splintered shards to examine in the slanting light, ran through the snow and fell in it and threw it around until she stumbled through the door of her home soaked to the bone and half-numb from it. But it was all different now. Of course it was. That caveat plastered itself over every memory of her old life. A different time, a different place. Maybe even a different girl.

She adjusted her bag, pushed the strap over to abrade a different patch of skin on her shoulder, let it hang and thump against her hip at a new height for a while until it inevitably settled right back. That seemed like a good metaphor for something, though what exactly she didn't have much idea.

It was all different now, though. There was no warm home or soft bed to return to, no purring cat to curl up in the shadow of her body. Mild days turned into chilling nights, and she could only huddle against herself until her eyes drooped shut and she fell into blissful oblivion until the dreams came and she woke in a tangle of sweat and terror. She'd shiver then, and the night would wick away the heat of her body through her bloody, dirty, soaking clothes, and still that was nothing compared to the half-warmth of the dim-lit ward she wandered through. It was as if the chill in the air was assaulting her soul directly, eroding not her resistance to it but her very will to provide any. It seemed a tangible threat, something you could shoot or stab or run from, except that would only leave you gasping and exhausted and more confused and unsettled than before.

She'd heard something about war once. Maybe Winston Churchill had said it, or maybe it just fit his sort of mold. The idea was that it all came down to long stretches of stultifying boredom, punctuated by brief moments of pure terror. And maybe the terror wasn't so brief, not if you ever slept long enough for the nightmares to settle in with their blood and screams and flesh-tearing shades of vengeance. But they had certainly been right on the first part. It was strange, startling, even a little funny in the morbid sense just how interminable one's final days could stretch. A week already, had it been? It seemed like two days, maybe three, except that each day itself had lasted thirty.

And so she wandered, slipping through the shadows that connected room to room and hall to hall. Zubin hadn't shot her, which came as an immense relief if not quite a surprise. Nobody had lurked behind the first corner she turned after giving away her presence, or the eighth, or the fortieth. It was just as things should be. It had all worked out more or less as she'd planned. Put herself aside to retrieve later, and let what was left go numb from it all until she could spray blood and brains over a wall and find cause to chuckle and rummage through the poor kid's last possessions for a scrap of food.

Nobody would tangle with her if they valued her lives. Few enough could even picture her now. The girl she'd shot at, and the boy she hadn't. And sweet, innocent Rosemary with the ratty shoes and the knife she'd tried to force away until they'd both broken into peals of laughter. But for everyone else - a phantom. Something to fear. Someone to run from, if only you were graced with that impossible opportunity. In the last memories that hung in their mind's eyes, she was prim and proper and cute and composed, and her hair wasn't greasy and her eyes weren't rimmed beneath with dark circles.

A sound broke her from her reverie, though real or imagined she couldn't yet tell. She curled her fingers around her gun, drawing it out like a cat unsheathing its claws. As she squeezed a pain ran through the inside of her knuckles. Not the sort that spiked or blossomed or brought tears to your eyes and made you feel alive, but simple ache brought to a fever pitch. The souvenir of dozens of rounds fired, the equal-but-opposite pounding of the grip with the trigger that sprayed out flesh-rending, life-ending bullets. She shook her head clear, listened in the silence between each footfall. There was a rhythm to it, except as she began to pin it down, it stopped.

Then - there it was. Different. Slower, maybe. Steadier, heavier. Cautious, if she dared to make it human - and could she dare not to? She altered her pace a fraction, strained her ears for the difference, felt her eyes widen until she felt she could peer through solid drywall. There wasn't any doubting it. Her heart beat into her throat as she brought out the little sickle she'd earned with a few vicious strokes of her scythe. A corner came up ahead of her. A little gambit formed quickly in her mind. Striking the floor solidly with her heels, she rounded the sharp bend. A nice series of echoes to mark her location. And then, a little ways in, slipping forward on her bandaged toes, she sunk into the shadow of a door swung half-ajar. The sickle in one hand, the SMG in the other, and both ready for action.
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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Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Ami saw Katarina the second she closed the door to the staircase. Kat would make for horrible secret agent material. Her feet practically made the floor shudder. Compared to that, Ami was as silent as a mouse.

Mira did as Ami asked and stayed back. She trusted her, and Ami wanted to keep the promise she made. Mira's trust was not misplaced. Perhaps she sensed that Ami genuinely wanted to help her.

But she could not understand just how genuine. What Ami neglected to mention was that when they were the last two alive, she had every intention of sending Mira home.

The tagline: Ami Flynn, a girl who grew up surrounded by death, finds herself in a life or death situation. Driven to the breaking point, she suffers an emotional breakdown and an innocent girl is killed in the resulting fallout. Stricken with grief, Ami wanders aimless, her faith in God and herself lost. That's when she finds a kindred spirit; Mirabella Strong, a young girl who has lost everyone close to her. Finding a new purpose, Ami sets out to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save her friend. Then, she finds redemption and ascends to heaven.

The end. A happy ending, a story of forgiveness and faith.

Except nothing ever goes according to plan. She, of all people, should know that. Her plan wasn't going to work, it just wouldn't. But she bought into it anyway.

It's so very easy to rationalize things when one has already latched onto the best outcome. When someone has their eyes more on the sky and less on the road, it's only a matter of time until they swerve into oncoming traffic.

Katarina made a wrong turn. Pretty ironic, coming from a known killer who ruined five times as many lives as Ami. Smart enough to notice someone sneaking up on her, dumb enough to run down a dead end hallway, with only a few rooms to act as cover.

Ami took in a breath, came out as a shaky wheeze. Her fingers tightened around the handle of the scalpel, rusted but serviceable.

This was it. No backing out. Ami had to do this.

Why did she feel like she had to do this? Ami had no choice. What was forcing her to do this? She had to protect Mira. Why did she want to protect Mira? Because she had to.

Ami Flynn, proprietor of a dozen in foreign languages, the girl who wore a long-sleeved cardigan on a trip to California, would realize the elementary fallacy in all of this. A child could see the error in this logic! This could not be her, it had to be a doppelgänger or someone posing as her.

Ami Flynn, smoker, the girl who wore a leather jacket she found in an abandoned mall, would tell her to swallow the pill. Something had to give, so take that pill and shove it, choke it down, whatever it took. Compromise. Ripping the bandaid. Subtraction. That's all it was. Everything would come naturally once she accepted it. Don't question, just take it as it is.

But how many people had to die so Ami could be cleansed? Think about that later. What would her parents think? Think about that later. Could she really kill herself? Think about that later. Was she a monst-

Take a breath. Inhale, exhale.

Better? Alright. Start with the room on the left.

The first door on the left was a patient room. Bedsheets littered the floor, no signs of anyone hiding. She left the door open and sidestepped, trying each and every door handle.

Three doors on either side, spaced evenly along the hallway. Ami walked carefully, not due to the cobra she drove into a corner but the lack of light as well. She looked left, right, forward, but not back. Ami saw the gun Katarina had. If she turned her head, even for a second, she was toast. She had to do this.

Every step responded with an echo. She dug her front teeth into, tasting metal.

Half of them locked, two half hanging wide open.

The last door on the right was ajar, just enough for someone to slip in. Ami kept her eyes peeled, making sure Katarina didn't try to escape.

Ami stopped, only a foot away from the door. In one fluid motion she gripped the door handle and threw it open to find

an empty broom closet.

Katarina was nowhere to be seen.

Ami blinked. No, no way, she ran, Ami was sure of it. Sleep-deprivation can play tricks on you but there was no way she imagined that.

Katarina made and sharp turn, and went straight into a dead end. Ami knew it. And yet the hallway was empty, save for her own footsteps.

That wasn't true though. The "Ami knew it" part. She didn't actually see anything. She just heard someone running towards it and she put two and two together. And because she clung to the best option, she didn't stop to question it.

The hallway was empty. How could it be empty? Two minutes. That dead end. No windows, no stairs, no vents, no blind spots, no escape. But Katarina was nowhere. So where did she go? Where could she go?

Ami closed her eyes and suddenly she was cardigan-wearing Ami, staring down at her math homework. The intersection Kat ran into only had two possible routes, left and right. The one on the left was a dead end and there was no one to be found. Ergo, those footsteps -

Footsteps. But Ami wasn't moving.

Oh god.

Ami made a wrong turn.

Oh, god.

She spun. Numb. Shock.

Their faces met. Bloodshot eyes, chapped lips.

Scowling, gaping, stained metal reared on hind legs.

The hallway was empty.

No escape.

Her family, school, her poetry, friends... Mallory...

Everyone and everything she loved, relegated to a snapshot being thrown to the fire.

Katarina swung.

The blade tore through her thigh.

The pain was so loud, Ami forgot to scream.

Time slowed to a crawl. Hindsight kicked in.

After an entire week, Ami Flynn opened her eyes.

If only she looked over her shoulder, she would have seen the truck barreling towards her.

... If only.
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

releases greatest hits album, is an one-hit wonder
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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!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Katarina stood stock-still, hardly daring to breathe. Whoever it was, they were still coming. Still chasing after her. Maybe. There were other possibilities, of course, but there was no future in not assuming the worst at any moment. If they were lost, she had a solution for that. And if they were bold enough, stupid enough, audacious enough to have seen her and pressed on - she let her breath out slowly, tried to stop her hand from shaking so much.

She slipped her bag off from around her neck, let it gently to the floor with the barest whisper she could manage. The sound of footsteps came around the corner, and her heart jumped into her throat. It didn't get old. It didn't stop being terrifying. But she knew how to take control. The remaining spare magazines bulged in her front pockets like the phone she'd never see again. The one in the gun wasn't full, but it wasn't empty, either. Enough to put more than a couple holes into someone. She twitched her brow, concentrated against clearing her throat and betraying her location.

The girl called Ami slid into view. Tall and trim and composed as you could hope for after a week in Hell. She could hear their names already, announced together with another little mark of approval for her to take and consider and smile a little and fret about. She turned her back. Lunged forward. Now, came the call in Katarina's mind, and she only paused for a half a second.

She started forward, shattering the stillness with the pounding of her soles, breaking into a swift dash towards her target, knuckles white around the handle of the kama. Ami turned and Katarina swung, ripping outwards and upwards, shearing through flesh and fabric. Droplets of blood flew through the air as she cocked her elbow, flicking her arm across and cutting through the air where Ami's collarbone had been a second before. The girl stumbled and tumbled but she didn't scream, not even when her own life was ending. Whether that was more comfort or less, Katarina couldn't figure and didn't really care. Those were considerations for the uninitiated, who hadn't already crossed every line they could without straying into territory that would destroy everything she lived by. No hesitation, no mercy, but above all, no pleasure in any of it.

She looked down at the girl sprawled before her, bit her lip but didn't stop in her calculated assault. The kama made a little clatter on the ground, but not much, and the gun was once more secure in a double-handed grip. She pressed one finger into the pointed corner of the trigger guard, followed it up with her other hand for symmetry, and took aim.
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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Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Ami looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Face filled with confusion and fear. She still didn't scream. Didn't even speak. Never occurred to her.

Her hand went to her leg the second Katarina pulled it out. She took a step back, putting all of her weight on the other leg.

She looked at her hand. Her eyes dilated. A red stain.

Queasy, Ami's stomach sank to the floor just as her knees gave out. A moment of weakness, with her body screaming for rest. Ami felt the vibrations of the wind as the blade flew past. But she barely recognized it. It was beyond her. In another plain of existence.

Ami hit the floor leg first. She didn't scream, though her body screeched in pain. The amnesia that the kama brought upon her lifted and she realized everything.

This is real. This is not a dream.

Then she remembered. Meeting Ruby, telling Gavin off, seeing a girl impaled by a spear, Brian telling Ami he loved her, Ruby using her lap as a pillow for hours, Zubin, Sean and the ship, Sar....

Everything came to her in pieces. They were not jagged fragments. More like puzzle parts, you put them together and they form a picture of a girl's face, mouth open and eyes filled with tears.

Jesus Christ, Ami, you killed someone.

This is a nightmare, you killed someone, you don't get to sleep peacefully.

Her eyes turned to the ceiling. The white noise inflicted upon her since the first day grew to a violent, deafening tone. Ami moaned and moved to cover her ear. She was trying to register everything after Sara. Garret and Bella, Hansel and the girl, the leather jacket and Mallory, Mallory, oh god Mallory was dead, and not only her, Yukiko, even Brandon. But she couldn't because of her stupid ears. That ringing! She's been hearing it all week! Why won't it stop?? It just -

There was a loud clatter nearby.

Ami held her breath. She turned to look, then let it all out in one giant gasp.

"No!" Ami cried. "Please, stop! You don't have to do this!"

Kat stared through her. Didn't even bother to look at what she was doing. Her body language breathed of experience and not the hesitance Ami expected. That scared her.

Ami tried to crawl away when she remembered. No escape. She rocked back and forth on the floor, pressed her dirty hand against the wound across her leg, anything to stop the tears.

"Just listen to me." She whimpered, throwing excuses at her attacker. "I-I have a family. I... I'm going to Princeton! I-I -"

Too late. She sobbed quietly, moving her hands to block her face, as if ready to push the bullet away.

"I didn't even want to go on this stupid trip! Please, don't - "

Katarina braced the gun in both hands, one after the other. Like a soldier. From her face alone, Ami could tell she wasn't listening. She must have heard the same speech five times already.

God, if you're there, that wasn't her, back at the ship. Ami didn't mean to kill Sara, you have to believe her. She just wanted to help Ruby. She didn't... if she could go back... She... She doesn't... God, please...

Katarina pointed the gun straight at her. Ami stared into the barrel and found only the abyss.

This was it. Ami closed her eyes.

"You're going to hell for this."
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

releases greatest hits album, is an one-hit wonder
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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!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Katarina blinked away the crying and the pleading. She could take it for what it was. True, honest, desperate. And she could see further still. To the basis of it, the argument and rebuttal. The desperate scratching of pathos at the bastion of her will.

She shook her head very slightly as she trained the gun at Ami's midline. Like anyone came from nothing. Like anyone deserved the very gentlest of fates the island could provide. Like none of it had ever gone through her mind. It didn't even warrant a second thought, because that second thought would really be the fortieth. The bullets would rip through the outfit Ami picked out, smiling, standing in her room, thinking of the future, deciding how best to look cute in Seattle and stay cool in the California heat. Katarina knew that already. If they were both lucky, they'd smash through the girl's brain and snuff out every memory at once.

No, there was no room to give in to the begging when she had a fight to win. It was days away, still. Maybe a week. When they gathered everyone together, the hardest and the luckiest and the most brutal and well-armed and broken. People so close to the end they could taste it wafting through air thick with stench of rotting friends. People like herself. She had to face them down, and deny them their final victory. If she was resolved to stick through the end, to wrest her life from their shattered fingers, what power could she let a few tears have over her?

And she was going to Hell for it.

She stopped, or, rather, didn't start. The gun was still silent. She wasn't, not when she could still stop it. Go to Hell. Not when she could run from it. And run was all she could do, because she'd earned it five times over already. How much deeper was there to plunge? Of course, they'd all been just to keep herself afloat until now. To save everyone temporarily from the consequences of failing the quota. To train herself to pull the trigger unerringly, unflinchingly. To build her stores until she had food enough to keep her strength up until the final battle. She had that, now. Supplies, resolve, safety. What left but convenience?

It wasn't a bad try. It had bought Ami half a second. The time it took for Katarina to bring the first outing of her stamped metal prize to the stage of her mind. To dive so deep she never had to worry about sinking to new lows. Everything else was child's play after she'd littered that peaceful garden with blood and gasps and shell casings. A pitch-black conscience didn't stain.

Another half-second. She flicked her gaze over her shoulder and back to Ami with the speed and practice as an old tic. It was just them. Nobody to hear her or see her. She took one hand off the gun and let it droop a little bit. There was more than just convenience to be gained after all. Not a whole lot, in the scheme of things, but if the risk was zero, any reward would do. She didn't let the barrel fall too far, didn't take her finger off the trigger. The gun wasn't a threat now, but a fact. It was going to happen, it said. Most definitely. But not until everything was sorted away.

"Hm," she said, grinding her toe on the ground, sticking a thumb through her belt. "And what makes you think I'm not there already?"

Ami had made her think. Maybe, just maybe, she could make her think 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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Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Ami opened her eyes.

"Why..."

am I not dead?

Good question.

Immediately she knew she had a shred of chance. Ami had three choices; make a break for it, call out to Mira or wait for Mira to come to her.

She remembered Mira, who was back at the staircase. Ami could call out to her. But that would risk getting her killed. Her protectiveness, she realized, had more to do with a selfish want than a selfless need, but all the same, she made a promise.

Ami noticed Katarina took one of her hands off of the gun. It gave her hope.

She cleared her throat.

"Are you afraid, Kat?"

Katarina didn't respond. Maybe she didn't hear her. Or maybe she was thinking. Ami couldn't tell.

"I mean, we were brought here to kill one another, right? I'm scared just thinking about it. I mean, who wouldn't be?"

Katarina didn't change her expression. That still scared Ami, how did she know what she was saying was getting through to her?

Ami sat all the way up. One hand moved to comb her hair back over her shoulder. The other braced the floor. She felt the scalpel under her hand, tucked out of sight.

"I can't say that I agree with the things you've done." She paused, forced a smile. "I don't know if you care about what I think. But what I do know is that you didn't kill me. And..."

God, she was so talking out of her ass. The cut in her leg started to hurt, like, seriously hurt. Ami shuddered.

"Tha- That's just it! You stopped yourself! The people who kidnapped us have no control over what we chose to do. Giving into their demands, it's not the only card on the table."

Says the girl tried to sneak up on Katarina only minutes ago. Says the girl that killed Sara for no reason at all. Says the girl who had the intention of killing everyone on the island in order to send Mirabella Strong back home.

There had to be some truth in what she was saying.

Ami sat up. Don't stop, keep at it.

"Is that how you feel? Like there's no other options?" She paused again. "You aren't to blame for that, Kat. Satan's just..." Satan? "He's pulled the wool over your eyes. This is all his doing, you know. He attacks people when we're most vulnerable and he coerces us into sinning. He wants us to lose the game of Life, and he rigs everything so that we think we have no power or choice. But you can win over him. He's like the terrorists, he has no real power."

... It was the truth. Ami knew it. She believed in all of it. But did Katarina believe? Why wasn't she saying anything?!

She swallowed. Her throat felt dry. Her fingers wrapped around the handle of the scalpel, just out of sight. Ami wished she had a cross or a bible to pray to. Something. Anything. Last prayers.

"Look, just... If you stop walking the path you're on and pray for forgiveness, you'll be saved. God forgives everyone who repents. I promise."

Ami can tell Katarina all about repenting.
Look at me, talking to a filthy rat who is so far beneath me. You should be grateful I'm so nice, because God will not be nearly as charitable. God doesn't forgive your kind.
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

releases greatest hits album, is an one-hit wonder
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Bella’s shaking breath and the violent drumming of her heartbeat slowly calmed the longer she stood watch in the corridor; the warmth of the gun in her hands somehow providing much more comfort than any of her classmates had given her over the past week. Even though Ami had promised she’d be fine and would return soon, there was always that stubborn trace of doubt, the one that proved immovable despite all her efforts. But with her finger latched around the trigger and the barrel against her chest, Bella felt - for the first time in a long while - that it’d maybe leave her system for good.

Her eyes filtered over the barren corridor in which she was situated, taking in every detail - from the faint cracks in the walls or the gathering of dust on the floor, to the cameras mounted all around her. As she finished her surveyance, Bella found her gaze caught by one of the lenses intently observing her, unable to look away from its passive eye. It’d been the first time she’d truly noticed them, having been much too distracted whenever she’d had a moment to properly acknowledge their existence.

It was curious, to think that there were people watching every movement - not just the terrorists, but people back home in Seattle as well. Maybe her parents. Bella hoped they weren’t, hoped they hadn’t seen her slip to this point, but if they were then she needed to assure them - now, while she felt some modicum of safety for the first time in a week, and not as some hysterical sobbing mess. The words swirled around in her mouth, any potential speech she could make becoming lost as soon as it formulated in her mind. She didn’t know what to say, had never expected to ever have to do something like this. Should she reassure them, say she was fine and that she loved them? Should she say her final goodbyes? Should she promise that everything would turn out alright? All of them seemed like good plans, but at the same time they felt so false.

And then she heard Ami’s scream.

As the shrill cry echoed throughout the corridor and pierced Bella’s eardrums, any thought of talking to the cameras fled from her mind, replaced by one singular thought; help her. She had to, didn’t she? There was no question about it, no alternative course of action. Ami had stayed by her side, even with everything that’d happened; what sort of a person would she be if she left her friend to die? Leaving now, before Ami’s attacker discovered her presence, was the only way she could be sure of leaving this place alive, but it was also the most selfish thing she could think of ever doing - and Bella refused to stoop to that level.

So, after but a second’s hesitation, Bella whirled her head around, loose strands of hair whipping across her face and her bags slipping roughly from her shoulders. She clutched the gun tighter to her chest, the fluttering of her heartbeat and the rapidness of her breath returning in full force as she rushed from the hallway, Ami’s safety her sole concern.
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


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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!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Was she afraid?

She almost wanted to answer that with a sneer, a one-liner, a good long squeeze of the trigger. A lesser girl, someone given to the true madness of the place, might do that. Someone who wandered and stumbled and fell into aping the mannerisms of some cheap comic villain because reality was so far beyond their grasp, so cleanly removed from what they knew to be good or normal or decent or right, that they debased themselves to a parody of a parody.

But she wasn't that girl. That girl would die all too quickly. Probably had, once or twice or thrice already. She wasn't privy to the secrets of her classmates' lives beyond what slim pickings she could snatch from the announcements. People didn't get another dozen breaths of air before they started choking down their own blood because of pity or malice or simple grandstanding. Every little bit she could learn would keep her informed. Keep her in the know. And a tiny little bit of her brain whispered, keep her sane.

She'd let Ami talk, for the moment at least, and - no, she wasn't afraid. Not of pulling the trigger, at least. That's what it all meant, by the by. People who thought bullies were cowards just wanted to scrape some moral high ground on people who proved too difficult to match verbally or physically. A dare. And she was above it. Lives were far too heavy to fling away by dropping a dares or emotions onto the balance. You had a reason or you were lost, and maybe even then. It wasn't something you could be afraid of.

She flicked her gaze briefly over her shoulder, and then back to Ami.

Ami, for her part, swept back her hair and sat up. It was such a normal sort of gesture. Blood was running down to her sandals, dripping and pooling on the floor beneath her. And she was settling in, making herself just a little more comfortable. Thanked Katarina - was she thanking her? Arguing, somehow, but taking it as a gift that she hadn't been shot, like this was all over somehow. Like they could go their separate ways. It was so crushingly naiive, all of it. Her talk about fear and God and Hell and the terrorists.

She raised the gun an inch and lowered it an inch. It was nothing new at all, but her head buzzed with it. She'd gone over every freaking point in her head a dozen times before, and what the hell was worming at her then? Something seemed to break free inside her, but it wasn't out just yet. Another corner or two...

"I'm just swept along, then, huh? 'Cause it's so simple? 'Cause I like it?"

She took a breath, let the silence wear at the unexpected edge laid onto the last few words. A rushing noise seemed to fill her ears.

"You think they've got no power. You think you've got it all, and that's why you crawl around like this. There's your other option. People like you - people. Plural. You're a dime a freakin' dozen, and you go screwing with people like - people who actually do something about it. And you think you're any better. I wanted to go to Disneyland. I wanted to go home and win races and play with my cat, and I still do, and you think you're so much better because you're resigned to getting shot by the first person who sees through it, and deep down you know it."

She shook her head, raised the barrel of the gun to trace its shaking line up Ami's stomach.

"Not even worth it. Not fucking worth it, talking any more. Watch you sit there and tell me how smart you are for being retarded, how you think you can crawl out of the mud without getting any on you."
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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Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Ami Flynn made the mistake of opening herself up. She put her beliefs out there and Katarina tore them to shreds with fewer words spared.

Her face contorted. She spat.

"Was Kelly Peterson crawling out of the mud when you carved her up like a Christmas goose?"

Her voice carried an echo. Katarina said nothing.

"Was Steven a retard when he tried to talk you down? What about Cassandra, Lana and Chase? Were they worth your precious time? I've been listening to the announcements Katarina, I hear your name almost every day! You're advertising yourself to anyone with half a brain and you're calling me retarded?"

Ami clenched her fist and pressed it into the floor until her knuckles cracked.

"Maybe you don't care. But I do. I killed one person and it's - " Her breath trembled. "Christ, I can't stop seeing her face. I can't sleep, I can't eat, and - E-Even if I made it out of here, I don't," Each breath added weight, labored, taxing, "How could I possibly look her parents in the eye? What am I going to do if they ask 'why?', when the only answer I have is 'I don't know'? It's eating away at me and - and -"

Her heart drummed against her chest. She stared straight into Kat's eyes. Katarina said nothing.

"And here you are. I take one life and it's killing me. You destroy lives left and right and it's like - you don't even care!"

Her teeth bore together as she considered every last choice she made over the past week, the regrets and mistakes and every little insecurity. Hell was too good for this bitch. Ami wanted to take a pencil to Katarina's life story, wipe everything away until the eraser wore away to a nub. Then she'd start rewriting her own story, retcon, go back and change everything.

Hindsight. 20/20. You killed a girl.

"Is this some kind of game to you? Because it's not, Katarina. There are no points. You aren't getting a trophy for killing the most people. At best, someone you don't even know will pat you on the head and order you Chinese! Is that enough incentive for you? Huh? Does that make you feel better for the lives you've hemorrhaging?"

There was more, so much more. But she stopped because Katarina said nothing. She had her gun trained but she had her head cocked at an angle. She must be listening, why was she keeping quiet?

"Is anything I'm saying getting through to you?" She shook her head, pressed her hand to her temple. "You people, you just - you make it look easy when it has no right to be."

Her leg was on fire. She hated Katarina, hated herself. She wished she never went on this fucking trip.

"It's not right goddamn it," holding back tears, "It's just not right."
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

releases greatest hits album, is an one-hit wonder
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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!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Oh, Ami could talk when the end came. Everyone could. It wasn't just a brain and a set of arms and legs and lungs you tore apart. There was too much there. Thoughts and feelings and secrets that died with them, favorite movies and crushes and algebra. They'd go on about oaths and Hell and screaming, pleading pathos to keep it all together just a little longer. The backbone of what kept them going. That's why Katarina stopped, again. And why she didn't shoot, again.

She had the sudden image of a cat letting a mouse scamper almost out of reach before reeling it back in again. Teasing, confident, flippant. That wasn't her, came the automatic response, and it was even almost true. Why not just make good on it then, she thought, and she told herself she could. She'd proved it, and she didn't need to use the chance to show herself once more. She'd listen to what Ami had to say, let the well run dry of principals and ideals and stratagems before she noted them all capped it off, but behind her attentive gaze was the thought that maybe she could get a better result by pulling the string of a self-righteous doll.

In the end, Ami just didn't understand. She never would, even if she had the time to sit and listen and the drive to stop her mouth from running over the whole thing, and yet that drive was exactly why it would never work. Katarina opened her mouth and then she closed it, and she shook her head a little and gave a tiny sighing smile. Back and forth and back and forth and they'd never budge an inch. Ami had literally no other purpose in life by now except to screw around with people because she disagreed with them, and it was so fucking petty it made her cheeks burn. Why should she give Ami so much slack? Let her try to consecrate her blood with martyrdom to burn her killer with the spatter? She wasn't out to make people happy, and somehow that barefaced truth was the last piece in it all.

There was no act. There was no secret self-sabotage. It was all really for herself, then, and that confirmation came from so deep a place there wasn't a chance it wasn't true. The little cat in her mind didn't give a rip about the mouse, not consciously and not subconsciously. The mouse was a mean to an end, and she was honing her pounce and her swat and trying to figure out how she did it. It didn't matter the pitch of their squeaks if they all went limp the same way. And if her conscience was lying in pieces in that tranquil garden, what else could be the source of her discomfort but the fight itself? And like her own cat turning up his nose at a piece of string once she stopped wiggling it...

"No," she said, "It's not right."

She stared down at the gun as if seeing it for the first time. At the gushing rip in Ami's thigh.

"It's not freaking right that it's so easy. That it should all work so smoothly, so cleanly."

Her breath came heavy, but the words flowed more and more quickly.

"Everything's gritty and hellish and hard to bear, and you plan against it all and it all goes to plan. And then you get to thinking and you realize somehow that's not what you wanted at all. You want to trip and stumble and get a little shot. A little stabbed. Let them mess up your hair, carve a cute little scar into your cheek, 'cause then you can say, 'Look! Look what they've done to me! Look how they bit me! Look how they tried to kill me!'"

She gesticulated with her free hand, tracing over her shoulder and her cheek, churning spittle with her teeth and rimming her eyes with wild tears.

"Then—then you're not in the wrong at all. In fact you're objectively right, because who wants to hurt a little girl just trying to make her way? Who wants to make her cry and bleed when she's just doing what she has to? Who wants to be the cold, hard ground when she takes a slip in the trial of her courage? A monster, that's who. A beast in human skin. And you know you're not one of them, because who could ever blame you for fighting for your life. You've earned your rest, you tell yourself, and then you wake up and all the wolves have taken off their sheep masks."
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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Ciel
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"That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.”
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
A piece of glass shattered inside Ami when she saw Katarina fighting back tears. Focusing on that would distract from what the girl was saying, but she noticed it all the same. Some abhorrent part of Ami felt joy, good job, well done, but Kat's thoughts, the things she was saying, brought Ami hurdling down from the clouds.

Ami listened, not just to the sum of it's parts but the abstraction laying within. Those words held the answers to every question Ami Flynn had. About Katarina. About herself. About life. And it was like a slap to the face that Ami desperately needed.

At that exact moment, Ami Flynn knew what she should have done days ago. When Mallory's parents drove her to the Senior Trip. When she woke up. When Brian died. When Mallory died. When Sean cried over Sara's body. Every. Last. Decision.

Hindsight. 20/20. You killed a girl. Now Katarina's going to kill you.

The heat in her leg could not hold a candle to the flames licking at her face. Ami collapsed and she covered her eyes with her hands. Whether it was to shield her eyes or what little of her mascara remained from the storm raging from said eyes, she didn't know. Ami found it hard to care, not just about her tears but about everything. Exhaustion can do that to you.

Katarina didn't shoot. She wasn't savoring the moment, Ami understood that now. There was no joy to be had in what she was doing. She just had to finish what she started, that's all. And that revelation alone gave her the energy to speak.

"Yeah." Ami's voice cracked. "I guess you're right."

Right about what? About everything. Katarina was so right that Ami felt no hesitation in admitting it.

The hallway was empty.

No escape.

Ami wanted to apologize to Sara Corlett's parents. They'd never forgive her, just like her father and mother and distant relatives. And rightfully so. Ami was a sinner, soiled, cold and hard, and no amount of repenting would ever change that. She hoped her death would provide catharsis to the family of the deceased. Only then could the past seven days amount to anything.

Ami choked on a sob. She kept her eyes covered.

"I'm not going to beg. It'll just complicate things. Do what you have to."
V6

G052 - Reed, Jasmine - 0% - Falchion - START END
G060 - Pfeiffer, Scout - 100% - Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 - START
G025 - Reyes, Audrey - 0% - Nunchaku - START END

releases greatest hits album, is an one-hit wonder
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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!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Katarina's head was pounding. Her pulse beat a thumping, gushing rhythm in her ears. A tear broke free and dashed down her cheek, but she didn't even think to wipe it.

She'd won.

She was right.

Of course she'd won, she immediately thought. There was never an alternative. But it was so strange to hear it from Ami. Some people, it seemed, capitulated when the cards were all on the table and all set against them. So ended her bid to try to weedle out the all twists and turns of thought, the vagarities of action, from the people she was set to kill. Really, it had never truly begun in the first place, because there was no way a rational mind could think it was anything other than irrational, or that anyone else would stack up better. But she'd figured out at last what she meant by it.

She paused for half a second before she shot the girl to death. A similar scene seemed to form itself before her and inside her, that sorry confrontation where she'd knifed her reservations in the back and dumped them in a ditch to die. But she was playing a tight game then, and she was making no mistakes now. Even if they could see eye to eye in the end. Even if they really weren't so different after all.

No, she thought, bracing one hand with the other. That didn't matter a jot. You didn't tip the scales of life and death with something so selfish, so inconsequential, as someone agreeing with you. Only a true monster would weigh their fleeting emotions the same as their morality. She took aim at Ami's chest.

But she was wrong about one thing.

She hadn't played a perfect game.

There was shouting, and frothing, and runaway ranting.

Someone might hear.

And the beating in her ears wasn't just her heart.

She turned and looked and decision came hurtling towards her.

The gun swung out and back onto Ami, and then halfway out and back again.

She squeezed the trigger as the flaw in the plan hit her like a truck.
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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SansaSaver
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Bella’s pace only quickened as she raced through the hallways, the hospital seemingly transforming into an impossibly labyrinthine mess of dead ends and empty rooms with every second that trickled past. Her breath hitched in her throat and her grip on the gun became so tight that it hurt, metal digging sharply into her fingers as they held it firmly against her chest. It was all she could do to avoid crying out for her friend, to give up the one sure advantage she had on Ami’s assailant.

She had to save her. There was no other possible outcome. Any alternative would result in Bella losing the only ally she had, losing someone who’d vowed to help her and whom Bella could actually believe when those words passed through her mouth. But most importantly, it meant losing a friend. And she wouldn’t let that happen. Not again.

She scarcely had time to think before she found what she’d been searching so panically for; Ami, blood blossoming beneath her as she lay spreadeagled across the linoleum flooring. And her attacker. Katarina Konipaski. Five-time murderer Katarina Konipaski, a girl whom had been a mere blot on the radar to Bella back in Seattle and was just as much of one amidst all the other killers she’d been listed alongside. And here she was, in the flesh, about to take out the one person Bella had left to hold on to.

Any thought fled her mind as the image shot through her like a bullet.

There was no time to ponder her actions, to consider the gravity of what she was doing or its consequence.

She tightened her grip as the girls came dimly into view, clenched her jaw, and swung.

And when Katarina Konipaski crumpled beneath her blow, and the next one, and the next one, Mirabella Strong gave the most genuine smile she’d ever made.
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


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