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Glass; Private; Day 8, 9:10 AM
Topic Started: May 24 2014, 04:16 AM (2,892 Views)
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Bella returned Ian’s chuckle with equal enthusiasm, though her laugh delicately broke off as he descended into a fit of coughing, a slightly-absent look of concern dancing across her features as he recovered. She caught his eyes wandering towards her forehead and was confused for the briefest of seconds before his question passed his lips. It was nice that they could have a conversation like this; it was almost normal if not for the content they were discussing - though she supposed this really was the norm now, experiencing trauma and pain again and again. It was good to know that there was someone else in this place she could talk to about things like this, someone who hadn’t yet cast her aside like a scrap of trash.

“Oh, this?” Bella looked upwards, her fingers tracing gently over the tender bruise that adorned her forehead. “Ami gave it to me, right after I saved her from KK by bashing her face in. Funny way of showing gratitude, huh?”

“I guess it might look a bit better if I still had my fringe to cover it,” she continued, idly readjusting the collar of her cloak as she offered him a small smile. “Expert-hairdresser, I am not. But I had to, y’see. I knew had to get rid of it when I cut it off, and right afterwards I met Garrett again. So I guess I lost a little bit of my prettiness in exchange for finding my boyfriend. A small price to pay, huh?”

Bella could feel how scattered her thoughts were as they flowed from her mouth, with no regard for reining them in and organising them. She was just so happy to have someone to understand her and talk to that she didn’t care about filtering through them. All she wanted was to talk and talk and keep talking, until every little thing was out in the open. After that, she didn’t know what would happen. But she needed this, she needed this conversation because it was the first trace of genuine comfort she’d found for what seemed like an eternity.

“I’m sure you’ve been through plenty of shit too, though. Care to share?”
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"Oh, you know. Murder, betrayal, the usual." Ian said brightly, a weak, plastic smile hanging on his lips.

It was surreal. Just minutes ago, he'd been fighting for his life only to literally be kicked aside and abandoned by the last person he'd trusted, with the other having fled mere moments before. Now, here he was, with Bella sitting besides him in the mud, chatting eagerly against the backdrop of Alda's remains. He'd barely even started processing anything she'd said.

He stole a glance at her corpse, the knife still embedded in her chest where he'd left it. He supposed it was his now. The edges of his mouth curled inward ever so slightly, and his voice took on a tone that was almost mocking, contemptuous of its own lightness.

"I mean, I don't know if you saw, but she came out of nowhere spouting Princess Bride quotes, and tried to stab me. Imagine that. Not like I ever did...killed...I...and then Juhan saw and...and I..."

Too much. Too fast. Not right. Not good.

"I...I'm sorry. I can't...it's just..."

Enough.

He let his words trail off, averting his eyes as he rested his palm against the side of his face, brushing gingerly against the bruise already swelling against the side of his nose. He couldn't face her like this. Instead, he let his gaze wander down, looking over his injuries.

His shirt was a mess. The knife had cut through it in several places, nicking him in spots he hadn't even noticed until the adrenaline had worn off. It was caked in mud and blood in various spots, both Alda's and his own. There were almost a dozen shallow cuts and bruises he counted on himself, and that was just at a glance. He must have looked quite a sight.

The worst was his left arm. Alda's knife had cut a jagged, scraping line down his forearm. He slide his fingers alongside the wound gently, probing at the edges. It was hard to tell exactly how bad it was, caked in both mud and blood as it was, both Alda's and his own, but he was worried. It couldn't have been too depth, he hoped. He'd probably have been in shock by now, otherwise. Maybe.

Cradling his bad arm against his shoulder, he sniffed one last time, and turned back to his companion.

"Hey, umm, could we head over to the pavilion? I left my bag there, and I kinda need to take care of this thing."

He planted his good hand on the ground, eying Bella warily as he pulled himself up, as if she were likely to disappear the instant he turned away.
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)



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“Sure,” Bella said in response to Ian’s query, rising from the ground and gripping ahold of her sickle as she followed in Ian’s footsteps, humming tunelessly as they walked towards the nearby gazebo.

Ian hadn’t spilled the beans quite so bluntly as she desired, but at the same time she couldn’t blame him. If he described everything he’d been through in such high detail straight away it would’ve felt a little odd. All the same, though, she wanted to know every little detail about what’d happened to him, every bit of pain he’d experienced, the curiosity that’d caused her initial question begging for even more information. Maybe he just needed a little encouragement, that’s all - she hadn’t fully detailed what’d happened with her, after all, so she couldn’t blame him for being secretive. If she told him every little thing... he’d have to respond in turn, wouldn’t he? It’d be hard, reciting everything she’d been through, but in the end, it’s just what she needed to do.

“So, Juhan and Takeshi left you? That really sucks. They always seemed like good kids, but not anymore, I guess. You were just protecting them after all - why couldn’t they understand that?” Bella sighed, nodding sadly as she replied to Ian’s explanation of what’d just happened. “As for me, well, I was with Garrett for awhile after I ran from the clubhouse, and we met up with Matt - Matt Vartoogian, d’you know him? Bit of a loner, sorta weird, plays video games a lot - and we stayed together until we reached the hospital and found Ami, right after Garrett killed Jaquilyn - don’t really need to ask if you know her. Pretty sure everybody knew her, if you believe the rumours.”

Part of her felt bad for speaking so bluntly and harshly about others, but she was so used to shutting aside any judgements she might’ve had about anyone, always tried to be so accepting of every aspect of someone, that speaking with Ian was like every wall and filter she’d built up had been demolished and was dragging in insults and slurs in its wake, even if those were things she’d never had said or thought or felt before the island. With every acidic word that passed her lips she felt just a little more comfortable, just a little less angry, just a little bit less alone in the world; she could spoke however she wanted about anyone, because Ian would accept it. It was a freedom she’d never had before, and she was all too willing to embrace it.

And then came the hard part; taking about Andi and Hansel and what they’d done and what they’d taken, how they’d robbed her of what little she’d had left, how they’d driven her to the very edge.

“And then... and then I saw my boyfriend bleed to death right in front of me, all because some stupid slut felt the need to stab him half a dozen times. And they fucking rewarded her for it like we’re at a spelling bee, gave her a pretty little prize all for murdering the most important person in the world, and she’s still out there, still living it up with her pretty little weapon and protective cowboy, while I’ve been through fucking hell. If I ever lay eyes on her again, Ian, I’m going to fucking kill her. And I’m going to make sure it hurts.”

Her voice darkened as she spoke, eyes fixed on the ground in front of her as the words flowed freely from her mouth, and breath becoming ragged and frantic as she let it out, every syllable laced with nothing but acid. She paused for a few seconds afterwards, feeling tears dancing on the edge of her vision and her heart thumping violently within her ribcage. Goosebumps prickled along her arms and legs, nausea rising in her chest as a plethora of emotions rose to the surface before continuing, her voice garnering a shade of brightness as she spoke once more. “And then Ami and I were together for just a little, and, well, y’know how that turned out,” she finished, fingers waving over the welt upon her forehead.

“I’m glad I met you again, Ian. I don’t think anybody else on this island has made me feel as normal as you,” she said quietly, making eye contact with him once more, her tears threatening to spill over. “So what else have you been up to, huh? I told you everything, surely you owe me the same?”
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Even as their eyes met, Ian let his fall away. His thoughts were muddled, an incoherent mess of guilt and doubts overwhelming any point of reference in his mind. He didn't know what to say to her now, any more than he'd known what to tell Juhan before.

"S'kind of a lot." he mumbled, as if by way of apology . Why did she even care? She'd walked out on him before, after all. The heck made her different from Juhan or Takeshi? How on earth did she find anything normal, next to the dead body of a girl he'd killed just moments before?

Why did he even care?

Somewhere in the chaos, something seemed to click.

She trusted him.

Slowly, hesitantly, he looked back up at his companion. His eyes ran along the bruise on her forehead again, shifting to the tears on her face as he slowly absorbed what she'd said, and somehow, it was easier to face her now. They were both hurting, and darn him, but he wanted so badly to trust her, too.

Heck with it.

"Well...I guess you know about Paulo already. I was wandering around the town, and, well I must have startled him. He was aggressive, but I managed to talk him down. We were just going to go our separate ways, but then I had to get that last shot in before I left. He was just so...freaking arrogant about the whole thing, and I was already upset, and he pushed me, and I grabbed him and...it was just so stupid."

So very, very stupid.

"He had me on the ground, and I couldn't do anything to stop him. He just kept hitting me, and I thought he was going to kill me, and he just kept coming and coming and I..."

He shuddered, exhaling in a shaking breath as he stepped into the pavilion.

"I was scared."

"I lied to the others, y'know; Juhan and Takeshi, I mean. Or, at least, I only told them that he attacked me and fell. I didn't say anything about how it happened. I was scared, and they didn't understand. Juhan was melting down because, well, he found Karen and Cyrus and the others, and Takeshi was just so...blasé. Like he didn't care."

A weary note crept into his voice as he spoke. It still hurt to talk about any of it, but these were, after all, simply the same facts he'd already repeated to himself countless times. There was even an odd sort of comfort in finally letting them go.

"I didn't know what to do. I told them we'd look for you."

He nodded towards the corpse lying just a few yards from where they were standing.

"You know the rest."

He sighed quietly as he let himself sink down unsteadily to the cool, hard floor of the gazebo, beside his pack. He was tired. So very, very tired.

"They both left, y'know. Juhan called me a murderer before he gave me this", Ian said, rubbing gingerly at the swelling around his nose, "He basically said he didn't trust me not stab him in the back, because maybe I didn't like the idea of letting Alda kill me. Takeshi wasn't even kind enough for that."

His eyes flickered back towards Bella, open, almost imploring.

"What should I have done?"
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)



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“It is,” Bella said thoughtfully, running her fingers along a length of greasy hair as she spoke, wondering what was wrong with her if she could speak so casually about the hell she’d experienced. “But it’s the way things are now. It’s the norm for us.” She tentatively raised her free hand and placed it gently upon Ian’s shoulder, eyes flitting upwards to meet with his once more before she continued. “But that doesn’t make it any better. You’re a good person, Ian. You didn’t deserve any of this, I didn’t deserve any of this.”

She repositioned herself softly upon the cool ground of the gazebo, every limb aching as she did so with the ever-increasing exhaustion she’d garnered since first awakening in this place. Bella wasn’t disused to physical exertion, but it always had a reward in the end - be it a beautiful dance piece or a prize at a swimming meet. But here, it’d done nothing but take things away from her, leave her a sore and pained mess even without factoring the myriad of everything else into the mix.

“There’s nothing that you ‘should have done’, Ian. You did the right thing. You have to keep telling yourself what you’re doing is right, otherwise you’ll falter and you’ll be worse off. There are bad people in this place, and they’ve always been bad people. Paulo was a bad person, Alda was a bad person. And I know that everybody else, everybody else that’s betrayed you or I is a bad person. So they deserved it. It’s the truth, Ian. Just keep repeating it.”

She began to glance around the gazebo as she spoke, observing the structure in which they were seated. It was dotted with broken and decaying bits of timber, the latticed fencing spotted with clusters of verdant lichen and moss. It was so eerie, the exact sort of thing she would’ve written about in her stories back home, back when she still believed in the goodness of people and happy endings. She grabbed a nearby cluster of dried leaves with her free hand and crumbled them between her fingers, savouring the crunch it made as they returned to the mounds of refuse beside her.

“You’re really it, Ian. You’re the only one left after Garrett who’s made me feel like someone who deserves to keep going. And sometimes, when I think back upon what I’ve been through and what I’ve had to do since we split up... I wish I hadn’t left. God, I wish I hadn’t.”
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
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Ian started when he felt Bella's hand coming to rest against his shoulder. His eyes flickered across her hand to meet hers once more, questioning, but not upset. Before he even realized quite what he was doing, his fingers came up to brush against hers as she spoke, gently threading into them as if it were the most natural thing in the world. It was something warm and real to cling to, a welcome point of reference from which to face the chaos in his mind.

The last few barriers he'd held up wavered as she spoke, and when he answered her, his words came pouring out in a steady flow. It hurt, but he was no longer quite so afraid of facing himself. His injured arm hung at his side, and his bag lay unopened and forgotten for the moment.

"None of us deserved this. Not Paulo, not Steven, not Juhan...not any of them."

He sighed quietly, with just the faintest hint of the frustration that had been tearing at him for so long.

"I'm glad it hurts, y'know? It hurts to lose them because there was something good, something worth having. I think...it'd have been worse if I'd never had anything to lose"

"It's not about being better than them. God help me, I'm not. It's about having something worth living for, maybe even dying for. This is hell, and if I let myself believe it's okay, if lie to myself, then that's all there is."

"But I'm a coward."

His mouth curved in a wry line, cynical and mocking.

"I've always tried to take the easy way, y'know. I hid in a mansion while my friends were dying. Even that thing with Karen and Cyrus and the others...it was easy to hope for a miracle. Then there was Paulo and Alda...I've yelled at myself, but I've never really done anything about it, y'know. Never really let myself think about it much, before. Just tried to go on with the others as if it never happened."

"I don't think it's wrong to defend yourself, but where does it end? When do you cross the line into murder? I mean, if I'd just swallowed my pride and walked away when I had the chance, odds are nothing would have happened with Paulo. I knew better."

Even now, there was a crystal clarity to the memory, a single instant played again in his mind, of Paulo, suspended between the air and the ground in that final, dreadful moment.

"I think he was scared too, at the end. We really weren't that different."

"Maybe there really wasn't anything else I could have done to stop Alda. She hated me. Even at the end..." He shuddered at the memory. "The worst part is, I was using it. I was trying to provoke her into making a mistake. I wanted her to die, because I was afraid. I didn't even try."

"And even now, there's still times I find myself wondering if, just maybe, I could make it through this. If, perhaps, there were only killers left, could I justify it? Becoming a player, I mean, if I know everyone else is trying to kill me? And sometimes... that's what I find myself wanting, and that's when I know I'm crossing a line somewhere."

He motioned towards Alda with his free hand.

"When have I ever done the right thing, when it really mattered?"

He stared a moment longer, but it wasn't until he was turning away again that a tiny glint of light on metal drew his curiosity. It was his shovel, lying in the mud where he'd dropped it. He stared quietly for a thoughtful moment, before turning back to Bella.

There was one question he had left, one he'd wanted desperately to know, and hadn't dared ask before.

It was now or never.

"Why did you leave, Bella? I came back and...I didn't know what had happened. I knew you were upset with me at the end there, but I..."

"I'm sorry."
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)



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Bella nodded thoughtfully throughout Ian’s speech, digesting each of his words with a mixture of sympathy and curiosity. She could see what’d happened to him had truly torn him up inside, and for that she was truly sorry. For anybody else, though, she knew she wouldn’t have been; no matter how much remorse they expressed, no matter how much they claimed they were sorry, they’d still taken something from her, and the part of her that would’ve forgiven them had long since been extinguished. But Ian hadn’t done that; he’d only ever made her feel safe, like she had a kindred spirit, and so there was no criticism she could offer him.

She paused for a moment before replying to his question, her fingers running along the handle of her sickle as she thought about how to respond.

“The right thing doesn’t matter anymore, Ian,” she said, letting her gaze drift into the distance as she spoke. “‘Doing the right thing’ isn’t achievable in a place like this, where there’s no rule book or guidelines. It’s just survival, plain and simple. Anybody who faults you for it doesn’t know what you’ve been through, because who’s to say they wouldn’t have resounded the exact same way?”

And then he asked why she’d left, dropped it into their conversation without any warning, giving her no time to prepare or steel herself for it; only throwing her back into the memory of their parting, to her bundled in a blanket and throwing a bottle against the floor, to the overwhelming panic that’d driven her from him and into the arms of her beloved.

“I was so scared, Ian. I didn’t want to hurt you or Juhan or Takeshi, didn’t want to ruin the plans everybody’s spent so long making. I thought I could keep it together, but when I found that I’d run out of my meds I just couldn’t handle it. It was like the world was collapsing around me, like my final line of defence had abandoned me. So I did the first thing I thought of. I ran, and I didn’t stop running until I was in town, tearing away my hair and screaming and screaming, letting everything out.

“I’ve never been someone to believe much in gods or a higher power, but when I lay there in that alleyway, screaming and crying, at the lowest I’d ever been, it was like the heavens had opened up and God truly existed. Because Garrett, my Garrett was there. Back at school, he was the one person who’d made me feel firmly safe and special and wanted, and I guess that’s why I loved him so much. But he found me, started gluing all the broken pieces together, and it was just like it’d been when things were perfect, the way I thought things could never be again.

“I was so desperate, wanted something to believe in so bad, that when he told me his plan I leapt straight onto it. I had my reservations, as anybody would, but it didn’t take me long to embrace it. And I still do, I still think it’s the right thing. He wanted to ‘hunt the murders’, stop them killing - he wasn’t planning to kill them specifically, just get them to stop in any way necessary. But he killed anyway, because their reasons were sick and they well and truly deserved it. He killed Jaquilyn, and he would’ve killed Hansel too if she hadn’t taken him from me.

“After he was gone I didn’t think I could keep going, but Ami protected me for awhile until she turned on me, just like everybody else. But I’ve got you now, and that’s enough. It’s more than enough, truly.”

Bella could feel her breath begin to waver as she neared the end of her speech, heartbeat racing once more as she recalled the trauma that had befallen her, nausea and revulsion accompanying each of the memories as it rapidly flitted through her mind. She returned her eyesight back towards Ian, and gave as genuine a smile as she could muster.

“You understand, right?”

The question wasn’t necessary, but hearing the confirmation would be blissful proof that Ian was she wanted, that she’d truly found someone who understand her and wouldn’t leave her out in the dust.
Version Seven:
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Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


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"Bella..."

The consternation on Ian's face was evident. Part of him wanted desperately to nod back and smile reassuringly, to pretend that everything was right so as not to risk the fragile peace they'd shared. It would have been easy to shut up, let it slide, as he'd done so many other times before. It would have been easy to accept the lie.

He shook his head, swallowing back the bile rising his throat. He already knew what he was going to say, but the words tasted bitter in his mouth.

"I...I think I do. Part of it, at least."

He paused for a moment, weighing his thoughts in his mind. The worst part was, he could almost see it; there was a twisted sense to the perspective Bella was giving him. It wasn't even that far a leap from the justifications he'd toyed with, himself. He might very well indeed have made the same choice.

"But that doesn't make it right."

He let out a shaky breath as he dropped his hand from his shoulder, the one holding Bella's, but he held his grip, gentle enough for her to break, firm enough not to let it fall.

"I don't know. If right and wrong don't matter anymore, then what does? Why should they be arbitrary now, just because it'd be easy? I mean, maybe I'm wrong. Faith isn't blind, or at least, it's not supposed to be, but goodness knows I've made mistakes before. Maybe nothing ever mattered, but even then...why?"

Some of his frustration was beginning to show through the cracks in his voice. It was a familiar argument from a different time, back when he'd enjoyed debating religion and philosophy. Yet, now that it was more important to him than it had even been before, he was flustered and babbling.

Perhaps if he'd had a moment to regain his composure, he might not have continued the way he did. Maybe there wasn't anything he could have said that would have made things better. So many ifs.

"For goodness' sake, how did that plan make him any better than Hansel?"
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)



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Bella sat pensively as Ian reacted to her story, pricking holes in it with every word that passed through his lips. It was all valid, she knew it was; every little criticism and flaw he found was genuine, and she couldn’t fault him for that. It wasn’t until his final statement, in which he claimed Garrett, her Garrett was no better than Hansel. Hansel, the boy who’d brought her peonies and for whom she’d made excuses. Hansel, the boy she’d defended at the cost of a friend’s life. Hansel, the boy who’d murdered so many people. Hansel, the boy whose bitter grudge had resulted in her boyfriend’s death. Ian was wrong, he was more wrong than she’d thought someone could ever be.

The hint of a smile was quickly washed away from Bella’s face, taking with it the delicate chain that had restrained the anger within her. Suddenly, it was all flooding back - ever person who’d wronged her, everything that’d happened to her, everything that had tossed her about like she was no more significant than a speck of dust. She could feel white-hot heat spreading across her cheeks as the corners of her vision prickled with blackness. A bitter scowl took the place of her vacant expression, etching itself firmly into her features as her bared her teeth, staring at Ian with nothing but pure undulating hatred.

The familiar bitter sting of betrayal raced through her as her lips parted, twisting for a moment as she struggled to process what he’d said.

And then it all came flooding out, and she offered no resistance.

“Garrett... he was the only time I ever felt truly safe in this place,” she began, voice shaking and chest rising and falling with increasing rapidity. “I felt close, so close with you, like I could feel that way again... but you're just like everybody else; just like Ami, just like Megan... all you do is betray me and leave me out to dry.” Her heartbeat was hammering in her chest, eyes latching onto his with a wild fury as she continued, the bitterness behind each word clearly tangible as it left her throat. “Nobody really cares about me. Nobody has ever really cared about me, and neither do you. And you have the fucking balls to claim Garrett’s idea was stupid? Fuck you, Ian Williams. Fuck. You.”

She didn’t pause for time, didn’t give herself a moment to properly think about her next move, instead letting her emotions become the fuel that drove her forwards.

Bella gripped her sickle between her fingers as tightly as she could manage, and lunged.
Version Seven:
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Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It was all so fast.

One moment was all it took for the smile on Bella's lips to change into something hideous. One careless statement was all it took for everything he'd thought they'd shared to fall away. Each stinging accusation she lashed out with left bitter acid in his mouth, but he couldn't even speak, transfixed as he was by the sudden change in his companion.

It was Alda's face he saw.

It was instinct that saved him. Before he fully knew what he was doing, his grip tightened into a crushing vice around the wrist he'd held so gently mere moments before, twisting violently to throw her off balance as she lunged. There was a sharp hiss, followed suddenly by a wave of searing pain slicing across his side as the curved blade flew by, just barely short of a killing blow.

Raw shock spread across his face as Bella stumbled forward. The full scope of her betrayal was something he couldn't process, not in the heat of the moment. Panic was thrust aside out of sheer necessity, and reflex took control. Even as Bella stumbled forward, he jerked back, leading her straight into the fist he sent swinging into her ribs.

Resentment and fury clouded his features as he struck. There were neither clarity nor rational thought in this moment, only an overwhelming sense of betrayal. He always let his guard down, and this was what happened. More fool him.

She sliced him again in the brief second it took to switch his grip to her weapon hand, leaving a shallow cut running down his already injured arm. He hissed in pain as they wrestled, faltering briefly. He couldn't hold up much longer. Exhaustion and pain were dulling his reflexes. His injured arm was weakening rapidly. Alda had already taken everything he'd had.

Enough.

For all his injuries, for all his exhaustion, he still had size. He drove his hip into her side and twisted his body in a half remembered motion, sending them both falling to the concrete with Bella to cushion his own fall.

All his fights seemed to end up on the ground. Might as well be on top.

He was panting heavily when they hit the ground, cheeks flushed with indignation and fury as he stared at the girl under him. The scythe clattered as it hit the pavement, knocked loose from her grip. His fingers curled into a fist, and he struck.

He'd trusted her. He hated her.
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)



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[ *  *  *  * ]
Nothing but rage ran through Bella as she hacked ungracefully at Ian, having become a slave to the white-hot anger that flooded her. Sprays of blood splatter spilled from every shallow cut she made, and she savoured the soft patter the droplets made as they fell around the duo. She swung wildly, neither caring where she struck nor the mess their altercation was forming nor the painful grip around her wrist, because this was the most alive she’d ever felt.

But just as always and just as quickly, it fell apart.

Bella was thrown back by Ian’s resistance, landing with a sharp bang upon the pavement that saw the breath knocked from her lungs and her vice-like grip on her sickle slacken and falter. She squirmed beneath him, kicking against the pavement in a desperate attempt to retrieve her weapon as he sent hit after hit in her direction, the firmness of his punches setting her face and chest aflame with agony as she struggled to even scream in pain. Part of her hadn’t expected him to fight back, but as she felt his vice-like grip around her, restraining her as though he was an expert at the practice, she knew she should’ve seen it coming. She gritted her teeth and pulled herself forward inch by minuscule inch, fingernails digging into the concrete and splintering with the force she was applying onto them as he tried to escape him.

She was so close, could feel herself begin to loosen from Ian’s grip, with only a few seconds of resistance more until she could reposition herself and adequately fight back. And then Ian sent another well-placed punch to her abdomen sending a deep burn within her stomach and emitting a sharp and high-pitched screech from the depths of her throat as a familiar trail of tears streamed down her face. She rolled over to face Ian, concrete digging uncomfortably into her back as her scowl remained affixed to her features, not allowing herself to give into the fear that’d plagued her for the past week. She wasn’t going to beg, wasn’t going to let herself be trodden on again.

She clawed and kicked at the earth with every fibre of her being, a hollow growl echoing from the depths of her throat.

She was going to resist until the end.
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


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Long-winded, meticulous, & thoughtful. Mostly long-winded though.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Exhaustion was overtaking Ian rapidly, and his hold on Bella was weakening. She twisted and squirmed beneath him, clawing her way towards the scythe, and he knew he couldn't hold her, not with his injured arm. Anger was replaced with panic, seeping in through the cracks as his grip began to slip. He struck at her with every bit of energy he could muster, before leaning over and snatching the scythe in one quick motion.

He didn't want to be helpless. Never again.

Her scream hit him like so much cold water. It was something he couldn't quite explain, an empathy born more in pictures and understanding than any clear thought.

Paulo, no longer looming above him, but suddenly small, almost pitiable for his pride.

Alda, leering hideously as she sought to end him, only to die still hating him.

Bella, screaming in the sands as time ran out, and he raced frantically to save her. The one truly worthwhile thing he'd ever done on this island.

Bella, as she fought and screamed, and he sought to end her life, weeping and screaming even as she sought to do the same to him.

Quiet, comforting words in another time, another place that seemed so far away, lost almost beyond recall. The last tattered remnants of something good to be found in this hellish light.

The heck was he doing?

This wasn't right.

He felt her tensing beneath him. He knew what was coming. The blade wavered in his hand, but he didn't strike.

She knocked him off so easily, it was almost pathetic. Will alone had kept him going, and as that slipped away, so too did everything else.

He heard the blade ringing against the ground a second time. Predictable, really.

He managed to roll away, but then the dizziness and nausea he'd been holding back for so long finally overwhelmed him, leaving him retching and disorientated on the ground. His arm rose futilely, as if to shield himself, and his eyes rose to meet Bella's one last time, pleading.
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)



(Relationships Planning Thread #Pi)
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And just as quickly as it had came, she felt the grip on her chest slacken, felt her body propel itself forward onto the gritty earth as Ian released her. She lay upon the ground spluttering and coughing, regaining her breath as relief rose within her, mingling with her undulating stream of anger, every inch of her still violently throbbing from Ian’s punches.

She wasted no time, rushing towards her sickle as quickly as her aching body would allow before relaunching herself at Ian as another scream forced its way out of her torn throat. She hefted the blade in her hand and swung at him once more, with no concern for where it hit; only wanting him to be gone, wanting him to die. She clenched her eyes shut as her weapon made contact with Ian’s flesh, a sickening crunch that sent nausea swirling through her stomach signalling that she’d done the deed. Bella forced her eyes open, the scene before her barely visible through the tears that blurred her vision, and saw the blade hooked deeply into Ian’s abdomen.

He shouldn’t have trusted her.

Just like she shouldn't have trusted him, nor Ami, nor Megan, nor anybody else.

That was life.

“So many deaths, Ian,” she choked, breath catching in her throat as tears and snot streamed down her face and every emotion swelled within her. “Everybody dies, everybody leaves. I’ve seen the light leave their eyes as they breathed their last and their blood spilled out beneath them. It’s hell. But I’ll never go that way. I’ll never die like that!”

She screamed once more, in anguish, in anger, and in one simple, almost elegant movement, Bella pulled her sickle across Ian’s chest.
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
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Long-winded, meticulous, & thoughtful. Mostly long-winded though.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
So much pain.

The scythe was embedded deep in his gut, sending spasms of burning agony through every fiber of Ian's being.as he thrashed against the pavement. He gasped desperately for air that wouldn't come, screaming in silent anguish as he writhed and twisted on the ground.

He'd sort of known this would happen. He'd had his chance to end this, and he let it slip away. It was inevitable, really. everyone made their choices, and they were all always the same. Nothing ever made a difference. Nobody ever stopped to wonder why.

Never was much hope, he supposed.

"Figures."

The word came out as the barest gasp, almost lost as a scream finally broke free. Tears and snot streamed down his cheeks in an undignified mess, even as his blood met the ground.

Worth it?

He hurt too much to care.

On some level, he felt his hands grasping weakly for the blade, fighting a hopeless battle he'd never win. It was almost amusing, in so much as he could still comprehend anything but the burning fire searing in his gut. It was funny, how often things stayed the same, even as he lay dying. He couldn't stop fighting, even as Bella pulled the scythe out with as much ease as if he hadn't even tried.

He hated Bella.

He pitied her.

It had only ever been a fool's hope.

Worth it?

Screw it.

Heck yes.

The blade flashed one more time. He didn't last long after that.

B0037: Ian Williams - Deceased
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)



(Relationships Planning Thread #Pi)
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It was done.

Just like that, Ian had breathed his last, just like she’d seen so many times before. The light left his eyes and his breathing faded away, and he became identical to the dozens of other deceased classmates now scattered across the island. Bella shakily pulled herself to her feet, chest heaving and knees knocking together as her entire body pulsed with a cocktail of fear and excitement and anger. She dislodged the blade of her sickle from Ian’s chest in one swift movement, sending another spray of blood splatter across the pallid flooring of the gazebo. She didn’t allow herself much time to think about what’d happened, turning on her heel and racing down the steps as quickly as her body would allow.

As Bella began to walk away from Ian’s body, a glint of sunlight from one of the stagnant puddles of rainwater that dotted the park caught her eye. She paused for a moment before making her way towards the pool of water, losing herself in her own reflection as she observed the visage staring back at her. She hadn’t looked upon her appearance for awhile, not since she’d turned a boutique in the shopping centre to ruins, and in that time a great deal had changed. Flecks of Ian’s blood were sprayed across her body and cloak, mingling with the similar liquids that’d settled into her clothing during her attack of Katarina. A layer of grime and grease seemed to coat every inch of her, more than a week’s worth of filth clinging to her entire body, and the remnants of her hair was brittle and caked with dried sweat and dirt. She looked like she’d been through hell, as though someone had thrown any myriad of disgusting refuse at her; a far-cry from the perfectly poised girl she’d been not even a few days before.

It wasn’t enough.

Bella was shaking as she returned to Ian’s body and crouched beside it, eyes filtering over the body of the boy she’d been so close to not only moments ago. She closed her eyes and gritted her teeth, forcing herself to become firm in her resolve and her future actions. It was what she’d always done back at school, before handing in an assignment or entering an examination, a way of ensuring she had the necessary determination for the task ahead. And she needed it now, more than ever. She had to make everybody know, let them know what they had done to her and what she’d become. A broken girl plastered in grime wasn’t enough; it didn’t tell the whole story, didn’t inform every girl and boy she’d encounter the sort of person that she was now.

Her fingers dipped delicately into the pool of congealing blood around Ian’s torso, swirling thickly through the cooling liquid. She didn’t waste any time, scooping as much of the liquid into her palm as she could manage before lifting it to her face, dark crimson leaking between her fingers and adding further stains to her already ruined clothing. She rubbed the blood across her face in a single movement, thick streaks streaming down her face and landing with soft splashes beneath her. A few bitter droplets landed in her mouth before being spat roughly out, saliva mingling with the blood around her feet. Bella remained still for a few more seconds, heart racing with the excitement that pulsed through her, before running back to the reflective pool, eager to garner a glimpse of her new appearance, a wide grin stretching across her face as she did so.

It was perfect.

They’d all know now.

They’d all know what she’d become.

And as she retrieved her and Ian’s and Alda’s belongings, ensuring she left nothing behind, Bella knew that she’d make them know again.

((Mirabella Strong continued in Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien))
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


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