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There are some things a man just can’t run away from.; Open - Day 10
Topic Started: Sep 5 2014, 07:48 PM (3,013 Views)
NotAFlyingToy
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((Hansel Williams, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien))

It had been days since he had remembered.

He remembered the oppressive, soaking heat in summer and the bitter chill of winter. He remembered the moisture of the rain, how it dried and heated on asphalt and brick, filling his nose and permeating his skin. He remembered the steps it took to walk from his apartment door to the elevator in the hall, the time in seconds it took to descend to the lobby, how every time there was a jolt, a sudden stop, that felt as though the elevator was going to snap and plummet to the unyielding shaft floor.

Hansel was seated in the grass, looking out at the pond, lost in his thoughts and memories of Seattle. In his fingers - between his thumb and forefinger - was a blade of grass that he twirled absently, considered and dismissed making a reed out of it. To his right lay his bag and his weapons, never far from reach, never too hard a pull. He sat, he twirled, he thought, he remembered.

He remembered Seattle.

His experience in Seattle had largely been one of comparisons, and it had always been lacking something. The urban sprawl was too cramped, too noisy, too filled with sights and sounds that were unnatural and unpleasant - car horns, traffic lights, scuffing of shoes and swearing of voices - when measured against the gently lolling landscape and far-reaching horizon of his home. Seattle was the place he was forced to stay, while the ranch was the place he yearned to return to.

Now, however, the depth of how much he missed Seattle surprised him, in a time where he thought he was through with surprises. He missed stale pizza, classrooms where his biggest worry was showing up on time. He missed when disliking someone was just that, and calling someone an enemy was more hyperbole than literal meaning.

He had promised himself none too long ago that he wouldn't start enjoying the little things, because that was admitting weakness. That was saying that he didn't have much time left, and accepting that he was going to die.

He wasn't going to die.

And yet, he found himself enjoying the breeze, the feel of the grass beneath his fingers, the way the pond moved. Found himself enjoying the silence, the quiet, of this moment.

Because silence in a place like this was always fleeting.
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((Joe Carrasco continued from Layabout.))

To be honest... Joe hadn't expected this to work. Nothing else had worked on this island. Why would this?

But there Hansel was. First try. Just sitting in the grass, staring at the pond. As freaking peaceful as some meditating monk guy who hadn't murdered—how many people was it? Many. Marcus was one of them. Funny how whenever Joe saw Hansel he was doing something calm and normal, despite being by all accounts some messed up whirlwind of death otherwise.

Joe hadn't taken the gun out of his bag, because really there was no point. He'd never done good with a gun, even when he could aim. Jason and Kyran were both mistakes, one way or another, and both had happened with guns. And there was no way shooting Hansel would be a mistake, not after Marcus. But what if he missed (again), what if he hit Michael instead? Shooting Michael would be a stupid thing to do. And he'd never hit what he was aiming for, with the bad arm.

So he had the scythe, and that still required effort. Just keeping his grip on it hurt. Joe had managed to get a very flimsy grip on the handle, but sweat was pouring down his face and getting in his eyes just from the strain of looking like he had a good enough hold on it. Swinging it would be worse. Combined with the bag and the lack of energy he was constantly in danger from overbalancing.

Joe realised something that would have felt more important yesterday, but which had the same impact today as 'forgot to brush my teeth.' He had absolutely no idea how they were going to do this. And it was too late to come up with an elaborate plan. He didn't know sign language. He couldn't ask Hansel politely to stand still while he and Michael passed notes back and forth. Once the fight started—and there would be a fight—proper communication would be all but impossible.

The only mercy in this regard was that there were bird seed stands scattered about. Wouldn't stand on close inspection, but enough so that hopefully—maybe—Hansel wouldn't see them immediately. Joe pushed Michael behind one of the stands with the end of the scythe before crouching behind it himself. He slid the bag off his shoulder and put it on the ground.

If they messed this up, they'd die. If they did it right, they'd still probably die. But they'd stand a better chance at making sure Hansel didn't walk out alive, and that was what mattered.

With no time to retrieve paper, Joe dug the end of the scythe into the ground. Gesturing for Michael to watch, he traced an X in the grass, then two arrows starting from the same point, but curving and pointing at the X from different directions. He hoped Michael picked up his meaning. If they attacked from different sides, Hansel couldn't shoot both of them. Well, he could. But it would be harder. It was the only plan Joe had. He raised an eyebrow at Michael, as if to say 'you got anything better?'

He didn't want to talk to Hansel if he could help it. Hansel had a tendency to come off as human in a conversation.
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dmboogie
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((Michael Mitchellson: Continued from Layabout))

Third time had to be the charm.

Twice before, when he was still ignorant, Michael had let Hansel free. Once from a lack of courage, once from a lack of malice. This time, he had more than enough of both. Whatever happened, all three of them weren't going to be walking out alive.

Hansel was unaware and unarmed, at the moment. Both were subject to change within a moment's notice, but for now, Michael and Joe had the advantage. Michael nodded at Joe after his companion had finished tracing a basic plan in the grass as they took cover behind the stand. Couldn't go wrong with classic pincer movement.

Michael pointed at Joe, then gestured around the right side of the stand, then pointed at himself and the left side of the stand. He traded a nod with Joe, and then they were off in their respective directions.

Slowly, now. Steady. Shotgun in hand, Michael crept closer and closer to Hansel. One good shot was all it would take to seal the outcome of the fight. A small part of Michael felt guilty for resorting to shooting Hansel in the back, but it was quickly and conclusively overpowered by the rest of him that just wanted this shit over with without gaining any new holes.

Soon, he was close enough as he dared get to Hansel. Close enough to finish the job. Had to be. Hansel hadn't moved at all, yet.

Michael's shaking hands raised his shotgun and aimed directly at Hansel's back. Finger wrapped around the trigger, Michael held his breath to stabilize his aim, relying on a vaguely-remembered fact from some film he had watched.

It didn't help. Michael pulled the trigger, but the shot went wide. His arms had decided to waver under gun's weight at the worst possible moment. Furthermore, due to a failure to brace himself properly, the recoil had a very dramatic effect on him.

Michael was knocked flat on his ass.
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The explosion of noise had Hansel flinching towards the ground as a shot came from behind him, turning his flinch into a roll that had him quickly moving a few feet away from the noise. His ears rang and his vision blurred as he fought through it, looking for the sound, the source-

There.

Michael and Joe, on opposing sides of where he was, sneaking up.

So that's the way it was, he figured, as he lifted himself into a sprinter's stance. Ambush tactics, hit-and-run. No more lengthy discussions about what a player was, no more hyperbole about what classified as heroism. No more waxing poetic on who - what -they were here, as opposed to out there.

No, they settled on murder as a first resort.

Fine.

Launching himself forwards, and aware that Joe only had a melee weapon, he prioritized Michael as his first target. He had missed at first, but he couldn't count on blind luck and the deaf boy's ineptitude for a second try. He had to isolate the threat, deal with Joe later.

He dove onto the smaller boy, slamming down with his full weight and shifting to drive his elbow towards Michael's face, then rolling with him, trying to keep Michael between Joe and himself, to discourage him from using that scythe.
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This was a familiar situation.

Ally rolling around on the ground with a threat. A gun—well, more than one—nearby. And Joe in a position to pick that gun up and deal with the threat. Familiar. Nearly two weeks old—it felt like a lifetime—a memory, but familiar.

Pick up the gun. Shoot. Hit the ally. The threat escapes.

Joe ignored the gun and clung tighter to the scythe. No words needed. He just charged.

Hansel was smart. He was keeping Michael in between them, or at least trying to. What did that matter? So what if Joe had to cut through Michael to get to Hansel? Michael would die anyway. Vengeance was what Michael wanted. If Joe was the one being attacked, he'd want Michael to shoot through him and damn to whatever happened to him.

What did it matter?

Joe readied the scythe as he charged. Wavering and barely able to see from the sweat

And as he got closer, he told himself he was going to swing it down. And if he hit the wrong person, he'd lift it and swing it down again, and keep doing so until he got the right person. Because that's what he and Michael were here to do.

He got close. He saw Jason and Finn rolling around and felt metal under his fingers. Smelt the copper, saw the crimson. Felt Jason's blood splatter.

He didn't swing the scythe down. But he didn't stop charging. And he only stopped seeing Jason and Finn when his feet caught on one of the two and he was sent tumbling into the fight.
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Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck-

Michael was only able to feel a moment's self-hate for his sheer ineptitude (jesus fucking christ Hansel had been right there-) before the cowboy was upon him without giving Michael a chance to get back to his feet. In a panic, Michael brought up both of his arms to defend himself, the shotgun having fallen to the ground earlier along with Michael.

He managed to prevent the elbow blow from directly striking his face, but the blow and Hansel's weight still knocked him senseless, powerless to break free of the larger man as they rolled.

Then, out of nowhere, Joe came and tripped over Hansel. Not exactly the most stylish rescue, but Michael would take it. Taking advantage of the opening, Michael slammed his knee at Hansel's stomach. Using every bit of his wiry strength that he had left, Michael broke free and made a lunge for his shotgun.
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NotAFlyingToy
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((The following post assumes actions of characters that are not my own. Do feel free to contact me with corrections.))

The knee to his stomach was winding, but Hansel forced through it, grunting in pain and surprise as he tried to fight off Joe, focus on Michael. Normally, he'd have fled from a two-on-one situation - the numbers just weren't there to support an easy victory - but there came a time when you just took the die you were rolled.

There were so few of them remaining, now. So little time left.

He had to beat this.

With a lunge, he flopped around, facing Joe straight on as they grappled on the floor, his eyes at Joe's cheek-level after Michael's knee attack. He bared his teeth as he struggled, trying to punch out with his bad arm, trying to keep Joe's weapon away.

When Michael moved to escape the hold, Hansel assumed he was trying to go for the gun, and desperation filled him. Desperation that made him squirm even harder, now more level with Joe's eyes in the struggle. Desperation that had him opening his bared teeth.

Desperation that had him sinking them into the soft flesh of Joe's cheek, tearing, filling his mouth with coppery blood.

He sprang away, then, diving for the shotgun, his body colliding with Michael's as he went.
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Michael was free, Michael was going. He'd get the gun. All Joe had to do was hold Hansel and be Jason, and Michael would be Joe and end this fight, one way or another.

Joe tried. Maybe he succeeded for a second or two. And this close up, there was no mistaking Hansel for who he was. Or for what he was. No illusions of decency.

Then Hansel tore into his face. The success ended there.

Confusion. Pain. Blood in his eyes. Trying to shove away what might as well have been a rabid dog. Joe had no scythe in his hands any more. Just hands, trying to get the dog away from him.

This was the worst time to start feeling again. It just had to be terror. Joe tried to say stop, but it came out as a wordless shriek.

Hansel moved, and Joe thought he'd succeeded in shoving Hansel away for a moment. He hadn't. Hansel just had better things to do. But he stopped anyway, blinking through blood and tears. He could only see silhouettes and he couldn't tell who was who. Who was the rabid dog and who was Michael. And his hands were empty.
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Unbelievably, Michael had managed to fully wrest himself away from Hansel, if only for a moment. He wasted no time, scrambling to get a hold on the shotgun. There was nothing that Michael could do to help him, and they had both resigned themselves to the fact that neither of them would likely escape alive.

If Michael had to step over Joe's corpse to get a shot in at Hansel, or the other way around, then so be it.

Before he could fully get a grip on the shotgun, Hansel was upon Michael once more, wrestling with him for the gun. It was all Michael could do to prevent it from being snatched from him. He didn't have a sinner's chance in heaven of finding off Hansel and aiming the gun at the same time.

In his desperation, Michael's finger found the trigger and pulled it, not knowing or caring about what the shot might hit.

Unfortunately for Michael, the shot went wide once more, and he was knocked breathless by what had to be a kick to the stomach from Hansel. Flailing to defend himself, Michael drive his right fist into Hansel's face, loosening the man's grip on him for a split second. Fortunately, a split second was all the opening that was needed for Joe to roughly grab a hold of Hansel from behind.

Free once more, Michael stumbled backwards, shotgun in hand. Sweating like the French royalty before the fucking guillotine, breathing like he had just run a loop around the island, Michael took aim.
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Escape, strangely, was a notion that didn't register with Hansel. It was less about self preservation, now - he hadn't been good at that of late - but more about punishment, retribution.

His attackers needed to pay.

Right when he almost had his hands - both the hook hand and the complete one - around Michael's throat, the gun went off,

Hansel closed his eyes.

HANSEL WILLIAMS: DECEA-

No.

Not here. Not like this. Not to these two.

Ignoring the potential wound, Hansel jerked backwards just as Joe's arms came around his back - small, wiry, surprisingly strong - and wrenched Michael out of his hold. Hansel didn't look down, didn't see the extent of the damage.

Instead, he let his entire weight go lax, flung himself to the right, and took Joe and himself down into the dirt.
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Hansel went down, taking Joe with him. Michael silently thanked and apologized to Joe for the opportunity. This might be their last chance to take Hansel down, and Michael sure as hell did not intend to waste it. Once he got his aim steadied, he'd pull the shotgun's trigger until the whole fucking clip was empty. Overkill, yes, but Michael wasn't taking any chances. He couldn't afford to take the time to allow Joe to separate himself from Hansel. They would both be dying by Michael's hand.

Joe would do the same thing in Michael's place, he repeated to himself. There was nothing to feel guilty about. He wasn't the hero. He wasn't the villain. He would just be the man who happened to pull the trigger. Michael raised his shotgun, held his breath, prepared to shoot, when-

Michael's legs buckled under him, and he fell to his knees. The shotgun seemed to suddenly triple in weight, and Michael could hold it no longer, letting it fall to the ground. His mind went numb with fear as he looked down and discovered the reason why.

His stomach was fucking gone.

Blood pooled under Michael, staining his clothes, his hands, his skin. His blood. Oh, christ, he was covered with his own fucking blood. Michael simply stared, unable to process what had happened. Had there been a fourth combatant, shooting from the sidelines? Had Hansel had some sort of concealed gun? That had to be it. It had to be. Michael refused to accept the only other explanation.

Michael had come to this fight fully prepared to be shot, be stabbed, bludgeoned, beat, strangled, tortured. He'd made what peace he could with that. He had been ready. What he couldn't accept was managing to accidentally shoot himself with his own fucking shotgun.

His vision began to fade, and Michael collapsed fully to the ground. Jesus fucking christ, no! He couldn't go out like this, mortally wounded by his own fucking ineptitude, having failed to so much as scratch Hansel! That wasn't how things were going to end. It couldn't be.

With his last remaining strength, Michael began to crawl towards Hansel. Michael was a dead man, but he could still move. He'd come too far to die mere feet away from the man he had sworn to kill. This was his last chance to ever make a difference.

Michael crawled for Daniel, for the friendly and kind and best fucking friend a man could ask for.

Michael crawled for Joachim, for the first one on the island to respect Michael enough to tell him the whole truth.

Michael crawled for Joe, for the man willing to team up with a near-stranger so they could together get their chance at vengeance.

His vision faded. His consciousness dimmed. Hansel was just out of reach. Michael just had to make it a bit further... just... a bit...

...

Michael Mitchellson died a failure.

B019: Deceased.
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Joe hadn't seen it happen. He'd heard the blast of the shotgun but hadn't been able to tell who it hit. The bigger silhouette was Hansel. It had to be. So that was the one he lunged after and tried to drag back.

“Shoot him. Shoot him. Shoot him!” Joe was barely audible. But if Michael shot Hansel... it'd be over and Joe might have actually done something right.

But the blurry shape that was Michael was on the ground. And not shooting, or moving, or anything.

He just needed time to aim. He just needed time to aim. That was the only explanation that made sense to Joe. Michael would shoot.

“Shoot him!”

Joe tried to choke Hansel. Tried to keep him still. And what felt like years but what could have only been seconds dragged on, and Michael did not shoot or move from the ground.

“Shoot him! Shoot him! S-shoot him...”

Even when it finally occurred that something had gone wrong and no bullets would be coming... Joe just kept trying to hold Hansel still. Kept repeating those words, like to say it would make it happen.

“Just... shoot... him...”
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Hansel's movements were fuelled by rage and struggle, now - a burning need to come out of this on top coupled with a want to see the attackers punished - to see them not just fail, but be crippled by this encounter.

He threw his head back into Joe's jawline, skull and teeth meeting in a painful burst, thrashing hard enough to break Joe's grip slightly, enough to get an arm free. The arm squirmed downwards, reaching for the gun tucked into his waistband. Joe squeezed harder, fought harder, digging nails into Hansel's neck in the struggle to stop him, pleading and begging for his partner to take the shot.

No bullets came forth. And his arm didn't meet wet red gore on its way to capturing its prize, either.

Unwilling to put two and two together, Hansel pulled the pistol free, half-turned, and slammed the butt of the gun into Joe's still-fresh face wound.

Gaining a little more room, Hansel shoved out with his foot, sending Joe and himself further away from each other, his back hitting one of the birdfeeders, knees drawing up in front of him. He used the resistance to stand, kept the gun in his right hand, his left fingers curled around the varnished wood.

"Stuh-hay the fuck down, Joe," Hansel gasped out, gun hand wavering, breath coming in short, exhausted gasps. Michael lay mere feet away from them, face down, a rapidly darkening pool of blood oozing out of his abdomen. Hansel gave the scene scarcely a glance, before returning his focus back on Joe.

"Should've kuh-hilled you."
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It would be so easy to just stay down.

At some point, Joe had ended up on his back and away from Hansel. He didn't know how. The fight was a blur. All he knew was that it had gone wrong. Joe rolled onto his stomach and pressed his hands to the ground to try and push himself up. He put too much pressure on and the muscles around the rapier wound Katarina had inflicted spasmed. That arm collapsed, sending Joe back to leaning on the ground.

He looked up, breathing heavily. He could see again, at least a little. The shotgun lying with Michael. The scythe knocked out of reach. Michael leaking blood all over the grass. Joe looked back down at the grass. There was blood on the grass underneath him, too. Leaking from his face.

“G-got...” Pain shot through his jaw and cheek, where Hansel had hit him, bit him. Joe's jaw clamped tight shut again for a moment, before he said, “Got... got it backwards.”

He braced his bad arm against the ground again, pushing mostly with his good arm to move himself back into a crouching position. He looked square at Hansel.

It would have been so easy to stay down. And at the same time, it would have been the hardest thing in the world. So he stood. Slowly, shakily, but he stood. Arm out to steady himself against a surface that didn't exist. Eyes glazed, and at the same time focused on one thing and one thing alone.

“What... what was the point?” he mumbled. Then he screamed it. “What was the point, Hansel?!”

He didn't even know what answer he wanted. He just wanted answers. What was the point of shooting Marcus? Why was he still here, while Marcus wasn't? What possible danger could Marcus have presented to Hansel, that Joe couldn't have? What was the point in Marcus killing a girl? In Kyran not giving Joe his name? In Travis killing Aileen? What was the point of them not going to Disneyland?

He wanted answers that Hansel could never give him.
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Maddie felt like a battle between three heroes was raging in her head, and one of them had just been slain.

((Madeline Wilcox continued from Shallow Grave))

The headache she had wasn't very pleasant, but it had receded since she took some of the painkillers in her first aid kit about an hour ago.

Maddie didn't quite know where she had wandered. She had been moving slowly, aimlessly since her encounter with Katarina. Perhaps she was looking for someone. Perhaps she just wanted to move around. Perhaps she just wanted this experience to all be over already, to leave this place.

She heard gunfire.

She scanned her surroundings. At a distance, she saw the rough outlines of three figures, one on the ground, not moving. The other two were fighting. Then, she recognized one of them.

Hansel...

She got closer. She could make out the other two.

Joe. She had seen him earlier on the island, after injuring another person in a scuffle and running off.

And... the person on the ground. Michael. Hansel had got him in the end...

She felt a sudden surge of anger. Of resentment. Hansel couldn't be allowed to get away with this anymore. He had killed so many people. So many people that she knew, so many people who didn't deserve to die.

In the end, Hansel probably didn't deserve to die either. But it had to stop. She couldn't willfully allow this to go along any longer, she couldn't let Hansel get another two victims without doing anything about it, even if it would put herself in danger. This might be her final chance to make sure Hansel didn't continue to kill, after the time that she let him get away. She needed to make up for that. Because Chris and Michael died for her hesitance.

She pulled out the gun-knife and loaded it. Perhaps Joe could help her finish Hansel off, perhaps that was what Michael and Joe had been doing. Or maybe Hansel just randomly attacked them. She didn't know. She didn't really care.

She started running. She needed to get up there, quickly. She saw Hansel, standing over Joe. She saw Joe stand and yell something at Hansel that she couldn't make out due to the sound of air rushing past her head. She stopped, slightly out of breath, about ten meters away.

She aimed the gun-knife at Hansel and shouted. "Don't move, cowboy."
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