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This Isn't My Home, It's Where I'm Locked Away; private, sorry
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 04:38 PM (785 Views)
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And I am still hungry.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
In a room just down the hall from Alvaro, someone screamed, loud and long and full of wordless rage.

((B001 Min-jae Parker Start))

Really, it was just like picking up where he’d left off when he lost consciousness. Give or take a few hiccups, like waking up in the fetal position underneath someone’s bedside table and then bumping his head on said bedside table and the confusion and the realization and the choking horror that gripped him and wouldn’t let go.

Jae’s hands were shaking. He couldn’t stop shaking, had been shaking since he’d first woken up strapped to that chair, with some smarmy fuck at the front of the room like this was some kind of seminar, all part of the trip. He’d screamed then too.

When they shot Mr. Graham, in the split second before the horrible silence that descended, he had been one of the people screaming the loudest.

His first few minutes of consciousness in whatever fresh hell this was, though, were silent. He was curled up on his side, cheek pressed to a wooden floor. It was dusty in here, hadn’t been cleaned in way too long. His throat was dry, and he was stiff from laying in one position for so long on an uncomfortable, dirty floor.

So he sat up and knocked his head on the underside of the table, elegantly breaking the silence with a thump and a well-placed “Fuck!”

He crawled out from under the table, keeping his head low until he was clear of it. There was a bag nearby, with a number on it: B001.

(Haha you’re number one, congratulations you dumb fuck.)

Jae sat on the floor staring at the bag for a while, almost feeling like something in it was watching him as intently as he was watching it. There was nothing there of course. No movement from the bag, no mysterious voices or anything like that. No horror movie scenarios here except for the one he’d woken up in. He felt oddly detached from everything, floaty and numb.

To distract himself from the bag, he glanced around the room he’d found himself in. It was sparse; bed frame, bookshelf, that fucking table. Smelled musty, the wood of the furniture was probably halfway rotted. Some faded photographs stuck to the walls that Jae didn’t care to look too closely at. Looked like a hospital, maybe.

When he ran out of things to look at, Jae reluctantly turned back to the bag.

As it turned out, there was nothing particularly horrifying in the bag once he looked inside. Not much of interest at all besides the metal… stick thing. Telescopic baton, a piece of paper stuck to it said. It extended with a snick when he flicked his wrist, like a version of those plastic lightsaber toys at once infinitely more boring and more threatening.

Also, they’d taken his phone but left his headphones, presumably just to add insult to injury.

So that was the situation. One minute you’re on a bus sitting next to your maybe-girlfriend, the next you’re-

Oh God. Hazel.

It was a good thing Jae was already sitting, because the sudden wave of dizziness that overtook him would have brought him to the floor anyway. With one stray thought, the floaty, dissociative feeling dissipated and the full reality of just what was happening hit him. He was here to die. Everyone else in his class was here to die. They’d fucking shot Mr. Graham and threatened to do the same to anyone else who stepped out of line.

Jae was suddenly very, very aware of the oppressive band of metal encircling his neck.

It took a good while for the dizziness to subside. When it did, Jae pulled himself to his feet using the table leg to support himself. It definitely had the slightly-spongy texture of partially-decayed wood, and his nose wrinkled up in distaste.

He just stood there for a minute, bag and baton at his feet, not looking at anything in particular.

Survival of the Fittest, he thought, and then the last bit of numbness fell away and Jae screamed, pouring out his anger and fear and frustration at the unfairness of it all into a long, mindless animal noise of fury. Moving on autopilot, he grabbed the edge of the small end table and overturned it, saw one leg give and break off as the rotted wood impacted the floor.

The bookshelf was next, its small, musty collection flung across the room with little care, one striking the wall and causing a photograph to come loose and flutter to the floor. The bookshelf broke much more satisfyingly than the table had when tipped to the floor, and Jae gave it a kick for good measure. In all the cacophony, the soft creak of a door opening nearby was lost on him.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Jae kept kicking at the overturned furniture, splinters of wood flying up with each impact of his boot, until the exertion caught up with him and he doubled over in a coughing fit, a friendly reminder from his lungs that he was both a smoker and definitely not an athlete. When his hacking subsided, all that filled the room was the sound of his ragged breathing and the blood roaring in his ears.

And in the sudden silence, three knocks sounded at the door.

Jae straightened up instantly, still breathing hard, trying to deny the way his heart leapt into his throat. It was true that he tended to attract attention whenever he opened his mouth, and he'd certainly done much more than just that now. Still. What was there to be afraid of, really?

(He knew, oh he knew. If people really were as good as they liked to pretend, this wouldn't have happened five times before.)

Still, cowering in this shitty room because of whatever might lay outside wouldn't do him any good. If whoever it was had the intent and the means to harm him, they wouldn't have waited for him to answer.

Jae bent and picked up the baton, feeling its weight in his hand. Never hurt to have a little intimidation factor when he wasn't in the mood to deal with someone. Holding it made him feel a little more in control, too. No more fear and hesitation.

He strode to the door and pulled it open in a quick motion. "What?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Oh, it's you." Not the most tactful greeting Jae had ever given someone, but of all the people to come face-to-face with in this deranged game, Alvaro was way, way down on Jae's list of either priorities or concerns. Not someone he cared for, not someone he actively hated. Jae's feelings on Alvaro could be summed up as indifference, with a side of mild irritation and vague dislike. Their only meaningful interaction that he could recall was that disastrous group project with the two of them and... fucking Isaac Brea, who didn't even have the decency to show up for the school trip and get plonked in this hell with the rest of them.

Jae scowled at the thought of Isaac out of habit, before remembering that any and all thoughts of him were best left alone forever and shoving them to the back of his mind to focus on Alvaro again. Unless he'd seen Hazel, Henry, Asha, or Nadia and could point Jae in their direction, Alvaro was basically useless.

"Well, what do you want?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Aaaand Alvaro was exactly as helpful as predicted. Which was not at all. No help here. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Alright, Jae felt a little bit of sympathy for Alvaro here. More empathy than sympathy, even; he'd pretty much shut down too just a few moments ago, albeit in a much more destructive way. Expecting someone who could probably barely keep his shit together day to day to be good for anything right now was out of the question.

Which wasn't to say that Jae was going to stand around here and wait for Alvaro to work through his copious personal issues while who knows what was going on with his friends elsewhere in this hellhole. Sympathy or no, he had people to find and places to be, and neither of those things involved standing in this doorway waiting for Alvaro to remember how words worked.

Heaving a sigh, Jae turned away from Alvaro and took a few steps back into the wreckage of the room, kicking some of the splintered wood aside. He zipped the bag back up and slung it over his shoulder, the name printed across it catching his eye and making his frown deepen again. Congratu-fucking-lations, Number One. There was some kind of sarcastic joke somewhere in there, he was sure.

After one last look around the room to make sure he hadn't missed anything and to confirm that he most definitely never wanted to see it ever again, Jae stepped through the mess back to the door. Alvaro was still standing there with all the charisma of a mannequin... or a corpse. Jae grimaced.

"Hey." No response. Seeing that Alvaro didn't seem intent on moving, Jae poked him in the chest with the baton. "Out of my way."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((GMing in this post approved by Yugikun))

There was a certain way that things were supposed to go in any given situation. The fact that circumstances so often didn't have to courtesy to go the way they were supposed to was one of Jae's longest-standing pet peeves. Obviously, this whole SOTF mess was the biggest example of the right order of things going right out the window, but even here, there should be a kind of logic.

Jae wanted out of the room. Alvaro was in his way. Jae told him to move and gave him a nudge with the baton. Logically, Alvaro should have moved out of the way and let him be.

Instead, Alvaro went fucking berserk.

Pain exploded in Jae's knee and he staggered to the side as his right leg buckled under the force of Alvaro's kick. "The fuck-" was all he managed to get out before Alvaro moved towards him, face terrifyingly blank, like he was in a trance. Instinctively, Jae lashed out at him with the baton, striking a glancing blow across Alvaro's temple. It didn't do much to stop his momentum and in the next moment Jae found himself thrown to the floor among the wreckage of the furniture as Alvaro tackled him head-on.

Stars exploded in Jae's vision as his head cracked against the floor and the breath was driven out of his lungs and holy fuck holy shit what the fuck was happening-

Alvaro was hitting him, relatively weak blows but he couldn't breathe and he tried to raise the baton again but it had flown out of his hand and was spinning on the floor out of reach and Alvaro saw and dove for it at the same time. The weight lifting from his body allowed Jae a moment to draw air back in but he couldn't move fast enough, his head hurt and everything hurt and what the fuck Alvaro-

Jae saw the blow coming and just barely had time to raise his arm to shield his face and just barely enough breath to scream as his fingers broke and the blows wouldn't stop and Alvaro was trying to fucking kill him oh god oh god oh god-

Jae tried to scramble away or to curl up to further shield himself but his leg felt numb and wasn't responding the right way and he might have been crying and Alvaro was-

Alvaro was-

There was a split second where their eyes met and everything stopped and he almost thought he saw realization spark in Alvaro's gaze.

He didn't wait to see if it would take.

Jae pulled his working leg back and kicked out as hard as he could, catching Alvaro in the stomach as he loomed over him and sending him sprawling.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Adrenaline drove Jae forward even though his body felt weak and numb. He rolled onto his side and scrambled over Alvaro for the dropped baton, didn't care if his elbows and knees drove in painfully, felt something like victorious when his hand closed around the baton once again.

Alvaro made another move for it, but this time Jae was ready. He kicked out again, felt a satisfying crunch under his boot that might have been Alvaro's glasses or his nose, turned and raised the baton-

"You little-"

His cheeks were wet and his makeup smeared and he was still crying but he was furious and there was a vicious satisfaction as he turned the assault back on Alvaro-

"-fucking-"

If Jae had been thinking more clearly, he might have been surprised at how much difference a weapon made even when he was down one leg and half a hand-

"-shit!"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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There was something to be said for those clutch survival instincts that kicked in when everything was in overdrive. Everything was automatic, unthinking, and it was a good thing. If he'd had the time or the capacity to think, Jae would have no doubt been lost in the pain, the shock, the revulsion at what he was doing. Later, when he did have time to think, he'd reflect on how those few minutes of mindless movement were probably what saved him from losing an eye.

He jerked backward when Alvaro lashed out at him with the chunk of wood. Fast, but not quite fast enough to dodge, sharp edges digging into his skin and dragged across, a startled, pained cry, blood on his face. He didn't scream again, didn't have the breath, and the sudden backwards movement sent him toppling to the side as he tried to put weight on his injured knee.

In the moment of reprieve, Alvaro wriggled out of Jae's reach across the floor, struggling to get to his feet. Jae grabbed at the bedframe to lever himself up and yelped when the movement sent pain lancing through his broken fingers. It dimly occurred to him just how badly Alvaro might have fucked him up. The thought put a little more fuel back into the fires of Jae's rage and adrenaline, and he staggered to his feet after Alvaro, wincing as his leg protested but didn't collapse again.

"Motherfucker..."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
And then Alvaro was just gone.

Just like that.

Jae took one stumbling step after him, and then the pain really hit him and he had to drop the baton and grab onto the bed frame with his good hand to keep from collapsing. Holy fucking shit.

He was breathing harder than he thought he ever had in his life, and he could feel the beginnings of another coughing fit in the pit of his chest. When he finally did double over to hack again, his whole body shook. Blood dripped from the gash on his face and made a small collection of dots on the floor. Jae watched the tiny puddles form, thinking bizarrely of the dot art project they'd had to do in Mrs. Liberman's class.

Holy fucking shit.

Everything was quiet again, too quiet, weighing down on him. It was quiet enough that he was starting to really think again.

He needed to get the hell out of here.

Gingerly, favoring his hurt knee, Jae stepped through the mess on the floor to retrieve his baton and bag. It was awkward using just one arm, but he kept the left one tucked close against his chest to avoid jarring his broken hand again. He needed to do something about that, about everything else, and soon. As soon as he was somewhere else, somewhere safe.

No sign of Alvaro in the hallway. Good. Wherever they were both headed, he hoped it was far, far in the opposite direction.

Like Alvaro though, Jae didn't look back.

((Min-jae Parker continued in デビュー))
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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