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Dear God; The house of God is always open!
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 05:12 PM (847 Views)
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((B008 - Nate Turner: start))

Nate Turner had been crying. Of course Nate Turner had been crying. He was small, and weak, and he was going to die.

He hadn’t been awake for long, but he’d been staggering the short distance between there and here for most of that time. He gripped his staff in his hand, too dazed to think about it and too distraught to care about it. His bag was slung over his shoulder; it was heavy, but nothing he couldn’t manage, compared to the much heavier fate hanging over him like the sword of Damocles.

“What’d I do?” he cried to himself, making his way through the overgrown gardens and coming across the chapel. “I’ve been a good person, I always try to do what’s right and think the best in people. I don’t go out of my way to be a jerk to anyone.” He pushed open the door to the building, needing some solace from his burden.

“Why me?”

He recognised the interior, being the good church-going boy that he was. It wasn’t a proper church, but it had the features of a house of God. It wasn’t his church back home, his church full of his family and his mom and his friends from the congregation. He wanted to think “Hey, at least it’s something”, but who would he be kidding?

He slumped down in a seat, staring at the stained light coming through the windows. He took a moment to ponder.

He put his head into his hands again, though not to cry this time. Well, not entirely. He did the only thing he could think to do in that horrible, mortal, unescapable situation.

He prayed.
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Nate screamed. He jumped and span around. He tripped on his bag and fell over. He smacked into the bench ahead of him on the way down, and caught his shoulder at a painful angle.

In that moment, he was so focused on pleading with God to save him, to not condemn him to this hell that, as far as he knew, he didn’t deserve, that he had lost sight of everything else. No, rather, he was shutting himself out to his grim reality, taking solace in prayer to protect himself from a terrible fate. What was actually happening was unkind, though, and was not going to let him sit there in silence.

He groaned and rubbed his shoulder, a sharp pain resounding through him. He eventually came to his senses, grabbing for the pew to pull himself back up to his feet, before poking his head over the back of the seat.

Nate didn’t recognise Matt, beyond being a familiar face from the school hallways. They moved in different social circles, different year groups; they had nothing in common, and no reason to trust each other.

When thrown into a ilfe or death situation with a trigger around his neck, though, who was Nate to complain about company?

“H-hi…” he replied, still hiding behind the back of the seat. He gripped the wood, every muscle in his body as tight as steel.

“Who are you?”
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“Nate…I’m Nate.”

He was still crouching behind the seat, trying but struggling to expose himself. He was normally pretty open and confident when meeting new people, greeting them with a happy smile and an eager interest in getting to know that person just a little bit better. Maybe it would work out, maybe it wouldn’t, but there was no harm in trying.

It was no shock that Nate wasn’t his normal self right now. Had he become scared of Matt? Or was he just scared of the situation? People didn’t scare him, he knew that. He knew that he didn’t need to start being scared of people. That was one of the things he was good at. People was something he could do.

He still couldn’t stand up straight, though. The best he managed was getting his shoulders past the top of the wood, where he looked at Matt with an expression not unlike that of a startled, helpless puppy.

“No, I don’t have a gun.” He trembled. Of course: people had guns. That was something that the terrorists had said, wasn’t it? Some of his classmates had guns, and they were going to try and kill everyone and try to kill him. That was what Survival of the Fittest was all about. Still, he knew he wasn’t one of those people with a gun. He didn't want to be one of those other people, either. “I just have this stick.”

He moved to show his staff to Matt, but it was lying on the ground at his feet, dropped in his panic. He had to bed down, out of sight again, to reach it.

He came back to his feet and it held it up. He was stood there, in the chapel of an abandoned asylum on an island, holding up his assigned weapon to convince one of his schoolmates that he wasn’t about to shoot him.

The tears were starting again.

“What’s happening to us?”
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Matt didn’t really answer him, and that did nothing to help Nate feel any better. He didn’t back away when Matt took a seat, as Nate slowly accustomed to his company, but he still couldn’t relax either. Considering the situation though, who could blame him?

He watched Matt grip his head in his hands, as he rubbed the tears out of his own eyes. He didn’t want to keep crying, he never liked crying, but he knew that he was so stupid when it came to his emotions sometimes and keeping himself under control. Seeing someone else struggling stirred something in Nate, though, something that let him stop focusing on himself for just a moment and hold back the tears.

He could never stand to be around unhappy people. He just wanted everyone to get along and feel okay, even if that was naíve. Suffering was a part of life, but that didn't mean he couldn't do something to help.

When Matt produced his ‘weapon’, Nate had to take a moment to realise just what he meant. He really hadn’t given any thought to whether someone could get assigned something good or assigned something bad; he’d woken up with a stick, some people had guns, that was all there was to it. Still, it seemed almost unfair, like Matt had gotten even worse luck than him.

He needed to do something to make Matt feel better.

“I guess…” he sniffed again, trying to put on a straight face.

“I guess they really wanted to stick it to us?”
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Nate tried to laugh back at Matt’s own joke. He tried so damn hard, but no-one was going to believe the smile he was wearing was sincere any time soon. Still, it had seemed to put Matt in a marginally less stressed out mood, and that was enough for Nate. Seeing Matt loosen up just a little bit was enough to calm his own nerves just a little bit too.

“An asylum?” he replied, an earnst look of confusion replacing his decidedly fake cheer. He had mostly just ran here since he had woken up, so he hadn’t taken any time to check through his provisions or look at a map. The only reason he knew about his staff was because the terrorists had left it lying next to him, far too big to fit in his duffel bag (which was itself contrastingly large on Nate, the terrorists apparently not being considerate enough to find him one more suitably sized).

It was a weird place to find himself in the middle of all this, that was for sure, but that was never going to top the list of strangest things about the whole scenario. He’d think about it later.

The other part of Matt’s statement required more due thought. Just what were they supposed to do?

“Well, when there’s shootings and things like that they say you’re supposed to try and hide until you can run to safety.” he muttered, scratching the side of his face in thought as he stared down at the floor. Was that a bad plan? Look for an opening to run away, if help didn't come first?

Oh, right, the collars.

“I don’t know if we can get away from here, though. Not with these things on.” He pointed at his own collar to demonstrate. He’d barely even realised he was wearing it until that moment.

It was suffocating.
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“Oh. You're right.”

He tried to look down at his neck, but of course he just wound up looking at the floor. Matt was right: someone could just blow these things up, and he’d be dead and he wouldn’t even know why or who was close to coming to save him. Someone could be coming to save him right now, and he wouldn’t even know it and they probably wouldn’t know it either, and then he’d be dead.

“Oh no.” he whispered, staring back at Matt.

He suddenly couldn't breathe.

Sweat started to seep all over him, and tears started pooling in his eyes again. A relentless shaking was spreading through his body like an electrical shock, and his thoughts were rushing through his head at a million miles a minute.

Kaboom. Blown up. Nothing he could do about it. Nothing he could do to stop it.

One hand went for the metal band. Then the other.

“Get it off.”

He started to pull. He had to get it off. It was choking him, and it would kill him. It was only a matter of time. It needed to come off right now.

“GET IT OFF!”
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Too blinded by tears and deafened by the pounding of his racing heart, Matt’s pleas for Nate to stop fell on deaf ears as he continued to tug hopelessly at the bomb. Eight years earlier and he’d be dead by now, but some stroke of luck had fallen upon him through the terrorists revitalised designs. Instead, he just flailed in a futile manner like a fish caught on a line: doomed to their fate, but struggling until the life left their body all the same.

Eventually he tripped over his own two feet, falling backwards in a mirror image of Matt and landing painfully on his rump. He stopped pulling, if only because he was finally exhausted rather than due to any realisation that he was just wasting his time. He stared back at Matt from across the room, still gripping the collar in his hands as he struggled to catch his breath. It wasn’t long before his pants turned to cries.

He asked Matt again, “What’s happening to us?”
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Nate really needed answers, but of course Matt couldn’t provide them. He was just as much a victim of this terrible situation as Nate was, and Nate knew it was stupid to always expect other people to be able to instantly calm the anxieties that plagued him.

How was he supposed to cope with this, though? His muscles burned from the panic he’d just experienced, and his eyes had turned a puffy red from all the agitation. His heart was still racing, refusing to slow down, and his fingertips ached from gripping the collar so tightly.

He just wanted to go home. He just wanted to go find his mom, get a hug from her and let her tell him that it was all going to be okay. He didn’t care if that sounded babyish or made him look like a little kid right now; he just needed someone to wake him up from this nightmare.

He couldn’t expect Matt to be that person, though. He really wanted to do so, shift his problems onto someone else and let them take care of it like he always did, but he knew that that wasn’t the right way to handle things, even if it was the easiest.

So what was he supposed to do?

“My head hurts.” he muttered, pressing it back into his knees as he sat there for a moment. He felt like collapsing there and then, so exhausted from everything, but the tingling sensation from the panic still coursed through his veins, keeping him consciously in his plight. When he was sick like this, he always liked a hot drink to calm him down, but it was probably stupid to hope for any hot cocoa where they were.

After a pause, Nate looked up at Matt again. "What are we supposed to do, now? I feel sick.” The exhaustion was getting to him, and the small musty room they were stuck in wasn't helping, even if it was a religious building: this one just felt spiritless and hollow. Getting fresh air with friends proved a good alternative to hot drinks when they weren’t available, and if nothing else a wander might let him see something distracting.

“Could you come outside for a walk with me?” he asked, having no better thoughts on how to phrase a fairly absurd question in their situation. "I really want some fresh air right now.”
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Nate nodded back at Matt as he agreed to his invitation, struggling to get back up to his feet. He really didn’t care where they were headed; as long as Matt was with him then it’d be much better than sitting in the room crying to himself.

He picked up his bag and staff, not really sure why he cared, but possessive of them all the same. They were the only things he had right now, apart from Matt’s company, and he didn’t want to just abandon them where they might get stolen. He always tried to be careful with his things at school, even if he did still forget them sometimes.

School. That was starting to feel like a million years ago.

((Nate Turner and Matt Moradi continued elsewhere))
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