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Nature's Predators; G048 - Start (Open)
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 05:35 PM (455 Views)
Iceblock
Survivor
[ *  * ]
((G053: Melanie Beckett starts))

"Gross."

Any other time, any other situation, Mel probably would have cracked wise. Made a better joke, at least.

Instead, her voice was stretched thin, the amusement in it forced. She could feel a tightening knot in her chest, a red, orange, white-hot pit of anger slowly growing within her.

The terrorists had shown them that film, about how far their old friendships would get them - that was, shot in the back, because Survival of the Fittest would put divisions between all of them and shatter their faith in each other until there was nothing to do but fight and die.

But right now, there was only one division she was willing to accept. Only two groups that existed.

Her class, and the terrorists.

The terrorists wanted them to believe otherwise. They wanted to see a repeat of every single time this had happened before. They wanted to pound their mantra into every one of her classmates' heads until it was part of their thoughts, part of her thoughts, until it was something that even she'd just blindly accept and obey. Friend against friend, kill or be killed.

Fuck that.

For her part, Mel hadn't vomited when she'd woken up a few rooms away, but then again, she'd been trying as hard as she could not to think about what had happened to Mr. Graham. Trying not to remember a life extinguished before her just like that. She'd hauled herself out, pushed open a couple doors, and here she was, half-in the doorway. She hesitated a moment before stepping fully in.

"Hey, Cameron," she said, raising a hand in halfhearted greeting. "Bad time to drop in?"
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[ *  * ]
"Definitely," Mel said. "What's not to love?"

She sighed.

"The cabin's not too bad, though."

It was about as normal as a conversation in the school halls. Like they were exchanging greetings in art class. Like the pickaxe wasn't just sitting there innocently, planted by the terrorists to hint at what could change, what could happen in an instant of paranoia.

She bounced on the balls of her feet, restless energy getting the best of her, all too aware of the duffel bag slung over her shoulder. She'd been so pissed she hadn't even bothered to check for a weapon, supplies, a map, anything. Had just hitched it right up and gone looking for someone else.

"Need some help getting up? We oughta get you out of this room full of sick, at least."
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Mel frowned slightly when Cameron grabbed the pickaxe. She wasn't sure why, at first. It wasn't like she could fault her for making sure she brought her things along.

No, it was that it was a necessary thing, that it felt necessary to bring a weapon along to use in self-defense. Even if Cameron trusted her enough to shoot the breeze with for a few minutes, the thought unspoken was that there were possible adversaries out there, somewhere.

It made sense to defend yourself, she thought. Plenty of situations could call for it, like a mugging or a home invasion. Feeling like you had to defend yourself at any moment, though, from people you actually knew - that was the terrorists' doing, the situation they had created.

She resisted the urge to pick at the collar around her neck.

"We're getting 'out of here' out of here, not 'right out of the cabin' out of here, right?"

Mel left the room first anyway, finding herself back in the hallway. This time, she walked to the end, stopping at the top of a staircase. The ground floor stretched out beneath her, and she paused for a moment to take it in, before resting her bag on the ground.

"I suppose it'd be too much to ask if they'd left my mom's camera," she muttered. She raised her voice a bit for Cameron's benefit. "Gimme a moment to look through my bag?"
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The silence was broken by Mel's chuckling.

"Here," she said, "catch," and tossed Elmo at Cameron's arms.

She hadn't known what she had expected when she opened up the bag. A weapon, probably. Even something unorthodox, like Cameron's pickaxe. Not this.

You know, this was okay.

The past few minutes, she'd been obsessing over the terrorists and what their intentions were, trying not to play into their hands. Sure, this joke of a weapon was a gift from them. But she found herself not really caring to look into what it might mean, like if it was meant to manipulate her into feeling some way or another.

It felt good to laugh, and that was good enough. Maybe ignoring the terrorists was a small victory all its own.

Grinning, she zipped up her bag and turned to face Cameron, with the map of the island in one hand and the strap of her bag in the other.

"Sure," Mel said. "We stick together, we go find the others. After that... I've got some thoughts about all of this, but..." Now it was her turn to trail off and shrug, grin fading, before poking at the map. "Any ideas?"
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Mel nodded. "You think we'll be able to get everyone together?"

She wasn't really sure where that had come from. She had said they'd find others, but the implication probably had been that they were finding others they actually cared about. It wasn't as if she didn't care about the rest of her classmates - Cameron in particular had gone up a few notches in her book of decent people to hang out with in the last few minutes, for example - but it wasn't as if she was equally fond of all of them. Give her the company of Sandy or Astrid any day over someone she just greeted in the hall.

Was that what she wanted, anyway? Everyone together, taking a stand against the terrorists so that they would all be murdered directly instead of indirectly? The two groupings of people she'd imagined, but in physical form?

There was still something missing. She drew her attention back to the map.

"I'm thinking we go to the A block," she continued. "Then maybe we follow the shoreline, cross the bridge... I dunno."

She gave Cameron a small, sheepish smile, sure of only one thing that she definitely wanted. "I'd kinda like to see the ocean."
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Mel stared. For a moment, she felt as if she was in freeze-frame, posing to be painted with map still held out in front of her, watching it all happen.

Then she was in motion, taking the stairs down two at a time, not even really thinking about how outright stupid that was after Cameron had just tumbled down herself.

"Are you okay?" Also stupid. "No, no you're not. Shit. Okay." She bit her lip. Glanced to the side for a moment. "Okay, just... just hold on."

She tossed Elmo and her map into her bag without a second thought, earlier amusement long past, and after only a moment of hesitation, picked up Cameron's pickaxe with her left hand. Only temporarily, she told herself.

"Here. You're taller than me." She bent down, offering her free arm. "Grab my arm, and, uh, use my shoulder."
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Mel grit her teeth for a moment as Cameron brought herself upright. Cameron wasn't heavy, and they still had three feet between them to balance some of the weight - this wasn't like the times where Logan had decided the best way to greet her when she returned home from middle school was leaping onto her, never mind that he was in some kid phase that involved excessive hugging - but she wasn't exactly light as a feather, either.

"It's fine. I've got you," Mel said, with as much pep as she could muster. "We'll get you some ice, and... I'm not just gonna leave you here, anyway."

If this had been the science trip they'd expected, she'd have gone to find a teacher, but that was no longer an option. She forced the image of Mr. Graham's bloodied body out of her mind as soon as it reappeared. This was no time to go back to thinking about abstractions and intentions, to get angry all over again. She had to be reliable.

Cameron was, on some real physical level, depending on her now, and that scared her more than she cared to admit.

Mel moved both of them towards the door, determined to at least try to find something. Find people. Find help for Cameron's leg. Find the direction she was looking for.

"Tell me when you need to rest, okay?"

She could do this.

((Melanie Beckett and Cameron Herrig continued in Call Me Maybe))
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