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She Swallowed Burning Coals
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 05:46 PM (673 Views)
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Waking up to find yourself not where you're supposed to be is a nightmare scenario, Serena had to pinch herself to check if everything was real. It was. And then she remembered where she was. Survival of the Fittest, Something the government were supposed to have shut down years ago.

And the only way out; the only way home was to betray everything her parents and her teachers had taught her growing up. And the weapon they had given her to do this... were keys.

Lying down and crying felt like a more attractive prospect by the minute.

((G019 start))

G019; an odd number; superstition places such numbers as good for luck. Normally Serena wouldn't care much for such things as luck, but it kept her from thinking about her friends; her classmates hunting each other down and fulfilling what the terrorists wants. And the teacher who was killed just to show they meant business.

She looked around in what seemed to be a library of sorts, rows upon books covered in dust filled the room with light shining down from the ceiling. It had an odd smell to it. Looking closely Serena could see several books that they had them read in school, she liked those assignments. She didn't have to depend on anyone to get it done, but what used to be something comforting and fun were now just a reminder of home and how far away it now felt.

She grabbed the first book that caught her eye and looked at it, Catcher in the Rye. She liked this book, obtuse and old it was, but she enjoyed it. She continued looking at it before throwing it away as hard as she could, then walked over and proceeded to kick several chairs over repeatedly till one broke. Then she sat down at the wall with her head down on her knees, she wasn't going to let them get the satisfaction of seeing her tears.
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((Boy 009, Alessio Rigano, Start))

Alessio Rigano woke up. He stretched his arms, to make the weird feeling he had, caused by the drugs, go away, but then he recalled everything.

He remembered what had happened. Realisation was terrible. Mr. Graham. The intimidating strangers who they did not know and who did not know them, who just chose to take a class to kill.

SOTF. Danya. Terrorism. Red Flame Rising. Lots of victims. This time it was them. The students of Cochise High, missing, declared dead, the news will be reporting, the people will be shocked, their parents will be mourning them. He will never see his parents again. He will never see his cats again. He never could speak, see or hear Vanessa again.

Alessio, a failure in interacting with Vanessa, a socialising failure. Just went to a trip to get closer to Vanessa and other people he had admired. Friends. He just wanted to.

He eyed his surroundings. The light hurt. He was lying on a wooden floor, looking at the glass roof. Books. Shelves. He was in a library. He had an comfortable hoodie, but he felt extremely cold. As if he was sick.

Heartbeat. The beat was high, it was kicking. If Alessio wouldn't die from a heart attack, it'd be a surprise. No one else could hear his heartbeat, it's just an internal sound, right? Because otherwise he'd attract everybody around.

The heartbeat was not something Al wanted to think about. It could stop. Just let it end, let it go away. 0 BPM.

He could, could. Could stand up, meet people.

And see them dying or kill them or let them kill him.

Alternatively, he could just lay here.

So Al lied there. Tears flowed out, he closed his eyes, ignoring the noises created by the mormon's destruction that happened some meters away from him. He wanted to sleep again.
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Sometimes, just sitting and crying your heart out felt good, Serena would do so back home, just getting the emotions out without bottling up and exploding later. But it didn't feel good now, nothing did. No matter what she'd do now, they'd already won. Might as well have screamed her lungs out.

Probably would have felt better too, now at least.

It was then Serena heard crying. At first she thought it was her own echoing through the room until she looked over and saw a person lying on the floor, a boy. Her first instinct was to run for her bag and take off and she was about to do so, till she looked closer and recognized who it was.

"Al? Is that you?"
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2 people having to kill each other means that each one has a 50% chance of being the one surviving. However. With around 100 people...chances are so slim for an Alessio.

1%.

It's like having 100 drinks and you have to drink one. One is safe the other 99 are poisoned.

Stop thinking.

About death.

This scenario would have already screwed him over theoretically. Practically, it is not better.

How can he act in a way that is not morally the worst option? Is his life more worth than the life of others? He won't see others to be happy, when he's dead.

Alessio didn't want Vanessa to die, but didn't want to die either. Or anyone else for that matter. This is a lose-lose situation in all outcomes. If he survived, he’d lose. If he died, he’d lose.

I'm dead.

Why should he stand up? Why should he try to survive, if that would mean that other people have to die? Why should he stand up just to be killed by someone in a couple of moments?

But why should he lie down and wait for someone to kill him? Thinking about that he is going to die is not going to help.

Stop thinking, just keep lying on the floor and think about more pleasant thoughts.

But his thoughts were interrupted by steps and a voice. Serena. A friend. He liked her. But under this circumstance he did not want to hear her voice.

He did not want to hear anybody's voice.

He wanted to think about something else, something distracting, something pleasant. But nothing could be found.

This situation did not let him think about anything else.
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No response, usually when it's clear the other person's not willing to talk Serena would leave them alone. This wasn't anything near usual though and it was Al, she couldn't just walk off leaving him here alone sobbing to himself. She got up on her feet, walked over to her bag and started looking around in it.

Shuffling past the food, first aid kit and the "weapon" they had given her, she found what she was looking for. She grabbed the map and made her way to the nearest table; setting her bag under it then setting her map upon it.

She didn't know where she was or anything about this area, first order of business is finding out then planning out what to do.

"Hey Al... if you don't want to talk, that's alright. I'll be over here if you need anything." She eyed his bag, the thought to check it to see what he had just entered her mind, but she shook her head and focused on the map, studying it and putting that disturbing thought aside.
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Alessio could hear steps, silence and then Serena replied to him. If Alessio needed anything, he should stand up and go to her. That was an option given to him. A new option. But what did Alessio need? What did Al need that was worth standing up, entering the game, ready to be killed in some way? What would he achieve with talking to Serena, knowing that she was going to die, just like him? Wouldn't it make him even feel worse, talking to her? Discussing about the situation they were in, failing to comfort each other, trying to form a plan for survival that was going to fail anyway, since the chances that one of them survives, is slim. Getting to know her better so when she dies earlier than him, he will feel worse about living? Her getting to know him better for her feeling worse when he dies?

What possibilities happen when he stands up?

Maybe Al should stand up, to comfort Serena. It could have been possible that she needed company and not that she offered him it. Possibly. Her voice also did not sound too happy.

But that wouldn't help either. It would help neither of them, in the end. But, it helps them temporarily. Is the temporal comfort worth it? Is it worth more than just lying and wait it to end, in a less exhausting, less mind-breaking way?

Al changed his lying position. He did not like lying on his back. He switched to lying on his side, feeling his face against the floor. Still, he said nothing.

So many questions. He had too many questions, whose answers will not matter, because he was going to be dead, and with him, his thoughts and the memories of the thoughts.

Wouldn't he have been luckier waking up next to a person that wanted to kill him instead of helping him, like Serena? He would have had less painful thoughts.

He could stop the thoughts though. He could stand up, and focus less on thinking but on acting.

He was not Gregor Samsa, who turned into a bug; he had the choice to stand up. Though, Al would have rather been a bug, who would not think about death, about dying than himself right now. Bugs also are tortured, but they are not afraid of death. Or that's what Al thought. He was born wrong. He could have been born a bird. A free bird. A caged bird. A bird. Still free from this madness caused by humans. This cruelty has probably some political background. This abduction was political, and they were unfortunate enough to be involved in it. Birds had no politics. Birds had more freedoms that he will ever get.

He could stand up. He had the opportunity to. It was a choice. He couldn't decide.

These thoughts did not help stopping tears to flood out or a silent cry to be released.
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An asylum island, lovely. The whole thing seemed more and more as a joke as she got her bearings.

The island was sort of claw shaped with the asylum on the right side. According to it the library was on the left side, but she had a feeling that this wasn't it. A library in the asylum maybe? Something in particular caught Serena's eye. A vehicle depot on the other side of the island, it would be a long shot, but they had given her keys and it was better to check out than staying holed up here.

She looked over to where Al was lying, he had changed position. If she was going to make it out there she would need others for help, you never know who had snapped yet and deciding killing was worth it. Al wasn't the type to do that, she could trust him. She took hold of the map and walked over to where he was lying. She started nudging him with her foot.

"Al, get up! I got something good here."
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Step. Step. Step. Al could trust Serena, but still the sound of her coming near him made his heartbeat beat faster. He would not had expected her to suddenly kill him, though that could have been a possibility. He also did not expect her to kick him with her feet to wake him up. It was not a kick, per se, but it still made him open his eyes again. He could not sleep anyway. Perhaps being awake and not thinking can get rid of the nasty thoughts he had.

He looked up to Serena. She had her pink t-shirt with the funny caption on. It was not funny anymore. Nothing will be funny anymore. She wore the shirt some times. It used to be fun. Back in school. Alessio now could recall her wearing it in the bus. She looked like she looked back in the bus. She looked like always. No, something was off. But who wouldn't be off with being on this situation? Alessio won't recognise his friends anymore, everybody will be off. Everybody has changed the time they woke up today, in this situation.

"Good?"

Good. Serena had something good. What can be good in this situation? She had to be lying. She could not have something good. Good what? Good news? What were good news? No news are good news, a song had once said. Good weapon? Al did not know what his weapon was yet. He did not want to know, though. Good. Al was curious.

"What is it?", his voice was quiet. He changed from looking at Serena, back to looking at the floor.
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There came an awkward silence as she waited for his reply, what if he just ignored her and carried on lying there? Would she have to leave him behind to make sure she had a chance? The temptation to leave was eating at her when he finally looked at her and talked. She was worried that he was going to ignore her and continue lying there, but his reaction gave her a brief feeling of hope that he would follow her up on this.

"They've got a vehicle depot on the other side of the island." She held the map upfront and pointed at it. "I was given car keys for a weapon, and I believe they have something there we can use it on."

There must be, they wouldn't just give her keys and not have it be useful for something, would they? She looked at Al with a hopeful smile waiting for his reaction.
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Al had to worry about what Serena had said.

A car. What then? Drive over other people with it? Drive away from killers? How can a car solve death? Also, the fact that she said that their goal was on the other side of the island made it even more unlikely for them to even have a car. Alessio doubted they would not be surprised, attacked and killed while walking to another location.

"..."

He closed his eyes once again and tried to block out the situation he was in. It was none of his business.
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Sometimes, your friends didn't want help. Sometimes, they just want to lie down, cry and not think about anything. Serena would be fine with if it was back home, but they were not at home, they were in Survival of the Fittest. Her smile dropped when there came no response from Al, She thought it would help his spirits a bit or at least get an reaction.

It made her feel a pang of anger towards him, here she was planning away and trying to help him, and he's just lying there ignoring everything as if that would help. The feeling of nothing being accomplished crept up on her. Maybe she should leave.

But she didn't, even if Al was frustrating her to no end right now, he was still her friend. Since telling him of her plan didn't work, She could try a more direct approach.

"I'm not going to let you waste away in here, now get up!" She punctuated her demand by lightly kicking him in the back.
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He felt his back being lightly kicked and closed his eyes even further before deciding to open them. Serena really wanted him to stand up, he could hear that from her voice, her wording. Almost like a threat: she would not let him waste away on the ground. Al was acting selfish by lying there. Not that it mattered. It was rude to her, yes. But it was none of his business, and him having been selfish wouldn't matter when he's dead. But it would not matter if he was not a selfish asshole by ignoring her, either. And he might feel better. It would be better to die not-sad than dying guilty. Temporarily. Al was not doing himself a favour by lying on the ground, feeling shitty and waiting for someone to finally kill him.

Three, two, one.

He pushed himself up with the help of his arms. He had decided to wake up. To face reality. As if that helped. He rubbed his eyes hoping to get rid of the dried tears and looked at Serena. His muscles felt weird. He felt cold. His heart beat was crazy. Alessio was awake.

Serena. With a collar. He was shaking slightly.

"Where are we?"

He checked his surroundings. His senses were flooded with the new information. They were in a library. But that did not answer his question. Where were they? Were they still in the US? The books. What language were they? But there was a thing that caught his attention even more. On the floor next to him, his bag. And a pole lying next to his bag. His weapon.

He recalled the introduction again. Weapon, collars, the film, Mr. Graham. Graham was such a friendly person. He was so smart, he'd never imagined Graham to die. A gun, what a surreal scenario. A gun that blew the mind of an intelligent teacher away. Blowing away all the knowledge and experience, his biography.

That person who introduced them. He could not recall the name. But what he could remember, and it was hurting much to remember it, was, that he was never going to see that man again. Never.

No, don't think about it. Don't. Serena, instead. Serena is not a stranger. She could relate. She was in the same terrible situation as him. She would understand. He could understand. Looking at her, he did not feel like smiling at her the way he did when he was in school. More like crying in front of her. But he could restrain himself from doing so. It helped to not look at Serena and staring at the floor instead.
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At first it looked like it had no effect on Al, Serena was about to kick him again when he started getting up on his feet. He looked groggy and his eyes were red from crying, a far cry from the Al she knew back home. He looked around and asked where they were.

"In the library." She held out the map to him and pointed at it. "It says on the map it's on the left side, but I'm not sure this is it." He had stopped looking around as she was talking and now was looking at the floor. He was still having difficulties dealing with all of this which she was fine with, people cope in different ways, but if he tried to go back to lying down, Serena would drag him out if she had to.

She was about to ask Al if he wanted to give her plan a shot now that he has seemingly decided to not give up, when she heard something that sounded like a bell.

"You hear that?" She saw on the map that there was a bell tower on the island, but why would anyone ring it?

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"Yeah, sounds like bells."

Bells? Yeah. Perhaps, that was a sign for the announcement the terrorists told them about. They did not sound like school bells. But bells were bells. But no announcement came. Luckily. Alessio did not want to hear announcements. He did not want to know who died. He did not want to know if Vanessa died.

Alessio put his hands into his hoodie. He thought about nothing. Looking over the ground, staring at his bag. He had his stuff. Right there. Next to it, the pole. Should he pick it up? Yes. It is better to take everything you can take. Just like in video games. Take everything, loot everything, inventory management, don't waste anything. Productivity. He knew that in the end his productivity would not matter at all. He could not be materialistic when he was about to have an awful fate. But it was something he had to do, if he wanted to help himself and Serena. He bend over to pick up his bag and weapon. He checked the insides of the bag. It had his rubik's cube.

A good way to distract himself.

He put his magic cube into his hoodie pocket, slung the bag over his shoulder and leaned the pole against the book shelves. Serena knew what was happening. She had a plan. She had good news. He was ready. He wanted to be ready.

"What now?", he asked in a silent voice. A silent voice that seemed so loud due to the emptiness of the room.

Al felt a bit more secure, ready. Not smiling, not seeming happy, still down. But, he had Serena. His worrying thoughts went away, or at least he tried to ignore them. His thoughts were not isolated with himself. Focus. Focus, Al. Man the fuck up. Al looked at Serena. Straight into her eyes.
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As the bell tolled away in the background, Al gathered his things and looked at her and asked her what they were going to do. It's a weird thing when someone looks at you and asks that question, Serena wasn't used to that. It reminded her how it was back in school where you get planted in a random group and they look at you expectantly as if you had all the answers. Lucky for Al, she already had something planned.

"I think we should get to the depot and look around there, there's got to be something there I can use the keys on." It was a short term plan, nothing concrete afterwards and probably would get done within a day, but it would give them something to focus on and in Serena's case, kept her mind off what they wanted them to do.

Unfortunately for them, they didn't know where they were. Kind of a big problem if you're planning on going somewhere. "First things first though, let's look around and find out where we really are." She went and picked up her bag, slung it over her shoulder and started walking out the room before turning around towards Al. "Are you up for this?"
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