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The Calm Before the Storm; Open, Tagging Medic~
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 05:50 PM (1,040 Views)
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((G043: Clarice Halwood – START))

Clarice was someone who was generally very expressive about her anger. About when she thought something was wrong, or bad, or whatever. Anyone who'd made a joke at the expense of a minority group near her—Bradley, in particular—knew that it was a surefire way to get her stomping over to tell them just how wrong they were. And maybe, sometimes, she wasn't the best at controlling her anger, even if she always stopped short of punching anyone.

Clarice prided herself on being straightforward. On being unafraid to confront what was bothering her.

How did you confront something like this?

So she was angry, yes. She was afraid. Fuck, she was about ready to shit herself. But none of the emotion was really… coming out. It was just bottled inside her, because she just didn't know how to express it. She could feel it tightening in her throat and prickling at her eyes, but it didn't come out.

Even as she stared at the can of air freshener that was her only weapon.

Sick fucks.

Clarice stared at the can, then back in her bag. Food. Meds. A small bag that she'd brought on the field trip. Her camera had been taken. Her phone. Anything she could write with. They'd only left a packaged lunch. After some consideration, Clarice transferred the packaged lunch to the main bag before tossing her regular bag aside.

“...Shit,” she muttered after a while. It came out more as a whimper. It was all she could get out. All the anger and fear was just burbling up in her throat like bile, and she needed to… needed to something. Yell, scream, cry.

She'd opened her mouth, perhaps to do so, when another scream tore through the area instead, completely taking the wind out of her sails.

Clarice looked down at the can of air freshener before sticking it into her jean pocket. She picked up her bag and headed for the screaming. Following the path lined with barbed wire, the cliffface dropping sharply away into the ocean beyond.

Fuck, the ocean was big. Big and sparkly and such a weird fucking thing to notice right now, but she'd never seen the ocean before in person. How could she, when she'd never been further than Kayenta? This was not the way she'd wanted to see it.

The screaming had tailed off into a lot of crashing noises. The fence was shaking a little, the shaking getting heavier the closer she got to the screaming. At which point, Clarice got close enough to see her rather sweet, even-tempered boyfriend trying to smash the shit out of the fence with a freaking halberd.

Clarice didn't hide. She totally didn't hide. Maybe she took a couple of steps back, watching Conrad go to town on the fence, which held sturdy despite the aforementioned freaking halberd. She waited, and maybe she clung onto her bag strap just a little tighter than normal.

And when he seemed to calm down, and he swore, she cautiously took a step forward again.

“You done?”
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Clarice clung back. Okay. Conrad was still Conrad, he hadn't flipped his shit entirely. That was something. After squeezing him tightly for a moment she loosened her hold a little.

“Sucks, huh?”

Understatement of the century. God, this more than sucked. Her and Conrad and… jesus, was Scout here, too? Which of her friends were? Which had stayed behind? Her mind lagged a little. She couldn't remember who had and hadn't been on the trip.

“Well, we couldn't have known. It's bullshit, though.”

Clarice let go and moved out of the hug before Conrad. She needed to move. As comforting as a hug could be, staying still—trapped—right now made her uneasy.

She shook her hands as she paced about, like she was drying them. Just so she could do something with them. It still didn't feel quite real, like she'd wake up any second now. Fuck. Moving back and forth past the barbed wire.

Something glinted in the light nearby. A camera at the base of part of the fence, blending into the metallic background, the sunlight shining off it. Clarice stared at it for a moment, then looked away. Sick fucks.

She had the overpowering urge, for a split second, to just… kick the camera. Smash that stupid glass in. Those sick fucks, using such an amazing medium such as film for such a fucking disgusting purpose. If she'd already been holding a weapon, she really might have smashed the camera to pieces.

But in the time it took her to pull her foot back she came to her senses. Remembered the rules. Death might be inevitable, but that was just senseless. Instead, she did a weird, awkward little hop, put her foot back down and turned back to Conrad.

“Yeah, I don't have a fucking clue.”
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Clarice's expression on watching Conrad basically beg the cameras for freedom was one of irritated, slightly embarrassed confusion. Even if there had been a chance of them listening, begging the terrorists for freedom—or watching Conrad do it on her behalf—made her stomach turn.

“Ugh, don't even bother with that,” she said, her voice coming out harsh. “They're not gonna kill thousands of children then let us go because we asked nicely. They're probably getting off on it. And don't go smashing shit, they'll just kill you.” She said that last part in a tone that suggested that she totally hadn't been about to kick that camera.

She dug her fingers into the fence, pressing her face against it and peering out at the ocean glittering in the sunlight. She couldn't see it completely, because the stupid fence obscured it.

“Besides, we ain't the only two here. I gotta find Scout, if she's around. Dad and Debbie'll kill me if I don't.” She paused, then awkwardly said, “Not the best turn of phrase to use right now.” She made a face. “I do wanna find people, but there's gonna be some idiots who start shooting.” There were a lot of people she wouldn't put it past. And as much as she'd love to believe her class was the exception to a rule proven five times over...

She glanced at the halberd Conrad held in his grip. For a split second, she felt jealous that he'd gotten an actual weapon. Then she felt relieved. At least she couldn't be tempted to use something she didn't have. But then again, there was a difference between murder and defending oneself. But then again times two, how did she find the line between defending herself and murder when the weapon in question was a fucking halberd?

“Isn't that heavy?”
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Clarice grimaced as she stared through the fence.

“Won't do much against a gun. But it's scary-looking. Maybe that'll help.”

Clarice knew from past experience chasing bullies away from kids that looking scary counted for a lot when it came to fights. Sometimes it would end them before they could really start.

She removed the can of air freshener from her pocket, holding it up. “It's better than this, at least. What am I going to do? Defend myself with the fucking pine-fresh scent of… whatever?! Shit, just… shit!”

She started pacing again, more agitated than ever, her voice getting louder the longer she spoke.

“Fuck, Conrad, what the fuck can we even do?! Every time we find someone it'll be a risk, they're not all just gonna let us hold hands and sing Kumba-fucking-ya! It's bullshit! It's fucking bullshit!”

Clarice threw her hands in the air before wheeling around to glare at the fence and the ocean beyond.

“And this… this barbed wire fence in front of the ocean is way too fucking on the nose!” she yelled, waving her hands at it. “Fucking… cinematography symbolism bullshit is what it is! Fuck!”

She wouldn't fucking film a murder island like this. Not that she'd film one at all.
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“...Are you out of your fucking mind?”

Clarice had never believed in mincing words.

“Are you seriously considering playing? Because that's what you just fucking said,” Clarice said, turning towards him with the furious expression normally reserved for Bradley and his bullshit. “Y'know, if you want us to play the game at least say 'let's play the game,' don't fucking try to get around the fact that it's what you'll be doing.

“But hey. Because why not, huh? Except for the fact that outlasting everyone means either watching our friends and family die or full-on murdering them ourselves. The fact that it means we will be doing exactly what those sick jerk-off sons of bitches want, that it'll just be proving that their stupid game works. And the fact that the two of us 'outlasting'—“ At this point, Clarice sketched fake quotation marks in the air. “—everyone else means that one of us is going to have to kill the other. Although I guess that'll be a fucking guaranteed victory for you, because you can be damn sure I'm not gonna kill you!”

She took a deep breath, and then yelled, “Fuck that! I'm not playing!” She crossed her arms and glared at him. “But if that's the way you're going, we got a problem. I swear to all that's not shit, you are so much more 'con' than 'rad' right now.”
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“Well, they have it their way and winning and not dying will be the same thing,” Clarice said grumpily. Her anger was quickly cooling again. She had to believe Conrad had just said that without really thinking. He wasn't going to kill anyone. Fuck, she had better taste in men than ones who started murdering the moment the option came up.

Her frustration increased again once Conrad started trying to talk to the cameras once more. The terrorists were probably laughing at them, and fuck if she wanted to give them anything else to grin over.

“They're not gonna listen! Cameras ain't gonna do shit!” Clarice snapped.

She pressed her face back against the fence. Really, it wasn't as if everything Conrad had said was completely stupid. It wasn't so much 'outlasting' that she had an issue with. It was outlasting at the expense of everyone else.

“Maybe there is some way to wait this out as a whole. Not until we're the last two, but… if we find everyone left who's not going to be an idiot and… fuck, I don't know. Maybe there's some way we can wait until help comes. I mean, it won't be like the last time this happened, right? People will know when our bus doesn't come back that… that… y'know?”

It was a long shot, but it was better than playing. It was better than going along with their shit. And if they gathered everyone, and unanimously agreed to lay down arms…

Well, the terrorists would probably kill them. It wasn't an idea that appealed to Clarice, either. She wasn't big on being martyrs if it could be avoided. But it was a start. It was better than killing each other. Better than letting this game run like it always had. Like it always would if everyone always fell into the same trap.

“How many abandoned islands can there be?” she muttered under her breath. Someone had to be looking. Maybe if they found a way to make this game run longer. But they couldn't do that unless everyone was on the same page.
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Clarice had been about to say something about how, sure, there were a lot of islands, but most of them probably didn't have enough intact structures. But Conrad trailed off before he finished, his attention elsewhere. Clarice moved away from the fence and took a step back so she could see.

Ah. Isabel. Clarice did not like Isabel, under normal circumstances. She was a petty bully, and there wasn't much Clarice disliked more than that.

But, even as Clarice moved forward a little, carefully putting herself between Conrad and Isabel—and she couldn't have really said who she was protecting, if anyone—she didn't think Isabel was the sort to fly off the handle too fast, either. She was a verbal bully, not a physical one.

So Clarice slipped the can of air freshener into her pocket before showing her empty hands to Isabel. Her expression was noticeably annoyed, but not hostile.

“It's fine. We're not playing. Are we, Conrad?”

That last sentence came with a warning glance in Conrad's direction, and a slight hint of steel in the tone.

“No-one's getting hurt here,” she said to Isabel. “Fair?”
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“Talking shit about people might not have made you my favourite person ever, but… well, it's a lesser evil compared to the assholes who run the game any day. So water under the bridge, yeah?”

She kind of wrinkled her nose at the word 'surviving.' Because, yes, obviously surviving was good. But in this context, surviving could mean… well, being the sort of person that puts themselves first, who'd do whatever it took to survive even if that meant hurting someone else. Or dozens of other people. Clarice didn't want to do that. Didn't want to be that kind of person.

While Conrad spoke, Clarice started fiddling around with her bag so she could pull the map out. Once she had the map out she sat down, examining it closely.

Not a big island. In theory, shouldn't be hard to find Scout or anyone else she needed to. Of course, if Scout was on the move or found a good hiding spot it might be different.

“Yeah, ideas are hard. I think gathering everyone who won't fight in one group is the way to go, but that'll take time and whenever we talk to anyone it'll be a risk. Not everyone's gonna stay sane about this.”

Clarice glanced up at the two. Now they were three, and that meant any one attacker would have that to consider when considering an attack at all. Could make them reconsider without ever resorting to a fight, just like having a scary weapon could. And unlike a scary weapon, there could no temptation to steal a person.

“But I think grouping up is the right move. It'll dissuade any attackers, and anyone playing the game will have a harder time finding allies,” Clarice said, looking back down at the map. “You can stay with us if you want.”
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Isabel seemed alright with being friendly, with teaming up, so that was good. Clarice wasn't sure what would happen when people weren't amiable to teaming up. Would they just leave? Would they attack? Would they die elsewhere? Who knew.

As she poured over her map, Clarice heard a new greeting and glanced up. Maria. Clarice knew Maria, though not too well. Mostly, she knew that she had a cooking channel on Youtube, though Clarice had never personally watched it. Other than that, she seemed alright.

Clarice raised a hand. “Hey! We're friendly. Stick around, if you want.” Then she went back to her map.

Anyone open to teaming up was probably fine, at least for the moment. Safety in numbers. And if Clarice didn't go around trusting people, how could she expect them to trust her? Or anyone else?

That's how this game worked. She had never personally watched SotF—because ew—but she'd read a bit on it. It was, from a theoretical standpoint, a really good example of what the film medium could do. Main problem is that it was real. But she knew enough to gather that a breakdown of trust was a big part of it. She assumed it was the major point. After all, whatever the terrorists wanted, it probably helped if everyone back home was looking at each other and wondering 'would they kill me to save their own skin?'

This island didn't have all that much to offer. An old mental asylum, it seemed. Little else. But there was one place that was of interest to Clarice. The bell tower. A big, tall and noisy thing.

Clarice looked up and pointed in the general direction of the bell tower, although she had to ballpark it a little.

“I think the bell tower might be the best place. We want to gather everyone who's not willing to fight, right? So we need a big, noisy thing to draw them all to one place. Get up there, RING RING RING and everyone'll know something's going down, right?”

Whatever that 'something' was. But hey, one step at a time, right?
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((Posting before Conrad with R.C's permission to leave.))

“Huh? Hey, where—Isabel, wait!”

But she was already gone.

It kind of ruined the point of gathering everyone when people were already leaving the group. But Isabel said she might rejoin later. Clarice supposed that was something. She'd just have to hope no-one got to Isabel in the meantime. There were a lot of people who might take issue with Isabel out there. And even if she was a bitch, she didn't deserve to die for some petty words.

Isabel couldn't have put Clarice's view better, though. The longer they waited, the longer people had to snap and turn into the killers that Survival of the Fittest produced. But most of them didn't just start that way. If it was that easy, most of them probably would have already killed someone. Right now, people would be scattered, lost and scared.

And the sooner she acted, the sooner she could stop anyone from dying.

“It has to be done now. Before people have time to panic,” Clarice said. “I'm sure right now no-one wants to play. And there's just no time for subtle. By the time we think of something 'subtle' a good chunk of our classmates will be dead, and the others really will be playing.”

She looked between Conrad, who had yet to say anything—she was sure he'd follow her, though—and Maria—much less sure, given that they'd barely ever talked. She nodded her head at the bell tower.

“I'm going for it. If you don't want to come, that's fine. Hide or something. I'll come back if it goes okay. But I gotta do this while there's still a chance it might work.”

At which point, she started off on a brisk jog towards the bell tower. She could just see it in the distance.

((Clarice Halwood continued in 人生の曲.))
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