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Dramatica; G008 Start
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 07:11 PM (1,306 Views)
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((Lillian 'Lily' Caldwell continued from Christmas Tree.))

Lily felt a little better now that she was on the move. Made her feel like she had a plan. A good one. She didn't. But the illusion was there. As long as she had an immediate objective, the rest would wait.

Maybe it would have helped if she'd looked at her map, though. She had no idea about what was beyond… wherever she was.

She should stop. Get her bearings. Then she could make a better plan. One that might get her to the next sunrise.

Library. Libraries were… comforting. Not usually so dusty. But it was the sort of place Lily would have gone if this were a harmless trip like it was meant to be.

Lily walked in and saw the shape of someone curled up near a shelf.

Immediate panic. Who was it? Friend? Foe? She didn't have a plan for either, she didn't know how to deal with this, she wasn't ready—

She quickly dived behind a different shelf. She'd meant to be quiet, but in her panic she slammed the shelf with the heavy duffle bag dangling from her shoulder, and that set her off-balance, sending the rest of her slamming into the shelf too. The shelf creaked under the pressure, and for one moment Lily thought it was gonna stay in place. Then it toppled, sending up a huge cloud of dust amid the falling books. The only saving grace was that it didn't knock any other shelves over on its way down.



That had not gone to plan, whatever that plan had been. Lily was left standing in the open, frozen like a deer in the headlights.
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Lily expected, for a split second, a hail of bullets to put an end to her for this ridiculous mistake. But it didn't happen. Instead, the figure vanished before the dust settled, and she heard a voice call out. Tell her to stay away.

Lily took a step back. Wondering if she should flee. But if they wanted her to stay away, they weren't looking for a fight. She'd have to face someone eventually. She'd rather do it when she knew someone was there.

“I...” Lily's mouth felt dry. She stopped again, trying to find the moisture to speak. The dust was clogging the air and making her eyes water. She coughed, then called out quietly.

“Whoever's there, I don't want to fight,” she said. It came out meek. Like she was about to crumble at any second. She coughed again, and in an attempt at a stronger voice—it was still shaky—she added, “As long as you don't want to fight, either.”

She still had the shard of mirror from the gym in her hand. She kept it lowered, though.
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Lily felt like she might have heard that voice before, but in a passing way. Maybe having a conversation near her or something. Not someone she'd spoke to personally, or could place a face to.

“No gun. No knife.” Lily looked down at the mirror shard. “And what little I have is for defence. As long as you're not going to hurt me, I won't hurt you.”

She took a couple of steps back towards the door. Just in case this girl was lying, and had a gun.

“I just… I just want to sit down for a moment, look at my map and get my bearings. Do you mind if I do that?”

Another slow step towards the door.

“Um… my name is Lily. Lily Caldwell.” She didn't have enemies, as far as she knew. Giving her name couldn't hurt. They list killers, they said, but it wasn't as if she was… was…

But if she wanted to live, wouldn't she have to become one?

“May I ask who you are?”
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Lily saw a glimpse of the other person as she peeked out for that slight moment. That mixed with the name helped her remember. She'd seen Coleen around the library quite a lot. She was fairly sure she had seen her on stage at some point, too, though that felt like it'd been longer ago.

“Yeah, I'm a junior. You might… you might know a few of my cousins? I'm a Luz, so… just different family name.” ...She hadn't remembered her cousins were here until now. Should she look for them? Which ones were here?

Coleen had been about to say something else when someone screamed. Lily's immediate reaction had been to drop to the floor, sending up another small puff of dust, before scrambling away from the direction it'd come from.

“I… I don't know, I—ow!”

Lily had clutched the piece of mirror to her chest, but her grip had instinctively tightened on it and the sharp edges had sliced her hand open. She dropped the mirror shard and held the now bloody hand close to her, her eyes on the door closer to where the screaming had come from.

The gash in her hand was the least of her problems. That screaming could mean a lot of things, and none of them were good.
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Lily saw Coleen move positions out of the corner of her eye. That was probably a good idea. Hide. Wait. But running? That also seemed a good idea. But what if whatever had caused the screaming was out there?

These logical questions did not manifest in her mind clearly, mostly being replaced by a lot of internal screaming. Running narrowly won out, but the urge to stay still and hide only let her legs move in little, tiny steps towards the door.

Then from a nearby counter island sprang the form of Jasmine Reed. Which immediately toppled onto the floor with an amazing lack of grace.

Lily recognised her instantly, although they were not friends nor had they talked much. She mostly knew Jasmine because she was friends with Caedyn, which was reason enough for Lily to, whenever possible, give the girl a wide berth.

Really, if anyone was going to play the game, it was probably Caedyn. Did that make any friends of Caedyn guilty by association? Though, that wouldn't really excuse Lily herself, seeing as her tastes were warped enough to have once seen Caedyn as attractive and interesting.

Lily backed up a little, gingerly picking up the now bloody mirror shard from the ground, before edging back forward. Just in case. Still, a girl falling on her head the moment she appeared didn't make her seem too dangerous. Yet.

“Jasmine? ...Are you alright?” Lily asked slowly. That was asked less out of genuine concern and more because it seemed the polite thing to do when someone fell down.
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At first it was calm. Calm was good. Calm meant no-one was going to die, at least immediately. And then Jasmine just started screaming at Lily like she was a seven-foot-tall muscle-bound ax murderer.

“Wha—“ Lily followed Jasmine's gaze to the bloody hand, the bloody mirror shard. Not to mention she still had flecks of blood on her dress from Mr. Graham. “Oh! No, this isn't… I hurt my hand! Look!”

Perhaps holding out her open, gashed hand wasn't the best idea. In her rush to show Jasmine that it was her own blood, she flung out her hand a little wildly and scattered drops of blood in Jasmine's direction. Just waving her hand around made the fresh sting of the injury burn more.

As she flailed her hand around, she looked over in the direction she'd last seen Coleen. Her hand hadn't been bloody when she first walked in. Things had been calm between them before Jasmine had turned up.

“Tell her I didn't attack anyone! I just wanted to check my map!” Lily yelled in Coleen's general direction, panic and frustration entering her voice.

Her feet felt like they were glued to the floor. She didn't back away or get closer, and she didn't drop the mirror shard. She thought about it for a split second—prove she was harmless—but what if Jasmine attacked?
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Jasmine was just freaking out. It was fine. And Coleen, thankfully, was not leaving Lily to deal with this on her own. Even sounded calming and confident in what she was saying. Lily would need to thank her once everything was calmer.

But then Jasmine reached for her bag, and Lily saw a glimpse of metal.

Could have been any number of things, but all Lily thought was 'she has a gun.' Lily's immediate response to just that glimpse of metal was to raise the mirror shard a little higher and take two big steps back.

“Leave it in the bag!” Lily's voice was suddenly loud, shrill and afraid. “Don't shoot, or… or...”

Or what? Lily'd bleed on her? The best chance Lily had of taking down Jasmine—especially if she had a gun—was getting shot and bleeding enough to drown Jasmine in her own blood. If Jasmine raised that gun, it'd be too late to react.

She should attack. Not to kill, just to… kick the bag out of reach, get the weapon away from her, something so that this wouldn't end with a bullet through her chest.

But Lily couldn't summon the nerve. She just took another step back.
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Oh.

Lily had raised the shard just a little more when Jasmine pulled her hand out of the bag, thinking she was about to be shot. Because that would be it, wasn't it? And she wasn't ready to die. But it was a hammer. Just a hammer. Dangerous, possibly, but not… not a gun.

Everyone started laughing. Lily didn't laugh, exactly, but she made that awkward semi-smile. The kind that strangers usually did when passing each other to acknowledge each other but with no further conversation.

It was kind of funny. In a really sad, pathetic way.

Lily lowered the mirror shard and sat down abruptly. Her legs were shaking from… fear? Relief? They didn't want to hold her anymore. She heard Coleen laughing, or maybe crying. Lily chanced a look at her. Okay. Definitely crying. Lily looked away, because she knew that's what she preferred people do if she cried around them.

Her hand was still bleeding, so Lily slowly reached for her bag. Her hand froze halfway there, because… well, she'd just flipped out on Jasmine for doing the same thing, hadn't she?

“I'm just reaching for bandages,” she said. Her voice was shaky. Maybe a little more defensive than she'd wanted. She finished unzipping the bag and retrieved her first aid kit slowly, and started to try and figure out how one bandaged a hand.
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“I'm fine,” Lily said a little too quickly. She paused a moment, then added, “It's shallow, anyway. Just a dumb mistake.”

She didn't want anyone within an arm's length of her. Sure, it seemed like Jasmine was friendly again. But it only took one mistake. One wrong move. One moment of trusting someone she shouldn't. And Lily'd be dead. She couldn't take that chance.

Besides, she never liked help all that much. Cutting her hand open was embarrassing enough as it was.

Now that things were quiet again, she had a moment to stop. Breathe. Think. Her plan was to look at her map and get her bearings. Once she'd done that, she could figure out a new plan. One to carry her further. But to make one, she needed to know as much as possible.

Already, she was cycling through what she did know in her head. Trying to sort out the most important parts. Nothing about the collars mattered except the danger zones. She wasn't going to try and escape, not unless she thought of a way. She couldn't count on that. If she wanted to live, she'd have to kill once. But just once. She wasn't sure if she could, but that's what would be necessary. And each day, they'd announce who was dead and who killed them. So even if she wanted to kill someone, doing so too soon… that would just paint a big, red target on her back.

Lily looked at the books scattered around her—evidence of a mistake that could have easily gotten her killed—before peeking into the bag she'd brought on the trip.

They'd taken her notebooks. She thought of all the hours she'd poured into those notes, into rearranging the information so that it was easiest to revise, and felt really annoyed that the terrorists had taken that work and probably burned it. Stupid thing to get annoyed about, when she'd likely never get a chance to revise anything again. She had some tissues and a sweater. That was something. But a notebook would have been nice to keep track of the announcements when they occurred. Though, if there was anywhere she could find some paper and a pen, it was a library.

But first. Her hand. And her bearings. That's what she needed the most.

As she wiped away blood and then reached for the antiseptic wipes—a dirty mirror shard couldn't be sanitary—she spoke.

“I don't… I don't suppose either of you ever watched this game. The last time it happened, I mean,” Lily said slowly. Lily hadn't. Of course she hadn't, because this game was disgusting. But she was really wishing she had, now. Just so she'd know. Know how people tended to behave, know what strategies had worked the best for kids before them.
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“Why else? I want to know what I should expect.”

She winced as she worked at disinfecting her hand. Now that she could see it better, although the cut wasn't too deep it was in a terrible place. Anything she did with that hand was going to hurt for the next several days. Possibly the rest of her life. She also, to be honest, had no idea if she was doing this right. This was Emma's thing, not hers.

“The terrorists might have given us the basic layout of the game, but they didn't tell us enough. Rules are one thing. But knowing how the survivors… well, survived? That'd be useful. But even that clip—“

Lily paused for a moment, remembering the boy onscreen who'd gotten shot by his friend. He'd turned his back, and the other boy had gunned him down. Revulsion rippled through her, and she tried to forget the grisly details. She noticed that Graham's blood was still on her dress. She tried to forget that, too.

“All that clip taught us was 'don't turn your back to anyone,'” Lily continued. “It's not enough.”

She wondered what her parents thought of all this. She wondered if they'd already decided she was a lost cause. After all, they didn't even have faith in her ability to get to school and back without suffering a horrible accident, let alone this. Even amongst just her cousins she was outmatched. All her cousins were athletic and the majority of them were raised by preppers.

She looked over at Coleen, who had curled up on the sofa. Back at Jasmine, who was in a similar position on the floor. Lily wondered why she wasn't curling up as well. By all rights, she should be.

She wrapped her hand lightly, enough to stop the bleeding, and grimaced at the shoddy job. “That'll do,” she muttered under her breath, before packing away her first aid kit. She grabbed her map before closing her bag and hoisting the strap over her shoulder. Then she gestured at the office behind where Jasmine had popped out.

“You mind if I look in that office over there? The terrorists took my notebooks and pens.”
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“That's fine,” Lily said. She didn't mind the idea of Jasmine following. At least it meant no surprises.

Jasmine invited Coleen along, too. Coleen apparently hadn't been listening. She seemed a little confused and scattered. Maybe in shock about circumstances?

Lily just gestured at the little office again. “Right there. I want to look for pens and paper. It's not even out of the library. You can stay on the sofa if it's more comfortable.”

She stepped around the counter Jasmine had appeared over. As she did, Jasmine and Coleen were momentarily behind her. Lily almost immediately turned so she was facing them, edging somewhat backwards instead.

“I woke up in a nearby gym. All the equipment had long since rusted, and it looked… old. I'm not sure how old, but not modern.” She waved her map a little before looking at it. “And judging by this, we're in some sort of recreational quarters for staff of an old asylum.” Under her breath, she muttered, “As if they needed to pick somewhere creepy for this.”

She had her hand fixed and her bearings now. So next… some paper and a pen. And then…

And then…

She stepped into the tiny office, probably a place to keep track of who'd borrowed what books. She didn't see a computer. That could mean multiple things. Maybe the terrorists took any tech, or maybe this place had never had such tech to begin with. She hoped it was the latter, because then they would have to use paper and pens to keep track of books borrowed.

She started to check around the room. But the entire time, she tried not to turn her back to the others.
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“Yes, it is lame,” Lily agreed absently.

Jasmine was obviously faking her cheeriness. Lily wasn't sure how she felt about that. Probably better than if she was genuine about it. Someone would have to be mad to be happy about being in this game. Jasmine's fake cheer and Coleen's varying levels of control in the last few minutes made Lily feel like she'd wandered onto a stage. Though, glancing at the nearby camera, she supposed that wasn't far from the truth. A play where none of the actors had been given the script.

Coleen hadn't followed them in. Lily glanced at her position before continuing searching. It was cramped in here as it was, anyway. Jasmine was already too close for comfort.

At Jasmine's question, Lily paused for a moment. She knew a lot of reasons she could want paper. But she wasn't sure if she wanted to tell Jasmine what she had in mind. Not because Jasmine would object, but just because anything smart she told Jasmine might be picked up by her, too. And the more people playing this smart meant the more people upping their survival chances. And their chances going up meant that Lily's was going down.

Lily glanced at Jasmine, who was looking in a drawer and managing to keep Lily within her sight too. She'd clearly already taken the advice about not turning her back. Lily stayed quiet for a moment longer, then sighed.

“I want the paper for a lot of reasons. I want to write down the announcements when they happen, so I can keep track of the danger zones and—“ Lily's voice faltered for a moment, “And who's killing. Who's dead.” She took a breath before continuing with a more steady voice. “I also want to take inventory on what I have on that bag and keep notes on what I'm running low on, so that I'm forewarned before any shortages become a big problem. And that aside, writing down things in general helps me keep my thoughts clear.”

If Jasmine had already caught on to advice about not turning her back, then something as small as 'remembering stuff easier' was hardly going to make a difference. Besides, there was a difference between staying logical and just being rude.
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Lily wrinkled her nose when Jasmine brought up Caedyn. She didn't like the idea of Caedyn talking about her to other people, whether it was complimentary or not. Caedyn had seen a lot more of Lily than Lily was comfortable, in retrospect. Even if no-one would care about most of it, just the idea that she could tell others—

Although maybe cold would be a good quality in this game.

Looking in one of the drawers, Lily found an old notepad. It was a bit mouldy around the edges, and under normal circumstances Lily would just throw it away. But it was likely the best she'd get on this island. Now she just needed a pen, and Jasmine seemed to have found one.

Lily reached out to take it, and her hand froze as movement caught the corner of her eye. Through the open doorway, she saw Coleen flee the room.

Lily had… mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, one less person was one less potential danger. On the other hand, at least Lily hadn't assumed Coleen was about to shoot her only minutes before. And now she was alone with Jasmine. Jasmine, friend of Caedyn.

For all she knew, maybe Jasmine was just waiting until she wasn't outnumbered.

Lily squinted slightly at Jasmine, her hand still outstretched and frozen in place. Then she slowly retracted her hand without taking the pen, instead tearing off a sheet of paper and putting it down nearby.

Really, she didn't think Jasmine was likely to attack her. Not at this moment. Jasmine was as scattered as Lily was, probably even more so. But it just didn't hurt to be careful.

“Check, if you're not sure. I'm going to keep looking.” Lily nodded her head at the now empty library. “Coleen ran off, though. I don't like the idea of lingering here.”
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“Looks like it's on the edge of running out. I'm going to keep looking,” Lily said.

She could tell from the grumpiness in Jasmine's voice that she'd noticed the slight. Or perhaps was peeved about Coleen leaving. Either way.

“Well, we're all hostages. And at the same time, we're also the ones expected to kill each other, so in a sense we're also filling the role of the, uh… hostage taker. Except for the part where the terrorists are holding a gun to our head so we'll do that.”

Right. So, if Lily… if Lily had to kill someone, it wouldn't be her fault. She was a hostage. That's what she needed to do to live.

And there, in a drawer. Jackpot. A few pencils, with varying degrees of sharpness. Lily tested one on the notepad. Also faint, but a pencil couldn't run dry. She put a couple on the table near Jasmine, as well as tearing off a good amount of the notepad and putting it there.

“In case you want it,” she said.

She couldn't find the words to say that she was sorry about being so distrusting. No hard feelings. That's just the game. Maybe the notepad and pencils would be enough to show that. She put her half of the notepad inside her bag, along with the pencils, before slipping past Jasmine carefully.

“I'm going to go, too,” Lily said. She only said this once she was clear of Jasmine. “I'm sure you have your own… things… you want to do?”

Jasmine might want to look for Caedyn. Lily definitely didn't want to be around for that. She still had to decide whether she wanted to find her cousins. The idea made her stomach squirm for a lot of reasons.
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“You’re… welcome?”

Those words were the closest she had to fit the scenario. Lily didn’t know what Jasmine was thanking her for. People didn’t stop other people just to say thanks for a piece of paper. Or for not stabbing someone. But maybe she didn’t want to know.

Lily meant to say ‘see you later’ as well. She opened her mouth, paused for a moment, then closed it and ended up leaving without another word.

Why jinx it?

((Lillian ‘Lily’ Caldwell continued in Heel-And-Toe.))
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