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Thirteen Steps; Open! :3
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 09:49 PM (1,152 Views)
Grim Wolf
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Okay. Okay. Everything looking peaceful, more or less. Gun was away, no one was fighting, no one ewas dying. Good. Good.

How long are we going to keep this up?

She rose from her place on the ground, flushing slightly, suddenly and strangely embarassed. Haha sorry about that just thought you might be someone about to kill me lol). She considered apologizing, and-

And she wasn't terrified anymore, so Astrid's words actually reached her brain and clicked together. She blinked. "Courtesy," ehe said. "I...guess. More-" She trailed off, eyes flickering to Ty and Harold. "Uh," she said. "Sorry, I was...I heard you guys. You sounded...like people worth talking to, I guess?" She shrugged. "So I...yeah."
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Emprexx Plush
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Well. Weren't this nice and cozy. Before he could swear and pull his dumb ass back into the room, Harold had cowboy'd out with his sword and made peace with their lurker. So here they were, four kids who seemed to mostly barely fucking know each other, standing around armed in an abandoned mental hospital. Seemed like a hell of a time to have a chat. Why not stumble up to the first people you hear? Why not not mosey out to talk up the girl with the gun? What could go wrong with that?

God, it really was ironic that he'd woken up here. If they got out of this somehow, it was sure to make an alcoholic out of him. He'd made friends with too many trusting people and one of them was gonna get a hole blown through them by the end of the day if they were all out acting like this.

Best not to think about it. It wasn't likely they were all safe, but until he heard otherwise it'd help him stay sane. He cocked an eyebrow at Lizzie's explanation as he reached out to offer a hand to help her up. "That a fact? 'spose there's a first time for everything, then."
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dmboogie
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Harold nodded to Astrid as she stowed away her gun. It'd be unreasonable to ask her to completely disarm herself, and this way she'd be unable to catch anyone inside the room by surprise. Worst came to worst and another, less amicable intruder burst in, Astrid'd probably be the one best-equipped to defend everyone. Well, assuming she didn't just slip outside in the chaos; Harold didn't exactly peg her as the altruistic type. That was probably unfair, but Harold hoped regardless that she wouldn't have to prove herself either way; and they could all just peacefully go on with their lives.

He walked into the room just ahead of Astrid, shot Ty a thumbs up to reaffirm that everything was cool. Harold gladly set the sword back down by Ty's pack where he had found it. There'd be an obvious imbalance of power in the room so long as he carried it, and it made him nervous besides.

Lizzie seemed to have thankfully settled down a bit, in that she was now standing next to Ty without flinching. Harold wasn't exactly sure he got her rationale for stopping by, and he didn't see what about his conversation with Ty had been noteworthy at all, but he guessed he should just be glad for the vote of confidence. Back to the conversation at hand.

"I dunno, Ty. I mean, technically speaking, we are on a debate team. We're just emphatically arguing that our opponent's body should be pinned down against the mat instead of like, talking about gun control," Harold said with a shrug.
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Grim Wolf
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[breaking post order with permission]

First time for everything. Right. First time for lofty thoughts, first time for trust, first time for collars on your neck and death nipping at your heels.

She raised her hand again, grazed the rigid circle of metal with her fingertips.

"Gun control," she said, and snickered. Hands flew from the collar and to her mouth. "Sorry," she said. "Ever since I got here, I just can't-"

She snickered again. Gun control. It was funny, because a man had already been shot in front of them. It was funny because who knew how many of their fellow classmates would get guns, would choose to shoot.

It had happened before. It had happened five times before.

"So you guys...you don't think you'll kill?" she asked, looking between them.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

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Pippin
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Astrid strode further into the room, still keeping a watchful eye on the three other people occupying it, doing her best to maintain an outwards aura of confidence, the same assured nature everyone back at school knew her for. She seemed to have been allowed in without much further questioning. Ty’s question as to what her name was had hung in the air for merely a few moments before dying away. Good. It was better that way, really, if her name remained anonymous to even a few people.

The arrangement of chairs in the centre of the room looked as though they were meant to emulate an AA meeting, like something she’d seen out of a film or a TV show. Thanks to the state of the asylum, however, with its dust and dirt littering the floor, and with walls that looked as though they would collapse under the slightest bit of pressure, Astrid felt more like she’d just walked in early to the meeting of some Satanic cult. All this room needed was a couple of giant chalk pentagrams, maybe a few candles and some decapitated goat heads.

Astrid took a seat regardless, directly facing the door, giving her a clear view of the room and her classmates within it. She leaned back in her chair, slightly, heart leaping to her mouth briefly, as it made a creaking sound in protest. She folded her arms and said nothing, simply keeping one eyebrow raised as she listened to her erstwhile companions.

None of what they were saying made sense to her. The two guys were talking to each other like they would have back at home, as if this situation had barely affected them, that they were perfectly content to stick together even with the knowledge that at least one of them would die in the next few days. As for Lizzie, she was just speaking in fragments, emotions changing from syllable to syllable, ebbing and flowing like the tides. Her mental state seemed just as stable as the water’s surface. Even with two imposing wrestlers in the same room as her, Lizzie was the person Astrid was keeping the most watchful eye on. The only thing she could trust the other girl with was being unpredictable, and that easily made her more dangerous than Tyler with his sword. The sooner she could get out of this room the better.

She’d just wanted to see whether this group could have provided anything for her. Aside from an insight into their mindsets, it didn’t look as though they would. Now she needed to make sure she didn’t get attached to them.

Lizzie’s final question piqued her interest, however. Maybe it was just the way it was phrased. It wasn’t ‘are you guys players?’ or ‘have you got any other weapons on you that you might try and murder me with?’ It was asking them to predict the future, for them to take their mental state and capabilities from the beginning of day one and apply them to further down the line, when God knows what might happen. Astrid couldn’t help but snort in derision.

“Let’s not make any hasty assumptions, shall we?” Astrid said, bitter humour etched into her words. She looked at Ty and Harold, fixing them with a hard stare.

“You two seem at least somewhat intelligent. Surely you both know what your answer should be, right?”
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dmboogie
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Whoops. 'Gun Control' had been a bit on-the-nose there, though Harold supposed it was relevant in a sort of darkly comedic way. The future would be much brighter if they could just, like, use a giant magnet to collect all the guns on the island. Actually, no, bad idea; their collars and attached bodies would be dragged along for the ride too.

Astrid had made herself at home while they'd been talking, seating herself at the 'head' of the room, so to speak. She seemed relaxed, leaning back in her chair like that. Almost looked like she was a judge, presiding over their discussion. Weird to see, but it made sense. She was the one with the gun, after all.

Lizzie had gotten straight to the point with her question to all who had gathered at the Murder-ees Anonymous meeting, and Astrid had broken her silence as well. Subject matter aside, Harold found it almost funny how transparently they had worded their questions. Both obviously had an expectation of a "right" answer, both already knew what they wanted to hear. Well, you couldn't get through life without disappointing someone.

"Seems like you're making some pretty big assumptions yourself, Astrid," Harold said with a shrug. "Can't say I've ever gotten along with people who define 'intelligent' as 'agreeing with me', 'specially if you're trying to argue that obviously we should all be bashing each other's heads in right now. To answer your question, Lizzie - no, I'm sure as heck not planning to kill anyone. I'm not sayin' I'm gonna just lay down and die, but trust me, there're plenty of ways to defend yourself without getting anyone killed; not to mention, y'know, using my words." Maybe that wasn't the most eloquent expression of the benefits of clear communication, but whatever, Harold was getting annoyed.

"If anyone ends up dead because of me, it'll be because I messed up, plain and simple."
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Astrid sat in her seat, the only movement coming from the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed, controlled and steady, another façade of calmness and an attempt at being in control.

She watched Harold as he spoke, trying to maintain a stoic look on her face, but she had never been great at hiding her feelings and views from people, and her stare had that familiar condescending, dismissive edge to it.

She felt the sinking feeling in her gut grow larger and larger as she realised just where Harold was going with this and that the next time she would hear about him it would be as a tally mark beside a player’s list of kills.

Astrid let out a long, disappointed sigh, still unable to prevent it from becoming shaky towards the tail end. She didn’t want him to die. She didn’t want anyone to die. She didn’t know Harold, but he didn’t deserve that, she was sure. There was almost no-one she could think of that did deserve to die out here, and the prospect of having to do that with her own two hands was something that would haunt her for the rest of her life, she was certain.

But that was the only thing she could do, and it was maddening that Harold couldn’t see that. It was physically impossible to get out of here without having to kill someone first; people didn’t kill? Then everyone died. You somehow, by some miracle, reached the end without killing anyone, without people labelling you an easy target? Astrid didn’t really want to think about what the terrorists would do to you in that case, after making a mockery of their entire proceedings. This was their game. The only way to win would be to play.

It’d be like ripping off a band aid. Do it quickly, and try to ignore the pain that comes with it.

“It’s funny, you know,” Astrid said, trying her best to recapture the way she spoke back at Kingman, but only getting a pale imitation of her voice instead. “How you say you don’t want to just lie down and die? Because to me, that’s exactly what it sounds like you’re planning on doing.”

Astrid tipped the chair back forwards, coming back to rest on all four legs with a gentle clunk sound. She locked eyes with Harold and fixed him with a steely glare.

“So you’re only gonna kill if you fuck up badly? What if someone brandishing a machete and more fluid morals is coming at you? Or at one of your friends? What are you going to do then? What if they can’t be talked down? Sooner or later, something like that’s gonna happen to you, and you know what? I really don’t want me saying ‘I told you so’ to be the last thing you think of.”

Astrid slowly stood up, still keeping her vision fixed on Harold. She didn’t feel safe seated anymore. She was too vulnerable, too much at ease, not positioned to reach her gun in time. Words tumbled out of her mouth like they didn’t belong there, trying to expel them as quickly as possible and not caring what they actually were.

“I’m going to end up killing someone,” she continued. “I don’t know who. I don’t know when. But it’s going to happen. I’m not… I’m not dying here. I can’t. I’ve…”

Astrid realised she was beginning to shake. Her breath was hurried and shallowed. She felt very cold all of a sudden.

“I can’t die yet.”
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dmboogie
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Harold clenched his fists, glaring at Astrid. Had to take a few deep breaths to stop himself from yelling at her about her sheer callousness. The hardest part? She wasn't wrong, not entirely. Everything she said had been questions he'd been trying to avoid thinking about.

Harold didn't want to die, but he knew he couldn't kill. He couldn't kill, but he couldn't let anyone get killed in front of him, either. The only way out without killing or being killed was escaping, but Harold didn't have a clue where to even start with that without getting his head exploded.

In the end, the best he could hope for was to try and live in a way he wouldn't regret for however many remaining days he had. Harold had already made his decision, hadn't he? Back when he first woke up? All that mattered was figuring out "the right thing" to do, and rolling with that for as long as could. Someone had to do it, try and change the narrative away from Evil's vision of "humans are inherently cruel and evil" back towards the reality of "humanity can always light a candle in the darkness."

Much as sometimes wished otherwise, Harold wasn't a superhero. He couldn't fix this. Even his greatest strength, his body, just served to make him more "fit" in Evil's eyes. He couldn't let that discourage him, though. Harold had his morals, had an idea of what justice meant. Everything else was just noise. If there's only one outcome you can accept, that's what you need to work towards, to hell with practicality and mortality.

People like Astrid - their philosophy infuriated Harold, but he couldn't hate them, not now. Astrid hadn't actually done anything yet, had she? On the surface, she'd wholly accepted Evil's game, had already decided that her life mattered to her than anything else; but those were just words. She could be telling the truth, could just be trying to cope. Harold didn't know her well enough to try and decide which was more likely - but he couldn't take action against her now for something she might do it the future.

In any case, it was clear Astrid wasn't the type to listen to moralistic sermons on the inherent value of human life. Whether she damned herself or had a change of heart; it'd ultimately be up to her. It was pointless for Harold to try and intervene.

"Sure, right. You're the only one who can't die yet. Whatever helps you sleep at night," Harold said bitterly, looking away from Astrid and turning to face Ty. Even if he couldn't hate Astrid, her self-centeredness still irritated him. His words were petty and unproductive, and in an ideal world he'd have the patience to try and come up with a more diplomatic response, but right now Harold just wanted to get away from her. "Let's go, Ty. You probably shouldn't stay here either, Lizzie."

He left.

((Harold Porter doesn't want to hear any more of this.))
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Grim Wolf
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Lizzie smiled at Harold. Yeah, that was what she wanted to hear. She wanted to know she wasn't alone in being scared. She wanted to know that there was someone else with that desperate, stomach-deep exhilaration at the prospect that she could die at any moment. She wanted to know that there was someone else who had realized...

Had realized what?

"I’m going to end up killing someone. I don’t know who. I don’t know when. But it’s going to happen. I’m not… I’m not dying here. I can’t. I’ve…"

Her eyes flashed towards Astrid, widening in shock.

"I can't die yet."

Harold and Ty made to leave, They seemed to share her apprehension, her revulsion, towards Astrid. Harold said as much. Said everything she was thinking.

But Lizzie couldn't let them go that easily. Her head was too full.

"Hey, guys?" she called, when they were halfway out the door. "Just...you know..." She felt color flushing, her eyes flashing between them. "You're good people," she said. "Like...like, really good." Her eyes rested on Ty. "Remember that, okay? Just...whatever happens. You're good."

Silence, as the boys left. Silence, as Lizzie ignored Harold's good advice. She was staring at Astrid.

"Yes," she said. "You can. We can." She felt oddly calm. She didn't even feel the need to laugh. She was just watching the other girl, the girl so determined to live she didn't hear how terribly idiotic she sounded.

"Doesn't matter," Lizzie said. "You saw that room. We're all here. Lotta people are gonna think like you. You gonna kill them all?"
Edited by Grim Wolf, Sep 20 2016, 10:52 AM.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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Emprexx Plush
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Welp. So much for cozy. Little Miss Creepy decided to saunter in and start talking about death and killing and that was about that. Ty didn't have patience to deal with this without things going hot, and...with at least one gun in the mix, you didn't want things to go hot. Not right now. 'cuz the fact of the matter was, he didn't think she'd do anything. She was just some crazy, selfish kid staring down the barrel for the first time. Probably used to bein' right and feeling like she had everything figured out.

But if she had the guts to actually hurt anyone, they wouldn't be standing around making small talk. She would have just shot Lizzie here out in the hall, and come for Ty and Harry next. Thank god it hadn't happened, but that's how things would have played out if she was a threat. Right now, she was just a little girl talking too big for her own gut. Ty didn't have any patience or care for that kind of nonsense, especially not here, but it wasn't his job to straighten her out. Wasn't his job to look after her, or anybody but him and his. And as it turned out, his was headed out the door.

Ty took a deep breath, shook his head, and followed Harry out. Not their problem. Let it go.

Let it go.

((Ty Yazzie continued in By the time you hear the next pop, the funk shall be within you))
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Grim Wolf
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[Skipping in order to exit]

She stared into Astrid's face. Her eyes softened. "Doesn't look like it," Lizzie said. "I don't think you should, even if you could."

She moved past her. "None of us can die yet," Lizzie said. "None of us should die yet."

And what did you do to live? What was the alternative, with a gun in your hand and a collar in your neck?

Easy to talk big. Harder to figure out what the fuck you were supposed to do, to make it real.

(Eliza Luz continued in We're Here Because We're Here)
Edited by Grim Wolf, Oct 3 2016, 04:19 PM.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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Pippin
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Astrid forced herself to take deeper, slower breaths, to try and will her heart to stop beating so fast and to build a wall in front of the emotional outburst that was threatening to overflow and spill out of her. She’d never been an actress. It was enough of a task for her to fool other people as to what she was really feeling, let alone trying to fool herself. So she didn’t, 99% of the time. Astrid spoke her mind, even when people didn’t want to hear it.

Now, she really needed to fool everyone into thinking she was that same Astrid, that same cold-hearted, stuck up, arrogant bitch, the way she knew people talked about her when they thought she couldn’t hear. Her breathing eventually slowed. She folded her arms, put the steely glare back on her face, and sat back down.

She still felt cold, a numbing frost running through her veins.

The other three were leaving, sooner rather than later, before she could even begin to form any sort of attachment to any of them. This was supposed to be a good thing, the best case scenario for everyone involved. It was hard not to feel angry at just how fucking dense they were all being, however, too wrapped up in their ideas of trust and pacifism to even want to look at the bigger picture.

You had to kill at least once to get out of here. Just one person. That was all Astrid needed to do, fuck, it was all she could bear to do. If you didn’t kill, then you were writing your own death sentence, even if you ended up being the only person left alive on this godforsaken island. What were Harold and Ty going to do if they were the last two people alive? Two best friends, working together to survive and overcome every obstacle in their way, and finally ending up with a choice; force yourself to kill your friend, force your friend to kill you, or force the terrorists to kill both of you and render this whole fucking exercise and the deaths of everyone involved absolutely fucking pointless.

Lizzie had said one single thing that made sense. None of them should die yet. Almost no-one in her class deserved to be put into this situation. And yet they had, and there was nothing any of them could do to stop this. People would die. People had almost certainly already died. No-one here with half a brain wanted to. No-one here deserved to. But this wasn’t a situation where you could stand up against your oppressors and topple them from the inside. Standing up to the terrorists and refusing to play their game didn’t make you a better person, it made you a fucking imbecile who might as well start digging a grave to save the terrorists the inevitable bother.

Astrid stayed in the room for several minutes after the other three had left, still seated, but her posture slowly relaxing until she was slumped in her chair, looking up at the ceiling. There was no point hiding it from herself. She’d admitted her intentions to a group of people already. It was out in the open. She was going to kill someone at some point. There wasn’t any other option in front of her that she could see.

She started laughing. She wasn’t sure why. It started softly at first, growing steadily louder and louder, tears rolling down her cheeks as she did so.

In the blink of an eye, Astrid was on her feet, chair now in her hands. She hurled it towards a section of the others, watching them crash into each other, clattering over, coming to rest on their sides and backs like some bizarre modern art installation. She was breathing heavily again. She cursed under her breath to the empty room.

She still wasn’t prepared for this. Not mentally and not emotionally. But she’d have to find a way to be when the time came.

There wasn’t any other way.

((Astrid Tate continued in Quickdraw))
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Lyra Doyle-Let's live tonight like fireflies, and one by one light up the sky
Current Thread: The Glorious Evolution - "Sorry, that was a little weird, wasn’t it?"
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Current Thread: V for Vend-etta - "Fuck off. Are you kidding me?"
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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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