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Never Known Questions; Open
Topic Started: Aug 17 2016, 06:34 PM (1,227 Views)
CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
"Spot the rot, oh spot the rot,
Oh spot the rot we say.
Spot the rot they tell the tot
while feeding him some say."

[Lili Williams, continued from New Destiny]

While it wasn't quite the best song to be singing as she walked across a bridge to what could be her untimely demise, Lili tried her best to keep herself in high spirits, and if that meant singing some deranged stuff to herself, she was perfectly fine with that. The wind had not let up since she departed the bell tower, leaving Eye-patch behind, and as Lili passed on the bridge above the water it seemed to pick up, if anything. Lili was glad that she dressed somewhat heavily for the science trip. From the colder weather, Lili guessed the island wasn't anywhere close to Kingman.

She swung her nightstick as she walked, continuing to sing to herself quietly. The Residents were one of her favorite bands, and she made sure that she wouldn't forget her favorite songs of theirs as she lived out her stay on the island.

Now, wait, she couldn't just keep on calling it "The Island," now, could she? No, Lili thought, she needed to come up with some kind of name for it. Something to call her surroundings. Lili thought back to some of her favorite songs, mentally searching through a long, long list of song titles. She stopped walking to briefly consider her options.

"Spiderland," She said aloud. It was the name of an album by the band Slint, a rock group from the late eighties. Yes, Spiderland would do. With a name settled upon, she resumed her stroll towards the other side of the island.

She smiled to herself as the bridge creaked beneath her, her nightstick brushing against her leg occasionally, swaying to and fro. Her cravings for a cigarette had only gotten worse after she left the bell tower. She felt slightly uncomfortable in her feet, like her shoes were on wrong, even though checking them proved that they were on just fine. Her hands didn't feel quite as tingly as they did when she woke up, but they instead itched. Lili tried her best not to scratch at first, but just a little while after she crossed the bridge, she gave in, lightly picking at the backside of her right hand, her nightstick hand, with her left.

The collar around her neck didn't help her discomfort. She hadn't paid much mind to it just as she woke up, but now that the wind was seemingly picking up she could've sworn it tightened harder around her neck. The presence of the collar was unshakable, despite many attempts on Lili's part to ignore it. A light tug now and then didn't help - she'd tried, to no avail. It didn't seem to be enough to set the collar off yet, though, so unconsciously she began to form a habit of pulling on it every so often. Even if some of her classmates would end up setting their own collars off by tugging, Lili knew that with her strength, she'd never manage to accidentally blow her own head off.

She kept on walking and singing quietly, though she was in no hurry.

"Spot the rot, oh spot the rot
and then you'll be okay.
Spot the rot, oh spot the rot,
but still you'd better pray."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Another student was walking in Lili's direction. She tensed up, holding her nightstick more firmly. She stopped singing to herself, moving over to the other side of the bridge, sizing up the other traveler. They carried with them a large shield that they dragged on the floor, making a scraping sound as they went, and over their other arm they carried their bags. No apparent weapon at a first glance, but Lili didn't want to make any dangerous assumptions. The girl's face wasn't familiar to Lili in the slightest, and she couldn't remember speaking with her before in the future. Strangers like this were the biggest unknown on Spiderland besides the island itself. You never know what they'd spring on you.

A smirk was spread across her lips, a pleasant neutral smile, a default mask with no meaning. Lili returned the grin, trying to appear as pleasant as possible. Internally, she had wished that she had run into someone she had known a bit better, someone she could stop and talk to, but with a stranger there wasn't any obligation to stick around for them. Lili had always taken something of a passive stance in the social scene at Cochise, and when it came to people she didn't know here at Spiderland, she intended on taking something of the same policy.

"Morning," Lili said, greeting the other girl as they passed each other. Something innocuous, something polite, any semblance of normal interaction to hold onto. Familiar ground.

Then, the bell rang.

A golden, resonating sound enveloped Lili's ears from behind. Lili turned to see the bell in the bell tower slightly rocking back and forth, sending forth its tone across the whole of Spiderland. Lili froze in her tracks. Had Eye-patch decided to ring the bell? No, from what Lili knew of her, that didn't sound like something she would do. She was more cautious than Lili. She had pointed a gun in her face. She was a scared, dangerous stranger herself, not the kind to usher in the chimes that she now heard.

But if she hadn't rang the bell, who had? Someone far less cautious, that much Lili knew. Was it a group of people all together, or just one person by themselves? Were they trying to assemble people around them, or were they ringing the bell for the hell of it? Either way, Lili had just came from that direction, and she didn't really feel like going back just to check what had happened. After the bell had finished ringing, an odd, awkward quiet filled the bridge. The water below, rippling and tumbling in the waves, seemed quieter than before. The wind felt much lighter, as if it had died down. The sheer force of the bell being rung had made every other sensation feel small and insignificant in comparison.

Lili turned back to face the other girl, curious to see their reaction to the odd noise. "Well," Lili said, hoping to fill the void left by the bell, "That sure was something."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  * ]
"It's called toll booth."

Why had Lili thought that it would go smoothly? Why did she assume that she'd be able to normally pass somebody by, say hello, and keep walking? This was Spiderland now, for Pete's sake. She'd came up with the name herself, and she knew perfectly well that there was no way that somewhere called fucking Spiderland was going to turn out normal, especially not when it was host to Survival of the fucking Fittest. Lili cursed herself for making such an obvious mistake. For letting her guard down. For thinking it could be normal.

First, the tall, hawkish girl had responded normally. She had remarked at the bell, like a normal person, saying she might check it out, but then she had broken down with laughter. Was she mocking Lili? Almost certainly. Nerves? Really? If anybody was going to succumb to nerves, it was going to be Lili. This girl, this self proclaimed toll booth attendant, could crush Lili in moments. In just a few seconds, Lili would be thrown off of the bridge and into the waters below, to be scattered across the rocks.

Toll booth. She wasn't a scared stranger, no, but she sure was dangerous. Lili tensed up, tightening her grip around the nightstick. By the sound of the name, Lili figured that the Attendant planned on making her pay to get to the other side of the bridge. The Attendant probably wanted some of her rations, or her weapon, or something like that. Lili didn't want to part with any of her belongings yet. She had already consumed almost an entire tin of crackers earlier, so she wanted to hold on to anything else as best she could. Still, judging on the Attendant's posture, the way she spoke, and the way she rolled her neck, Lili decided that, at least for the time being, it would be wise to play along as best she could.

Lili sighed, and looked at the Attendant. "Alright," Lili said, exhausted, "You want to play a game? Sure. Toll booth, huh? Fine. How do I play this game of yours?"

Spot the rot, they told the tot, while feeding her some say.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  * ]
A fair exchange? With that kind of laughter preceding it? And the way that the Attendant looked at her bag just didn't feel right, not deep down in Lili's heart of hearts. She wasn't going to let that kind of thing get through without some attention paid to it, no way, no how. A better name for this "game" was Highway Robbery.

But a single protein bar, by itself, wasn't too much to spare. If this did turn out like a fair trade, and the two managed to leave the bridge without anybody doing anything rash, then maybe Lili could just ask for another bar in return and Lili would go on her way without really having lost or gained anything in the process. It was a distant possibility, but it wasn't totally out of the question yet. She just had to play it safely and with caution, and she couldn't let her fear get in the way of her.

Plus, there was a little something she needed. It didn't hurt to ask.

"Okay," Lili said, her shivers slowly coming to a halt, "Got any cigarettes? I haven't had single one since I woke up." She stood up a bit straighter, tapping her nightstick against the outside of her leg lightly. Since she woke up, she hadn't seen a single person she knew well enough to trust. Eye-patch had scolded her, and now she was being harassed by the Attendant. With her luck, she'd be assaulted by a group of murderous athletes the second she stepped off of the bridge.

She thought back to her yoga lessons, searching for something, anything that could help her reach a more composed state. She settled on a breathing pattern she had learned in the first few days of her classes.

Inhale through the nose for a count of four. Hold the breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds, also through the nose. She did this silently while waiting for the Attendant's next move.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  * ]
No smokes. A shame. Lili's hands shook a bit more, just lightly twitching back and forth, and she dug her free hand into her jeans pocket. The feeling of denim on her hand was uncomfortable, but she didn't want to show the Attendant that she was nervous any more than she already had. "Well, better to ask and not get any then to not ask and miss out, right?" Lili said, shrugging her shoulders.

And then suddenly, they weren't the only two on the bridge. A big guy with what looked like a toy light-saber (From Star Wars. Lili was surprised at the terrorist's cruel sense of humor, as she hadn't really seen such a joke of a weapon so far) approached the two, announcing that he didn't have any cigarettes. Did nobody on this damn island have a cigarette? Lili was starting to get annoyed. At least the presence of the boy meant that the Attendant was less likely to do anything stupid. Lili eased up a bit, her hand settling down in her pocket. Slowly, she took it out and put it at her side.

Judging on their brief exchange, the boy was named Alan and the girl was named Kaitlyn. Lili was about to offer up her name, then paused. She thought back to what Eye-patch had told her on the bell tower just moments before. Scared, dangerous strangers, all afraid of each other. Eye-patch hadn't wanted to take any chances with Lili, pointing her gun at Lili without a second thought. Lili wasn't going to take any chances either. She didn't know Alan, and she sure didn't know Kaitlyn, and maybe it was best to leave it that way, at least for now.

Surprisingly enough, Kaitlyn actually made a decent offer. Lili didn't know if that was her intention all along, or if she was forced into being more friendly by Alan's presence. Either way didn't matter much to Lili. A single protein bar for a loaf of bread? Now that was a steal. Lili remembered the taste of the crackers on her tongue, and made the decision that she didn't want any of that anymore. A loaf of bread could last her a while. Bread was one of life's simple pleasures, like flying a kite or playing a CD. Lili could take comfort in bread.

"Sure, I'll give you a bar for a loaf of bread," Lili said, "Alan, if you don't mind, I could take that light-saber off your hands too. I'll give you a protein bar for it also." Lili hoped that by getting Alan over to trade as well, it would decrease the chances that Kaitlyn would try anything even more. Alan was strong and approached innocently enough, so Lili trusted him more than she did Alan, who burst into laughter like a maniac not long ago.

Lili thought back to the song she was singing earlier. It went on further.

"To show,
or be shown,
is a question,
never known,
not even by many to exist."

To show, or be shown. Lili hoped she was choosing the right option.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Lili loosely knew Scout from school. The two were in the same grade, after all, so they had shared a few of the same classes from time to time. Lili saw Scout trying to move around the group and winced when Kaitlyn called out her name. Oh, can't she just leave her alone? she thought, Why can't she just leave anyone alone? Lili looked in Scout's direction and smiled wearily, an awkward smile that she hoped sent the message that she wasn't really here of her own free will either.

Even though Alan had responded pretty well to Lili's offer, Kaitlyn made her best effort to squash the deal before it was set in stone, ranting on at Alan's harmless comment about Libertarians and whatnot. By "Mabes," Kaitlyn probably meant Tessa, who Lili knew by name as a somewhat outspoken girl interested in politics and folk music, the latter of which interested Lili far more than the former. Was she also on the island? More than likely so. Lili vaguely remembered seeing her board the bus before her.

A bar for a quarter of a loaf? Lili didn't really remember how many slices that would be, but she knew it was far smaller than a full loaf. Lili couldn't let that slide. She was starting to get hungry again, even though she had eaten not too long ago. After Kaitlyn made a comment about the bridge being the heart of the island or something, Lili spoke. "How about I give you the bar for half of a loaf?" Lili asked, "Meet me in the middle?" Lili was not used to negotiating in any sense of the word, but she figured she wasn't doing too poorly for herself.

Then Kaitlyn asked her name. Eye-patch hadn't even asked Lili for her name - Lili just sort of offered it up - so this was the first time since she woke up that people were asking her what to call her by. Maybe she could make up a fake name, she thought? No, that would only complicate things later on. It was time, then, to cough up her real identity. She struggled a bit on the wording in her mind, in the space of just a second or two that felt like hours to her, and then opened her mouth to speak.

"You can call me Lili," She said, "Lili Williams." There. That was a rather harmless way of putting it, right? Informative and succinct, without any flare for drama or theatrics. Hopefully it was a neutral enough statement that it wouldn't set anyone off, right? Lili didn't want any more trouble than she had already been given. She made an effort to stand up a bit straighter. Lili Williams. Right, that was who she was. Was she someone else for a minute, just then? No, of course not. She had always been Lili. Always.

Except to her parents. To her parents, she was named Liling Wan still, even if they didn't call her by it. Her birth name, a footnote from her early childhood. She had almost forgotten it just now, standing at the toll booth. What exactly reminded her of it, Lili wasn't sure, but she took the name and held on to it tightly, like she would a kite caught in a summer gale. She wasn't going to let herself forget it.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  * ]
(Minor GMing of Alan approved)

Lili caught Alan's protein bars without any struggle, but the plastic light saber bounced off of her side and onto the floor. Luckily, Alan hadn't thrown it so hard for it to hurt, but Lili was less than happy about having to reach over to pick up the plastic toy. A bar and a penny, huh? Lili thought as she picked up the light saber, Shit, I'm not sure if I have one of those. After putting the light saber and extra bars into her bag, she dug around for any loose change, hoping to find the right coinage. As she did so, Kaitlyn continued to bargain with her, and the two settled on a third of a loaf. When Kaitlyn threw the bread to her, Lili's head was still pointed down into her bag. The loaf bounced off of the back of her hair and into the day pack in front of her, landing with a thud. Lili looked up, saw Kaitlyn talking to Scout, and looked back down again. It wasn't worth fighting over. Eventually, Lili found a stray coin lodged in between her first-aid kit and a water bottle, and she picked it up to inspect it.

It was a quarter. Lili sighed, taking a protein bar out of her bag to go with the trade, then looked back into her bag for something else she could give to make up for her lack of proper coinage. So far, Alan seemed to be an unpredictable guy, given that he offered to spice up the deal without any kind of prompt. Maybe he'd appreciate some kind of random offering? Lili opened her first aid kit and closed her eyes, picking something up out of the box at random. When she felt it in her hands, she opened her eyes and smiled. She hoped this would do. Lili zipped up her bag and stood up to face Alan.

"Alright, I have a protein bar, but I don't have a penny," Lili said, shrugging, "So I hope that if I give you a quarter it'll be fine. Oh, and I'll throw in some...tweezers, too." She walked over to Alan and gently placed the supplies into his open palm. He didn't resist as she closed his fingers around the items gently, so she patted his closed fist reassuringly. Alan made a mock angry face at her, but didn't do anything else to retaliate. Lili just smiled back: she figured that it would be a good way to show that she didn't mean any harm. Made sense to her, at least.

Lili went back to her bag and peeled off a third of the loaf of bread, tossing the rest back to Kaitlyn along with a protein bar. As far as she could tell, she threw accurately, but she didn't pay too much attention to whether or not she caught it. Kaitlyn hadn't paid much attention, so why should she, right?

Right. She zipped up her bag.

The toll gate had lifted, and Lili had stepped through.

"Alright, Kaitlyn, that should be it," She said, standing up with her bag slung over her shoulder, "I think I'm gonna go on my way now, if that's fine. We've made our trade, right? So it should be fine." She started to walk away, going in the direction that she had started in before she was interrupted, towards the side with the radio tower. She hoped that she could meet someone she knew on the other side, someone that she could deal with, someone she could partner up with. She was looking for a way out, a place where she needed to be, and she hadn't found it yet. She didn't know if she would find it, ever. She passed Scout silently, walking on into the distance, the metal bridge clacking beneath her feet.

She barely noticed the pair of white shoes just next to the edge of the bridge, twinkling in the corner of her vision. Curious, she stopped walking onward and investigated. The shoes themselves didn't look damaged in any way, and they were neatly arranged next to each other. Not too far over to the side was an abandoned bag similar to the one she was carrying over her shoulder. Lili found this ordeal odd. She wondered who would just leave a pair of shoes sitting on the side of a bridge, unattended...

...facing the sea.

Lili got down on her hands and knees next to the shoes and looked over the side of the bridge, her fingers grasping the edge of the precipice. The bridge's cold metal floor sent chills down her spine, and she shivered as a slight breeze blew around her, her own nervous impulses threatening to send her off careening toward the deep blue waters below. She knew that she was checking something with a forgone conclusion, a secret betrayed by the abandoned bag, but she had to make sure just in case.

But she saw nothing.

Lili breathed a sigh of relief. At least, she thought it was a sigh of relief. Was it a sigh of panic? She couldn't figure it out. Lili shook her head back and forth involuntarily, trying to get any bad thoughts or feeling out of her brain. Confused, she picked up the shoes, just in case. She didn't know what they were just in case for, but she thought she might as well take them with her anyways. No harm in doing so, right? Right. She knew it to be true. She left the bag alone. She figured that there were people who needed the stuff inside more than she did, and she didn't feel right staying around any longer.

Lili took one last look back at the toll booth setup, and kept on walking, singing to herself once more as she went.

"Spot the rot, spot the rot, spot the rot we say..."

[Lili Williams continued in Heel-and-Toe.]
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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