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Needles and Pins; Semi-Private
Topic Started: Aug 18 2016, 10:21 PM (1,595 Views)
frogue
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just a picture of a cloud
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
[Johnny Ray McKay continued from World's End Girlfriend]

That pale, birdy face was the last one that Johnny had expected to see here.

It wasn't that he shouldn't've expected it. Johnny had known that Aiden was on the field trip after all, he'd even spoken to him on the bus. It was just that Aiden didn't seem to fit, somehow. There was something about his bubbling speech and his ridiculous manner that was just totally inappropriate for their setting: it was like seeing Adam Sandler in a horror movie. Even standing there, looking at the boy, Johnny still couldn't quite wrap his head around it. It just didn't seem right.

His thoughts had grown dark, as they'd trecked through the hospital. They'd turned to fear and violence, and perhaps that was why seeing Aiden had shocked him so, since Johnny's friend was nothing if not the complete and utter opposite of that. Aiden was constantly, ludicrously happy, whereas hospitals for Johnny were places of sadness and dread.

He’d been bitten by a dog, when he was kid. It was bad as far as dog bites went, but hardly life threatening, though that hadn’t stopped child-Johnny from being utterly, frightfully convinced he was going to die. It had just hurt so much, there was simply no way, he’d decided, that anyone could possibly survive that sort of pain, and no amount of explaining or cajoling or eventually outright yelling had been able to convince him otherwise.

Johnny had lain in his hospital bed, terrified, and come to despise the hospital. It had been loud and scary and smelled of sick people. This one smelled of dust and damp, but it was no less frightening. He’d been lost in thoughts of danger and panic, and as shitty as it was for the other boy, Johnny was happy to see Aiden nonetheless.

He grabbed him, pulling the shorter boy against his chest in a tight hug.

“Beaks you… you motherfucker.”
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frogue
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Aiden was pallid at the best of times, but as Johnny stepped back, he saw that the boy's pale face now looked downright ghostly.

Despite all his bluster, Johnny had always found Aiden to be of what might be called a sensitive temperament, and insofar as anyone was suited for this shitshow, the young Mr. Slattery certainly was not. Frankly, Johnny was surprised the boy was keeping it together at all.

He looked into his friend's eyes; they looked perfectly normal.

Johnny hadn't paid a lot of attention to Scarlet, upon meeting the pair - he didn't know her, and as long as she wasn't trouble he didn't care about her - but now he turned his thoughts to the girl. Was this who Aiden'd fucked, the one he just wanted to stay friends with? Feminine attention conveyed all sorts of courage, but Johnny didn't see it happening. The girl was ten million miles out of Aiden's league.

He drew out is cigarettes, taking one for himself and then offering the pack to Aiden. It was his last pack, maybe ever, and their number was limited, but nevertheless Johnny was sure it was the right thing to do.

Every condemned man should be offered a final smoke, after all.

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frogue
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There was eczema on Johnny’s throat. He scratched at it with ragged, dirty fingernails.

He was nervous.

Johnny wasn't a tactician of any stripe, bu he knew this place was no good. They weren’t exactly hidden or fortified here, and they were certainly a fucksight far from safe. Beaks was a chirpy little bird a the best of times, and his voice echoed in the large, quiet space.

He imagined the sound, bouncing through the corridors of the hospital, bouncing off the ears of everyone and everybody who wished them ill. Johnny imagined knife and gun-wielding hordes advancing on them, their footsteps obscured by Aiden's incessant chatter.

Johnny swallowed, and took a step closer to his friend.

“The fuck’re ya on about, Beaks? Unless there’s something I’ve missed, like… I mean everyone’s pretty much on the same fucking page about this situation, right? Like the predicament we’re like… inside of A.T.M. is pretty fucking explicit, no?"

He waved his arm in a wide arc, meant to indicate... everything.

"Bad guys, guns, splodey new jewellery, hundred kids enter, one kid leaves. You know something we don’t?”
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frogue
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Johnny stepped back, turning away.

The shit was shameful. It sucked, sure, but Aiden was a fucking adult and the last thing Johnny wanted to be seeing was him weeping like a little girl. He'd feel better not having that image in his head, and he was sure Aiden'd feel better not having cried in front of another man.

There wasn't anything to be got from wailing. There wasn't anything to be got from anything, most likely, but at least looking for a way out was a damn sight less fucking embarrassing. When this aired, when Darren saw this, at least he'd see Johnny dry eyed and proactive.

On the wall in front of Johnny was a camera, and as Aiden humiliated himself behind him, Johnny met the camera's glass gaze. He didn't blink.
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frogue
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The remains of Johnny's cigarette skittered across the floor as he tossed it aside.

It wasn't littering, not really. This whole place was basically trash anyway, it wasn't like it could even be dirtied. Really, by adding newer, more current trash he was basically modernizing the place, bringing it into the 21st century, and Johnny took a strange and utterly unwarranted degree of pride in that.

You're welcome, terrorist fucks. Johnny Ray McKay, interior designer extraordinaire, at your fucking service.

He took a step and kicked the stub of the cigarette sending orange sparks flying as the echoes of Aiden and Scarlett's feet faded in their ears.

What they were doing was a mistake.

Nobody smart split up in horror movies, and nobody with half a brain just ran off by themselves without waiting. It was a fucking bell for fuck's sake, it wasn't like it was going anywhere, and just bolting off like that seemed particularly fucking dense to Johnny. Insofar as he knew basically nothing about the girl, Scarlet had always struck him as kinda smart, in the way that he assumed most of the quiet kids were kind smart. Now, he wondered if she'd just been quiet because she was too dumb to string a sentence together.

He didn't like her running off, he was finding he didn't like her generally, and he certainly didn't like Aiden chasing after the girl like a lovesick little puppy.

Aiden was nice and he was funny, and Johnny counted him as a friend, but the kid'd always been a few feathers short of a wing and since he'd got to the island it seemed like he'd done some pretty serious molting. Him having a raging boner for Scarlett was clear as day of course, and Johnny was hardly in a position to be critical about him following her if you looked at it like that, but at least in his case Raina wasn't completely fucking retarded.

Johnny turned to her, pinching his nose.

"Okay so... I guess we're just running off like fucking headless chickens now, are we?"

He waved a hand toward the corridor that the two had disappeared down.

"Look, Beaks is a good guy and he's a friend, but he's clearly living in fantasyland, and with his nose two feet up the ass of Pavlov's bell-chasing bitch there to boot, and blondie? I mean shit, she seemed fine and all, yeah, but you know if someone farted too loud she'd faint and to be honest I'm floored she stuck around as long as she did before scarpering."

Johnny ran his hand up his jawline, his fingers brushing over the few sparse bristles he'd managed to cultivate. They were blonde, lighter than his hair, and basically invisible to the naked eye, but he was pleased with them anyhow. He'd always wanted to grow a beard, but it seemed now like this'd be the closest he'd get to it.

It was a pity.

"My point is, Ray, an' I don't wanna be a dickhead or anything, but do we follow any of them? Nothing against any one of them, yeah, an' I'd give them all the biggest hugs ever if I could, but if we're looking for like, safety in numbers or whatever... well, they're not the fuckin' A Team, are they? Or like..." he racked his brain for a more science-y analogy, that might get his point across better "...the fucking Avengers, yeah?"

Johnny stepped closer to her, putting a hand on her arm.

"Look, you're the team leader here or whatever, you know all this kinda shit, yeah? You're our... Toby Stark, yeah Ray? It seems to be like runnin' through this fucking place willy-nilly because a bell... what, exists somewhere? To me that doesn't exactly seem like tactical genius, but the fuck do I know, right? If you say that's the smart play then let's do that, Ray, but if it's as fucking stupid as I'm thinking it might be, then..." he let go of her and scratched the back of his head "...then maybe we need to have a chat about the extent to which we wanna be babysitting, and the extend we wanna be looking out for ourselves, yeah?"

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frogue
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"Darren, I guess? My brother, not some like... I mean, if there's some kid here named Darren, not him."

Johnny ran his tongue across his front teeth, feeling the jagged peaks and valleys, never to be orthodontically corrected. He'd always thought about getting braces one day, maybe working some union job with dental long enough to get the company to pay for it, but Johnny supposed now it was never to be.

It was a pity he thought, to go to heaven ugly, and he thought too, then, of his brother. Darren had always had perfect teeth.

"As far as people here... shit, I dunno. I've got friends on this trip, sure, same as you, right? Any of them I'd like to see, but I dunno if it makes sense to go out huntin' for them, y'know?"

Johnny gave a shrug and put his hands into his pockets, elbows straight and shoulders high. He looked into Raina's face, his two brown eyes meeting her one. There was something unfamiliar about her features, but what this new expression was, Johnny couldn't tell.

"Look, I'm not being humble or self deprecatin' or whatever here, an' I'm not fishin' for compliments or like... fuckin' encouragement or whatever, okay? This is just some straight up fact, coming up."

He paused, waiting for her to protest. She didn't.

"You're smarter than me, Ray, and it makes no fuckin' sense to be conductin' this as a democracy, yeah? My vote shouldn't count for as much as yours, not for half as much, and I'm not saying that as a compliment or 'cause I have low self esteem or what the fuck ever, I'm saying that because I wanna fucking live, okay? I'll back you up a hundred percent, but for us to get through this, you have to take charge here, yeah?"

Johnny rubbed the back of his neck, feeling awkward. The speech had been encouraging inside his head, but to his ears it had just sounded corny, like something some Hollywood coach says in the locker room before the big game against Rival High.

"I mean, in saying all that my vote is no, we don't chase them. If the bell is friendly friends waiting to give them hugs then great, they're safe, and if the bell's some fuckin'... nightmare deathtrap monster machine, then at least we aren't fucked too yeah? My vote is... my vote is we let them go."
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frogue
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He followed her, trying to keep his mind from the last time they were in a bedroom together. Bad thoughts of bad times. Bad, bad things.

It was spartan inside. Dirty, but not trashed. The other one'd looked like it'd been worked over by a crackhead with a sledgehammer, but this room had just been worked over by time.

Johnny dropped his bag onto the bed and sat down next to it, rubbing the shoulder where the strap had dug into it. He wasn't in the habit of carrying a backpack, and hadn't really lifted anything heavier than the odd stereo in years. He let his hand trail down, over his shoulder and down his arm, feeling the scrawny bicep through the thin fabric of his hoodie. There was probably more bone than muscle there, and even that was unlikely to be up to much, he thought. Johnny had never really been much for drinking milk.

He lent back, letting his head fall onto the mattress. A fog of dust filled the air the second he hit the surface, and the mattress beneath him was shockingly lumpy, but it was dry and it was soft and for the minute, at least, he felt safe.

"Are we hole-d up then, chief?"
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frogue
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It had been about two weeks ago that Johnny had gotten high and looked in the mirror.

It was afternoon on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, everyone had been out and he'd had a spliff, sitting on the roof of the trailer in the last of the Arizona sunlight. He'd gone inside to get a drink or take a piss or whatever, and the mirror had been there and he'd been in it. His face had fascinated him in that moment; the curvature of it, the texture of his skin, the peach fuzz moustache that he wished would grow out. Johnny had looked at his thin nose, he'd looked at his crooked teeth and he'd looked into his own too-large, too-wide eyes and seen there the exact expression that was on Raina's face now.

There was a mixture of wonderment and horror drawn there. It wasn't entirely attractive.

Johnny said nothing, but pushed the door closed, testing the handle to make sure it shut tight.
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frogue
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He walked back to his bag and unzipped it.

"Looks like a lotta junk, mostly. Or, y'know, like good shit and all, but nothing that's gonna stop someone comin' at us with hate in his heart."

He glanced over at Raina's weapon. It was old-leaf green and looked plastic, almost fake, but there was a sense of malice that seemed to radiate out of it in waves.

"Or, y'know, twenty someones."

He upended the bag on the bed, it's contents sending up a mushroom cloud of dust and grime.

"Map. Water bottle. Compass. Shitty looking food. Medicine, I guess. Water bottle. Water bottle. Radio-thingy. Some fucking pamphlet. Water bottle. Fuck!"

He threw the now-empty bag at the wall, which it hit with a flaccid sort of flopping sound, and slid to the floor.

"Shit, Ray, you think they forgot to give me anything? Or maybe we left it back in that big bathroom we woke up in, or something? Fuck, should we..."

He paused, and took a breath. Should they what? Go back for it, why? It wasn't like he even wanted a weapon, really; this was his time to get his soul all polished and shiny, he wasn't going to run around shooting kids.

Still, it did seem particularly cruel, after a lifetime of lacking not to even get this.

He hadn't been given looks, and that was fine. he could live without brains, wihtou money and without muscle, without people liking or respecting or trusting him, without his dad ever treating him as worth anything more than dogshit, without Raina ever being interested in him - all that was fine, and Johnny had made his piece with it, but at least it should earn him something. He should have been staring at a fucking... bazooka or something right now, instead of a bagful of worthlessness.

That was how it went, though. Life sucks and then you die.

"Hey, sorry. Little carried away there, yeah? But we're good. Looks like you're gonna be the brains and the brawns of this outfit, though."

He flashed Raina an excuse for a smile.

"I'll just be the beauty."
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frogue
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"That's uhh... shit, I dunno"

Johnny scratched at the back of his head, trying to shake his thoughts into order.

"I mean, ya wanna be that selective? You're sayin' that we meet someone not on our list, they're a no-go? Guess I kinda figured that anyone we come across doesn't wanna kill us, an' isn't a total prick, that person's cool, yeah?"

He sat down on the bed amongst what was now the entirety of his worldly possessions, then leant back, pulling a water bottle out from under his spine.

The ceiling was moldy.

"Shit, I never even got blondie's name, and Scarlett I didn't know from dick, but aside from like, y'know, obvious deficits in the judgement department or whatever, it ain't like there was any harm in kickin' with them, right? No more than with Aiden, anyway."

Johnny swallowed, and thought.

"I get where you're going with this, maybe, but I dunno if it's the best idea, yeah? Making a whole list of all your friends, all the people here, in danger n' shit? That's not gonna make anything better, Ray. That'll just make ya miserable."
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