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人生の曲; Song of Life; Open
Topic Started: Aug 21 2016, 12:16 PM (2,301 Views)
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((Clarice Halwood continued from The Calm Before The Storm.))

They'd heard the bell on the way over there. That kind of put a brief, if silly, dampener on Clarice's mood. That had been her plan, dammit.

But she'd cheered up again pretty fast. After all, this meant other people were thinking the same plan. Gather everyone together with the use of loud noises. Genius. It meant people might already be heading over there, and that people would be there already.

There was no-one on the ground floor of the bell tower, though, so if anyone was here they were probably upstairs.

Clarice glanced back at the others to check who was still following before looking up the staircase that led upstairs.

“Hey! Anyone up there? We're friendly!” she bellowed up the staircase.

No time for subtlety, after all.
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Clarice waited. She thought she heard talk, but she wasn't really sure.

Then someone yelled back. She recognised that voice.

“Is that you, Nancy?” she called up.

Nancy was odd. But harmlessly odd. Clarice admitted that she didn't really understand the girl's obsession with Japan. Or idols, which Clarice understood even less about. But Nancy was a good actor. She'd been in a couple of Clarice's little film projects that were on her Youtube. And she was friendly enough.

“It's Clarice! Clarice Halwood! And I'm with Conrad Harrod! Maria Cucinotta was with us, and might catch up if we ring the bell.” She paused, then added, “Although I suppose you already did that, huh?”

Hm. What did she do now? Ring it again? Just hang out here and ring it regularly?

“Can we come up?” Clarice called. She looked behind her at Conrad and said, "Nancy's fine. Maybe a little grating at times, tops."
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Yeah, it was definitely Nancy. And... Jeremy? Hmm, that was a little more mixed. Jeremy was… not the worst. But sometimes his ideas were dumb, and sometimes he and Clarice argued. Generally they were cool after they were done, though. It wasn't like Bradley, who always said the shit he knew would piss off Clarice the most.

But Conrad didn't want to go up there.

Fuuuuck that. What was with Conrad, anyway? Why'd he even bother following her if he wanted to avoid the first person they met?

“Then go and hide wherever Maria hid,” Clarice snapped. “I'm not going to go hiding and picking who's good enough to try and survive with. That paranoia shit's what those assholes want us to do. No-one's happy to be here, and if I don't trust them… well, I can't expect them to trust me, can I? So I'm going up there. And I'm gonna be friendly, and ring that fucking bell, and be friendly to whoever turns up.”

With that, she headed up the stairs. They were steep, and a little trying even with her level of fitness. But soon enough, she made it to the top. Sure enough, Nancy and Jeremy.

“One of you two ring the bell? Because that was my idea, and I don't appreciate the theft.” Clarice's tone was light, though, and she grinned at both of them cheerily. The grin got a little smaller at the realization that both of them were armed—damn, was that a gun Jeremy had?—but hey, they hadn't attacked her yet.
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Clarice’s response to Jeremy’s words was a long, slightly melodramatic ‘ugh’ noise. Granted, one couldn’t both share a name with a movie character and reference it in their Youtube username without expecting some references. (And, hey, it was a good film and Clarice Starling was a badass.) Even so.

She returned Nancy’s wave and smile before bouncing a little on her feet. She tried to think of something to say, and came up blank. For a moment, all she could hear was Conrad moving up the stairs.

“Sooo...” Clarice started slowly, looking around. Given that there was only the bell to really focus on, she started to have a closer look at it. “You guys, uh...” She struggled a few more moments to find something to talk about that wasn’t morbid and depressing. “You guys seen anyone else yet? I’ve only seen Conrad, Maria and Isabel, and Isabel ran off.”

She could probably ring the bell again. Jeremy probably didn’t ring it right, and even if he had there was bound to be someone who’d missed it.
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More people. Clarice took a couple of steps back from the bell and peered over the edge of the tower, down at the door. She could see Barry—huge guy, easy to tell apart from far away, pretty cool soccer guy—and… hmm, she thought she might have seen the other guy around, but definitely a junior. Either way, they had shouted their presence and seemed cool.

“Yeah, we’re cool!” she yelled from top of the tower, giving a quick wave before sticking her head back in. Looking down from this height was making her a little dizzy. She turned her attention back to the others, and who they’d seen.

“You saw Irene? How long ago?” Clarice paused, then added, “Were they not convinced in a ‘not convinced to play the game’ way or…?”

It couldn’t be ‘in denial over the game existing,’ could it? Irene could be a little dumb sometimes—there were a lot of arguments in the past that Clarice had had with her over things, sometimes in very flaily sign language if Kimiko was there, oh shit Kimiko was here too, why did everyone have to be here—but that level of denial was just… what the fuck. Too what the fuck, right?

So that was… Irene, Danny, Vanessa, Jae… and if any of them had been playing, one of them would have said, right? So everything was still calm. Meant this was still the best time for bell ringing and gathering everyone together and…

Nancy’s solo performance was suffering?

“What,” Clarice said flatly.

Clarice wasn’t even going to touch that. Instead, she zoned in on the part that at least made some sense, given the context.

“It’s not… no, this is good, though. Safety in numbers. If everyone’s in one place, we don’t have to find everyone, we know what everyone’s doing and we have the collective brain power to figure out a way to maybe get out of this. Or at the very least to flip off the terrorists. And no-one’s going to attack their entire class. Wouldn’t work if we tried before everyone started flipping out, but… y’know?”
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((This is actually a Conrad post sent by RC via Skype, which I'm posting in his stead with permission. Will note in later posts at the start whether it's a Conrad or Clarice post.))

"Yeah, everybody up there seems to be friendly!" he shouted back to Barry. "Come up!"

The way both Barry and Jonathan talked made him feel more secure about them joining the group. Neither of them was a good actor, right? Conrad would have noticed.

"And Jonathan, I have seen neither of them, sorry."

Gah. Usually Conrad would have corrected Jonathan and pointed out how grammatically wrong his questions were, but there was no time to complain about the omissions. Besides they were in a situation where speaking quick, fast and efficient made sense. Unlike in school. There were more serious things that had happened today Conrad could get slightly annoyed at.

Conrad no seen Michael here.
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((Clarice post.))

“Who uses watches? I always checked my phone, and that wasn’t in my bag when I woke up. Could always look at the sun, I suppose.” There was a tinge of irritability in Clarice’s voice as she looked upwards at the sun. She hadn’t been awake long enough to know whether its current position meant morning or afternoon. She hoped morning.

“Mm.” Clarice wrinkled her nose at the psychos comment. “I mean, I’m all for keeping the peace, but…”

She had meant to say she didn’t think there were any psychos yet, but then Nancy said otherwise.

“What? Who’s fighting? Is anyone dead? Why didn’t you mention that when I asked who you’d seen?! Wait, Nancy, please stop. Stay. Just...”

Clarice brandished a hand to try and stop her from leaving.

“Look, maybe a kid just panicked. But we have to trust each other if we want out of this. If we don’t, paranoia will fucking kill us. It’s about trust! I mean...” Clarice gestured at Jeremy’s gun. “You got a gun. You could kill me right now, there ain’t shit I’d be able to do about it. But you won’t, because you’re not a fucking psycho. Or you would have flipped out back at Cochise. Same with Nancy and her hatchet, or Conrad and his halberd thing. Same with everyone else here. But if we start treating everyone like they’re a potential danger, we might start reacting like they are, and… just… that’s how shit starts, y’know?”

And Clarice wasn’t even sure what she was saying anymore. She just didn’t want Nancy to leave. Fuck, why did everyone keep trying to fucking leave?

“Seriously, though, who was fighting?”
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((Clarice post. Skipping to move Clarice out.))

“Things are fine,” Clarice said to Barry, giving him a bright grin. “We’re just—“

And then Nancy tried to leave. Just like Isabel and Maria had left, and leaving here wasn’t like wandering off at school. Leaving meant a very real chance that they would die.

She’d panicked. She’d grabbed Nancy and told her to wait.

And then suddenly there was blood everywhere. There was an abrupt, sudden pain in Clarice’s shoulder, followed by a horrible scrapey sensation. Clarice screamed. It was incomprehensible for the first couple of moments, then it devolved into screeched words.

“NANCY, WHAT THE FUCK—“

And Nancy was gone and someone else was there and they were asking if she was okay—

“What do you think?!” Clarice screamed, good hand going for her shoulder. Bloody. Very bloody. She’d had injuries before, nothing like this. “Fucking—Nancy! Where’s Nancy?!”

Where’d she… the stairs. She went down the stairs. And amongst all the noise and the throbbing sensation in her shoulder that felt like it was sending little red lightning bolts through her body each time her heart beat, she found one, hazy thought.

She had to catch Nancy.

Why?

She’d figure that out when she caught her.

“Move!” she yelled, barreling her way past what seemed like a huge crowd of people, eyes wide and somewhat crazed. Her foot slipped a little, but she maintained balance, and the pain seemed to recede the tiniest bit—just the tiniest bit—as she focused on this new, abrupt goal. Nevermind the spots of red she was leaving behind.

Catch Nancy.

Then…

((Clarice Halwood continued in By the time you hear the next pop, the funk shall be within you.))
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((Conrad post on behalf of RC. Also skipping to move Conrad out.))

Conrad knew this was going to happen. Clarice screamed and thus the worst case scenario happened. Well, not really, she could be dead. But she was injured, screaming and running away from here, into the wild. Into other players even, perhaps.

Clarice needed Conrad. She could not storm out alone. He picked up Clarice's stuff and sprinted down the stairs.

"Wait!"

Going down was easier, even with the bags. Though Conrad knew he was faster when having no load, like when dunking. But resources were resources and both him and Clarice needed them.

He left the tower, running after Clarice, leaving Barry and Jonathan behind him.

He slightly regretted that, because he hoped that Barry had a clue of what to do, but in the end Barry and Jonathan were not important right now. They were not in danger, they were not injured and screaming.

Clarices was the person he had to give all his attention to. When he catches up, it will be safe. No tons of allies. No persons they could not trust.

Just him and Clarice.

((Conrad Harrod continued in By the time you hear the next pop, the funk shall be within you.))
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