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The Gadfly Cometh; B026 Start
Topic Started: Aug 25 2016, 03:59 AM (1,012 Views)
Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
They were watching him.

((B044 Steve Dobson: Start))

Everyone was.

In a way, he was famous now. Except, he corrected himself, not really - not just from a certain point of view. His name was down, come what may. Strapped into seat J2 and both engines on fire. A footnote was the least he could aspire to Steve Dobson, sliced open by... well, he couldn't say. Someone he never expected for sure. Maybe some leadership kid trying to get back to the world they poured themselves into. Just as likely someone who just went along with life and for whatever reason when the chips were down found it in themselves to burn everything else around them. Someone like -

Well, he wasn't necessarily just a footnote.

So he'd taken stock and tried to stand with his ears stacked over his shoulders and his hips. Opened his bag and he'd thought about Chris and he tested the weight of the sickle in one hand. Thought about his parents. Clenched his fingers and zipped the bag back over the thing like he was filling a grave. Took extra care not to slice his fingers off while he pointedly ignored images of parting flesh and spurting blood running rampant in his mind.

But that was then. This was one of those ephemeral "now"s he suspected he might run a shortage of soon. And he hadn't really thought about what to do; it seemed like one of those things that was just done. He headed for the ocean. Regardless of his sense of direction, it wouldn't be hard to find. That was a good one. Start with something you know. If it really was all happening, and his stomach tilted at the inevitable dispelling of his flicking doubt, he could simply walk in any direction to get there.

Besides, it seemed reasonable. Peaceful, maybe, except for the birds, and relaxing, except he hadn't ever realized how thick the stench of salt could stain the air. And, well... expected. Boy forty-four gathered his gear and set off for the ocean to collect himself. Until, fill in the blank here.

Until someone spoke.

His vision flicked back and forth. Nobody whose company he exactly savored. And Steve himself, he realized with a start, was totally open. Totally exposed. Just staring over the waves like a man entranced. And that little insane part of his brain thought, nobody worth telling about would fall so quickly and so early. They'd do something bold. Like nothing at all.

And so he stood and stared and tried not to let his eyes wander back, and even fought a bit against the flickers of a crazy little smile. If Brad wanted his privacy, Steve would let him crawl away or whatever. He could go pretend that something like privacy existed any more. But if not, well, it was time for B044 to encounter his first friend or his last enemy. Steve was about to see how much of a footnote he amounted to.
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Steve turned without reluctance to face the arriving pair. Actually, he couldn't resist a quick double take, as if he'd forgotten to jot some feature down in his memory. But in truth, the sea was too slippery to really hold his gaze. It felt nice to stare off into something so blank and expansive and representative of home and freedom or whatever, but the characters were all a bit familiar and the plot left something to be desired.

He turned, anyways, and his bag swung around his body with a little more gravity than he found comfortable. It never stopped with the reminders, though he supposed there was something to be said about being a little less coy about it when his companion had half a cafeteria worth of room-clearing at his fingertips.

"I-" he said at the greeting left between them, and Brad snatched it up and fielded it. There was an unexpected pang there. Things were moving already. If he didn't find himself, get on with whatever the something was that he was going to do, he might never hit that stride. Momentum was something that seemed important, and it might be the difference between the sudden crowd pushing him forward or leaving him face-down in the dust.

"Yeah," he added, clearing his throat, boosting his signal against the interfering waves. "We're cool. Nobody's that crazy."

"Yet."
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
For all the potential threat the two others possessed - and, dear goodness, was he doing this already? And what exactly did he mean by already? - his eyes never left the business end of that wicked-looking gun. But, back on track, that mode of thought didn't suit him well, either. "Already?" like he expected to be some paranoid wreck sooner or later?

He rocked a little on his toes, half-opening his mouth while the others made words, pressed his arm into the canvas slung at his side in an awkward little pat that brought the sickle back to attention like he was feeling out the thing's skeleton. Definitely not a paranoid wreck, no sir.

But the rifle. He hadn't always been this scattered, had he? Pretty sure you were supposed to pretend they were always loaded. In fact, you weren't really supposed to own one of those unless you were a responsible adult who hadn't been given instructions to kill all their friends or something. It just felt incongruous, which of course it was, but it was just kind of there and nobody had any complaints to issue about it. Or none that they were voicing, like holy crap why is that guy just spinning that rifle all over the place, and is there even a safety on it at all? Which, he reminded himself, could be the thought process and nobody wanted to speak up.

Well, if nobody else was going to do anything, at least he could.

"Uh," he said, pausing to clear his throat, coming back louder just in case. "Know what, I think I'll catch y'all later." Nothing to incite the guy. "Gotta find some friends. You'll be ok together?"

He didn't really care for the answer, but the stupid part of his brain, which seemed to be the whole thing at the moment, reminded him that people appreciated it if you pretended to take interest in their well-being. Maybe they'd return the favor someday. For now, though, he simply edged away, trying not to stare too much at the gun before he rounded the nearest convenient corner.

((Continued in TFW you will never find out what's in the basement))
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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