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The Gadfly Cometh; B026 Start
Topic Started: Aug 25 2016, 03:59 AM (1,118 Views)
Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Bryony Adams continued from Morphogenetic Fear))

Maybe, if Bryony had shut her eyes and let her mind flow clear, she could have pretended she wasn’t stranded on this island. Maybe she could have pretended the sand beneath her feet and the sea breeze whipping her pigtails to and fro belonged to a beach back home in America. Maybe she could have pretended Alba’s humming was that of a close friend she was walking side by side with, rather than what was most likely a desperate coping mechanism to distract herself from the collar around her neck and the cameras watching their every footstep.

But that wasn’t what was going on, and even if Bryony had wanted to try and pretend that everything was okay, she doubted she had the ability to actually do so. Her head was just a constant stream of everything that was wrong with her situation; the explosives attached to her throat, the number stencilled to the side of her bag, the bare skin underneath her hoody, the memory of her teachers, teachers that she’d been taught by for years, getting killed in front of her…

There was no way she was ever going to forget that. Even if, by some holy miracle, she survived this whole thing, that moment was going to repeat itself over and over in the back of her mind for the rest of her life. This was her existence, right now; trapped on an island and forced to kill or be killed. Nothing she could do would hide that fact from herself.

Honestly, she wouldn’t have tried to pretend everything was okay no matter what her mental state was. Bryony couldn’t see an outcome where everything worked out well if she did; either she’d somehow delude herself into thinking everything really was alright and no-one was going to get hurt, or she’d end up telling someone who’s best friend, or sibling, or girlfriend had just died that everything was okay and they were all going to live happily ever after.

It hurt, knowing. Every bit of realisation that she really was on Survival of the Fittest made Bryony feel like bursting into tears again. But the painful truth was better than the alternative, the pleasant delusion that would hurt her in the long run.

Bryony nodded in response to Alba as they neared the docks. She couldn’t see any boathouses or anything like that from their current location, but it made sense that there would be some sort of shelter nearby, even if it was just a storage shed for mooring ropes and the like. It would be nice to just get somewhere dry and out of the way, and allow her to rest for just a little bit.

That hope quickly evaporated as they drew closer to the two people on the docks, turning from apprehension to dread at the sight of the boy smoking. She didn’t recognise the other guy; he didn’t look like someone Bryony had attempted to connect with, and she barely even recognised him from passing by him in the corridors. But the first guy…

Even before Bradley had opened his mouth, Bryony could have answered Alba’s question; no, this guy wasn’t friendly in the slightest.

Bryony hung back, trying to keep Alba between herself and Bradley, trying almost to sink into her shadow. Her eyes were flicking back and forth, from Alba’s back, to Bradley, to the other guy, constantly stopping at Bradley’s gun hanging by his side. He was a horrible, spiteful jerk at the best of times. Now he was a horrible spiteful jerk with a deadly weapon at his fingertips.

Bryony cowered behind Alba, trying to make herself shrink and become invisible, and wished she was anywhere but here right now.
V7 BAYBEE

FOLDER OF DESTINY

"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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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Bryony really didn’t want to step any further onto the docks.

There were far, far too many reasons as to why doing so was an awful idea. Alba clearly had no idea of Bradley’s infamous reputation, but Bryony was much, much more closely acquainted with it. She trusted him about as far as she could throw him with one arm tied behind her back; anything he said that looked like it would be a compliment or a friendly greeting would be twisted into an insult, and anything that was obviously an insult would be made even worse than you thought. Removing the ‘et’ from his description of himself painted a much more accurate picture of Bradley Grant.

Bryony could state with some certainty that she was scared of him. He reminded her of her sister far too much. The gun in Bradley’s hands only added to her terror, but in his defence, that had less to do with him as a person; she would have been terrified of it no matter who its owner was. The fact that such a stark instrument of death was just a few feet away from her made her feel sick to her core. The other boy was still a non-entity to Bryony. While that meant he wasn’t an active, certified threat to her, it also didn’t give her any more incentive to follow Alba onto the docks, and she had no idea what his general personality was like.

A little voice in the back of her mind forced her to remember that this wasn’t the same Bradley she knew and feared, back at school. This was a copy of him. The same, basic, core of the guy, but with some bits removed, and other bits, pertinent to surviving on this island, added. They were all copies of their Kingman selves, really. Bradley was a jerk and a bully, sure. But that could be it. There was no reason he would be an active threat to her life out here. Bryony had trusted a complete stranger in Alba earlier. If she tried hard enough, maybe she could end up trusting Bradley.

Bryony almost wanted to test her chances in the ocean again, but what other option did she have if not pushing forwards?

She shuffled forwards, still staying behind Alba, hands clasped tight against her chest, trying to hide in the other girl’s shadow. She felt like she should say something in response to Bradley, but all she could manage was a series of mumbles, a single word understandable in the mess;

“… ‘m okay…”
V7 BAYBEE

FOLDER OF DESTINY

"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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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Bryony watched the other guy stutter his way through an excuse before turning to leave, and she desperately wished she could do the same thing and walk away from here. Neither of the others had called him out for his abrupt departure or attempted to stop him, and whether he had just left because he also knew of Bradley’s reputation or whether he legitimately had other places to be and didn’t like the way this meeting was turning out, Bryony couldn’t blame him on either account.

She couldn’t just leave at this point, though. She didn’t want to leave Alba, not after the kindness the other girl had shown her. They’d agreed to find shelter together, and come hell or high water, that was what they were going to do. On top of that, Bryony really didn’t want to leave the other girl to the whims of Bradley’s cruel mind. She clearly had no idea what he was really like, talking happily with him as if he was a welcome ally.

Bradley was anything but, and Bryony knew it, and his little joke about making an easy target put paid to any doubts of that in her mind and made certain that she wouldn’t be able to ever fully trust him, not the jerk who had made so many days at school utterly miserable. She shot out from behind Alba, looking around the vicinity so fast she thought she might get dizzy, just in case Bradley had seen someone creeping up on them. When it became apparent that he was just trying to mess with her, and once she’d remembered to breathe again, she glared at him, wrapping her arms around herself in an attempt to stop herself from shivering again. The effect was akin to a small lost puppy, bolstering itself up in an attempt to look intimidating.

She hadn’t noticed it until now, so preoccupied had she been with looking for shelter and then running into one of her bullies so soon, but the smell of cigarette smoke was beginning to hit Bryony, and she wrinkled her nose in distaste. She had no issues with people who smoked, she was almost certain that a few of her friends did every now and then, but she couldn’t stand the smell of it.

“Um… no, I’m… I’m alright,” Bryony stammered out. Her eyes kept on flitting between Bradley, the ground, and the gun. Bradley, the ground, and the gun. A nonstop cycle of keeping an eye on potential threats and wanting to avoid them at all costs.

“Could you… could you not smoke around here, though? Please?”
V7 BAYBEE

FOLDER OF DESTINY

"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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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Bryony was smart enough to realise that Bradley was messing with her. Taking advantage of the fact that they were about to leave and the fact her words were so easily twisted to fit his own narrative. She hoped he was just trying to rile her up, and that he wasn’t going to smoke again; she could feel a cough building up in the back of her throat from the remnants of his first cigarette. If Bradley did end up continuing to smoke as they moved on, then she was… well… um…

Odds were, she wasn’t going to do a single thing. Just meekly accept it, as well as the rest of Bradley’s taunts and snide jibes. She didn’t dare do anything to provoke him. She was scared of the guy back at school where he was, relatively, harmless. Now, he was even more terrifying. He had a weapon, he had potential motivation to harm and murder, and he was… unnervingly similar to how he had been back home. He was still cracking jokes, still not taking anything seriously, still being… Bradley. It was like he’d stepped off a boat directly onto some docks by a sandy beach.

Of course, maybe he wasn’t quite the same old Bradley. Not inside. She could say the same thing about herself, after all. Outside, maybe she still appeared to be the same old Bryony. Inside, that was still absolutely there; the shy, quiet girl who just wanted people to like her. But maybe, at home, if something awful had happened to her, she would have broken down and given up, run to her room and smothered her tears with her pillow. Here though, she needed to keep on pushing. Keep on moving on. Whatever it took. Even if it was just one step at a time. Even if it was just one faint ray of hope in the distance. She had to try and walk towards it.

The others were heading off, but Bryony took one last look back at the beach. It was quite gorgeous, really, now that she had a moment to think about that. The rippling waves, the sunlight reflecting off the water, the birds flying low, occasionally dipping down into the sand dunes. Maybe, some day in the very far future, she’d be able to visit somewhere like this again. Maybe she could believe that would come true.

Bryony turned back to look at Bradley’s retreating figure, let out a little sigh, then hitched her bag up on her back and headed off with him and Alba.

Because once again, it was the only choice that had been presented to her, and she couldn’t pass up any opportunity out here.

((Bryony Adams continued in This Be The Verse.))
V7 BAYBEE

FOLDER OF DESTINY

"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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