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The Cuckoo's Calling; not the reference i was attempting to make, but the thread's open
Topic Started: Aug 26 2016, 10:40 PM (829 Views)
Yugikun
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
She had made a mistake.

((Jasmine King, continued from The Strange Case of Nadia))

She shouldn’t have stepped aside. She should have stayed in place, tried to convince the other girl to stay; she was good at that, maybe she could have gotten it even in the skull of an idiot. She shouldn’t have left Maxim alone, either. She could have probably been able to convince him as well, then she could have gotten into a group of three; it probably wasn’t the best number she could have, but it was a good start at the very least. She shouldn’t have come down here. She only meant to go down one flight of those stairs, but now she seemed to be in a basement, of some sorts. She shouldn’t have decided to check around the place regardless. It was cold. It was cold and it was wet and it was damp and she didn’t want to be here. She didn’t want to be stuck in this game while fucking Julian was sitting at home doing whatever the fuck he did. She wanted to be home, she wanted to be in bed, and all the mistakes she was making were piling up in the back of her mind and she was clenching her firsts and gritting her teeth and-

The pain in her hands made her stop. She jumped, slightly, and looked down. It was the knuckles. Her clenching her fists dug them deeper into her hands. Okay, it was best she’d stop that then. Because really, it was okay. There was no way of telling that this would have happened and there was no way that she could have planned for this. And it wasn’t like she was the only one failing. There was the other girl, for example. LIkely countless other people, as well. Nobody knew that this would happen. Nobody had planned for this, and really, it was only two people. Only one time. She could try again. Two other people, one more time. She could convince them to join up with her. And then they could convince more. And then she could lie behind them, wait for them to take each other out, and then she could win. Simple as that. She could win and everything was going to be okay.

“Uugh.”

No, that wasn’t how she could convince herself of things. She just needed to look ahead. At the future. There were going to be more opportunities. She just had to make use of them.

And at least she wasn’t stupid enough to go to the bell after she had heard it ringing. That just screamed trap. Too many people. There was probably going to be someone evil among them. If she went there all it would take was for one shot to ring out and it could have been over for her. She was better off down here.

...Despite how cold it was. She placed her hands on her arms. As futile as it was, it almost felt like it helped. She looked around, feet creating a splash as she stepped in one of the puddles on the floor. What was this place? Why were there so many bathtubs in the basement? What was the room upstairs supposed to be? There were rooms that looked into other rooms but what purpose did they have? What was this island that she was on? She wasn’t sure. There was nothing in her mind that this reminded her of. She didn’t know what this place was, she didn’t know why there were bathtubs here or what the room upstairs was supposed to be, and she didn’t know what sort of island she was on.

And unlike everything else that was on her mind right now, that was okay.
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Namira
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Toby wasn't sure whether she was going to puke, scream, cry, or some horrific combination of all three.

What she wanted to do was break something. Unreality was starting to sink in, and she needed something, anything to centre herself again.

Trouble was, Toby wasn't sure this was a reality she could handle facing. It was all that she could do not to smash her head against the nearest wall. The moment she started to think, the moment panic began to set in. She was going to die. And when she died, what the hell would happen to her family? Gill, Bernt, JP - her mom and dad wouldn't be able to look after them by themselves. And what about her mom? She was in no condition to be doing anything strenuous either. What would it do to her for Toby to be missing, and then wind up turning up dead?

With chilling certainty, Toby knew that this was one huge sinking ship. She would go down, and her family would go down with her.

She really was going to puke.

Toby's vision spun dizzily, and she had to put her hand on the wall not to fall, slumping, stumbling.

And then she started to choke up what little she'd eaten over the past couple days.
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Jasmine looked around the room, eyes focusing themselves on one of the bathtubs in the distance. She nodded, slightly. She could agree with herself. It was okay. Well, at the very least this was okay. Not knowing something because she had never received the information wasn’t any fault of hers. Normally she’d ask a friend what happened if she ended up missing something but that wasn’t a luxury she really had anymore. So it was okay. At least more okay than the other mistakes she had made so far, which were still being pushed to the back. She didn’t know what this place was right now, but she was sure to find out later. All she needed to do was to keep exploring and she’d eventually figure out what this place was. It wasn’t a big deal. She could live with it.

A noise unlike the ones of the room called out. Jasmine froze. What was that?

Another person?

She stood still, breathing. Probably. Yes. She wasn’t sure what else the choking noise could be. Maybe an animal, but she wasn’t sure if any could survive down here, if the cold was any indication; so it had to be a person. She smiled, another person. Maybe somebody she could ally with. Maybe someone who could help her win.

Maybe someone who could fix her mistakes.

So she walked. Forward, towards the noise. She opened the big metal door at the end of the room.

And it was there where she found her possible saviour.

It was a girl, hunched over the wall of what seemed to be a shower room. Toby, she was pretty sure her name was. From the year above. Not someone she knew very well, and not someone she had on her lists. She was vomiting - not very well - onto the floor, little drips or chunks of what she had eaten. Jasmine moved her head back, a little bit. Ew. Vomit still wasn’t something that pleasant to look at, and the image of someone doing it was even worse. Still, she couldn’t turn her head away. This was a person, a potential ally. Toby hadn’t seen her yet, and they didn’t know much of each other. She could at least try to make a good first impression.

But what to say? The sight of the vomit on the floor and the sight of Toby vomiting wasn’t doing good for her quick thinking abilities. She needed… something friendly. Something assuring. She needed to establish her presence without turning Toby off of her. For Jasmine’s sake. Maybe for Toby’s sake too.

“Are you… um… okay?”

That would work.
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Namira
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Hey at least she was purging whatever remained from the terrorists' gases out of her system.

Worst silver lining in known history.

But hey, when you were doubled over in some unknown room in some unknown building with an 100-person death warrant out on your head, you really had to take what you could get. In this instance, that was depressingly little.

And then a noise - not a noise, a voice.

Toby snapped upright, immediately on the defence, both fists up and on guard. Taller girl - not one she recognised right away, so a junior probably. It took a second longer to process what had actually been said, and Toby felt a momentary flush of embarrassment for reacting so dramatically to someone just checking up on her. That didn't last long. She had all the reason in the world to be wary. Of course, so should the other girl, so Toby wasn't sure whether it was confidence or naivety that was encouraging the approach. Toby couldn't imagine that she'd been looking especially threatening there, puking up her guts, so maybe more the former.

"I'm fine."

Her mouth tasted of vomit.

"What do you want?"

Her fists clenched.
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And it did work, it seemed. Toby had responded to her, and she apparently seemed to be okay. A little annoyed, if the tone of her voice was of any indication, but that was something that Jasmine didn’t really mind working with. At the very least not too much. Not right now. It would probably serve to be an annoyance if this was what everyone greeted her with, but right now? This was okay.

...Apparently not, though, if the next thing Toby said indicated her thoughts. Ouch. That was probably something she’d reel back against if she was at school. This wasn’t school and this was someone who she wanted to try and impress, so she couldn’t. Oh well, it wasn’t really a big deal. She’d just figure out something else to say. Something good so that they could mend this seeming rift between the two of them and so that they could talk and potentially start working together. Yes, that’d be good. She’d like that. Maybe Toby would, too. All Jasmine needed to do was to just step back a little bit and try to calm her down. That wasn’t too hard.

But there was something. Something in the back of her mind. The words, the tone of what Toby had said had lodged into the back of her mind and it wasn’t budging when Jasmine tried to shake it. Toby didn’t seem to appreciate Jasmine’s presence. That was going to be a problem. Except it wasn’t actually but it honestly was and she couldn’t tell and she didn’t know what to say. She knew how simple it was and she knew what she needed to say to do it but now every single sentence just didn’t seem to work. 'Sorry, I just heard you and wasn’t sure what was happening.' Wouldn’t work. 'I heard you and wanted to see if you were okay.' No, that wouldn’t work either, and really she just needed to say something at this point but it was just that nothing was popping up and honestly she just needed to do something so that this could just get off of her mind.

She stepped back.

“Sorry… um… I just wanted to know if you were okay.”
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Namira
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"I said I was fine, didn't I?"

Even to herself, Toby sounded more petulant than authoritative, and she had to hold herself back from wincing. Just what was she trying to prove here anyway? The chickens had already flown the coop in terms of looking vulnerable, given the state the other girl had ran across her in.

Maybe it just let her feel like she had the tiniest measure of control over the situation. A false sensation, true, but better than furious helplessness at everything that was happening.

Ugh. Petty. Petty. She was better than that. She hoped that she was better than that.

Toby didn't lower her fists, but she did do her best to relax the scowl which she knew was on her face.

"Look. Sorry. Things are just..." she shrugged. "Goes without saying really doesn't it."

Not a question.
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[ * ]
GIRL 063: Natalie Winters START

Natalie had only been awake for a few minutes when she found herself in this place. Never in her life did she think she'd actually be in something like this. Were people watching her?

Were her parents watching her?

She hadn't even said a proper goodbye to them yet. If she dies here... She can't even think about that. She wanted to escape, to get out, but she didn't even know what to do. Worst of all, it didn't look like whatever weapon she was supposed to have was going to be useful anytime soon.

The puddles of water in this dark place make her think that she woke up in some sort of underground basement or something. She had to find a way outside. But was she the only one in this room? Maybe there are other people.

Natalie walked and wandered, keeping her hands to the walls just in case. That's when she heard talking.

Her body tensed up. She expected to find other people, other students maybe, but knowing her situation, she wasn't sure if it was safe anymore. She approached the room where she heard the noises, and tried to peek in, sneaking just so the puddles wouldn't make a noise.

She saw two girls, looked like they were talking. Natalie didn't really hang out much with either of them, so she couldn't recognize them just by their backs.

The kids at school wouldn't really resort to killing each other... right?

...right?

Deep breaths. Maybe it's best to let them finish talking, judge them to see if they were safe to talk to, maybe it's best if Natalie just stayed put.

And then, Natalie felt her foot slip in a puddle of water. She had lost her balance, and her body fell on the hard floor. The sudden shock of the slip made her yelp out, and the pain from the impact was enough to make her groan.

"Argh... Crap."

So much for sneaking and being quiet.
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Yugikun
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If there was ever an appropriate time for Jasmine to breathe out in relief, it was now.

Because okay. Things were okay. For now, at least. It wasn’t to say that this whole situation or the fact that she was here was okay but right now? She could live with what was happening. Toby had backed off of her, if only slightly, and she started speaking a little bit more calmly. It was about the situation, it seemed. Toby was getting jumpy on her because of where they were. That was… understandable. She could see why Toby reacted the way she did considering the way that Jasmine entered. Well, she still wasn’t going to blame herself for what happened but she knew that neither of them really wanted to be here, now.

She smiled, slightly.

Maybe she could use that, if only a little bit.

“I should…” She paused. “Probably be the one apologising. Sorry. I’m just super jumpy and stuff, considering what’s happening and-”

There was a crash behind her.

“What was that?

She turned around. There was a person on the floor. Red hair. White Jacket.

Not someone she knew. At least not immeaditally.

“Who are you?”
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Namira
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Toby didn't want to be in this conversation. She didn't want to be talking to this girl. Hell, she didn't want to be in this place period, but in lieu of that, it would have been nice to not be trying to wrap her head around a person she barely recognised. She wanted-

Okay, she didn't want her friends to be here, not really. There was only so far 'we're in this together' could be spun as a positive . The fewer people Toby knew that had been on the trip, the better, so far as she was concerned. For a couple of seconds, she tried to rattle off in her head who she'd seen on the trip, or in the crowd at the briefing - who didn't share the class that was coming along on the trip. That had to narrow it down some, maybe a lot. Kaylee wasn't along, but Abby - shit, Toby had been sitting next to Travis on the bus.

Christ.

The girl was apologising too, at least up until a thud from the back. Heard that enough to know it was someone falling, and the cry of pain was a confirmation.

Toby moved quickly. Her reflexes had always been good. A little queasy still, but an upset stomach wasn't a broken leg.

Past girl one, and all the way over to girl two. Someone else she didd't know. Someone else she had no reason to trust.

"You were sneaking around. I want to know why."

Toby didn't move to pin her, but for a moment she was strongly considering it. Instead she just stood over the other girl, eyes roving, looking for weapons. If that had been an attempted ambush...

"Don't move."
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This situation is something that Natalie would say has gotten from bad to worse. It's bad enough that she woke up in a dark room all by herself, but it turns out she wasn't even alone in the first place. What originally was supposed to be a nice greeting was ruined when she slipped.

Clumsy. Stupid.

And now, while she was on the floor, standing before her, are two girls she didn't exactly know, one of them seems like she could beat her up to a pulp if she tried, and that particular girl doesn't seem so happy to see her. The athletic looking girl is asking her why she was 'sneaking around', telling her not to move. It's only been a few minutes and Natalie's apparently already gotten on someone's bad side. That's not a good sign in a situation like this.

So many words went through her mind at that moment.


I wasn't doing anything. No, that's just too suspicious.

Just wanted to say hi.. Not going to work, if she did, she would've said hi in the first place instead of waiting.

I just happened to be around. ...Seriously? No.


3 seconds, 5 seconds, 7 seconds had passed. Natalie had unconsciously gulped a bit, partly through fear of what might happen next.

She was about 70% sure that most of her classmates wouldn't kill her on sight. She barely knew a lot of people, but now, with the possibility of pissing one off, she's reconsidering those chances. Well, they haven't attacked yet, so they may be friendly, maybe? Finally, she spoke,

"L-Look, I just woke up here, okay... I'm just trying to get the lay of the land, y'know? I know it looks weird, but I wasn't 'sneaking around' or anything..."

Slightly nervous. Stuttering. She can't show any weakness. Not right now. She took a deep breath and worded her next sentence with some confidence.

"I'm not a threat, and I don't think you guys want to kill me, so... yeah"

She looked over at the black haired girl that asked for her name. She seems nicer than the other one.

"As for my name, I was actually about to ask you the same thing..."

Should she tell them? They probably don't know her anyway. Of course she should tell them, it's just a name.

"...I'm Natalie"

Her heart was beating rapidly, hoping that whatever she said was enough to calm them down and maybe consider her friendly.
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Yugikun
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The situation had suddenly changed.

Jasmine was no longer the main person that this encounter was focusing on, if she was correct. Instead, she had been pushed to the side, someone in the background of what was happening right now. She was fine with that. She knew she might have said differently had this been at school, but right now being known wasn’t very much of a high concern. Toby, on the other hand, had kept the same role as before, and now with Jasmine in the background she could tell what that role was, somewhat. An aggressor. Someone who jumped on what other people said and wouldn’t back down, her current target being the girl. Natalie, her name was apparently. Not someone she knew. Not someone anyone really knew, if she were able to say something like that. She was withdrawn, from what she knew. Not exactly someone she interacted with much.

That made it hard to guess her intentions. Whether she was being truthful about what she was saying or not. Jasmine wanted to be able to group up with anyone who she could get, but she didn’t really want to put it into someone who’d try to stab her in the back. That would go against everything she was trying to do, here.

So she took a small step back. It was best to see what was going to happen before she made any attempt to join in.
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There was a long silence. Or maybe it just felt like a long silence and Toby was imagining it.

But it felt like a long silence.

Toby scowled, leaning backwards as the girl on the floor began to talk, defending herself and then introducing herself, which was exactly what Toby didn't want her to do because that made it a hell of a lot harder to be angry and guarded about her presence there. As much as Toby wanted to be aggressive and suspicious it was just... it hurt. It clawed at her internally that it had been her first reaction to someone else showing up. To accuse, to wonder just what they were doing there. Not a sick feeling, more of a clenching, uncomfortable one, like blundering into an exam question that you hadn't studied properly.

"Of course I don't," Toby said, a little more vehemently than she intended, but one hundred percent intending on the exclusion of the first girl. Toby had no freaking clue what she was gonna do. She wasn't even certain she knew was she herself was going to do.

Joys.

"...I'm Toby. And if you didn't want to look like you were sneaking, you shouldn't have sneaked."
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((Skipping post order to leave thread))

The situation seemed to have cooled down.

It seemed okay. Toby seemed to have calmed down. Natalie seemed to be friendly. The situation that had erupted seemed to had just been a misunderstanding. It seemed that now everyone in this room could move on from this. It seemed that now they could be friendly to one another. It seemed from there they could possibly form a group. It seemed from there that maybe they could get further in this game together. And then things would be okay. Jasmine would get out of this okay. She would be in part of a group, they would be safe, and then she could get out of here and go back home. That would be okay. Things seemed to be going okay for Jasmine right now. Now she could get a group, and now she could survive a little longer, and now everything was going to be okay.

She furrowed her brow. Raised it. slightly.

She wasn’t sure.

Even if this situation seemed to be okay now, she wasn’t sure whether it would stay that way. Toby had jumped on both Jasmine and Natalie on the slightest provocation, and truth be told she didn’t know anything about Natalie at all. For all she knew, Toby was right initially. She was planning on doing something. If she hadn’t slipped, then Jasmine had no idea what would have happened.

But it was a group, and a group was what she needed right now.

She looked to the side. There was another corridor. Dark and damp, but it might take her away from here safely.

She didn’t know.

And that was the worst part.

Stay, or go?

She thought about it, for a bit. The ideas were annoyingly muddy in her head. Nothing was forming. The options weighed themselves on the scales but they didn’t move a single inch.

She looked at the group. Closed her eyes, for a second. She knew that there would be more. There were more than these three on this island. There were enemies. Friends. She could find better.

She looked down the empty corridor.

It was good enough.

((Jasmine King, continued in Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson))
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Natalie sensed that everything's finally okay. The girl named Toby had calmed down, or at least she's more relaxed than she was before. At the very least, Natalie probably won't get beaten up, or worse... for now.

Slowly, she got up on her feet. Her back still sore from the fall.

"Can you blame me? Waking up in a dark room after being kidnapped doesn't exactly make me want to waltz around."

At ease from before, she'd regained some of her confidence. This whole situation is still shaking her up a bit, but a way to cope with stress is to think about the next thing she'll do. Get her mind busy. Her daily life has taught her this, and though the circumstances are slightly unusual, it could still work.

She still didn't fully want to open up to these people, not in this kind of situation at least. Not until she can gauge them a little more. She's fine with being on her own, but Natalie knows that survival often means working together with others. Safety in numbers and all that.

If this works, she might gain some allies. If not, well, at least she' won't earn an enemy.

She turned around to the other girl.

"Hey, I never got your- Huh?"

Natalie must've been so focused on the girl known as Toby that she didn't notice that the other one had left. Well, now it's just her and Toby.

Great. Of the two that stayed, it's the one that almost threatened her, looks intimidating, and could probably kill her in a flash if she wanted to.

Natalie took a deep breath.

"Well, at any case. I just recently woke up. You meet anyone else friendly maybe? I'm not keen on staying in this dark hellhole if I can help it."

Natalie kept her distance a bit, but was more relaxed than she was before. Toby had said that she was friendly, but before Natalie could trust her, she had to make sure that Toby could be trusted in the first place.

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Namira
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Toby shook her head slowly and folded her arms across herself.

"Nobody. Not a soul."

She looked intently inward at the unwelcome visitor, noticing but not noting that the girl who'd first stumbled upon her was in the process of leaving.

Yeah.

"I have things to do. People to see," it came out bitter. Sardonic.

She raised a hand in a facsimile of a wave. "Stay out of trouble. Stop sneaking."

Toby turned, looked after where the first girl had gone.

"Later."

((Toby continued elsewhere))
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