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Self Doubts and Hurricanes
Topic Started: Sep 1 2016, 03:52 AM (829 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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Hate, hate, HATE!!!
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Coleen Reagan continued from Dramatica))

She hated how she felt.

Something had driven her from the library. A cocktail of anxieties forced itself down its throat, and now it was leaving a bitter aftertaste, yet Coleen could find no other way to move but forward. She told herself repeatedly, she reasoned with herself that leaving the library and those two girls behind was the right thing to do. Jasmine and Lily were nice girls. Everybody was nice. Everybody in Cochise was a good kid, no matter the kind of reputation they had. Nonetheless, Coleen found she wanted no contact with them.

She kept moving, picking a direction and sticking with it once she made her way out of that musty old hall. It didn't take long for her to reach the ocean. She smelled and heard it before she saw it. The air felt cold, a little wet, and quite blustery. Ocean air wasn't the greatest for sensitive skin, and Coleen's face had plenty of sensitive areas to be wary of. The girl pushed her her as far she could over her bad side and walked along the shore. The wind blew wayward blonde strands across her face, tickling her nose and lips and causing her to press a sleeve against her upper lip to protect herself.

By constantly moving around this island, she was bound to run into somebody. It was definitely more likely, at least, than it would have been by staying cooped up in one location forever. At least this way, she could find exits in more than one direction. These thoughts were consumed by countering doubts, ones that assured her that by moving around, she was leaving herself in the open for attack.

But would people attack her? Should she avoid everybody, or look for strength in numbers? There was no telling what was the smartest thing to do, no surefire way to survive. Nothing in the world could have prepared her, or any of her classmates for that matter, to take everybody's lives into their own hands.

Play the game, a voice told her. Avoid everybody, said another. Live, said one, while another demanded that she just kill herself and be done with it. Find a high place and jump off. Take off your clothes, jump in the ocean and just start swimming. It'll all be over in a few minutes. Any high school knew that teenagers were at risk to commit suicide. Coleen knew that, too. She never dreamed it could be her. She couldn't get into the mindset of somebody pushed so far that death was somehow preferable to living. She glanced pensively at the ocean to her side and considered her options.

She chose to keep walking, at least for now.
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Sep 1 2016, 03:53 AM.
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Espi
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Henry Spencer continued from Plutonian Wharf))

Hadn't they meant to go somewhere?

Right, the buildings. The warehouse. Fishing line or something. Yeah. They were going fishing! Awesome.

His smile was strained by this point. At some stage he'd seen the interesting tidal pools along the waterline and scrambled recklessly down to the edge. Tidal pools were something he'd never seen in person before. There were little fish in between the huge rock slabs. Henry wanted to crouch by the edge to get a better view, but he knew better. Too cold for a swim.

He'd kept walking, aware that at some point he was no longer sure if Jasper or Arthur had followed him down here. To be serious-wait, no, that wasn't right. Serious wasn't a good state right now. Henry shook his head, his bangs brushing his nose. To be frank-wait, he wasn't Frank. What an odd saying. Anyway. He didn't really mind if they followed. He'd see them later on.

Oh, hey, there was that girl! The one with the hair, and the scar? Her! Henry spotted her in the distance. He was walking pretty fast, and she seemed to be less brisk in pace. He sped up to catch her, shouting to her all the while.

"Hi! Hey, hi, hello? I'm Henry! Hey!"
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"Hey, Henry! Wait up!"

((Jasper Bustamante continued from Plutonian Wharf))

Henry was surprisingly fast. The boy wandered off on their way to the warehouse, and he’d jogged after him. Under normal circumstances, Jasper didn’t think he’d get winded from running this far. But having to skirt tide pools and climb over rocks was incredibly taxing. He paused and bent over, hands on his knees as he caught his breath.

Jasper didn’t mind their detour too much. The ocean was beautiful, after all. He smiled and turned to the sea. He hadn’t been in the right state of mind to appreciate it when he woke up. Jasper had only been on the beach a couple of times, when his family would pay Tito Ryan a visit in Long Beach. This beach here was nothing like the one in California, but the sound of crashing waves still reminded him of those times.

Up ahead, Henry started calling out to someone. Jasper turned to see another figure on the shoreline: tall, blonde, and clad in green. It took a moment for him to recognize her. Coleen Reagan was someone he only knew in passing, but she always seemed nice. She was another friendly face on the island.

Jasper's smile grew wider, and he broke out into a sprint.
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"Oh, for the love of God..."

[Arthur Bernstein continued from Plutonian Wharf]

Arthur didn't mind spending more time on the beach. He had, after all, spent a while looking at the water while he was at the docks, and if anything this gave him a better view of the ocean. Plus, maybe this would distract Henry and Jasper from the fishing idea in the first place. Arthur hoped that it would, but he didn't like having to jog after Henry to keep up, preferring instead to walk and enjoy the scenery. He kept up a slow pace, taking up the back behind Jasper so he could have a clean view of everyone ahead.

He recognized Coleen from his grade. A fellow academic, Coleen had always struck him as a very nice and polite girl, one he wouldn't mind Marie becoming friends with. He didn't mind the music that her band played, but he preferred to stay away from their concerts. It was a bit too loud and abrasive for his ears. A quick evaluation made it clear that Coleen wouldn't be much of a threat at all, so Arthur relaxed a little. He held his paintball gun in both hands, cradling the muzzle in his right hand and holding the backside of the gun with the left. He hoped it wouldn't startle the girl in green too much.

Henry and Jasper got faster and faster, but Arthur didn't see much of a point in running as fast as they did. He'd make it there all the same. He hung back slightly, watching the two run. It was almost like they were all on vacation, together on the island, here for fun. All it took to remind Arthur that his life was on the line was the collar on his neck. He shivered as a breeze whipped stray grains of sand around his shoes.

He slowed to a walk after deciding that he didn't want to waste his energy. Slow and steady wins the race, after all.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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MK Kilmarnock
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Hate, hate, HATE!!!
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Coleen turned her face into the wind in order to hear the din coming up from behind her. Her hair swept across her face, forcing her to brush it away with a sleeve to see who was approaching her.

There was a boy coming up behind her. No, now there were two of them. The closer one called out, identifying himself as 'Henry'. That much was obvious to her; Henry may have been a year behind her, but she'd seen him around. Some kids called him a weirdo. Coleen... didn't have much room to talk in that department, so she just thought of him as Henry. She wanted to point out how awkward his statement was (in a somewhat dorky, half-cute kind of way), but the presence of yet another boy right on Henry's heels bothered her. She didn't recognize this one, at least on sight. Coleen turned the rest of her body around, not wanting to present her back to somebody that she didn't know very well.

"Guys, uh... h-hi?" Coleen stammered. Ever since turning her opposite shoulder to the ocean, the wind was now blowing the hair that hung over the left side of her face outward, making her even less comfortable with the whole scenario than before. The exposure felt like that of a locker room, with the possibility that everybody could be staring at things she didn't want anybody to see.

Coleen clenched her jaw behind closed lips, unsure why the two boys had run up to her. Did they intend to kill her? She didn't see a weapon drawn, but that didn't necessarily mean anything. She felt practically naked without a gun, a bat, anything just to make her feel like it wasn't her bare hands against the whole world at this moment. A calmer thought told her that if Henry wanted to kill her, maybe that plan would have been better enacted by not loudly shouting his name. Kid was smart, he would've thought to sneak up on her.

She saw past the two closer guys to spot a third, coveting what looked to be... a rifle?

Coleen froze.
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Oh, she noticed. The others were following him too, which was Great! since he didn't want to lose track of his friends. He might...never...

Henry arrived at the girl's position as she turned around. He stopped in front of her, flailing slightly to avoid crashing into her. He grinned and bowed in an exaggeratred manner. "Hey, Coleen right? Hi, I'm Henry. I said that already, right? Sorry!"

He looked back at Jasper and Arthur, who were almost on his heels. Huh, he wasn't as swift on his feet as he'd though. That was odd. Perhaps the cold, unfamiliar to his body after the start of spring heating up, was causing muscle cramps? He felt fine, at least. Perhaps they were cramp-free cramps? Anyway. Coleen. Or was it Colleen? Or perhaps Cologne.

Henry returned his gaze to Co(l)leen. She seemed distracted, but Henry couldn't identify the expression on her face. Hrm, perhaps she was overwhelmed with emotion? "Oh, that's Jasper and Arthur." He gestured casually back to the other two. "They're cool. Oh, look at this!" Henry fumbled up the whip, which had been coiled around his shoulder with the handle tucked into his jacket breast pocket in an awkward and weird-looking position.

"Cool, right?"
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Jasper managed to catch up to them. “H-hi Coleen,” he greeted, panting slightly. After taking a moment to catch his breath, he stuck his hands in his pockets and grinned. “How’re you doing?” He’d probably say the same thing if he ran into her back in Kingman. The casual greeting eased his nerves, and maybe it’d have the same effect on her.

Sadly, it didn’t seem to help much. In fact, Coleen looked terrified. His smile faltered, and he raised a brow. Maybe he and Henry had surprised her, but neither of them seemed particularly intimidating. She wasn’t even looking at him; she was looking over his shoulder, at something behind him. He turned around to see Arthur lagging behind, toting his paintb-

“Ohh!” Jasper exclaimed, turning back to Coleen. “It’s all good, that’s not a real gun.” His smile returned.
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Henry and Jasper made it to Coleen before he did, as expected. As Henry showed off his whip and Jasper introduced himself, Arthur could only see a few glimpses of her face. What he did see was a look of fear, pointed in his direction. He looked down at the gun in his hand, cradled in his arms. Oh, she's worried about this, Arthur thought, somewhat surprised that she didn't recognize it as a paintball gun despite its iconic look. Just as he was about to open his mouth, he heard Jasper explain away her fear, and relaxed. Moments later, he joined the group, careful to keep the muzzle of the gun pointed away from Coleen, off to the side and towards the ground.

"Hey, Coleen," Arthur said, "Sorry to scare you like that. Just a paintball gun." He was glad that he had met another familiar face so early on into the game. Maybe the four of them would team up? Four seemed like a good number for a group, structured in a way that everyone can pitch in their fair share without being too large or too small. He smiled politely at Coleen, but also at his own idea. It would be pleasant if it wasn't forced along by such circumstances.

"You been holding up well?" He asked thoughtlessly, his brain going through the motions of a normal conversation. Not all of his brain had come to realize where he was and why, lagging behind a good day or two. The part of Arthur that was aware of his situation feared the moment that those parts caught up. He'd make sure to try his best to stay off camera when he did: he didn't want to imagine Marie watching him break down.

He had to stay strong. For her. He couldn't let himself forget that.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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MK Kilmarnock
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Paintball gun. Oh... o-of course, I, uh... you were far away, and..."

Coleen attempted to scratch at her neck nervously, coming into contact with the metal ring around her throat instead. Any reminder that it was there lowered her spirits further, a dip that was only offset by whatever relief was attained from learning that gun wasn't real and, maybe, she wasn't about to die at the hands of the three boys.

"At least you're all okay. That's something, right?" Coleen gave the trio her best center-stage smile, even shutting her eyes an instant. The eyes did not stay closed for long, remembering that at least one of them had something that could count for a real weapon in his hands. Henry didn't seem like the kind of boy to kill her, least of all Indiana Jones-style. Her mouth went dry with the reminder ringing through her brain that none of her classmates seemed like the type of person to kill anybody. And yet, some people were going to die today. Somebody had to kill SOMEBODY or they'd all be dead.

Coleen did not feel keen on the prospects of calling that man's bluff.

"Me, I'm..." the smile weakened, but did not fade entirely. "I'm not doing so hot. Walking and thinking... um, y'know?" Her foot shuffled in the sand, hands inside sleeves and folded behind her back.
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Henry smiled and nodded.

"Oh yeah, no, totally. Misidentification of objects due to distance is perfectly normal, especially when one mistakes an object for a similar-looking one, in this case a fake gun versus a real gun."

Henry looked over at the other two. Still there! He looked back at Coleen.

"There's a condition called delusional misidentification syndrome, however, which is very different. It entails believingf that something is actually a different object despite evidence to the contrary, such as thinking everyone you meet is the same person in disguise."

Henry started walking down the beach, past Coleen. "That's the Fegoli delusion. The most well known example is Capgras, where one believes a loved one has been replaced by an impostor. Very commonly related to schizophrenia, it...it..."

Henry trailed off, then took off running.
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Now they were all together. Jasper was glad they’d met up with her. He may not have been close with Coleen, but he was still happy to see a friendly face.

Well, a friendly but disheartened face. “Aw, dang, I gotcha. It’s been pretty rough out here.” Jasper sighed. Then his face lit up. “Don't worry though! Cause we can stick together now! And find more people!” Coleen could be another ally, another friend. They could find some of her friends, and Jasper’s friends, and maybe Henry’s and Arthur’s friends, too.

He envisioned such a large group of people. It would be fantastic! A bunch of friends who’d refuse to give into the terrorists, to slow this ‘game’ to a halt. Jasper remembered that if nobody died on a certain day, all their collars would be blown. It wasn’t a pleasant way to go (going wasn’t pleasant to begin with, of course), but at least they wouldn’t be killing each other.

As he thought, he watched Henry walk off as he yammered on about something or other. Jasper wasn’t too concerned about it until he broke into a sprint.

“What the- Henry?!” Jasper called after him. He looked at the other two, and then back at Henry. Where the hell was he going? Wherever he was headed, he was going out there alone.

And Jasper didn’t want to leave Henry, or anyone, alone.

He turned around and chased after him.
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Henry had muttered something nonsensical and ran off, any semblance of sanity flying out from under his feet in a single remark. Arthur saw Jasper turn and run after him, briefly looking back at the two remaining before continuing off on his run.

Coleen was fine, though. That much was important enough not to forget. She had been startled by their approach, and she had been alone, but she was holding up well. Was Arthur really going to leave her behind just to chase after someone else? They had run off on their own, and even if he felt a need to go over and see what was up, he couldn't abandon Coleen.

Besides, he had just been leisurely strolling along just a few minutes ago. Even if he did give chase, he was going to walk, so why not stay put?

Elsewhere, fish spun out of their circles and swam back towards the ocean, satisfied with time well spent in orbit of each other.

"Henry's a bit of an eccentric," Arthur said, passing judgement as he would a soccer ball, "I wouldn't worry too much about what's going on over there, and I'm not gonna go over on my own. If you want to see what's up, though, I'll walk with you. Your call." He shrugged his shoulders, sticking his free hand into the pocket of his shorts. "Your choice, Coleen."
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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MK Kilmarnock
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Coleen watched two of the boys run off. Arthur, thankfully, was either as confused as she was or dismissive enough of the events unfolding with Henry and Jasper that it was decided they weren't anything to be worried about. She quickly turned back to Jasper, half-expecting that paintball gun to be aimed at her eye or something. To her relief, it wasn't.

Coleen crossed her arms over her chest and balled up her fists, tucking them in her armpits to protect her fingers from the ocean spray and the wind's chill. "Sure," she started, "that's the direction I was walking anyway." She stepped off to the side to clear Arthur's path and then turned, backing up until he was to her left side and between the ocean and herself. Her thoughts of taking a swim having subsided for the time being, she stared after the two boys who ran ahead.

"So where did you all meet up?" She asked, still staring straight ahead.
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Feet pounding against the hard, damp rocks between sand and earth, Henry didn't look back as he sprinted along the shoreline.

He made it less than a hundred yards before he slipped. It was inevitable, really, that he skidded along the wet shingle stone, his red sneakers losing traction and sending him onto his butt as he fell. He rolled over onto his side, pulled in his knees against his stomach, and wrapped his arms around his shins on the ground. Classic fetal position.

Henry had been the picture of ignorance up until now. But something so fragile as denying one's mortality couldn't last forever. His ability to play pretend and act as though nothing were wrong was apparently less persistent as he'd anticipated. So now he was faced with a cruel, unbearable, unavoidable, inescapable unerring truth. He and dozens of other classmates, companions, friends and acquaintances, all of them would be killed. Probably within a week of today.

There were so many reasons that this was a devastating revelation; Henry's own personal demise was just one. Sure, he wanted to live; he liked being alive! Still, if it were only him to suffer, it'd suck, but it'd be okay. But so many people were hurt; the other students, for one, who had so hopes and dreams of their own. The parents, who would lose their beloved children. Even former survivors, whose trauma would be reopened anew by this travesty.

Nobody deserved this. Not a single one of its victims.

Of course, Henry wasn't so concerned with all that. He would've liked to be able to look at this from the bigger picture, acknowledge the cruelty from a selfless stance, and be at peace with his own fate. But he wasn't in that state of mind; he was scared, selfishly scared, to die. He wanted to go home, see his dad, watch some movies, play games, do things! He didn't want to die.

So Henry curled up on the ground and whimpered, overwhelmed by sudden, crippling waves of fear and dread. Not the good kind of fear, the kind bordering on delight from his films and books, but real fear. He didn't like it.
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Jasper was glad Henry hadn’t gotten too far from the group. He slowly skidded to a halt and stood over Henry, curled up and sobbing. It reminded Jasper of how they’d first met up, but now Henry was the one having a breakdown.

He remembered how it had played out before: how Henry had cheered him up, kept him sane. Henry had distracted Jasper from the true horror of their situation, and now he had to return the favor.

It’s what friends do, right?

Jasper knelt down and placed his hand on Henry’s shoulder. “Hey Henry…” he spoke softly, starting to rub. “It’s okay, everything’s gonna be alright...”
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