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Heel-and-Toe
Topic Started: Sep 2 2016, 07:47 PM (717 Views)
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((Lillian ‘Lily’ Caldwell continued from Dramatica.))

Rats.

Both literally and figuratively.

Lily pulled her legs up so that they were off the floor, sitting on the chair in a cross-legged position, before going back to examining the controls for the radio tower. She was only half-sure she’d seen anything at all, but she was sure she heard skittering nearby.

She hadn’t had much hope for the radio tower, but she’d feel like an idiot if she later discovered the tower had worked all along. Even though she was skeptical, her heart has sped up (and was still thumping pretty hard) at the fact that the controls had looked intact and possibly useable. But on closer inspection, bits were missing here and there. Important bits.

Could she find replacements? Unlikely. And if she could, she wouldn’t necessarily be able to fix it.

Lily smacked her non-injured hand against the controls.

Well, worth a shot. This wouldn’t be a good place to hole up, though. Anyone hoping for an escape would likely head here, like she had done on a skeptical whim.

On further consideration, looking at the map for ideas was a Catch-22. Anywhere good that the map pointed out would be seen by other students and likely to be crowded, and anywhere good that wasn’t on the map… well, Lily wouldn’t know about unless she directly stumbled on it.

She definitely couldn’t keep running around. Even just lugging her things from the staff area to here had tired her out. She pulled out her map and started examining it again, as if somehow that would provide her with answers.

She still held the mirror shard gingerly in her injured hand. She’d stopped long enough to wrap some tape around the part she was gripping, in hopes that it might stop herself from cutting her hand open again.
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First rule: don’t turn your back. And already Lily had messed it up. Just because no-one had been there when she got there didn’t mean she should turn her back to the exit.

The moment she heard that tap-tap, she dropped the map and jumped to her feet, fumbling with the mirror shard. Did she use her injured hand to hold it? That was normally her good hand, but her off-hand would be able to swing it better but—

After some fumbling, Lily held the shard with both hands. It was only then that she registered who she was staring at.

“Oh. Lili with an I,” Lily said. Her voice came out strained. She lowered the shard slightly upon seeing that Lili only had a nightstick on her. At least, as far as Lily could see. She still kept the shard close to her chest, just in case.

Lily looked around awkwardly for a moment before saying, “The controls are broken. The tower won’t work.” There was nothing else of use in the room.
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Lily didn’t say anything in reply to the comment on her helmet, but her eyebrows creased together and she gave Lili a look that suggested that she’d either hit her head or that Tina had started dealing on the island and Lili had bought something particularly potent.

There was an uncomfortable, tight sensation in the pit of her stomach as she thought about Tina.

Lily saw Lili looking at the blood. With a sigh, Lily shifted the mirror shard to her uninjured hand and lifted the bandaged one.

“I cut myself. You can stop...“ Lily waved her hand vaguely at Lili. “Uh, stop… that.”

She lowered the shard a little more, since Lili was clearly not attacking. She picked her map back up, from where it had slid onto the controls.

“If you knew it’d be broken, then why are you here?” Lily asked bluntly.
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“I hadn’t planned on it, no. For all we know, the tower might be automated to ring every now and again.” Granted, everything else seemed in terrible condition, but the terrorists had clearly done a sweep of the island, judging by the missing equipment in the library and the missing parts from these controls. They could have rigged the bell to ring sometimes, just for fun.

Lily looked up from her map and eyed Lili for a few moments, sizing her up. If she did attack, it wouldn’t spell immediate doom. She had a nightstick, and she was skinny. Maybe even more so than Lily, although she was taller. And Lily’s weapon, improvised that it was, was sharper. A nightstick was not designed to kill, just to subdue.

She still wouldn’t be letting Lili within reaching distance if she could help it, but this was a milder danger.

“You may sit down, if you like,” Lily said, gesturing at the other chair. “But if you could not linger in the doorway? I’m not comfortable with the exit being blocked. No offence meant to you directly.”

Besides, Lily was too obviously a good target on her own, and she was still a little out of breath from traveling here. As a long-term companion, she didn’t know Lili well enough. Not enough to trust her while she was sleeping. But just for a few minutes? That was a different matter.
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“Well, even if I wanted to take my chances and group up with a bunch of unknown people they’ll probably leave before I can get there. That’s on the other side of the island, isn’t it?”

She was coming up blank on where to hide, and panic was starting to crawl into the edges of her brain. She just needed something else to focus on.

Lily frowned at her map some more before putting it aside and pulling out the notepad and pencils she’d taken from the library. She’d prefer to take inventory somewhere where she was alone and in no risk of being intruded on, but there was no guarantee that she’d find such a place. If she was careful, and didn’t remove everything from her bag all at once, she’d probably be okay for now.

“No. I’m not a smoker.” Well, not much. Not tobacco. Only marijuana around Tina, or at the very occasional party. Not something she’d go for on her own. Just to prove she could.

Lily opened her bag and pushed most of the supplies to one side, before picking up the ration bars and placing them on the other side one by one, counting as she did so.

“So you’ve traveled further than I have. I woke up over there.” Lily nodded her head towards the building she’d come from. “What is happening over there? Has anyone started playing?”

When she was done counting ration bars, she noted on the paper how many there were, then started doing the same with the bread.
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“Four bottles?” Lily asked, voice strained. Even just thinking about it made her mouth feel drier. “That… is not good.” Even as she said this, she was confirming Lili’s words by counting out the bottles. Letting out a sigh, she said, “I appreciate the information, but I’m going to count up anyway. Just in case.”

“I’ve seen Coleen Reagan and Jasmine Reed. Neither of them seemed particularly dangerous, although… things did get a little tense with Jasmine for a moment.” Lily looked at her injured hand and grimaced. “They were both in the library. Coleen left before I did. I haven’t seen anyone playing yet, but...”

Lily trailed off as she pushed the crackers to the side, writing down the total. The food would last. The water wouldn’t. Clever, really. If she hid somewhere, she’d never outlast the others. Not with only four bottles.

She pushed aside her tissues and sweater, noting them down too. Then she tugged out the first aid kit, opening it and writing down what was inside that. It was slower work. She had to check a lot of labels. Anything she’d used some of, she made a little dash next to.

“Toll Booth,” she mused outloud. “If she’d been trading her water, I might have risked it. But I suppose that was a while ago.”
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“Please stop waving that around,” Lily said quietly, as Lili waved the lightsaber around.

Sure, it was a fake weapon. But it was a horrible reminder that, should someone be armed with a proper one, that it wouldn’t take much. Just a few steps closer, and one swing.

The more Lili talked, though, the more… inane she sounded. Lily watched her talk, the same confused and wary look on her face, but it was only until the water comment that she spoke.

She had intended for her words to be polite.

“Yeah, why don’t we just put off worrying until we’re out of water?!” Lily asked, her voice abruptly high-pitched and strained. “That’ll solve everything. Nothing could go wrong with that approach. In fact, why don’t you just keep trading your few supplies for joke weapons, too? Did you hit your head? Did you breathe in too much sleeping gas and damage something?”

It may not have seemed polite, but it was better phrasing than what had originally been in Lily’s head. Which had also been louder and accompanied by the urge to slap some sense into Lili.
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“Unless there’s a river, and judging from the size of this island it doesn’t look likely, there isn’t going to be running water,” Lily said, voice strained. “This place is old. Any pipes would have rusted out. And the terrorists have clearly gone over the place, so I doubt they just left a crate of water bottles in the warehouse.

“And I’m not panicking. I’m thinking ahead. I’d rather be considering this now than when every other kid on the island runs out of water. Except anyone who’s been playing, of course, because they’ll be very stocked up.”

Lily couldn’t go that route, even if she was ready to kill a classmate. She was too small. Too unarmed. Stealing one bottle or two at a time, though… risky, but it could work. Provided the other person was unaware of her and she didn’t repeat her mistakes from the library.

Besides, too many others would inevitably head for the warehouse. And if there really were supplies there, what if there weren’t enough to go around? That was just inviting a bloodbath.
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Lily just shrugged. She didn’t want to outright say that stealing and murdering were the only way someone was going to get extra water, but that was all she could think of. It wasn’t fun to contemplate.

“I’m surprised no-one has lost it already. It only takes one twitchy person with a gun.” Lily turned over a small container in her medkit, reading the label before writing it down. “It would have to be soon. If it doesn’t happen by tomorrow, we won’t have to worry about it.” She put the container back in the kit. “But I doubt it’ll come to that.”

She shut the medkit and slipped it back into her bag before flipping over to the next blank page in her notepad and drawing a line down the middle. On the top of one column, she wrote ‘players.’ On the top of the other she wrote ‘victims.’ It’d just be stupid if she missed the first few names tomorrow because she hadn’t set out a space for it.
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“I found these in the nearby library. There’s probably still something there, if you need it. I didn’t ransack the entire place.”

Who she actually expected to play, though… hmmm.

“I really don’t know,” Lily said. “Could be anyone. I mean...” She pulled a face. “I am predisposed to say Caedyn, but honestly that’s based on personal bias. She’s never actually been violent.”

She tapped her foot against the ground, thinking properly on the question. It probably was best to consider it now, rather than wait until confronted with it.

“I mean… I can’t pick out individuals. And I wouldn’t bar out anyone. You never know, right? But if I were to guess at the sorts of, uh… qualities?” Lily tapped her foot against the ground again, frowning. “Well, I’d probably be most afraid of anyone small and bullied who’d been given a gun. That’s only guesswork, but… anyone who thinks they’re already in danger of being specifically chased, or who’s bitter towards whoever bullied them… and then given the means of dealing with that?”

Lily flipped over the page of her notepad, and then flipped over a few more, leaving space for a few days.

“...I wouldn’t want to be a bully on this island. For multiple reasons.”
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"Drastic? That's a wide definition. I wouldn't count anything out."

Lily could feel irritation creeping up on her again. Too many questions and Lily wasn't learning enough.

"I doubt the answer is yes, but have you... watched the game before? Anyone who has would know what to expect."
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"Hundreds of kids have been in this situation before. Maybe thousands. If an idea has occurred to you this early, someone has likely either considered or done it," Lily said flatly.

This was going nowhere. Lili had no more answers and too many questions. Lily put her notepad away and closed her bag, so that only her map and mirror shard were outside it. The map wasn't helpful for hideouts, but if she was careful and combed a possible area...

"I think I'm going to leave now. I'd rather not be followed."
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Lily got up and carefully made her way around Lili, never exposing her back. She stopped at the doorway, chancing a glance out there before looking back at Lili.

She thought about saying good luck. But it didn't feel right.

"If I were you, Lili with an I, I'd be much more careful with who you approach from behind in the future."

Good advice was all she could give. It was common sense that would decide this. Not luck.

((Lillian 'Lily' Caldwell continued in I'll Cross That Bridge When I Come To It.))
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