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Forget About What I Said; 'I'm older now and I know you hear me.'
Topic Started: Sep 16 2016, 12:15 PM (1,463 Views)
Privyet
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[ *  * ]
Matt sat up, not really paying attention to however Nate and Ben were reacting to the announcement - he had his own things to think about. He'd heard the announcer describe in great detail what had happened. Who died, and who killed them.. but he didn't feel all that much except for maybe some dull, gnawing feeling in the back of his brain that he should be feeling something other than relief. Sure, they were people with families, pets, whatever - but they weren't him. They were one less person who might have killed him. He didn't know any of them, either. Maybe if it was someone he knew that had gotten killed, he'd feel sad.

He desperately hoped that anyone he did know wasn't here. That maybe they were sick that day, or something, and couldn't come.

Nate was crying and it looked like Ben had taken up the task of trying to calm him down. They were going to make 'em pay, he said. Matt didn't say anything, but he definitely had a newly found appreciation of Nate and Ben who, as far as he was concerned, were his best friends until proven otherwise. Not trying to kill him was the only criteria they had to meet, and so far they were meeting it and more.

From what he could gather, a few of his esteemed peers had decided to take up the exciting hobby of murdering people. Isabel, Alvaro, whoever else - no one he really knew. Sure, they were killing people - that was a good enough reason to be afraid of them - but he bet they weren't killing entire groups of people. Of course they could sneak up on someone and do their business, but being with two other people might make them think twice. Turns out there really is strength in numbers after all, he thought.


Eventually, things quieted down. Maybe it was time to start thinking about what to do next. They could stay here, sure, but he wasn't entirely a fan of spending the next day or two in a storage closet. This place had to have had a lounge for staff, or something, right? That, and he doubted the food that he had in his bag would last more than a day. Two, if he was frugal.

"So.. uh. What'd we do now? I kinda don't want to spend the rest of the day in a closet. And, uh.. maybe we should talk about food, or something. I don't think they gave us a lot."
Edited by Privyet, Oct 15 2016, 05:47 PM.
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Cicada Days
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Ben's shirt was a little briny, like the cheeky saltine kiss of the ocean that imprisoned the people he still called classmates or once had. Not Nate's fault, it was the shitty thin fabric. This rusty old shirt was one of those bargain bin fillers in the wardrobe. Perfect for day trips that would get hot and sweaty, definitely less so on islands that hadn't gotten almost summer memo. Global warming his ass. Shit. Just when he thought he'd at least had the decency of intellectual high ground over the school's faction of conspiracy nuts. Bring a snowball into Senate chambers and choke on it. Ben Fields after his first day of uselessly running around the premises of SOTF.

Ben sat near the flotilla of bags, watching his comrades. He could think of the three of them as something of a band of brothers, minus the guns. Most important part was the one missing. Ben could still remember. Orient the gun, flick the safety... Will. Ben couldn't imagine his friend's anguish, nor did he want to try. Guns, he could imagine. Guns in his hands, weighty and built for something like righteous justice. Ben couldn't do the dead justice with his words, but his actions? He could feel actions in the coagulated morass of his blood. Something hidden in that mess of clogged up piping, lurking under the surface. Something soon to come, as soon as the boys locked in their heels and marched.

So, time to get a move on.

Matt beat him to the punch by the hair of a trigger, and Ben nodded. Good someone else was thinking things along the lines of 'do'. They'd all rested on their asses long enough, been scared and helpless long enough.

"Yeah, I tried to ration my food but even with that I think it can only give us enough energy for a few days." Food was an interesting question. But there were more important ones. Lip service, pivot. Just like he'd learned in debate with a man he'd once called Alex Tarquin 'til terrorists had done the same. "When we head out we should be keeping an eye out. You know, for any trouble."

He glanced at one of the doors. Dark adjusted eyes picked out some kinda skittering thing dancing on the blurry line that marked light and shadow.

"Have to be ready to take action if we find that trouble."

Once more, he saw the bags.
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Nate rubbed at his eyes, not really paying much attention to Ben or Matt. They were so sore from the non-stop agitation they'd been going through, and the dusty atmosphere of the storeroom was only making them worse. He had enough things bothering him without having to add aching eyeballs to the list.

He looked to the door, still shut as it had been for the whole night, that separated him from a comparatively fresher hallway on the other side. Obviously it made sense not to show the whole world they’d been sleeping in there by leaving it wide open, but what was the harm in him going out for a few moments just to find a bit of fresh air (and to stop looking so stupid in front of his friends)?

Matt and Ben were in the midst of their conversation, so Nate opted to head out without a word. He thought for a second that maybe he should’ve told them what he was doing, in case there was a reason that he shouldn’t, but he didn’t want to distract them from more important stuff.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Light poured in as the door swung open, forcing Nate to shield his eyes for a few moments as they took in the light. After spending the night stuck in a dark old room, the ventilated air of the hallways smelt like daisies, but at the same time there was the undeniable presence of something else mixed in with the freshness. He saw, when his eyes had finally readjusted, that he had in fact opened the doorway to someone new.

“H-hi…”

He was starting to feel stupid all over again.
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Distracted by the presence of an interesting arachnid, Henry was unaware of the door opening until the person spoke up. Surprised, Henry adjusted his posture so he was kneeling instead of being awkwardly perched on his palms and tiptoes. Blinking, Henry studied the boy standing above him.

Well, not above him by much. Nate Turner was quite small, and while Henry personally found it kind of adorable, he didn't know much about the guy. He was a soccer player or something? That was about it. Nate was pretty quiet, and Henry rarely learned much about quiet people. Apparently his vocab was intimidating or something.

Still, Nate might be willing to let him into the room, and if there was food there...Well, it hadn't occurred to Henry how hungry he was. He'd last eaten...a while ago. He might've had a protein bar or something yesterday before he left the shoreline, but it was unlikely. His stomach was empty, and it hurt! He'd had a hunger pang about an hour ago, and he'd doubled over from the unexpected pain. Plus, he was starting to get a headache.

Henry stood up. "Hi, I'm Henry. Sorry to startle you, I was looking at this, uh, really cool spider." Henry scratched the back of his head and grinned. He'd never been one to feel awkward, but now was apparently a good time to start. Nate might not take well to his amateur arachnology when people were dying and all.

Henry tried to peer into the dark room behind Nate. He didn't see anyone off-hand, but it'd be good to be sure. "Are you alone, or what? Oh, not that I'm, like, gonna attack you or something. Even if you are alone. That'd be rude. Yeah." Henry smiled sheepishly.
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"Food, yeah. I.. don't really know what to do about that. I don't think there's any food on this island, so the only source of it, uh, is.. you know." Other people. Sooner or later, just eating was going to start being an issue. Just another thing to throw onto the growing pile of 'issues involving surviving', he thought. He wasn't so keen on robbing people - not yet, anyways - because getting brutally murdered for stealing from someone else was low on his list of things to do on this impromptu vacation he'd been forced to take. If he had to put it somewhere, it'd be between tripping and breaking a leg or getting paralyzed.

Sure, he thought. Dying might not be so bad, as long as it wasn't that drawn out. He could only hope for the best, really - the 'best' being something like getting his throat cut while he was asleep. Maybe thinking like this was a bad thing to do - he didn't have to die, really. Other people had to, not him. Sure. He could try. Maybe things wouldn't be as hard as they seemed.

Have to be ready for action, he said. Nate opened the door and suddenly he felt as unready for action as he could possibly be - another person. Talking to Nate. Sounded like he had no idea him or Ben were in here. Should he wait? Maybe this guy was trying to size Nate up, or something. Making sure he didn't have any friends with him so he could kill him. Matt looked at Ben and didn't say anything - he just raised a finger to his mouth and tried to stay as still as possible. Best to see what happened next, he thought.

Just had to wait.
Edited by Privyet, Oct 20 2016, 01:19 AM.
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"Hm."

'You know'? Maybe. Maybe Ben knew shit, maybe he didn’t. He didn’t need to know. The snail slime that was his instinct made it simple enough. He was not a thief. Not an opportunist, not a vagabond. He wouldn’t entertain the option, wouldn’t let it cross his mind any further. Maybe Matt would, maybe he wouldn't. Maybe it was just words, those slippery tricky bastards. "Might still be supplies around to scavenge. No way just two buses of kids scrounged through every nook and cranny already." He hadn't seen any other kids, even. Just a handful of assholes at best, before Nate and Matt.

And now he could add one more kid to that count. Shit, he hadn't been keeping an eye out on Nate. Pipe dreams of weapons and adrenaline and justice and shit, it had tied his neurons into a couple of neat knots and a couple hundred Gordians for good measure. Fuck. A bag couldn't move, it couldn't give away a position. A person could. And Ben, of course, had been keeping his eyes on the damn inanimate object. Add that shit to the list of his good ideas so far. Ben immediately wanted to make up for his mistake. Get up, get out there, get Nate before he was possibly hurt. But Matt got his eye, just the moment before Ben's heel was about to take the brunt of his weight 'til it half shattered. Before he stood and interjected. Finger to the lips. The ol' shush. If it was the right call he didn't know. He didn't need to, because he paused just long enough and the answer became clear.

Ben had always thought that dude's voice was particularly ridiculous. Somehow managed to over-emphasize every single syllable at once.

"Yo, Henry." Spider, huh? So Ben's eyes were still that useful, at least. "Glad to see you're still okay dude." Ben stood up, put himself right into the light where he could be seen. Hiding from Henry Spencer was a no go. Jerry Fury, maybe; even Maxim whatever-the-fuck in context. But not Henry fucking Spencer. Ben had some dignity left, in whatever was left of his body.
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Nate stared at Henry as he rambled on about nothing, trying to think of the appropriate response to being reassured that Henry wasn’t about to try and jump him. “Thanks, I guess?” He finally said, as he tried to to crack a smile, with mixed results.

Nate wasn’t overly familiar with Henry, their interests putting them pretty far apart from each other. They were in the same grade, he knew that much, and Henry had never given him any particular reason to be wary. He didn’t seem to be the most outgoing person, but that was fine as far as Nate was concerned, as long as he wasn’t aggressive about it or anything.

“I’m not alone, though.” He started, before Ben cut him off from behind by appearing in the doorway. Nate turned back to his companion, stepping out from between him and Henry so that he could talk to them both at once. “Matt Moradi’s with us too.” He continued, turning into the room to point out his other buddy in a perfectly casual manner.

“Do you want to come in?” There wasn’t any reason Henry had to stand around in the doorway, after all. Ben seemed to know him and he seemed friendly enough, so there was no reason Nate couldn’t relax his guard. Besides, it was probably safer in the room with them than outside where people were starting to lose it.
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Friendly, welcoming people! Henry had seen several people like that.

It scared him.

He didn't want these people to die. As he stood there, smiling pleasantly and looking at the two guys inside the box-filled room, he recognized that their survival was directly opposed to his own. One of them would outlive all the others. Ben, Nate, Matt, Henry; one, if any, of these four would survive.

Henry didn't know if he could will himself to be that one.

Still smiling, Henry stepped past Nate into the room, where his eyes locked onto the pile of bags off to the side. Henry casually made his way towards the pile, looking over at Nate. "So how you guys been doing? I've not seen too much bad stuff, luckily. Still, better safe than sorry, right?"

Henry stopped in front of the bags. He smiled sheepishly. "I uh, did lose my stuff though. Haven't eaten all day which is, you know, yeah kinda sucky. Mind if I borrow some protein bars or something?"

He chuckled, awkwardly. "Not borrow, really, but uh, yeah, eat. And then, later, you know. I assume you don't want them back! But no seriously," His cheer faded. "That sound okay? I'm a little desperate." He made a gesture with his fingers indicating smallness.
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Matt had honestly started to wonder about the odds that they'd run across another person that someone in their little group knew. There were only, what, one hundred something people on the island right now - probably not even that - so it wasn't too unbelievable. Still, he had to wonder if this person was worth trusting. Not everyone that Nate and Ben knew were their friends, right? They had to know a couple of assholes. A couple of people who wouldn't think twice about killing someone like him. Someone who couldn't really fight back.

Eventually, Henry came inside - dispelling any of Matt's fears that he was the slightest bit dangerous, at least in the 'can beat you to death' sense - and immediately started asking for food. Not his food, Matt thought. He wasn't going to be getting any of that. He could go find his own or mooch off of someone else. Not answering Henry's question, Matt tried to go over to his bag and pick it up in a way that seemed entirely unrelated to the question Henry had just asked. Of course, he had failed - it was obvious that he didn't want him to have any of his food.

Might as well answer him. "Uh.. sorry, I kinda want to keep all my food for myself. Gotta look out for number one, right?" He heard a little tiny voice in his head calling him an asshole, but he didn't particularly care. With the kind of situation they were all in, he really did have to look out for himself. Still - he didn't want to look too heartless. "But, uh, if we run into any food.. it's yours. I guess." Something about this guy seemed off. He didn't seem dangerous, but there was something a bit strange about him.
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"Matt Moradi’s with us too."

Some kinda fleeting memory of bygone first days of class. 'I'm Matt Moradi, and.. I guess if I had to say it, I like not dying.' Fairly accurate high schooler sentiment, that. Ben was sure he'd heard that before, down in the trenches between the desks. Couldn't recall so well, but he was sure.

Hm.

Almost seemed normal. Only off kilter bit was the part where they'd almost been too afraid to let an awkward aspie kid through the door. Ben watched Henry as he walked inside. Straight for the bags. Hadn't seemed suspicious until Henry had opened his mouth. Ben knew a fake laugh when he heard it.

Matt said no, and Ben's thoughts went two ways on that. Selfish. But understandable. They'd even talked over the ration count. Only so much vittles to go around, and everyone in the room knew it. Least of all Henry, way he was all bent out of shape. Ben could see the desperation. At least he thought he could. It hadn't been long ago, probably, that Ben had read somewhere that dehydration was one of the worst ways to go. Hardly the sort of info Ben had needed a book to guess at. Matt was probably afraid of that nightmarish vividness where the stomach was digesting itself raw and bloody out of hunger. Ben understood the sentiment. He didn't believe it, but he got it.

"Guess you could take a few of mine, like we could split them part-ways or something. Should tide you over until we can scavenge some extra grub." Second later and Ben was also by the bags. A bit off to the side, where the camera was busy trying to grab his ass in the shot from behind a rack of mildew and cobwebs stacked this way up. He raised an arm, felt the creak of morning rust flaking off like skin dust. Waved over to Nate. Come on in. Ambiance is terrible, but stay for the company. "What happened to your shit anyways, dude? Anything we got to watch out for? Anyone?" Maybe the names he'd heard before. Maybe new ones.
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Nate looked between Matt and Ben as Henry asked about the food, feeling a pang of sympathy for his situation. It couldn’t have been easy being stuck in a situation like this and also starving all the while. He would’ve been the first to offer him some protein bars if Ben hadn’t cut him off.

“It’s ok,” he butted in, not wanting to miss the chance to help and not wanting his own generosity to go unnoticed. “he can have some of my stuff. I don’t eat that much anyway.” That was something of a lie, all that exercise did leave him quite hungry, but it was a reflexive fib to make the offer more palatable.

He smiled at Ben and Henry, though not at Matt, who’s reluctance to help out hadn’t gone unnoticed. It made Nate feel just a little bit disappointed that his friend wouldn’t be more selfless, but he chose not to dwell on it for too long. It wasn’t like Henry was out to do any harm, though, so it wasn’t really cool of Matt to hold out on him.

Ben had raised a good question though. Maybe Henry was a klutz who had just lost his stuff, but Nate supposed that was probably unlikely. If his classmates had started attacking, no, killing each other, then taking their food wasn’t exactly a huge leap. Henry was alive and looked well enough, but what if he had avoided danger by the skin of his teeth? Not nice to think about.

“Yeah, are you ok? Did someone try to-” he caught himself. He didn’t really want to ask it out loud and openly discuss the reality that they were trapped in; it was hard enough accepting that his classmates were out for each other in the first place. “You’re not hurt or anything, right?”
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Henry's surprise was visible.

Truth be told, he'd mostly expected the entire group to decline the suggestion to share. Looking out for number one, as Matt had said. But Ben and Nate had both offered to share, and Henry now felt conflicted. He'd intended to steal from them, after all! How could he now accept their food anyway, now that it was offered willingly?

He smiled, though. He was still starving. "Thanks guys, I really appreciate it. Mind if I sit?" Not waiting for an answer, Henry plopped down onto the ground, relieving his sore legs of their post.

"As for my stuff, well uh..." Henry paused. He could tell the truth, but the truth was embarrassing. Modified truth seemed more fair to him. "I lost it yesterday, it uh, got left behind when some guys chased me. I'm not hurt or anything, luckily, but uh, yeah."

He looked down at the bags again.
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Sure, Henry had gone straight for the bags - sure, Ben was sharing his food with Henry. And sure, Henry had likely narrowly avoided getting beaten to death by leaving behind his bag. He'd do the same in that kind of situation, too.. but despite all that, Matt didn't feel particularly bad about not sharing. Wanting to keep all his food for himself - at least until Henry or someone else was really starving - didn't seem too bad a thing to do. He had to look out for himself before anyone else. If he didn't, then sooner or later, someone was going to take advantage of him.

Altruism, he thought, is fucking suicide in this situation. Sooner or later, someone is going to take advantage of him. Him or someone else he knew.

Matt cracked a smile that was half real, half fake. Sure, Henry was more than a bit strange and was eyeing their bags suspiciously again, but he bet his money that anyone would think twice about picking a fight with a group of four people. Well, three and a half, if you really think about it. Right now, though, they weren't being attacked or anything like that - they just had to pass the time, really. Figure out what to do next. Maybe Henry was a savant, or something - that'd be useful, thought Matt.

"Well, uh.. who was chasing you, man? We gotta look out for them. They sound like trouble."
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"Thanks guys, I really appreciate it."

"No problem, dude."

"Mind if I sit?"

The affirmative gesture followed on the bony pivot of Ben's wrist. Words not needed there. Shit, people had to ask about even sitting now? Used to be anywhere that wasn't an uninvited lap was free game for the old posterior. Hell, whatever. Ben wasn't gonna ask for permission to pull up a chair. One of the many nonexistent ones in the room. He sat himself next to his bag, the one slightly more wrinkled and stained than the other two.

He got quiet. Listening was easy. Room was just skull hollow enough for voices to carry.

He got mad. Thinking was hard. Wringing the lard out of the dishtowel brain.

But thoughts still came. The kinda thoughts where one imagined some innocent harmless dude with a dumbass dye-job running from people. The sort of people where one called them with a name once but then somewhere along the line a name was meaningless syllables for something no longer human.

"Yeah, we gotta watch out for them for sure. Maybe find them." There was some minuscule part wonder, reflection on how his voice couldn't have sounded this gruff, hastily dredged up from the phlegm of his chest if he'd just woken up and started shuffling for the nearest bathroom. Rest of the neurons were busy boiling away. The hell sort of degenerate lowlives put fucking Henry Spencer on a hitlist?

"We gotta move ASAP... Here. You can eat on the go."

Ben crammed a hand into his bag, felt around until an unmolested protein bar was in his hand. He snapped it in half so fast the wrapper was still there. Fumbling. He looked like an idiot. His fingers skittered like spider legs, scrambled. He eventually felt the crumbs of dusty amino acids into the grease of his palms, and he threw half Henry's way. Assuming the kid could catch it without warning. Fuck. Ben on point with the tactical foresight.

Boded well for what was to come.
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Nate listened patiently with his sympathetic ear, but gave Ben a look of concern when he suggested looking for the people who’d robbed Henry.

On one hand, he supposed, it would be great if Henry could get his stuff back, but they were in the midst of such a dangerous situation. What was the point of going out looking for trouble? It would’ve been much better to stay out of harm’s way as long as possible, after all, and maybe something would eventually happen to save them.

Wishful thinking, he knew, but giving into despair wouldn’t have helped at all either.

He did agree with Ben that it was time to go, however. He’d had his fill of this gloomy cupboard, and his legs were itching for a stretch. There was no knowing what they might find out there where everyone was losing it, and Nate was still a bit terrified of the whole idea, but he was getting restless all the same.

Grabbing up his bag and staff, he waited on everyone else before they headed off.
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