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This World Belongs to the Mad; open
Topic Started: Oct 3 2016, 03:14 PM (1,607 Views)
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Ever closer.

Ever closer...

His foot slowly reached his axe, and planted itself just on the hilt. All it took... One swift move, and he was gone.

But for Jeremy, all it took was one twitch, and then he'd be gone...


Alex started rising again, his face was fucking red as a jacked dick. Wait no, what kind of dick bleeds when you jack it? Actually, don't answer that. Point is, Michael had walloped him well. He'd be proud of himself had he not run the risk of turning into skull salad. He laughed at him... The audacity of this punk. The fucking audacity, the bastard had the upper hand only because- FUCK!

Alex had a partner in crime, and at this point, Michael didn't. He also didn't know of Jeremy's gun. Shit, this was a trap, and he was gonna pay for it.

Alex opened his mouth, and Michael half expected a bullet to blast right through him. He complemented the hit? Whaaat in the fuuuuuck?

Okay, these fuckers were whacked the fuck out. Insane in the membrane, loopy as shit. He asked about why he hadn't killed him...

Why didn't he axe the fucker in two?

Alex was a murderer, Michael would be in the right to do so. He walked towards him and asked for it. Michael was a vigilante, not a hero, so why didn't he take the chance, why'd he follow the whole honorable route? He-

Michael laughed. He couldn't stop. He laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

There's a moment where everything just clicks. It all falls into place. Where you have the realization of your life. Michael had been telling himself the entire time that this wasn't a movie, that this was real life. But was it really?

There were cameras everywhere, watching every moment. People acted in ways he'd never thought possible, nobody was truly their selves. They were all playing some part in a fucked up Greek Tragedy, and all Danya amounted to was the Chorus...

All it took was a little pushing.

Well, not really, Michael wasn't batshit insane. He didn't believe none of that bullshit, but Alex... Playing sane wouldn't help, he'd have to out-crazy him out of the room if he wanted to live.

You know what they say about not beating them right? You join them.

"Come on, Al..."

Michael turned and grinned towards Alex.

"You know exactly why I let you live. Think for a moment."

He lowered his arms, grabbing his belt loop. His head tilted up. This wouldn't work with the coward-ass 'don't shoot me' pose.

"You can't die now, neither can I, we're Murphy and Boddicker, Mad Max and Toecutter, Decker and Roy, The Terminator and Connor, Mclane and Gruber... You know exactly why, Alex."

Michael reached to his jacket pocket, slowly pulling his Wayfarers back out. His foot tensed over the axe. Please let this work.

"I didn't kill you, because you didn't have my permission to die, Alex. I told you I'd kill you last, and I meant it. Whatever happens before the climax, nobody knows, but I know this, and you know it too, nobody's gonna kill either of us, except one of us once all is said in done."

He flipped his shades open. Please for the love of all that is holy, let this work.

"When it comes down to it, nobody's gonna save you from me, and nobody's gonna save me from you. Your lackey back there? He's gonna be dead long before either of us meets. Whether or not it'll be me or you to do it depends all on what happens here."

He placed his shades along his face. Please oh pleaaase, do not fuck this up now.

"That punch was something for you to think about. I wanted to show you just what you're in for later on down the line. Give you a little taste. A little taste of hell, just before I send you there. Savor it..."

His foot pressed harder against his axe. This was about the stupidest shit he'd ever heard himself say. But goddamn, if it fails, at least it'd look good as an epitah. At least it'd be along the levels of Hold muh beer an' watch 'dis...

"We'll meet again soon, Al."
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Michael immediately freaked out the moment the gun was pulled. Fear. Visible. Not fake. Not the type of mocking fear you expressed whenever something didn’t actually scare you. This was like that moment in the chapel when Jeremy suddenly realised what had actually happened. This was real.

And Michael was scared.

Jeremy immediately felt regret about the decision that he had made. But he kept the gun up. He had made his decision. Now he had to stick with it.

...He had to say something. Michael was scared. Jeremy didn’t really want to see that.

“Sorry,” he said. He meant it. Regardless of how either had acted or was acting right now, this wasn’t a nice scenario. Even in the case that it wasn’t enough, he had said it. That had to mean something.

A voice re-entered the conversation. Alex had gotten up. Started saying things. Started taunting. Michael responded. Backtracked. Probably made jabs on his own, though the references he was making, although they weren’t ones that Jeremy really understood. They were rivals, of some sort, apparently.

...Not for long though. Alex was there. He had a sword. Jeremy had a gun.

...But Michael was scared. Michael was going to die. That wasn’t something Jeremy really wanted to see. There was a list, in his head, and watching someone die in fear right in front of him, watching a face he knew disappear while he did nothing but help, that went against what the top item of that list was.

He thought of something he could do. It would work. Definitely. Hopefully. Ideally.

“Look. This doesn’t have to happen,” he said to Michael. “Just let us pass, and nobody here has to die.”
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Grim Wolf
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So, here's the problem.

Michael Crowe is speaking his language. Michael Crowe is offering himself up as the hero to his villain. And that is a powerful narrative, no two ways about it. He's right: it does have a strong pull to it, a McClane/Gruber vibe. The confident, unshakeable villain, and the brash, trash-talking hero. And given how timeless Alan Rickman's performance is, how pervasive an icon Bruce Willis became, that narrative has tremendous appeal.

There's just one problem. Well, two, if Alex is being honest.

The first is this: Alex isn't Gruber, and Crowe isn't McClane. Alexand David Tarquin may not know this fact, but Alex has to. Everything he does has to be grounded in reality, while giving Alexander David Tarquin the tools he needs to look far grander than he really is. The odds that one of them makes it to the finale are already low enough: the odds that both of them will are minuscule. Alexander David Tarquin cannot acknowledge this reality, but Alex has to. Alex has to know that if he lets an enemy walk away now, he may lose--not just the game, but also the character he's trying to cling to, the glory and admiration he can't stand to lose.

The second: Crowe had punched him in the face. Crowe had already ruined the illusion, by striking at Alex when his guard was down.

The narrative isn't simple anymore. We live in a world so saturated with storytelling devices that even the most plebian member of your audience is going to expect the common cliches. Die Hard is a product of its time. It is an iconic product, on par with other classics, but its devices have been borrowed and innovated on countless times. If he intends to build on the narrative, if he intends to make it something worth watching, he has to be very careful about how he acts. And about the reasons he gives.

"I see," Alex said. "I suppose my only question is: which of us is Max, and which is Toecutter? Which is Deckard, and which is Roy? Which of us do you think is the hero, Crowe?"

The blood was running down his face. There was a gun in Jeremy's hand.

"We're not leaving," Alex said to Jeremy, carefully sheathing his giant sword. "This is our place, and we have work to do. But Mike can go if he likes. I'd like to know how long he keeps his illusion of heroes and villains." Alex extended a hand, and saw the moment's hesitation in the other's face. Then a return to McClane brashness, reaching out to take the hand.

Alex struck then, before his frayed nerves could get the better of him. He twisted the arm, hooked his leg beneath Crowe's so the other man pitched to the ground, catching himself on splayed fingers. And Alex was rising again with the machete in hand, the machete was swinging again, Rea was falling in front of his eyes again, but this time it was deliberate, this time he knew exactly what he was doing, and his nerves were singing and his stomach quivering but he trusted in the body he'd spent so long training, the hand-eye coordination he'd developed working backstage and shadowboxing.

The machete snicked neatly through the pinky of the hand that had struck Alex. Crowe gasped, stared down at his hand in disbelief, then moved for his axe. Alex's foot was already on the handle: he stood above him, the machete wet with Crowe's blood and pointed towards his throat.

"You can go," Alex said. "And when they ask you what happened to your hand, tell them you dared strike Alexander David Tarquin when he had laid down his arms. Tell them it was your punishment for weakness and cowardice. Tell them I wanted to make it clear just how unfit you were."

Alex lifted his foot and his blade, and turned away from Crowe. He stared straight ahead with his best attempt at regal imperiousness, trying to hide the tears in his eyes, the bile in his throat.
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V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players

V4 Players
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Michael stared wordlessly as he listened to Alex talk. Didn't reply to his question of who the hero was, or the little jab about if he'd still believe it later on. He didn't believe it now, why would he then? It's called mind games fool, you gotta bullshit the bullshitter. Make him believe he was something special, something he's not. When it came to the mind games, he was a fucking genius. Nobody could get around him. It was no surprise he got out of it with a few choice words. Can't find a way around them? Flatter them, or fuck them up. Whichever's easier...

What did surprise him was the offered handshake. Michael eyed it suspiciously through his shades, but he couldn't turn it down. A sign of good faith, and if you turn down a handshake, well fuck that's just rude. His parents taught him better, never decline a handshake. Biggest insult you can give someone outside explicit remarks about fornicating with their dead daddy. Wonder what Ben's up to right now anyways?

His arm extended, gripped Alex's tightly. Weak handshakes mean weak people afte- WHAT IN THE GODDAMN?!

Michael's foot shot out from under him, the other one resting on the axe slipping, not enough grip with the ground. A bright silver flew through the sky towards his arm, and his own hand flew right back at him, something wet splashing across his face. Michael caught himself before face-planting, his glasses hanging limp over his nose. His eyes moved over to his hand.

One, two, three, four....

One... Two... Three... Four...


Four. Wha?

Then it hit. Realization first, pain second. He rolled to his side, grabbing his hand, red seeping between his fingers and onto his clothing. His voice raised an octave or six as he screamed."AAAAUGH! AAAAAHHHSSSSSSHHH AAAAAAFFFF-FFFFFF-" His falsetto screaming cut into hissing, spittle flying every which way, before transitioning into saying an entire sentence consisting of only expletives.


He lurched up and flung himself at his axe.


He was cut off. Almost literally, Alex's machete was at his neck.


Alex called him a coward, then had the audacity to turn his back. The bastard even took his foot off his axe, just to taunt him. Michael looked up, then back down at his axe, at the pink, bleeding little stump laying by it that used to be his pinky. Michael grabbed the pinky with his bad hand, and picked his axe up with his good hand.

Turn your back on me you motherfucker...

Michael could smash Alex's skull in two right now, he most certainly had every right to do so. He wouldn't see it coming. Michael stood up, his fingers tapping the handle of his axe. His other hand twitched. Blood dripped, Michael sniffled, then spat.

He wasn't gonna do it.

"Knew it, fucker. Proved it for m-me right there. If I w-was really unfit, you'd have fuckin' killed me right there. You see it too, you spit-dicker!"

Michael pointed his axe at Jeremy and Alex.

"You're crazy... You're dead." Michael nodded at his own words. "Both of you, you're dead." At this point he was sure he was quoting something, but it hurt so much right now he wasn't sure who he was quoting. "And you know it! Y-you're dead!"

Michael back stepped towards the corner.

"Remember what I said Alex, I gave you a taste of hell, before I send you there!" He pointed the severed pinky at them. "This is gonna be your dessert, fucker!"

He was at the corner now.

"Oh, and until I see you again to utterly facefuck your shit, you fuckin' fuckwads can go fuck yourself!"

He turned the corner and walked away. In the distances a few more footsteps could be heard, along with another string of vulgar language.

Parental Advisory recommended, content unsuitable for minors...

(( Michael Crowe continued elsewhere)
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Michael screamed and Jeremy fell back and his foot touched the ground and his body went back against the wall again. The gun dropped. He had done that. He had allowed that to happen. This was just like Clarice where he did nothing but let the situation get out of control and someone he knew had just paid for his inaction. Wait, no, not inaction. His action. His assistance. He had helped Alex. He had allowed it to happen. He made the wrong choice and now he had helped a killer and let someone he knew get injured and scream in pain. Just like Clarice. Worse than Clarice. He could have helped. He could have done anything other than what he did but he didn’t and now there was blood on the floor and a person screaming and he didn’t know what to do and he was scared and he just needed to not think about this go away for a bit and-

He shook his head. No. He couldn’t do that. It was here. It was now. He couldn’t just bar himself away from his thoughts again. He had to own up. Apologize. He messed up, and he was sorry, and-

But Michael was gone. It was just him and Alex. Just like how it was before. The obvious thing to do was screaming through his head. The right thing to do was doing the same thing.

But just like before, there was another voice. Whispering to him. Through his ear. Little red guy, on his shoulder.

You’ve made your choice, Jeremy.

You’ve acted on it.

You can’t go back on it now.

Besides, you have a list you need to fulfill.

The gun went up off the ground. Back into his pocket. Jeremy looked around. Corpse to his left. Entrance to his right.

“We probably shouldn’t stay here. More people will come. We need to like, fortify someplace better, or something.”

There was a choice, and he had made his decision regarding it.

For better or worse.

He looked Alex in the eyes.

“There’s a weapon stuck in Conrad, might be worth it if one of us tried to get it out of him.”

He looked away. From Alex. From the corpse of the person he once knew.

“I’ll keep watch.”

((Jeremy Frasier, continued in Woof Woof, I'm a Dog. Kill your Friends.))
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Alex did not look back as Michael spit his vitriol and fled. He did not look back as Jeremy gasped and breathed like he was hyperventilating, until his breathing slowed. Until he spoke words of calm command.

How lucky, to find a man who could be so calm and cool. How lucky, to find an earnest ally, who believed his bullshit.

He looked down at the blood from Michael's severed finger. He wondered where he had found the courage to commit such madness. But he knew. Nothing else remained to him. An accident had set him on this path. A moment's psychosis. Now he had to make it part of his character.

"Alright," Alex agreed. He moved to the corps, dug at the weapon pinning Conrad to the wall, felt bile rising in his throat again at the awful stench, at the sickening squelch of blades and spikes in flesh. He fished it free, and lowered the rusting, bloodsoaked weapon to his side.

No, if he meant what he had said, he would have killed Crowe. But there was no time for that. And no spirit for that. He knew that about himself now. He had to kill in the heat of the moment. He could not kill coldly.

And now? Now Crowe had motivation. If he returned, it would be a proper conflict, a battle between them to decide who was stronger. To decide who was fit.

Alex had to create the narratives. If he was killed by some random asshole, it would mean nothing. But now? Now, if Crowe returned, minus a finger with axe in hand? If Luke Skywalker killed Darth Vader.

And Alex had taken that finger. He had done it confidently, easily. He had done it as though he were slicing a vegetable.

We are but meat the strong do eat.

You can't make this right, Alex. But then, the clock's counting down, isn't it? You could die any day, couldn't you?

He held the mancatcher in his hand. He stared down at the broken body of Conrad Herrod. He could smell the death and blood in this room. Most of it had been done by Isabel. Most, but not all.

He dropped his weapons. He finished what he'd begun: the can, and the string. To make sure he would know what was to come. To make sure he and Jeremy were never caught off-guard. To make sure the stage was his to command.

He finished his work, and stood up. He looked back to the door. He felt sick. He felt weak. His hands were trembling, though he concealed this fact by burying them in his pockets.

"Thank you," Alex said. "Let's go."

(EXIT: ALEX TARQUIN to Woof Woof, I'm a Dog. Kill your Friends.)
Edited by Grim Wolf, Nov 8 2016, 03:48 PM.
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V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players

V4 Players
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