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Down the Rabbit Hole; Open (yes I went there)
Topic Started: Oct 4 2016, 12:04 PM (852 Views)
Espi
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((Alice Baker continued from Two Mules for Sister Sara.))

Alice took the bunting and cumbersomely cut it in half with scissors in the medical kit. Then she tied the two doors shut at the handles. A makeshift shield against the outdoors, and whomever might be lurking there.

It was foreboding, spending the night in a chapel. Alice explored nervously; though she knew very real threats existed in her vicinity, she found herself vividly picturing horrible things jumping out of the darkness at her. A silly, childish thing; she was perfectly safe from bogeymen. She didn't find much in the way of supplies, and she wanted to conserve her battery-powered flashlight. So she mostly stayed in the eulogy room.

Regardless, she definitely wanted to take shelter here for as long as possible. As the days passed, the risk of a violent student coming along would increase. Alice wasn't a math expert, but she figured that anyone willing to kill would be more likely to attack people unwilling, since they were easy targets.

Alice was such a person. She tried to imagine herself swinging an axe at an unfamiliar girl, but could only shuddered in revulsion. Violence was certainly not her forte. So eventually, killers would outnumber the people like her, and her chances of being attacked would as well.

So what was all the reckoning for? She wanted to avoid people. That'd been her decision, right here in fact. She sat down on a pew, her bag between her legs. Staring upward at the ceiling, she wondered if there was any point praying. She wasn't especially religious; her parents were very lax Protestants, and she rarely went to church even as a child. What would be the point now? God wasn't going to save them. He hadn't saved the last five classes, after all.

She would need to keep herself alive until...what? She won? She had to commit murder to go home if she won, otherwise they'd keep her here and the whole thing would be pointless. All her friends dying for nothing. So, she realized, she was going to die. Unless she was saved by an outside factor. But how likely was that? It'd happened once, she knew. But that was eight years ago. Would anything happen this time?

She slept fitfully, curled up on the floor with her hard bag as a pillow. But she wasn't prepared for what morning brought; the announcements.

Jennifer Su. Alice knew her; the poor thing was even shyer than Alice. Perhaps dying early and hopefully quickly meant she was spared suffering. Alice wondered what that implied for her.

Tina Luz. The Luz family had already lost someone. Her killer wasn't someone Alice knew well, but Isabel was apparently well-known from what she'd heard.

Alice gasped as she heard Scarlett McAfee's name. She'd...she'd been alive yesterday. Alice had seen her. She'd been nice, traveling with Aiden, whom Alice had frightened. Now she was dead, and someone with an axe had killed her. If she hadn't met Alice, she might still be alive. God help her.

Cristobal was an athlete, a baseball player. She'd probably never met him. Barry Banks, too. Kimiko was in Alice's math class. She'd murdered a boy. Barry had been killed by Alvaro, a boy she knew enough to be shocked that he'd slain another man.

Abby Floyd was a legitimately good person. Alice had never heard a bad thing said of her. She'd committed suicide.

Conrad and Harold. Conrad killed Harold, and then was killed by Isabel. Someone to avoid, for sure. Alice wished she knew them better. It felt callous to not be able to think of a person as more than a body count.

Rea was aloof, but she didn't know Alice well. Joshua was a nice enough person. Alice didn't know him, either.

In a way, Alice was grateful. Nobody she knew well, save Jennifer, had died. Nobody she knew well had killed. She was also horrified that murders had been committed so near to her. They could have been her. She could be dead now.

She wrapped her arms around herself, felt her breathing speed up. She heard, or thought she did, a sound, like the doors moving. It might have been the wind, for all she knew.

But she screamed, shrill and girlish, nonetheless.
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The door was beginning to open, the ties starting to stretch and break. Someone was definitely trying to get in, and Alice didn't know what to do. Had she trapped herself? The other door was tied, too, and Alice was terrible at undoing knots.

Trying to keep from hyperventilating, Alice attempted to rationalize the situation as the person pushed in. Were they going to hurt her? No way to tell, but if their intentions were good, why use force to enter? Alice was in danger, she was sure of that. She looked around feverishly, stepping away from the door in the process.

There were no flower vases, no urns, nothing she could use to protect herself with. Her bag was too heavy to throw with enough force, and her bunting was wasted now. Wait, the stained glass! Perhaps she could-

The floor gave way. The worn, partly-rotten wooden beam snapped under the sudden weight of Alice's slight frame. She stumbled, fell back and slammed the back of her head against the floor as she landed.

Dazed, Alice tried to sit up and nearly vomited as the room spun. She laid back, spread-eagle, and squeezed her eyes shut, whimpering.
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"No, please, ssstay away!" Alice gasped, holding her hands out un a useless attempt at protecting herself.

A moment passed. As she recovered her wits enough to actually hear and comprehend what the two were saying, Alice felt herself flush red with embarrassment. She looked at them, concern written plainly on their faces, unarmed. It seemed her reaction was, for lack of a better term, an overreaction.

Giving a small, sheepish smile, Alice lowered her hands. "Ah, uh, sorry about that. You startled me and I...fell down."

Alice onto one knee and managed to stand up without tripping despite the aching pain in her hips. Hopefully she didn't bruise her tailbone.

"Sorry." She said again.
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Alice nodded at Sandra. "Yeah. Sorry for the inconvenience, I was scared someone less friendly might come in."

Alice didn't know Sandra off-hand, but she was looking at Alice funny, which made Alice vaguely uncomfortable. Keith seemed more inviting somehow, so Alice addressed Sandra's question to him.

"I ran into a couple people before. Uh, Johnny McKay, Raina Rose, Aiden...Green..."

Scarlett.

Alice tensed up. She'd seen the poor girl yesterday. How long after had she died? Minutes, hours? Impossible to say. Had Alice's decision to flee the scene led to Scarlett's demise? That question might plague Alice the rest of her, probably short and frightful, life.

"That's it I think. Oh, and Jeremy Frasier and Scout uh, something. Them as well. What about you two?"
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It was, perhaps, fortunate that Alice's experiences, while frightening and stressful, had mostly been so from her own fears and insecurities, rather than any actual threat to her well-being.

Keith had been with a boy who was now dead, murdered by someone named Jasmine. From his reaction, Alice wondered if he'd witnessed the killing in person. Dreadful, and traumatic. The poor guy. Sandra meanwhile, had encountered the girl Kimiko before the mute girl had killed someone. Kimiko had even gotten an award of some sort according to the terrorists. Disgusting.

Alice stared at her feet as the two explained themselves. She felt ashamed, really, ashamed and mortified by the fates these two people had experienced, while she'd griped and worried and fretted. Danger was about, to be sure, but there was no reason for Alice to be a ball of anxiety like she was.

"I...I'm sorry guys." She bit her lip. "That's terrible, for both of you. I..." She trailed off.
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The atmosphere became uncomfortably morose.

Alice wondered what the other two were thinking. Contemplating mortality was an unpleasant activity, but there wasn't much else to be done, especially if you wanted to avoid drawing attention to yourself. Even searching for well-liked school companions put one at risk.

Off-hand, Alice was sure none of her good friends had shown up on the announcements as killers. They were safe, for what it was worth. But Alice didn't think she'd be able to find any of them. She liked to think she kept good company, so her friends were likely to be sensible enough to avoid danger.

But bad luck and fallibility made that a risky bet. Alice could go hunting for them, but she'd likely not encounter them before...And worse, if she did, what then? They could be comforting to each other, but eventually one or both of them would die. And leave the other alone and despairing.

Alice realized she'd been quiet for several seconds. She glanced up at the others, then moved over to get her bag. An idea had occurred to her. A new plan, riskier, not much more fulfilling, but meaningful all the same. She'd find her friends, ideally Bryony, whom she was closest two. She'd help them survive, as best she could. And hopefully, if her original plan could still be held two, one or even more would survive.

"I'll be going, then." Alice said, trying to sound more confident. "I ah, want to find my friends. Hopefully we can survive together." She smiled slightly, another show of self-assurance, and headed through the doors past the two.

((Alice Baker continued-))

Alice stopped a few feet out the door. "Oh! You're welcome to join me if you like!" She called behind her. Then she departed, hoping with every step that she was making the right choices here, with however much time was left.

((Alice Baker continued in Last Days))
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