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Dreams and Reality; Private; sorry!
Topic Started: Oct 5 2016, 03:26 AM (844 Views)
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((Sandy Bricks continued from Among these 'hallowed' walls...))

Sandy remembered when they’d tried to make him take group therapy. It was about two years after it had happened, when he was still barely talking to anyone at school if he didn’t have to; they thought that him getting along with other people his own age with their own issues might’ve helped him feel less isolated. Going around in a circle, listening to people who had it just as bad as him, if not worse, wasn’t something he enjoyed, but actually talking about his own problems to a bunch of strangers was complete torture, and it wasn’t long before he was refusing to participate.

Needless to say, the sessions had not lasted long.

So it was that he’d recognised the group therapy room for its purpose, and almost walked back out again. He wasn’t plagued by disturbing memories about the practice, more that he just didn’t like that word in front of its name. After a day of people trying to force him into their company, groups were the last thing he wanted to think about.

However, he was also tired and the day was winding up, so he’d decided to bunker down for the night. He’d tried to read The Illiad he'd taken from the library, but the lack of lighting made it more trouble than it was worth, so his attempts to fall asleep were fraught with lingering frustration.



With the coming of the dawn came the announcements. Already more or less awake anyway, Sandy had listened in a neutral manner. There was a strange lack of horror over the beginning of the killing, but he knew that it was a difficult fact to accept all the same. The lack of concern over the names was also off, but strange was not the right word for that; he could not find the correct one.

None of the people he’d met yesterday had died, so was he supposed to consider that a relief? None of them had endeared themselves to him, and most of them had actively done the opposite. That didn’t mean he wanted them dead, that wasn’t right, but hoping for their safety was not even remotely on his mind.

He pressed his forehead into his knees, once again trying to drown out the world, taking a deep breath as he rubbed his temples. He couldn’t even get upset when he heard that nine people he was supposed to know had died; what kind of person did that make him? And if that many had dropped, what did that mean for his chances? What the hell was he supposed to think in a situation like this?

Sandy sat there for a long while, stuck in his silent struggle.
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She hadn’t slept.

((Jasmine King, continued from Survival Strategy))

It was too much of a risk. Anyone could find her if she did it. And if certain people found her when she was sleeping, who knew what they would do to her? No. It was smartest to stay awake. She had the chance to find more people that way. She had a better chance of staying safe that way. She knew that it would tire her, yes, but she knew that she could deal with that. There was a book she had read, once. It told her that chocolate or any sort of caffeine had the ability to wear off the effects of tiredness. She knew that she couldn’t find any of that here, but she remembered another time when she hadn’t. She had woken up late by accident during a camp and had missed breakfast, and she had cursed herself for that, but she had been able to ignore that. There wasn’t any caffeine, but there was water. She splashed it over, and all the tiredness had gone away.

And that was what she did, just earlier. There was water in her bottle, and she spared herself the slight chance. She had put her fingers in, and smeared them on her eyelids, slightly.

And all the tiredness had gone away. She felt as fresh as she could be.

And now she was walking, around the asylum. Exploring. Searching. It was still her goal to find other people, and it was still her goal to find a group. She knew it’d help her. She knew that it would allow her to stay alive, for just that while longer. She knew that there was someone out there who would help her. Ben, Jordan. Kizi. They were out there. They hadn’t been mentioned on the announcements. They were still alive. She could find them. Maybe not those people in particular, but there were others she knew. Others who she could talk to. Others who she could convince. She could do that. She could talk. She could get people to do what they wanted her to do.

But she hadn’t.

She knew she hadn’t been able to. At least so far. At the moment that she walked into the room with all the chairs, she couldn’t name a single good thing that she had been able to do for herself. She let the girl in the dark room walk away. She walked away from Maxim when she could have convinced him if she had tried harder. She made Toby angry at her. She ran from Toby, just like she had ran from the two people on top of the storehouse. They were all mistakes. They were all ones that she had made.

...She knew, somewhere, that she couldn’t have slept. Even if she had wanted to. There were failures. They were adding up. They were weighing on her. She would have thought about them all night and she would have been the same as she was right now.

And there was something else. There was a corpse. In the storehouse. Rea’s. It was peaceful. It was happy.

It had a gash straight through her middle.

She looked down. At the ground. She breathed, through her mouth.

She just had to find someone. Anyone, at this point, who would agree to help her.

And then everything could actually be okay.
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No, he was upset, he must’ve been. Of course people were going to start dying and killing each other, that was how this whole thing worked, but that didn't mean it meant nothing. Yeah, maybe he wasn’t surprised or horrified or in tears from it, but it still must've bothered him on some level. He wasn’t some kind of unfeeling monster, after all. He couldn’t be.

As per tradition, his stressful contemplation was interrupted by unexpected company. Having chosen to camp on the same wall as the entrance to the room, Sandy was able to remain undetected as the girl strode right in, giving him the fleeting but valuable observational edge.

Just like in the library, this person was another complete stranger, barely recognisable as a face from the halls or perhaps some club driven photo spread. Given what had happened to him last time in this situation (he swore he could still taste those damned spiders), Sandy was already beginning to tense.

“For fuck's sake…” he grumbled to himself in as deliberate a whisper as he could, creeping up the wall to a standing position. He reached for the Molotov that he’d kept atop his bag, within easy reach for a situation exactly like this. He knew what it was by now, having taken some time to rifle through his bag the night before in a fit of boredom, but it suited him more as a blunt object than a fiery projectile.

“I’m not looking for friends.” He announced to Jasmine’s back, ready to give her a firm stare that said ‘and don’t try to convince me otherwise’ when she inevitably turned around. He wasn’t going to start the next day in Hell with a repeat of the first, and he strongly suspected that the sooner Jasmine was gone, the happier he’d be.
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A voice called out.

She jumped. Turned. There was someone in here already. How could she not have seen that? It didn’t make sense. He was near the wall close to where she entered the room so how did she not notice him? She would have seen him, even if it was only in the corner of her eye. It didn’t make sense. She should have seen him. She should have seen him before she had entered the room and she could have made a plan of how to talk to him. That would have been the smart thing to do, but instead she just decided to walk in without even trying to check. And now she was here, alone with the other person. At least she could work with that. He was Sandy. Not someone she personally knew - although since they were both in the same middle school she knew about his parents - but at least that meant he didn’t likely hate her. If she could say a couple things, maybe she could finally attain the ally she wanted.

The words rebuking her came out of his mouth before she even got the chance to say hello.

He didn’t want to be with other people. She grimaced. That was a bad idea on his part. He’d be alone and then he’d have nothing to protect him if someone like the people on the announcements came. No. That wasn’t a good idea at all. Still, if he wanted to do the less intelligent thing and get himself killed, there was only so much that Jasmine could do about that. She turned her foot towards the door, ready to excuse herself before leaving, but…

No.

She wouldn’t.

She couldn’t. No. She couldn’t just leave. She was alone. She needed people. She had had so many opportunities to find other people at this point and she had squandered all of them entirely because of her actions. She had made all of her mistakes. She was the reason why she wasn’t in a group. She had done everything wrong so far and it was all beginning to add up on her. No. She wasn’t going to make any more mistakes. She wasn’t going to just run and leave people by themselves.

She wasn’t going to be alone.

She just needed to think of something to say, though. Something that worked as a response to what Sandy had just said and a way to get him to change his mind. That was easy. She had done this before. Things on what to say to do what she was doing just came naturally, at this point.

“Why? Did…”

Her voice skipped. Surprise. Tingling sensation of fear crawling up her arms and making her unsure of what she should-

No. She couldn’t feel that. Not now.

“Did something happen?”
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Sandy felt his hand grip around the neck of the bottle. Once again, someone couldn’t take a hint.

“Nothing happened.” He hissed at Jasmine, continuing to give her his uninviting stare. What did she even mean by something happening? Someone trying to stick a knife in him? Someone wanting to take all his stuff away and laugh at his loss? Something absolutely awful that no doubt must be falling upon him for the crime of being abducted by terrorists?

Well, he supposed, some things had happened.

He found his stare breaking, as he shifted his gaze away from Jasmine in an awkward grumble. Yeah, meeting people had been one painful, embarrassing experience after another; that’s why he was trying to cut them out permanently and just get people to leave him alone already. How hard was it to just hear no at face value and be on your damned merry way?

“It’s none of your business, now leave me alone.”

He continued to avoid eye contact, but his grip didn’t relax either.
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The sense in her body and the urge to reel back could be felt through Jasmine.

But she didn’t. She stayed still. She stood where she was and didn’t budge as Sandy just rebuked her question like that. Because okay, that didn’t seem to work. It clearly wasn’t something that happened to him, so maybe it was something else that was making him so goddamm pissy. But if it wasn’t because of that, then what could it be? She didn’t think it could be because of the situation, she was angry too, and that didn’t last. It probably wasn’t because someone died, because that was something that happened and apparently nothing had happened to him. So why was he so annoyed. What could she do to get him to calm down? She didn’t know, and just like everything else in the pile of the things that she wasn’t sure about, it annoyed her. And it was adding up.

Oh, also, you know what wasn’t helping at all? Sandy’s attitude. Oh hey, guys, I’m so angry and just so pissy at this person I barely know. Surely since she’s just such a bitch from what I’ve heard that makes it okay for me to do so, right?

No. No it didn’t. Sandy was just being an idiot. Sandy was just having a hissy fit or something. As much as Jasmine wanted to fulfill his wish, she needed him. She needed a group and there was no-one else in the area, so it seemed that he was the best person that she could get.

She almost sighed.

She supposed that she just had to pretend she cared.

“Then what’s the issue? I’d be glad to help if there is one.”
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He was crushing the neck of the bottle again, that tremor coming back as his gripped his eyes shut. Every one of them who had been wanting to hang out, get along and all that crap; why did none of them ever realise how simple it was to actually help him?

“You know what the issue is?” he said, but it only really came out in a faint murmur. He took in a breath, determined to meet Jasmine’s gaze before he spoke again and make sure she understood it plain and simple.

“People like you are the issue. People who keep coming up to me and trying to team up, then telling me how stupid I am for not wanting to. You think we should all make friends when we’re about to die, that I'm a dead man if I don't. That it’s my fault if I’m just not someone who makes friends with anyone.”

Never really could, and probably never really would.

“So if you really want to help and you’re not just saying that, do me a favour and go away.”

He didn’t flinch. He knew she was going to start insulting him, tell him how screwed he was, try to make him feel worse than he already did, but he didn’t flinch.
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Okay.

That was it.

Her fists clenched. She didn’t care about the pain that the knuckles caused on them. She didn’t care that her nails were digging into her hands. All she cared about was that Sandy was just refusing to listen to what fucking reason was, and was refusing to help her get him to actually find out. He was just going on this long and retarded tirade on how being alone was the greatest and how people were just so annoying by asking him to do what the sensible thing to do in this situation was. And you know what the worst part was? There was probably a space in Sandy’s mind calling her a hypocrite for what she was doing right now. Saying that she totally wanted to help but was deliberately doing the worst thing for him, despite the fact that someone who thought they were being so smart for thinking that being alone was the best way to go was not seeing what the best idea to do if they just wanted to continue fucking living was.

“Okay.”

She stepped forward, towards Sandy. Looked at him in the eyes.

“I don’t care if something happened to you that’s making you act all so sad and lonely and depressed right now, I’m just saying things how I know they are. There’s actual safety in numbers at this point, and I’ve been trying to find those numbers for so long only for some idiot or some asshole or some ridiculous circumstance to take it away from me.”

She stopped. Took a breath.

“And believe me, I’ve been trying to make you think otherwise, but clearly something’s happened to you that’s put you so far up your own ass that you can’t think of anything that actually benefits your own survival.”

She knew that Sandy wasn’t going to side with her now.

She didn’t care.

“It’s clear that nothing I’m going to say’s convincing you, so if you want to end up just like your parents I’m going to take my leave now.”
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Sandy’s anger rose with Jasmine’s as she fired back her heated insults.

There was no surprise as her shallow offer for help devolved into all the insults that he’d predicted, but it didn’t make him feel any better whatsoever. He didn't enjoy any quiet victory over how he'd completely anticipated how this hypocrite was going to treat him, just more frustration that he had been right the entire time. He was so sick of repeating this whole damned thing by now.

Then Jasmine crossed the line.

His hateful glare turned into stunned disbelief, as his mouth hung agape amidst the silence between them. He almost dropped his weapon in that moment as every tension in his body stuttered.

She'd really just said it. She couldn't have, but she had.

She wasn't allowed to talk about it. She wasn't allowed to remind him about it.

No-one was allowed. No-one had the right to bring it up so easily. like they were asking him about the weather. No-one was allowed to mention it as if they had any right whatsoever. Only a few people were allowed to talk to him about it at all.

Nobody else.

Not Jasmine.

He was advancing on her, and the bottle was threatening to shatter in his hand from how tightly he was squeezing its neck, but all he could focus on was the girl in front of him.

“You don’t talk about it!”
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The words came out of her mouth, and Sandy’s expression turned from annoyance to anger.

Wait.

She took a step back. Away from Sandy, near a chair, because no no no no no no no that was absolutely the worst thing she could have done. Everything had added up and it rose until it couldn’t be contained anymore and she made a mistake because of it and that pinged on her skin twisting and turning and beginning to add up once again. Why did she say that? She was trying to convince him. She was trying to get him to believe that being in a group was the best thing for him but he was being so stubborn and it added up and she lashed out. She made a mistake. Another thing to be added to the pile of Toby and Maxim and the girl in the dark room and the two people at the helicopter. No. There was no way she could say anything else now. There was no way that she could try and convince him.

She just had to get out. She just had to escape from this room and try again with another person and just do what she should have done earlier.

She took a step back. She looked at Sandy. He was advancing towards her and no no no no no no she had to say something. She had to apologise and get out of here before he did anything. She knew that there wasn’t a chance of them joining up now, but she knew that she could live from this. She knew that she could escape from here because she could just say something. Apologize. She knew what to say here, and she knew that she could convince him.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it I swear!”

The words were more frantic than she meant for them to be.
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She was backing away; he was moving towards her. He didn’t know what he was doing, didn’t know what he would do, but he did know what she had done.

She wasn’t allowed to talk about it. She wasn’t allowed to make him relive it. She wasn’t allowed to say a damned word and threaten to make the memories boil over in his skull.

Fifteen minutes.

His jaw creaked as he clenched his teeth together. The squeezing pain in his head that had been growing ever since the trip had started was searing like a fire. He paused in his advance, clutching at his brow, staring at Jasmine with hell in his eyes. He tried to concentrate on her rather than remember, tried to do what he always did and distract himself. He wanted, needed, to latch on to the hate and anger over her, over it, over what had happened yesterday, over his whole damned life. Anything than go through it again.

She was still trying to talk.

“SHUT UP!” he screamed back, and hurled the bottle.

Just shut up.
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He wasn’t listening to her. He was moving closer. Every step he took forward was a step that she took back and he was getting too close.and there were no words that could come out of her mouth because she couldn’t think and she couldn’t phrase anything because what could she say? He hadn’t listened. He hadn’t considered. She hadn’t considered what he was thinking and she knew that she should have just left him when he asked. It was another mistake. She shouldn’t have done that and now she was going to pay for it. She couldn’t say anything now. There was nothing. Words formed in her head but they didn’t form further and anything that did was quickly struck down because she had made a mistake and it was adding up but it had added up and no no no why couldn’t she just think she was good at this she knew she was all she had to open her mouth-

But she couldn’t.

She couldn’t think of anything. Nothing would work. He wouldn’t listen and he would just keep moving forward but she was moving back and-

She stopped. There was something blocking her way. She turned her head. A chair. She moved her head back. There was a door. Behind Sandy. In front of her.

She just had to run. She couldn’t talk. She couldn’t convince him. She just had to move. Escape, before he did anything.

But she couldn’t.

Her legs were stuck. She couldn’t move. She looked at the door. She had to get there. Run. Run through Sandy. Do something.

But there was a feeling. She didn’t know what it was. A feeling crawling at the edge of her skin and going up her arms.

A feeling which immediately faded away as the bottle hit its mark, glass and kerosene spraying across her face. She fell back, onto the chair.

The decaying wood failed to stand up to flesh and bone as it collapsed, the separated pieces scattering and forming new shapes within its pulp. The chair was gone. Jasmine went through.

And a scream of pain echoed throughout the Group Therapy Room, as a piece of shattered wood tore straight and true through her leg.
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Sandy stood there as Jasmine went down. He stood there and watched her writhe in agony; nothing else, he just watched. His maelstrom of thoughts had suddenly silenced.

She’d caused it. She wouldn’t leave him alone, no-one would leave him alone, and she brought up it. He’d done what he’d done because she did what she did, and that was why she was in the state she was in.

Yet, apart from the heavy rise and fall of his chest, he was frozen, transfixed on her. She was a bloody mess, and she was screaming, and it was all so familiar and oh God.

His hand shot up to his brow again, as his eyes pulled wide back in his skull. Her face was full of glass and scars, and she was hurt and she was going to die and oh God why had he made himself remember?

His breathing grew heavier, muscles aching as he tensed them tight, sweat dripping down across his face. “Shut up, shut up, shut up…” he muttered, still gripping at his forehead, still wanting to stop remembering things, still wanting for everything to just do what he said and shut up.

What was the point of spending so much of his time trying to forget, trying to move past it, if something like this was just going to happen anyway? Why? Why him? Why did all this shit always happen to him?

His stomach was twisted in a bulging knot, and he felt his throat go short. Everything hurt, everything ached. He couldn’t breathe.

Desperately scanning for something, anything, he saw Jasmine again. He saw her bloodied face, her bleeding leg, her ruined body. He scarred her into his mind, forcing her in front of everything else just so that he wouldn’t have to think.

He was moving again. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but it was her fault.
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She hit the ground, her head bouncing against the cold floor. It rang. It buzzed. It erupted at the back of her head but it was quickly drowned out by the sea of pain all over the rest of her body. Her leg. Her face. They roared. They roared and she could hear it and she could feel it and they were the only things on her mind and they were the only things that she could even think of. There was no Sandy. There were no chairs surrounding her. There was no game. There was only her and the pain on her leg and the cuts on her and the blood on her face. Her blood. She had been injured and she was bleeding and she was in pain and for a brief moment, she had forgotten about everything that had been on her mind for the past day.

And then Sandy appeared again, in front of her. Above her.

And amongst the pain, a familiar feeling emerged. Crawling on the edge of her skin. Going up her arms. Reaching into her body.

Her breathing became harder. Ragged. She had to get out of here. The door was still there. She just needed to-

Her leg roared as she tried to move and she screamed. No. No. No. She couldn’t move. Her leg was gone. She couldn’t run. She couldn’t get away. Her only hope now was that Sandy would have mercy on her. She looked up at him. Green meeting Blue.

The look in his eyes told her everything she needed to know.

She was gone. She was dead. She was going to be just like Rea, on the floor in the storehouse. Sandy was going to kill her. Everything she had done, all of her mistakes had built up to this. Anyone she had met who she succeeded with could have saved her. Everyone who she had met, she had failed with. The girl in the dark room. Maxim. Toby. Natalie. The two people at the helicopter.

Irene.

And that was when it hit her.

That was when she realised it.

Everything she had worked for. All the time she had spent studying. The future she knew she was going to get for herself. Gone. All jettisoned in favour of dying in pain and fear in a building on an island in who knows where. Her friends. Gone. And taking their place, someone who opted to kill her because of one thing Jasmine had said. A psychopath. Nobody got that angry. Nobody let it get to them that much. That was when she realised it. Everything she had worked for, everything she had, everything she had aspired to be was going to be gone, tossed aside in favour of just being a victim of someone she knew was going to do more.

And the worst part? They were watching. Julian. The crowds. They were watching her being in pain, they were watching her die. And they were probably enjoying it, as well. They were laughing when the girl on her screen’s efforts just resulted in her getting a bottle thrown at her face. They were cheering when that bitch tore her leg open as she fell onto the chair. And they would applaud, as everything she was crumbled to dust in favour of becoming Sandy’s first number. That was terrible in itself, but the worst people were the ones who wouldn’t even realise how bad they were being. The ones who watched and had sympathy. The ones who watched and felt sad about what was happening on the screen. “Awwww,” they would say. “That’s Jasmine, isn’t it? I was really hoping that she wouldn’t die. It must suck, being there.”

“I just feel so sorry for her.”



No.

She wouldn’t.

She knew that now. She was going to die here. No matter what happened, she was not going to leave this room alive. She would just be the name of someone Sandy Bricks killed and that would be the end of that.

Not if she could help it, though.

Because even through the pain, even through the fear, there was still one thing that she knew. She was Jasmine King. She had worked for everything she had, and she was going to get the best future she could possibly give herself; and she was not going to lose it in favour of being the first number for an aspiring psychopath.

She looked. It hurt to, but she did. There was a piece of glass, at arm’s reach on the floor.

Her hand began to reach out.

Because she was still better. She knew that more than anyone, at this point. Even after everything had changed, even after she had lost everything for something she couldn’t possibly have known, she was still the best. She was Jasmine King, the person behind the ruler of her grade, and she knew she showed it. Who never gave up, despite the constant failures? Her. Who never, ever, considered killing another person on this island. Her. She knew that now. She was better. She hadn’t fallen, like the rest of them. Isabel, Conrad, Kimiko, Alvaro. She was better than all of them.

And she knew now, through the pain and the fear, that she was not going to die to Sandy. She knew now that she was not going to be his number.

Her hand reached out. She got a grip.

Yes.

She turned to Sandy. Met his eyes. Blue anger came across green pride.

And she gave him the biggest grin that she had ever given in her life.

His expression changed, still staring wordless.

She had the perfect thing to say to him.

“I win.”

She clenched her hand on the glass, not even noticing the knuckles digging into her bone as she swiftly moved her arm.

And just before the feed cut to black, as the pain from her body faded and as the blood from her neck ran cold, the one thing still on her face was her grin.

G030: JASMINE KING: DECEASED
95 STUDENTS REMAIN
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He stood over her, staring down at her. He wasn’t thinking, just like he wanted, but he wasn’t moving either. She screamed, but he just kept staring at her.

Sandy didn’t wonder what to do next. Sandy didn’t know what to do next, but everything in his mind was centred on Jasmine right now. It was all about what she’d done, about how all the pain that he felt right then and there was because of her. Sandy didn’t know what he was going to do next, but he felt his arms moving all the same.

Jasmine grabbed the shard of glass, and in that moment Sandy flinched. Survival instincts kicked in, a glimpse of sense shining in his red hazed thoughts, and he was almost forced into a retreat. Before he could take the step back though, Jasmine grinned a most unwelcome grin.

There wasn’t time to panic again, no time to expect the glass to be thrown at his face or stabbed into his shin. There was only the pair of words, the instant before the shard plunged into her neck, before everything really did turn red.

His hand shot up to his mouth as that horrible feeling filling his body grew worse. The anger that had overcome his reeling eyes gave way to shock, and that overwhelming hate was lost amidst the final image that had been scarred into his mind.

He stood over her, long after her body went limp, staring down at her. He wasn’t thinking, just like he wanted, but he hadn’t wanted this.

There was only one thing he could do:

Run.

((Sandy Bricks continued in 幽霊屋敷))
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