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This Be The Verse; Open
Topic Started: Oct 6 2016, 09:34 PM (2,059 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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((Coleen Reagan, continued from Self Doubts and Hurricanes))

Her eyes felt cracked and dried when she opened them.

Before the veil of night took the last few ounces of visibility in the already-dim gym from them, Coleen and Arthur had done the best they could to make themselves comfortable. The culmination of Coleen's efforts was, even to her own admission, not very good; she had found a nice corner of the floor that she could press her back into. After a while, sleeping while sitting up had grown highly uncomfortable, and she shifted this way and that until she decided on a position that had her head against one wall, her feet to another, and her butt in the corner with her hunched and curled at nearly a 90-degree angle. She had stuffed the daypack under her head, trying to find some sort of softness with which to treat as a pillow until the morning.

Needless to say, the night hadn't been a comfortable one. Coleen could recall waking up at several points of the night at the slightest creaking or scratching noise. Whether it was a rat running across the floor, somebody coming in to raid the place or murder them both, or just Arthur scratching his ass in his sleep, she was never able to tell. Each time she lowered her head back to her makeshift sleeping arrangement, she closed her eyes only to be greeted with pale-color dreams of wandering around the woods, lost. Something was following her in those dreams but she never felt in immediate danger or truly panicked. The danger kept itself far enough away that she was merely and perpetually in a state of anxiety.

That weight on her chest had hardly lifted when she forced her eyes open, shielding them with the side of her hand as the sun managed a trick shot through those high, dusty windows and aimed a sunbeam at her face.

Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun. It was dark to think, but Coleen counted herself lucky for getting to see a second one of those. She peeked under her hand to see Arthur close-by, eating some bread. He looked to her almost as soon as she had awoken. "Yeah... morning," she replied, knowing there were probably massive bags under her eyes. Coleen yanked herself up the rest of the way into a seated position and opened her bag, fetching the Drake and Josh DVD on one side. She didn't even like this show, so whatever sick joke this was supposed to represent in her receiving it was totally lost on her. However, opening the case and holding the DVD up to the back of her face served as a pretty good mirror.

True to form, her eyes definitely seemed to have bags under them. Her cheeks were puffy and the left side of her face was - imagine that - just as scarred as it always had been. She touched the tip of a single finger to her cheekbone. The skin felt dry and irritated... only made sense thanks to the salty ocean air, the wind, and the fact she wasn't able to properly moisturize. Try as she might to look through her bag, she couldn't find the cream anywhere, and considered if she had even remembered to take it on this trip. It was just supposed to be a science trip, after all. She packed an extra blouse in case her first one got dirty, an extra pair of socks thanks to advice she got from Forrest Gump, but no other clothes. No cream, either. They weren't supposed to be away from home any longer than that evening.

God, how she just wanted to be back in her own bed without some guy eating bread all awkwardly, without that damn collar reminding her she was in some sick Running Man game.

Her stomach growled, and Coleen had the thought to look through her bag for her own loaf of bread.

She found it.

She also found just what soft object she had been using for a pillow last night.

"... Oh."
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Oct 7 2016, 11:43 AM.
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"No, it's..."

Coleen sighed and closed the flap of her daypack, though she didn't yet zip it up.

"I slept on my bread. That's what I get for using my pack as a pillow. I guess."

She pulled her legs underneath her and sat on the floor, cross-legged. Her pant legs were coated in dust. Everything was coated in stupid dust, from the library to the gym to just about any other place that was inside. She bet that it was in her hair as well. Coleen was tempted to check out the showers on the slim chance they may function, even if that chance was next to nothing.

"Do you know what time it is?" She asked, immediately wondering if that was a stupid question. Her phone had been taken from her as evidenced by her searching through her bag after waking up in the library, but maybe Arthur kept a watch on him or... or something. She was immediately regretting not having worn one herself. Unless these terrorists took away the watches as well? She had no idea how any of this worked.

She sat with her chin on her hands, hunched over in the corner, allowing her eyes to adjust to the dusty rays of the morning sun that came through those windows. Her head was still fuzzy; a situation such as this one was nearly impossible to process.
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Of course Coleen had heard it. She had the beginnings of a response cooking on her tongue when the loudspeakers cut back in.

She imagined it would have been cute to mush up some of the bread and jam it into her ears to form some sort of earplugs with them. The thought then occurred about how hard it might be to get all of the bread back out, and the thought swiftly became less entertaining. As the voice droned on with its introduction, Coleen pushed herself all the way up to her feet, her eyes locking in on Arthur. The guy had come over a little bit closer to her and while it wasn't like she was certain he was going to turn on her at any moment, leaving enough room between them for Jesus was the preferable route at every juncture for the time being.

Then he began naming names.

Jennifer. Tina. Scarlett. They went on and on and on, some of which she didn't quite recognize but most of them, she did. How and where they did was largely lost, fuzzy in her memory compared to those who had met their end. With one exception, she remembered nobody else.

Coleen swallowed hard and continued listening.

"The supply depot..." she murmured in repetition after the voice said that. The owner of the voice gave his little outro. He was a good public speaker, very professional - she was willing to give him that much, even pay him a little bit of envy that she'd never care to claim publicly. "Arthur, does your pack have a map?"

Coleen said anything to keep everything all business, trying and failing not to picture every dead classmate in her mind.
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Coleen reached out for the map and gave it a once over. Thanks to the clarity of the key and the labeling of the map, it didn't take long to identify the location of the gym as resting in the northwestern wing of the island. She followed along the inner coast of the horseshoe-shaped island to find the shore that she had been walking along just the other day. Just a little more south of that and they were gazing at the area designated as the supply depot. So that was the area they needed to avoid or... or else.

She swallowed, feeling the lump in her throat struggling against the warm band of metal. She lightly grasped at the steel ring, pursing her lips as she tried to control herself. She needed to stay focused on facts of the matter: they needed to avoid certain areas, and they needed to avoid certain people, dangerous people.

As if on cue, the doors were thrust open and a group of three people opened. The immediately-recognizable Bradley Floyd made no bones about making his presence known, which was of some small comfort to Coleen. If somebody was trying to sneak around that generally meant bad news for anybody else. She couldn't remember if Bradley was on the list...

All the same, Coleen remained within arms reach of the wall as, Arthur's map still in hand, the girl took a few steps away from the door. Bradley had called her something, 'Sandra Clegane'. She wasn't sure as to what the reference was, but this was Bradley - it was likely a joke in poor taste at something. She took a wild guess as to the easiest thing to tease about her and reflexively stroked her hair, making sure most or all of the left side of her face was hidden behind it. From the moment she touched it, the first thing on her mind was how much her hair needed brushing.

Coleen said nothing through Bradley's noisy introduction, instead focusing on controlling her breathing and trying not to show fear. She couldn't afford to trust anybody... not when she had only recently heard about classmates killing each other, doing what before she thought might have been impossible. The law of the land had been cast aside and remolded; they were now among killers. Maybe she couldn't remember Bradley's name on the announcements, or Byrony's or... whoever the third girl was, but there was nothing saying they didn't just have a late start.

Then, of course, a sixth person entered the gym, and Coleen's eyes, one visible and one not, widened.

Kimiko. There was a name she remembered, there was a name she had recently heard mentioned.

Oh god, no.
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Coleen felt like biting back at Bradley's remark, but what she ended up biting instead was her tongue. Now was not the time to insist that her shyness was not 'crippling'. Ordinarily, such a thing would have prompted her to use some of that newfound courage that Peyote Coyote gave her to insist that she's always been able to work through her inhibitions thanks to the theatre. Well, by now, having to work with somebody like Vanessa was more than likely a factor.

But that wasn't really at the forefront of her mind, nor was it in anybody else's. Center stage was Kimiko and Bradley, as he continued to press on and direct attention to the only person in the room who, should the announcements be believed, had actually taken another life. That was what made all the difference in Coleen's eyes. She'd much rather Bradley go on talking about how she'd be a lovely match for Burnt Face Man or something if it meant nobody had to die.

"Was, um, Sandra Clegane a reference?" Coleen eventually piped up, trying something - no, ANYTHING to defuse the ticking time bomb this situation had become. She dared take a step forward, past Arthur.
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For a moment, it looked like things might be okay.

It was a brief moment, a spot of sun through the dark and stormy sky overhead, as well as the skies to come. It was more than possible that Kimiko was a victim of circumstance. Coleen didn't find the idea that she had defended herself to be a totally alien one. The point that the girl's own disability prevented her from being able to adequately explain herself to anybody here added some edge to the sympathy that Coleen felt for her. Yet, the way the girl held that spear in her hands, the expressions she sang with her eyes... Coleen read those loud and clear. She knew a girl under duress when she saw one.

If the conversation had maintained that turn, this could have been a moment for awkward compliments hidden behind more bad jokes, maybe some laughing, a little harmony... just for a moment, they could have forgotten all about the death game. Instead, the death game followed them there to the gym, and the chance for an ordinary day ended when the tip of the spear pierced near to Bradley's navel. Somebody screamed. Coleen realized after a second that more than one person was screaming, and one of those people was herself. Her own scream choked short as her parched throat gave way. She stood with her feet rooted to the floor, unable to give chase to Kimiko.

Unable to help Bradley.

Unable to do anything.

"S-Somebody help us..." she finally stammered, tears welling up in her eyes.
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That was the thing about death. It was one thing to hear or read about it, knowing of it via the news and as a concept that was all around you. It was another thing to witness the body, as if humans needed some sort of confirmation whether visual or auditory in order to process that one of their own had died.

Then, yet, it was one more thing entirely to witness a life being taken right before your very eyes, powerless to stop the chain of events that led to the situation degenerating far enough that somebody might die. Between the entire group, Bradley had met his demise at the end of Kimiko's spear. Coleen stumbled as if in a haze towards the door, circling around Bradley's body and keeping a wide berth as to not catch some sort of imaginary death plague. Far too frantic to appreciate the absurdity of thinking that catching a spear to the gut was somehow contagious, Coleen looked through the flung-open door that Kimiko had retreated through.

She knew by now that it was much too late, both to save Bradley's life and to pursue Kimiko with any realistic chance of catching her. Her attentions turned back to the dead... to Bradley and where he laid on the floor, right cheek drenched in both tears and sweat. Others were still nearer to his body. The girl that she didn't quite know the name of had already gotten a hold of the gun that was once in Bradley's hands. Coleen tensed, knowing that she herself was without a weapon.

People were killing each other. That had become impossible to deny. They were no longer names attached to people she knew who may or may not have become a statistic or a ticker on a news feed. These deaths were real, and now she was being forced to come to terms with it. A strange bitterness entered into the back of her throat, and Coleen had suffered from enough nausea to know what was coming next.

She only got three steps outside before it all came spilling out.
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Coleen spat to force some of the disgustingly acidic taste out of her mouth. She looked down as if to 'admire' the mess that she had made. The splatters on the path leading up to the gym were mostly white, no doubt thanks to almost all of her food intake in the last 24 hours consisting of crackers and bread. Man, the things she would do for a damn hot pocket right now...

She subconsciously clutched at her stomach. She was hungry now, thanks to having purged the contents of her stomach so soon after eating. Somewhat more accurately, her body was hungry. Coleen doubted she had the heart to eat anything, not after seeing what made her throw up in the first place. She timidly stepped back past the threshold of the gym's double doors, trying not to look at Bradley's body on the floor. Keeping a shoulder to the wall, she inched over to her bag and pulled out a bottle of water, swigging and swishing some water around before swallowing - anything to get that accursed taste out of her mouth.

Arthur was talking with the other girl about going after Kimiko. One paint gun, one gun that was presumably real... she supposed on paper that was enough firepower to take somebody out. Coleen didn't want to see it. The discussion on the cards was about bringing Kimiko back more than killing her, but that wasn't something she feasibly saw happening.

"I'm not going..." Coleen muttered softly. "I want to stay here. I don't want any... any part in..." she gestured, at a loss for words of the situation that had encapsulated all of them. "I don't even have a weapon. Just some stupid DVD set."
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"I'm going to go lay down."

It was the only way Coleen thought to chime in. What else was there to say? Arthur and the girl who wasn't Byrony, the girl whose name Coleen's mind couldn't conjure up no matter how hard she tried, they were both set on going and she wasn't sure she could change their minds. She wasn't sure how much she cared to change them, either. She only laughed weakly at a joke in her head, perhaps inspired by the late Bradley.

"If one of you wants to kill me, at least wait until I'm asleep, okay?"

The girl crumpled in the corner with her back to the wall, hair draped messily over her face with only her arms to serve as a pillow.

"I hate this," she whispered. "I fucking... I hate all of this."
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Messy strands of gold framed a picture that saw Byrony running out the door.

Alba. Her name was Alba. Good to know. Now when the announcements the next day began to list off all the names, Coleen could know which one to listen for to see if yet another person she ran into had just died. Feelings still had yet to wash over her and hit the pit of her stomach like a drop of ice cold water. For the moment, she figured with what lucidity she wagered herself to possess that the recent experiences had left her numb, and that she was still trapped in the numbness. More tears would fall. And then what? She could feel sorry for herself, or end her own life on the same spear that had helped to take Bradley's life. Falling on a spear... an appropriate way for an actress with a flair for the melodramatic to die.

Coleen tried to think back on the events of the previous day. By that time, it was the worst day of her life only by virtue of the fact that the next day hadn't yet occurred. Any sadness she felt through waking up, or fear from thinking her life was coming to an end, or even a rush of excitement as she ran... she combed her memory to try and feel something, to draw on that and use it to determine how to act. She scraped at the bottom of a dry well with still no results. It was only one day ago by logical thought, and it already felt far away. Distant. Inaccessible.

It was as if, somewhat paradoxically, time was no longer an object to her. She always figured that, if she knew her days were numbered by some sort of terminal illness or a death sentence for a crime she knew she'd never commit (such was the fun of a purely hypothetical situation), each day would become more and more precious. Each day would be defined and the hours would slow. Those thoughts were wrong. As death hung over all of them like a loose chandelier threatening to drop at the slightest provocation, individual moments became less important. Minutes bled into each other by the hour, and now even the simple order of a given series of events was tough to follow... on only the second day, no less.

Bradley's corpse lay somewhere outside the block wall of the gymnasium. Though he... though it was out of sight it was no less a poignant reminder of what was coming for all of them. When it did come, it most likely wouldn't be painless. Would she even have time to scream, make it nice and dramatic for the cameras? Bradley's gurgling haunted her endlessly. That could be her. That would be her. Unless...

Somewhere inside her chest, a knot was tying itself tighter and tighter. It hurt, but the pain was more than welcome, for it reminded Coleen that she was alive. In turn, it reminded her that she wanted to be alive. A sob pushed itself through her lips before she could think about it.

Then, only then, did she allow the tears to fall.
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Much as she wanted to spit at Arthur, to tell him to go away and leave her with her own miseries, Coleen couldn't bear to do it. Which was the correct decision, to stay here, to venture on alone or go with Arthur? He had one weapon, at least one real weapon now. Her eyes removed themselves from the spear and avoided looking at the tip, lest she find a piece of Bradley still clinging to it.

She'd never survive alone. All of this had convinced her that she did, indeed, want to live. She didn't want to end up like the body outside.

"Let's go," Coleen murmured. "Let's... let's get the hell out of here."

She never wanted to see this building again.

((Coleen Reagan continued in Honeysuckle and Pain))
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