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Song For A Warrior; Open
Topic Started: Oct 20 2016, 01:50 PM (867 Views)
CrossbowPig
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CBP
[ *  *  *  * ]
[Lili Williams continued from Prince of Nothing]

The most startling thing about waking up, when it was her turn to take watch, was how naturally she took her position by the door. She was poked on the shoulder until she finally stirred from beneath her sweater, got up, and shuffled over out of her room, sitting by the door-frame. She watched the pale blue sky light up with the rising sun, pastel pink shafts of light glaring through her glasses and imprinting bright yellow afterglow in her eyelids every time she tried to blink the light away. She finished the bread she had begun last night when she realized just how easily she had gotten up.

Stretching and yawning, Lili stood up from the door frame and walked over to the room where the boys were sleeping. Not wanting to look in, for fear of walking into something she wouldn't be able to walk out of, she knocked her knuckles against the outside of the door a few times, lightly rapping her bony hand against the wall.

"Wakey wakey," She whispered, voice crackly like a fireplace, "Here comes the sun, folks." Turning away, she marched back over to the door, swinging her arms back and forth with each long goose step. She held her head high. Lili had, in the hours she spent by the door, embraced her newfound loopyness. She found that her tendency towards more insane thoughts had been, ironically, exactly what kept her sane as she listened in the night to the rustling of grass and the shaking of leaves. Shadows passed in the early morning hours, moving from building to building. Lili was careful not to interfere. It was her job to protect, not to waddle off into the dark and leave her friends behind. After all, they hadn't abandoned her, even though they had every chance to and frankly should've left her in the building to be cut up an-

And...

Stop shaking.

Breathe in. From the chest.

Hold it. Hold the air deep within.

Now breathe out.

Good.

Right, not wandering off. Exactly what she did, except for the period of time she spent meditating, eyes closed, listening to the sound of her own eight-fold breath as she shifted from yoga pose to yoga pose. Lili almost forgot that she needed to smoke sometime soon. Almost. The dull pain in her forehead, throbbing in the background yet ever present even as she meditated, and the occasional cough that arose from deep in her chest that tasted black like coal, kept her from forgetting.

So, as the bright light spilled over the horizon on the second day of her stay on Spiderland, she smiled, just a little, looking up at the wispy grey sky. Lili heard footsteps around behind her, inside the building, and figured that the others had woken up. Wouldn't be long now before they gathered and decided what to do next. After that, she'd have plenty of time to think.

Lili was stretching her arms out as wide as they would go, throwing herself back into another cycle of far-reaching and bone-popping and long, drawn out breaths, when the hidden speakers began to crackle to life.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Malloon
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Survivor
[ *  * ]
(Benjamin Lichter continues from Prince of Nothing)

He sat in a chair. He knew his hands and feet were handcuffed to it, even though he didn't look down. He knew his classmates were left, right and across from him, though he didn't turn to look. He sat, terrified, looking past the dead body of Mr. Graham, who sat limply in a chair in the middle of an ever-growing pool of blood. He was looking at the man who was standing behind the chair, still holding the gun to Mr. Graham's head. The man looked at the group, not focusing on any of them, but just stood there, leering. Then he walked around the chair, gun in his hand, held loosely at his side, and started to speak.

"My name's Jim Greynolds, but you probably won't be seeing me again," he said. "Now that I have your attention, please follow these ground rules during the presentation you're about to receive: No talking, no struggling, and absolutely no crying."

"If you think of trying anything at all," he smirked, while gesturing to Mr. Graham with his gun, "that will be you. We take our chats pretty seriously; we know how kids love to chatter, so we're demonstrating our no-tolerance policy." He poked Mr. Graham in the head with the muzzle, while the blood on the floor soaked into his shoes. "Now, with that out of the way, please welcome to the stage the one and only Danya." Then he walked off the stage with exaggerated strides, clapping all the way.

Danya walked on to the stage, and it was as if the devil himself had taken form and walked upon the earth. Ben knew very little about God, and Satan, since he himself had been very little when he had stopped going to church, and, truth be told, he'd never really prayed much. If he did, it was more of a "Oh-God-please-let-me-pass-my-math-test.", type of prayer, one that even he didn't really believe would work. But looking as the man on the stage, Ben knew that, if Satan walked among them, his name was Mr. Danya. His smile was kind and ruthless. His face was welcoming and cold. And his voice spoke with the authority of a true leader, someone who you would gladly follow to your doom.

"Hello, students of Cochise High School. For those of you who don't know what's happening, or who may have forgotten or chosen to deny it, allow me to explain. My name is Mr. Danya. Welcome to Survival of the Fittest."

Ben's classmates erupted in horror, but Danya waited, patiently, until they died down. His ease and certainty was horrifying, and Ben knew that he could afford to take his time: He had all the time in the world.

"The next time you wake up, you will be on an island. You will have a metal collar around your neck. These collars are filled with explosives. If you try to tamper with them, they will blow up. If you try to escape the island, they will blow up. Every day we will make parts of the island off-limits, and if you enter them or stay in them, your collar will blow up.

"You will be randomly assigned a weapon, but keep in mind that if you don't like it you can always seek out an opportunity to upgrade. The point of this little game, you see, is to be the last person standing. Only one of you gets to go home. That lucky survivor will, providing they killed someone, be allowed to return home. If they didn't, we'll put them right back in for the next version, to learn from their mistakes or be taken out by someone with a better attitude."

He smiled with glee, his excitement at the prospect clear for all to see. His facade of gracefulness fell away as temptation was no longer needed. Instead, pure malice, evil, shone through.

"We'd like to discourage the last one standing not having killed anyone, you see."

Then he stepped briskly to the side of the stage, moving out of the way of a projection that had appeared on the wall behind him. "Don't worry if you can't take all of this in," he said while he walked. "Allow me, if you will, to provide an illustrative example, to perhaps make clear what simple words cannot."

Ben looked, and saw two boys and a girl on the screen. One of the boys, the one in the beanie hat, was holding a machine gun. The other was wearing a striped shirt and was facing away from the other two. "You can't just run away from this," said the girl to the second boy. "Yeah, I know," he answered, "But I think I can briskly walk from it. See you later." Then he started walking in the direction he was facing. "Did he really just do that?" said the girl. "He killed Amy and is now walking away like nothing happened?" She paused, uncertain what to do. "Do we follow?"

"No. We don't follow," decided the boy with the beanie and shot the other boy in the back.

Danya moved in front of the image as it started to fade. "Those two boys," he said, pointing to the image, "were friends. You see now what friendship is worth. It's one thing to let someone copy your math homework, but quite another to trust them with your life." Ben looked to his left, where Maxim sat. He had a grim but determined look on his face. No, Maxim wasn't the danger. He looked to his right, where he knew Lili was. She was pale, but resolute, like she had been when she wanted to take first watch. Maybe she lacked the strength she thought she had, but she wouldn't be the one to turn on them. Then he looked at himself, sitting there shackled and trembling, and felt surprisingly calm. He would be scared, he would be angry, and horrified. His mind would lack the strength to resist that. Maybe he would defer to instinct or fear in moments of stress, but he was sure that nothing in the world would make him turn on his friends. And so they sat there, resisting Danya, rebuking him in silence.

Danya opened his arms wide, as if to hug them. ""Look around you. Every one of the others in this room, every one of your classmates must die if you want to go home." No.

"Anyone you see could end up killing you, or you could end up killing them." You lie.

"I'll be in touch with you every day. I'll tell you who died and who killed them. I'll also let you know which parts of our arena you can't go to." How nice of you.

"Everything that takes place here will be broadcast over the internet using cameras we've placed around the island. That means you don't have to worry about your families not knowing what you did here— they'll be able to watch it all happen." They'll see us escaping you.

"Of course, it would be very selfish of anyone to stop other people's families from keeping up - not to mention a security concern - so if you tamper with or damage a camera, we'll blow your collar." Ben's eyes widened. The cameras! He'd forgotten about them. How could they possibly plan an escape while Danya was watching?

"You'll want to put on a good face for your loved ones back home, of course, but do remember what you have to do to see them again. I imagine most will be forgiving, should you manage to do what it takes to make it back." Coldness slipped down from Ben's upper spine and wrapped around his heart. He wanted to see his family again.

Danya started to turn to go, but stopped, and turned his face towards Ben. "One more thing: There's no waiting this game out. If a day passes without someone getting a kill, we'll blow all your collars try again next time."

He put on a gas mask and walked away, his footsteps echoing across the room as he walked and walked and walked away...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ben woke slowly, his mind jumping erratically from one fact to the next. They were being watched. People had to kill or they all died. His family could see him. People had to kill or they all died. He wanted his family. His family could see him. They were being watched. He wanted his family. People had to kill or they all died.

He opened his eyes. He was lying on the same bed he and Maxim had sat on the night before. He had curled up on it when Maxim took first watch, and again after waking Lili. People had to kill or they all died. He wasn't dead. That meant someone else was. And their death had been on purpose.

He shivered, and turned on his side. The morning felt cold, but it wasn't just the temperature that made him do that. Someone had killed someone else. And he had a sneaking suspicion who had done it. It wouldn't have been that hard, he thought. An exposed neck, a glass shard rammed into it from the side, cold dead eyes staring in silence as someone else's lifeblood drained away. Simple. He tried to imagine who it would be lying dead now, but he couldn't. Everyone who he knew was still alive. The dead body was just a faceless mass.

He shivered again, and sat up, placing his feet on the floor. He grabbed one of his boots he had taken off before going to sleep. He pulled it on and laced it up, then started with the other one. He had just stood up when a voice, Danya's voice, rang out from all around him. He jumped in shock, but knew what was going on. The first announcement had begun. Danya was getting in touch.
Edited by Malloon, Nov 1 2016, 05:53 PM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
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CrossbowPig
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CBP
[ *  *  *  * ]
When she exhaled, it was from the center of her forehead. The air entered through her nose, or her mouth, whichever way it went, but it left through somewhere else entirely. As she stretched, she let another of those breaths go, air surging from an unknown space, when the speakers started speaking in their silvery tongues. She knew it was coming, but it still caught her off guard just how harsh it sounded coming from the walls, the voice of Danya bouncing off of the cracked walls of the dorms. A slight echo came from down the hall; the speakers in the rooms had turned on as well, Lili reckoned. If she hadn't woken the two boys up earlier, they'd be awake now.

To say that she hadn't been expecting people she knew to be included in the list would be a lie. Lili just didn't expect there to be so many. Rea, Scarlett, both of them gone on to different worlds. She stopped stretching, placing her hands instead on the insides of the door frame. She closed her eyes, trying to recall the faces of the dead. The faces appeared in her mind, vividly, almost too vividly, before Lili opened up again. Nobody she had ran into had died, at least. She didn't wish death on anyone, not even Eye-patch, or Kaitlyn, or the other Lily, despite how they treated her. None of them had turned out killers, either. The people she knew that were killers, well, it didn't surprise her what they'd done. She'd leave it at that.

But one detail from the announcement set her on edge. The second she heard the name, her brain started to put the pieces of the puzzle back together. The details lost in her dreams rose back up to the surface, a mixture of guilt, paranoia, and disgust. She looked over her shoulder, back at the inside of the building. Neither Ben nor Maxim had left their room yet. Good. Lili reached down to her bag and opened it up again, reaching inside with both hands, tying the two stark white shoes together by the laces. Her hands started to shake again as she breathed rapidly, exhaling not from her mind's eye now but from her open mouth. Lili couldn't stick around any longer. Zipping the bag closed, she held the shoes in one hand and slung the sack over her shoulder with the other, taking her first few steps out into Spiderland from her temporary home.

Was it home? Lili had dreamed of home, and she knew that she could never go home again. Her walk broke into a jog, which gave way to a sprint out into the daylight, the shoes dangling at her side, carrying her away like the winged boots of Mercury as armies of Legionnaires came crossing over her mind's Rubicon separating meditative calm and full-blown panic. Wind rushed over her, between her teeth and the gap where a tooth would be as she ran down towards the bridge, not daring to look back, to see someone running after her, not Ben, not Maxim, and certainly not while she was in this state, not with the shoes, those cursed things, dangling at their sides, the answer to the previous day's question still ringing between her ears.

Whose shoes?

Su's shoes.

[Lili Williams continued in Breadcrumb Trail.]
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Rorick Skyve
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[ *  *  * ]
((Maxim Kehlenbrink, continued from Prince of Nothing))


Finally, there it was. It had kept him up for hours; a sting in his side each time he had been about to nod off. He knew it would come eventually, one could almost say he had anticipated it. Whether it was out of morbid curiosity or just in order to have absolute confirmation that everything was ending around him, even Maxim didn't know. Nor did he care to know. Nothing could change his situation either way.

He sat on the edge of his bed, if one could even call it that. One room next to that of Ben, for privacy's sake and all. Now that he thought about it, staying awake in order to not miss it hadn't been worth it, not really. Given the volume of the announcement, he'd have woken up as soon as it started anyway. As per usual, those regrets came too late. All he wanted to do now was listen.

He had to admit, the voice and manner of speech of that man did have some sort of captivating quality to them. Not enough to quell Maxim's hatred of him, of course, but still, at least their tormentor knew how to properly sell what he was doing.

Name after name, some he knew, some he didn't. Maxim noticed that his jaw was trembling with what he suspected had to be excitement. He shifted his position on the mattress, grunting in frustration. That brief moment of self-awareness had been enough to send a shiver of shame and disgust down his spine, directed towards himself, in more ways than one.

He hated himself for it, of course he did, but he just couldn't help it. The mere thought alone was horrible enough, his peers dying like that. But now that it had become reality and he was there to quasi witness it, there simply wasn't another way of putting it; it had something exciting. It was different and overwhelming and maybe that was what why he felt like he did. Maybe just his way of coping with the initial shock. As much as he didn't like it.

Cristo. His name, his name had just been mentioned. Danya, he was talking about him, about his - corpse.

For a few seconds, Maxim's expression didn't change. He sat there, hands firmly placed on his resting place, digging into the fabric below. Then he exhaled, just as the full realization washed over him.

Of course. Of course it had to be him of all people. Not like Maxim had ever been lucky once in his life.
Peoples and Sheeples for V6
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Malloon
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Survivor
[ *  * ]
He sounded less impressive than Ben remembered him. He remembered someone inhuman, something... monstrous.

Well, he was monstrous, right? Right? He was the one responsible for the entire situation, and he was sitting somewhere with a microphone, gloating and smiling, probably, at his handiwork. What else could you call that, but evil?

Yeah, but he didn't sound like he was Satan himself, he thought. He sounded like.. like a... he...

He confirmed Ben's deduction. Someone had died, and that was why he lived. No, people had died. More than one. He sat down on the bed as Mr. Danya spoke, numbly listening to him rattle off names. First person, Jennifer Su. He didn't recognise the name, but she hadn't been killed. She had just died.

Just.

Why was that better?

"No murder." He felt the justification rest on his tongue, but he just stopped himself from speaking it aloud.

Yeah, but...

Second person, Florentina Luz. Third person, Isabelle Ramirez. First victim, first killer. And the mute girl hadn't had a part in it. Had he been wrong about her, or were there more than one people depraved enough to commit murder? He didn't know, but either would mean he'd been dead wrong in one of his conclusions on the day before. He didn't like being wrong, not that wrong.

He didn't recognise either of these names either. Florentina Luz? Probably from the Luz clan. Was she...?

But Danya didn't stop to let him think.

Nancy Kyle. No idea who she was. Second killer. Christ, how many were there? Third dead, Scarlett McAfee. Died horribly. Ben felt nauseous at the very idea of a hatchet slicing into somebody. At the very least, he didn't know her.

"That shouldn't make you feel better," he scolded himself, though his heart wasn't into it. He found it difficult to transcend his numbness over the whole ordeal and make it personal. Making it personal would make him feel awful. It might make him snap again.

The next name almost managed it, though. Kimiko Kao. The name that had been lurking in the back of his head since the day before. A sinking feeling took hold of him, dragging the minute satisfaction he had over being right down with it. All he could do was nod his head and say "Yup". Three people who had killed. Four people, now including a guy called Cristóbal Morales (never heard of him either), dead.

But it didn't stop there. He heard the names, but didn't know the faces. If someone asked him who had done what, who was dead and who had killed, he would have difficulty answering. The dead were gone, but the living weren't any less distant. Barry Banks, Alvaro Vacanti, Abigail Floyd, Conrad Harrod (Ben vaguely remembered the name. Did he talk to him once?), Harold Porter, Isabelle Ramirez (again), Alex Tarquin, Rea Adams and Joshua Bracewell.

Ben now regretted having such a small social circle. He had friends, but he now realised that everybody else had made little impression on him. And, probably, he on them. No wonder he had so severely misjudged them before! He didn't know squat about any of them.

At the end of the speech, Danya mentioned that the supply depot, whatever that was, had become a danger zone - he remembered that part of the introduction now. Then Danya mentioned Kimiko again. Though she had only killed once, her kill had been the "best" (disgusting use of that word) apparently. However wrong he had been about his classmates overall, his quick and dirty assessment of Kimiko had been right on the money, apparently.

The assessment that had rightly assumed that she wasn't as strict as he was, morally. Perhaps he should take that as a guideline for judging how people would act, instead? Ben felt bad at that idea, but he couldn't let it go. After all, that one had given results. "No....", he whispered. He didn't want to. How could he live life peacefully if...? He almost laughed. The time for that was over. Besides, as proven by the day before, he himself wasn't as strict as he would like to be.

"Arrrgghhh...", he moaned. He couldn't believe he was considering this. How could he start treating people like that? But then he had a thought. Who did he know who was as basically as strict as he was? Who hadn't freaked out, and had taken his freak out in his stride? Who, Ben knew, had illicit urges that he had kept in check for years now?

It was almost meant to be. Perhaps it really was.

He walked over to the door and opened it. He couldn't think what he'd have done, who he'd have gone to talk to if Maxim hadn't been his friend.

Huh. Where was Lili?
Edited by Malloon, Jan 26 2017, 04:32 AM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
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Rorick Skyve
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[ *  *  * ]
He had to force himself to continue to listen. The overwhelming sensation hadn't left his mind, of course, it was all too reasonable for him to be distracted. Maybe he even wanted to be distracted. But even now, even as fate or life or whatever goddamn higher force was responsible for this mess had decided to deliver yet another kick to his gut, he knew he couldn't afford to get sloppy. He had to know who to look out for; know which of his so called peers had succumbed to temptation and thus proven themselves to be an enemy. So he listened.

Not all of the names meant something to him, of course. He had talked to some, heard of some and for some, he didn't even have a face to associate with their name. Though he had to commend Ben here, it seemed, for deciding to stay clear of that Kimiko girl. Strange how they had talked about her just yesterday and she of all people had turned out to become Cristo's killer. He supposed there was some sort of irony in that. Not that it was in any way amusing to him.

Either way, that was it, the man had ceased to talk. He was left with silence once more. Weirdly enough, Maxim kind of found himself wishing for that speech to continue. It gave him something to focus on, at least, a distraction. He had plenty of things to think about now, of course. In fact, he felt that there were so many thoughts coursing through his head that the latter was starting to ache. Great, just what he needed now.

Maxim cupped his chin with one hand but remained unmoving apart from that. Cristo was gone. That thought in particular was throbbing in his temple, like a large unsightly vein. He couldn't remember if he had ever thought of the possibility of his friend dying before. Maybe just in passing, casual enough to be filtered out from his memory. Well, it was reality now.

And yet, he couldn't help but feel that despite his own expectations, Maxim didn't feel sad as much as he just felt - odd.
Peoples and Sheeples for V6
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Malloon
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Survivor
[ *  * ]
It was just like yesterday. The weather, that is.

Ben stood outside the door of the building he had slept in, looking up at the sky. The clouds moved slowly across the blue, and the wind came and went, ruffling his hair as it did. He thought about what he would give for a kite at that moment. To just... go. To lose himself in the movement, watching it dipping and diving. To make it dance through the air at his slightest whim.

But he couldn't. He had no kite, he was stuck on this goddamned island, and Lili was gone.

She wasn't anywhere to be seen. She wasn't in her room, she wasn't in the corridor and she wasn't outside. Her stuff was gone and unless she was in one of the rooms, she had disappeared.

At first, when Ben couldn't find her, he had simply been confused. That confusion had swiftly been joined by worry when he saw that she was truely nowhere to be found. He thought about the possibilites: Maybe she needed to go to the bathroom. Why hadn't she warned him or Maxim, then? Maybe the anouncement had upset her. But why wouldn't she have gone to him or Maxim, then? She hadn't done anything Mr. Danya felt he needed to mention. The more and more he thought, the less he thought that there existed a good reason for leaving. Had she been kidnapped then? It almost sounded cartoonish, as if someone had snuck up, stuck her in a bag and left with her over their shoulder. He rather thought that he'd have heard something if that happened. Or Maxim would have, at least.

Ben rejected the idea she might have been killed out of hand. "No, she can't have been.", he assured himself internally. Murders weren't silent. There was shouting, and fighting, or at least screaming. Even if someone had managed to sneak up and kill her before she could scream, there would be traces. Blood? Right? And there was no blood. He looked back at the coridor to check. Yeah. No blood.

Which meant she had left of her own accord. Damn. Damn damn "Damn damn DAMN!".

"Are you quite finished?" remarked a voice from inside him.

"Right.", he said. "Darn."

He should go and tell Maxim, he thought. He hadn't seen him yet, either, he realized, and that thought made him pause all of a sudden. Maxim was still here, right? Good God, if he was gone too...

Just barely shy of running he rushed over to Maxim's room, and called out: "Maxim! Hey, Maxim, are you still there?" If he was gone, but no he couldn't be... Not him, not now! Not after yesterday! He reached the room and quickly grabbed for the door handle.
Edited by Malloon, Nov 10 2016, 09:00 AM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
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Rorick Skyve
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Leader
[ *  *  * ]
There was yelling coming from outside of the room. Not quite enough to startle Maxim, but sufficient to make him wonder for a couple of seconds. That was Ben, right? Had to be him. Yes, yes, that was his voice, no doubt.

Even so, he was shouting, apparently looking for him, asking if he was there. Unless that was the guy's attempt at performing a wake-up call or some sort of bizarre morning ritual, there had to be a reason for it. Maybe Ben was simply worried? He had to have just heard the announcement as well, maybe that was it. Maybe he was panicking; again.

He heard a squeaking. A quick glance in the sound's direction and he knew it came from the handle of the door that was about to be opened. Not even a single concern for his privacy. Something had to be the matter, this was completely unlike Ben. Unless he had never truly known him and was starting to witness the true colors of his so-called friend. Well, he'd know soon enough.

Maxim considered answering, yelling out in order to confirm to Ben that he was indeed inside the room. But seeing as the other boy was about to enter anyway, he decided against it. No need to waste his breath.
Peoples and Sheeples for V6
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Malloon
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Survivor
[ *  * ]
With a panicked push, Ben opened the door to Maxim's room. "Maxim...?!", he repeated again, though he trailed off when he saw that his fear had been for naught. Maxim sat on the edge of the bed, looking at him. He breathed a sigh of relief, but felt ashamed almost immediately. He had barged into Maxim's room, not unannounched, but without waiting for Maxim to let him in. He retreated back through the door, holding his hands in front of him.

"I... sorry.", he mumbled. He owed Maxim an explanation. He lowered his hands. "Sorry. Listen: Lili's gone. She's vanished. And as far as I can tell, she went by herself. I was afraid you'd be gone too. That... that was wrong of me." He felt stupid. Why would Maxim be gone? He had just been going to talk to him over his dilemma and had praised him as morally steadfast.

He guessed he was just afraid of losing another friend. He became more and more aware of how Lili's departure hurt him. He had thought they were in this together, that they would watch each other's backs and help each other escape! Lili leaving put another dent in his confidence. Yesterday there was the one over his own sanity, this morning there had been the one over his classmates' morallity, and now, the very concept of friendship seemed fragile, delicate, when just twenty minutes ago it had been an unshakable pillar. He didn't know how many hits he could take.

It didn't help that he was accutely aware that his chances of escaping alive had shrunken quite a bit because of this. That Lili might have caused him, inadvertently or no, to never see his family again.

But all was not lost. There was still Maxim, after all.
Edited by Malloon, Nov 17 2016, 06:00 AM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
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Rorick Skyve
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[ *  *  * ]
Maxim looked at Ben as he delivered the news, his expression remaining unchanged throughout it. So that was it, the reason for the other boy to seemingly panic yet again. At least it wasn't over nothing. Hell, even he himself wouldn't have expected that Lili to just bail, didn't take her for the type. However, just because it surprised him that didn't mean he had to care about it - or her.

He chewed his lip for a fleeting moment, then nodded. "Alright."

Maybe there was more he to say. There probably was. But that wasn't his problem. If anyone owed that girl any amount of words, it wasn't him. She had made her choice, plain and simple. Though admittedly, to say he wasn't at least a tad happy about it would have been a lie. At least now, he didn't have to worry about Lili potentially endangering them.

He didn't answer to Ben's last statement. His first instinct was to tell him that yes, it was indeed wrong - foolish - of him to even consider the possibility of Maxim running off. There was nothing to gain from it, voluntarily abandon shelter only to leap into the unknown. Ben knew that, he had better known that. Thus, the mere thought of Maxim being willing to do so was beyond ridiculous - he wouldn't tell Ben that, of course. Insulting a person's intelligence was not exactly the ideal way to get them to calm down.

He got up from the bed, feeling at the stubble on his chin. It was starting to get a little more scraggly than he was comfortable with. But shaving was his absolute last concern right now. He gazed at Ben, a somewhat curious look on his features, then snuffled, twice.

"What now?" It was clearly a question yet his tone made it sound like an observation.
Peoples and Sheeples for V6
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Malloon
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[ *  * ]
It was just like yesterday, again. Maxim's calm and collected demenour stood in stark contrast to Ben's panicked and fearful reaction. He chided himself for it, resolving to try and emulate Maxim more from now on, his admiration of his friend having grown exponentially since he had turned up yesterday. What Maxim did, he would do, and the first order of business was to stop behaving like a frightened child. He had to be calm and he had to be strong. He had to wise up. Basically, he had to grow up, and do it now.

"Those are resolutions you cannot keep.", said a voice that was becoming far too familiar. Ben wavered and didn't answer.

Maxim stood up from the bed, while Ben stayed put in the doorway. Then Maxim looked at Ben and asked "What now?". It sounded like a statement, though it was phrased as a question.

"Right.", answered Ben. He didn't really know where to go from here, either. "I guess it doesn't make any sense to go after her. She went and left us behind.", he spoke, bitterness seeping into his words. Lili was gone and they couldn't rely on her any more. Not even if she came back.

Before the announcement, Ben would have suggested to go looking for other people. Now, he wasn't sure. It depended on how he would decide to judge people in the future, and to decide, he needed to talk with Maxim. Yet it seemed so rude to announce that he might have a suggestion, but it would take a long and probably arduous conversation to be sure. He would talk to Maxim. He needed to. And he wasn't sure how long it could wait, but he would try to do so for a little while. Just until the right moment presented itself.

In the meantime, they might as well do something useful.

"What about breakfast? I can't think of anything else right now."
Edited by Malloon, Nov 17 2016, 07:24 AM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
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Rorick Skyve
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[ *  *  * ]
Maxim couldn't help it, not with that response. Despite his best efforts to suppress his amusement, a single snort escaped him. He had expected something, well, more dramatic, really. Some lamenting words, something about bleak prospects or heavy with gloom. Not a response like that - so casual, almost innocent. Maybe all of those stories he used to read had warped his own expectations. Probably that.

He cleared his throat, yawning a little right after. The lack of sleep would come back to haunt him sooner or later, that much was certain. But he had to keep it together for now. "Well, I mean, yes, but that's not really what I meant."

His right eye had gotten a little watery. As if his body was trying to really rub it into his face, show him how stupid he had been to not use every opportunity to get some shut-eye. Irritated, Maxim wiped the corner of his eye with one finger. A little better."Let's jump forward in time and assume we've already eaten our breakfast. What then?" He chewed his lip for short moment, frowning, then immediately shook his head. "Wait, let me try and phrase this differently."

He walked over to the other boy, passing him and exiting the room. Maxim hoped it looked to Ben like there was some purpose behind that. He didn't need the awkwardness of having to admit that he had just done so as a sort of transition, in order to not have the two of them stare at each other silently while Maxim was pondering his words. Maybe he was going overboard in his attempt to appear absolutely confident, but he could just as well go through with it now.

After looking down the hallway towards the main exit for a moment, he eventually turned back towards Ben. "Basically, I'm asking: What do you propose we do to, you know; stay alive?"
Peoples and Sheeples for V6
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Malloon
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[ *  * ]
Maxim laughed at him. Ben was taken slightly aback by that, and felt a bit hurt. Maxim did clarify his original question, however, and Ben understood that his answer hadn't been anywhere near that what Maxim was expecing. So he could hardly blame Maxim for it.

Still. He had been quite serious.

Anyway; Maxim had apparently been thinking in the same direction as Ben had before. He realised he wouldn't have to wait to ask Maxim his opinion - and that was quite a relief. Maxim walked past him into the corridor and, after turning to face him, rephrased his question. It seemed he was looking for a concrete answer. Ben hoped he wouldn't mind that he didn't have one.

"That's sort of what I meant.", he began. "I don't know. I mean... I don't know if I... we... can trust other people. Or even be near them." He looked down at the floor and turned away from Maxim, towards the main exit. He felt ashamed of what he was saying, but didn't stop. "Yesterday I would have thought it was silly of me, immoral even, to be that suspicious of people. The only person I mistrusted was Kimiko, and not completely justifiably - she might have picked up that glass shard for protection, I suppose." He turned back to Maxim, meaning to face his friend when he stated the crux of the matter. "But she killed someone. I was right."

Ben waited a moment to let that sink in, then continued: "I was right to mistrust her, and wrong that our classmates wouldn't kill. I... I'm afraid that going looking for other people will be more dangerous than... not looking for them."

He hoped that would answer Maxim's question. Or at least part of it.

"For the rest, I don't know. Perhaps we should... I don't know."

Ben realized that he didn't have a clue how they could escape and thus his confidence was dealt another blow, but one that was less damaging than the previous ones. He - they - would figure it out. Had to figure it out. But he would need others to do so. Ben saw his dilemma - he both needed and wanted to avoid other people - and regretted Lili's departure even more bitterly.

(Benjamin Lichter continues in "And feel the blackbird's sudden tug.")
(Maxim Kehlenbrink continued in Idiot Launch)
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
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