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So, so tired...
Topic Started: Oct 21 2016, 05:32 AM (380 Views)
General Goose
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Kiziah Saraki continued from Little Pig.))

Kiziah had made a lot of bad calls during the long hike.

At times, she had been all too eager to rush into a building, desperate for shelter, despondent about the fatiguing and aimless wandering of their journey. She had been saved by Bart and Jennifer, urging more prudent and circumspect attitudes. She had been impulsive, she realised every time, willing to compromise not only her safety but the safety of others. She was sure that an encounter with others would, most likely, offer hope rather than friction, but the other two seemed more sure in their aversion to contact. She knew that listening to them would probably be a good idea.

She had made a lot of bad calls. Gotten lost a couple of times. Forced the group to implement something approximating an official strategy around bathroom breaks and inventory management, what with her persistently threatening an act of negligence. Tried talking, tried keeping spirits up, during slightly inopportune times, when silence and sensory precision were of greater utility. Been slightly too willing to sit down, whenever the thought passed the lips of one of her travelling companions, and take a break and maybe flip through the map for the umpteenth time or eat slightly too much bread.

She had tried to take initiative. Tried to show she was adapting. She wanted to. Really, she did. Not 'adapt' in the sense of forget who she was. She prayed, remembered her manners, made sure to keep hold of any litter they accumulated in her bag until they reached bins. Whenever she could, she turned away, told Bart and Jennifer her plans, and moved a few steps apart from the other two, still within eyesight but out of earshot, to share some words with her mother and siblings. Platitudes, mostly. But they had her voice there, offering words of comfort, sharing fond memories. It felt good, really. These cameras were, if anything, a sign that the terrorists had some sympathy, some empathy. She knew all too well how important it was, even if one was powerless to help them, to hear how your loved one was doing.

But instead, adapt in just...developing sharper instincts. A couple of times, she was the one to call out a building as suspicious, as a bit dubious and questionable. In hindsight, she always felt that she had made a mistake. That the sound she had was probably an animal stirring or something, and she always made these concerns known, suggested that maybe heading back would be smart, advising them not to place too much stock in her judgements. Her intuition was weak. Arbitrary. If they wanted to take her gun and some of her supplies, and just leave her to stop being a liability, she would understand. She had said that in one moment of particularly pathetic weakness. She would not do so again.

And then the announcements.

Kizi could not stop thinking about them. She had absorbed the information, the lurid jokes and macabre details seared into her mind, and could not help but ruminate on it. Friends, acquaintances, people she had passed in the corridors. Lives cut short, lives ruined by loss and emotional trauma. It was too much. Perhaps that was a blessing. One death might have forced her mind to settle, to imagine that one family grieving, to reflect on how hundreds of lives would be upturned by that person being jolted out of existence. But...

No. She felt bad for thinking that. That was a monstrous thought, really. Callous to the core. There had to be something that could be done. Something to mitigate the carnage, mediate the horror. But what could she do? She knew maths and languages, knew a bit about human rights. But not enough in any of those fields to be able to serve some useful role, or impart some important substantive message to those watching.

When they reached the warehouse, Kizi's first instinct was to slump against a crate and cry. But Jennifer's comment rescued her from that. She blinked a few times, and a couple of tears began the path down her cheeks. But a quick wipe from the back of her hand, and they were gone. "I could start looking for stuff now." She offered her labour as a distraction, as a way of avoiding the contemplation induced by rest. "Are you guys okay? Because if you need a rest, that's fine. I could check for supplies."
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General Goose
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It was a peaceful day. Kizi didn't know what to make of that.

Was it good fortune, or some kind of small miracle shining through their hellish surroundings? Was it just the calm before the storm, a phenomenon and phrase she remembered just as complacency threatened to take her to a false place of security? She couldn't trust it at first. Kizi knew better than to place too much stock into her own senses, and it was only when Bart and Jennifer seemed to accept that there was no immediate threat did her own state of overzealous vigilance ease slightly. Perhaps a bad choice, but Kizi had been wishing for a peaceful day. Just one, an island of tranquility in the madness of the island. That wasn't too much to ask.

Of course, it wasn't a normal day. The conversation was stilted and coltish, lumbering around with a cloddish necessity and a desire to avoid the even more unpleasant threat of silence. They rarely confronted the actual facts of their predicament, but could not escape it either. Bar a few abortive attempts, normal conversation, of that casual and friendly manner that they had so taken for granted, remained elusive. The arduous trek had left them all unusually fatigued, Bart most of all. That inescapable grip of weariness and overexertion also added a stark physical reminder of their dire circumstances.

So it wasn't normal, yet it was productive. The search, not so much. Kizi, at least, found nothing. She was always bad at looking for things, always missed things right in front of her. She made sure Jennifer was well-aware of that defect, but did not outright tell her to doublecheck the areas she had already searched.

Kizi had wanted a day like this. She talked to the camera. Past the camera, more accurately. She attempted begging, briefly, but even she soon saw the futility of that. Understood that destroying lives was, as inexplicable as it was to Kizi, probably the point for them. She wished she knew what their actual logic was. Politics? A perverted interpretation of a peaceful religion? Some kind of monetary motivation? If it was one of those, maybe debating and compromise would be possible, but either way, she was ill qualified to intervene.

So, she stopped. "Please, just let me talk to my family." That was her final request, and she knew that a conversation would not be permitted. But she talked to the camera anyway. And it was inelegant. She cried more than she spoke. But still, it felt important. Some kind of profound meaning could be derived from her constant apologies, her constant reiterations of how much she missed them all, of how sorry she was to no longer be part of their lives.

Again, the announcements hurt. Every death, every revelation of murder, it hurt.

But again, there was no time to mourn. She felt selfish for prioritising her own survival over showing due respect to her fallen friends, but she was in a danger zone. When she heard the danger zone announcement, she reached into her bag, in between sniffs and quiet sobs, to pull out her map, the Utilities Compound sounding familiar. Her suspicions were confirmed when Bart jumped up, and Kizi realised that the beeping sound was the collars.

Oh dear.

She too broke into a sprint, dropping one of the bottles of water.

Instead of running away or looking at it, she did that stupid thing where she hovered, torn between escape and water, for a few seconds, unsure what to do. Finally, impulse took over, and she just ran.

((Kiziah Saraki continued in Why We Fight.))
Edited by General Goose, Nov 16 2016, 04:02 AM.
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