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Devil's Choir; Morning, Day 3
Topic Started: Nov 2 2016, 06:12 PM (1,849 Views)
TwelveFourtyFive
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((Al continued from Shock Me))

Alessio looked at the bloodied, disgusting pickaxe. There were less brutal ways to let the game end faster.

I'm a dwarf and I'm digging a hole. Diggy diggy hole. I'm digging a hole.

How much time of his life had he wasted watching fucking Minecraft videos? Instead of doing anything worthwhile. His past life was trash.

If he gets out of here, he would aim for a better life. A new life. With new friends. Without bullies like Michael. Without Vanessa. A new life with a new Alessio who will not repeat the mistakes he had made in Cochise. Burn his computer, get out, socialise, fall in love, get a girlfriend that loves him as much he loves her. Happy End.

Yeah...that would be nice. That was not going to happen. He was going to die here.

He mindlessly walked into the Chapel just to see a group of people. And the group of people saw him.

Al still had no idea what to say. He stopped walking in, used his pickaxe as a cane and was confused and scared at the people inside. Then, he used the sleeves of his hoodie to get rid of the liquids that ran out of his running nose. At least he did not cry anymore.
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Brendan didn't listen, but Asha was getting used to that. Wayne's smiles and nods had been painted on, and even Dot only stuck around despite Asha's beliefs, bless her heart. No one else had even given her a chance. She wasn't bitter about it, blaming others for not wanting to stick around and be philosophized at would be basically the pettiest thing. It still stung to know that so far, she was the only person who had been at all comforted by nihilistic thought.

Still, she knew that the answer she had found wasn't wrong, it just wasn't right for everyone. People are different from each other, no problem there. She'd contemplated changing her approach a bit, during the many listless hours she had spent alone with Dot the previous day; but ultimately decided against it. Oh, false sincerity might taste sweet at first, but it'd all too soon turn to wretched bone meal in your mouth. If people didn't want to accept their deaths so soon, she'd just have to resort to Plan B; follow Dot's lead by just being generally friendly and adorable.

A plan that also failed in this case, as Brendan rudely rejected Dot's offer of a hug, made his excuses, and ran away. Asha wanted to call out after him, ask how exactly running aimlessly off into the day while ditching a friend would help anyone, either; but he was already gone. Unfortunate, but they'd both done all they'd could. Under different circumstances she would have chased after him, but Jae looked like he was in no condition to go anywhere fast, and ditching him would pretty unambiguously be the wrong thing to do.

Speaking of which. Asha turned around and settled down sideways on the pew proper as Jae spoke, hugging her legs. "Ha. We came from around there too, actually. Dot and I were camped out in the library. We must have just missed each other," she said, idly wondering how differently things would have turned out if they had met. Maybe Jae wouldn't be so fucked up, maybe his name wouldn't have been on the announcements. It was almost funny, if you had no sense of humor and also liked dwelling on how easily you could have prevented your friends from being in pain. Asha only fit one of those categories, thankfully.

She nodded absently as he continued, familiar pout coloring his voice. "Fair enough - sorry, Dot," Asha said, shooting her an apologetic smile. "Got any ideas for what we're gonna do after you're done with your beauty sleep, then?" Before Jae could respond, she heard someone enter the chapel. Asha turned around, hoping it'd be Brendan coming back to cash in that wasted hug, before seeing Al and his blood-stained pickaxe.

Another one? Seriously? Already? Asha almost said, before she caught herself. Other than Dot, the only person she'd met on the whole bloody island who hadn't killed or would soon kill was Wayne, (curse his wretched name, thank god he was still alive, Asha wanted her stuff back and also less human suffering in the world) and it was honestly starting to get legitimately hilarious. Instead, Asha casually waved. "Howdy, Mr. Prospector," she called out.
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Why did everyone had to go?

Brendan left, Wayne left, Nancy left, and even Iz left. All of these people left Asha and Dot, did they do somethin bad? If they deserved it, they should be told why because they would change their way. Make themselves look better and nicer and softer so that nobody would left them anymore. For Nancy and Iz however, it was a good thing, but if they stayed with them maybe they wouldn't have killed anymore.

Oh sweet redemption, why must you be so elusive? Why couldn't they let the others know that killing was wrong, and if they sticked together they would find a way out. Nobody cared about Asha's philosophy, maybe Jae did since he didn't left, and while Dot didn't agree with her friend, she understood it was her opinion and nothing would change it.

Killing this, death that, murder her or murderer: all of those things were turning inside of Dot's head like a whirlpool inside of a well that turned sour. She was about to sit down, to take a better look at the church, to admire its features when someone else decided to prove Dot wrong.

Her voice was filled with shallowed tears because of Brendan's rejection - oh, he was going to eat it when she finds him- and cracking with anger by moments and slowed down by thoughts for a second or two. Her eyes watered, she tried to be speak firmly and calmly like in front of a class filled with children after recess.

"If you are going to cause trouble, leave. We don't want you here, Mr. Prospector," she mentally thanked Asha for that nickname and continued, trying to sound nicer and softer and lovelier and smaller and cuter and- she smiled like she did when she spoke to Iz,

"Though, if you're going to be nice, you can stay."
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For fuck's sake, couldn't they have a moment of peace?

Jae wanted to relax. He wanted a cigarette. He wanted to go to sleep for a few hours, proper sleep, not passing out because he'd pushed his body past its limits. He wanted to get Asha alone so he could talk to her, because if he wasn't able to get everything off his chest to someone who would actually listen at some point he was going to explode.

But no. Of course it couldn't be that easy. Dorothy was getting all misty-eyed because Brendan had rejected her, though Jae could still kind of ignore it since the tears hadn't started flowing yet. Asha was trying to keep things moving forward, bless her, but Jae didn't even have time to respond before the latest unwelcome visitor made themselves known.

He didn't even have to sit up fully again to get enough of a glimpse of Whoever The Fuck Number 3 to decide that he absolutely was not welcome to stay, no matter what Dorothy said. Jae had a good eye for detail, and it was obvious even from a distance that Mr. Prospector hadn't been using that pickaxe to dig for any gold.

Aside from that, he legitimately had no clue who this kid was. Unknown factors were bad, as had been demonstrated to him again and again here. Maybe not all the killers were crazy. Maybe most of them weren't, even. But some - Alvaro, Nancy, Isabel - some seemed overwhelmingly likely to be.

"Whose blood is that?" He called across the church in lieu of adding another superficial greeting to the pile. He shifted his grip on the crossbow, keeping it out of sight but ready to be raised at a moment's notice. Dorothy was closer to their visitor than she should have been, again, but she wasn't blocking him. Jae had a clear shot if he needed it. He just had to actually follow through.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Lie or tell the truth?

That was the question. Al was not a good liar. Back in Kingman he was usually very truthful and honest. There was no need to lie. There was no point in lying. Lying would never bring you far, that's what the church told him, that's what his parents told him, that's what the school told him, that's what the media told him.

But now? Was there a need to lie?

"..."

It was hard to explain the rather simple question who the owner of the blood was. Cameron. His own. Somebody else. Don't know. What was the best reply? What was the best lie? There was no such thing. The seconds passed until Al could even give a proper reply to Jae's question. Alessio looked at the ground. He needed to tell the truth. The truest truth.

"I don't want to talk about that."

He'd rather talk about something more pleasant. Like, cats. Or robots. Or the chapel that looked quite beautiful. Or the flowers in the garden. Or anything else.
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Dorothy squeezed her teeth together, breaking her smile. Her gums started to pulse. Her tongue started to fight back against the teeth crushing her.

If she kept going, her teeth would break. They'd pierce through her lips, her throat, her mouth, her cheeks. She started to see red, the heat she felt evaporated the tears away.

She felt heat everywhere: head, chest, hands, neck, back. She was boiling, her muscles contracted, her right hand wrapped around an escrima stick inside her bag and her left hand, around the handle of the bag.

Wasn't Asha and Dot nice enough? Wasn't Jae clear enough?

Oh, the anger flowed through her body in a way it has never done before. First people wouldn't listen to her, then people rejected her and then Mr. Prospector showed up, bloodied and wouldn't speak up.

She could handle killers, she was able to handle Iz and Nancy, Jae was still being something she had to think about but Asha was dealing with him.

So, it was Dot's responsibility to deal with him. She was going to turn blue from holding her breath and she let the air trapped in her lungs escape. She stabilized her breathing, she kept repeating her mother's words in her head:

Nurses have to deal with stressful situation, you can't freak out and throw a tantrum just because you are handling a shitty patient or your boss is a major bitch or you are having a bad day or something like that.

She remembered the rest of the conversation too.

It was the day after her dad told her in her face with a glass of beer in his that she couldn't become a doctor because of her grades.

She wept and cried, but she stood back up. The little Dot always stood back up.

She was resilient, no matter the difficulty, she'd try to make the most out of it. Her spirit was her strong point, nothing could throw her down if she just held out longer than the sad thoughts.

It wasn't the only thing her mom said:

But you know, that doesn't apply to you. Sweetheart, if someone gives you shit then return it to them, ruin their fucking day until they beg for you to stop. That includes you-know-who.

She remembered how her mom smiled softly and how she cupped Dot's face with her hands. As she remembered that, her features soften, and slowly worked up a smile again.

The heat became calming, it enveloped her like a blanket straight out of the drying machine.

Her sweetness could take a break.

''Speak about it or get out.''

She didn't let the time for Alessio to answer. She tried her best to chew her words but it was a miserable failure.

''Tell us what you did,'' she couldn't believe it. Did she sound angry? She hoped she didn't, she really hope she just sounded serious and not mean. Being mean was a big no-no for Dot because she didn't want to make people angry at her. The next thing she said shocked her,

''Or get the FUCK out!''

It was the first time she said 'fuck' out loud. She always feared her dad would hear it, and would punish her. But he wasn't there and she was going to enjoy that.
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Dot didn't look like she was doing too great, (she'd need a hug later) but she still did an admirable job at peacekeeping. Jae kinda ruined that by jumping the gun and trying to pick Al's brain for murdery answers, but whatever, it was still a valid question. Al's reluctance to spreak was perfectly valid, too. Asha could roll with it all. She was about to hop up and over to tag-team in and work on deescalating the situation further when Dot's voice started taking on a harshly unfamiliar tone.

She froze, genuinely shocked, as Dot loudly berated Al. She wasn't shouting, not quite; but her voice was powerful and insistent enough to force even Asha to take a moment to collect herself. She honestly hadn't even considered that Dot could have that sort of anger in her; and was torn between feeling impressed or mildly terrified. Probably a healthy combination of both. The part of Asha that wasn't concerned with the immediacy of raised voices and veiled threats worried that she'd missed some tension in Dot's smiles beforehand, laughed off all the stresses that could have driven her to this outburst.

Asha shot a worried glance at Jae, decided that he wasn't going anywhere, and then hurried over to the others. Not in a run, more like a mildly panicked walk; Al definitely didn't need another stranger rushing towards him at the moment. She also tried to position herself so that she wasn't too close to Dot; didn't want him to feel ganged up on.

"Hey, hey, it's fine, okay? We're cool? We're all cool. Yeah," she said, words coming out in a breathless burst of comforting platitudes while she tried to come up with something good to say. She turned to Al, disarming smile plastered on her face. "None of us are looking for a fight, okay? You don't wanna talk? That's cool! We're not trying to interrogate you or anything, it's just, like... everyone here needs to be comfortable with each other, y'know? We're all kinda stressed out right now."
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Shit shit shit

Asha don't do that what are you thinking

shit shit fuck shit

She was in the way now. Asha was blocking the goddamned shot. There was a tension that was quickly approaching panic climbing in Jae's veins now, on edge from the lack of sleep and the memories of Alvaro, of Sam, of how quickly everything could go wrong. He wouldn't put it completely past Asha to know that she was in his way, maybe trying to prevent him from getting an itchy trigger finger. Nice in theory, but it would mean fuck all if it ended with her taking a pickaxe to the face.

He didn't know what to make of Dorothy's outburst; he couldn't recall ever seeing something like that from her in the few interactions they'd ever had. All Jae cared about was that it didn't serve as motivation for their dodgy visitor to go to town on her. He'd just been in a fight of some kind, that much was obvious. He knew who he'd been fighting with, given that he'd said he didn't want to talk about it rather than that he didn't know. He hadn't been running and didn't look panicked. There were conclusions Jae could draw from that, and none of them spelled out anything good. Asha and Dorothy were surely capable of figuring it out for themselves, but they seemed content to just stand around and shoot the shit with the potential pickaxe murderer, Dorothy's sudden cursing notwithstanding.

Jae was going to drive himself fucking crazy if he kept sitting here trying to work out a plan of action when potential disaster could unfold in front of him at any moment.

He took a deep breath and pushed himself up off of the pew, biting back a grunt as his muscles and injuries protested the movement. In the brighter light of day now, the full extent of his injuries made themselves clearly visible, splinted leg and all. There were shadows under his eyes and the bruising on his face from where Samuel had hit him spread out from underneath the bandages he'd replaced over the gash across his cheek. The crossbow stayed at his side, pointed at the floor, but his grip on it was firm. The baton was still safely tucked in his belts if he needed to reach it.

There was a headache beginning to throb behind his left eye, exhaustion, irritation, and nicotine craving weaving together to stab at him. He hoped that he looked as done with all of this shit as he felt, and that it adequately got the message across.

"Asha, Dorothy," he began, fighting to keep his voice even, "come here." Have some common sense and get the fuck away from the guy with the bloody pickaxe, in other words. It took all of Jae's fraying self control not to just say it outright, aware that doing so might somehow incense the guy. Peacemaking was fine, but they could do it from a distance, preferably from behind the person on their side who actually had a weapon.

Jae kept his eyes fixed on the intruder. It served the twofold purpose of driving home his show of intimidation and keeping him from paying attention to Asha or Dorothy's reactions to the state he was in. Your move, fuckboy.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Alessio was talked about to be a bad person, a killer, a murderer, a player, a monster. Because he was.

So he was shouted at by Dorothy. He immediately closed his eyes, wanted to forget what had happened with Cameron, wanted to stop the accusations and the prompt for guilt by Dot. Asha's friendly voice did not help either, since it was followed by Jae's command. That was not making him feel safe. This was not a trio that wanted to be friendly and welcome and solve the problems. No, it was three individual people who all wanted individual goals. Disorganised. Not harmonic. And Al, the fourth person had no clue what to do when each one of them desired a different thing from him. Get away, speak up, stay quiet.

"..."

That was all he wanted to say. He opened his eyes. Preparing to watch Asha and Dot going to Jae, preparing to be left alone by the girls just like he did with Mia. Karma.

Get out? Speak up? Being stronger was difficult.

So, he added a sigh of sorrow, before he was readying himself to see what was going to happen next. Anything could happen.
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The momentary relief from letting a swear out of her mouth quickly left her body at the (lack of) response of Al.

He didn't have to be like that, he could stop being so stubborn and admit whatever he has done. He could just do anything else than standing there like a statue. It was like talking to a wall of brick, only the wall could really talk and explain what he has done.

Why was he being so stubborn? Why couldn't be like a normal person and speak? The worse part was the fact he spoke earlier just to say he didn't want to talk. If she hurt someone, she'd love to talk about it. Not in the braggin, creepy way but to ease her conscience. She hated when she felt bad and she confided in her diary, to her mom, to her blog whenever she felt bad.

Then why was Al not fucking speaking.

Maybe he didn't feel guilty. Maybe he was like a child who despite hiding in clear sight thinks he was able to hide. Maybe he actually felt guilty but he wanted to ignore.

She wanted to call him out about his cowardness. If you have done something horrible, stick up to it or deal with it or something. Don't just stand there and scare everyone else. That's what she'd yell in his face.

She was tired of the island, it made everyone go crazy and angry. Nobody was themselves. They were just someone else, totally different from their years in high school. She knew she was being unfair but wasn't the whole situation unfair as well? Nobody really had it coming.

But, her anger still rose higher and higher and her whole body was tensing up. She felt like her muscles were going to snap from the pressure she kept inside of her.

She stared him down, she was ready to lunge. Not that she would actually attack him but her body was thinking something else. Her body wanted to start throwing stuff at him, her body wanted to slap him, her body wanted to kick him until he would open his mouth.

Instead, her brain took control of actions. Her body was angry but her mind, thinking. She knew it was what the terrorists wanted, and if she got into a fight, they'd be laughing or something while they watched it behind their cameras. She wasn't them having any of that.

Even she wanted to jump on him and hit him over and over again until all of her anger left her body, she bottled it in and smiled again. She started to back off.

''Alright, dude. I'm coming.''
Edited by Leaf, Nov 19 2016, 05:00 PM.
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(( Michael Crowe continued from Karma Chameleon ))

Michael stared at his bandaged hand as he walked away from the asylum. The pain had simmered down to a dull ache, and now all he could do was contemplate the fact that he was missing one of his digits.

It was kind of interesting in a weird way, he could still feel it. Not in the sense that the stump hurt, coz' it still did, it stung like a bitch if he accidentally touches something with it, but outside of that, it still felt like his pinky was still there. Like he could wiggle it, close it, all that shit that a normal pinky does. He could feel it still there, even if it wasn't there.

He placed his axe underneath his arm as he tried to see if he could touch his other hand with his ghost finger. He didn't really feel anything on either side. His pinky obviously went through his hand, but neither one could feel each other. He felt himself wiggle his ghost back and forth.

Man, this was so fuckin' weird...

He looked up and saw a chapel in front of him. Knowing how much of a dick Irony was, one of the big killers were hiding out here. He laid his axe upon his shoulder and walked towards it, imagining some dramatic fight with Holy Diver playing in the background. The Dio one, not the shitty Killswitch Engage one.

He stopped outside the doorway, and looked at his reflection through one of the stained glass windows. Shit he needs to fix his hair. His revenge conquest had to wait a moment, as he pulled his comb out and got to work.

...Better?

Better.

He overheard a commotion within the chapel, something about "speaking up or gee-tee-eff-oh'ing". If there were people in there, maybe they could also tell him the whereabouts of people on his shit list.

Well, that was his cue.

He pressed his foot against the door, and opened it with the laziest of kicks. After all, who needs arms with legs like these, right?

It was casual enough to not be over-dramatic, but dramatic enough to not be boring. It meant he could totally stomp the door open if he wanted to, but he didn't really feel like it. He treated it like kicking doors open was an everyday occurrence for him. He had made his appearance known, he had shown that he had no fucks to give, he had shown that...

Oh shit he fucked up.

Crybaby with a pickaxe to his right. Mall goth with a crossbow to his front. Two more people a little ways ahead of him.

No matter his position, he was right in the kill zone. He done goof'd. He could only stand there silently after announcing his big entrance, just staring at them staring at him.

There was two options now, back out slowly, live, but look like a bitch. Then there was stand your ground, still look like a bitch, but less of one, and probably die.

This wasn't a movie, the smart option was option one.

Michael stared blankly before speaking up.

"Fuck y'all lookin' at?"

...

...

He hadn't learned from the various other times he had picked option two.
Edited by ToxieTheToxicAvenger, Nov 20 2016, 08:07 PM.
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Dammit. Making Jae exert himself was literally the opposite of what Asha had wanted to do. She turned around, uncaring that she was exposing her back to Al, and grimaced slightly as she got a clearer look at her friend. She'd gotten a vague idea of it before, but standing up, outlined by the sunbeams that pierced the chapel's windows, Jae looked like a soldier who'd come home from the sort of war where the friendly neighborhood vultures were the only real winners. The crossbow only added to that effect. War had moved on from swords and arrows, but a bolt to the neck would still kill you just as easily today as it would have centuries ago, after all. Death was charmingly timeless.

Asha realized now that she was in sort of an inconvenient position from his point of view, but that suited her just fine. Partially because she didn't want this mysterious murderer getting shot on her behalf either, partially out of spite from Jae trying to order her around. Pettiness aside, she did know what she was doing; even if it hadn't technically worked yet. It was so much easier to have a friendly conversation if everyone wasn't huddled together, shooting suspicious glares at each other. She was tempted to stick her tongue out at him, but erred on the side of not acting like a grade schooler.

If there's one thing she regretted about the situation, it was that she had stored her taser inside of Dot's bag that morning, after the announcements. With it, Asha would have been able to reassure Jae that she still had shit under control in a convenient, nonlethal way. After hearing about Danny, though, she hadn't been able to stomach holding onto a weapon, especially one that now reminded her so strongly of Isabel. She'd have to fish it back out once she had a spare moment.

In the meantime, she smiled and shrugged as Dot started to retreat back towards Jae; turning her full attention back to Al. She had to stop herself from replying 'Same, dude" after Al's sigh. It would have probably been the most sincere "same" ever said, to be honest; summing up the entire situation with a single prolonged exhale. Alas, it was also tonally inappropriate, and not in the way that Asha liked. It would have sounded too much like she was mocking him.

"Well, uh. We're still cool, at least! How about we talk about something else instead? Like, what's your favorite-" Before Asha could fully commit to her disarming inane chatter, someone kicked the chapel door open. Goddamn, it was starting to get a little crowded. New kid looked like he was more spooked than a spooker, at least.

"Either a huge nerd or some sorta action hero. Obvi."
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Jae couldn't tell if his headache was more from a nicotine craving or lack of sleep and stress in general, but it was throbbing behind his left eye, creeping back over his temple and the back of his head to his neck. He gripped the crossbow as tightly as possible with both hands, hoping it hid how they were starting to shake.

Also? Fuck you right now, Asha. She obviously knew both what he was trying to do and what she was doing by defying him, he'd known her long enough to recognize that "come over here and make me" smile for exactly what it was. Her moral point wouldn't be worth much when Mr. Prospector started trying to dig her insides out. At least Dorothy knew what was good for her and had retreated behind him.

He almost pulled the trigger when the doors flew open again. Five minutes, all Jae wanted was five goddamn minutes to get his shit together without some fuckface barging in and making him wonder if they were going to try and kill him or his friends, if he was going to have to shoot them. Michael was half a centimeter and a few stretched-thin threads of self-control away from taking a crossbow bolt to the face before he even started in with his stupid quips.

"Fuck off, Michael." And shit, hadn't Brendan mentioned him too? Michael and Jeremiah, trying to kill a girl. Now he was swaggering in here like it was nothing, like his partner in crime hadn't even been shanked in the back by the least likely person imaginable. Jae took brief note of the bandage on Michael's hand and wondered if Brendan had been responsible for that too. It was... alright, maybe he'd be a tiny bit impressed if that was the case. Maybe.

Didn't change the fact that he was stuck here with the choice of focusing his attention on an attempted murderer and a probably-successful murderer, with Asha disregarding him in between. He had a clearer shot at Michael, but Prospector was closer to Asha and his eyes had that same sort of blankness that Jae had seen in Alvaro's.

Jae was dimly aware that his breathing was getting faster and shallower, and he could feel the threat of a cough tickling at the back of his throat. He'd never had a panic attack before - was this what the beginning of one felt like? He needed to breathe. He needed Asha to move to safety. He needed all of these unwanted people out of his fucking sight.

"Fuck off. Both of you get out, now." His finger twitched on the trigger.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Michael, bully, dangerous. Just walked into the room and made the things even more heated. Jae was aiming with his weapon at him. Al could be dead.

There was the door. There was the crossbow.

Al chose the door. Staying here with Jae was risky. He could be very dead if Jae shoots. Alessio had never felt more awake than now. Even when he killed Cameron he did not have as much of an adrenaline rush than now, when Jae was wielding his weapon, Michael suddenly joined and Dorothy shouted at him seconds before. He was not wanted.

So he sprinted out of the chapel, scared of Michael stopping him from leaving. But he managed to get out.

((Al continued in Smoke Screen))
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Someone walked in.

Mr. Prospector walked out.

As simple as that, just a normal interaction. Nothing scary, nothing stressful, normal. It was normal. A very normal thing to happen. No-one was hurt, no-one was harmed, no-one was crying, no-one was dying. It was a miracle it ended like that. Everyone was back to their normal selves.

An innocent in, a killer out.

Then why did she felt her guts knot together when she saw him? Why did her body felt so sick at the sight of his face? Why did her hands start shaking? Why did she want to run away? She could, obviously. Just leave Asha and Jae behind, but that wasn't a very nice to do so she stayed.

Good inside, bad outside.

She thought about her diary sitting at home, hidden under a pile of clothes. She imagined taking a pen and doodling something like a fairy or a butterfly. Maybe even a mermaid, even though the last time she saw one, she had to wake up. Like wow, those things were half-fish, half-human, isn't that super, super weird? Maybe the mermaids thought about her too like how she had two legs and walked around. Okay maybe mermaids weren't so scary after all, but in some movies they lured men and drowned them.

Her mind wandered, but a small part of it was still aware. That tiny bit was happy to have the good ol' Dot back.
It painfully pinched Dorothy out of her waking dream.

Okay here, bad away.

Dot took a breath in, and sighed it out loudly. Calm down, the guy wasn't Mr. Prospector. He wasn't bloodied or not talking. Those two things reassured Dot. He was the contrary, at least she thought. He didn't appear bloody from her point-of-view and he spoke, which was an improvement from Al.

But Jae confirmed Dot's hidden fear: it was Michael. Brendan killed someone because of him.

Her friend didn't do anything wrong, it was Michael's fault. Not her friend's fault, none of friends killed anyone. They were good people, but Michael? He was a bad person. He totally was. He tried to murder a girl with that Jeremiah guy, but because of Brendan, the girl was spared and his partner in crime died.

However, she wasn’t sure if Brendan was a reliable narrator in that story. She was more inclined into believing him than, well, the accused, Michael. He was the one that was to blame on the side of Brendan’s story. If he were right, then Michael was as bad as Nancy, Kimiko and Iz but just lacking the kills to make him an actual known threat. She wanted him gone and those doors, shut.

A part of her felt bad for Michael though. Not because his friend died - okay, a little bit - but because he walked into this mess with Asha being either unaware of her actions, or being very aware of hers with a plan unfolding in her mind, and Jae with his crossbow ready to shoot anyone down.

She snuffed out the anger she was feeling under a pillow. She closed her eyes and she put a lock on her emotions. It wasn't time to lash out. Michael still had a chance to prove he wasn't a worthless piece of trash that deserved to be pierced with an arrow. She didn't speak, she kept her mouth shut. Her polite smile reappeared on her face as she stared down Michael from a distance.

Asha or Jae would deal with him. One would disarm him; the other would rob his life away.

It was up to Michael to decide.
me by naft
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