Welcome Guest [Log In] [Register]
Welcome to Survival of the Fittest, a RPing board loosely based off of Koshun Takami's Battle Royale, with its own unique plot and spin on the 'deadly game'. We've been around quite a while, and are now in our thirteenth year, so don't worry about us going anywhere any time soon!

If you're a newcomer and interested in joining, then please make sure you check out the rules. You may also want to read the FAQ, introduce yourself and stop by the chat to meet some of our members. If you're still not quite sure where to start, then we have a great New Member's Guide with a lot of useful information about getting going. Don't hesitate to PM a member of staff (they have purple usernames) if you have any questions about SOTF and how to get started!

Let the games begin!

Username:   Password:
Add Reply
Woof Woof, I'm a Dog. Kill your Friends.; paging grim, otherwise open!
Topic Started: Nov 8 2016, 04:49 AM (1,957 Views)
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(ENTER: ALEX TARQUIN from This World Belongs to the Mad)

Alex was laying out cans and strings. He was aware that this was some Macaulay Culkin Home Alone shit, but it was the best idea he had. Some kind of alarm system so that he would always know when anyone had entered his stage.

He was memorizing that stage, too. The asylum was big and strange, with so many rooms. If he could master this place, he could surprise any foe. He thought of it as blocking: learning everywhere he had to move. It was easier than thinking about Rea's blood. About Crowe's. About what had happened to Connor.

He had to keep moving. He had to keep preparing. If he hesitated, even for a moment, he might be killed or caught off-guard. He might lose his life. He might lose the narrative he'd worked so hard to build. The narrative he'd already killed for.

He and Jeremy took turns keeping watch. Trust was not a problem, not now, not after the other man had protected him with a gun. Did he really buy the story Alex had spun for him? Or was he just looking for a friend? If he was, was that a problem? Could Alex trust any man he convinced to join his cause?

Questions, questions, spinning endlessly. He shivered in the dark, his stomach aching, his arms and hands feeling weak.

But they were both awake when the announcements played. When he heard the names again. Three leapt out at him: Sabrina, killed by Nancy. And Isabel again.

Alex nodded. "All of them, a little," he said. "It wasn't a big school. But...but I really knew Jasmine, Jane, and Danny. And Sabrina..." He closed his eyes. "I ran into her earlier. Before Rea."

He was tired. He was letting his guard down. This wasn't part of his character. This wasn't Alexander David Tarquin. This was Alex, exhausted and filled with doubt and self-recrimination. He didn't know what the fuck he was doing. He should be trying to cast this in a new light. He should...he...

He closed his eyes, and for a long few seconds didn't know what he was going to say.

"This is what happens," Alex said. "When you play without honor. When you play by their rules. They deserved better."
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Alex gave Jeremy an appraising look. "An interesting notion," he admitted, mostly because he didn't know what else to say. Inwardly, he felt a moment's disjointed confusion. There were so many people he'd known. The other dancers, the other debaters, the other performers. He had known Crowe in another life, before...

Before.

He did not want to seek out anyone else. He did not want to know what had become of them. Every one was human, and every one could try and kill him. To seek them out was practically suicide, wasn't it?

The sound of cans jangling far down the hall. Alex froze, his eyes lifting towards Jeremy. Someone had tripped their alarms.

He lowered his voice and said, "Stay close. Gun at the ready."

He moved towards the door, machete in hand, butterflies beating in his stomach.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Alex was surprised to find he felt a little put-out.

The traps were laid and prepared. He was ready to take command, ready to move forwards. Then Jeremy took charge, and Alex found himself obeying without thinking. Allowing himself to be commanded would compromise his image, but then, he and Jeremy were supposed to be partners, and a certain equilibrium between them might well prove entertaining and-

Voices he recognized. The first such voices in some time.

"Jordan?" he said, poking his head out from behind the door. "Hazel?"

He wasn't thinking about the fact that his name had been on the announcements. He wasn't thinking about the danger he might be in, or the role he'd decided to play. He was so surprised to find fellow theater geeks that he simply responded before he had time to stop himself.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Dec 11 2016, 04:34 PM.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Alex! Hey."

He smiled. He couldn't help himself. "Hazel," he said.

Oh God, so normal. So beautifully, dizzyingly, maddeningly normal. Alex's world seemed to lurch around him: he blinked, felt his fingers spasm on the hilt of the machete. Did she not know he was a killer? If she did know, did she simply not care? It was so sane, so normal, two friends running into each other outside of school, surprised and happy to see each other, and all the madness was spinning away and-

"Alex. Didn't expect to see you here."

And gone.

Jordan knew. Jordan knew, and Jordan feared, and Jordan was right to fear. There was nothing normal here. There was a killer, and his possible victims. There were monsters in the dark, and Jordan had just come face-to-face with one of them.

And Alex wanted that fear, didn't he? Alex wanted him to be afraid. Alex wanted the world to look at him and see a monster they had to fear.

Hazel slumped against Jordan. Jordan caught her, mumbled some pathetic excuse, as though he could hide the fear in his gaze.

You wanted this.

"Coward," Alex spat. "If you need to run, run. If you need to take care of her, take care of her." Alex turned away from him. "Even a dog can smell fear."

He swept back into the room, keeping his head down, forcing his face to contort in rage so that the cameras wouldn't see the tears in his eyes.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
[I mean I'm actually fine with doing some posting order anarchy.]

The door opened. Alex tensed, fighting the urge to turn (to whirl and slash, as he'd cut down poor Rea without thinking, as he'd desecrated her body so he could stay alive). Before he could make up his mind, Jeremy spoke.

"You okay?"

Alex said nothing for a little while. He was still fighting the tears in his eyes. He couldn't cry. Monsters didn't cry. Hannibal didn't cry. You towered. You had to. To break down was to be pitiful and human. You love Vader, and you despise Anakin. The one is a monster. The other is a whining child.

"I'm sorry," Alex said. "You were right, I should have...I..."

But a moment's humanity might not hurt. Vader and Luke, facing each other, each certain that the other will bend to their will, each tempted by the vision of the other.

"I was thinking about what you said," Alex said. "About...the people we care about. Before it's too late."

His eyes were closed, fighting against the burning of tears. He needed to hide his crying, before anyone saw it. Alexander David Tarquin could not cry, no matter how badly Alex wanted to.

He lifted a hand to cover his eyes. He lifted his face towards the ceiling, smiling a little, trying to assume the appearance of a man besieged by guilt and conflict. A proper Byronic figure. It wasn't so hard, was it? It was true. He didn't want to be a killer. He didn't want to be a monster. But Rea and Crowe's blood was already upon his sword. Those things could not be taken back.

"But they're going to die," Alex said. "And they don't...why don't they understand that?"

He dropped his hand and looked at Jeremy.

"We could die today," Alex said, and he wasn't sure if it was him speaking or if it was the character he'd decided to play. He didn't know whose words these were, or what purpose they were supposed to serve. "So why aren't they living as hard as they fucking can?"
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Alex looked at Jeremy. He listened. He almost felt like laughing. He almost felt like crying.

It had worked. How had it worked? How had he convinced anyone of his madness? How...

You cut off Crowe's finger.

Yes. The role was made, and played. Alex might doubt and fret and waver, but Alexander David Tarquin knew exactly what he was doing. He couldn't shy away, just because...

Just because they looked at him like he was a monster. Because he didn't have a single person who could look at him as a hero. As a friend.

He looked at Jeremy, who had called himself the only friend Alex had. He considered disagreeing, and then thought that was spiteful, petty, and pointless. He was shaking and wavering, trying to make sense of himself. Trying to make sense of who he was supposed to be.

Inhabit your role, Alex. The moment's forgetfulness, the moment's weakness, the confusion and hesitation: how does this fit into the narrative of Alexander David Tarquin, the man who will be the fittest?

"Weak," Alex repeated, smiling a little. "Don't you mean unfit?"

Good place to start. Return to that central conceit, the one that people will look at and discuss years from now: what does it mean to be fit, and did Alexander David Tarquin measure up to that definition? Was he better or worse than the men who had put them here?

His smile widened. He allowed himself to show through the guise he'd decided to wear, just for a moment.

"You're kind, Jeremy," he said. "I appreciate it."

And then the mask slipped back into place, and his bruised face shifted, the eyes widening, teeth bared in a ferocious grin.

"You have it exactly right," he said. "They see too little. They play pretend. The world has changed around them, and instead of accepting it or combating it they deny it. We've seen it, haven't we?" He jerked his head to the door. "Why else would Isabel torture Conrad? It's a way of pretending that she controls the game. And you saw Lily, pretending to be big. Just like Crowe. Just like Crowe." His eyes blazed. "How angry they became, when their delusions were challenged. How quickly they fell apart, when their lies were uprooted, and they faced reality."

He turned his head back to the door. "Jordan did the same, did you see? Lying, because he fears the truth. Just like them."

He gestured towards a camera in the corner of the room. His tears were gone, all trace of weakness with it. He had found the thread he needed to follow.

"Do you know what they're afraid of?" Alex asked. "They're afraid of us. They paint us with a monster's brush because if they do we might forget who put us here and insisted on distrust and betrayal as the only tools of use. Their game is not designed to find the fittest. It's designed to prove their point. Because despite their claims they fear, above all else, that someone may prove themselves the fittest. Because when that soul emerges, victorious by and beyond their rules, there will be a reckoning the likes of which they can't imagine."

He moved forwards and grasped Jeremy's shoulders. "You will not stop being my friend," he said. "If I kill you, or you kill me. All that will prove is who was stronger and who was weaker, in that final moment."

A shout from down the hall. Garbled, but Alex caught the tail-end of it. His grin softened a little, and he turned back to the door.

"And there are still souls of courage in the world," he said.

He opened the door, grinning still, the picture of grandiose confidence.

"I'm glad to hear it!" he called. "And what of our Mr. Green? Does he intend to continue this charade?"
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
[proposing we get a bit anarchic with the posting order to set a more chaotic, natural scene, especially since we're kinda already there.]

The players return to their stage, and the game begins anew. Let the mask settle in. Remember: it has to feel exactly like your face.

Jordan gave his stuttering, stumbling reply. Alex arched his eyebrows and glanced at Jeremy, as if to say, Do you believe this guy?. Jeremy responded in his own face, and Alex's look of disbelief turned to quiet amusement, as he pursed his lips as though to keep himself from smiling.

"I meant, I wouldn't be so plebian as to phrase it that way," he said. "Hurt my feelings, but-"

But then Hazel was stepping forwards, Hazel was speaking, Hazel was-

"You were....sort of you know, on the announcements."

He was ready for it this time: the sharp chill, the reminder that everything had changed because of his carelessness, that the only path forward was the path he'd chosen, the path that could well end with these people he'd once known so very well running in fear, just as they had before. But as prepared as he was, it still took a moment to steady himself, to make sure his mask didn't falter, and by that time Hazel was in front of him with her hand on his shoulder.

He stared into her eyes. He forced himself to keep his slight amusement, because he didn't know how Alexander David Tarquin was supposed to react here. He was fumbling blind.

Jordan spoke, stumbling all over himself again. Alex chuckled, and there was nothing forced about it. He turned briefly from Hazel to study Jordan. "Which is it, Jordan?" he asked. "Did you not know? Or were you afraid?" He shook his head slightly. "Apologies, I should stop picking on you. You weren't the one playing sick. You were just backing up your friend." He looked back towards Hazel, and now his face was confident, though he still felt weak inside, like he might collapse at any moment. "All that really happened was that Hazel was a better actress than you. Which, let's be honest, we all knew."

He looked down at the machete in his opposite hand, and then lifted his eyes back to Hazel. He rested his own hand comfortably over hers.

"Doesn't that scare you?" he asked. "That we're all the same? Just kids from school? Me, Isabel, Kimiko, Nancy, just to name a few." He jerked his head back down the halls of the Asylum. "You should see what Isabel did to Conrad. It was..." He shook his head and closed his eyes. His hand tightened on Hazel's.

"It doesn't matter what happened to Rea," he said, his eyes opening, his smile fading. "At the end of the day, she died because I intend to win this game. I intend to survive, as the fittest among us. On my terms, of course. I won't play their idiotic games of betrayal. I will not become less than I am."

As though you're not already less. As though you're not the kind of monster who tells a woman she can believe in you, poor dead Sabrina, and then kills a woman because she surprised you while you were playing pretend. As though you're anything bigger or better than a scared kid acting as hard as you can, playing pretend because you don't know what the fuck else you're supposed to do.

But Jeremy believes you, doesn't he? Is there any reason Hazel and Jordan shouldn't? Is there any reason the madmen who build this lunatic game shouldn't? Is there any reason every person who ever sees this awful broadcast shouldn't?

What's your closing line, Alex? How do you end this monologue so Hazel and Jordan believe you? Because what bothered you wasn't the fear, was it? What bothered you was that fear was in no way different from how they'll look at every other killer. What bothered you was that you weren't distinct. That they were running because of the Announcements, not because of you. You don't just want their fear. You want their awe, their sympathy, their pity, their understanding. You want to be awful and awesome, all at once. So how do you get there?

His face softened. He studied Hazel as though he were looking for meaning. "Hazel," he said, and then he looked over and said, "Jordan. What does it matter how she died? I killed her, and I'm not the only one who's doing it. At this point, I'm a footnote, building a crazy Home Alone hobo maze while the real monsters eat their fill with bloodsoaked jaws."

There it is Alex, there's the throughline, bring it back to the original conversation, make that last line more.

"We knew each other, didn't we?" he said. "Cochise wasn't exactly a big school. You'll know the faces of every killer. You'll have memories. This was in them all along. In us all along. Just waiting for the crucible. Waiting to prove that they're the Fittest."
Edited by Grim Wolf, Jan 5 2017, 02:21 PM.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The tension was broken.

The specter of violence was gone. He felt it go. It was some small, strange, subtle thing. Something about how unguarded Hazel was, and how clumsily Jeremy tried to interpret for him and change the subject. Even Jordan, looming quietly in the corner...he felt so secure. None of these people were a threat to him. Things were easy at this moment. He could relax a little, so long as he didn't let his mask slip too much.

"Hobo maze," Alex answered Hazel. "With the cans."

Jeremy asked his questions.

"You saw Liz?" he said in surprise. He tapped the large sword on his back. "She gave me this. Said she didn't want it. How is she?"

Jordan asked his question. Alex smiled slightly. "Finding friends," he agreed. "The people we care about, before the end. It was Jeremy's idea, but it is quite infectious. It's why I'm rather glad to see the two of you."
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Crying, huh," Alex muttered, fingering the large sword upon his back. "I can't blame her."

How could he? So many dead. He knew many of them had been her family. How many had been his friends?

Jordan and Hazel started to leave. Alex hesitated.

Cornered and creepy, she had called it, and Jordan had a point: this place wasn't ideal for tracking down their friends, before they died. But neither Alex or the man he was pretending to be could leave this Asylum. For Alex, it meant certain death: for the megalomaniacal, ever-prepared villain, it meant compromising his goals and his point. Dangerous. Very dangerous.

Besides which, cornered and creepy had been his intention. Cornered meant there was only one entrance. Creepy would war off anyone he didn't want to see. The perfect combination.

But of course, there was one small problem.

He looked over to Jeremy, who had his own purposes and hopes. Jeremy, who seemed to believe the lies that Alex had spun about himself, and had his own private goals. Goals of seeing the people he cared for, in the short time they had left to them. Jeremy, who had drawn a gun on Crowe when he had every reason not to.

"Jeremy," he said. "The thing that matters to you...you want to find the people you care for?" He looked over at the man who he'd met standing over the tortured corpse of a murderer. "It's not how the game should be played," he said. "But it's certainly something I can respect. Playing the game on your terms, not theirs." He considered for a moment, then said, "I will win this game, Jeremy. But being seen with me...doing the things I will have to do...you may not meet your friends that way."

He gestured down the hall where Hazel and Jordan had gone. He smiled, and allowed some of his sadness and fear to creep into his expression. He didn't want Jeremy to go. It was so good to not be alone. To have someone who seemed his friend, who he could trust and count on in this hell.

But Alex had chosen his path. Perhaps Jeremy had to choose his.

"It may be better for you to leave me behind."
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Grim Wolf
Member Avatar
The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Alex smiled confidently, and raised his voice a little, "I'm the Fittest man on this island," Alex said. "I'm in no danger of breaking our promise. You watch your back, Jeremy. Not everyone's as nice as I am."

Jeremy left the room. Alex leaned back against a wall, smiling a little, his eyes sweeping the room, finding the cameras here and there. Always being watched, so he always had to be on guard. Let his mask falter for even a moment, and it would all come crashing down. No hope of glory.

Alone.

Hazel, gone after being kind enough to touch him. Jordan, with fear in his eyes. Jeremy in search of bigger things. The narrative should have required that they die, but Alex thought he'd spun that lie well enough. It was a useful line--'honor' and 'not playing by their rules' justified a wide range of behavior outside of what should technically be required of him, in order to be a villain. And it allowed him to make these little compromises. To let old friends and new friends go, in spite of the little voice inside insisting that he should be cutting them down where they stood.

Alone. Yes, alone. He had left Tara and Lizzie behind, even with Lizzie's gift upon his back. He had intimidated some, betrayed others. Rea's blood was still on his sword, and the scratch from the bullet fired by her avenger hadn't quite healed. Michael Crowe's bloody had joined Rea's. Hazel and Jordan had been afraid. Only one man had treated him as a friend. Only one man had believed the story he'd told. That man had other causes ahead of him.

And besides, if Alex was to prove himself the fittest...if Alex was to truly become the villain the story required...then he would have to stand alone in the end. Either someone else would kill Jeremy, or Alex would have to put an end to the man himself.

He maintained his smile, because his eyes were burning and he felt like crying. He set off down the hall, studying each room and each junction, following the path and laying can alarms in his wake, blocking out the stage on which he had to execute his final performance. The performance where, in the end, he would stand alone.

(Alex Tarquin EXIT: to Lord of Lunatics)
Edited by Grim Wolf, Jan 26 2017, 01:58 AM.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
1 user reading this topic (1 Guest and 0 Anonymous)
ZetaBoards - Free Forum Hosting
Fully Featured & Customizable Free Forums
Learn More · Sign-up Now
« Previous Topic · Electroshock Therapy · Next Topic »
Add Reply