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Why We Fight
Topic Started: Nov 10 2016, 08:21 PM (1,318 Views)
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Kiziah Saraki continued from So, so tired...))

She regretted losing that bottle.

Her throat was parched, but she was being conservative with drinking. Forcing herself not to be too attentive to her needs - had to keep in mind she'd lost a bottle, had to ration things out accordingly. Not that she had ever constructed a rationing plan, not that she'd even thought about the concept until the need arose just then, but now she felt like an idiot for not working it out sooner. Bart and Jennifer had probably been doing it without a second's thought.

Even now, though, her rationing plan was subpar. It was still just "take a drink whenever the need emerged", the logic and intelligibility coming in subtly, just turning down every other mental request to take a swig, as if to compensate for the lost water. It wasn't effective, and she was working up the courage to ask her companions how to refine her system. Or actually make a system. That was the true need. She didn't want to intrude on their own thoughts without a good question already formulated, however, and that meant that, in practice, she remained largely silent, bar necessary communication, and whatever small talk her friends saw fit to initiate.

They hadn't even encountered any real drama yet. They'd been lucky. Privileged. The recipients of, by the standards of the game, good circumstances. Insulation from the true horrors.

The names hurt. Of course they did. Memories and regrets and lost potential came flooding into her mind with every name that Danya rolled out, not enough time to process even one properly before the next tragedy hit. But she couldn't complain. Hearing about tragedy was much more palatable than witnessing it. A nuance of human psychology, sure, a cognitive bias that served only to impede empathy, but one she was well-aware of. It was awful. The safety they felt, as flimsy and circumstantial as they all knew it was, even that was a lie.

There was something strange about going from a warehouse to a storehouse.

Or was it the other way round?

They were basically synonyms, after all. She got why they needed a way to differentiate between the two, but still. Certainly a storehouse was more general. Could be anything. Big, small, whatever. A warehouse was wares. Products. Raw materials, that kind of thing. But it was a minor difference, and one that she was actually surprised to see brought to the surface.

That whole train of thought was a distraction, of course. She liked not to dwell on things too directly.

And then they saw Clarice. Kizi was the last to spot her, but she broke into a sprint. Her bag and shotgun fell to the ground, at Bart's feet, as she sprinted towards her. If anyone needed a hug, it was Clarice. She'd heard Conrad's name. It hurt. Must have hurt Clarice far more.

And then she was about to throw her arms around Clarice in a hug but, midway through the motions, she stopped. Because that shoulder. Ouch.

"Oh God, Clarice, I'm so glad to see you."
V7 peeps:
Nick Ogilvie
Ashlynn Martinek
Bill Winlock
Camille Bellegarde

V6 peeps:
Kiziah Saraki
Bradley Floyd
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
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Kiziah had always been a good shoulder to cry on.

There was nothing judgemental. No inquisitive prying, no callous second-guessing, no heartless reminders they were all in this together, none of that 'just get over it' chastising. Those options didn't even occur to her. Were alien to her. Responding to someone in tears with anything other than a sympathetic look and open arms, that was unimaginable. Unthinkable. Something that, even on the island, she couldn't picture anyone doing. She just returned the hug, mindful of the obvious injury and gentle in movement in case there were other wounds concealed beneath clothing or skin.

Kizi knew she couldn't understand Clarice's pain. Knew she couldn't even hope to imagine a morsel of what she was going through. The physical trauma, the turmoil of bereavement, they had all hurt Clarice far more than they had hurt Kizi. There was no point in putting her on the spot. Forcing her to talk about her feelings. Clarice would talk when she was ready. She'd always been strong. She'll be strong again.

And she let Clarice get whatever she wanted out of that moment. She wouldn't pull away from the hug. If Clarice needed a long hug, she deserved a long hug. She was a good person, would do the same and more, probably show some helpful initiative, if the shoes were reversed. And so Kizi stayed still, gently stroking her back, letting her cry. Felt her tears seep into her shirt. No worry. It was good she was letting it out. That she was safe enough to do so.

And then her eyes came upon Kimiko.

Clarice and Kimiko, they were good friends! For a moment, a brief and fleeting moment, Kizi thought this was good news. A burst of comfort, a helping hand, that Clarice so desperately needed. And then, of course, realisation. Kimiko was a murderer. Even putting the announcements aside, her appearance was far from exonerating.

But the way she walked towards them was. It was disarming. Friendly. sincere. Kizi believed in the benefit of the doubt. Anything else was unthinkable to her.

"H-hi, Kimiko," she said, after that second of mental rumination.
V7 peeps:
Nick Ogilvie
Ashlynn Martinek
Bill Winlock
Camille Bellegarde

V6 peeps:
Kiziah Saraki
Bradley Floyd
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
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Kizi was not exactly fluent in sign language.

Maybe that was self-deprecation, false modesty. She understood most of what Kimiko was trying to communicate. But she knew the basics. There was no point in denying that. Denying that much would take self-effacing to the point of dishonesty.

She knew sign language pretty well, if she was to be completely honest. Not to the point of fluency or conversational prowess, but enough to get the gist. Had learned some of them from context, from seeing how Clarice and Kimiko communicated. Some from independent study. Linguistically, sign language was fascinating. It served as a brilliant case study for how linguists could help make the world a better place. The rest had been preparation, of sorts, for if Olabode's hearing deteriorated any further.

So Kizi largely understood what Kimiko was saying. There were two gaps that Kiziah couldn't fill in. 'Clarice was...' 'I was...' She didn't know what words went there. She could guess there were negative emotional states, from the context. In a way, it was a blessing she'd never had to learn whatever words they were before this point.

The first word was probably crying, Kizi guessed, when Kimiko repeated the motions.

What was more, was that Kizi believed Kimiko.

Kimiko's words had been addressed at Clarice predominantly, of course, but Kimiko would hopefully appreciate someone else in her corner. She stepped out from behind Clarice, and pulled out a tissue from her pocket. Laughably insufficient for the mess that was there. Kizi was under no illusions as to what it was. Bradley's blood, most likely. He had been Kim's most recent kill. "Do you...need a bit of help?"
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Nick Ogilvie
Ashlynn Martinek
Bill Winlock
Camille Bellegarde

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Kiziah Saraki
Bradley Floyd
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Okay.

This was good. Maybe Kizi was missing something, but this was good. There seemed to be understanding. Coarsely expressed, aye, but understanding. And honesty. Honesty that was well-taken. That was definitely good. Kizi couldn't see how there could be a debate around that.

Sure, the swearing wasn't optimal. The concern was not out of a disdain for profanity, no, but in Kizi's experience, expletives and high emotions had a kind of circular relationship. Self-fuelling. One led to the other, which led to more of the other, which led to more of the other. And here, high emotions had even higher stakes than normal. But hey, that was how Clarice was. It wasn't portending anything ominous, or radically disruptive in Clarice's thinking. And Kimiko would know that.

So even that point was moot. Which was good!

She turned to Jenn and Bart, and offered the two a reassuring smile. Things'd be okay. For now, at least. Even the island's killers weren't complete monsters.
V7 peeps:
Nick Ogilvie
Ashlynn Martinek
Bill Winlock
Camille Bellegarde

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Kiziah Saraki
Bradley Floyd
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kiziah remained by Clarice, watching the largely silent interaction play out, knowing she had nothing to say, nothing to add. This was their moment, really. It wasn't her place to puncture it, to force her own musings clumsily into the conversation. But that didn't mean Kizi didn't have thoughts about the whole situation. She stood behind Clarice, and moved to place her hand on her shoulder as a sign of comfort. She withdrew at the last second, not wanting to startle her.

She walked to her side, so Clarice could see Kizi reach out and place a consoling hand on her upper arm. "Do you...maybe want to go after her?" Kizi asked, quietly, not really caring if Jenn and Bart heard or not. She just wanted Clarice to know that, if that was the option she decided to go for, she'd have Kizi's support.

And then Jennifer handed her her gun.

"Uh...thanks." It was politeness, but from the way she held it, holding it gawkily and gracelessly by the barrel and making sure the muzzle was aimed squarely at the ground, it was clear she'd rather not have to hold it. "I mean, I won't be able to use it when push comes to shove." She knew she sounded weak saying that, but she didn't care. It took strength to admit your flaws. Correctly handle the words of truth, that was her motto. She owed these people her integrity, and that was in admitting that, even if someone attacked them...

Hell, they were probably just like them. Just like Kimiko. Scared. Helpless. Wasn't a psychopath, wasn't a monster, was just lost and confused and trying to do what was best and trying to make sense of everything. But if she saw them committing an atrocity, saw them committing some abysmal sin, then that faith would be challenged. And she'd have two conflicting things to believe, and even if she did somehow have the mental fortitude and physical strength to actually kill someone...

Kizi found the piece of metal in her hand (she was guessing it was metal, she couldn't know for certain. And that doubt would paralyse her. She knew that. She would explain that if asked, but she prayed that they wouldn't. Prayed that they would work out the hint.

"But can you not...use the 'child' metaphor?" Kizi did not even want to think about why that disconcerted her so.
V7 peeps:
Nick Ogilvie
Ashlynn Martinek
Bill Winlock
Camille Bellegarde

V6 peeps:
Kiziah Saraki
Bradley Floyd
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kizi knew Clarice. She was a friend. A long-time friend. Someone dependable, trustworthy. Not that Jennifer and Bart weren't, but...she knew Clarice better. Was it bad to admit that? She was pretty sure it wasn't. Sure it wasn't too offensive an admission. No surprises with her. She'd always have passion and a sense of justice and a latent fury that Kizi would never have, and they were reassuring. A reminder of home, and maybe traits that could save her life at one point.

She couldn't throw that away.

She looked at Jennifer and Bart. Hoped they'd come along too.

But by the time Jennifer asked if they wanted to follow Clarice, Kizi was already in a ungainly sprint, shotgun held awkwardly, bag hanging gracelessly off her shoulder. "Gotta...follow...come..." was all she could get out, legibly, in between harried and already exhausted breaths.

((Kiziah Saraki continued in If It Bleeds, It Leads.))
V7 peeps:
Nick Ogilvie
Ashlynn Martinek
Bill Winlock
Camille Bellegarde

V6 peeps:
Kiziah Saraki
Bradley Floyd
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