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Lavender; Oneshot
Topic Started: Nov 11 2016, 11:14 AM (189 Views)
Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Bryony Adams continued from This Be The Verse))

The ‘plan’, flimsy as it already was, fell apart mere moments after Bryony left the gym. She had taken too long to make up her mind and chase after Alba, and the girl was now long, long gone. There was no trace of her, no tell-tale sign of what direction she had gone in. Bryony stood in the middle of the crossroads, staring wildly about herself. The wind gently whistled through the dilapidated buildings. A roosting crow laughed at her. Nothing else stirred. There wasn’t a hint of anyone else around.

Bryony sniffled, and absent-mindedly rubbed her tired, sore eyes, pushing her glasses up to her forehead as she did so. She didn’t cry. She barely had the energy to walk at this point. Somehow, being drained of nearly everything gave her some sort of clarity. She needed to find Alba, sooner rather than later, and later rather than dead. But if, by some miracle, Alba found Kimiko before Bryony found her, and somehow managed to survive the encounter, then there needed to be some way for the two to reunite.

Bryony trudged towards the closest building, which appeared to be a bar or a pub or something, the sight of the bar taps and dusty glasses through the window a much more useful clue to its identification than the decrepit sign hanging over the entrance. She edged closer, but just as she was about to push the entrance door open, she froze in her tracks. There were voices coming from inside. Faint, thanks to the closed door, but still audible thanks to the passing of time causing the building to be much less structurally sound than it was intended to be.

She couldn’t tell who the voices belonged, but that hardly mattered because Alba almost certainly wasn’t one of them. She was going after Kimiko, after all, so she wasn’t likely to stop and chat with anyone she met, aside from asking them if they’d seen her quarry. And if she had already found Kimiko, then it was likely not going to be exchanged pleasantries Bryony was hearing.

Maybe the group inside would have been able to point her in the right direction. Briefly, Bryony considered going in and asking them, but after a few more seconds thought, pushed it aside. She was tired. Hell, she was completely exhausted. She looked a completely state, glasses all smeared and blurry and her hair a mess. Right now, the only person she wanted to see was Alba.

Well. That wasn’t 100% true. If she could see Alice or Sandra or any of her closest friends again, she didn’t care what she looked like. Even if none of them had showered for days, she would pull them into a tight hug and hope to never let them go.

Bryony was about to turn and leave when something stopped her again; this time, a sudden flash of inspiration. She quickly ferreted around in her bag, flinching as her hand brushed against her still-sodden t-shirt, before pulling out her weapon draw and pulling out the first few cards in the deck. Thankfully, it looked as though the entire thing was brand new; the first few cards were all aces, then twos, and so on and so forth, with a ‘How to play Blackjack’ card at the very front. She almost smiled as she placed this card on the ground, resting against the hinge side of the door frame.

Alba had gone through her stuff when she had rescued as much as she could from the thief on the first day. She knew that there was a deck of cards in Bryony’s bag. It was a longshot, she knew this, but maybe if Alba saw these cards outside of every building or prominent location Bryony went to, then she’d be able to put two and two together and figure out Bryony’s trail.

It wasn’t much. It was a trail of breadcrumbs in the midst of a forest of starving birds. But it was something. Bryony was trying her goddamn best, and sometimes, all that effort did pay off.

The Staff Housing Blocks were next up. The process for both of them went the same; a card was placed outside the front door, an Ace for the first, a Two for the second. Bryony crept from room to room as silent and mouse-like as she possibly could be, her light frame helping out alongside years of being forced to be quiet around her sister and at school. Whenever she heard even the faintest sound of people talking or moving, she would duck into one of the rooms, hold her breath, and wait. Sometimes it was the sound of others in the building. Sometimes it was nothing but her own imagination, churning back into life as the numbness filling her body slowly evaporated. It never turned out to be Alba. She would then place another card inside or outside the room she had hidden in, leaving them on windowsills, balanced against stacks of empty bottles or resting against door handles. Then she would move on.

By the time she had finished searching both buildings, the sky had turned to the soft, hazy grey that signalled that twilight was arriving, and Bryony was no closer to finding Alba than before. She slowly walked out of the entrance and took a right, legs full of lead, eyes still sore and the workings of a headache beginning to blossom. The bridge stood in front of her, vast and oppressive. On the other side, she could see the dark form of the asylum. Further still and towards the east, there stood the storehouse. There were a few clouds in the sky, more than there normally were in Kingsman, but it was still clear enough to see the sun dipping below the horizon. There would be stars tonight.

The two housing blocks had been dead ends. Either Alba had already searched both of them, found no trace of Kimiko, and left, or she’d never even visited either of them, and Bryony had wasted even more time on a pointless snipe hunt. It would make more sense for Alba to have headed to one of the bigger landmarks on the island. There would be plenty of space in the asylum, for instance, for someone to hide out, plenty of shadowy rooms to sneak away into. People would be drawn to the place. There were much higher odds that she’d find Alba if she headed over there. She knew she should. She should cross the bridge, just go forwards, and make her way into the asylum.

Bryony started trembling, and she managed a single step forwards before closing her eyes and turning to walk in the opposite direction. She wasn’t going into the asylum. There was no way she could. So many things had changed in two days, so many horrible, awful things. But Bryony was a timid, shy, lonely little girl, and that would always stay the same. She would scream and hide behind a pillow at even the tamest of horror movies, and the dark, shadowy halls of the asylum, filled with both would-be and successful murderers just tapped into that instinctive, unstoppable terror.

She felt like crying again as she traipsed back in the direction of the gym. It was so pathetic. She was too scared to check a building for someone she cared about, just because it reminded her of stupid nightmares and scary movies. Alba could be in trouble right now, and she would never know because her body simply could not step foot inside the asylum.

Somehow, she willed herself not to break down. Somehow, she willed herself to carry on forwards. There was still the storehouse; just as big as the asylum, surely with just as many places to hide. The asylum wasn’t the only building on the island. There was still a chance. There had to be.

Stupid, weak and exhausted she may be, but she wasn’t useless.

Bryony stopped in front of the gym momentarily. She could have gone back in for the night, before setting off in the morning. She walked up to the door, stared through it briefly, before removing another card from her hoody pocket and placing it on the ground next to the entrance. What was in there for her? Two people she barely knew who wanted nothing to do with this endeavour, and… whatever was left of Bradley. She took one last glance at the building, hoping Arthur and Coleen would be okay. Then she kept moving.

She had wasted enough time already.

It didn’t take too long for Bryony to wonder whether she had made a mistake, however. The sky shifted all too quickly from a hazy grey to the darkest blue. She had been right. There were stars, so many stars, so clear and beautiful away from the lights of Kingsman. The moonlight reflected off the pulsing waves. It was hard for her to appreciate the natural beauty of it all, however, when she could barely see her surroundings, terrified of what lay more than a foot in front of her.

She didn’t want to keep her flashlight on permanently, just in case there was someone else out here on this part of the island, as far from the urban areas as they could possibly be, lost and wandering, with less pure intentions in their heart than Bryony did. She flicked the beam on briefly, just for a second, and her heart almost leapt as it illuminated a small thicket, no more than a couple of yards away.

Even that short distance was almost too much for her. She had barely slept since first waking up on the beach. She was exhausted, mentally and physically, from walking with nary a chance to rest, to all the things she had witnessed and heard so far. She’d eaten some of the crackers provided in her bag, but they had barely been enough to stop her from feeling weak and starving this entire time. The storehouse was tantalisingly close, but Bryony knew that she’d likely faint if she were to try and press on now. The thicket would provide a little bit of shelter, and, more importantly, hopefully keep her out of sight from anybody as she tried to sleep.

Sleep didn’t come easy, though. Her bag just about made an adequate pillow, and the cluster of small trees surrounding her blocked a little of the breeze, but it still felt like an ice-cold knife was cutting through her skin whenever the wind snaked its way into the gaps in her clothing. She had hung up her soaked t-shirt on one of the trees to try and dry it, but whenever she felt like she was about to finally drop off, the sound of it flapping in the breeze or the rustling sound of movement nearby would force her eyes wide open and her breathing to stop until she felt confident it wasn’t another human nearby.

So when morning came, and the sound of the announcements woke Bryony up one last time, she felt almost as exhausted as she had the night before. She lay unmoving on the ground, sprawled out, listening to the names of the dead and their murderers, face buried against her bag, stifling her sobs and soaking up her tears. Oskar had killed someone. Sabrina had been killed. She was forcibly reminded of Bradley’s death, and the sight of his skewered body filled her mind again.

She lay there still, even after the announcements had finished and her tears had finally stopped flowing and all she was filled with was the exhaustion and despair that had enveloped her after hearing the previous announcements. She didn’t want to get up. She wanted to lie there forever if needs be, hoping against hope that no-one would find her.

In the end, it was the simple necessity of needing to get up and pee that moved Bryony. It didn’t stop her from feeling stupid, didn’t stop her from feeling weak and pathetic, but she was up now. She could keep on moving forwards. She could resume her search for Alba. She placed a hand against her t-shirt. It was freezing cold now, but a lot drier; another day and she would likely be able to wear it again. Sh stuck another card in the branch of one of the trees, a number Three card, and trekked on towards the storehouse, blinking in the morning sun.

It wasn’t far to the building, but Bryony’s legs already felt stiff and sore by the time she found herself in front of it, circling it in search of the entrance, completely unaware she was walking to the rear of the building instead. The night’s rest had done nothing to stop her headache; in fact, it had gone past that point, and she was feeling dizzy and nauseous now. She put her hand against the concrete wall for a moment and blinked.

When she opened her eyes, she was lying face down on the ground again. There was grass tickling her cheek. It took a moment or two for her to realise what exactly had happened before she lifted her head up with a gasp, pushing herself into a sitting position, back against the wall. She had no idea how long she’d been out for, but the subtle shift in the sky’s colouration suggested it had been for more than a couple of seconds. There was a brand-new pain in her knee where she must have smashed it whilst falling, her throat felt like parchment and God, was she so, so hungry.

She opened her bag and, for a moment, looked melancholily down at the three ration bars. She still had bread, but that would surely go off quickly, and would no doubt fill her up much less than the ration bars. Still, it wasn’t as though she had much choice right now. She ripped open the bar’s wrapper and tore off a chunk of bread, devouring them in a manner fit for what might be her last meal. There was some ibuprofen in her first-aid kit as well, which she washed down with a quarter of a bottle of water. Once she was finished, she leaned against the storehouse and looked up at the sky.

Now she only had two ration bars.

It was almost a blessing that this had even become a concern of hers. Back on the beach, she had been certain that she would only need three ration bars before her luck ran out. She felt even worse now than she had then, and yet she wasn’t prepared to just lay down and die anymore.

Bryony stood up. Her legs didn’t feel as though they were about to give way underneath her anymore, but now she had an additional objective; she needed to get more food. She could see the beach where this had all started from where she was standing, and next to it, the docks. There were indistinct, toy-like shapes of people down there. Bryony slung her bag onto her back, stuck a card in the fixture securing a drainpipe to the wall, and headed down the slopes towards the docks again.

Maybe Alba would be there. She could only hope.

((Bryony Adams continued in In This Starless Night))
V7 BAYBEE

FOLDER OF DESTINY

"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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