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A sea view to rest the soul.; Open
Topic Started: Dec 18 2016, 09:29 PM (459 Views)
Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Astrid Tate continued from Smoke Screen))

“Got somewhere to be?”

Luck came in many different forms. A blood-covered girl with a similarly bloody pickaxe and an eyepatch was, admittedly, not the form of luck most people would first think of. But for Ben, the sight of Astrid striding down the beach towards him was undoubtedly lucky. It had to be.

After all, if they’d both been here a day later, she would have been attempting to break his skull open with a pickaxe.

The walk from the asylum to the shoreline had given Astrid even more time to think, especially when she’d first been attempting to leave the building. It had taken longer than she’d have liked, adapting to walking with her stomach wound, her footsteps jolting the dull pang in her abdomen into genuine pain every now and then. The journey back down to the ground floor had been a stuttering affair, Astrid needing to pause multiple times to rest and gently massage the bloody reminder of her earlier misstep.

It was good to feel the salt breeze on her skin now, though. The chill from the coast made her unbelievably grateful for her jacket, but it was still much preferable to the stifling air of the asylum. She’d spent far too long in there already, and she’d almost certainly have to return there at some point in the near future, but for now, it felt almost good to expand her boundaries and wander the rest of the island.

And she could go into this encounter with Ben with none of the trepidation and doubt in her heart that had plagued her last two meetings with people, because she wasn’t going to harm him.

Another day, she had told herself. Another day before she did anything. The announcements would tell the entire island of what she had done, and the fourth, or maybe even fifth one, would be the only time that would happen. No doubt those who had intentionally killed would kill again, and it would be those names that would stick most prominently in her classmates’ minds, those who had cast their morals aside for whatever inane justification they had. A single girl with a single kill to her name would get lost amongst the bright, neon lights of the multi-killers and the players.

There was also, of course, the aspect of procrastination. Just one more day for all of those reasons, she told herself, just one more day for your own safety, to be smart, to put as little a target on your back as possible, a target that you can easily lie about to diminish. Just one more day, in reality, to put this thing off for as long as possible, and to totally prepare yourself for what you have to do.

Astrid stopped short a few feet away from Ben, letting the pickaxe drop to her side, the weighty head sinking an inch into the sand with a muted thump. She had absolutely no idea of who this boy was. If she had seen him around school, he’d made no impact on her, and for a few seconds she was convinced the terrorists had abducted the younger classes from school as well.

“What’s the rush? It’s not like anyone you’ve got to meet is going to escape.”

It was pure luck that Astrid’s line of questioning fitted neatly with Ben’s unheard statement. It wasn’t hard to tell he was planning on leaving, though. He was alone on the beach, with a bag on his back and a clear intent to head off. Most people were so easy to read.

Astrid left one hand resting on the handle of the pickaxe, and the other on her hip, as she stared Ben down.
V7 BAYBEE
Lyra Doyle-Let's live tonight like fireflies, and one by one light up the sky
Current Thread: The Glorious Evolution - "Sorry, that was a little weird, wasn’t it?"
Katie Agustien-If you wanna start a fight, you better throw the first punch, make it a good one
Current Thread: V for Vend-etta - "Fuck off. Are you kidding me?"
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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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Astrid’s hand twitched on the pickaxe.

There was an unsettling thought running through her head, and no matter how hard she tried to combat it by telling herself that she’d promised herself she wouldn’t do anything today, and how this wouldn’t truly help her, it refused to leave. She would look at Ben and just see him for who he was, and then she would blink and all she could see in front of her was the easiest kill she could ask for just slipping away from her.

The guy was clearly petrified, and wasn’t even close to being a threat; he’d stumbled over backwards the second he had caught a glimpse of her, for Christ’s sake. He had spewed his thoughts out as he had scrambled his way back to a standing position, and now he was just about managing that, white as a sheet and ready to be knocked down should an ocean breeze hit him just right.

She didn’t know him, and he didn’t know her. Astrid had no ties to this nervous wreck in front of her. She could have just given in to the overwhelming voice in her head telling her to kill him, and it would all be done. It would all be over, until it was only her and three or four other people left standing in front of freedom and she’d have to do this again. It made sense. It was the logical thing to do.

But if she had really wanted to kill Ben, then she would have done it when he was still flat on his back in the sand, and she hadn’t made any motion to do so. Her hand twitched again, but made no further motions, and she forced herself to repress a sigh as she continued to stare Ben down.

Because there was one very simple and very obvious reason why she wasn’t going to kill Ben.

She wasn’t going to kill him, because there really wasn’t any point in doing so.

Make no mistakes, Astrid still didn’t want to kill if there was any other choice. But as she’d convinced herself time and time again, as she knew was the only logical answer, there wasn’t any other choice. There was no sudden change of heart, no backtracking on her own plans. She could let Ben live, and let him wander off, and hear his name on the announcements in a few days’ time, and in the meantime, she could find someone exactly like him. Someone she had no ties to, someone unknown, and scared, and who would put up little resistance. Someone else who Astrid could just close her eyes in front of and get it all over with.

So. For today, she would just stay for a while with Ben, and see where exactly this conversation took her. He could still be useful, after all. With the state he was in, he could easily be swayed into handing over some rations or anything else useful he had on him. Maybe he’d seen some of the psychos on the island, the Isabels and the Nancys, so she could find out where she should avoid.

After all, all those possessions and all that knowledge wouldn’t be doing him any good in a few days’ time.

Astrid rolled her neck, as her face took on a thoughtful look, as she pretended to digest Ben’s retort, if you could call it that.

“True, true, I suppose,” she replied, after a few seconds more of staring him down. “I can’t say I’d personally want to spend these days with someone I cared about if I knew they were gonna be in danger 24/7, but hey, I get the thought process.”

She brushed some windswept hair from her good eye. There was still a bit of matted blood she had missed the first time. She ignored it as she carried on talking. She couldn’t say the state of her hair was near the top of her priorities anymore.

“So who exactly are you worried about, then?”
V7 BAYBEE
Lyra Doyle-Let's live tonight like fireflies, and one by one light up the sky
Current Thread: The Glorious Evolution - "Sorry, that was a little weird, wasn’t it?"
Katie Agustien-If you wanna start a fight, you better throw the first punch, make it a good one
Current Thread: V for Vend-etta - "Fuck off. Are you kidding me?"
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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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
There were a lot of things one could say about Astrid Tate, and a lot of things her classmates did say behind her back. A lot of negative things, remarks about her arrogance, her ego, her personality and her attitude. Things that ran the gamut from being steeped in truth and validity to exaggerated, malicious rumours. There was one thing, however, that couldn’t be ignored; Astrid wasn’t stupid. She was intelligent in many ways. She learned.

She felt like she had total control of this situation, but she’d felt the exact same way when she had been with Al in the library. She’d thrown that control away by underestimating him and losing sight of her goal, and it had cost her. The constantly present pain in her forehead and stomach was evidence enough of that.

She wasn’t going to let that happen again. She was clearly in control here, holding all the cards in front of Ben with nothing he could do about it. Nothing, of course, that she could actually see. So, she wasn’t going to drop her guard. She wasn’t going to let up with that control. Just in case he had his own trump card in his back pocket. Just in case he had a bookcase of his own.

Moving his bag onto his shoulder was an obvious movement, his shift in posture and subtle twitches were not. It looked like he was getting ready to run at the drop of a hat, and that wasn’t really what Astrid wanted. She wanted him to stay, just for a few minutes longer. Just one last meeting on this island with no threat or pressure lingering over her. One last meeting that wouldn’t end in confrontation.

Ben should have been grateful. This would likely be one of the last opportunities for civilised conversation before he died.

Body language wasn’t limited to just Ben, though. So Astrid hefted the pickaxe up out of the sand and swung it up so it rested on her right shoulder. The weight of the thing always took her by surprise, but she tried not to let it show as it pressed into her skin.

“Can’t say I blame you,” she said. “I think anyone with half a brain should be worried about her. Anyone who gets multiple this kills this early is almost certainly ‘playing’. It’s not a smart tactic. They just want to hurt or kill in order to fulfil whatever sick justification they have.”

Astrid rolled her neck to the left until it clicked, then took a single step forwards.

“Let me rephrase my question, though. Who do you care about out here? Who do you want to find so desperately?”

Astrid looked straight into Ben’s eyes, a smirk on her face. She gave it a second. Then the smile fell and her eyes turned cold.

“Unless both answers are the same. Then we might have more of an issue.”
V7 BAYBEE
Lyra Doyle-Let's live tonight like fireflies, and one by one light up the sky
Current Thread: The Glorious Evolution - "Sorry, that was a little weird, wasn’t it?"
Katie Agustien-If you wanna start a fight, you better throw the first punch, make it a good one
Current Thread: V for Vend-etta - "Fuck off. Are you kidding me?"
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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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Almost as soon as the words were out of Astrid’s mouth, Ben spluttered, stammered, and spat out his response. He was just scared of Kimiko, he claimed, not searching for her.

Which of course meant absolutely nothing at face value. There shouldn’t be anyone on this island still concerned about Kimiko or Isabel or Nancy’s wellbeing, or trying to find them in hopes of friendship. If there was, they were either an utter moron with a death wish, or just as psychotic and twisted as the killers themselves. If Ben really did care for Kimiko, or one of the other murderers on the island, he still likely to let that fact slip.

However, even though Ben was terrified and worthless in the grand scheme of things, Astrid didn’t think he fell into either the category of ‘death seeking moron’ or ‘serial killer wannabe’. So, it was obvious that Ben either wasn’t associated with Kimiko, or he was on the verge of being another of her victims. Either way, he still wasn’t a threat, and he definitely wasn’t going to be a problem in the long run.

Astrid relaxed her grip on the pickaxe, but kept it resting on her shoulder, maintaining her show of dominance. It was harder than it looked, the pickaxe constantly digging into her skin, the tell-tale sting in her forehead and stomach where it had made its mark, and then with those combined, the emotional mark it had left her in the library, where one moment of weakness could have killed her.

“Lili… Lili, huh?” Astrid tapped her chin with her free index finger, still looking down at Ben. The name rang a bell, but for a good few seconds the reason why escaped her. It was only when she cast her mind back to the first day, the first few hours of awakening, that the penny dropped.

“Hmmm… I think I might have, actually,” she replied. “Small, mousey looking Chinese girl, right? Met her on the first day, in that tower next to the asylum. Can’t say I’ve got any idea where she went afterwards, though.”

There was no harm in divulging this information to Ben. She wasn’t hiding anything from him, or misleading him. Even if he somehow found his… friend? Girlfriend? Whatever. Even if he somehow found Lili, they weren’t exactly going to be a force of terror on the island. Neither of them had a useful weapon that she knew of. Neither of them looked like they physically could hurt a fly. They would meet up with each other, and be happy for maybe a day at best, and then they would die, together if they were lucky.

“I haven’t seen many people out here, honestly. Really, I think that’s for the best.”
V7 BAYBEE
Lyra Doyle-Let's live tonight like fireflies, and one by one light up the sky
Current Thread: The Glorious Evolution - "Sorry, that was a little weird, wasn’t it?"
Katie Agustien-If you wanna start a fight, you better throw the first punch, make it a good one
Current Thread: V for Vend-etta - "Fuck off. Are you kidding me?"
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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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The ‘worthless’ part of Ben being terrified and worthless was raising its head in full force, now.

Her face shifted into a look of pure exasperation, as the boy stumbled and stuttered and blurted out fragments of sentences. He looked as though he was locked in a furious debate against himself; about what, Astrid really couldn’t care less. The important thing was that she had clearly reached a dead end with this conversation. She’d had two goals when she had decided to walk over to Ben and talk with him, and neither of them had been fulfilled.

The first goal was to get as much information as possible. Every advantage counted out here. Even something as small as finding out where someone had been a few days ago, or how badly in shape a potential player was, would give her a leg up over her classmates. But Ben didn’t seem willing to impart with any information, and the only thing he’d let slip was that he was looking for Lili from the first day, which didn’t help with shit; Astrid didn’t even know whether they had been friends back at school or whether they’d just partnered up on the island itself.

The second goal had been to try and have one last civilised talk with another person, before tomorrow came about and she put her plan into action.

That goal seemed equally as unlikely to come to fruition. Astrid was surprised Ben hadn’t died of fright the moment he caught a glimpse of her. He was wittering away to himself, he looked white as a sheet, but like hell she was going to put the pickaxe down again. Just in case. She wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice.

So, Ben had nothing useful to say to her. Better to cut her losses and just leave, really. Astrid hefted the pickaxe slightly further up her shoulder, trying to make it even slightly more comfortable.

“Right, well, anyway,” she said, turning to leave. “It’s been… fun. But I’ve got places to be. I’m not gonna see you again.”

Astrid nodded, rolled her free shoulder, then headed up off the beach. After a couple dozen steps, she stopped and looked back at Ben.

“Good luck. If anyone needs it, it’s gonna be you.”

Astrid shook her head, then carried on walking.

((Astrid Tate continued in Collateral Damage))
V7 BAYBEE
Lyra Doyle-Let's live tonight like fireflies, and one by one light up the sky
Current Thread: The Glorious Evolution - "Sorry, that was a little weird, wasn’t it?"
Katie Agustien-If you wanna start a fight, you better throw the first punch, make it a good one
Current Thread: V for Vend-etta - "Fuck off. Are you kidding me?"
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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