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Death Is The Only Freedom...; (Private for now)
Topic Started: Jan 17 2017, 11:58 AM (1,142 Views)
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((Clarice Halwood continued from If It Bleeds, It Leads.))

How or why she ran here, Clarice couldn’t say. All she knew is that she’d burst into a library at some point, and then that seemed a good point to stop. And by stop, she meant drop her things and sit down exactly where she was, leaning against a bookshelf.

The library smelt… corpsy. She didn’t see the body, not yet, but she knew by the smell that one was nearby. She would normally leave, but… god, fuck it. If Nancy followed, if Nancy pushed off Jennifer and pursued, there wasn’t shit Clarice could do about it right now.

She knew Kizi was still with her. She wasn’t sure about Bart. Jennifer… Jennifer certainly wasn’t.

“Kiz? Is… who’s still...” Clarice couldn’t make her words happen. Her mouth was dry and her shoulder was too wet, and pulsing with heat, pain and that horrible itch that wouldn’t go away. “Shit, I tore my arm, can…?”

She couldn’t die yet, she had too much to do. And if she died here, Kizi might die if there was no-one to protect her, and then what would Jennifer’s death have been for? It was one long chain of fucked.
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((Kiziah Saraki continued from If It Bleeds, It Leads.))

Once they were in the library, Kizi finally opened her eyes.

Of course, they had opened at some points during their escape, during their trek. But she hadn't looked. Had only noticed vague outlines, billowy colours, indistinct shapes. Her tearducts were alternating between flooding and clogged, and her visual sense refused to focus, refused to take notice of anything. Luckily Clarice had been with her. Luckily the grip on gun and bag remained strong.

Her other senses had been hit and miss. She hadn't heard anything memorable. A loud, humming din, that was all she could recall. Even when things must have been silent, bar their clumsy and bumbling escape and maybe the dissonant sounds of wildlife. But she remembered every scent hitting her nose, the jolting accompanying every twist and turn, the taste of her own tears falling into her mouth.

Kizi had landed on the library floor. On her back. Staring at the ceiling, as if it would contain some arcane wisdom. Probably as useful in her current predicament as every book combined. She hated to acknowledge book smarts were useless here, but there she was.

And then somehow, Clarice's softly spoken plea for help penetrated Kizi's bubble. It was strange hearing Clarice speak softly. And then it hit her. It wasn't that she was speaking softly. It was that she was speaking weakly. And that, that was unusual. Climbing to her feet, Kizi was quick to reply. "We have first aid kits. Tell me what you need me to do." She was already pulling it out of her bag by the time she finished her sentence.
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((Bart Cappotelli continued from If It Bleeds, It Leads))

Even after they made it to the library, Bart still felt like a complete wreck. Not only was he tired, thirsty, and hungry, but the image of Jennifer's death was still burned in his mind. He had been unable to get a decent rest the night before, and what little sleep he did get was plagued with recurring nightmares. As a result, he felt like he was dead on his feet.

Despite this, he managed to drag himself onward. Even though he felt as though it was taking all of his energy to keep up, he desperately wanted to remain with the girls. He had a feeling that he didn't really add much to the group dynamic, but he was terrified at the idea of being left alone on the island with no one around to help him out in the very real possibility that he winds up in a tight spot.

He collapsed on the ground next to Kizi, letting his bag his the floor at his side. He didn't feel like mustering the strength raise his head, so he just looked somberly at the ground. That slouch lasted until he heard Clarice speak up, notifying the two that she had been hurt.

Bart felt like a needle had just gone through his heart, and he thought he could feel his hair standing on end. they had just lost Jennifer, and he didn't want to think about losing either of the others so soon. He was pretty sure that he couldn't take it if he saw another one of them die. He was already barely keeping it together after seeing one death.

Bart tenderly picked himself off the ground alongside Kizi, bringing out his first aid kit as she did. "Yeah, uh... just keep calm. You're gonna be all right." His voice was very audibly shaking, just like the kit in his hands. It sounded less like he was trying to comfort Clarice and more like he wanted to reassure himself, which may have been somewhat true.

"... Please."
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“It’s fine, it’s… not fresh, just… think I tore it.” Clarice gritted her teeth after shifting made it hurt all the more. “Fucking Nancy, why is it always...”

She trailed off. Maybe not the best time to bring up Nancy, after what just happened. Kizi and Bart must be… Oh, Bart was there. Okay, she might have lost track, that’s all. It was probably all the damn itching.

“Just… need help re-bandaging it. Maybe, uh… just stop the bleeding best you can? I can’t really… don’t have full dexterity.”

She rested the back of her head against the bookshelf, eyes shutting briefly.

“Uh… are you… are you two alright? I mean, no, you’re not, but… you know,” Clarice finished awkwardly. Just because she’d experienced grief by now, it didn’t give her the knowledge on how to deal with it in other people.
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Kizi placed her first aid kit on a nearby table, and began pulling out the various items. God help her, she had no idea what to do. None whatsoever. She knew next to nothing about first aid. She had barely even picked up any oversimplified myths from TV, having rarely watched the sorts of shows where accidents and traumas happened. She knew next to nothing about why some of the stuff was here. She understood aspirin and bandages (why so many types?), but tweezers? Lighters? Alcohol pads? Was that for alcoholics going through withdrawal or something?

She grabbed at the non-adhesive bandages, but her grip was clumsy, shaking from undernourishment and fatigue and a heap of fear, and soon, the bandages had unrolled, a tangled mess in her hands. Biting her tongue, she felt frustration rising up. At her own failure, predominantly. She furrowed her brow, stifled a scowl, and began untangling the mess. "Bandages coming up."

She picked up the saline solution, opened the bottle, and let a little stream of the solution trickle onto the length of the bandage. "You put saline solution on it, right?" She should have asked that before.

God, she was useless.
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With Kizi dealing with the bandages, Bart looked through his first aid kit and pulled out a few antiseptic wipes to help sterilize the area. "Okay, I've got some antiseptics." He said, walking over to Clarice. "Just show me where you need it and, uh... you know..."

Bart had never dealt with anything worse than putting a bandage over a few scrapes, so he was definitely out of his depth when it came to this. Heck, the main reason he knew that he was supposed to use the antiseptic wipes is because he remembered his mom doing that for him when he was a kid. If he could just remember that, then he should probably be okay.

Then Clarice wanted to know if they were all right. The answer to that was, of course, a resounding no. However, since they were dealing with a medical emergency, Bart wasnt sure if it was appropriate to segue into talking about his own problems, even though they were pretty severe,

"I, uh..." He muttered. "I mean, you know that, um..." He kept stammering through whatever it was that he intended to say, his gaze drifting slowly towards the ground as he tried to do so. "Um... I think that we should probably take care of your arm first."
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“It’s not that bad… just, uh… need to sleep it off?”

Clarice gestured at the area of her shirt that was soaked in bloodstains, both old and new. Most of the shoulder of her shirt had been torn away anyway, leaving her in some sort of bizarre off-the-shoulder hobo-edition shirt. She tried to pull the t-shirt out of the way as best she could. How had she bandaged it to begin with? No, wait… Conrad had done that. She didn’t remember the details.

Antiseptic wipes…

...Had she sterilized the wound? Fuck, that would explain… god, she was a fucking idiot. Clarice looked down at her shoulder, tugging what she could of the torn shirt away so that she could see it. Underneath the bandages—in themselves rather loose after her last attempt at changing them—the wound was not only bleeding again, but it was a raw, irritated red that didn’t look like it was healing well.

Well, shit. She’d just have to hope she would last long enough for potential rescue.

She looked away from the wound and stared around the room. At the shelves and shelves of old books. Anything to look away from whatever her shoulder was doing.
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Holding the bandages by her fingertips, Kizi held them up, not wanting to sully them with any dirt or grit that may have fallen beneath her fingernails or contaminated her palms. She hadn't exactly been the neatest or tidiest person over the past few days. Proper table manners had died pretty quickly.

Waiting for Bart to begin applying the antiseptic wipes, Kizi decided to be helpful in a more sanguine and muted sense. Distraction. That always helped when pain was on the horizon. And antiseptic wipes hurt, she remembered.

Kizi met Clarice's gaze, and followed it. She was examining the books. That was pretty in-character for her. Clarice was smart, after all. Just like the artwork in the therapy room, it'd been abandoned, left to rot and decay, subject to the whims of vandals and the erosions of time. A great shame, really. Faculties such as this were bound to have good libraries. Books that could make a difference. But no point in mourning that. There were far bigger issues. Ones that she could actually help.

"So, Clarice, maybe we can hold out here for a bit? Maybe get some reading done? Could be a safe and...uh...effective way at passing the time? I mean, not if you don't want to, of course." She hoped her spiel offered some distraction, some amelioration, from all the duress they were currently under. "Maybe we can try searching through all these books? Could be something...useful."
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Oh... oh no...

Clarice's wound looked bad. Really bad. Bart had never seen something that looked quite like it in real life before, and he wished that he never had.

To make matters worse, the sight of her blood-soaked flesh immediately reminded him of Jennifer. He saw the last time he saw her replayed once again in her mind. The gunshot, the blood exploding out of her neck, her body going limp the way it had... he was seeing all of those in Clarice's arm. He shuddered and hesitated with his wipes before averting his eyes and rubbing the wound.

"Hey, um... is that helping?" He said in a strained voice, trying his hardest not to look at the bloody mess he was attending to.
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“Holing up here is fine, but searching the books… no, it’d take too long. This isn’t a puzzle they want us to solve, they’re not going to leave a keycode in one of these books,” Clarice said. “Our time’s too short as it is, I don’t want to pass it so—”

Kizi’s attempt to distract her turned out to be futile, because good god did the antiseptic burn.

When Bart rubbed antiseptic on her wound Clarice let out a sharp, high-pitched whine that sounded like when her dog, Grommit, wanted her attention really badly. She recoiled, as her arm burned even worse than before. But that was… maybe a good burn. That was why cuts stung when you sterilized them, didn’t they? It was the germs dying or something.

“It’s fine!” Clarice tried to sound casual, but absolutely failed. Instead, it came out strained, barely audible because she was trying not to cry. “It’s fine! It’s… it’s a good burn, a little burning never hurt—“

It clicked.

Holy shit, was it really that simple?

Clarice stopped talking, the pain in her arm momentarily forgotten. That was it. Maybe it wouldn’t work, but it was something she could try.

...Though there was one issue. If she did, and the terrorists realised why, they’d certainly kill her. And Clarice wasn’t ready for that. Not yet. Not if she could help it. So what other reason could she have for setting that big a fire?

The burning of the antiseptic brought her attention back to the other two. Two people trying to help her.

Two people who, should she have intent to win the game, would be in her way.

...Hmm.
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Kizi knew that the suggestion that there was some sort of puzzle to solve, some sort of clue on the bookshelves, was insane. She was thinking maybe there'd be some sort of accidental lateral thinking benefits, or even just some cogent distraction, some form of help that could be found in the amassed literature-

No. That wasn't the truth. Kizi had once again been speaking without any real forethought. She'd just been letting words jumble out of her mouth. She nodded at Clarice's demurral, and continued speaking, hoping to serve as some kind of distraction from the pain. "Sure, sure, we can do whatever."

Kizi thought it was working, but she hadn't been looking at the wound. Too weak-stomached for that. She thought Bart was already rubbing the antiseptic on. When Clarice screamed, she realised she had been mistaken. It hadn't even begun. Kizi stepped forward, and had to resist the temptation to reach out and squeeze Clarice's hand. The bandage would drop if she did. And trail along the floor. Kizi was willing to guess that that wasn't sterile.

"Yeah, the pain's good! Well, not good. But it means it's working!" It was a platitude, empty and void of content. All Kizi could really manage right now.
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He had been rubbing the wipe on Clarice's wound for a while, so Bart figured that it had to be pretty sterile by now. The sounds of obvious discomfort coming from her didn't do a good job of reassuring him, though. He took a peek at the wound to see what progress he was doing, and immediately winced at the sight.

The wound was bubbling, which was a good sign since that meant that it was being cleaned. That didn't make it any more pleasant to look at, though. He groaned miserably as he looked on. He remembered that hurting like hell when he skinned his knee as a kid, so he didn't want to imagine the kind of sizzling hell that Clarice must be feeling.

"Okay, uh..." He tried to keep his composure, or at least what little of it hadn't already given way to near-crippling anxiety. "I think you might be ready for a bandage?"
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It was simple, really. This was propaganda. If she showed them what they wanted to see, maybe they’d focus on just that. Maybe they wouldn’t pay attention to what Clarice was really doing. But… how did she tell the others?

...That was a tricky question, and it was hard to fight through the fog in her brain, settling back in after the pain had briefly driven it out.

“Sure. Bandage. Good,” Clarice said through gritted teeth.

She needed time. She needed something to bounce off. And she needed to know what Kizi and Bart were doing, so she could work with or around it. But that was fine to ask. Anyone, killer or otherwise, would ask.

“So. What now?”

Clarice tried to sound businesslike, even if everything hurt and images of Jennifer were playing under her eyelids. A player wouldn’t emphasize too much. Not someone planning betrayal.
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And with that, Kizi stepped forward, and began applying the bandage. Her touch was as gentle and benign as she could manage, as mellow as possible without being weak. There needed to be some firmness, some certainty of direction. Otherwise she'd drop the bandages, or apply them haphazardly, or end up doing something stupid. Would drag things out more than necessary. And that would mean more discomfort for everyone.

Clarice, thankfully, seemed intent on keeping herself distracted. Clarice must have been aching like all hell, but still, she remained strong. Quite inspirational, really. Kizi looked up at her as she carried on wrapping, smiled as they briefly made eye contact, then looked back down.

"Well, what I'm thinking..." The truth is, she was thinking nothing. But if she kept talking, words would come out. Her instincts would kick in. "Is that, okay, we get all the non-players together. Like, form a community. And then in strength comes numbers." She blinked. Wrong way round. Hopefully nobody would pick up on that.

She stepped away, the bandage done. It looked decent. "And then...we uh...improvise."
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Bart felt a little better once Clarice's wound was covered up, in the sense that he no longer felt like he was on the verge of vomiting. He took a step away while Kizi did her part to help out in order to give her enough room to work.

Kizi mentioned an idea, a plan to get a bunch of like-minded students together in some sort of mass alliance. If they had a large group of people looking out for each other, then they would have a better shot at keeping each other alive. He liked this idea. He liked it a lot.

"Hey, um... I agree with Kizi." He piped up. "People helping each other, right? I like that."
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