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Death Is The Only Freedom...; (Private for now)
Topic Started: Jan 17 2017, 11:58 AM (1,006 Views)
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kizi smiled. This girl seemed nice. Kizi doubted one of the players would have attacked - their little trio would have the upper hand, of greater cover and weapons and numbers, if things kicked off. Kizi, however, didn't need to linger much on those hard-headed and unsentimental strategising. It was clear the newcomer did not warrant such callousness. Kizi gave her all the tokens of politeness that came naturally to her: grimaced in solidarity at the mention of butt pain, stepped to the side slightly so not to conceal her companions, smiled gregariously.

She was the girl who was looking for the bags. Kizi smiled, and nodded, and upon hearing the newcomer get the numbers down right, she stepped away, and pulled one of them into view, dragging it across the floor. She felt a bit lethargic, after having balanced all three of the bulky items at once. She could afford to cut corners. "There's two more right here, too."

And before she could extend an invitation, Clarice had done so. "Oh, of course!" Hospitality was second nature to her. She didn't need to be told that by Clarice, of all people. "Please, come in! If you want, of course."
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In concordance with Clarice's invitation to the new girl, Bart stepped aside to clear the way further in. "Yeah, um... there's still a couple of nice chairs inside." He said, trying to sound inviting. "If you want to sit down, I mean."

He hoped that things would turn out well with the new girl. If they did, then she might join up with them, and Kizi's plan of forming a community of non-players could get off to a good start. They already had the library as a pretty decent shelter, and even though they wouldn't be able to stay there forever because of the danger zones, if they had enough people, they could probably travel wherever they needed to go next safely.

Yeah, that could really work! He smiled a little as the idea ran through his head. They really did have a chance after all. Maybe this would get Clarice to change her tune on the whole idea. Maybe this was the beginning of their big movement. All it took one one little thing to happen before something huge was set into motion, after all. The new girl showing up could be that turning point for them.

For the first time in a while, Bart was feeling optimistic.
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They didn't seem to notice how Lili was feeling. How she was - or wasn't - thinking. Good, all the better for her. She just needed to go inside. Lili muttered her thanks and walked over into the Library. In a way, it felt like returning home, more than any other place in Spiderland did. The only other area she had spent more time with was the bridge, and there was no way the bridge could be a home for anyone today, given its inclusion in the danger zone.

Lili found her bags behind the door. Her eyes lit up, and she practically dove into her own bag. She pulled out a loaf of bread and a bottle of water, tearing a decently sized chunk out of the loaf. It was an odd time to find a sudden appreciation for bread, but the sheer amount of texture the air pockets on the inside of the piece had was enough to savor for a long time. A few sips of water washed the bread down her dry throat, scratchy with a day's worth of wandering.

Nothing was missing from her own bag or the one Darius had, and it looked like very little was missing from Natalie's either; just a few food items. She must've made it out, then. Lili breathed a sigh of relief, happy that nobody had died at the hands of their mysterious hunter (the fact that Darius had died later notwithstanding). There was too much stuff to consolidate into her one bag, but she managed to split the contents of Natalie's between the two remaining. The empty shell was tossed aside, its number facing toward the ceiling.

She turned back to the welcoming party and gave them a tight lipped but sincere smile, stuffing her face with another piece of bread.

There's no rot to spot here.
~~~~~ Sadly CBP looked at a SOTF character. It was so sad... such a sad character... like him... he only waned a normal life... was that too much to ask? was it?

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Clarice nodded and waited for Lili to head for her things, and for the three to move deeper into the library. As they did so, Clarice reached for the door and opened it a little, peering out to make sure no-one else was standing outside.

It was still damp outdoors, but it wasn’t raining. Clarice wished it was drier, but…

Bernie and Irene came to mind again, and she pushed it away. Tried not to think of them. Of Harold and Conrad. Had to think of Kizi. Of Ty. Of Scout.

Clarice looked back over at the three, making it a point not to look at the cameras—they’d see what she did, no matter what—and made sure they weren’t looking at her before ducking behind the shelf nearest to the door. She looked at it, then gripped the side of it and shifted it a little so it was facing the door better. She tried to do so quietly.

Once that was done, she pulled a few books from the shelf and opened them, lying them on the shelf with the slightly mouldy pages exposed.

“Safe zone, my ass,” Clarice muttered underneath her breath as she did so, too quietly to carry.

She pulled out the air freshener and gave it a quick test spray. A little spurt of something that smelt of pot pourri soaked in dishwashing soap. Clarice smiled slightly, shaking the can again and removing the lighter from her pocket. She glanced over in the direction of Kizi, Bart and Lili.

“I’ll show you ‘safe zone.’”
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There was something...heartwarming about this.

That felt like the wrong word. It was simply someone rediscovering their bags. Finding supplies and material possessions. Not a heartfelt reunion or anything. But still, it warmed her heart. To see a reprieve from the hostility of the island, a (metaphorical) island of hospitality and goodwill amidst the chaos. To be a part of that. To know not everyone was abandoning basic decency. Gave her hope.

It helped that the newcomer seemed practically ecstatic at discovering her bags were safe. Ebullient, even. Seeing happiness in the flesh, that was a pleasure she wasn't sure she'd ever witness again. Small mercies, perhaps, but great things were built by small mercies. That was what was important. Kindness could not be abandoned. It had to be bound around their necks, written into the tablets of their heart, if they were to have any chance of proving these monsters wrong.

Kizi stood by, leaning against the wall. The newcomer had probably been in a similar state of mind to them. Expecting nothing but treachery, dishonesty, opportunism. And as she ate her bread, it was clear that she had seen fit to let her guard down, just a bit. In the context, it was the best compliment someone could get.
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It was a little difficult for Bart to come up with words to describe the way the new girl tore into her bread. If he had to put something together, he would say that it was an unusual combination of hunger and utter glee. He couldn't really say that he had ever experienced that combination of emotions himself, but he was pretty sure that he could get a good idea of the way she was feeling just by watching.

He stood at the wall, next to Kizi. He offered her a smile, content with the situation at hand. They were relatively safe, they were happy, and they were calm. It was the best start to a day they had experienced yet. If he was the type to believe in omens, than he would say that it was a sign of good things to come for them.

"Hey Kizi." He lowered his voice and leaned over to speak to her. "Do you think that we should, uh... invite her into the group? Like, officially?" He reached up to scratch an itch that had just materialized at the back of his neck. "I mean, if you and Clarice are cool with it and all."
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The other folks were doing something else, talking to each other or something. Lili couldn't really hear them too well, so she decided not to eavesdrop on them anyway. She felt some level of clarity returning to her mind, faster than she expected. It almost felt as if her headache, the same dull pain that had been gradually subsiding since she woke up yet never properly fading away, had gone away completely.

But it still feels kind of odd.

Likewise, her craving for cigarettes was close to gone as well. She hadn't even thought to ask when she first came across the library people, though they didn't seem like the type to smoke anyway. Then again, Lili had been told the exact same thing about herself before, and she knew how that turned out for her.

Finally satisfied with her food, Lili rested a hand on her belly. She felt full for the first time in days. Of course, she had probably overeaten on some level, but it still felt good. No time to pay toward thought, nothing to gain from any worry now. She was on her legs again, as steady as she'd ever been, even if that on its own was never very steady at all.

Lili sighed and closed her eyes, content to spend a few moments to rest.
~~~~~ Sadly CBP looked at a SOTF character. It was so sad... such a sad character... like him... he only waned a normal life... was that too much to ask? was it?

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Clarice’s heart was thumping away like crazy, almost drowning out any other sound. This could be it. If they figured her out, she was fucked. Her collar could pop at any second.

But fuck it, right?

So Clarice clicked the lighter. The lighter was in her bad arm, and even just that little click made her shoulder send little pulses down her arm, but she needed to be able to aim with the air freshener. It took a couple of tries for the tiny little flame to appear. Clarice stared at it for a moment, then raised it and the air freshener and held the nozzle down.

Flames. Fire with no real heat to it, that would vanish with nothing but a few scorch marks. But Clarice pointed it at one of the books she’d opened and left on the shelf, and after a couple of seconds the pages started to burn and fuel a proper fire. With a quick glance in the direction of where Kizi and the others would be, Clarice did the same to the next. The next. And by the time she got to the last book she’d left open on the shelf, the fire was starting to crawl across the shelf.

Clarice was grinning, maybe a little manically, and it wasn’t any act. And she heard noises coming from where the others were. So, with no time left, she lifted a foot and kicked the shelf, aiming for one side of the shelf to let it turn just a little away from the door.

The shelf landed with a thud that sounded faint underneath her own heartbeat, not far from the door. Flaming books flying in all directions. The fire would soon block the doorway. But the others would have heard it, and there were other ways of escaping the library. It wasn’t like the mental hospital, this was meant for staff, it wouldn’t be inescapable. It’d be alright.

She hoped.

Clarice jumped over the flaming bookshelf, ignoring the sting of fire licking her legs and leaving scorch marks along the edge of her jeans, pulled the door open—the door so close to where the bookshelf had fallen that it wouldn’t even open all the way—squeezed through it, tugging her bag a little when it got stuck in the doorway. And then she ran, bolting like she wasn’t concerned for who was left.
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Kizi nodded. Bart's suggestion, of bringing the newcomer on board, that was exactly her thinking. They didn't even know her name yet, just knew that she was a junior with an amicable disposition and a peaceable outlook. And that was what was important, after all. It was good to know that Bart was on the same page as her. She smiled at him. He was a good ally. A good friend. A hero in the making. She hadn't really known him too well back in Kingman. Not well enough, at least. But she felt she had come to know him better, despite the absence of small talk, than most of her other friends.

Of course, there was a risk the newcomer would say no. That she was waiting to reveal the same naysaying cynicism that Clarice bore. Or maybe she had settled into a routine. That she had plans for her final days. It would have been a pessimistic approach, sure, but one that Kizi could not have denied her.

The girl, quite possibly, had her own plans, her own affections, her own loyalties. Perhaps it would be futile to ask her. But that was no reason not to. It was just as likely that, as with most of them, she was looking for a purpose here. She was looking for guidance. That getting the newcomer on board could save her life, could even more dramatically mark the difference between the plan succeeding and the plan failing.

"Yeah. You're right." It was good to know that Bart had a good head on his shoulders.

So, she crossed the middle of the room, making sure her footsteps were loud enough that her sudden appearance behind the new girl wouldn't startle her. "So, uh...I missed your name and all, but...so, you know I mentioned that whole idea of maybe starting a safe community, try and bring people together? Would you be down for that?"

But then some sounds - ambiguous sounds, of uncertain source, and mystery was not a good thing here - began emanating from the entrance. Kizi turned to face the source of the disruption. She was about to ask if Clarice was okay, and then the shelf came crashing down. Before she knew it, trails of fire began coursing through the room, inciting the carpet, one tendril casting a foreboding line between her and Bart. Luckily, the newcomer, her bag, and her shotgun were on one side. Unfortunately, she was separated from Bart. Perhaps had they moved quickly, it would have been...not manageable, but something that they could have jumped across.

But no. No coordination, no foresight, so no reunion. They were separated, for now.

Kizi looked behind her. A window, starting at about waist-height and more than big enough to accommodate an escape, was the only exit she saw.

She bit her lip in trepidation. Still, if this was the hardest thing she'd have to do, she should consider herself lucky.

And she held the shotgun like a club, and tried bringing it hard onto the window.

It didn't quite bounce off. There was some give. A little bit of a crack in the pane. But still, it largely rebounded, and she almost fell to the ground with inept clumsiness. She was sweating already. Her muscles ached. Overexertion. The whiplash from...recoil? Could you get recoil from a melee attack?

And as she stumbled back, she spotted an unassuming service door to the side.

Oh. That could work.

"Bart! Clarice! Stay safe!" She hoped she would see them outside. Yet, with the intensity of the fire, she doubted it.

((Kiziah Saraki continued in Everything's In Solitude Except Character.))
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Bart leaned against the wall, watching Kizi pass by as she went to talk with the new girl. He found himself retaining a cautious optimism about their current predicament. Had he considered the various ways that things could go wrong? Yes he had. Actually, those thoughts had been some of the first to flow through his mind every morning on the island. Things were different now, though. There was a plan. They could actually get something done, something that could help everyone. That gave him hope.

He stayed back while Kizi handled the negotiations. Both of them coming to the new girl with the proposal might have given off more of an intimidating aura than they would have liked. Besides, he had accepted long ago that he was by far the worst talker of their trio, so he was fine with not handling that part of the job. He would just keep trying to be a reasonable member of the group, maybe a mediator if things got heated again like they did the previous night.

He continued to observe as... wait. Something didn't seem right. There was a weird sound coming from somewhere in the room. It sounded like... crackling, with a sort of low gusty noise alongside it. Whatever it was, it just didn't sound right. Actually, it sounded kind of like...

The sight of the shelf falling over and slamming to the ground finished the thought for him, bringing a plume of flame along with it. The fire began to spread at an unnerving pace, threatening to engulf the whole room if nothing was done. Before anything else, though, he saw his bag dangerously close to the encroaching blaze. Moving before he could think, he ran to collect his supplies before the flames claimed them.

He managed to save his bag, but looking up revealed a new problem. Kizi and the new girl were n the other side of the room, and the growing wall of flame separated him from them. His heart sank as he looked at them. Things were going so well! Everything was about to turn around for them! They were so close to making their community!

He looked back at the entrance behind him, with the flames slowly creeping toward it, before turning back to the girls. He had to do something to help. He didn't know what he could to, but he had to try something. He couldn't just leave them to die! Problem was, he had no idea how to soothe the flames even a little, leaving him without a plan outside of watching in anguish. He watched Kizi try in vain to break through a window before disappearing off to the side, crying out for Bart and Clarice to save themselves.

Clarice! Bart had totally forgotten about her! He frantically jerked his head around, looking for any trace of her. If she was still in the library, then he couldn't see any trace of her. "Clarice!" He called out, hoping that she would be able to hear him and show herself. "Clarice!" His calls received no reply, making him worry that Clarice may have already succumbed to the flames.

He looked back at the area where Kizi had once stood, then back at the entrance. The fire was getting worse by the moment, and he was sweating from the heat. He wanted to stay and help the others, but his sense of self-preservation was taking precedence. He shouted for Clarice one last time before running out the open entrance.

Once he was outside, he took a look back at the library, the fire burning inside gradually taking up more of the view from the doorway. Feeling powerless to do anything more, he fled to what he hoped would be a safer place.

(Bart Cappotelli continued in Bart's Nightmare))
Edited by Aura, Mar 1 2017, 02:41 AM.
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"Oh, name's Lili," she said, zipping up her bag. Her lips parted to answer the other girl's second question, but she closed them in a tight lipped smile soon after. She wasn't quite sure how she felt about partying up with a bunch of people, especially if that group was bent on pacifism. Sure, Lili hadn't hurt anyone, nor did she have any explicit plans to, but she had reservations about being super open like the library group had been earlier. Even if she didn't have a big, strong weapon, she'd defend herself if threatened.

And yet still, she felt like she was going stir crazy. The new energy in her system had brought her feet back down to the ground, given her a few moments of lucidity. She'd spent a day chasing after a seagull, for Christ's sake. Maybe she wasn't well enough to be left to her own devices. She turned toward her new friend to speak her mind.

"I-"

However, there was something new going on, something more immediate and more dearly concerning. A bookshelf had fallen nearby, and fire was jumping from book to book, incinerating all it came in contact with. Lili's vision rippled with heat lines as she looked toward the orange glow, and she instinctively grabbed her bags and ran back against the wall, pressing her back against it hard enough to scrape her shoulders.

The fire came between her and the exit, blocking their path to the others as well. Lili aimed a glance over toward the other girl. She had her shotgun out, attempting to break a window for a daring escape. Lili smiled, happy that she was in good company. If the two of them made it out of the building alive, she knew that this girl had a good enough head on her shoulders to stick around.

The girl took a few steps backward, stunned by the force of the window. Stronger than she thought it was, evidently. Stronger than it looked to Lili, too. Too tough to topple. The space where her body had been emptied, and a door easily within reach came into view just past where she'd been.

...so much for that good head on her shoulders thing. This girl's just as oblivious as me.

Lili ran over to the door, just behind her ditsy friend, the smoke making it harder to breath, reminding her of what she had struggled so hard to forget and leave behind. She tried not to breath, inhaling a big gulp of what she thought was clean air - the smoke didn't look like it had spread far - and ended up coughing her lungs out, smoke finding its way into her lungs. The other one shouted something - names? - and ran out the door. Lili followed close after, reaching out into the sunlight, survival the only thing on her mind.



Elsewhere, the empty shell of Natalie's bag went up in flames.

[Lili Williams continued elsewhere.]
~~~~~ Sadly CBP looked at a SOTF character. It was so sad... such a sad character... like him... he only waned a normal life... was that too much to ask? was it?

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Clarice sprinted. She sprinted until she was far from the building, and only then did she stop to look around.

By the time she did, she could see flames licking the windows. Slowly, but surely, smoke was starting to rise from the building. Right now, only a trickle. But the fire was still growing. Clarice stopped not far off, hiding behind a different building to peek at the smoke.

She held her breath. Waiting for her collar to pop.



……

………

Nothing happened, except that the fire continued to burn.

Clarice breathed out—and regretted it somewhat, since now she could taste the smoke in the air—and left, jogging instead of sprinting. She hoped Kizi and Bart knew what she’d meant by the fire. Hoped them and the other girl had made it out. Hoped that if they didn’t understand why she’d done if they could at least forgive her for it.

And she had to hope that if that smoke was bringing help, that it would bring help soon enough.

In the meantime… she’d try to live. And try to think of something else. Because like fuck she was done yet. She wasn’t done until there was no-one left to fight.

((Clarice Halwood continued in All Good Things To Those Who Wait.))
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