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Death Is The Only Freedom...; (Private for now)
Topic Started: Jan 17 2017, 11:58 AM (1,004 Views)
Aura
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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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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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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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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?"
Edited by Aura, Jan 30 2017, 03:31 AM.
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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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"I think we should go along with Kizi's idea." Bart repeated his stance on the subject. "None of us are fighters, so we don't have any reason not to go for a peaceful route, you know?"

He couldn't really understand why Clarice wasn't going along with them. Well, actually he could, considering that she had a story behind her reasoning, and a pretty logical one at that. But even so, he didn't want to give up hope on their chances. Just throwing up their hands and saying that non-players couldn't be counted on would essentially be the equivalent of saying that they were doomed to die no matter what.

"Can you just, uh... give it some thought?" He asked Clarice. "We don't really have a lot of other options right now."
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Oh no this really wasn't going in a positive direction. Kizi was starting to sound angry, and Clarice still wasn't on board with the plan. Not only that, but the frequency at which Clarice was blinking was starting to make Bart worry that something might have gotten into her eye. He wasn't necessarily afraid that the two would come to blows over this, but considering how stressful the situation already was with the isolation, injury, and losses that they had already suffered and would continue to suffer in the future, he couldn't completely count out the possibility.

"Hey, uh... can we just calm down?" He raised his voice to try to get the girls to pay attention to him, hopefully calming the quarrel just a bit. "We're all on the same side, okay? I don't wanna risk losing, uh... what little we have just because we can't come to a clean consensus here."

It was a weak argument, and he knew it. Thinking under pressure was never one of his strong suits. If he wanted to do something useful, them he needed to actually come up with an idea of his own.

"Hey, why don't we, uh..." His eyes moved around the room as he tried to find something that would help him come up with a suggestion. Nothing really got his brain going until he saw Clarice's freshly-applied bandage, which gave him some semblance of an idea. "Could we just stay put for a while so Clarice can rest, then, uh... we can get back to figuring this stuff out?"
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Okay, things looked to be under control now. Well, that wasn't really the right term, since they never really spiraled out of control in the first place. Maybe it would be better to say that tensions had cooled between the trio, since they were taking a bit of a break from their debates.

Without any real plans for the rest of the day, Bart just sort of meandered around the library, checking the shelves to see if there were any books that looked interesting enough to pass the time with. Regrettably, the selection of titles regarding his specific interests was incredibly limited, bordering on nonexistent. With no other options at his disposal, he decided to read the book he had been assigned as a weapon, which he had surprisingly not even bothered to open yet.

Despite the title, it did very little to help him stop worrying.

-

The night was difficult. Bart elected to take the first shift to keep watch, hoping that staying awake longer would help him get to sleep once the time came to lay himself down. At this point, the guard work wasn't really disturbing to him anymore. It scared him the first time he had to stand guard while the others slept, but at this point it was just sitting in a nearly pitch-dark room and hoping that nothing happened. That didn't keep him from getting spooked every time he heard a sudden noise, though.

Once he handed off the guard post, he still couldn't find a restful sleep. He couldn't force himself to fall into slumber, so he simply laid motionless until sheer exhaustion pulled him under, still worrying about his surroundings as he essentially played dead on the ground. Even then, he couldn't escape the same memories of Jennifer's shooting that had plagued him since the incident, replaying in his mind in the form of nightmares. Not even his dreams could provide any respite from the harshness of the island.

-

With morning came the announcements, and with the announcements came a reminder of the previous day's events. He visibly flinched when the news of Jennifer's death was relayed over the intercom, but if either of the girls noticed, then they didn't see fit to point it out.

Once the announcements were finished, the girls dispersed to other areas of the library, leaving Bart sitting alone as he ate an energy bar in an attempt to counteract his poor rest from the previous night. He moved closer to his bag, since if something did arise, he would prefer to have it in arm's reach so he could access his supplies immediately.

He was hoping that wouldn't be the case, though. As far as he was concerned, the best thing that could happen right now was a day where nothing notable actually happened to them.
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With his energy bar taken care of, Bart instinctively crumpled it up and looked for the nearest trash can. Surprisingly, despite the state of the room, he managed to find one that still looked to be in pretty decent shape in the corner. He walked over to it and tossed the little ball of plastic packaging inside.

While he was taking care of this task, he noticed the girls heading to the door to investigate a voice they heard outside Since he was already up, he elected to join them and see what was up. He stood behind Kizi and Clarice, trying to get a good look through the doorway to see who they were dealing with.

He had no clue who the girl on the other side of the doorway was, a situation that had become all too familiar to him on the island. Strange how it took being kidnapped for him to realize that he knew almost nothing about the vast majority of his classmates. She didn't look too dangerous, but he wasn't too sure if he could really put stock into first impressions anymore. Heck, he wouldn't have ever thought that he would have to be afraid of any of his classmates in the first place, but he was in a different world now.

The girls seemed to be doing a pretty good job of explaining what was going on, or at least better than he would have been able to. Feeling that he didn't have much to add, he waved from his position behind the other two.

"Yeah, uh... we're good here."
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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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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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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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