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Flowers Hurt; Time is a treason || Private
Topic Started: Jan 19 2017, 01:20 AM (1,362 Views)
dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((They had all been eager to leave the roof behind.))

Unfortunately, the room they ended up in wasn't much better. Asha sighed, staring at the barred windows. The only bed was currently occupied by Jae, with Dot doing her best to sleep on the floor nearby. They had agreed that the bed would be used by the person who had the next turn at watch, in hopes that the extra rest would help them stay alert during their shift.

After their morning of forcing Jae to march up and down stairs, the three of them had spent their time wandering around the asylum; not wanting to be caught outside if another downpour started. Asha could still appreciate the building as a setting, but its confined hallways, sometimes littered with dead bodies, had quickly robbed it of the luster she had felt that first day; admiring it from the safe distance of the chain-link fences.

The atmosphere was subdued, or at least as much as it could be with Dot around. Jae especially had been quiet. Asha didn't pry. Henry had been her friend, of course, but nowhere near as close as he had been with Jae. They still hadn't found any more of their friends, or even Brendan; though at this point Asha wasn't sure how many of them were even still alive.

As she sat in vigil, taser in her lap and Dot's knife by her side, Asha spent some time going over everyone she knew, a melancholic list of the dead and dying. If only she'd a black notebook and quill pen to officially keep track. Would it give a sense of closure, to write down the names of people she'd never see again in this life? Accompanied by a memory or an informal obituary? Maybe. She'd never been the diary type, though. Prolonged introspection was for nerds.

Nathan was safe at home. Lucky jerk. It was a shame they'd never get to perform their final recital together.

Dot and Jae were with her, obviously.

Danny and Henry were dead. Iz was worse than dead, but she'd never been much of a friend, anyways.

Who was still out there, then? Bridgette and Ty. Probably a bunch of other people that Asha liked and would miss when they were gone, but evidently not enough to bring their faces to the forefront of her mind. She felt strangely guilty about that; even though it was only natural that not everyone could be her best friend. Was it wrong to selfishly mourn more for the people she had spent the most time around?

Come to think of it, hadn't that been where Dot had fallen in her mind, before they had woken up on the island together? Undoubtedly a friend, but one of many. Passing smiles and hugs, but no evenings staying up until 3AM together talking about how it'd be totally rad if the stars were actually the eyes of some cosmic horror. If she'd been asked who among her friends she'd ride shotgun with in some cliched apocalypse, Dot probably wouldn't have even been made the top five. It was a really shitty thing to think, but it was true.

Now? Asha would die for her. Funny how that worked. People were always more wonderfully complex than you thought at first, far deeper than any first impression or passing glance could convey. She idly wondered what would have been different if she had woken up elsewhere, found another friend to cling and be clung to. She wondered if Dot would still be alive, if that had happened.

Goddammit. Introspection. It had a way of creeping up on you during the late hours of the night, didn't it? AM thoughts slithering into your brain while you're trying to not sleep. Asha supposed that having time to think was better than the alternative, at least. Unlike the chapel, they'd had a hard time finding enough solid debris to fully barricade the door; especially given how late it had been when they finally decided to give up on finding a better place for the night. The room was depressing, but at least it was warm-ish and dry and didn't have a corpse in it, unlike some of the other wards they had explored. Poor Scarlet.

Time passed slowly, with no hands to guide it. Dot snored. Asha idly passed her taser from hand to hand, staring at the door. They'd be relying on seclusion to protect them, tonight.
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dmboogie
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All it had taken was a moment's distraction as Asha occupied her hands with mindless motion, fiddling with the taser while trying to think of how she would have wanted to end her webcomic, if she had gotten the chance to neatly tie everything up with a black ribbon. Maybe let everyone live, for once; scarred but ultimately whole. As she contemplated the finer details, her fingers slipped and the taser clattered to the cold concrete floor.

She heard footsteps approach. Slow. Halt just outside. She slowly moved to pick the taser up again, scarcely breathing, wanting to be prepared for anything but not wanting to betray her presence any further. The door crept open, just long enough for Asha to see the intruder's face.

Isabel.

The way she immediately closed the door again kinda ruined the mood she had been building up, but Asha couldn't have said it any better herself - shit. Iz's reaction would have been hilarious if it had been coming from literally anyone other than her. Like, freaking Jason would have been a more welcome sight, dumb cash cow hockey mask and all.

Surprisingly enough, Asha could hear a second girl out in the hall, talking to Iz. Judging by the way she wasn't screaming and pleading for her life, it seemed like Iz had found a murder buddy. Good for her. For lack of anything else to do, Asha hesitantly knocked on the door. Shave and a haircut. Free of charge with any order of decapitation.
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Haha, wow did Iz sound uncomfortable; even muffled as she was through the door. Asha supposed that saying 'the last time I saw this girl I told her I would slowly and painfully kill both her and her little Dot, too' would make her sound bad, wouldn't it? Asha hoped that she was only lying to save face and didn't actually believe her own bullshit, 'cause if Iz still legitimately considered her a friend she might just have to throw up from disgust.

Asha waited, taser resting in her lap, knife quickly shifted out of sight. She glanced over her shoulder to confirm that Jae and Dot were still asleep. Good. If Jae had been awake and ready to shoot, well, Asha would have shaken her head and gone 'maybe that wasn't the best thing to do' but she certainly wouldn't have lost any sleep over it. There was something she needed to hear, though; and this could be her only opportunity. If it meant giving Iz a stage, so be it; but Asha sure as hell wasn't gonna give her any excuses to play the victim.

When Iz opened the door, she would see Asha quietly sitting, cross-legged, a forced smile on her face. She tilted her head.

"Why'd you kill Danny?"

No useless preamble. No pretense that time had healed any wounds.
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dmboogie
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Silence. Then,

"I believe you. Just... just go."

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"Let me be clear with you. I'm going to win this. Even if I have to personally kill every single other person on this island."

Poor, innocent Isabel. Asha couldn't think of a single possible reason that Danny would feel threatened by a girl who had said that just hours before she wound up killing him. A girl who had been fucking disappointed that she hadn't made the monsters happy enough to deserve a "best kill" award.

Why had he been trying to get that halberd away from you, Iz? It couldn't have been your fault at all, right? You hadn't been threatening with him or anything, not at all. Who would have guessed that Danny fucking Brooks had secretly been a bloodthirsty, paranoid wreck this entire time? What else would cause him to decide that maybe you and pointy objects weren't a winning combination? It was just an accident that he ran into the blade you'd been pointing at his heart. Several times. What a clumsy, clumsy boy.

Oh, Asha remembered Danya's informal obituary for Danny in full crime-scene clarity. How could she ever forget being informed that one of her best friends had been stabbed quote-and-quote a lot, repeated for emphasis? Sure, Danya was a murderous bastard; but if he was a liar, the whole premise behind his lovely game would be ruined from the start.

In the end, Asha was willing to believe that Iz hadn't originally intended to kill Danny. Hell, she was even willing to believe that the first stab had been an accident. None of that justified the blows that followed it. "In for a penny, in for a pound" didn't exactly apply when you were talking about the number of new holes you were violently introducing to another human's body.

Even then, Asha would have been willing to believe that Iz had enough humanity left in her to genuinely regret the murder. Sadly, the fact that she blatantly lied about it made it pretty clear that any regret she felt was only that it made things awkward when she ran into someone who might actually be a threat to her. Asha knew that if she had been empty-handed, she and her friends would be having a pretty bad case of the dead right then.

And even then, while she was trying to convince Asha that she deserved any scrap of sympathy, she still miraculously found the time to throw in a little bit of guilt-tripping, too. "Oh, you would never believe me, and I can't see any possible reason for that except you having some inexplicable grudge against me."

Oh, how she hated serial killer tears.

After she dismissed Iz, she turned around to look at Dot's sleeping, peaceful face; absentmindedly hoping she wasn't having another nightmare. Asha knew she wasn't going to be around forever. She knew that sooner or later, one of the many murderers she fearlessly smiled at would take a bite out of her.

Asha knew that Iz could hold one hell of a grudge, even against the dead. She knew how she had looked at Dot, the first time they met. She knew there was an easy way to make the island a safer place for Dot, if only just a little. A safer place for anyone on the island who didn't deserve their last moments to be filled with agonizing pain and a Cheshire grin.

She knew that she couldn't think too hard about what she was doing. It'd be over with soon. No reason to bother the others.

Out into the hallway, then. Quietly. Taser in one hand. Knife in the other. Tiptoe towards the monster. Thank ballet for keeping you light on your feet. Shoot her in the back. As she falls, throw your now-useless taser at her friend, to keep her off your back for a few seconds. Feel a bit bad about it, but know that any concern is misplaced for someone who willingly traveled with Iz. Kneel down over her seizing body. Hold your knife firmly with both hands. Plunge it down into her brain over and over over again to make sure that it'd be over with quickly, to make sure that there would be nothing left that could feel, to make sure that it'd be quick, to make sure that she was better than Isabel, even when she was murdering-

Asha's shaking hands froze, unbloodied knife still hovering over Iz's head.

What the fuck was she doing?
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By the time Asha realized that Iz was starting to recover from her terrible shock, it was too late. She was taken by surprise as Iz forced her back, caching a punch to the gut for good measure. She caught a glimpse of Jae as she was knocked back off of Iz, onto the floor; thought she heard him scream her name. Quickly got distracted by the stars in her eyes and the ringing in her ears as Iz kicked her.

She should have remembered that she had made her decision as soon as she had left the safety of their room - her head slammed against the wall, replacing split-second thought with a stunned nausea - oh, how she had fucked up - words words words, even now words, a constant vomitous stream of malice as soon as Iz had gotten the upper hand, as if she didn't even realize that she'd be dead right now if Asha had been like her - face rubbed against the rough wall, teary eyes blurring - Dot would be next - this halfassed amputation of a humanoid cancer hadn't helped anyone -

Asha's fingers were still curled tightly around the knife. Early-onset rigor mortis, probably. One last chance to still make things right. Iz hadn't noticed. Probably too wrapped up in her monologue. Arrogant to the end. It had given Asha enough time to recover just a bit, just enough to make one last effort to break free -

With a sudden burst of strength, Asha broke out of Iz's grasp. Blindly slashed upwards as she forced herself to her feet, getting a bit of distance between them. Still unsteady on her feet, she held her now-bloodied knife at the ready and watched for Iz's next move. Her breaths were heavy with adrenaline and pain and no small amount of fear. She said nothing. The time for irreverent quips had long passed.
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Asha hated how satisfying it was to hear Iz scream. Barbed questions of "Doesn't feel good to be on the receiving end, huh?" danced across her tongue, but she remained silent. The point wasn't to hurt Iz, to try to guilt trip her into feeling something resembling human empathy, to try to break her. The point was to kill her. Preferably as quickly and efficiently as was possible, having already missed her best chance.

Jae was doing an admirable job as backup, though Asha wished that his aim had been a bit better. Still, he had given her an opening, one she quickly moved to take advantage of. As Iz was recovering from dodging Jae's first salvo, Asha thrust her knife down, aiming for her defenseless throat. Painful, but a quicker killer than anything other than a bullet to the brain.

Unfortunately, Iz's quick grip on Asha's arm ensured that she'd live a bit longer. The two girls struggled, life and death reduced to a simple question of strength. Through countless years of tireless practice and aching feet, ballet had deigned to gift them both with endurance. Though they were close to equals, their stalemate was broken by a second bolt slamming into Iz's arm. Asha, snarling, plunged the knife into Iz's flesh. Still, her resistance had been enough to shift the blow off course, hitting her shoulder instead of her throat.

Caught off guard by this, Asha wasn't able to fend off Iz's retaliation. The scythe cut deep into her thigh, searing pain only made bearable by adrenaline. Asha shrieked, stumbling backwards, only staying on her feet through some miracle of willpower. The dripping blood from her knife was soon joined on the cold floor by the blood running down her left leg.
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Here she was, being used as a human shield again. Asha had been spot-on when she had compared Michael to Iz, after all.

That made things pretty damned inconvenient. Devil knew how long she had before her leg gave out on her. She winced with every step as she circled Iz, slowly feeling the growing pain that even the shock and blood loss couldn't fully dull.

Trying to pirouette past Iz obviously wasn't an option. Neither was trying to play the vulture's game of patience. Asha supposed she would just have to borrow a move from Iz's book and stab her. A lot.

Asha's next slash caught Iz solidly on the chest, but not deeply enough to cause immediate debilitation. Iz's counter was better placed, gashing her left arm. She cried out in pain, again stumbling backwards, blindly lashing out with her knife. This time, the wall pressed against her back was the only thing keeping her from collapsing entirely.
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Back against the wall. Still better than face against the wall, Asha supposed. She weighed her options, with her leg and arm now weighing her down.

She could make a break for it. Try to lunge out of the way of Iz’s next attack, stumble towards Jae. Crawl, if she had to. The closer she got to Jae, the better chance he had of actually hitting Iz with his next shot. Maybe they could tag-team her, have Asha toss him the knife just like they’d now traded the prized position of “most fucked up, 2015.” Her wounds were bad, but they had medical supplies. She’d probably live.

That was assuming that Asha could get away, though. Worse - it was assuming that Iz wouldn’t get away. Was she suicidal enough to charge at a crossbow wielded by a guy almost a foot taller than her? Or would she take the chance to run while she could, surviving with serious, but not fatal, injuries? There was no doubt in Asha’s mind that Iz would take out all of her pain and frustration out on the next sorry soul she ran across. Excruciating, amplified agony. Preventable. Her fault.

It came down to a question of whether Iz’s pride and spite were stronger than her self-preservation instincts, and that wasn’t a gamble Asha was willing to take.

As Iz charged towards Asha, Asha used her last strength to plunge her knife deep into Iz’s stomach. She would die, no question about it. It would be slow, and painful, and even though it wasn’t what Asha had wanted she couldn’t deny that Iz deserved every last bit of it, however long she would linger in this world, however long before she realized that pointless cruelty for the sake of cruelty would always be punished-

There was a dull thud as the blade of Asha’s knife hit Iz’s rib and was stopped, shallow.

The next instant, Isabel’s scythe was at Asha’s throat.


Before Asha could register that she had been cut, the blade had already torn open her throat.

The force turned her head to the side, and she saw Jae and Dot for the last time. She made a gurgling noise.

Then she died.
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