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Cooking Up Trouble; Early Morning of Day 5 before the announcements [Private]
Topic Started: Jan 28 2017, 08:29 AM (1,267 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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((Coleen Reagan continued from Think About Your Life))

Whatever had possessed her to bring Arthur back here, back to the second floor of the asylum, she would never quite be sure about. They were near to the offices where the two of them had happened upon Bern. Bernadette... it seemed like only minutes that she had been trying to offer a comforting hand when bad news hung over her head. That was in the morning to midday hours of... of sometime. Who knew what day it was anymore? Was she losing track already?

One.

She woke up in the library, terrified and thinking about being restrained in her chair, forced to watch people die in some sick snuff film. She didn't want this. She remembered walking along the shore, where she ran into Arthur and... and two others. Their faces started to cloud up.

Two.

Now she was in the gym. That's right... that's when Bradley and Alba... then Kimiko. Kimiko killed Bradley, and that was the first of her classmates Coleen saw die right in front of her eyes. It was horrible, how he clutched at the spear but was never able to pull it out. Arthur still had that spear, and she could swear Bradley's blood still stained it.

Three.

The art room. With Mitch's body. She didn't want to think about that too much, but at least that's right around the time they found Bern.

Four.

That morning by the cliffs, Coleen considered climbing over the fence. It's silly to think that Arthur and maybe even Bernadette would have stopped her, even with the understanding that if she died, they were both one step closer to living. Bern had probably wanted her to live, and after what happened with Brendan, at the very least she had left her a gift.

Five.

This was the fifth day. That's right... this was the fifth day. It was just her, Arthur, the spear ripped from Bradley's heart and the rifle Bernadette set aside before she died so suddenly. They had skulked around, avoiding others at least until now. She had some form of defense now, and it made her feel not quite as naked as before. She had Arthur around too, but after witnessing what had happened with Brendan...

She couldn't afford too many thoughts. She needed something, someone at her back or she knew for sure that she wasn't going to make it through this. She just hoped that it was going to be Cameron. Or... hell, even Vanessa, wherever she was. Coleen blew through pursed lips to get a few strands of hair that had been tickling her nose. She had Arthur to her left, and she needed all the comfort she could get, so she at least afforded her old hairstyle that made her feel the slightest bit pretty, five days without a shower be damned.

She was ready to turn toward the offices just a short walk down the hall when she heard a noise coming from nearby. It was not a voice Coleen liked... like somebody pushing an iron rod through a pile of filth. Wondering why she thought she might know what that sounded like, Coleen raised her rifle up high, pointed near to the ceiling, and cautiously approached the door.
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Coleen wasn't sure who she was expecting to see inside the closet, but it sure as hell wasn't Alessio.

He was standing almost directly atop a body. Freshly dead, her face was somewhat obscured but Coleen could tell straight away that it wasn't Vanessa. As far as she knew, there were still four living members of Peyote Coyote, so... so that much was a relief. He was, however, still standing over a recently dead girl, if the bright red blood was any indication.

There was somebody else, another body behind the girl and behind Alessio. That one... that one was easier to tell who it was. The way the pants were ripped, that shirt... even if there was a big red splotch in the middle of it, she could still recognize that shirt almost instantly as Cameron wore it to practices rather often.

Cameron. It was Cameron. Coleen tasted bile as soon as the sight registered that she was looking at the cold, slain body of her friend, with her killer having returned to the scene. Or, perhaps, he never even left. He just parked right next to her like he deserved to be anywhere near her.

"What are you doing here?" Coleen said. At least, she tried to say it, but it came out more of a choked whisper. The gun was becoming hard to hold straight, her wrists were trembling and it took most of her self-reserve to keep her shoulders from following suit. The one eye Alessio could see had opened wide, staring at the only living person in the room. "Why... are you here?"
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Arthur's words did nothing to soothe her, nor did Alessio's inability to answer her question.

Coleen tried another, and this time she could not stop her shoulders from trembling. Her voice wavered as well; carefully, determinedly, she parsed each word and forced them from her mouth.

"Cameron. Why did you kill Cameron."

Coleen swallowed. Her hands felt cold, but they held the gun.

"Tell me why she had to die."
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Coleen threw her head sharply to the left. Her hair bounced out, darted back in, washed over her face and itched her nose. It was not the desired effect, and it only served to irritate her even more than Alessio's words had.

No.

NO.

Alessio did not get to play any card that involved the two of them pitying him. He didn't get to cower weakly and shiver, not when he was a goddamned murderer who had just killed again, fresh blood seeping from a freshly dead wound. Not when he had taken her friend, her sister in arms for a band that helped find more than one stage in life that she could be comfortable on. Somewhere where she had been accepted. You don't just get to take that from her and then expect to get off easy.

This time, it was her left hand dedicating itself to sweeping the messy, tangled strands of hair away from her eye and over her ear rather than letting the toss of a head do it for her. The rifle's muzzle swayed even more erratically but only for the moment it took Coleen to fully expose her face. She needed to see all of Alessio, hate him, be disgusted with him. The emotion disgusted her as well; just as much as she felt a pit in her stomach just by looking at the sad sack of a man her classmate had become, there was a sense of filthiness that came from feeling the way she did. She was now pointing a gun at a living human being. On the one level, it pulled at every sense of her humanity.

And on the other, she really couldn't be arsed to give a flying fuck about Alessio's well-being.

"Answer me!" Coleen shrieked. Her eyes felt dry, but they could not close. They only opened wider, her chin quivering. "Answer me, why did you kill her!?"

She was going to kill him. She promised herself she would.
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By the time Coleen realized her error, it was already too late.

Stupid. So stupid.

She'd actually fallen for the crazed, mumbled ramblings of a boy who wore a loosened straitjacket and had murdered one of her closest friends. It was only for a fraction of a second, but it was the fraction of a second Alessio needed to make his move. She had time to sharply inhale and tuck the gun in, and then he had made impact.

"GO!" Coleen screamed at the top of her lungs, but it was a word without meaning. On the day she woke up, maybe even the day after, Arthur would have been the one in front, and she'd be shrieking behind him. That girl was still somewhere inside her, telling her to run. Save her own skin, leave Arthur to do the heavy lifting. Get out of here. Get out of this dangerous place.

Cameron told her something else, and so Coleen pushed back. Alessio's motions were frantic, however. To her, he was like a cornered animal: uncontrolled, impulsive, instinctual. It reminded her of a nearly feral dog chained up in one of the yards of her neighborhood as a young girl, who would always bite at anybody who walked past the fence. Or, maybe, it only growled and pulled at its chain for her. She never was with anybody else when walking by that yard.

She gave up seeking answers and tried to beckon on the trigger while leading the muzzle of her rifle to Alessio. The trigger squeezed and the gun went off, a twitch sending a bullet or maybe two into the ceiling of the storage area. Coleen gasped and threw herself back, trying anything to get Alessio to let go. The gun went off again, this time practically over her shoulder.
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"Arthur!?"

Something was very wrong, Coleen could feel. Her vision had tunneled in during the struggle with the rifle, it went off several times and, in accord with the last burst of fire, Arthur slammed against the wall and dropped. Some distance between her and Alessio had opened up, enough to afford a look down to Arthur.

Arthur was bleeding, and badly. The bleed seeping out of him dispelled any notion that it was a wayward elbow or the recoil of the gun that caught him.

Alessio shot by, escaping view past the frame of the door. "NO!" Coleen blurted, stumbling and catching herself by the door's frame as well. By the time she oriented herself to look out of the room, Alessio was near to rounding a corner. Her blood was cooling too rapidly as a knot twisted in her chest, leaving her unable to scream the obscenities she had saved just for her friend's killer. Pent up and with nowhere else to direct it, her throat leaked a slow and drawn-out whine.

Arthur. Something was wrong with Arthur. Coleen doubled back and knelt, the gun resting on the floor between her knees and his side.

"Get up, man," Coleen croaked. "What- what even happened to you? W-walk it off, Arthur, I need you right now!"
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Her companion's grip shocked her out of staring just at the wound in his side. Her fingers, shaking and dirty, hardened with calluses from being chewed on anxiously and from pulling a roughly-shaking trigger, rested on Arthur's own. Coleen pulled his hand away and then clasped it. His clutch, initially a vise, faded away when his eye opened.

Looking into Arthur's eye coated Coleen's lungs in ice.

"Arthur... Arthur, come on, pull through this!" she pleaded, logic and hope washed out by desperation. The weight of her daypack had heavily tilted to her shoulder. She, like every other student here, had a first aid kit in there; despite being so viscerally attached to her person, it may as well have been on the other side of the bridge for as good as it would do Arthur at the moment. He had been shot... by a bullet from her gun, no less. If she had been in better control, if she hadn't fallen for such a stupid trick from a cornered animal she had dead in her sights, Arthur wouldn't have been hurt. He looked out for her.

This is how she repaid him.

Arthur's eye was open.

It didn't see anything.

Coleen's hand crushed the fingers of a dead man, squeezing as tightly as her eyes had. The ice in her chest was burned away by an ignited vehemence, raging and thrashing around as if emulating the throes of a caged beast. There was no point in calling his name -- Arthur wasn't coming back. Her previously free hand clawed at his stained and ratty shirt, near where some of the blood had seeped and spread. The frustration of her failure, the agony of her loneliness poured out into a piercing scream, a high note sung for a silent crowd of three. Then the hand released its hold on Arthur's shirt. Its sister dropped its hand to the floor and the both of them, balled into fists, struck in syncopated swings upon his still chest.

"Wake up! Wake up! Wake..."

She never remembered standing up, or turning away from Arthur. She found herself shuffling past the next-freshest body in the room, numbly regretting she hadn't known the girl better. Maria. Sweet girl. They had Food and Nutrition together, where Maria was allowed to show off her excellent cooking ability that Coleen imagined would one day net her a very happy husband. Not anymore. Because of Alessio. Just like Arthur wouldn't be able to protect and take care of her, which seemed to be the sole reason for his wanting to go on. Her thoughts drifted back to the art room so close by, where he showed such concern when learning how she had once wanted to die. That concern would never again overcome the wretched, futile smile that was on Arthur's face when he died. Because of Alessio.

Coleen stumbled near to the back of the quieted room and knelt before her friend. Cameron had... she had looked better. According to the announcements, she had been dead for a whole day at the very least, and her shell showed no vibrancy or that shoot-from-the-hip attitude or... or anything that had made Cameron... Cameron. She almost wanted to believe that it wasn't her, that it couldn't be her. What a nice fantasy that would have been.

Though her blank and dead face frightened her, Coleen pushed past all her inhibition to gently lift up the back of Cameron's head. People always thought that her face was scary, too, Coleen thought; it would have been rude not to extend the same courtesy the one and only time Cam managed to look worse than her. Though her body had stiffened and resisted her attempts to manipulate it, she managed to pull Cameron's head to her chest, hugging it close to her.

'Would you look at that,' Coleen imagined in Cam's voice, all of them sitting on or around the couch in that dank, filthy basement. 'I've got a hard-on for this.' Sounded like something Cam might say at a time like this, if she weren't busy being dead.

She choked out a laugh, giggling with her friends at Cam's stupid joke that in reality she had only imagined. It just seemed right, sharing in a laugh wherever she could find it. And, though she knew it would just annoy Cam if she could hear it, the laughter turned to sobs.

---

Coleen took one last look at the room. The gun that had dropped near Arthur moments before, and the spear that he once held, were cradled close to her in each of her arms. The spear was taken with a regretful whisper and a silent thank you. A timid, apologetic search through his bag had relieved him of food and water. In exchange, she placed a tube of her favorite lip balm underneath Arthur's hand, the same that had gripped her leg. For Cameron, Coleen had removed the Drake and Josh DVD collection and placed it next to her. It was stupid and hokey, something that maybe Cameron would be able to enjoy. Poor Maria who, all things considered she had known the least, was at least given the courtesy of having a gauge bandage unfurled and placed over her eyes. A pittance of privacy.

Coleen's hair was tied back tight, making her feel like she was in theatre period at the auditorium. Cameron was never really one for hair ties, but she always seemed to have a spare one for her band members when they needed one. On a whim, Coleen dared to check her pockets. Out of habit, she even asked. Cameron didn't seem to mind. The time for hiding her face had long since passed. Her skin could crack and peel if it wanted. That sort of pain felt like nothing now.

"You need to tie this back, otherwise people can't see your face and trust me, you look fine."

Coleen backed out of the room, only turning once she was entirely free of it. She would never come back here.

Now, she had to find Alessio.

((Coleen Reagan, continued in The Virgin Sea))
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Feb 24 2017, 06:39 PM.
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