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How Easy it was to Lie to Strangers; (Private)
Topic Started: Mar 3 2017, 03:58 PM (619 Views)
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Cause what you see isn't always the truth
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Nadia Riva continued from Lay My Purple on the Grass))

Nadia sighed. Here she was again. The bridge. The terrorists finally cleared the area, allowing Nadia to cross its great expanse once again. She closed her eyes and let out another sigh. Bridgette was still nearby, but she was doing her best to ignore the body. She could put a hand over the side of her face that may catch a glimpse of the former person, but the sight of the blood-drenched Caedyn stumbling out was still on her mind.

Nadia shook her head. That wasn't the point of any of this. She had a reason for going back across the bridge. There wasn't a deep reason, but one that was comfortable enough for her: she was sick of the asylum.

After leaving the roof, she sealed herself in a ward and had to contend with the creepy sounds of the asylum. She tried her best to ignore the echoing of people walking in the halls, the dripping of the pipes, the stench of mold and decay everywhere, but by morning, she had her fill. She would rather be outdoors or in a less nightmarish location than spend another minute there. The asylum was a snake pit, and she was getting out.

So where to go? The cliffs were pretty decent. Sure, she may run into Rea's rotting corpse or find some other new bodies there, but it was a much more comforting location than the asylum. Nadia had gone six days lying low, so maybe she could pass a few more over there. It sure as hell beat being in a place everyone would flock to.

Plus, it was still early in the day, and not many other people may be heading for the bridge. She had the chance to cross it unencumbered. She sighed again, pulled her bag over her shoulders, tightened her grip on the chair leg, and began to walk. Just a few minutes, and she'd be in her natural sanctuary.
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Nadia froze in place when she heard a familiar voice call out to her. She slowly turned and caught sight of what remained of her friend, Min-jae. They had gotten along quite a bit in school, mostly due to their similar interest in goth-culture. Granted, he was more punk-goth and she was glamour-goth, but their temperaments had made them get along for a few years. Heck, Jae even got her Americanah for her birthday a few weeks ago, which was quite nice of him.

Unfortunately, he didn't look to be doing so well. There was a stain on his shirt with a color that didn't look like cranberry juice or ketchup. There was also the splint on his leg, which told her he had a bit of a scrap earlier. Added to that, she had heard about him a few days ago. He had beaten someone to death, and he was armed with a crossbow right now. He didn't look to be doing so well, and she had to ponder that for a moment.

Nadia thought about how fortunate she had been compared to him. Sure, she had run into some crazy people here, but she wasn't hurt. She hadn't been in any serious conflicts, and she was in fine physical condition compared to a lot of people. Still, there had to be a reason someone like Jae would be hurt this much after almost a week here. If it was all from killing that guy, she could understand, but there had to be a reason for it.

"Min-jae," she said, keeping a neutral expression on her face. "I see you're still scraping by. You are, right?"
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"I guess 'scraping by' works for me as well," Nadia explained to Min-jae. "I mean, I've mostly run into weirdos and budding killers over the last few days. Jerry, Brendan, Will, those sorts of people. Oh, and I saw Caedyn Miller kill someone. That was something I never thought I'd see. For the most part, I've just been drifting by and avoiding these assholes when I can. It's not easy, but I'm still here, so it has to mean something."

Nadia stepped slightly closer to Min-jae.

"Of course, I can't do much when this is all I got," she said, holding the chair leg up. "So I think I'm fine hiding in the shadows for now."

Nadia lowered the chair leg. Jae wasn't proving to be an immediate threat, so she figured she could keep it down for now. Being on the bridge with a guy holding a crossbow was bringing back memories of Will McKinley on the cliff, so she'd rather it stay clean and full of escape routes for now.

"But it looks like you haven't had as much luck as I have. Tell me what happened."

Nadia kept her gaze on Min-jae. She needed to understand him right now, especially if he was a murderer.
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Nadia glanced downward as Min-jae began to speak. He really did have it much worse than she did. He had run into more dangerous people, and he had seen more people die. She had almost forgotten about Asha and Henry. They were acquaintances, but they were definitely people Jae would have regarded more than others here.

"Well, that does sound as bad as I imagined," she said, rubbing her neck with her free hand.

She looked back up at Jae. He still didn't explain Samuel, and with people like Isabel, Alessio, Caedyn, and Brendan included on his list, it sounded like he had some enemies.

"Jae...what's next?" she asked. "I'm probably going to keep doing what I was doing, but what about you? That sounds like a lot of bad people who have crossed your path. Are you going after them?"

Nadia gestured towards the crossbow.

"Are you going to end them?"
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So Jae was on a quest for blood. Nadia felt her heart race start to increase. What a thing a week could do to a person. Min-jae may not have been the friendliest person back in Kingman, but he was still decent. Now he was prepared to hunt down and murder people. Nadia wasn't sure she could agree with it. Sure, there were people who probably deserved to die for their actions here, but she wasn't going to go after any of them. Yes, some of her friends were dying, but unless she could directly save them, she didn't see why it was important to go after people like Isabel or Caedyn. They'd keep killing, but they'd probably burn out after a while and croak, like Alvaro and Nancy.

Nadia rubbed the back of her neck again. That damn collar was still in the way, but she tried to move it a bit as she touched the skin on her neck.

"Well, can't say I'm surprised you'd go after those people knowing what they've done to you," Nadia said. "Someone has to do so."

That still left some things unanswered about Min-jae's plans. This was her friend, and she had to understand him a bit if his behavior was going to continue on for the rest of his time here.

"Was that the case with Samuel? Did he do something to you too?"
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Min-jae didn't have much to say about Samuel. It didn't seem like there was much to say, but Jae was quite okay with it, it seemed. He had the excuse of self-defense for why he did it. Nadia could go with that defense back home, but here it was somewhat different. You could go with it for a while, but then it would change into an excuse, or a rationale to keep going and to keep killing. Jae could probably use "it's either them or me" in a variety of scenarios after this, and he may have already done so against someone like Isabel. Nadia wasn't sure what to say about it, so she merely moved on.

"I get it," she said. "It's hard to say what's right or wrong here anymore. It's like we've started anew on an alien world and have to decide the rules of society ourselves. Not everyone's going to be happy, and we're certainly not all going to make it out of this okay."

Nadia moved a bit closer to Min-jae, keeping her chair leg by her side.

"I'm sorry you had to go through that. At the very least, I can buy why you may have made a choice like that. I just hope you can handle whatever's next with that."

Nadia gestured to the splint on his leg.

"Are you going anywhere in particular next? Do you need help getting there? Cause I was going to hide out by the cliffs or somewhere close by for the day, but I'm open for other ideas."
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Min-jae had a place in mind to go to and people in mind to meet. Hazel and Jordan were people who had been away from the announcements for the last few days, so they were probably decent people for now. Nadia had to wonder if they were also okay with Min-jae's explanation for killing Samuel. Maybe they had been around for the incident, and maybe they experienced the awful things Jae experienced alongside that.

"Well, I can at least walk with you until we get to the vehicle depot," Nadia said. "I don't know about your buddies, but at the very least it'll be nice to be near someone with a decent weapon unlike this oversized toothpick I have."

Nadia looked at the chair leg and then the crossbow Min-jae was holding. Of course he'd get better weapons for killing and fighting his way through the last week. The most she got was a toothbrush. She hadn't even found a use for those walkie talkies that were weighing her down. Jae was dealing with so much shit and he'd keep getting rewarded for it.

Nadia stepped aside and gestured towards the other end of the bridge.

"Lead the way, I guess."
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And so they were off, to continue to walk into parts unknown. Nadia wasn't sure what to say now that she and Min-jae were allied. The last alliance fell apart when it became clear she was with a ticking time bomb, but was Jae the same? If everyone in Cochise High was now revealed the have the capacity to kill, was that something that was always there, or was it something brought out by the situation? Nadia was a believer in nature vs. nurture, but now more than ever it was on her mind.

She walked, absentmindedly turning the chair leg in her hand while remaining blank. Jae then asked her what she was thinking of. Nadia slowed down.

"Not much," she said. "Just curious about what drives people to play this game."

Nadia looked at Min-jae.

"I mean, I can believe that people like you would kill to defend themselves, or that people can kill accidentally. But what about people like Caedyn who stab unarmed girls to death? Or people like Isabel who can keep killing long past the point they'd even be required to. I know there's that one-kill rule, but is that what motivates them all? Or were they all just waiting for an opportunity like this game to defy all societal expectations and tap into something darker?

"Sorry if this sounds weird, but I was just curious since I've been at most a casual observer to this game. I don't know if I can entirely understand all the killers, but I would like to at some level."
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Nadia slightly stepped to Jae's side as he began his rant. She had figured her pseudo-intellectual discussion about morality and action on the island would lead to more pleasant conversation. But Jae went off. Jae had a completely negative opinion about everyone and everything here. Nadia could understand it to some extent. Yeah, people were shitty, and she had mocked the general populace of Kingman in school or with Rod. But even she had to think there was something to be redeemed.

Min-jae's experience must have really broken him. He saw Isabel in all her madness, seen Michael in his boisterousness, and Brendan in his apologetic state, and all he could feel was anger. It had been a rough week, and her friend was becoming transformed by all of this. She could tell in his body language, as he swung his arms around and continued to raise his voice with each line.

It was one line that really got Nadia.

I don't care why any of them did it. The important thing is that they did, and they're going to fucking pay. Every single one I can get my hands on.

Nadia remained stone-faced as he finished his rant. Her teeth clenched tight, and her hand gripped tighter on the chair leg. Jae finally decided to keep moving, allowing her to exit the frozen state she was in during his rant. Her eyes closed slightly as she stared at Jae beginning to walk away. She looked over her friend, and she finally realized what he had become.

Jae was gone. The friend she knew back in Arizona was lost to the game. He wasn't as much a necrophiliac as Will nor as rowdy as Jerry. Hell, he wasn't as vicious as Caedyn. But he was truly gone. He had written off the rest of the class, and he was going to continue to draw blood while he was here. Nadia knew now that staying with him would lead to violent situations, probably resulting in her death at the hands of someone like Caedyn or Isabel or Brendan. The smart thing to do would be to run from Jae as soon as possible, whether it was to get lost investigating some noise or wanting to check out a nearby building.

But as he started to walk, another thought came to Nadia. She left Jerry and Brendan to their devices, and they had killed people. Brendan killed two people after leaving the cabin, and Jerry killed the girl he ran off with when they separated. If she left Min-jae alone, he could kill someone else, whether they were on his hit list or not. She had been a casual observer of the game, but wasn't it her responsibility to at least save people if she could? Wasn't that the kind of person she wanted to be back home?

Everyone needs their one.

Nadia slowly followed after Jae, keeping her gaze to the back of his head. It would be easy. He was already weakened from numerous fights. All it would take was one forceful shove of the chair leg, enough to pierce a lung or his stomach, and it would be over. Then she could get his supplies and remove a potential threat to the island. Her chances of survival would increase, as would the chances of everyone else who could potentially meet Jae on the island. In a way, she'd be doing everyone a favor. She could even help Jae by freeing him from these feelings and thoughts.

Betrayal was supposed to send you to the ninth circle of Hell, but could she rationalize it like Jae had rationalized killing Samuel? Nadia thought about it for a moment. Once she did, she swallowed the lump forming in her throat. She then raised the chair leg to her hip level, pointing it at Jae.

Yes. Yes I can.

It was for her sake, and for the sake of so many others on the island. For those reasons, she pushed the chair leg forward as quickly as she could towards Jae's back. This was her chance to do something about the game, and she wasn't going to waste it.
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Nadia's eyes widened as Jae turned right when she made her attack. Because of that, she only scratched the side of his torso. Jae's reaction was to swing the crossbow her way and nail her in the chest with it. This sent her stumbling back a bit, and also sent Jae to the ground. She could feel a stinging sensation in her chest. The tip of the bolt must have scratched her a bit. She'd have to deal with that in a bit, but she couldn't wait. Jae was down, and if she was to finish him, she had to do so before he could retaliate.

Unfortunately, Nadia discovered that she wasn't as fast as a crossbow bolt. She brought a stick to a sharpshooting contest, and now she was paying the price for it. The bolt flew through the air, hitting Nadia in her lower chest. She let out a cry, then fell backwards. She hit the floor of the bridge, dropping the chair leg to the ground.

She winced as she looked at the bolt in her stomach. She couldn't believe she had been shot with it. Blood was starting to seep out of the injury. She wasn't sure she could pull it out, but that didn't matter. Jae had wounded her, and she was sure this was going to be it. After five whole days of inaction, she was too weak to actually put up a fight, and now it had resulted in her death.

Well, not yet. Nadia sat up, keeping her hand over the wound, her fingers between the bolt sticking out. Her hand was getting warm with blood, but she had some things to say to Min-jae first.

"Okay, I see that wasn't a good idea," she said, her breathing starting to increase. "I guess I should have stuck to hiding."
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Nadia looked at Jae as he dropped the crossbow and moved back. He had some other weapon on his belt, but she closed her eyes and chuckled.

"Don't worry, I give up," she said to him, kicking the chair leg to the side. "I accept that I fucked up and am now paying the price for that mistake."

Nadia looked at her friend, studying every injury he had received and how frightened he looked. He was going to have a rough time from here on out. If she really was his friend, she needed to do something for him before the end.

"Min-jae, I'm sorry," she said. "I thought I could take you out before you realized it. I thought I could end your suffering and prevent any more chaos that would follow in your wake. But I think I get it now."

Nadia looked around the area. A thought came to her as she gazed around the bridge. There was someone who had made an impression on this bridge a few days ago, so maybe she could as well. Nadia began to walk towards the edge of the bridge, keeping her back to the edge and staring at Jae the entire walk over. She could feel more blood dripping down her chest and leaving a trail on the ground as she walked, but she kept her focus on her friend.

"This game is all about the choices we make. It's not just because people are shitty that they kill, but because they found that to be their only option in all this mess. You chose to kill Samuel because you decided it was for your survival. I decided to try and kill you because I thought I'd be preventing more deaths and because I'd be relieving you from all your pain. Looks like all I did was bring about my own end."

Nadia reached the edge. She stepped onto the ledge and stared at Jae.

"But I'm making one last choice. I won't let them credit you for this death. What happened here was my choice, and I'm owning it. I won't let them give everyone else reason to come after you. My time here has been about being sneaky and making choices that benefit myself, but I think I'll make one last choice to help someone else."

Nadia chuckled a bit.

"But, who am I kidding? I just want to fuck with the terrorists one last time."

Nadia raised her bloody hand to her head. She extended her index and middle fingers, tapping them to her forehead before she flicked her hand out. She smiled at Jae.

"Make sure you make the right choices, Min-jae. See you around."

Nadia closed her eyes and held her arms out to her side. She stepped back a bit, and in a second, she was no longer standing on the bridge. Nadia kept her eyes closed the entire way down. She didn't want to see any more of the island or the game. She wanted to use her last moments of consciousness to think about what mattered to her in her life. She thought of her family, of Roderick, and of her photography. She had done a lot with her short life, and at the very least she was allowed to create something one last time before the end. One last image that encompassed who Nadia Juliette Riva was and the life she lived before it was finally over.

Nadia soon hit the water. The impact caused her to lose consciousness, and in a few moments, she would be gone from this Earth. However, as her consciousness faded, taking her memories, her ideas, and her thoughts into the sea and the next world, she was still smiling.

After all, this was her masterpiece.

G004 Nadia Riva: Deceased
59 Students Remaining
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