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Tea Party with Death at Dawn; Early Morning Day 7: Open
Topic Started: Mar 30 2017, 01:36 PM (1,252 Views)
Espi
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Alice Baker continued from Can You Hear Me Calling Out?))

Somehow, she kept coming back here. And every time was worse than the last.

Alice had awoken before the now-familiar buzz of announcements, and now found she was unable to sleep. She was having trouble falling asleep too, but that was for quite different reasons. Anxious fear about what might happen while she slept, the unnerving notion of simply never waking up again, kept her from resting.

When she did rest, however, she'd had a disturbing dream about being inside a glass jar, climbing out and discovering herself in some sort of woodshop. She'd miraculously grown to full size as she walked through the room, which was full of various tools on the walls. She'd gone through a door, but on the other size was a large, pink mass of fleshy substance in a vaguely human shape, seated at a table with its head an array of tentacles slowly squirming across the surface.

The horrible thing had sudden moved, and startled Alice awake with such force that she bolted upright from the bench she slept on, much like she had under the pews almost a week ago inside the church she lay outside. A strange, circular turn of events.

She'd sat awake on the stone bench for some time, staring with a disturbed fascination at the nearby body. The church had been their chosen sleeping location, but now Alice sat in the garden outside, looking at the corpse of Rene Wolfe.

It was a puzzle to Alice, in a demented way; The corpse was difficult to identify, and had red, swollen skin around her arm, but was clearly dead from a gunshot wound to the head. What had happened here? Had she been wounded, committed suicide to escape the pain of a slow death? Was she bitten by a snake, and shot post-mortem for reasons she couldn't fathom?

This was what death had become to Alice Baker. A simple cause and effect. These people she knew, in varying degrees, had to be prioritized to keep herself from despairing. If people had to die, she selfishly thought, let them be people I don't know or don't care for. Don't let them be Sandra, or Bryony, or me or-

Unaware of her surroundings, Alice continued to stare. She didn't want to die. But she was inevitably doomed, barring a heroic intervention or an unfathomable amount of luck. How could she reconcile these two things without going mad?

She didn't know. So she stared at the body and tried to figure out who she was despite the bullet wound and blood.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Bryony Adams continued from Can You Hear Me Calling Out?))

An unfamiliar figure looked up at Bryony Adams from the surface of a shallow puddle.

The figure had its hair down, an untidy mess framing its face, all tangled and dirty from not being washed for days. It held two dark green hair bobbles, clenched tightly in its hands. Its clothing was crumpled and wrinkled, so obviously slept in, and there were little holes and cuts in its hoody where it had been caught on branches and debris. It reached up to adjust its dust-coated glasses, obscuring the bags under her eyes, the scuffs of mud on her cheeks, and streaks of tears cutting through them.

This figure couldn’t be Bryony Adams. There was no way it could be. The real Bryony Adams was too shy and reserved and quiet to get herself dirty. The real Bryony Adams would have broken down and sobbed and begged to be let free from this nightmare. The real Bryony Adams would have heard the endless familiar names on the announcements and given up all hope there and then.

The real Bryony Adams should have died days ago.

And yet, the real Bryony Adams stared down at the puddle, before stepping through it, the figure disappearing into droplets and ripples.

It was early morning. The sun had only just come up, a faint light breaking through the leaves of the great willow tree in the centre of the garden. Like Alice, Bryony had been unable to sleep soundly. Memories of the past few days circled around and around in her head, and the longer she stayed still, the louder and more vivid they got. Images of Bradley, and Bridgette, and Bernadette, Danya’s words of the killers and the killed, horrible thoughts of what had happened to them in their final moments. She had woken up moments ago, breathing heavily, coated in cold sweat. It was a simple logic that had caused her to head for the gardens. They had briefly looked around it when they’d first made it to the chapel yesterday, and even with the weeds and moss and tangling vines threatening to overthrow the other plants that lived there, it still looked serene and calm. A place for her to clear her head.

It felt, sometimes, like everything was fighting against her. And yet, here she was, still standing.

The grass rustled as Bryony slowly made her way through the garden. It felt cool, beneath the shade of the tree, a pleasant coolness as opposed to the quiet and still cold of the chapel. If she could, she would have wanted to stay here for as long as possible. Safe, amongst the plants and tree roots. Out of sight. Out of danger.

After a couple of minutes wandering, Bryony caught sight of Alice, sitting on a stone bench, staring intently down at the ground. Bryony’s face lit up when she saw her, and she picked the pace up, heading towards her friend.

There was another body on the ground in front of her, and Bryony involuntarily let out a small gasp.
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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CondorTalon
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[ *  *  *  * ]
((Sandra Dyer continued from Can You Hear Me Calling Out?))

Sandra might have been as good as invisible, for how quiet and unmoving she was as she stared at Rene's body. Even as Bryony had finally caught up, and noticed the body, and let out a small gasp, Sandra didn't react.

She continued to stare at the body until she just couldn't anymore. And when she finally looked away, fading back into the world of the visible, she felt the bile rising up her throat. She wanted to swallow it down, but she couldn't be bothered to try.

As she ejected the contents of her stomach onto the ground, the speakers around the island crackled to life.
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Espi
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Damn her, damn her for being so numb and devoid of empathy. Alice should have considered that the others might be upset by the corpse. Poor Sandra had seemed so resilient to the horrors of the island, but Alice should have anticipated that she couldn't hold out forever. Poor thing.

Alice stood and moved toward Bryony, a look of concern on her face. As she stepped forward, though, the distinct sound of the morning announcements played.

Alice listened. By the end, she had deduced three things. One: Rene had been killed, but it was hard to say why, looking at the corpse. Two, none of the people she was truly close to had died or killed. Three, Alice was a terrible person for feeling relieved at that.

"Okay, so where-" Then, a thought occurred. Alice glanced at Bryony, suddenly alarmed. Alba had killed someone. She had no idea what would happen to Bree, or how she'd respond. "Bryony?" She asked slowly.
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Pippin
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It wasn’t going to get easier.

As Alice slowly stood up and Sandra went to throw up a few feet away and the speakers crackled to life, like a Frankenstein’s Monster that was revived every morning, Bryony felt a familiar sinking feeling in her stomach, an alert system telling her to prepare for the worst.

What was it she had been thinking earlier? That she, that Bryony Adams, was supposed to hear all the familiar names on the announcements and just break down and give up all hope? It was always hard not to do that. Whenever she heard the name of someone she’d shared classes with at school or had been able to rely on as a friendly face amongst the list of the killers and the killed, it felt like a series of punches to the gut, knocking her to the ground, trying to keep her down and out permanently.

This morning the punches started early and didn’t let up.

Nadia had killed herself. Bryony didn’t understand why. She had looked healthy and confident and prepared to keep herself alive just a few days ago. What had happened to her to cause her to give up hope just like that? What had happened to turn her into who Bryony had been on the first day?

It suddenly struck Bryony that hardly anyone she had encountered on the island so far was confirmed to be alive. Bradley and Bridgette had been killed in front of her. Henry, Tara, Nadia and Arthur had all died since she’d met them. The thief on the beach and the boy at the docks, she had no clue about. That left Coleen, Caedyn and Kimiko, all of whom were killers.

And Alba. Alba who was now on that list as well.

It felt as though the world around her had turned to mist. It was if all her senses had ceased to function, as if nothing existed around her anymore, as if Sandra and Alice were mere figures in the distance. The person she had been searching for since their second day on the island was now a killer. No matter how she tried to look at it, or rationalise it, that fact just kept on repeating over and over again in her head.

Slowly, Bryony walked over towards the huge willow, sitting down with her back against the trunk, nestled amongst the roots. There was dew on the grass and dirt underneath her legs, but she didn’t even notice as she curled up, as if she was trying to hide herself from the world. She looked at the grass for a few moments, before she spoke, voice quiet and hollow.

“There’s… there’s got to be a reason… some reason, right? Kaitlyn had… she’d killed someone before, maybe that person had been friends with Alba or… or… or something… right?”
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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Sandra listened. She didn't want to, but she did.

The first name that Sandra reacted to was... well... Alba. Alba had killed Kaitlyn Greene, but... Sandra would have to know why. Surprisingly, Sandra felt that it was justified... somewhere in her mind. After all, Kaitlyn... Kaitlyn killed Mia. This was...

And then the second name that came that punched her in the gut. Noah was dead. Noah was dead at the hands of Isabel.

And Isabel was dead too. Great. Now she didn't even have anyone to take it out on.

Obviously, Rene was dead. Sandra could see the corpse right in front of her to prove it. What shocked her was how she died.

Blair.

They must have been together for a lot longer. Why would Blair just suddenly kill her?

...

And then the announcements ended and Sandra wondered if it really mattered. Any of it.

Sure, people had their own reasons for killing. The announcements weren't exactly the best source of information. Any one of those kills could have been self-defense. But it didn't really matter, did it?

Only one of them could go home. And all it was... was bringing you closer to the objective.

Sandra wanted to go home.

So did everyone else, she was sure. People like Alba or Blair had already gotten their one. What did it matter why?

They had it, and she didn't.

And she only needed one.

"I don't... we should..." Sandra said, looking back to Rene's body.

We should bury her, Sandra wanted to say. But Sandra didn't want to touch a corpse.

But... it just didn't feel right to leave her out here.
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"Yeah."

Alice wasn't sure what to add. Comforting her companions seemed an insurmountable task, with her shyness being only one factor in the way. She was numb, true, but her numbness was almost a shield, a persona she'd adapted to protect herself from despair.

To lower that mask was dangerous. She had to be strong, especially when others were weak. Not weak, that was a callous term, but vulnerable. Bryony was vulnerable, her gentle soul susceptible to the horrors of this damned place. Still, Alice couldn't bear to see Bree on the verge of breaking down. She had to say something.

"It could've been self-defense. Kaitlyn was going to play a game, it said. Alba might have just been protecting herself. I'm sure that's what it is."

Alice smiled weakly and reached out to Bryony to put a comforting hand on her friend's shoulder. "She's not a bad person, I'm sure. You have good taste in friends, after all." An attempt at a joke, to ease the nerves. Danger could be anywhere, but Alice thought they were safe for now. "We should keep looking for her, though. Where to now?"

It occurred to Alice that she was talking much more than she usually did. Normally, she was somewhat quiet, preferring her art and music and stories to conversations. Oh, to be home again, and drawing, or writing, or playing her cherished violin..

No, wistfulness got her nowhere. Strength and courage would have to be her tools. She needed to be supportive while she could. That was how they'd make it home.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The words washed over Bryony, swallowing her up, surrounding her, before leaving again with no impact as if they’d never been said at all. Like she was a pebble in a stream. A reed in a lake.

A corpse lying in the surf.

Maybe it had been self-defence. So what? Alba had still killed someone; whether it was done in cold blood or to keep herself alive didn’t matter. How could you look at someone the same way after that? It wasn’t something she should ever have had to deal with, and yet, nowadays, it was omnipresent, all of her friends were killing or dying or dead, and one way or another she’d find herself on that list too soon enough, and there was nothing she could-

Bryony flinched as Alice placed their hand on her shoulder, recoiling as her touch broke through the mist. She looked up at her friend through watery eyes, and the tension left her shoulders and she relaxed and a tiny smile once more broke onto her face. Slowly, the mist drifted away, to be replaced by the dappled morning sun on Alice’s skin.

It was just like she’d thought earlier. This would happen over and over again, this pain and crushing feeling of hopelessness that happened whenever the announcements were broadcast. This would happen over and over again and it would hurt each time and there was nothing she could do to stop it from hurting. What she could do, and what she would have to do, was pull herself out of that quagmire and carry on moving forwards. That was the important part. Know that the island wasn’t going to stop landing blows on her, and that she’d just have to pick herself up, dust herself off, and push on.

She tried not to think about what she would do if someone like Alba or Alice wasn’t around to do that for her the next time it happened.

“I’m not sure…” Bryony mumbled. “She said she was going to come back to the gym, but… um… I didn’t think she… would. Maybe… maybe she headed back that way?”

She’s not a bad person. That was what Alice had said about Alba, but it wasn’t just her that the statement applied to. Alba wasn’t a bad person. Neither was Kaitlyn. Nor Al, or Kimiko, or Nancy, or Isabel. No-one here was. They did bad things, awful and horrendous things, things inexcusable in any other situation. But this was a situation unlike any other. Their hands were being forced. Each person was doing what they personally thought was necessary to survive.

That included herself. That was what she reminded herself, told herself, tried to convince herself of, as her hands balled into fists, and she stared down at the ground, and tried to say what she wanted to say. It felt callous and cold, putting material needs above a person’s, but it might encourage them all and provide a catalyst.

Maybe this would be the means to stop them from falling into despair themselves.

“We have to find her, though… I need to make sure she’s okay, and find out what happened… Plus… um… plus, if we find her, then… um… we won’t have to wander around looking for a weapon, either… we’ll solve a lot of issues this way…”

Bryony let her words hang in the air for a moment, before moving her hands to the right side of her head, reforming her hair into pigtails again.
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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But then... there were a lot of things that didn't feel right here, weren't there?

Sandra turned away from the corpse again, back to her two companions. Alice was trying to reassure Bryony that maybe Alba killed in self-defense. Maybe that was true. Bryony wanted to find Alba, and figure out what happened. That was definitely true.

Then Bryony raised the point that if they found Alba, they wouldn't have to look for a weapon. Sandra blinked. She expected that kind of logic to come from herself, not from Bryony.

Sandra scratched her head.

"Yeah, that's..." she started, "Yeah, we should definitely find her. To make sure she's okay."

Because right now, they were just three girls without a weapon. And having four girls and one weapon would still be better than that.

Sandra had to mentally rouse herself.

"We... I guess we should get moving..." she finally said after a long pause.

She took one last look at the corpse.
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((Alessio Rigano continued from We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed By Our Classmates))

Mr. Prospector walked away from the docks, gun in hand, with the image in his head that today at least three people had died. Amanda, Jonathan and Hannah. He had a gun now, he now was not afraid of attackers. He would shoot his attackers.

As Alessio walked towards the Church, the one Jae threatened him back like a week ago, was it a week? Was that already a week? A fucking week. As he did that, he walked by the Crematorium Gardens.

He breathed heavily. Three more names he could recognise. Like three flowers. Brown, yellow, blonde.

He was not near them much, couldn't understand what they were talking about. He could see them and recognise them, though. He knew what he had to do. SPAS pointed at them, he stared at them. Then.

He pulled the trigger, shot at them, then ran away from the group in case they had guns to shoot back. Perhaps he hit one of them. Most likely, he did not.

But the most important thing was that he shot at them.

((Alessio Rigano continued in Rivers of Sadness and Mutual Need))
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Espi
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Alice nodded. Finding Alba was a good plan, a way to find some stability and security while they could. Survival, as callous as it seemed, was the priority. She had no idea if there'd be some sort of rescue, but the longer the class lasted, the morel likely that they would be found. The more likely they'd get to go home. "Yeah, let's go look."

Movement in the corner of her eye. Alice turned her head to look. Who was that guy over there? What was he hold-

"Aaaaah!"

Alice hit the ground hard onto her side, searing pain shooting under her red-stained hands as she gripped her left calf. The sound of gunshots echoed in her ears, deafened by her own gasps of pain.
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Okay. Things seemed to be looking okay. She wasn’t going to say it was anything more than that; “alright” was about as good as it got out here on the island, after all. But the other two seemed to agree that finding Alba was the most important task right now. They all had the same mindset and they were all working towards something together.

Yeah. Yeah, things were okay.

Bryony finished tying her hair up, and slowly moved her hands away from her now completed pigtail, hair gently buffeted by the slight breeze. She gave a couple of small nods.

“Okay,” she mumbled. It was all she felt she could manage now.

Briefly forgetting she had left it in the chapel, Bryony scrabbled around herself, searching for her bag, mentally facepalming when she remembered where it was. She placed a hand against the tree trunk to try and help herself stand up.

There was a sudden crack, as loud as thunder, and searing pain coursed through her icy veins as she realised instantly what the sound was.

She had heard, as she had wandered across the island, the sound several times before. It was unavoidable; without the hustle and bustle of traffic or the ever-present hum of machinery inside buildings to mask things, all other sound carried further on the small island. It had always been fainter, from way off in the distance, but whenever she had heard it, Bryony had flinched instinctively, the sound causing a Pavlovian reaction within her.

Gunfire. They had been shot at. And, as her heart felt like it was slipping into a yawning abyss, they had been hit.

“Alice!”

All other thoughts fled from Bryony’s mind as she swung round, scrabbling the few feet between her and her friend, blood blossoming from her leg and staining the earth red.

“Alice, can-“

The world froze as Bryony took hold of Alice, and she looked down, and saw her own death bloom, spreading from her left hand.
V7 BAYBEE

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"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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Sandra didn't see anyone approaching them. She hadn't been facing the shooter, whoever they were. She only reacted when the boom echoed through, and she jumped, whipping around to the source of the noise, and she could almost barely making out someone running away, maybe.

No... that wasn't important. Bryony was faster, getting over to Alice before Sandra even fully realized what had just happened. Sandra moved, and she was beside Alice before too long.

Sandra took off her bag, scrounging through it for the first aid kit. After what seemed like way too long, she pulled it out, plonked it on the ground and opened it. She took the bandages in her right hand and then...

She froze.

She stared.

She had no idea what to do from here. She barely knew the first thing about first aid. She couldn't have even pretended to know how to treat a bullet wound.

"Oh, god... oh god oh god oh god..."
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Panting, Alice sat up with a grimace and looked at Bryony. As she felt at the wound, she felt more reassured. The bullet had grazed her calf and despite the relatively deep wound wasn't embedded in her leg, and though it was bleeding a fair bit, she was pretty sure it hadn't hit something too vital. It hurt like hell, but she'd probably live.

"I'm okay, it's not so bad." Alice forced a smile. That smile quickly diminished when she looked at Bryony though, and realized that there was blood on her that wasn't Alice's.

"Oh my god, Bryony!" Alice moved instinctively, and needed to stop herself from leaping onto Bryony protectively. It wouldn't help, the shooter having already left, and right now she needed bandages. Sandra had her bag open and was holding first-aid supplies, but looked unsure.

"Sandra, grab disinfectant and put it on, then use that gauze. Bring the whole thing, please." She looked at Bryony. She was bleeding from her left hand. Alice suddenly couldn't remember if Bryony was right-handed or not, and because of the blood she couldn't tell how bad the wound was.

"Bree, stay calm, don't freak out. Uhm, hold your hand in the air, like, above your hair, and then we'll get a closer look after we clean it."

It struck Alice how ironic it was that her little wallflower self was taking charge here. Who knew crisis could be good for your self-confidence?
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There were people talking around Bryony, their voices muffled and far away, trapped behind the layer of ice that she must have become frozen in. Her gaze was solidified too, staring down at her hand, unable to look away or even blink. Her palm was coated in blood, the colour shockingly vibrant against her pale skin, droplets rolling down the side of her hand and falling to the ground, and beginning to trickle down her wrist.

She registered the pain, God knows she could barely feel anything but the brutal sting in her hand, but her body was refusing to react to it. Everything that film and video games and TV had taught her was that she was supposed to be writhing in agony now, grasping her wrist and screaming in pain.

Instead, she sat there, stunned, trembling in her frozen tomb.

She heard Alice’s muffled order to raise her hand, and, dumbstruck, she did so, with hesitant, jerky motions. She caught a glimpse of Alice’s leg, still coated in blood, and her brain rebooted itself momentarily. What was she doing here, sitting back and doing nothing? She needed to help Alice! She needed to help save her injured friend and-

She twisted her hand, and a bolt of pain shot through her arm, feeling like she’d just been shot again. Bryony let out a short cry of distress again. She was feeling lightheaded. She felt like she was going to be sick, but there was nothing in her stomach for that.

She could feel the familiar warmth of tears streaking down her cheeks, leaving marks behind to match the warm trails of blood flowing down her arm. Her mouth cracked open, and her voice spoke out, miles away from her body.

“Am I… Am I gonna be… okay?”
V7 BAYBEE

FOLDER OF DESTINY

"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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