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Rear-End Collision; (Private)
Topic Started: Apr 4 2017, 04:37 AM (1,299 Views)
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((Lily Caldwell continued from Die Anywhere Else.))

She left the hospital behind. She ended up on the other side of the island. She spent the rest of the day wandering. And the night. She didn’t sleep. She just kept her feet moving, moving but never really going anywhere. She’d followed Isabel for days. She didn’t know what to do now that she had the freedom to go where she liked.

She wandered, and the sun came up again. She stopped, as she always did, and pulled out the notepad to write down the killers. Writing down the details as she always had.

A name jumped out at her. Alex Tarquin. He’d been murdered. Lily heard it, and a small smile crossed her face.

They were proving her right. People like Isabel and Alex. Proving that being a speck was safer. Proving that she shouldn’t be—shouldn’t have ever been—envious of Isabel’s power. Isabel had died. Alex had died. Half of the class had died and she still remained.

Maybe it didn’t matter that she hadn’t been one of the five who killed Isabel. Did she need that sort of attention on her? Being mentioned alongside Lizzie was bad enough.

She was right. She’d been playing the game right. And if she told herself that, kept telling herself that, she didn’t have to think about anything else. She was right. She was right. She was right. She'd been doing this right.

She arrived at the dormitories. Many small rooms. Surprisingly, she didn’t find any bodies. Had people not come here much, or simply stayed quiet?

There was furniture. Maybe she could board herself in. Just hide. Just be a speck of dust in an unremarkable room. That was the way to play. That’s how she should have played this whole time. Lily stood in the doorway to one such room, frowning at it and wondering how to board it up while leaving a route open in case of the inevitable danger zone.
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She should have probably checked under the beds before standing here for an inordinate length of time. Still, at least whoever had just moved and spoken up hadn’t shot her in the legs. Maybe they didn’t have a gun, but… well, silver linings, anyway.

“...Morning,” Lily said back, also for lack of anything else. “Didn’t know this room was taken.”

Lily took a step in and crouched slightly to get a look at the person under the bed.

...Oh.

To be honest, she didn’t recognise the face. The fight had been too much of a blur and she’d spent too much of it with her eyes close. But the crossbow. How many crossbows could there be on the island?

Lily straightened up immediately. “I’ll find another room.” She walked out quickly and down the hall, trying to stay calmer than she felt.
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Well. He definitely knew.

Lily stopped, struggling to get her face under control. She’d escaped Isabel, but she’d been present for far too many of Isabel’s kills. How many more times was this going to happen? People demanding answers from her, when all she did was fail to act.

Slowly, with no sudden movements, Lily turned to face… his name was slipping from her tired brain, if she ever knew it at all.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know your name.”

She was suddenly aware of how heavy the sword was in her hand. She clenched the handle a little tighter without really thinking about it.
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Jae. Right. Min-jae Parker had been a name on the announcements. Did watching Isabel die matter? Was he going to take her to task for not defending Isabel, or for betraying her? No, that didn’t… that didn’t make sense...

“Yes. I saw her die,” Lily said plainly. “There were five others. They attacked. I watched. One of them walked off with her head. ...She can’t really be any more dead than that, and good riddance.”

Lily stared at the crossbow. A creeping realization that she hadn’t properly processed until this moment was rising. If Jae attacked, it would be one-on-one. No Isabel to soak up the damage or act as the decoy for the ire. It would be Lily, with a sword she could barely lift and the helmet that, for all that it was bullet proof, didn’t really provide that much protection.

“You were with...” Lily stopped for a moment, struggling to remember the girl’s name. There’d been so many people Isabel had killed. “...Asha? I didn’t… I didn’t fight. Didn’t… that was all Isabel. That wasn’t… wasn’t me.”

Her grip hadn’t loosened on the sword. But Lily’s stance was not warrior-like at all, anyone could see that. Slightly hunched, pulling all her limbs just a little bit in as if to minimize the target she made.

“I don’t want to fight,” Lily said quietly.
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Well… he wasn’t charging. He wasn’t shooting. He wasn’t monologuing like a supervillain. Jae wasn’t being a loony like every killer that had attacked so far. That was something.

Lily’s grip on the sword loosened. Enough that she accidentally dropped it, and had to crouch to pick it up again.

“...Okay. Good. Uh… thank you.”

Lily shifted on her feet, unsure of where to go from there. There was nothing to discuss. There were limited topics in this game, and she wasn’t really interested in pursuing any of them. She wasn’t interested in talking to anyone. She only wanted to bar herself inside a room and stay there until the game ended.

Honestly, what was there to say?

“I’m… I’m going to go now, if that’s alright?”
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“I don’t know. I… I just...”

Lily was as useless as could be. What chance did she stand? What could she do? The answer was nothing. She couldn’t kill Isabel. She couldn’t kill Lizzie, only put her in more pain. She couldn’t save Lizzie. She couldn’t—or wouldn’t—save Tina.

Couldn’t. Couldn’t. Couldn’t. She’d always been useless—a sick child who couldn’t be trusted to stay at school for a couple of weeks without catching something and ending up on sick leave—and the island only made it more obvious.

Irrelevant. A speck. A speck was beneath notice, but it couldn’t do anything either.

Lily didn’t say anything else. She just stared without really seeing, as some sort of melancholic panic curled inside her stomach.

Then she just turned and started to head further into the dormitories. Like somehow the answer to not being useless, to not being a speck, to being something that might be worth all she’d given up just to get this far, lay that way.
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She heard the twang too late to do anything.

There was a brief, but incredibly intense, surge of pain. Then there was nothing at all.

But Lily wasn’t dead.

She was just suddenly lying on her face, feeling rather disconnected. What had happened? He’d shot her. Right? But she… she wasn’t feeling it, had she just somehow imagined that pain? Had he just whacked her with something? A lead-up blow to what might be a fight after all?

No. There was blood pooling. She could see it out of the corner of her eye, a blur of dark red. She had been hit. But at the same time, it felt disconnected. It didn’t feel like her blood, shouldn’t she be able to feel that much leaking out of her? She didn’t even feel damp.

Why couldn’t she feel it? If she just… if she just moved her arm, but her arm wasn’t moving. She couldn’t feel her arm, either. Or her legs. She could feel the concrete pressing into her face, and she could move her neck a tiny, tiny bit. Enough to stop herself suffocating on the dust-coated floor. The dust was making her nose itch. She couldn’t scratch it. Somehow, in this haze, that was the worst part.

“What’s… what’s… I… I can’t...”

Suddenly, she realised that she hadn’t been useless after all. No. Not until this very second. Not until that crossbow bolt lodged itself into her spine.

“...Oh no. Ohnonononono—Jae, you… you…” Her sight was blurry. She couldn’t find words. She could barely breathe, and she didn’t think that was because of the crossbow bolt. Her breath started coming out in wheezy, panicked breaths.
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A voice cut through the panic.

That was Emma. Lily couldn’t see her, couldn’t turn to see her, but that was definitely Emma. Lily’s first thought, drifting through the mix of disorientation and sheer terror, was ‘oh no, she’s going to want to know what happened to Lizzie.’ Then the rest of her brain caught up.

“He’s… Em, he’s still… he’s...”

Lily tried to move her arms to gesture at where she’d last heard Jae from. Who knew if he was still there, who knew what he was doing, was he pointing his crossbow at her now? She couldn’t tell, all she could see was concrete, walls and her own blood.

She tried to speak, to warn Emma like she hadn’t warned Tina, like she hadn’t helped Lizzie, and once again she could do nothing. Her attempts came out spluttered and wheezy. Fear clasped her throat tight and didn’t let go.
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Lily couldn’t feel the hands touching her, but she could hear Emma talking to her. Hear how close she was. See just enough of the first-aid container out of the corner of her eye. Emma was trying to fix her. Even after all she’d done, even though she had to know about Lizzie… Emma was still trying to save her. But Emma wasn’t a surgeon, she couldn’t fix a shattered spine. Lily didn’t know if anyone could.

“Nn… Em, stop… don’t… just...”

Even if, by some bizarre miracle, she survived… if every other kid on the island suffered a heart attack, or if they just left her on the floor and she quietly lived there until everyone else had killed themselves… then she’d be left to a lifetime of this. Just on a bed. With her parents being even more overprotective and smothering than they’d been before. Without being able to even read a book unless someone was there to turn the pages. Any dreams of being a mechanic were gone, let alone giving horse-riding another try.

She didn’t want to die.

But she didn’t want to live like this, either.

Jae had done what she’d done to Lizzie. Done a shallow wound and left her to die slowly. Lily hated him for it, she hated him so much. And she hated herself even more for doing this herself, and in turn that made her hate Jae all the more.

Was he still there? She couldn’t tell.

“Jh… Jae, you…” She tried to make her throat work, tried to breathe enough to talk properly. It was hard. It was so hard. Tears and snot were leaking sideways and puddling on the floor next to her face. She managed to raise her voice just enough for it to carry, though effort was audible in every syllable. “Y-you fucking coward, come back a-and… and…” Lily’s voice cracked, and she let out a rasped breath before begging, “Don’t… don’t leave me like this...”
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Jae, whether he was there or not, didn’t listen to her. Of course he didn’t. She wouldn’t have if she’d been him.

Em was still helping her. Telling her they were going to make it. Emma couldn’t really be that stupid. Lily tried to tell her. Tried to tell her the thoughts, about how useless this was, how useless Lily was, how useless she’d continue to be.

It didn’t work. All that came out was a strangled, distressed noise. Speech was gone. A quality she’d used too little off-island, and perhaps too often on it.

But what did speech matter? What could she have used it for? Apologizing? Pleading for Emma to understand why she let Tina die, why she tried to slash Lizzie’s throat? No. What did forgiveness matter now, even if she deserved it? No, she just wanted a quick end. Before she lost all dignity.

No-one was listening to her. No-one would listen to a speck.

Emma, she was ignoring—either willfully or simply through ignorance—that Lily didn’t want to make it anymore. And Jae was like her. Jae was a coward. The only person who could put Lily out of her misery was herself, and those facilities had been removed.

Lily did try. In between the rise of wheezy, panicked breaths she started gnawing on the inside of her cheek, biting down on her tongue. Trying to flood her mouth with enough blood to choke on. It didn’t work. All she ended up with was blood leaking out of her mouth and mixing with the tears and snot still puddling under her face.

Lily eventually did die, her facilities dropping off one by one. But it took a long time. By the time it was over, by the time her thoughts blissfully faded and her heart slowed to a stop, there was no shred of dignity left.

G002 - Lillian ‘Lily’ Caldwell: Deceased
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