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Minus Something; [Shoot First, Ask Questions Later]
Topic Started: Apr 11 2017, 07:17 PM (1,673 Views)
CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  * ]
"Hello? Anybody in here?"

[Lili Williams continued from Ready For The House.]

The walk over had been, as the walks over had usually been, uneventful. The hallways creaked, as they usually did, and overall Lili couldn't help but feel somewhat annoyed at the sound it made. She knew how ridiculous it was to feel annoyance, of all things, in a building where many people had died, her friends included, and all she could feel was annoyance, annoyance at the carpet bunching up under her feet, annoyance at the tightness of her shoes on those same feet, and annoyance at herself for having that same feeling of annoyance. It was even an annoying word to think, let alone say. The sound of it echoed through her skull, thrown from chorus to chorus of imaginary thought voices, as if they were playing monkey in the middle and using silence as the ball.

She pushed open the door to the cafeteria. The room was in some state of disarray, but fortunately there were no corpses to be found. Lili breathed a sigh of relief. In addition, the place looked decidedly lived in. Smelled like it too.

Lili walked over to the nearest upright table and put her stuff down. She'd started to catch Kizzy's exhaustion. Like a contact low, if such a thing were possible. Her first inclination was that it wasn't, and she was just getting tired.

Her second thought was that she actually was catching it. It had been a long day, after all. Weakens the immune system.

Annoyances. Annoyances. Annoyances.

Sitting down on the table next to her gear, Lili watched the door with eyes peeled for the first sight of danger. If, for some reason, the tower didn't work out, maybe the group could use this place as their safe space. Only one entrance, and it wasn't all that far from the door to the building either. If the layout of the room was any indication, someone had already tried boarding themselves up in here. They didn't die of boredom, or, if they did, they had the courtesy to do it somewhere else.

"Poster time?" she asked, glancing over at Kizzy.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Kiziah Saraki continued from A Time to Love.))

Kizi hadn't really been the best partner as they walked. She had settled to scraping the bag across the floor, grunting and panting as her chief forms of communication, hoping that she wasn't unknowingly doing damage to her back or anything like that. She was in this for the long haul, after all. She hadn't been paying much attention to her surroundings, implicitly trusting Lili to be the vanguard, the watcher.

When she looked up, as Lili opened the doors to the cafeteria, Kizi could not help but notice that the...quality of the building had dramatically improved. The architecture had more integrity. Any mess and chaos was fresher, rather than emblematic of a more intractable long-term succumbing to nature. Things looked more salvageable here. More civilised. Maybe there was a hint of confirmation bias at play here, but damn, this boded well. Had some sort of symbolic resonance with her.

She dragged the bag over to the nearest table, following Lili, the shotgun falling loose and almost landing on her foot. She pulled her foot back with a yelp, narrowly missing the din of the shotgun hitting the floor. Kizi had refused offers of help. Probably not the smartest move, but, well, she'd been too exhausted dragging the bag to really think logically. A kind of catch-22. Can't think logically when carrying such a heavy bag, can't realise that without being able to think logically. Kizi picked up the shotgun, resting it delicately on the table, before sitting down, letting out a sigh of relief.

"Okay. Yeah. Posters."

"So..." She was speaking slowly, every other word punctuated with a cacophony of irregular breaths. "So, yeah. Two ways. That I can see us doing this. One is a longer...more, like, a manifesto thing. Like, we say what we're doing. What we believe in. All that. Or, we can just do...a kind of. Quick thing. Like, 'we're not playing, we're making a safe place', lay out the rules." She blinked. If they laid out the rules, they might as well write the manifesto.

"Oh, I don't know. The point is, we have to mention the 'safe place' aspect. Not the mutual suicide thing Penelope mentioned. If it comes to that..." Kizi swallowed. "Fine. Well, no. Not fine. But, okay, better than the alternative. But people won't sign up for that sort of thing. We have to keep the hope of dragging this game out alive."
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Lili weighed the options in her head. The first sounded like a lot of work, and since the others weren't here yet it probably wasn't the best idea to write out a manifesto so soon. Plus, there was a good chance that people wouldn't even read the damn thing - that they'd see it on their walks and wandering and just move past. However - and this was a fairly decent sized 'however' - those that did show up would be those who hopefully read the whole thing and found themselves agreeing so much that they could hardly contain their excitement! Could she really turn those people, those genuine seekers away?

The second poster plan was efficient, but it lacked the element of honesty that the other idea required of applicants. People wouldn't have much to go off of, considering the circumstances, and they'd attract more halfheartedly confused people than anything else. People with dumb questions. She'd never have to know those questions if she just turned them away, of course, but that wasn't entirely up to her.

In the end, she found herself caught in the middle between the two options.

"Well yeah, we definitely can't mention Plan B," she said, putting a finger to her lips, "But like, I dunno, which one of those choices is the better one? And what if people think we're luring them into a trap?" Lili paused for a moment. "Yeah, if anyone's gonna think we're just trickin' them, then the longer poster might be better, if only 'cause nobody goes to that much effort for a trick, unless they're like, super dedicated, or something, y'know?"
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Lili's analysis was good. Very good. Kizi found herself with her hands over her mouth, eyes staring idly at the floor, just listening intently to her weighing up the options. It was far more rigorous and methodical than her own off-the-cuff intuition-reliant guesswork, and Kizi felt that their collective chances were already being improved dramatically just by talking things out. Just by discussing the options. Just by approaching some kind of truth.

"Yeah." She ran her hand through her hair when Lili's thoughts reached a natural conclusion, when she silently passed the baton of conversation onto her. "My current instinct...is some sort of middle ground?" She clicked her tongue. Kizi was well-aware that that sort of middle-of-the-roadism was indecisive. Vague. Imprecise. She leaned back, trying to think of the words to substantiate it. To give it meaning. She shifted her eyes up to the ceiling, hoping that the change in scenery would kickstart some latent thinking.

"Yeah. Maybe if it's a kind of...we just lay out our plan. What we're doing. A few bullet-points. No need to overelaborate on it. We're gonna draw things out. Establish a safe zone. A few simple bullet-points should suffice. Or a numbered list. Either works." Kizi furrowed her brow. "Alphabetising the list wouldn't work. Actually, numbers will probably be the best bet. Has a sort of chronological clarity, a sort of..." Kizi realised what she was saying. "Sorry. Getting ahead of myself. Yeah. We'll say we'll be taking over..." She pulled out her map.

"Two adjacent subareas in different areas. Because so far they've only danger-zoned areas together. Exception being the library and..." Her thoughts turned more to the danger zone mechanic. "We'll need, like, to draw up a backup list every day. Distribute it to the people in the community. Get things going that way."

She stopped herself from talking any more. She was getting mired in details. Trying to control her thoughts, suppress her doubts, with a fast pace of tackling the minutiae. But she had to think about the big picture at least a bit. Wiping a sole tear of exhaustion from the corner of her eye with the side of her hand, she spoke with more vulnerability. "I wish we'd started earlier. I really wish we had."
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"Maybe it would've been better to start earlier, but there's nothing we can do about that now, okay?" Lili mused, "Let's just focus on the now, and the future. The past is set in stone."

Annoyances.

"For starters, we need somethin' eye-catching, that takes center stage. Maybe a kind of insignia, or symbol to show our intentions. Peace sign, maybe?"

The part about the numbered list was giving Lili a few ideas. Her mind was practically swimming in ideas at this point. Ideas pouring out her ears, stray thoughts coating her in brain juice, like those moments before she ran into B-

Well, maybe he'd show up now, and she could talk all about it then.

"We could have, like, a ten commandments type deal, with some simple rules, but stated all in that 'Thou shalt not kill' style, show that we've got a little bit of good humor left in our bodies, hmm? And yeah, now that you mention it, maybe having the zone inside would be best; all of the asylum's groupings aren't too far apart, and if worst comes to worst and they declare the whole thing off limits, then it shouldn't be all too hard for us to make our way out so long as we stay on the first floor."

Somewhere upstairs, a floorboard creaked. Lili tensed up for a moment before turning back to the task at hand.

"So we could get a middle ground, a medium length numbered list, topped off with a recognizable sign, and once we get those set in stone, then it just comes down to copying them out a few times over, yeah."

She bobbed her head up and down, subtly, to music that wasn't there.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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"Okay. Yes. Forget about the past. Well, don't forget about it. That wasn't what you were saying. But, yeah. Future, focus. On it. Yeah." It was a disjointed mess, but it helped get her thoughts in order. They should remember the past. Learn from it. Be motivated by it. But no time for regrets. That would jeopardise everything.

The commandments thing and the symbol idea were good. Was a wee bit grandiose, maybe. Or had the risk of descending into that kind of thinking, at the very least. They had to be wary of that trap. Couldn't let this be mutated into a vehicle for their own preservation, after all. Couldn't let this become a personality cult sort of thing. Kizi nodded, though. She was sure Lili was in a similar mind to her on that front. No point in insulting her integrity by bringing it up.

"Yeah. So, maybe we can kind of, like, integrate our plan into the rules?" Kizi stood up, beginning to pace a little bit. Still within jumping distance of her gun, so she could throw herself at it if some intruder came in with disastrous intentions. Her senses were largely on a break, and she was hoping Lili would be on guard for any subtle indications of threat. "So, the first few items could be about what we're gonna do, then the sort of rules we'd live by, and then the end goal?"

She stood at the end of the table, scratching her head. She needed a shower. But, no time to worry about that. "And if...if we do get everyone together...and I mean everyone...what then?" Penelope's plan seemed like the logical answer. But fuck. It felt unsatisfying. Maybe they were getting ahead of themselves. And it would, at the end of the day, be a good problem to have. But still.
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"That seems like a good way to order it," Lili replied, "Introduce our idea, build on it, and take it to its artfully logical conclusion." Now, she was grooving. She was in the zone. Improv free jazz, her flute being her brain, fluttering around in dancing circles with Kizzy, bouncing off of her awkwardness, meshing with her insight, all building towards a peaceful conclusion, serene and pleasant. She was excited now. Not annoyed, excited.

And then the question was asked.

"What then?"

Lili didn't think that Penelope had wanted them to kill themselves on the spot when they all showed up. At the very least, that's not how it had sounded to her. They were waiting for the collars. A long waiting game, until everything went kablam and they all died, hopefully simultaneously so nobody had to sit and watch their friends' heads get blown off.

Waiting game.

"Party," Lili said, "It could be this big fucking party, at the end of our lives, at the end of our worlds, y'know?"

She stood up on the table and threw her hands out dramatically. If there ever was a time for spectacle, this was it.

"We have food, they have food, and lots of water, and who knows what else they have? We could fuck around, have fun, unload baggage, do whatever the hell we want, because it sure as fuck isn't what they want. They want us to be at each other's throats, dying, bleeding, but what they don't expect is for us to be normal teenagers and throw the best fucking party of our lives. No regrets! No hangups! No hangovers! We're all gonna die, so why not do it as ourselves?"

A wild, crazy smile spread across her face. She wasn't smiling out of sweetness, or to look nice, or to be polite or reassuring but out of genuine excitement for the first time in what felt like ages, even if those ages had been just a few days ago. Lili did a small hop off of the table, and stood facing toward Kizzy.

"How's that sound?"
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Their emotions seemed to be on entirely different trajectories. Kizi's early rush of hope had been tempered by some obstinate doubts, some newly unearthed insecurities, by the increasingly poignant burden of the reasonable and the viable. Lili seemed to be just catching up to Kizi's earlier emotional state, of a somewhat heady enthusiasm, and Kizi hoped for everyone's sake that she wasn't doomed to follow Kizi into this more brooding mire of self-doubt and anxiety. Kizi's 'what then' had crystallised in her own head as the vanguard of those doubts. A nagging, vexing voice. Chipping away at her early confidence.

If they got everyone together, if they succeeded against all hopes?

Settle for Penelope's plan by proxy? Just with added partying flair? She couldn't speak for others, but Kizi was in no mood for partying. Granted, it was not her personality. She was no great reveller by nature. But she had had a relatively easy island experience. The more traumatised, the more scarred, they would possibly find that suggestion mad. Insane, even.

She kept these thoughts to herself. They were uncharitably phrased. Lili had done nothing to deserve a sharp tongue or a scornful glare. Nothing whatsoever. Lili was on Kizi's side.

Kizi watched, smiling, unable to mirror her beaming, unable to share Lili's newfound radiance. She tried. She really did. She leaned back, made sure to watch Lili's whole performance, even nodded at points. That much was genuine. It was a worthy goal. Probably a more realistic goal. And again, the moral victory would be won. The terrorists would be defeated. In principle, if nothing else.

"Yeah. That'd be great. Definitely the best way to go out, but..."

"Well, people might not agree to that. They might...y'know, try and fight. Or break everything apart. Try and save themselves. Maybe corrupt the community. Just...well, the terrorists want one death a day. What happens if we get to that point, of everyone being together, and nobody wants to fight or die, and everyone just begins killing one person a day? That'd be really messed up." If it meant survival for even a dozen, certainly, it may be better than the alternative. But that's just eleven more people forced to live with an unconscionable burden. "I wouldn't be okay with that. I know you wouldn't. But..."

She buried her head in her hands. "I can't help but think that if we expand slowly at first - which is what will happen, I'm not saying we should be unambitious in our goals or anything - we can drag this out even longer. Increase the chances of survival. But if we do expand quickly, if it is a couple of days and then bam, we're done, I'm not sure...I'm not sure it can hold together." The words of doubt felt toxic and foreign on her tongue. But she couldn't keep them in.

"Let's just...if we're the final two, we wait. Okay?"
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"Well, sure, they might not agree to a full blown party," Lili said, backpedaling a little (both in her words and on her feet), "But maybe what I meant was...more of a relaxed space. I mean, I don't get invited to many parties, so I don't know what came up in your mind when I said that, but I was just thinking a lighthearted space where we can kind of relax, and maybe have a little fun to pass the time, I guess."

Her enthusiasm had been slightly curbed. She wasn't going to back down completely as far as her ideas went, but Kizzy's rational words had taken her head out of the clouds and put her feet back on the ground.

"If we're aiming for slower growth, then maybe only put out three posters instead of five. Simple as that, really, pick slightly less traversed places to put 'em, and bam, a more intimate setting blossoms and blooms. And we're not gonna let ritual sacrifice slide just to drag this out longer. Trust me. These guys who put us here ain't gods, just wackjobs with a little too much time and money, got me? I'm not gonna hurt anybody, because it's what they want, and because I don't want to. If others can't take that much control over their own fate, and take to picking each other off, then they get ousted."

Voted off the island, so to speak. Except they're still on the island, and they're not being voted off but physically removed, and-

"I wouldn't kill you. I wouldn't hurt anyone."

Words started to spill out of her brain.

"So if somehow we're the last two left, then we'll have that party, okay? Just the two of us, here, looking out over the ocean and Spiderland and all, and we'll be the real winners."

Another beat of silence, and Lili turned her gaze downward.

"I mean, I hope it doesn't come down to that..."
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Kizi realised she may have been a bit too brusque. Maybe a little bit too dismissive. Lili's enthusiasm was deflated almost immediately, and Kizi felt incredibly guilty for that. "Yeah. That'd sound nice." She felt apologetic, wanted to do what she could to help recover Lili's exuberant and boisterous energy. Someone acting so theatrical, so inspirational, so gloriously hammy...that was an element of comedy that she realised she missed the moment she ensured its absence. "And, hey, if it becomes a rowdy party with booze and whatever, I wouldn't complain." She chuckled. Again, not her style, but then again, none of this was.

"Yeah, I don't think we need to...consciously aim for slower growth. Even if we blanket the island in posters..." She shrugged. "Yeah, it'll be intimate at first. Just it could be too successful for its own good. Just a..." She chuckled, nervously, hoping to bring back some of that levity. "Just something to keep in mind, y'know? Something to be cognizant of."

"And sure. That'd be nice. And if more people join in...that'd be nice." She smiled, and offered her open arms for a hug.

"...what's Spiderland?"
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Lili froze up.

"Uh..."

Shit. Shit, fuck, no, fucking shit fuck no, I didn't just say that, no, no way, fuck no.

"It's just..." she said, hesitating. Kizzy's arms stayed open, waiting for a hug. Lili didn't know how she could move forward, the few steps that were separating the two of them stretching into miles upon miles of barren wasteland.

"Never mind that."

Lili looked down at her shoes. Not hers. Someone else's. Kizzy didn't know that.

"I'm just..."

Without looking up, Lili staggered forward into Kizzy's arms and embraced her.

"Don't worry about it, me, nothing, no."
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Kizi didn't really get what sort of reaction she was getting from Lili. She dropped her arms, eventually, a motion slightly tinged with regret. She'd missed hugs, but one obviously was not immediately forthcoming. Maybe she'd triggered some kind of arachnophobic reaction? Or Lili had let slip some random nickname or figment of her imagination or obscure injoke or something?

Her better judgement was distracted at that point. So Kizi asked further.

Just as her arms began to drop, Lili stumbled into them, and Kizi instinctively put her arms back up, pulling Lili into a tight embrace.

"Well, is it like, a part of the island with a tonne of spiders in? Because, I mean, I'm not arachnophobic, really, and if you are, that's fine, but if we need to venture back there, I can kind of be the one to go in and - yeah." That seemed like a smart and considerate offer.

Oh. It probably was something worse than that.

"Or is it...I mean, you can talk to me. Or not. Your choice."
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Spiders? Like, actual spiders? Is that what it sounded like?

Lili couldn't help but laugh a little. She patted Kizzy on the back softly.

"No, no, it's not...not that."

She stepped back, letting go of Kizzy and sitting back down on top of the table. Looked down, and to the left, at a spot on the ground that looked just a little bit darker than the surrounding space.

"I call this place Spiderland," Lili explained, pointing at her face, "In my head. I hated thinking the island this and the island that. Makes me feel stupid saying it now, but, hey, it's something, that I did, to rationalize this place with myself, I guess, or something, I dunno."

She looked back up and shrugged, sticking her tongue out, but she couldn't help but feel the slightest bit empty inside.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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"Oh. Oh." Kizi's face lit up with realisation. Her eyes opened, wider than normal, and she nodded, taking it in, a satisfied smile appearing on her face. That was an amazing insight into Lili's thinking, in so many ways. Made her all the more awesome. Yup. It was a shame they hadn't been friends before all this because-nope. Nope. No regrets. Future. Think about that. Because their friendship was looking pretty awesome in the long term.

"That's...actually pretty smart. Makes it sound less...foreboding." She chuckled. Genuinely, this time. "I mean, it says a lot about how bad our situation is that a land of spiders seems pretty palatable in comparison, but...well, they're pretty awesome creatures, in fairness. I saw this spider once, and sadly I don't have Google Image to show you but it was awesome. It was metallic blue. Like, a really bright blue. It was awesome. Just a beautiful sight. And there's this other spider, in the Sahara I think, who like, rolls away from danger. Like, cartwheels away from it. Oh, and jumping spiders wear little droplets of water on their head."

She shook her head, trying to recalibrate her thoughts. "Sorry. Pretty awful anecdote without, y'know, an ability to back it up. It's kinda pointless saying, hey, this is awesome, if I can't show it to you." She looked down, staring at the same patch of floor Lili's eyes had been drawn to. "Yeah. It works pretty well. Sorry about asking, I might have, been, like, prying into something traumatic there or anything but-"

Kizi smiled again. It was good to think about this sort of thing. "You know, my first thought when you mentioned Spiderland was that, maybe in that announcement thing at the beginning, they'd tried to scare us to stay on the island by saying all the surrounding islands were covered in spiders, and I'd simply forgotten about that. Really dumb thought, I know." She clicked her tongue. "Spiderland. I like that. Have you, like, copyrighted it or something? Because I might want to plagiarise it." She smiled. It was good to joke again.
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Lili laughed.

"Always dug spiders. Awesome little guys, finding a way to keep on trucking and scare the shit out of us humans when they're just so goddamn tiny, and sometimes fuzzy, like they're cute or something."

Lili laughed some more. It really was a cool name. Too bad it wasn't her own. Kizzy ran with it, though. Made some funny jokes. She rocked back and forth on her hands, feeling the emptiness inside replaced by a comforting warmth that stirred her soul to move again. She could very well lie and say that the name was entirely her own, take credit for other people's inventions - no way for Kizzy to fact check it, right?

...no.

"It's not my name, that I made up, though. It's actually the name of an album I like. I'm really into music, but usually pretty obscure and out there stuff. Spiderland isn't, like, super weird, but it's really raw and it really grabs you by the throat with some really heavy guitar riffs and spoken word sections and poems that break up the heavy bits, because funnily enough the singer can't really sing, he just kinda shouts in this angsty kinda wail, but it works because it matches the music just so well. So, I'm not original enough to come up with my own name. Not quite."

She wasn't sure if it was more appropriate to say that she was into music. She hadn't heard anything remotely musical for a week now, and it wasn't clear if she ever would.

Oh well.

"What kind of stuff do you listen to?"
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Kizi sat back down, and pulled out a bit of bread and water, just to sate her appetite. They were relaxing in this moment. She really enjoyed it. Lili explained the truth behind her naming pick, and Kizi listened intently.

"Listen, you can take credit for the application of the name. You know, very few names are entirely original. I mean, if you wanna get pedantic, Spiderland was a derivative name. Of the words spider and land. So you took it, into a new context, and made it your own." Kizi patted her on the back. "And you're citing your sources, which is a good thing."

The conversation turned to music. Kizi was always awkward with this kind of thing. She felt unnatural, jolted, a little bit out of her depth when talking so forthrightly about interests. All she could do was opt for honesty. "I'm a..." She took another swig of water. Procrastination.

"I'm one of those annoyingly indecisive people who say they listen to everything."
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"True. Some of my favorite artists do stuff with field recordings, like, they go out into the world and interview people or capture the ambiance of the world, and incorporate that into their music, and they manage to take credit for that, so I should feel just fine about stealing Spiderland. There was this one fucking album, aha, where this one guy recorded the natural ambiance, the room tone, of whatever room he was in, and then played it back into the room so it echoed off the walls, and then recorded that and played it back, over and over again, in four different rooms. Pretty crazy."

Kizzy lied and said she listened to everything. Lili doubted she'd listened to 4 Rooms, not that it mattered much anymore. It wasn't even something Lili enjoyed very much - not musical enough, not in the slightest.

"At least you're not being a liar, I guess," Lili said, "I have really out there tastes, I'm in no real place to judge."

The one person she'd shared significant musical experiences with, Asuka, was somewhere else on this island. Or was she? Lili had always felt deep down that she was, but then again, she didn't exactly know for sure. It had been a few years since the concert they went to, but Lili had made sure to bring up music from time to time when they happened to speak. Other than her, she was pretty much alone in her interests.

But she didn't have to be.

"Okay," Lili started, "I'm gonna spitball an idea here. What if, when we get people together, we pick out the artsy fartsy types, and make some music using whatever we can find? Use art to rebel. We could set up in a different room, closeby, and make some real outsider stuff, seeing as we don't have any instruments. I played flute in the school band, I have a bit of a grasp on theory and stuff. Pretty stupid thought, but I just think it's a neat concept. We'd get on the front page of Pitchfork, at the very least."
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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"Ooh." That sounded pretty cool. She raised an eyebrow, and sat forward. You didn't need to be a musical aficionado to find that pretty cool. It was creative, and artsy, and experimental, and Kiziah always appreciated people who did that kind of thing. "What was it called? And who by?" Not like she'd have a chance to investigate it, in all honesty, and if she did, she'd probably forget and the album would forever be on the tip of her tongue, driving her crazy with frustration. But still.

"Yeah. I just listen to whatever's on. If I do have preferences or genre likes, I'm too much of a philistine to know them yet."

And then Lili floated another idea. Kizi nodded, leaned back, and smiled, clearly trying to concoct a mental image that was probably too ambitious. "That'd be awesome. Yeah. Really kick it to the terrorists."
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"Album was literally called '4 Rooms' by some guy named Jacob Kirkegaard. He wasn't very creative with names either. I'm pretty sure the rooms were a church, a swimming pool, a cafeteria, and a gym, or something. He'd probably have a field day with this place."

Lili smiled at Kizzy's relative open minded tastes. If they were rescued, which was looking more and more unlikely by the day, she'd have to show her some of her favorite records. Oh, and 4 Rooms. Only because she'd mentioned it.

"Some of the best stuff is recorded in isolation," Lili remarked, "Like 'Trout Mask Replica' by Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. They locked themselves up in a cabin for, like, three months, and set about practicing every day and playing over and over. Never mind that Beefheart was borderline insane and everyone was on drugs the whole time, it's still a neat idea."

Lili laid back on the table and sighed, shutting her eyes. Another great album she'd never get to listen back to. Come to think of it, she could've named the island Frownland too, after the first song on that album, or, better yet, Shadowland after a song by The Residents. If she'd just kept herself from blurting out the name, she could readjust herself to a new one and leave it at that. Too late for that now, though.

Her eyes opened and looked out at the blurry room, but it was something next to her head that caught her eye. Someone had scratched something into the table.

"What's this, here?" Lili asked, sitting up, "Looks like somebody wrote something."
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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"Names. Of people we know."

Kiziah was sometimes observant. But normally those moments coincided with her taking the mantle of Captain Obvious, and it did not take long for her to make that startling diagnosis. As Lili had explained her music taste, she had sat in silence, responding with her facial expressions. Genuine interest, sincerely paying attention, but nothing much to contribute to that particular avenue of conversation. When Lili had walked away, Kizi had remained seated, but the piqued interest in her features had been enough to goad her back onto her feet, where she stood at that moment, by Lili's side, examining the list of names.

"Our classmates." As if there was any doubt about the depth of her perceptive abilities, she removed it with that addendum. She spent the next few moments perusing the list, trying to think of something more insightful to say.

"Is it a list of the de-" No. It wasn't. "Looks like they crossed out names as they went along." She was tracing her finger down the list. Looking for her own name, in a flash of ego, but she couldn't find it. She wasn't exactly observant, though, and her name was liable to be misspelt. Plus, she wasn't exactly the most commanding presence in Cochise. Would have been quite easy for her to be forgotten, if this was some kind of register or whatever. "Do you think we should..." Well, a few recent deaths had not been accounted for. There had clearly been a stop-off date, but her amateurish detective skills gave her the slightest suspicion this hadn't been a one-day thing. Some of the scratches looked done by a different hand, or on a different day, or were surrounded by more dust. Maybe a couple of days. "Do you think we should carry it on?"

"Maybe, it can work as a kind of...register? Or recruitment list?"
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Lili slid off of the table, standing next to Kizzy. She was right - the scratches did make out a list of their classmates.

"We could, I guess?" Lili muttered, still somewhat unable to see who was and wasn't on the list, "See how many people are left that we have to convince. Could work, could very well work." She scratched at her chin, eyes flickering around the room. Even if they had art supplies, Lili wasn't entirely sure that they had something they could carve into the table with. "Would it be slightly simpler to transfer the names that had already been written onto one of the pieces of paper?" No, she thought, that could be a waste of a poster. Drawing directly onto the table wouldn't be much better.

She leaned in closer to the list until she was able to tell what names were there. Some of them she recognized, while others were unfamiliar. As far as she could tell, however, her name was not among the list. Whether she was supposed to feel good or bad about that was beyond her. There were multiple lists too - the fact that she hadn't made it onto any of them made that judgement even harder to make. Either way, it was serving to distract them from their poster making.

"Maybe we should worry about that later. Posters come first, yeah?"

Where her newfound focus came from, she could not say.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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“Sounds like a plan.”

And with that, they got to work. Kizi was not artsy, but she had a way with words. She had a certain self-control when writing things down, something that was not conveyed at all in her undisciplined verbal expression. Punchy, concise, to the point. She could somehow muster all of that when writing, when given time to reflect, when given an opportunity to get constant feedback, to adapt and change.

Kizi did add some decorative flourishes, with excess or unsuitable paint, in the form of circles and arrows and whatnot, just to give things an extra punch, an extra capability to draw the eye. They were very neat lines, very immaculate and clean-cut colouring, an almost mathematical perfectionism to some of the circles. It was clear, from the clashes of colour, that she was making do with subpar supplies, but it was no worry. If anything, the inharmonious colour scheme and discordant irregularity of the designs made them stand out more. And the colours were fresh. They ‘popped’. They would draw the eye. Placement was another thing, but she was sure they could find good locations. Maybe high up? A few of them, anyway. The ones with bigger handwriting, of course. She discussed these things with Lili as they worked, but briefly, logging notes for future conversation.

Her first poster was a ten bullet point list. A simple list, really, of all the stuff she’d mentioned. A good strategy, she decided. Worthy of replication. She didn’t copy things exactly. She wanted to avoid the monotony, and revise her wording as she went along. Bold colours and a big line of text at the top, some eye catching title. One of the titles was an emboldened “SEX”, followed by the subtitle “now that I have your attention…” An old joke, but hey, some levity may be worth a shot.

Five posters to start with, each. She wasn’t going to explicitly hold Lili to that standard. But she had taken five sheets of paper to get to work with, and had given Lili five, and there were a few others in the bag, but whatever. She wasn’t going to rush her, or micromanage, or demand she go according to a template or whatever. Let her creativity run free, let her work at her own pace. Lili kept up the pace, in the end. A few moments where she faltered, because of her eyesight. Kizi always offered a hand to help her out whenever she noticed such a lull.

And it was fun. They talked, they chatted. Continued mixing in the more sombre and purposeful talks with chatting, joking. At one point they had a very short paint fight. It was fun. Very short. Just flicking brushes at each other for a few moments. All in good fun. No reason not to engage in a little bit of horseplay.

And they worked for a few hours. And they ate, and then they looked over their work, and nodded at one another. “So, I’ll get to carving in the names into the table now. We have five to start with, and…” She trailed off. “Uh. What do you think they used? As a carving thing?”
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The posters looked better than Lili ever thought they would. The work had taken a whole day, but it had been worth it: soon enough, they'd get these posters up all over the place, and people would come knocking at the door looking for them. It had been fun, too - the process, that is - so much fun that Lili wished they hadn't stopped. Even so, looking over the posters filled Lili with a sense of accomplishment that she hadn't felt in a long time.

"Probably a knife, or something?" Lili guessed, responding to Kizzy's question, "Though I don't think we have anything of that caliber here, do we..."

Lili strained to remember the contents of her bag. The light saber on her hip was, unfortunately, fake, and so they couldn't burn anything into the tables. Similarly, a blunt instrument like the nightstick was useless in this situation. However, her mind wandered to the med kits they had. Lili hadn't even gotten a good chance to use hers yet. She raised a finger in the air, signaling Kizzy to wait a moment, and wandered over to where she put her bag. Undoing the zipper, she fished around for the box of supplies, eventually pulling it out and setting it down on a table. The thing was filled with useless junk like soap and masks and aspirin, but hidden in there she found two candidates for name-writing. Clutching them in her hands, she walked back over to Kizzy.

"Option A," she said, holding out the lighter, "Gives us the ability to burn the names right into the table. I mean, I don't know exactly how that'd work, but we'd figure it out, if we didn't light everything on fire firs-"

Shit. That was in poor taste. Already forgetting about the library, Lili? You're just plain dumb. Stupid, dumb, stupid.

With a sheepish giggle of realization and a muttered apology, she put the lighter in her pocket.

"Option B," she continued, holding up a pair of scissors, "Probably makes way more sense, all things considered, given that they're sharp, and probably more likely closer to what the people here used. Forget I said anything about the other, er, thing, aha, um, yeah."
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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The flame may have been impractical, but the mere suggestion seemed to put Lili on edge the moment the words had left her own mouth. Seemed to make her feel bad. Lili had sheepishly put it away. Maybe the fire reminded Lili of some past trauma? Better not to ask. Kizi smiled, to signal that Lili's backing away from the fire was not a problem. She wouldn't pry or judge.

Alright. Scissors were good. They were suitable. A convenient side effect of their medical kits, really. If this plan worked, then maybe the terrorists would not in the future provide scissors in the medical kit. Or maybe not. It was a small part of the overall scheme, after all. But still, if they did end up retaliating to their plan by revoking the use of scissors, Kizi felt a small pang of guilt for the students who'd suffer because of their absence from the medical packages.

Kizi wasn't quite sure what purpose scissors served, medically. Looking at how sharp the blades was, she decided she wouldn't think about it too much. "Thank you", she said, with a smile, as she took the scissors from Lili, and held them at a weird angle, trying to get it so there was only one blade, with enough of a hold in the table, to carve a name. It took her a few seconds to get an appropriate position, and she may have cut her thumb in the process. By the end of it, her view of the scissors as an auspicious find was fading, but then suddenly, the blade dug into the table just an inch, sawdust flying out. She was almost tempted to ask for the flame, only held back by how reluctant Lili had obviously been with that idea. "Yes!" she exclaimed through gritted teeth, that they would not have to seek out an option C.

And so she began carving the names.

'Kiziah Saraki.'

She was on the second 'l' of Lili's name when she had to look up at her. "Uh, is your name two ls in the middle? And does it end with a y?"

Kizi looked back down again. "Oh, and I forgot your last name."
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Kiziah Saraki.

Not Kizzy, or Kissy. It was, this whole time, something more like Kizi. Not once had Lili thought to ask about how Kizi's name was really spelt, or what that meant, or anything like that. Had she even said her name recently? Silently, Lili mouthed it, feeling the shapes of the letters curl over her lips. It felt good, in some weird way. Like she was revealing to herself some truth that she didn't know she was looking for. She was so caught up in her own musings that she almost didn't notice Kizi's question about her own name.

"Just one 'l', and it ends with an 'i', which is weird, I know," Lili said, "And my last name is Williams."

There it was again, that same feeling that had come over her when she said Kizi's name. My name is Lili Williams. She hadn't forgotten, of course, but it felt like she had been slowly pushing herself away, distancing herself from reality, dehumanizing herself, letting go of any earthly inhibitions. With this, her name drew close again. Lili felt tinges of what she had been struck with the first day, on the tower. Even if it wasn't that exact feeling, it was enough to bring her back there, with Eyepatch's gun pointed in her face. How was she doing? Eyepatch, the first face she'd seen on the island, was she still alive? Would she be surprised to see that Lili had made it this far along?

Or was she dead, like so many others?

"It's a weird spelling, of Lily, I guess," she added, nodding her head.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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