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Minus Something; [Shoot First, Ask Questions Later]
Topic Started: Apr 11 2017, 07:17 PM (1,874 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.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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?"
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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?"
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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..."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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?"
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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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.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  * ]
They were just talking.

There wasn't any precedent set, nothing that made her feel like they'd be in danger. No, they were just talking. Why would someone do anything to hurt them? What sin had they committed? Was this somebody's home, their refuge that had been disturbed? Why? Why? Why?

They were just talking.

Lili's mind went white, and adrenaline began to flow through her veins.

She had no idea what was going on. First, voices, their voices, then, noises, someone else's.

"Kih," the sound came, up out of her throat, a name cut in two.

Slowly, she reached her hand out to Kizi, looking to touch her for some confirmation that this was really happening.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Her hand came back wet, with bright cherry red blood tracing the outlines of her fingers. Lili's breathing got heavier as Kizi began to speak, croaking out in confusion, going cold, spewing out warmth, giving Lili shivers.

Lili turned her face toward the other voice in the room. Holding a gun in his hand. Asking questions, as if he had any right to.

Her face twisted into a snarl. She wanted to kill him.

She wanted to hit him, hard, with her nightstick, or a chair, or her fists, hit him so hard that his brains were dripping out from his ears, an ocean of unthinking, dead gray matter, take his gun, shoot him with it, make sure he feels exactly what pain Kizi felt, and...

...and Kizi was still breathing, and that was exactly the opposite of what they had been trying to accomplish, here.

"Y-yeah," Lili said, her voice shaking, "Those are ours."

Her features settled back into a more neutral state. She put her hand back on Kizi's wound. Maybe that'd help to stop the bleeding.

"Come on, Kizi," she whispered, "Fight it, come on, it's nothing major, just the arm, come on."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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