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Paths of Glory; Day 9 Morning. Open
Topic Started: Jun 4 2017, 04:50 AM (654 Views)
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((Clarice Halwood continued from Topic Title.))

Clarice braced her hand against one of the tubs in the water treatment room and stared into the murky, decades-old water that half-filled it. Water also soaked her feet, chilling them to the bone. That water smelt like bodies.

The announcements had come and gone before Clarice got here.

Kizi was dead.

Clarice stared at the water. She was so thirsty. She had no supplies. Nor were there supplies on the body she’d seen on the way to this tub—long since dead, bits of him probably floating around her feet.

Kizi was dead, shot by… by some guy. Ale… Alessio. She remembered, at least this time. She couldn’t remember who’d killed Bernie or Irene, and sometimes she forgot that Nancy was dead and expected to see her out of the corner of her eye. But right now she remembered.

Why couldn’t she remember the rest? Was it the thirst? Was her arm infecting the rest of her? When had she last checked it?

Kizi was dead.

Jennifer had died to keep Kizi and the others safe. Clarice had burned her safety zone to ashes. Kizi never killed anyone. Never hurt anyone. Kizi wouldn’t. Couldn’t. She was dead.

Clarice dunked her face in the tub of murky water, and she drank. She couldn’t describe how it tasted. The closest she had was mud, mushrooms, what shit probably tasted like, and a distinctive rust taste. She wanted to vomit, but she didn’t.

She kept her face in that tub for a little too long. Until her lungs started to burn. Almost reluctantly, she pulled her face out. Then she gripped the tub with her good hand. She heaved, and the tub and what little water remained in it tipped over, splashing out and mingling with the corpse-water that was probably giving Clarice trench foot as she stood there.

Clarice heard an angry shriek mixed in with the clang of the tub hitting the ground. Took her a moment to realise it was her.

She’d done nothing. She’d do nothing. She couldn’t find Scout, couldn’t find Ty, couldn’t find Kimiko, and she couldn’t remember if anyone else was left. All she’d managed to do was live instead of dying, but what was the point of that if her life wasn’t dismantling this stupid game?

There wasn’t anything she could do in this game.

Maybe she’d even killed Kizi by burning down what could have been a proper safehouse. A proper safe zone. She might have tried to stay out of the game, but Kizi was still dead. So was Bernie, and Irene, and Harold, and Conrad, and so many others. They were still dead.

There was no saving anyone.

By the end of it, they’d all be dead. All but one. And those motherfuckers would give the winner a pat on the shoulder and send them back, a piece of propaganda for whatever their goddamn pointless purpose was.

She’d pestered the terrorists. Maybe even forced a few of them on the island to clean up her mess. But it didn’t do anything, not in the long run. What she needed… she needed them in front of her. Needed that Danya asshole in front of her. And she might not stand a chance, even then, but even if it was one in a million…

There was only one way that’d ever happen, though.

That was the sticking point. The only way to even stand a chance at stopping even one member of that fucking group would be to play their game.

And even now, even with the name ‘Alessio Rigano’ echoing around in her head, she didn’t want to do that.

Clarice sat on the overturned tub, pulling her feet up and crossing her legs so they were out of the corpse-water. She pressed her hand to her mouth, partially in case her stomach gave up and let loose the water she’d drunk. Partially out of thought.
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Clarice looked up as she heard the splashing of feet. It was, thankfully, someone friendly. She knew Nate from theatre. She didn’t feel like she’d heard his name over the announcements this last… eight days? Nine days? Nate had been pretty chill back at school… did that still mean anything? Nancy hadn’t been a crackpot back then, either.

Clarice uncovered her mouth. “Hey, N—“ She stopped as she felt something rise in her throat again, shutting her mouth tightly for a moment before continuing. “Hi. I’m… just fucking peachy, I guess.”

She stared Nate down for a second before shrugging and gesturing at the room, trying to ignore the smell.

“I guess if you’re chatting you’re not here to shoot me or anything. Sit on a tub or you’ll get trench foot. Uhhh, how are you holding up?”

Clarice wondered if food would make how her stomach was seething better or worse. She ended up deciding, as with so many other things, ‘fuck it.’ She fiddled with her bag, retrieving one of the ration bars. Anything to get the taste of the tub water out of her mouth.

“Better stay further back, though. I… may puke on you.”
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Nate chose to sit closer than what Clarice was comfortable with, given the situation, but it was too much effort to protest. The wariness faded pretty fast. Nate was calm, unarmed and tiny. Even if he wanted to attack her, and despite her weakening state, she was pretty sure nothing could come of it.

Clarice wiped traces of tub water off her face. "Probably. But I ain't finding a doctor here."

Though, come to think of it, when was the last time she'd changed her bandages? It must have been a while, since she couldn't really do it without help. So... Kizi. The last time had been with Kizi.

"Even if you did sound like an idiot, that's pretty low on the shit scale in this dump. And I guess 'not fine-fine' is as good as anyone could expect to be." Clarice looked at Nate, then looked back at the cracks in the aging wall. "I guess ditto on seeing you. Haven't seen many people in the last few days, and the people I have seen... well, I guess no-one's attacked for a while." Clarice didn't offer a proper smile, although maybe she frowned a little less.

Though, truthfully, she'd almost--ALMOST--welcome someone rushing her right now, just so she could do something besides sit and stir. It would be better than everyone leaving so quickly.

She reached up and touched her bad shoulder experimentally, immediately flinching at the contact, before lowering her hand again.

"If you're not squeamish... would y'mind helping me change my bandages?"
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“Nancy got me with her axe on Day 1. I tried grabbing her arm to stop her leaving—didn’t mean to scare her or anything, just wanted her to hear me out—and this happened.” Clarice adjusted her feet, since one of them was getting pins and needles. “That wasn’t… wasn’t even the shittiest thing that happened that day, but damn if it didn’t tell me how stupid gathering everyone at one point of the island would be.”

Could have been better, with a safe place and rules to follow. Could have been better if it was done Kizi’s way. But no. Clarice burned that down. Burned it down because of one bad day telling her that strangers and acquaintances couldn’t be trusted.

Clarice glanced at the wound, which was now unwrapped, and instantly looked away. It wasn’t looking great. She could see pus leaking from it and the wound was still red and itchy. Still, that pus was clear and the wound didn’t smell corpsy. Even with her limited knowledge, that was something.

She eyed Nate for a moment, partially in an attempt to not look too closely at her arm.

“You don’t look hurt. Got lucky, huh?”
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Clarice grimaced at Nate’s talk about Ben and Alvaro. That was some rough shit. It reminded her of Jennifer and Nancy. Clarice’s form of comfort came in a short, awkward pat on the shoulder.

“...That sucks. Honestly, though? I don’t think running is much to be ashamed about.” Clarice stared at the water and breathed in the corpse smell. “Between flight or fight, in this shitty game? I’d say running from this shit is a lot better than going for it. And if this guy had a gun, what were you going to do anyway?”

Clarice could have shot Nancy. She didn’t. ...She didn’t regret that, though.

“Yeah. It’s weird, huh? So many bodies, so many names… and I’ve seen almost none of it. I… I dunno. I guess avoiding shit is lucky, but at the same time I’m going crazy just sitting around, hearing friends turn up on the announcements, and waiting for that end to catch up with me.”

Maybe it never would. Maybe the itch digging in her shoulder would get her first. Was that better or worse?

Clarice could taste grittiness in her mouth, dirt from the tub, and she pulled together what saliva she could and spat a good portion of it into the water below. The taste didn’t seem as bad as it had minutes ago, but the moment she thought about it the nausea started to rise again. So she kept rambling, because focusing on words was better than puking all over Nate.

“I mean… we know how this all ends. And the only difference is what those fuckers see.” She jerked her head at the camera in the corner of the room. “And who’s the ‘lucky’ person who gets to live with what happened when its all done.”

Clarice took a moment to examine the bandages as Nate finished wrapping them. She didn’t know enough to know if it was a professional job or not—as professional as the island got, anyway—but it was enough. Miles better than what Clarice could have managed on her own. She examined the bandages, then eyed Nate.

“Are you hoping to be that lucky, Nate?” The tone wasn’t accusatory. Just curious.
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Clarice nodded slightly at Nate’s words. Smart dude. She finished examining her bandages, lowering her arm and fighting the urge to scratch at the bandages.

“Thanks. Changing bandages is a bitch with only one hand.”

Clarice kicked her feet out a little. Watching the water ripple as the tip of her shoe skimmed it.

“I haven’t even considered it yet. I mean, I threw my shoe at the camera once, but I wasn’t really thinking about what they’d do to me if I broke it. I’ve known death was there, and a very big chance in shit that I’ve done… but I ain’t thought about punchin’ in my own ticket.

“If losing is the best way to do this… then why didn’t you?”

While she was at it, why hadn't she?
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“If heaven is fussy enough that you can’t get in? Then it probably ain’t fucking worth it to begin with. But… yeah. I getcha.”

Death was fuckin’ scary. That’s really all there was to it. There were worse things, but those things were known. Death was scary because… well, what the fuck happens?

Nate asked if there was anything she wanted to do. She felt like there was. But it all seemed the start of plans with no details as to what she’d actually do once she completed step one.

Find Scout, and then…? Or find Ty, and then…? Find Kimiko, and then…? Did she try to make one of them win? Could she subject them to something that she’d personally deemed worse than death? Or did it not matter, if it was what they wanted? Scout and Kimiko, in particular, they’d killed. They had to want to be the lucky one. Did she get Scout back home? So that her dad and Debbie wouldn’t lose both daughters in one swoop?

Or did she keep going? Try and be the last standing herself, so that when the terrorists came to take her back home… that maybe she’d be able to do something, with them right in front of her. Worse than death, to be that lucky. And everyone else would have to die. But it was an option. A horrible, desperate option, but an option nonetheless.

She tried to vocalize something. One of her potential plans. But every time she thought about what to do, tried to detail it out, her mind went blank with everything but panic. Panic and nausea, that without coherent thoughts or plans was starting to seethe again, and this time it was rising.

“...I wanna throw up,” Clarice choked out.

A moment later, she did so. Coughing up what mostly amounted to sludgy water. That probably wasn’t the answer that Nate wanted to hear, but it was really all she had.
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“I… yeah. I really do,” Clarice croaked, as she watched the vomit dissolve into the water at their feet, quickly becoming indistinguishable.

Over the next few minutes she ended up draining the bottle. In contrast to the disgusting, sludgy water she’d been drinking earlier, the warm bottled water felt like the most wonderful, godly liquid that had ever touched her lips. Water that, off the island, would have needed to be stuck in the fridge for a bit before it was refreshing again. Perspective was funny like that.

She did feel a little better. Even if there was still that part of her screaming that she was a moron, that she had no plan, that she might have very well killed Kizi… well, at least she was hydrated. She didn’t want to puke anymore, and her mouth didn’t taste like mushrooms and mud.

She’d take what little victories she could get at this stage.

“Thanks,” she finally said again. She looked at the now empty bottle. “...Shit, didn’t mean to drink the whole thing.”

She put the empty bottle in her bag. Nate seemed to have enough water on him for now, and maybe there was somewhere she could fill the bottle up. Somewhere that at least wasn’t the horrific mess this area was.

“I… I’ve got some people to find, and this room ain’t getting any better. I’m gonna get going. You’re free to follow, but… well, it’s up to you. Can’t promise I’m going anywhere good.”
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Clarice tried to smile back. It didn't quite work.

"Fuck safety. It ain't gonna get me anywhere I want to be."

With that, she left.

((Clarice Halwood continued elsewhere.))
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