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No Rest for the Obsessed; tagging Zee!
Topic Started: Jul 9 2017, 04:18 PM (282 Views)
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Who is this sassy lost child
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((Min-jae Parker continued from Chew Until It Bleeds))

Jae avoided the asylum this time around. Lesson learned.

(Except of course not, because he never learned anything from his mistakes. What lesson even was there to hold over his head - avoid buildings full of corpses at all costs? As if he had much choice in the matter.)

He hadn't been to the bell tower before today either. It was a tall building full of stairs (and, probably, corpses) and thus didn't hold much appeal to him. His other options were diminishing, though. There was the utility area with the garage where Jae had killed and buried whatever feelings he and Hazel might have had for each other, and the cliffs where Hazel had died. There was the chapel where he had spent his last moments of peace with Asha and the garden where he had tried to shake off the haze of grief her death had settled over him. There was the asylum, and the rapidly-growing list of reasons why Jae didn't want to set foot in it again if he could help it.

At least the bell tower offered some novelty in whatever awful thing it was going to introduce.




...Or maybe not.

Maybe, instead, there was going to be a bloodstained lump in the middle of the walkway, and when he got close enough to it he would recognize what was left of Alessio.

The paranoia rose again, wrapping cold claws around his chest and throat. It was soon rewarded with the first spray of bullets throwing up dirt and gore when one struck Alessio's head.

Jae didn't pause to think about it. He clutched the rifle, even as his hands were longing for the more familiar weight of the crossbow, and he broke into a limping run towards the meager shelter the bell tower offered.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Jae wasn't sure if he was hit - he didn't think so, but he didn't have time to stop and check, and who knew what the adrenaline would block out. Some of the bullets were so close that he could feel heat as they flew past him, and he wasn't sure if whoever was firing at him wasn't actually trying to hit him or if they just had terrible aim. If the person at the top of the tower was who he expected, chances seemed about equal either way. They were playing some kind of fucked-up cat and mouse game, and nobody had bothered to clue Jae in to the rules.

He made it into the shadow of the bell tower without getting popped in the head, so there was that. It took a few moments of edging around the side, heart hammering in his chest, to get to the door and slip inside.

His first hesitant steps through the door were met with a burst of automatic fire straight down from the top of the tower, and Jae threw himself back, flattening himself against the inside of the door. His lungs were protesting, but he held the cough in to the best of his ability. He wasn't hidden, not in here, but he wasn't about to give his exact location away if he could help it.

Jae wasn't sure if he heard a shuffling from the top of the tower or if his imagination insisted that he did. Didn't really matter.

He had nowhere to go but up, and the person who had been tormenting him for a day had nowhere to escape to.

Jae scanned the interior of the ground level but turned up nothing that might help him actually get to the stairs without getting riddled with bullets. He glanced down and was briefly sidetracked by a few splotches of gray on one of his boots; after a moment it clicked that he was looking at blobs of Alessio's brain matter, thrown up by the shot that had hit the severed head. Jae grimaced and scuffed his foot against the doorframe to try and scrape it off.

There was no more fire as long as he didn't show himself. No way to get up there and put an end to this without moving out of cover. Jae eased his bag off his shoulder and set it down so that he could handle the rifle properly. He was tempted to take the crossbow out for the familiarity, but it wasn't going to do him as much good as the rifle here.

Jae glanced up again, sucking in a frustrated breath through his teeth. Without the immediate threat of gunfire, he could think more clearly, but he was mostly just agitated when not running scared.

He eyed the bell.

Jae closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and remembered what it felt like to be caught off-guard, to be cornered and praying for mercy, to have his privacy and security violated for a cheap scare. To be here. He dredged his anger up and took a moment to just... appreciate it. It didn't feel like he knew what he was doing, but it felt like he was doing something. It felt like purpose.

He reopened his eyes and raised the rifle, flicking the safety off and curling his finger around the trigger.

He found the bell through the scope and fired.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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As soon as there was a pause in the gunfire, Jae made a break for the stairs.

Between the cacophony of the bell, the screaming from upstairs, and the roaring of blood in his ears, there wasn't much room for any coherent thought. Just the urge up, up, ignoring the burning of his lungs and the way he stumbled every few steps as his injured leg didn't quite make it to where it needed to be. He kept close to the railing nearest the wall, more for support than strategy.

One thought did float up as the bell's ringing began to fade, though.

I'm going to fucking kill you.

He didn't have a name or even a face for the person at the top of the tower. He didn't need one.

Before the bell could really begin to quiet, Jae shot it again.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Jae clutched onto the railing as the gun went plummeting past him, haphazardly spraying bullets. His ears were ringing as he neared the top of the stairs, the vibrations of the bell resonating in the pit of his stomach, but he was evidently taking it better than whoever was laying in wait for him. The tables were turning.

Emboldened, Jae climbed the last few steps. He couldn't see anyone from where he was standing, but there weren't many places to hide up here. Just...

"There you are, you fucking gremlin."

He didn't know what was coming, and didn't have time to think about it. As the person in the shadows stepped out and Jae caught sight of the rusty-looking blade, he swung the butt of the rifle towards the mask.

They both made contact. There was a sickening noise as the swing connected and the bite of the machete against his ribs, tearing the gash on his side open again and sending Jae back with a yell.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Jae could feel blood seeping into his shirt again, should have taken the time to zip up his fucking jacket-

He raised his arm as the machete swung down again and the shock of the impact rattled all the way up to his shoulder but the thick leather of his sleeve kept the blade from slicing in again-

He had Jae on his back foot but Jae was bigger and better armed and at least his head didn't look like a sack full of blood that was about to slough right off his shoulders-

(What the fuck do you want from me, who even are you, I'll fucking kill you I'll fucking kill you I'll fucking kill you-)

Jae snarled, struggling to find a moment in between the blows to get a grip on the rifle again. He couldn't manage to adjust it for a shot and instead drove it forward, putting his weight behind it as he slammed the butt of the rifle into the other boy's chest.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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The tide was turning too quickly, back and forth in Jae's favor and then his opponents, no way to keep the upper hand-

The kick to his injured leg combined with his half-lunge to try and keep from dropping the rifle and set him tilting to the side, pain shooting through his knee once again. He didn't have time to regain his balance before a hand wrapped around his throat. The grip was weak, but hell - after ten days with no proper food and barely any rest, to say nothing of his injuries, Jae was weak too when it really came down to it.

He saw the end of the machete leveled at him, and for a moment, it was alright not to think. To accept it, even.







Brendan.











And Jae wheezed out a laugh that was more irony than humor because god, he'd never be free, would he?





And he bared his teeth in an expression that was only a smile in the barest description of the word and lurched forward, digging his fingers into the mask's one empty eye socket and gouging, adrenaline rising again at the noise of shock and pain that he drew forth. The other boy recoiled, but Jae had a grip on the mask now, and it slid off with a wet noise as they broke apart again.

Jae recognized the face under the mask, mutilated as it was, and he couldn't help the disdainful curl of his lip even under the circumstances.

"You little fucker."

His voice was a low growl, animal-like. He lunged for Jon.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Momentum kept Jae pitching forward, and he crashed chest-first into the floor, knocking the wind out of him.

As he lay gasping, there was a noise rather like a splat from somewhere far below.

No other noise followed, and after several long moments, Jae dragged himself up and over to the broken railing to peer over the edge. Jon's body was crumpled and twisted.

Jae flopped onto his back with a groan. As he came down from the adrenaline rush, all his aches and pains, old and new, made themselves known. He was bleeding and bruised, but he had won. He wanted to hope that Brendan's little friendship posse would leave him the fuck alone, but at least one of them was still unaccounted for as far as he knew. Maybe she would go and get herself killed somewhere far away from him, but Jae wasn't much for hope or luck by now.

Would he have let Jon kill him if he hadn't mentioned Brendan? Maybe. Maybe. God, he was tired of fighting. His body and mind were both falling apart.

Wouldn't it be easier to die? To start over? What was he afraid of? Hell? He knew he was going to Hell, or at least to somewhere unpleasant, and that he was going to be there for a long time. Odds were that he would never have the chance to make up for what he had done in this lifetime, so he would have to make up for it in the next.

Fuck, even if he were to live, what did it even mean to make up for this? Sending out apology letters to the families of people he had killed wasn't going to cut it. They wouldn't forgive him no matter what he did. He wouldn't have wanted his parents to pat his killer on the back and tell them that everything was okay. He had hurt people because he was angry and scared, because he hated, because it was easy to lash out, because he didn't know what to do if he just gave up. And he had always been that way.

None of them had changed all that much, here.

Jae stared blankly at the tower's ceiling until he realized he was still holding onto the bloodied mask, and he flung it away with a noise of disgust.

He sat up slowly, groaning. He wasn't sure what he still had left in the way of first-aid supplies, but it was all back on the ground floor regardless. Patching himself up was getting to be more a matter of comfort and keeping himself busy than practicality. He probably wasn't going to live long enough for infection to set in even if he didn't bother.

He located the rifle and flicked the safety back on so he wouldn't go and render his leg completely useless by shooting himself in the foot. He spared one last glance over the side at the body and






















it was gone.

Jae stared at the spot on the ground where Jon had been. Had been. He wasn't there anymore. There was a faint, unsteady trail of blood spatter leading back around the side of the tower, towards the path that led to the asylum.

Shock gave way to the trickle of paranoia again, and then aggravation. Not true anger, just... frustration, more than anything. Was it too much to ask for people to die and stay fucking dead? How did someone that beat to hell survive a multiple-story fall?

Jae ground his teeth, but forced himself to breathe steadily. Back down to his things first, then patching himself up. Then... dealing with loose ends.

Wherever he had gone, Jon was on the run now and Jae was the one on the hunt.

He couldn't have gone far.

((Min-jae Parker and Jonathan Gulley continued in Talons))
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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