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The Noise Before Defeat
Topic Started: Nov 9 2012, 08:54 AM (393 Views)
Brackie
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When Erin was fourteen years old, she asked her brothers what would happen if any of them were chosen for The Program. Marcus didn't know, and Charlie didn't either. The only answers they had to any sort of question regarding the Underwood children being thrown into The Program were always something along the same line.

We'll win, since that's what we do.

They hadn't exactly thought through the fact that they were in the same class, but that aspect was irrelevant to the girl sitting cross-legged in the ruins of a burnt out building. She knew that all was expected of her was one of two things, if heaven-forbid she ever wound up in The Program; win, or die. There wasn't a third option.

It was going to take a minute for her to remember that. Right now, all Erin had been concerned about for the past day or so was trying to silently mouth the lyrics to a certain song. It was a song everybody knew, a song about the country they called home. It wasn't about war, or death, or conquering. Quite frankly, it could have been a song her generation forgot. But her parents made sure she knew every line.

From sea to shining sea, indeed. It looked like she was still between those shining seas. But there was a reason she was trying to remember that song in particular. She was a proud young American girl, the perfect specimen, the example by which all her classmates should have followed if they wanted to grow into true patriots. Of course she knew the lyrics to America the Beautiful. She wasn't trying to remember them.

No, it was just all she could do to block out the gunshots and screams of her former classmates.

It was all so easy for everyone else to look at something like this and scoff, telling themselves that they'd do better than the poor soul who didn't even fight for his life. For them, there wasn't the walk of death, nor the death sentence waiting just beyond the gas. It was a game to them. A sport. Something they could look over in rational hindsight and tell their friends what exactly this person did wrong, and boast gluttonously about how they would never do that in that situation. Because, yes, it was only a game to them.

The Program was never a game to Erin. She understood from the earliest point in her living memory the finality of death. That was why she wasn't the perfect American everyone assumed she was, because she knew better than everyone that a fight to the death was not a game. There was no particular person, or mould, that won every time, or won most of the time. Pot luck, it was. And she didn't like her chances. Not even with the gun.

But a minute had passed now, and she remembered her choices. Partake in the so-called game and win, or partake in the so-called game and die. It was all she knew. Erin sure as hell did not want to die in the middle of a desert valley before she had even achieved the right to become an adult.

But what if there really is a third option?

She lowered her gun hand to her thigh, and tried to put a voice to the ridiculous thought that came through her head. It really was a ridiculous thought - there was no third option, you partook in The Program and started killing your classmates for the privilege of life, and by the end of the whole thing you either live or you die. Her parents had taught her from the moment she stepped onto this earth that the gift of life was something she should treasure forever, and to not fight for it with the weapons given to her would be to disgrace everything and everyone she ever knew.

Do you remember that book you found in Charlie's bookcase about a year ago?

Erin's eyes widened.

"Oh."

Well, now everything made sense.

But if she was really going to try and make sense of whatever her niggling thoughts were trying to tell her, she couldn't do it out here in the open. She needed her own space.

Erin gathered her belongings, loaded her gun, and set off. She knew at most there had to be one dead person between her and her destination, but it was just the question of when that was going to happen, sooner or later, that would help her make the hardest choice she would ever have to make.

[[Erin Underwood continues in It's Cold Outside, But I Have Nowhere To Go]]
The Program 2.5 - Traitors

Santiago Ibarra - Butterfly Knife

Nani Clover - Plastic Scythe

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