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The Twilight of Our Youth; Endgame is here.
Topic Started: Nov 29 2012, 12:31 AM (3,121 Views)
Pippin
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W A H
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
There had been several times in Glen’s life when he’d suddenly realised just how badly he’d fucked up. Antagonising some kid within earshot of a teacher, or doing the same around their older linebacker brother. Running straight into the police after his graffiti handiwork was spotted. A myriad of other things, small and large, that he’d done to fuck himself over. None of them compared to Glen’s realisation as Karl brought the barrel of his gun down. Pissing the guy off would have been fine at any other time, such as when he wasn’t holding a gun.

Glen only had time for his eyes to widen before Karl pulled the trigger. His hand was still in his pocket, curled around the pistol when the shot hit him. Glen took a step backwards, trying to raise his weapon, before his legs gave way, and he fell backwards to the ground, losing his grip on the pistol and watching it spin away from his reach.

It was about then that Glen knew he was done for. He didn’t know if the shot was fatal-it probably was, but he could always hope, right?-but without a weapon he was sunk. Karl would shoot him again and there was nothing he could do about it. So what had everything he’d done been for now then, eh? He’d stuck to his goals throughout, remained innocent, hadn’t killed anyone, but none of that was worth shit now that he was bleeding out. He didn’t want to be innocent anymore, he wanted to live and get out of this shithole by any means possible.

But all he could do was lie here and bleed. Glen tried to angle his head towards Megan, wanted to say some words of luck, because if he couldn’t get out of here alive it needed to be her. But every movement felt like a thousand spikes were being driven into his body, and any attempts to speak were worse.

Glen tried to hold on for as long as possible. He wanted to keep fighting, wanted to see Megan kill Karl and live. He kept on fighting the pain, but in the end, he couldn’t hold on any longer. So Glen lay there, and let yet another person close to him die.

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Casey the Undead
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Megan heard the shot; against all wishes and better judgement, her eyes flew open.

She spun around in time to see Glen hit the floor. Her hands flew to her face, and she shrieked shrilly, shortly, and involuntarily. Tears sprung to her eyes, and no -- goddamnit she was supposed to be better than this, stronger than this, she wasn't supposed to cry. Glen had dug his own grave! Glen had made his own mistakes! It was Glen, it was Glen! It wasn't Megan's fault, it wasn't Megan's fault.

Except it was, they all were, every death and every friend and every bullet Megan didn't jump in front of. She'd always been the one to say she'd die for her friends, but what good were words without action? What good was saying she'd take a bullet if Glen was bleeding out on the floor, if Anthony had died alone, if April had killed and Megan had let her? What's the fucking point if Megan was just a coward in the end? A crybaby who let her friends die? What was the fucking point?!

Megan's breath was coming in sharp gasps, and she felt the tears spilling down her cheeks. Her knees felt weak, and she let them buckle for a moment, collapsing next to Glen's corpse. She wanted to grab his wound, like in movies; she wanted to cover herself in his blood like a battle flag. But he was gone, he was already gone, and there was no point in clutching at his body just to feel it get colder. She breathed out a harsh sob and shook her head. From her position on the floor, she could see Glen's gun, spun out of his grip -- but it was far, too far for her to run and grab it without Karl pulling the trigger. There was no hope.

Megan shifted her gaze to Karl, felt something in her chest boil hot and angry. She hated him. She hated him more than she'd ever hated anyone.

She hated him because he was going to be the death of her.

Slowly, she raised her hands above her head, tears still spilling down her cheeks. She had a surreal thought that she must look a mess -- she'd started the game with mascara and flatironed hair and hipster glasses, and now her hair was tangled and dirty, her makeup was smeared down her cheeks, her glasses were fogged up. One of the lenses had cracked at some point, and Megan had no idea when (although she figured it might have been when she hit the floor to duck away from April's fire). She was a wreck, a real truthful wreck. She was going to die a fucking mess.

It was sort of appropriate, all said.

Megan took another sharp breath, and let her mind race. She knew what came next. She knew she needed snappy last words. Anyone worth anything had snappy last words; Hugo, Einstein, Bell, Antoinette -- all of them had died with something brilliant or poetic or ironic on their breath. Words were all Megan had now; weaponless and weak and on her knees and waiting to die, but Megan still had language, fuck it. Megan still had words. Words could make her brave, braver than she ever was. Words could make her strong.

"Alright, fucker," she hissed through gritted teeth. She pushed herself onto her knees fully, so she was kneeling upright, towards Karl and his gun, hands still in the air. "You're gonna kill me? Do it clean." She breathed out again.

For the second time, Megan closed her eyes tight.

For the second time, Megan waited for the gunshot.
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Rattlesnake
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I used to be a player-hunter just like you, 'til I took a shotgun to the knee.
[ *  *  * ]
Nick Reid broke into a run.

There was no mistaking it, half-deaf as he was. Gunfire. One low, rolling, booming blast. From something big, no doubt, and deadly. And after that, nothing. No yells, no screams, no more echoing reports in response or as followup. Someone had fired, and found no need to do it again. A chill ran through him, coursing over skin drenched in nervous sweat. That was the starting gun, and likely someone's ending gun. It was the sound of the other shoe dropping.

And there was no sense changing up his game now. He'd been looking for trouble from the very beginning, and he wasn't going to shy away now. A web of motive spun itself before him - who might have shot who, whose death might come as revenge, who might see him arrive in a state of pity or animosity. He brushed it all away. Life didn't really work that way, he'd been too slow to realize. Murder wasn't justified under the guise of retribution, or sacrifice under sympathy. He wasn't stepping up or standing down for anything so petty any more.

His pace faltered. It hadn't been much to begin with, given his general state and the weapons weighing him down or threatening to slice him open at any misstep. But he didn't need to run far. He cocked his head, tried to reaffirm the direction of the blast, breath coming in great heaving pants while his worn rubber soles made hardly a noise on the grimy ground.

The sound of speech met him, and then he was there. In fact, they were all there.

Megan, kneeling out of terror or defiance or whatever the hell was going through her mind that he really didn't feel like guessing at the time. Karl, standing in front of her with what had to be the weapon in question that had sent him skittering towards them. And a bloody thing on the ground that could only be Glen. Himself included, everyone left alive from the bus the terrorists had chosen was within spitting distance of one another.

He raised the gun in his hand. Didn't fire it, not just yet. He didn't want a stay round missing its mark, or, rather, finding another. Wasn't ready to throw down his sword and commit himself to a game of speed, accuracy, and chance.

"I don't think there's any value," he said between heavy breaths, "in trying to talk at this point."

Part of him even believed that.
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CondorTalon
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[ *  *  *  * ]
And so he heard Glen's body hit the ground.

And so he saw the splotch of red grow oh Glen's body as he died.

And so...

He kept his gun trained on Megan as she dropped to her knees, sobbing as she kneeled next to the corpse. He didn't know what was going to happen now. He could just shoot her. She seemed to have broken down completely and he felt like he'd be doing her a favor.

Especially now, as she straightened up, still on her knees. She was telling him to make it clean. He hesitated.

He hesitated because he felt like something was off. He felt she should have been reacting differently, because he'd just shot her ally and it would have made more sense for her to shout at him or run at him to attack him or swear or scream or something but not this. This was entirely too calm for Karl to take at face value. Had she already accepted her death?

That's when he heard the footsteps. In these last few moments he'd entirely forgotten about Nick and he was now memtally berating himself for it. He was here now, and he had another gun, but it was actually pointed at him unlike the that Glen had that wasn't and was now quite a ways away.

The arrival of Nick had simplified things, and yet complicated them at the same time. Now, everyone was here. Now it was all a matter of surviving. Of outplaying. But Nick had his gun trained on Karl, and Karl didn't have his gun on Nick.

Karl gritted his teeth.

"I don't think there's any value in trying to talk at this point."

"No. There really isn't."

No talk. Just action.

But Karl didn't know what to do now.
EVERYTHING I TOUCH DIES!!!

Second Chances V2:
Clair Belvedere - Box of Condoms - Hanging back in Earth Sky From Venus
Christopher Schwartz - Macuahuitl - Catching his breath in I Jumped Out and I Pranked Him to Death with a Tire Iron

The afterlife
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Casey the Undead
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Don't tell me to smile
[ *  *  *  * ]
Megan balked as Nick walked up. It seemed like both her and Karl had forgotten he was going to show up eventually. To be fair, though, she'd been a touch preoccupied with trying not to get murdered. Still, Nick's sudden arrival was probably the last thing she expected. Actually, the last thing she expected was Nick showing up and, apparently, actively trying to save her.

So she'd witnessed a murder, been held up at gunpoint, and was being saved my a kid who'd killed some people she liked. Day of firsts, really.

Megan figured that the smartest move was probably not sayin anything. If Karl got the first shot off, she was a goner -- not the best course of options. And if Nick got the first shot off then . . .

Well, then Megan would need Glen's gun.

She eyed it carefully. If Nick got Karl she could have enough time to spring up and grab the thing, which would give her leverage with Nick if she needed too --

She bit that thought down. For now, she had to focus on getting the gun. She'd consider the other part when she got to it.
Bring Out Your Dead


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Live free. Die young.
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Rattlesnake
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I used to be a player-hunter just like you, 'til I took a shotgun to the knee.
[ *  *  * ]
Karl's reply was startling. Startlingly short, startlingly simple.

Startlingly lacking in gunfire.

It gave him time to think, reflect, to look around him. Time he didn't want. A minute to drive a man mad. They'd all dug themselves their own bloody hole, hadn't they? Karl had literally walled himself in. Nowhere to run, nothing to hide behind that would withstand the wrath of Nick's metal storm. Nick himself was like something out of a shooting range now. An unmissable silhouette cut against the doorway. Ten points for his small intestine, nine for his liver. And Megan, stuck between them, murder hanging over her head like the sword of freaking Damocles. Couldn't go home without a notch on your belt, Danya's rules.

The hair on the back of his neck and on his arms prickled. Trapped, all of them. If there was one thing in the world that Nick hated, it was the feeling of helplessness, that creeping horror when miscalculation or simple caprice walled you in with no way out. He was claustrophobic at the best of times, but nothing he'd yet experienced held a candle to the moment plodding by before him. He just wanted to escape, to run, to fly, to stand up, wake up, see it all like a scene in a movie, or better yet, some fading illusion.

It wasn't just life he was fighting for, but escape. His finger searched for the trigger of the SMG. Just a little squeeze and the whole sorry scene would shatter into blood and haunting memory. Any way the cards fell, it would all be over. Whatever walls held his fire at bay for that moment were rapidly eroding to that sweet, sweet thought. He'd never wanted something so staggeringly badly. He hoped he wasn't going mad, though he wouldn't know it if he were, would he? But that consolation just started the cycle anew.

A message to bonkers me if I am. It won't do any good not to be the first to pull the trigger.

He felt like he should say something first, though. It seemed only right. Who had such stunning audacity to fire at someone without the requisite banter?

"Surprisingly agreeable."

For a murderer, he'd meant to add, but the words wouldn't seem to fit in his mouth. What pettiness he did manage barely dribbled out as it was. Banter or not, he wasn't going to chance dying with that sort of nonsense on his lips.

The gun's weight seemed to grow. His grip was unsure, his aim shaky. A mere moment had passed in silence before his response. Not enough time to prepare himself, to draw a proper bead. His chance of hitting, if he fired now, almost nil.

Also known as infinity times better than nothing.

He opened his mouth to speak, interrupting himself with a pull of his finger.
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CondorTalon
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Time slowed to a crawl as Nick said those words. Karl could feel each distinct heartbeat in the next few moments. He was acutely aware of the sweat that had accumulated on his clothes, of every stain of dirt and blood he'd gotten up to this point. His eyes darted. His gun felt unnecessarily heavy in his hands. For the next few moments, his warped perception of time had overridden anything else.

Then the sound of the gunshots reached his ear.

At that moment, it was as if time as snapping back to catch up to speed. He heard the bullets fly past him and his brain went into overdrive. Whatever he had been thinking had been put on hold as he turned towards Nick and shot his gun in retaliation.

The boom of the shotgun echoed in his ears. It was so foreign, and yet so familiar to him by now. He didn't realize that maybe he'd been shot, but he didn't feel any pain at that point. Karl dashed back into the store he'd been hiding in, trying to find cover from Nick. He wasn't even sure if he'd actually hit Nick, either, but right now he just had to survive.

He put Megan at the back of his mind for now. Nick was the bigger threat here.

He hid behind a shelf, breathing heavily, checking how many shots he had left.
EVERYTHING I TOUCH DIES!!!

Second Chances V2:
Clair Belvedere - Box of Condoms - Hanging back in Earth Sky From Venus
Christopher Schwartz - Macuahuitl - Catching his breath in I Jumped Out and I Pranked Him to Death with a Tire Iron

The afterlife
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Casey the Undead
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Don't tell me to smile
[ *  *  *  * ]
Megan kept her eye trained on Glen's gun. The task was easy, the goal was simple -- get the gun, get out of the way.

An ache started to develop in her knees as Nick and Karl exchanged brief words. For two teenaged boys pointing guns at each other, they seemed surprisingly calm. Megan, on the other hand, was having a very private and personal panic attack next to the corpse of one of her friends. She clenched and unclenched her fists, breathing as steadily as she could. All she had to go was get the gun, and get out of the way.

She glanced briefly between Nick and Karl. She had no idea how this would go down. It all depended on the first shot, it all depended on the aim and the breath and the moment. It was half-random.

Or fate, Megan supposed -- but fate was never something she stood behind. The way she saw it, it was all in the draw. Luck. Skill. More luck.

And then Nick pulled the trigger.

The first shot stunned Megan entirely, loud and sudden as it was. Her ears were ringing, her knees were weak, and she stayed still.

Her brain hitched into overdrive as the adrenaline kicked in.

Get the gun and get away get the gun and get away --

She sprung up from her position on the floor, lept over Glen's body, and scooped his gun up as she ran by it. She dove behind some debris, slightly away from the firefight. her landing was a touch faulty; she could feel her ankle twist a bit as she came down. Not that I would be running anywhere, anyway.

Megan braced herself, head between her knees. Nick and Karl were focused on each other. They would ignore her. They would have to ignore her, right?

Yeah. Yeah, of course.

She needed to calm down. When whoever won this fight came for her, she needed to be ready. She needed the draw.

The winner was half-random. Luck. Skill. More luck.

She needed the luck.
Bring Out Your Dead


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Live free. Die young.
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Rattlesnake
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I used to be a player-hunter just like you, 'til I took a shotgun to the knee.
[ *  *  * ]
It had been a good plan in theory.

Be the first to fire. And the last to fire. Use all that glorious, bountiful ammunition in his gun and in his bag to weave an inescapable lead web. Karl's only recourse would be to run, to dive, to pigeonhole himself in some dead-end nook among the dimly-lit shelves. Make himself an impossible-to-miss target. Another volley and there would be one less variable in the equation. Eliminate the variables, that got the barest chuckle out of him. Who said Algebra wasn't useful in the real world? And then there'd be just Megan and himself, the known quantity, and then, well...

That didn't really matter any more, did it?

He'd whiffed completely, of course. Which wouldn't be so bad, might even be a good thing, except he'd failed to take something into account - something very important. He wasn't the only one with his eye on the prize, who knew that three minus one was two and two minus one meant seeing home again. In any reasonable situation a man might duck for cover when a dozen rounds erupted towards his face. But on Murderdeath Island, with a gun in your hands and your ticket out framed so nicely against the doorframe...

Nick dove to the side, but not quite fast enough.

The pain was nearly past description, breaking his planned dive into an uncontrolled fall. But the impacts of his ribs and elbows against the unyielding floor barely registered under the new and vibrant lances of pain erupting through his leg. He panted, holding back a scream he dare not voice, slammed his knuckles against the ground and felt nothing. Again, harder, channeling the fury of his pain into a dull thud that came up bloody, managing barely to spike it all above the agony already ripping through him. His head drooped, bringing into view as he looking down his body the tangle of dripping red ribbon that was his left knee.

Ah, he thought. So this is how I die.

The floor beneath him growing slick and warm already. How long would it be now? A minute? Five? Karl would round on Megan presently while he himself bled out, too weak to intervene and too scared to voice protest. Would he hear her scream before he died, he wondered, through ears pounded by explosions and echoing gunfire? Or might Karl move to finish him first? If he cooperated, maybe it would go quickly. Just like he'd asked. Watch precisely the wrong winner level his muzzle at his face, see the goal he'd poured his blood and tears into over the last few days disappear in one loud flash.

Yeah, nevermind. Fuck that.

He willed himself into action, slipping the knife from his belt and slashing off a strap from his bag to wind tightly around his thigh. A paltry few minutes' purchase perhaps, but didn't need long. It could all happen any moment now, in fact. He turned himself back facing the open doorway, folding his useless leg beneath him. Laid the handle of the notched sword in easy reach, picked out a fresh magazine for the SMG and debated whether to change it out or not. It had been so quick when he'd tried it in that musty hotel room, but his hands hadn't been shaking like an octogenarian's then. A flash of decisiveness, and his fingers popped out the half-empty magazine.

Any moment now...
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CondorTalon
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[ *  *  *  * ]
There was a silence. No more shots had been fired, and silence filled the air.

Karl wasn't sure what to do now. There was a possibility that he might have actually killed Nick with that one shot, but that chance wasso slim that it was practically non-existent. So it would be better not to take any chances. Not right now.

But there was nothing but silence that pervaded the atmosphere. He slowly stood, cautiously scanning the surroundings, or at least as much as he could see from within the store.

He didn't see Nick.

Karl made his way through the storefront, and took in a careful view of his surroundings. There was an archway to his right, where Nick had come from, where the hallway of the mall split into two paths. He noted the bullet holes of the shotgun on the right pillar of the arch.

He noted the blood. Not his blood.

It wouldn't have taken a genius to figure out where Nick had made his way to.

He didn't jump out though. Not just yet. It wasn't time... yet.
EVERYTHING I TOUCH DIES!!!

Second Chances V2:
Clair Belvedere - Box of Condoms - Hanging back in Earth Sky From Venus
Christopher Schwartz - Macuahuitl - Catching his breath in I Jumped Out and I Pranked Him to Death with a Tire Iron

The afterlife
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Rattlesnake
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I used to be a player-hunter just like you, 'til I took a shotgun to the knee.
[ *  *  * ]
Click

One small comfort among the chaos. Principal armament back in action. But where was the bang, the scream? The final drifting words of conversation? He figured he'd be able to hear at least something of the inevitable slaughter. But that just meant he still had time, could inch up to the doorframe and-

Realization jolted his body. Or maybe paranoia. Or both. He shoved himself backwards, turning his attention to wondering just how long he could avoid screaming while his limp calf pulled on the shredded flesh of his knee. Sliding on his own blood, he stuffed himself around the corner.

No. Wrong move. He couldn't think for all the pain and fear and fury. He only knew he'd done the wrong thing. Megan was going to die now because he wasn't willing to stick his neck out when it was already wrung. Karl was just goin-

Footsteps. Maybe. Yes. He could hear the echoes. His heartbeat, his imagination, they didn't echo, right? He raised the reloaded SMG into a ready position, dropped it back as if it had bit him. Too smart. Too bloody smart. A smart man would keep his distance, squeeze the trigger and spray and pray. And then a scatter of pellets the size of a bowling ball would take his head off. You couldn't play standard when you were down. You couldn't play smart.

He strained himself to try to hear Karl's footsteps. Was he close? Still far? He couldn't tell, couldn't afford to wait to know for certain. He pushed up towards the corner, grabbing ever sliver of ground he dared. The knife was back in his belt, the revolver pinching his pocket. The knuckles of his right hand tightened around the grip of the unbalanced sword, the SMG held shakily in his left.

"Wait!" he cried loudly, pitching the gun onto the hard tile, wrenching his body around the corner, and springing forward with all the strength his good leg had to offer.
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CondorTalon
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Karl wasn't really sure what he was expecting now, now that both of them knew that the other was there. Did Nick know he was there? Did it matter? No, but Karl wasn't really know what he was waiting for. Maybe it would be a Mexican standoff type of deal.

What he wasn't expecting was the cry, Nick's cry of wait as he launched himself forwards. Karl wasn't ready for that, and Nick collided into Karl with a force he couldn't brace himself against.

He fell backwards, and the shotgun slid on the ground away from him.

NO.

This was happening all over again.

He retaliated, sending a fist at Nick.
EVERYTHING I TOUCH DIES!!!

Second Chances V2:
Clair Belvedere - Box of Condoms - Hanging back in Earth Sky From Venus
Christopher Schwartz - Macuahuitl - Catching his breath in I Jumped Out and I Pranked Him to Death with a Tire Iron

The afterlife
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Rattlesnake
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I used to be a player-hunter just like you, 'til I took a shotgun to the knee.
[ *  *  * ]
The pain really didn't mean anything any more.

There didn't seem to be a part of him now that wouldn't become on big bruise if he survived, which of course he wouldn't. His full weight wrenched his tattered leg flesh, fingers red and white in the deathgrip on his sword slamming the ground again, the revolver in his pocket bruising his hip as he and Karl collapsed together in an unexpected heap. He fought through regardless; if something so petty as burning agony was going to stop him, he may as well not have even started.

He twisted around, trying to force open space for a solid swing, but a blur crowded his vision, a gush of blood flooding his sinuses. Another blow and he relinquished that tactic, freeing his hands to fight off Karl's assault. He spat blood, grabbed the knife he'd slipped back through his belt, packing his fist and sending it back at his opponent. It wasn't just survival driving him forward any more. He wanted to punish Karl, not just to watch him die but to stab, to tear, to kill.
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CondorTalon
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[ *  *  *  * ]
This was the cost of war.

Karl believed that, as they tangled together in a mess of blood and fists and sweat. Karl wanted this to be over, but he also wanted to thoroughly defeat Nick. If he couldn't do that, what was the point? What was the point in trying to continue all of this?

He had the upper hand, it seemed. The previous shot had actually wounded him to some degree. He just had to keep it up, and it wouldn't be long.

He felt something slashing through his shirt, making a large cut in his stomach. It wasn't deep, but it was definitely enough to make him hesitate, to flinch, to stop his assault, if only momentarily.

But he couldn't let something like that stop him. He wouldn't. He'd come too far.

Instead, he balled both on his hands into a fist, forcing them at his opponent, even as he felt blood dripping from his torso.
EVERYTHING I TOUCH DIES!!!

Second Chances V2:
Clair Belvedere - Box of Condoms - Hanging back in Earth Sky From Venus
Christopher Schwartz - Macuahuitl - Catching his breath in I Jumped Out and I Pranked Him to Death with a Tire Iron

The afterlife
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Rattlesnake
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I used to be a player-hunter just like you, 'til I took a shotgun to the knee.
[ *  *  * ]
His strength was fading fast. He landed a blow, but it wasn't enough. He wasn't a boxer, a wrestler, any sort of martial artist that would grab the upper hand and throw whoever it was attached to over their shoulder. He fancied himself a fighter, but that was back home, back in the park with their little rules and armor and honor. Back where he could strike like a snake and head off for a breather. There was no such option available now. Just a maelstrom of bloody, painful attrition.

He jockeyed for position, trying to get a clear shot at Karl's vitals. Karl was having none of it, forcing him back down, pressing an advantage Nick couldn't contest. His lungs squeezed a wavering note of exertion and desperation as he tried to budge the man driving him towards his doom, but his muscles were useless now. Karl wound up, drove his fists downward in a two-handed slam that nearly ended everything. Something in his face seemed to shift, his head in agony and his mind in disarray as if his skull had cracked against the floor and sent his thoughts swirling out like a perverse drain.

But thoughts weren't necessary now. Only instinct mattered, and instinct it was that animated his limbs for the final struggle. The momentary lapse in guard was precisely what he needed. His fingers whitened over the handle of the knife, blood caking under his grip as he seized it with both hands, crying out from his ragged throat and droving upwards with the last of his strength.
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