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Never Stop; Open!
Topic Started: Mar 10 2014, 04:04 AM (897 Views)
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BB5 - MARCUS REDDER: START

Marcus Redder was well and truly freaking out.

Or, at least, he was trying his very hardest not to.

He’d been awake for half an hour, and though he’d spent the first few minutes curled into a ball, sobbing weakly in a mixture of denial and terror, fingers pulling out the shrubs that shrouded the area in an attempt at retaining concentration and sanity, the remainder had been spent jogging around the nature path in which he’d awoken. Marcus was thankful for his athleticism as he continued his circuit, knowing that the ache he felt within his legs would’ve been amplified tenfold otherwise. As fit as he might’ve been, however, that didn't stop the bursts of pain smouldering deeply within his calves with every step he took, worsening with every minute that passed. He wanted so badly to just collapse onto the dirt path beneath his feet and lie there, to give into his panic. But he couldn’t stop. Not yet.

Though strapped as tightly as possible to his back, Marcus’s dufflebag swung gently with each step. The zipper had remained almost untouched so far, Marcus not wanting to properly open the bag and reveal its contents. If he did then that’d make this whole thing wholly concrete, to wholeheartedly accept his fate. And Marcus wasn’t ready for that yet. He didn’t know if he’d ever be ready. Or what he should be feeling, or what he should do.

He didn’t know much, now.

So that’s why he was running, methodically placing one foot after another. He needed to clear his head, to quash the bubbles of anxiety that rose in his chest. All his life he’d been working towards a goal, a goal of making a better life for himself and his family, and it’d been abruptly taken from him in one foul swoop. He wanted to scream, and he wanted to cry... and he wanted to see his mom and dad again, to get just one more hug, say goodbye one more time. He knew, deep down, beneath the layers of denial, that he’d never get that chance. And it hurt. It hurt more than anything in the world.

And he didn’t want to feel that hurt. He had to do everything in his power to avoid feeling it, to avoid feeling the lost opportunities and all of the hard work he’d done, all of which would come to nothing. So that’s why he had to keep running. If he could just focus on the burn; the physical, tangible pain that echoed throughout his body, then he could ignore everything else. He could ignore whatever it was that awaited him in this place.

So that’s why he had to keep running.

He had to keep running from reality.
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((IS2: Taylor DeVasher: Start))

Taylor had done a lot of thinking over the last few hours (days? weeks? He wasn't sure how much time had passed since those goons grabbed him outside his house). He had a lot to think about now that he found himself waking up in a shrub somewhere. These were thoughts Taylor hadn't normally spent a lot of time thinking about, but they all came to him.

When he was being kidnapped, his thought was that he did something illegal. Did he go to the wrong website? Did he violate some Terms of Service? Of course, he then learned it was for SOTF, so he could relax. He hadn't done anything morally wrong.

He thought about his plans. He wasn't going to be able to make music with Schrodinger's Lovers anymore. He wasn't going to expand the Garbage Couture line on his Etsy account. He also didn't have to worry about any schoolwork he forgot to do the night before. There were a lot of things he needed to do, but they had to take a backseat to SOTF.

He then thought about his family. Mom probably saw him getting abducted. Dad was already at work, so he probably had to get a phone call. Shit, his siblings were probably called soon after. Jonas, Candice, Zachary, Olivia, they were all going to learn that their little brother had been cast for SOTF. How would they all react?

He thought all about this during the opening ceremony. However, he had to stop thinking about his life in Albuquerque. He was on SOTF. He was on television. All of America would tune in to see him, Taylor Alan DeVasher of Davison High School, fighting for his life in the hottest television program on air.

For that, he squeeled in joy.

Taylor had let out a few large shouts of joy, hopped in place, and threw his arms in the air. This was the coolest thing to ever happen to him. He was on SOTF. THE SOTF. The one that made stars out of people like Brandon Parker, Jared Clayton, Karen Ruiz, and Mason Ross. People who were nothing and then suddenly had everything. He had that same chance to be a star.

"I'm going to be famous," he muttered. "Holy fuck this is awesome."

Taylor had looked in his bag. He was a Shark, according to the bandanna around his neck. That was cool, he would have to brand himself in this game, and he could use a badass animal like that to go with his persona. The producers were also kind enough to give him some grenades as well. That just meant he could create some awesome moments. He could trash entire rooms if he wanted, or cause some memorable deaths if someone tried to kill him. The possibilities were endless.

"Woah, this is a lot to take in," he continued to mutter.

Taylor stood and adjusted himself, brushing a few leaves off his jacket and pants. It was a little cold out, but he didn't care. Taylor looked around the area before spotting a camera in a tree. He grinned as he moved to look directly at it.

"Hi folks, I'm Taylor DeVasher! I'm so excited to be on TV, and I hope I make your viewing experience fun-"

Taylor would have continued his monologue, but he heard the sound of someone running nearby. Taylor's smile got bigger. He reached into his bag and pulled out one of the grenades. The sound was getting closer.

"So, America. Yay or nay?"
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Every so often Marcus would pause for a few seconds, wiping the sweat that was steadily percolating on his brow with the backside of his wrist and looking around in an attempt to regain his bearings. As he slowed to a light jog, attempting to force air back into his lungs yet continue to keep his mind off everything, Marcus took a moment to appreciate the scenery around him. The place was really quite pretty, even given the circumstances, something he hadn’t noticed in his initial panic. The track was flanked by a myriad of different flowers in so many different colours, and trees and shrubbery provided pleasant coverage from the sun’s early morning rays.

It was something nice, something good to think about, something to distract him for just a little longer. For a moment he could’ve imagined he was back home, taking a walk in the park in search of a good sketching place. He wished he could keep that feeling for just a little longer, but the sound of another boy’s voice nearby startled him out of his temporary reprieve. Marcus immediately took a few steps backwards, ready to bolt and flee from the area as quickly as he could manage. But something stopped him, something rooted his feet to the ground for a few seconds as he considered the situation at hand. He didn’t recognise the guy’s voice - so he was either a kid from the other school or an unentity back at Whittree. But it didn’t really matter either way, did it? He wouldn’t hurt Marcus, no matter what school he was from. People just didn’t work that way, and being tossed into a death game wouldn’t change that.

So when Marcus finally started moving again it was towards the voice and not away from it, every step of his measured and confident as he walked into the boy’s view. His eyes immediately darted towards the black shape within his hand, which Marcus quickly recognised as being a very dangerous looking grenade. His heartbeat began racing once again, accompanied by a sharp yelp passing through his lips and his hands smacking to his mouth. His heart continued to drum violently within his chest, but his hands gingerly lowered themselves to his side, the look of shock on his face quickly replaced by the bright smile he’d been known for. He adjusted his dufflebag over his shoulder and managed a few words, the shaking in his breath evident with each one.

“Sorry about that,” he gasped, smile still affixed to his face. “I just got a little freaked out is all. Those grenades look pretty scary!”
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Huh? Who's this guy?

Taylor stood in place as the boy emerged from the woods. He couldn't recognize the guy before him. He didn't look like someone he went to school with or would know from the grapevine.

"Uh, yeah, it's scary," he said, looking at the grenade in his hand.

Taylor looked over the boy. Was this guy seriously apologizing for running or something? He didn't understand it at all.

Well, can't use the grenade this close. I guess I could drop it and run. Nah, I should be smarter with how I use these, if I use them. Still, who the hell is this guy?

Taylor looked around the area. It looked like it was still just him and the other dude.

"So, uh, what's up?" he asked. He couldn't think of anything better to say.
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Marcus kept his eyes fixed on the grenade in the other guy’s hand, unable to look away from it for more than a second. He didn’t exactly look like he was about to hurl it in Marcus’s direction, in fact, he seemed pretty nice - if only by his appearance and the few words he’d said - though Marcus knew you could never be too careful. But hopefully he wouldn’t need that caution soon, hopefully he’d be able to lower his defenses a little more and become the optimistic upbeat Marcus he’d been back at Whittree, and not some skittish kid ready to bolt at the mere sight of someone else’s weapon. It was just a few minutes into this thing - it wouldn’t do if he lost the plot now.

And if the other guy hadn’t attacked Marcus yet, then chances are he wouldn’t be doing it any time soon, right? And besides, why would he? He wasn’t much of a threat, was he? He’d always tried to be nice and cheerful, helping people out at every opportunity. Blond guy wouldn’t have any way of knowing that, but hopefully being friendly and not-freaking-out would be more than enough. He wouldn’t hurt Marcus, would he? People didn’t work like that. They couldn’t.

“Nothing much! Little out-of-breath, but other than that I’m completely fine!” Marcus said, making sure to mask his lingering nerves with a cheerful tone. “You?” He didn’t quite believe what he’d said, but if he repeated it enough maybe it’d become true. And besides, things weren’t so bad at the moment, were they? Sure, they could get plenty worse - though that wasn’t going to happen; Marcus knew it wouldn’t - but for now everything was going well. He was going to be fine, in spite of his initial panic. He had to be.

Marcus slipped his hands into his pockets and rocked back and forwards, rolling on the balls of his feet. Part of him felt weird that they were making small talk in a place like this, the place they’d been thrown in to die, but the other part of him felt immensely comforted. It was almost like they could be back in Whittree and he was introducing himself to a new student, and not being faced with another innocent kid he’d been tasked with killing. He absently fiddled with the bandanna draped around his wrist, fingers tracing around the bear emblazoned upon the fabric as he figured what to say next. He didn’t want to put a toe out of line, wanted to make a good impression on this guy. He seemed nice, and Marcus didn’t want to get on his bad side - or anybody else’s, for that matter.

“I’m Marcus, by the way.”
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"Yeah, I'm fine," Taylor said in response to the guy's question. "Oh, and I'm Taylor DeVasher."

Taylor looked over the guy, who he now knew as Marcus. He still had no clue who this guy was. That's when it finally hit him: last season had two schools. This one probably did too. He was too wrapped up in his visions of grandeur to think of that as a possibility. Well, now he knew, and he could at least figure out what to do from here.

Marcus seemed friendly, but Taylor couldn't see a bandanna on the kid that matched his. As far as he could tell, he had no obligation to ally with this kid. He could stand out to audiences more if he was on his own, anyways. Or at least if he was teamed up with a hot girl who was a Shark like him.

Still, he had to get rid of this kid somehow. Taylor pocketed the grenade in his jacket and began to slowly step away from Marcus.

"Yeah...I'm gonna go now..." he said to Marcus.
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So, blond guy’s name was Taylor. Taylor DeVasher, to be precise. It sounded super prestigious, like the name of some wealthy heir, something further compounded that he wasn’t a Whittree kid. Surely with a name like that, Marcus would’ve heard of him - even if he was reclusive, which he didn’t seem to be based on the few moments they’d been talking. Taylor then pocketed his grenade, much to Marcus’s relief. He knew that didn’t nullify the weapon’s existence, but without it in of his line of vision he could easily pretend that it wasn’t there at all. It made him feel a little better, a little less anxious, a little less fearful that Taylor would pull the pin and through it at him being bolting in the opposite direction. He knew deep down that wouldn’t happen, that Taylor was a nice guy and wouldn’t hurt him - like everybody else they’d been mixed together with, but that didn’t stop the flurry of his heartbeat or prevent the nervous jitters flowing through him.

And then Taylor announced that he was leaving before backing up a few paces, and Marcus finally let his smile droop a little. Maybe he was lonely, maybe he was more scared than he thought he was, maybe he thought that he wouldn’t be able to find any of his friends or teammates, but he just wasn’t ready to let Taylor go, not right this minute. Not that he would’ve complained if Taylor really wanted to leave - he might’ve had friends he wanted to look for, or his teammates, so Marcus could one hundred percent understand if he really wanted to go.

“Aww, don’t feel like you need to go! I’m not like some big scary monster, am I ?” Marcus laughed, hoping to reassure Taylor. He hadn’t had the greatest of starts in this game and Taylor’s mere presence had calmed him down a fair amount, so he was reluctant to let him leave without ensuring that he was completely sure in his decision.
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Taylor stopped walking as Marcus spoke up. True, Taylor wasn't afraid of the kid, but he still didn't have a reason to stick around with him. The situation was getting weird, and he needed to find a better way to get away from the guy.

"Yeah, I'm not scared," he began, "I'm just...concerned..."

Taylor began to scratch the back of his head. He didn't really have an idea where he was going with that sentence. "Concerned" was just the first word to come to mind. There had to be a way to spin this somehow.

"I mean...you know. I'm...worried. About my friends and stuff. You know?"

There had to be a nice way to get away from this guy. Or at least a way that would look great for highlight reels.
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Concerned?

That was a feeling Marcus could readily get behind. He had friends he wanted to search for too - Dougie, Vakha, Regina, Bunny and so many others... they were all here too, all of them needing reassurance and probably just as scared as he was. It wasn’t something he liked to think about. As usual, there was a bright side to this situation, though; he was glad Graham wasn’t here. As much as he wanted the comfort and company his closest friend would’ve provided him, he would never wish something like this upon him. No matter what happened here, Marcus knew he’d be safe in the knowledge that Graham wouldn’t have to suffer through it; for which he’d be eternally grateful.

Marcus nodded gently in reply, shifting to the side of the pathway to give Taylor some more room. He was content with the other boy leaving now, not wanting to stand between him and the all too-relatable goal of reuniting with friends and teammates. Even so, he didn’t want to rush Taylor away, didn’t want to order him to leave lest he appear too commandeering or aggressive. It’d no doubt make him look incredibly awkward in the other boy’s eyes, but Marcus was used to awkward situations and didn’t mind them too much. Better some slight awkwardness than unintentionally offending him.

“I hope you find who you’re looking for,” he said quietly, his expression downcast as he retreated further backwards into the bushes and shrubbery that lined the edges of the trail. Even if he and Taylor hadn’t immediately clicked and gotten all ‘immediate allies forever!’ he still wanted him to succeed, still wanted him to be happy. Marcus couldn’t stand seeing someone else upset, and although he knew he couldn’t completely help in Taylor’s own goals, a few words of encouragement never hurt anybody, would it?

“Good luck!” He added, his voice returning to its usually peppy tone; feeling that encouragement didn’t work nearly half as well without a dashing of enthusiasm added to the mix. Beyond that, Marcus didn’t know much else to say, but he didn’t mind.
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"Oh..."

Taylor was surprised. This Marcus guy was really okay with him just going off on his own. Even if Taylor wasn't looking for anyone in particular, at least Marcus wasn't trying desperately to gain an ally with him. Still, Taylor should get out of here. It was a bit chilly, and he should at least get a better idea of where he is and where people could go.

Well, I guess I better go. I should probably do something funny as I walk away

"...well, if that's what you think..."

A light bulb turned on in Taylor's head. In an instant, he bolted away from Marcus, running as fast as he could. Taylor had to stifle his laughing as he ran away from the boy from the other school. He hoped that looked as silly as it possibly could.

Oh man, that's going to seriously fuck with him. I can't imagine what he thinks about that.

Taylor continued to run as fast as he could, hurrying away from the Nature Walk and into the rest of the resort area.

((Taylor DeVasher continued in Prepare to Gag on My Eleganza))
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With Taylor gone, the world seemed to begin closing in on itself once more, the gravity of the situation and the plethora of emotions it carried with it returning in full-force. The distraction their brief conversation had afforded him was gone, replaced with the rapidly burgeoning reality of the situation and the bursts of panic he’d tried so hard to rid himself of. Marcus swallowed and took a deep breath, doing what he always did in a stressful situation; look on the bright side of things. It’d always been his strong suit back home, and here it was even more important.

Of course, it wasn’t really all that bad - Taylor had been nice enough, even though they’d only talked for a few moments - and if he was representative of the other school’s kids then he had nothing to worry about with them. The Whittree kids would be fine too, and he knew that for a fact; they were his classmates, his friends. They wouldn’t hurt him - or anybody else, for that matter - would they? No, everything was going to be fine. He was doing well, all things considered, and everything was going to be fine.

Marcus remained at the edge of the path for a few minutes longer, toying with the end of his bandanna and glancing around the surrounding foliage as he tried to figure out what to do next. As he mulled over his options - weighing whether he should stay on the path and wait for someone to come to him or if he should keep moving - his decision was effectively made up for him in the form of a harsh breeze that washed over the area, scattering leaves and dust around Marcus and biting into his skin. It was getting rather chilly, which was only to be expected, and though Marcus’s jog had spared him from being effected by the cold it was now making itself forcefully known to him.

He shivered violently as the breeze finished its assault, hugging his arms across his chest in an effort to warm himself in the frigid air. No, he had to keep moving. There was no point in sitting around and getting a cold, was there? That wouldn’t help anyone. Marcus returned to the centre of the path and looked about him once more, before swirling on his heel and walking briskly in the direction opposite to Taylor’s. He slowly began to break into a jog, gaining speed and momentum with each subsequent step until he’d returned to the speed with which he’d entered the area, with the denial that it’d afforded thankfully returning in its wake.

((Marcus Redder continued in Good Morning, Goodbye, Good Luck))
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