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There Was a Firefight!; It's going to be exactly what it sounds like.
Topic Started: May 16 2014, 09:21 PM (852 Views)
Serpico
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[ *  *  * ]
((Corin Albanesi - Continued from When The Wind Howls))

Corin averted his gaze from the corpse that lay on the shattered rack. He ignored the sudden pangs of shaky sympathy in his legs. It was impossible to calm, he could feel his heart beat as if there was little else but skin separating it from the surface. The sight was too much for his sensibilities, there was no need to examine closely, and he knew full well what it was. He placed as much distance as he could between himself Taylor as he entered.

Upon seeing the second body in the lobby he became increasingly cautious, pulling the bolt of the rifle and allowing a bullet into the breach as a precaution. He could not tell what was up those stairs, and his preparation did little to settle him down. He was already fabricating thoughts of the worst, and he had not even taken a single step upwards.

The ascent was a bit hard; though he was fit the weight of the bag was something that he was not accustomed to. He did welcome the warmth that came from the exercise, but he found very little enjoyable when his mind was so occupied with daunting thoughts. He was at his most fearful in the last stretch; he had expected the worst, something or someone terrible waiting up the top. Instead he was greeted by a silent room. The emotion that he felt soon after was relief.

There little more than disturbed shelves, scorch marks, shattered glass and the sound of his own movements. It was not that great for comfort, but with his scope it seemed like the logical place to view the rest of the area before moving along. He wasn’t sure how much information he could glean from that, however.

He thought about drinking on the power aids he’d picked up in the World Oyster as he looked at the cheap knick knacks that were strewn across the ground. There was very little of beneficial interest up the top of the Sunshine Tower, he liked the height but little else. He thought that maybe after surveying a little he’d move on, the place seemed ill suited as shelter.
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Namira
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Ramón continued from Fear And Loathing in Tiki Land))

That had been pretty fucked up. Ramón had been going up to that house to help, and he'd wound up nearly getting led into a trap and nearly being shot.

And shooting someone himself, couldn't forget that little detail; as if the bloodstains on his shirt weren't enough of a reminder on their own. Ramón hadn't even thought twice about doing that - he'd read the situation, seen what was happening, and he'd retaliated with violence. Could that have played out differently? Could he have just turned around and said 'If you've got this under control I'll be leaving?'.

He really wasn't sure. The guy he'd shot hadn't had good intentions, Ramón knew that much. Who was to say that if he had tried to leave that he wouldn't have found the ambush being called down on him anyway?

The justifications rang a little hollow. Ramón had gone in there in good faith, investigating that scream, because he thought that someone was in trouble. For all he knew, he'd just been getting paranoid and that fight had never needed to happen in the first place. He supposed that there was no way of changing that, or finding out what truly had been about to go down there. Ramón was just going to have to deal with it, and the consequences too.

The tower didn't project a welcoming atmosphere as Ramón walked up to the outside of it. A dead body, broken from an obvious fall and surrounded in a still pool of blood... well that tended to set the mood a few notches below cheerful. Ramón stopped, wavering. He still wasn't totally sure what he was setting out to do in this game. 'Not dying' was a pretty good start for an objective, but he'd let that one drop in favour of at least attempting to help someone else, earlier. On the other hand, he needed some rest, and sidelong glances at the corpse were enough to confirm that whoever had done this was probably a while gone at this stage. There'd been something on the announcement about someone being thrown from the tower, hadn't there?

Ramón slipped inside. Stopped, frowning. Were those footsteps, just at the edge of his hearing? He swallowed. Surprising someone felt like a bad move.

"Hey! Anyone at home?"
~*~

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There was a silent lapse in Corin’s thoughts as he heard a voice calling out, he didn’t respond right away. In fact, he didn’t respond for a bit and tensed up. He didn’t recognise the voice; he didn’t recognise the tone at all. For the life of him he couldn’t figure out who it was. His throat tightened, he was too frightened to say a thing. His own breathing seemed so loud, so heavy and stressed. It was something very inconsequential to Corin at the time, his attention was not spent on it.

Cold air rushed through the broken panes of glass, and he moved once he felt it. He stepped backwards, hoping that the source of the voice would go away and leave him with his thoughts. He’d forgotten his bag, a somewhat bulky thing, was on his back. He couldn’t hide his footsteps; he was crunching pieces of glass underneath him. Neither could he hide the noise made by the kitsch souvenirs hitting the ground as his bag made contact with one of the still standing shelves.

Corin winced as each item tumbled; his hands were too full with the rifle to stop each successive thud. He was just too slow to stop it. He spied a tacky model as it rolled towards the door the voice was coming from.

“Fuck,” he found his voice, but it was so thin that it was hardly noticeable.

He was dead certain that the other person was aware of him now, and it could not be helped.

“Here.” It was a distressed noise, awkwardly drawn out and instantly regretted.

His grip on the rifle stock made his hands go white. He did not move from where he called, there was little else he could do.
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The silence was deafening.

Ramón edged into the tower. It was dark, and more open than he'd been expecting. It was also, however, warmer than the outdoors, where the temperature was beginning to plummet as night neared. Difficult judgement call to make; he couldn't really see there being beds inside of a tourist attraction. On the other hand the next closest shelter was a ways away, and nightfall wasn't going to wait for him to be get all snug and warm.

There was a... crunching noise. Ramón paused, inclining his head to the side. Nobody had spoken up, he was certain of that. That meant that someone was in here, and trying to keep quiet. Ramón swallowed, and a second later, there was a sudden clattering from above. Dammit.

A second later, a voice called down from above. Nervous, anxious.

"You alone?" Ramón called. "I'm looking for somewhere to bunk down."
~*~

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He held his breath a moment, awaiting the response from on below. When the person announced their intentions, he began to fill with apprehensiveness. He didn’t want this person to come up or be near him. He didn’t expect this person to want to share the space either, especially not with someone they didn’t know. He wouldn’t be able to pass and escape without encountering the other person, it made him feel boxed in. There was very little he felt that he could do about it and he became increasingly fearful.

“I am. I’m alone.” Corin responded simply, as it was what his mind allowed at the time.

He didn’t think to say something as simple as: it’s not suitable to stay up here, the windows are shattered and the cold winds cut through near the top so just turn back. They were the words that he was looking for, but they didn’t come to mind, he didn’t have enough time to think it through. His mind started shouting things like go away, but his lips didn’t dare part and let the words escape. Every part of him wanted to avoid contact as much as possible and he couldn't even put that into words.

Corin let it become quiet again, standing as still as his shuddering body would allow.
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Ramón didn't like this.

The situation had a similar sense of wrongness to it as the encounter back at the house... not quite as bad, more of a gut feeling. Still there though. He really wasn't sure he wanted to get wrapped up in another fight. On the other hand, whoever was up there seriously hadn't wanted Ramón to know that he was there.

Something to hide, perhaps?

Fuck it. Late in the day, Ramón wanted to sleep actually indoors. Best case scenario was that he was just being paranoid and other guy was scared, which you know, wasn't all that crazy.

"Ok," Ramón said after a few seconds. "I'm going to come up there, so we're not chatting from opposite sides of a staircase, all right?"

Ramón moved onto the first steps of the stairs.
~*~

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“Yes. Ok.” Corin spewed out the words, just reacting before his mind could catch up with his mouth.

He couldn’t calm himself, he didn’t move an inch. It wasn’t that he could not do it; it was that he didn’t know what to do. His brain wasn’t thinking that far ahead, no matter how much he willed for an epiphany to pop into his head. The fact was that the epiphany would just not come; there was no miraculous way to just disappear without making contact first.

His mouth was starting to feel awfully dry, and his focus drifted to that door that he knew the guy was coming from. Corin watched fixedly, skittish, and winding up more with every second that passed without seeing the other boy. He pictured a fairly muscular person, someone who could easily throw him onto the ground and drag him over the glass and down the steps. They’d come up even if he said no, he was sure. He fabricated new motivations for the individual below him; they weren’t coherent or well-constructed thoughts but those were the ideas running through his head.

In his mind, the ulterior motive was that they were likely getting closer to hurt him. It was an idea that was setting in like cement.
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Ramón moved up. Each footstep made a dull thunking noise as he ascended.

The response was again muted, Ramón stopped, maybe halfway up now. He shifted uneasily, trainers scraping against the surface.

The more he saw and heard of this, the less he liked it. Ramón checked his pistol over. Loaded and chambered? Like he really knew anything about all of that, but it had certainly fired last time he'd tried. It'd do.

He resumed climbing.

Ahead there was a door, Ramón could just about see some kind of balcony beyond it. No sign of the other guy. Crap. What if the dude was just waiting on the other side of the door for him to spring out?

Ramón shrugged his pack, let it drop into his spare hand.

Tossed it through the door and then stepped through behind it, swinging this way- that.

"Okay we good?-"
~*~

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He waited, so stressed that it felt as if his brain might be splitting in two.

Corin tensed as the other boy entered, a whimpering noise escaped from in the back of his throat. He was there, far back in the room, with his rifle raised. His forefinger brushed the trigger briefly, but the rifle did not go off. There was a very faint tap, but the force was not sufficient. The finger rested on the trigger, it was done so without thought.

He looked nothing like what he’d thought; he’d expected a pasty white guy with straight hair, built like an athlete. Maybe some freckles and a horrible perpetual frown. He had a slight similarity to Corin in terms of features, and Corin momentarily took in that fact.

Silence hung in the air, Corin’s frightened eyes moved from the guy’s face to his shoes, to his eyes and finally to the pistol that he’d held in plain view. His view lingered there slightly longer. He’d never ever felt his heart beat so quickly, it was as if his fears were affirmed. Ramón’s words became background noise, and Corin never had a chance to think of a response.

His forefinger thoughtlessly tightened on the trigger, his hands were sweating despite the cold. There was a loud bang, louder than what any movie had ever shown him. He shook with the impact of the recoil; he’d frightened himself so much. He’d jerked his shoulders, it was a fear response. Corin himself didn’t anticipate the shot, his hands had tightened subconsciously.

He had devolved into violence so quickly, seconds in fact, Corin was being run by the part of his brain that had been overwritten by fear. It was the part of him that was telling every fibre of his body to move, and he did. It wasn’t a rational and thinking Corin. It was a Corin that wanted to live more than anything in that moment in time. That primal motivator was the only thing gluing him together in that very moment.
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There was an ear-shattering bam, way louder than any of the gunshots that Ramón had heard before.

Something whizzed over his left shoulder.

Ramón remembered swearing aloud, and then a moment later instinct took over.

He dived down, away from the direction of the shot. As he did so, the gun whipped up and he fired back blindly. No time for any thought or rational consideration now - whoever this guy was had shot at him, and that made anything Ramón did in retaliation fair game.

He didn't think he hit the guy, but maybe it made him duck his head back long enough for Ramón to roll behind a flimsy stand.

It looked like it was made of cardboard.

Ramón fumbled for a fresh clip.

Shit.
~*~

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Corin had moved for the nearest shelf, it didn’t seem like it would stop a bullet but light cover seemed better than none. He felt something pass near him and heard the bang that came with it. At first he thought that it had struck him, like the force would make him fall, but no pain followed and his feet remained in contact with the ground. There was no time for relief to wash over him.

He had made it to the shelf, hastily pulling back the bolt. A hot casing ejected itself, and it went with an unnoticed clink. He bolted in the next one with rough movements and a rushed hand. It didn’t go in smoothly, and he grew increasingly frustrated until it did.

He was blurring out the extra details, his peripheral vision faded, his brain was omitting things. He ignored the cold feeling down his back and legs. He pointed the rifle in what he thought was Ramón’s direction and pulled the trigger. A silent hope that the situation would end went with the bullet, and another loud bang followed.

He didn’t have time to look through a scope, to stop and check if the other person had been hit. As the recoil finished he inelegantly pulled the bolt again. He was anxious to end it, to get rid of the cornered feeling.
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Blam.

The magazine slipped from suddenly-clumsy fingers.

Ramón felt like someone had stomped on his chest.

His eyes went up - he was on the ground, he remember being up on a knee but not on the ground. There was a hole in the stand, lowish to the floor.

His eyes went down.

Oh. That was quite a lot of blood.

Slick fingers scrambled for the ammo, replaced it in the gun.

Ramón was halfway through expending the bullets before he keeled over to the side, smacked his head on the floor with a dull thunk, and didn't move again.


RF1: RAMÓN FUENTES, DECEASED
~*~

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Corin urgently ducked down when Ramón fired wildly around the room, cursing himself for taking too long to aim at the other boy. Corin could not think of anything else but shrinking down as much as he could and hoping that he would not be shot. He let out an undignified shriek as a stray bullet shattered part of the stand that he had hidden behind, he found that it was too many inches too close for comfort. His brain was telling him to continue fire but his body was reacting fearfully, he couldn’t bring himself to move with such heavy fire.

Soon the noise died down, and it became disturbingly silent. All Corin could hear was his own breathing and the beating of his heart. He waited for some time, racking his brains for a solution when his foe was already dead. As time passed and he expected another round of gunfire, but it never came. Corin eventually settled down enough to think of throwing one of the nearby souvenirs, to see if it would startle the other guy into firing again. When he did, there was no response, and he began to wonder if the other guy had used the gunfire to retreat backwards or something of the sort.

Corin soon decided that it was time to bite the bullet, and lifted his right hand above the shelf. Nothing happened so he brought his less dexterous hand down. He was pretty sure that the fight had reached the conclusion. He shrugged off his backpack; there was now a ragged hole that passed through as a bullet had hit it earlier. His back and legs were quite soaked with Gatorade; the cold was biting through quite strong.

He cautiously moved out, carrying his backpack by a strap. Within moments everything made sense, from his spot near the shelving he could not see it, but when he drew closer there was a new pool of blood that he knew had not been there before. He stopped in his tracks and stared listlessly at the blood and the cardboard stand, remaining that way for some time as the cameras recorded him. His eyes shifting subtly as his brain tried to reason with itself.

At the time Corin told himself an assortment of things. He came out of the cover assuming that the guy had disappeared down the steps, and it was like that optimistic thought was pulled kicking and screaming away from him by the hair. It wasn’t easy to accept, but he knew subconsciously that it was the way that the show worked. Things like altruistic thoughts didn’t quite fit in like a jigsaw puzzle piece at the moment, and he found himself thinking a cold hard thought.

I wanted to live more than he did, and that’s the reason I’m here.

Anyone who came out of this and said it was easy was full of shit; those were his exact thoughts after that. Corin was upset, he was filled with an anger that he couldn’t really direct towards an outlet, the sort that was coupled with feelings of helplessness and anxiety. He shook, he blinked back tears and he tried to think himself the better man, but deep down he felt like he had made a massive mistake. He did not want to cry on national television, he wasn’t allowed to without looking weak and pitiable, but his eyelids stung and threatened to leak whether he liked it or not. He wanted to fire at something, but knew it would do no good; it would do no good because he could not do any good. Because he had never been that strong person he’d always wanted to be, coming out of a life and death battle didn’t even change him.

He had expected some life affirming epiphany, but instead he was losing more control than ever, he knew even less about what to do now.

He let out a frustrated grunt after his long silence, pulled his hair with his free hand and stomped on one of the figurines repeatedly until it shattered like the cheap piece of plastic that it was. They should have picked a different school; he didn’t care about any year before his. He had blood on his hands, and for a boy with no real life experience it was shattering. He never even had a job, he never even left his home state, he had a boring life and now it was probably coming to an end soon in a hail of gunfire and bitter feelings.

He kicked the cardboard stand that the other boy had used for shelter, he was angry at Ramón but he would likely never be able to put it into words that encompassed why. The cardboard did not fall far but Corin seemed to be nearing the end of his fit.

He still refused to cry, deciding to busy himself by collecting what he could from Ramón. It didn’t help at all to get his mind off anything, much to Corin’s sorrow. But the fact was that Corin needed a new back pack, the hole did not make his unserviceable but the Gatorade was an inconvenience. As Corin claimed it, he also side eyed the blood soaked pistol. He was pretty sure there was some unspoken code of honour about weapons and dead people, but it seemed inconsequential when he factored in the reality of the show. He set aside the two bags and pried the pistol from Ramón’s grip. It came away with some work; it was much more difficult than it would have been if Corin had not been so worried about accidentally pulling the trigger. He didn’t bring his eyes to meet; he couldn’t really bear the idea of it. His blood feathered on the wall behind him, there was so much.

Corin pulled away with the pistol and bloodied hands; he gingerly wiped what he could off on the front of his pants. He moved away quickly, he could only bear to be there long enough to take what he wanted. He travelled to the stairwell, just to somewhere where he wouldn’t have to look at the mess he had made only moments before. He emptied out his bag and salvaged what hadn’t been ruined by the drink, transferring it to Ramón’s blood speckled backpack and removing what he didn’t care for. At the very least the pants of his costume seemed to be relatively dry and he set that aside to wear. When he was done he changed and pulled the jacket over his shoulders, sitting down to rest on the stair well. He held the rifle in which he trusted his life over his lap, with the safety on.

As his thoughts passed by he recalled sitting on his porch steps, playing with his black and white cat, which he’d uncreatively named Socks. He knew that it had only been a day but he was already home sick, and he cried and softly moaned. Eventually sleep came to claim him but he could not say for how long, but he knew that it was restless and not enough. He left before it was light out, leaving ruined food and clothing behind on the steps. He would never come back to the Sunshine tower if he could; it was veritable hole of aching sadness.

((Corin Albanesi – Continued elsewhere.))
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