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Earth Sky From Venus; Open
Topic Started: Sep 6 2017, 02:38 AM (462 Views)
Espi
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[ *  *  *  * ]
((Nate Chauncey continued from Red or Dead))

Walking without the burdensome, cumbersome, loathsome, gruesome pickaxe was much easier. Certainly not easy, of course; Nate had been moving at a fairly placid pace, and certainly was in no hurry, but it took a long time and she had to rest frequently. By the time she'd stopped for what she hoped was the last time, the sun's pure light had become sultry and burnt in color, the fair blue sky a transitory indigo, soon to be swallowed by the colors of sunset.

She'd found some beauty in the island, in time. Passing the lake had been interesting, but the sounds of distant figures meant Nate hadn't spent long at that shore. The natural world had gently embraced the sparse buildings and human constructs she'd seen, coaxing them back into their primal components. Decayed lumber and bushes-once-removed from pathways made Nate's fingers ache for a pen, a brush, a stylus, even a camera to recreate them later. Plus, this stuff was heavy. Time for another break.

So eventually, she'd stopped at the seashore, where she stood now. Collapsing gracelessly onto the ground, Nate had enough wherewithal to use her rucksack as a pillow instead of getting dirt into her hair. She had seen the showers on the map, but there was no way they'd still work. Nate's hygiene was a bit spotty, but she would prefer to stay relatively clean while she could.

Arms crossed over her stomach, Nate stared outward across the shifting sea. The water was up to the grass here, so it was probably at high tide. Nate hoped there was a sandy beach when the waves receded. She'd been to beaches before, but she'd like to do it again here if she could. Most beaches were hot and sandy and sunny and she always got burned and felt uncomfortable. Her parents usually let her stay at the hotel when they vacationed if there was a beach day planned.

Nate rubbed her nose and shifted uncomfortably. Mom and Dad were probably absolute wrecks right now, not that she could blame them. They always worried so much about her when everything was fine, she couldn't imagine how they were handling this. As for her siblings, Lucas would probably be trying to be the strong one, he always did that, but he'd be just as miserable. Mark would be going nuts trying to get her face out there, tell everyone what happened, all over the internet. Marley would be a terrible crying wreck.

Did they even know what happened to her? The bus just disappeared off the highway. Would anyone have seen them, thought something was odd, called the police? How long had it been since they'd left? Apparently they'd been unconscious for some time. And where were they? Transporting sixty-plus teens to a random island was a nearly unimaginable feat.

It had happened years ago, but nobody had realized it could happen again, just as effectively. Even with all the knowledge of the events that took place, the perpetrators had slipped through again. Would it happen again? If Nate and her classmates whittled each other down to one, would there be a third abduction? Would they even be able to kill each other? The last time the class had been half the size.

Nate had so many questions, so much to think about and worry about. Her own life was on a razor's edge, balancing against dozens of other seniors, and the whole world was probably reeling from this. It was all very upsetting, so maybe taking a break would help. She couldn't help anyone, or even herself, by fretting about the situation.

So instead, Nate gazed across the sea towards the distant, dark horizon, watching the waves and trying to spot fish. She watched the clouds above and imagined fantastic things made in those shapes. She watched, and waited.
TV2: Died, Didn't Do


SC2: Attempt Number Deux
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[ *  * ]
((Cody Jenkins continued from Fearful Symmetry))

CRACK.

Cody jumped at the sound of a large twig snapping under his feet. He paused, holding his breath as he gave the area a quick scan before moving on. It looked like he and Clair were still alone. For now.

How long had the two of them been walking, anyway? It must have been hours since they had left the quarry. The sun, barely visible through the treeline, was dipping low in the sky. There wasn’t much daylight left, and they still hadn’t found any decent shelter.

It probably would have been a good idea to have looked at the map instead of charging off in some random direction. Cody sighed. If he hadn’t been in such a hurry to get out of the damn quarry, then they’d probably have found somewhere to hole up by now.

To be fair, it wasn’t like anyone else had made a better suggestion. It looked like he had been granted the incredibly prestigious position of group leader by virtue of being the only one who was actually armed. Well, leader of what remained of their group, that was. Cody didn’t know when exactly Lance had decided to dip out, but he supposed it was bound to happen eventually. There was no way that Cody was about to run around with Lance on some sort of wild goose chase looking for his girlfriend.

Cody’s ruminations were interrupted by the sound of waves getting louder and louder as he and Clair approached the edge of the woods. A quick peek from out of the trees revealed the beginnings of what he would in any other situation call a beautiful ocean sunset, as well as what looked like a distant body lying down on the beach.

His body tensed as he paused, craning his neck to see if there was anybody else around. The beach seemed pretty empty, otherwise. Whichever psycho that had decided to start killing this early had evidently left the scene.

Hopefully they hadn’t taken everything of value.

Cody winced at the thought of looting the corpse of one of his classmates. It was a cold move, to be sure…

Well, it wasn’t like he killed that kid for their stuff. It was just...there. In any case, wherever they were going, they didn’t need any of that stuff any more. Their killer had probably taken any weapons that the poor soul had, but more food or other supplies would have been nice to have.

He gave a quick glance at Clair before exiting the forest, taking a few careful steps out into the open, the Jackhammer tightly clutched in his hands.
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[ *  *  *  * ]
((Clair Belvedere continued from Fearful Symmetry.))

Clair had worldlessly followed Cody through the woods. It had been quite a while since they'd left the quarry. How long, exactly? Clair couldn't tell.

Clair wasn't exactly sure when they had lost Lance, either. Several times she had reached for her pocket before realizing that, oh yeah, her phone wasn't there anymore.

It occurred to her that she was pretty damn hopeless without her technology. To be fair, this was also probably the longest she'd been outside.

Wow, she really was useless.

Clair's attention was brought back to the present by Cody stopping at the edge of the woods. Looking past him, she could she the edge of the island, but more importantly, something laying on the sand.

She blinked a few times, trying to examine what it was. Other than suspicious. Clair decided that pretty quickly.

As Cody stepped forward, Clair followed, a few feet behind. She hoped Cody wouldn't get too close, but just in case, it was better that one of them get caught in an ambush than two.
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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Nate was finding herself remarkably comfortable here. Well, she would much prefer to be in a real bed, or at least on a sandier spot and not a beach made of dirt, and she'd certainly rather be on an island without such a morbid ultimatum attached to her presence.

Still. For what it was, it was a nice little spot to relax.

There was a good chance she was just tired, of course. Nate didn't really do much exercise at home, save for walking to class or around town, and even then she was quite happy to get a ride from someone rather than do the exertion itself. And when she did walk, it was usually on flat, even sidewalks or roads, and she was pretty sure she'd never carried a huge metal mining implement around in the process.

Any chance to rest was automatically more appealing after one became worn out. It was just the way things were. Still, the ground her was relatively comfortable, all things considered.

Plus the view was still nice. The sea was really pretty and the sky was just starting to turn orange at the very edge of the horizon. The shadows cast on the clouds in the distance was like a painting, hues of red and yellow stricken into the dark blue sky as the near-black sea sings soothingly and ambles across the distance.

Nate wished she had drawing supplies. They'd taken all her pencils and notebooks, which seemed especially rude of them. What could she possibly do to them using paper? Draw a rude caricature of that man on the bus? Write an insulting limerick? The pen was often touted as mightier than the sword, but both paled in comparison to the might of an AK-47.

As was characteristic of Nate when she was daydreaming, she had no idea other people had arrived. Frankly they probably could've gotten halfway through an opera before she looked over. Not a long opera, but a modest one. Whatever that meant.

Instead of acknowledging Cody and Clair's presence, Nate adjusted her posture, rubbing her eyes again before folding her arms behind her head to give her a more comfortable angle. Ergonomics were important, even in a prolonged fight to the death.
TV2: Died, Didn't Do


SC2: Attempt Number Deux
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[ *  * ]
As Cody approached the corpse, two facts quickly became apparent. One, the body on the ground belonged to Nate Chauncey. Two, she wasn’t dead. Well, either that or she had become a zombie, reanimated through some strange voodoo magic…

Cody gave a small grin, his facial muscles contracting involuntarily at the thought. It was an interesting idea, but he wasn’t about to go about combing the island for witch doctors just yet.

In any case, it probably wasn't a good idea to just stand there, doing nothing. Cody cradled the Jackhammer in his hand as he quickly scanned his eyes over her and her bag, looking for weapons. It would be so easy to just take her out right then; all he had to do was pull the trigger and she would never wake up from that nap of hers.

No. He was better than this. He wasn't going to play into their hands, wantonly murdering his classmates to advance their sick agenda. Survival was the goal, yes, but he had principles, god damn it! Cody Jenkins wasn't about to sacrifice common decency just yet, no matter what some of his more weak-willed peers were doing.

This would probably have been a bad time to dwell on the fact that he had just been seriously considering committing grave robbery five minutes earlier.

Regardless, checking on her would be the civilized thing to do, right? After a quick glance at Clair to make sure that she hadn't run off on him, he cleared his throat.

"Hey… Are you alright?”

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It was a body. She realized it as she got closer. And yet they continued getting closer. Why? She didn't really know what Cody was thinking, until her eyes fell to the bag on Cody's shoulders.

Bag? Right. If they could find something useful on the body, they would be better off. Clair shuddered as she thought that. Was she really resorting to that kind of extreme pragmatism this quickly? She wanted to slap herself.

But... still...

Clair didn't initially notice that the body laying on the beach wasn't, in fact, a body. Really, she didn't actually realize that they were alive until Cody was suddenly speaking to them. She thought that maybe Cody was dumb, talking to a dead body. Then she had to do a bit of a double take.

She cautiously took a few steps closer.
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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Espi
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Honestly, Nate had begun to enjoy herself by now.

She was never opposed to isolation. Mark had once discussed a psychology lecture he'd recently attended for school that said that introverts weren't always antisocial or even shy. Instead, they found being around other people to be tiring, even if they liked it, and regained energy by being alone or in quiet groups. That seemed apt. Nate had no issue with people per say, but she was perfectly happy to be by herself.

When had she heard that? It seemed odd, that she'd absorbed one of her brother's enthusiastic scholarly explanations, since trying to educate Nate on such a subject was usually an exercise in futility. Plus, though she felt guilty about it, she had a tendency to tune out that kind of thing, since he did them so often.

Of course, hindsight 20/20 and all, and had she known this would happen she'd have listened more carefully. And probably stayed home sick instead of going to the aquarium. Oh, was it the time they drove to visit their aunt? Last year or so, where she'd spent the whole car ride doodling and listening to her family banter about their lives. That had been nice, actually, though Nate wasn't especially fond of that relative since she was very insistent on trying to stuff Nate with food. Not bad food necessarily, but more than Nate would ever-

A voice interrupted Nate's train of thought, albeit a couple of seconds after the speaker actually spoke, since she didn't instantly process the statement as more than meaningless natural sounds. Sitting up, Nate rubbed her eyes and looked around. Down the beach were a pair of people, ones she of course recognized from school but could not ascribe any information to.

It occurred to Nate that they might be dangerous, given the circumstances and all. Of course, if they were going to attack her while she was alone, it wouldn't make sense to warn her first, would it? It only made sense to mislead if you couldn't accomplish your goal in another way more easily, so she assumed they weren't about to murder her. That guy had a huge gun, but that really only proved her point. If they wanted her dead, she'd be dead.

It was awfully morbid that she needed to just casually acknowledge how vulnerable she was, but she could worry about that later. Nate sat up in the dirt and waved at the pair. "I'm okay." She said neutrally.
TV2: Died, Didn't Do


SC2: Attempt Number Deux
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[ *  * ]
Cody relaxed his posture, the Jackhammer in his hands dipping towards the ground. Things had worked out better than expected. Well, that wasn’t really saying much, considering his original expectation was “stumble onto the dead body of one of your classmates”.

Still, now that the facts of the situation were established, an additional problem had arisen. What exactly was he supposed to go from here? He didn't know Nate very well, and from what he had heard of her, she wasn't very easy to talk to.

Well, when all else failed, there was one conversation topic that was guaranteed to be of use here. After all, no matter their differences, everyone stuck on this godforsaken island had at least one thing in common. After a noticeable pause, he spoke, his voice perhaps a little too loud considering the distance between them.

“So… met any psychos yet?”
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So, two people brought together by circumstance meet a third person through circumstance. Well, fourth, if they counted Lance, but that was in the past, and Lance had already separated from their group, so... yeah, third would do.

Clair didn't really interact with Nate much, either before or after her change of heart. Clair couldn't see a reason for it, other than maybe that Nate was just too good at keeping to herself. Was that a good or a bad thing, in this scenario? Clair didn't know.

Cody said something. What did he just say?

Oh.

Well, that's was a great question to ask, wasn't it? It was a valid question to ask, she guessed, but the way he asked it, well...

Clair couldn't help but snerk at it.
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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Raising her eyebrow, Nate's gaze drifted from the girl's to the boy's expressions. The other girl's momentary mirth gave her a brief feeling of brevity. For the good intentions of his question, it was an awfully surreal thing to ask, at least in normal life. Before here.

It had only been a day, yet Nate felt like her home was so far away, so distant, like a snapshot of a half-remembered scene from her youth even though she could no longer remember if it was real or not. And yet though her birthplace was faded, the reality of her newfound land had yet to set in. With the sun only now slipping down into the gloom, it had barely occurred to Nate that she'd be sleeping here. The presented evidence that death and despair were approaching, perhaps already here, had yet to fully make an impact on Nate.

Not having encountered murder or violence yet, Nate was in a transitory state; the placid and familiar Denton was behind her, and whatever horrors this place would induce were as yet unknown. But for now, she was in between, belonging nowhere. In a nearly absurd way, it was a familiar place for Nate. Though certainly she had been accepted, loved, and protected among the Chauncey family, had she ever really belonged?

Focusing her gaze on the boy, Nate replied, saying only "No." A moment later, she added, "Yourself?" At home, a response may not have been elicited; distracted, apathetic, or worn out, Nate may have let the response remain monosyllabic, a behavior which had if nothing else resulted in fewer questions to begin with. But she wasn't home, and for whatever difference that made, she could at least add two more syllables here.

Depending on what came tomorrow, this might be the last conversation with these two she could ever have.
TV2: Died, Didn't Do


SC2: Attempt Number Deux
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[ *  * ]
Despite the fact he had received what was, objectively speaking, fairly good news, Cody couldn't help but be disappointed. Nate's answer had given little in the way of information regarding the current state of the “game”, unfortunately. As it stood, he was still in the dark concerning which students to watch out for, even though the killing must have started by then.

At least there was the fleeting satisfaction of knowing somebody else in the vicinity enjoyed his sense of humour. He shot a quick smile to Clair before turning back to face Nate, giving the most casual response he could muster, given the circumstances.

“Nah, we've been pretty lucky so far… well, ignoring the fact that we were stranded here in the first place…”

Cody swallowed dryly. Something about the girl in front of him made him feel uneasy, somehow. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but the way she responded to his questions just didn't seem…natural. Being casual was one thing, but the lack of emotion in her voice was unsettling, to say the least. For now, though, it didn't look like she was a threat. Probably the best course of action would be to continue pressing her for information.

“So, speaking of luck, what weapon did they give you? I got this crazy thing.” He hefted the Jackhammer for emphasis “Looks more like a prop for a movie set than a weapon, huh?”
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So Nate hadn't run into anyone dangerous yet. That was good. More normalcy was always good. Clair looked around. This place was... well, if the situation was different, she could almost pretend that they were just on a school trip to the sea and they had split off from the main group.

Why she would be splitting off with two people she barely knew... she didn't know, but hey. Almost pretend.

Clair came back to the present to hear Cody talking about his gun. He mentioned it looking more like a prop than an actual gun.

"What if it is a prop?" Clair blurted out.

Oops. She hadn't meant to say that out loud. But... it was a good point.

"I mean," she continued, "We don't know if that thing actually fires... I mean, we just assumed that, but what if it is actually fake? I wouldn't put it past them to give someone a fake."
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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It was probably just the final setting of the sun, but Nate felt eerily uncomfortable.

It wasn't a normal sort of discomfort. Nate knew about that, awkwardness or restlessness. When she wanted to walk away but the person was still talking. When she had to go the bathroom but the teacher was talking to another student first. That sort of thing.

This was an eerie sense. Nate drew her bag closer to her, fumbling in search of a light source, and wrapping her fingers around the flashlight as soon as she felt it. Were her hands shaking? It was a little cold. Nate stood up, clumsy as she held the tool under her chin and zipped the backpack.

A dark night, two friendly faces approach the lone girl. She sits up, greets them, and the trio converses. One is holding a massive weapon, and the collective's attention inevitably falls on it. He jokes that it might not even be real. His companion agrees. So far, more or less exactly how this had played out in the real world.

In the fantasy, things got worse. The pair's eyes grow cold as they turn towards each other. The conversation turns perfunctory; they have already decided. 'Do you think it's a real gun?' The guy asks. 'I'm not sure,' she replies. 'I think we should give it a test run.'

It was a horrifying image, one which made Nate all too aware that, while her vivid imagination could usually be laughed off, a scenario like that could actually happen. She could argue, of course; they didn't shoot her on approach, why wait until now? Unless they hadn't decided, yet.

Nate was more nervous than she'd ever been before. The people at the ravine had been odd, of course, but they were a ragtag group; here, Nate was obviously the extra wheel. Still, her expression was the same; she hadn't been terribly phased on the surface, at least. She'd quite like to go somewhere else, though.

"Well...good night, then." Nate's voice took a very slight jump as she began 'night', but by the time she'd even noticed the slip she was already walking down the dirt path. A few yards away, Nate turned off the flashlight and doubled back into the woods away from the sea.

((Nate Chauncey continued in My Home In The Cold Dark))
TV2: Died, Didn't Do


SC2: Attempt Number Deux
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Cody looked down at the object in his hands, moonlight gleaming off of its smooth metal surface. Could it really be a fake? His brow furrowed as he considered the question, exploring a possibility that had not until now crossed his mind.

On one hand, nobody got assigned a fake weapon last time. Well, except for the one guy with the toy hammer, but that was obviously fake. On the other hand, there was a variable in the mix here that didn’t exist before. With all the surveillance programs in place, the government definitely knew that he was aware of the truth…. A chill ran down Cody’s spine. Maybe it was in their best interest to break the rules so that he would get himself killed.

His train of thought came to a sudden stop with the unexpected exit of the girl in front of him. Objectively speaking, it was a smart decision. She had no reason to trust them, and the encroaching night left her vulnerable to any sort of attack, though those rationalizations didn’t stop him from feeling more than a little insulted by the move. He sighed, speaking aloud as if to nobody in particular.

“Well, that was pretty damn quick.”

Cody gave a quick glance to Clair before continuing. “We should find some shelter for the night.”

Without waiting for a response, He turned to leave, his earlier anxieties still burning a hole in his mind. The smart thing to do would be to wait, and test the gun in the morning. His grip tightened around the Jackhammer, his finger running nervously over the trigger. The uncertainty weighed heavily on his mind, closing in him just as the darkness of the night enveloped the beach...

((Cody Jenkins continued in The Lone Gunman))
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"Yeah," Clair said, to Cody's first point. Her eyes fixed on the point where Nate disappeared. Or the point she thought she disappeared, anyway.

Cody said something about finding shelter.

"Yeah," Clair repeated. That was a good idea. It seemed like the question of whether or not Cody's gun was real would wait until... she didn't know.

Clair followed wordlessly. She wished they could... come up with some sort of concrete plan, rather than just walking around.

But... it looked like that, too, would have to wait until...

Well.

((Clair Belvedere continued elsewhere...))
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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