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Firestarter; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6aN04YAH4U
Topic Started: Sep 13 2017, 05:27 AM (69 Views)
The Yugetnam War
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[ *  *  *  * ]
She’d gotten away.

Even though she could barely even see anything in these tunnels, even though she could barely even breathe as she walked, as she lurched her way through the empty darkness, she had gotten away. She had escaped. Maxwell had been chasing her down and even though she had never ran as far as she had in her life she’d been able to get away and that was all because of her. All because she was faster. Tougher. Better than Maxwell was.

And she could feel something in regards to that. In regards to the fact that she’d won.

Heat rising.

Skin tingling. Tickling.

A feeling like what she had felt before. At the cliffs. When Paris had been below her. It was like that. It was like when she was standing at assembly, shaking the hand of the principal as the whole school applauded her for her achievements.

When everyone knew what she had been able to do.

When everyone couldn’t help but appreciate that.

And even though she couldn’t breathe, even though she could only wheeze as her body leaned on one of the cavern walls, she couldn’t help but laugh, let all the air force itself out of her throat.

Because she’d done it.

She’d gotten away.

Because she was her.

She was better than everyone else there.

And there wasn’t anyone on this island who could deny that.

So she stopped. Let gravity slide her down the cavern wall. Let her laughter fill, echo through the tunnels as she sat there, trying to get her body to breathe. She couldn’t, though. She couldn’t stop laughing because she’d done it. She’d actually done it. She’d made Paris pay for everything he did to her and she’d lived to tell the tale. Outran Maxwell. Even if she hadn’t made it out uninjured, even though she could faintly feel the bruises all over her face, it didn’t matter. She’d made it out. She’d lived to tell the tale.

And all the people back at the cliffs, Brigid and Chris and Maxwell and Paris? They knew what she could do now.

They knew now that she was someone they needed to fear.

”And hey, they gotta give you credit. You did that all yourself.”

She could hear the sounds as her laughter began to die. High and low. Quiet and loud. Like everything and nothing at the same time.

“You’re back,” Jasmine said, calling out to wherever the voice was.

”Never left.” The voice replied. I was like, right there when you were wrecking shit. Cheering you on, y’know?

Jasmine giggled. Admittedly the image was funny. Admittedly, she liked the idea that at least somebody was cheering for her when he did that.

”Because hey, fucker deserved it, y’know?” The voice said. “Like, he messed with you. He fucked you over. He acted like you two were gonna be forever and then dropped you first opportunity he could. No way you coulda just let him do that. Walk over you. Act as if everything was all fine and dandy and that you two were the best of buddies.”

Silence, then:

”I mean, yeah, maybe killing him was a bit much but hey. Paris can just consider it karma for what he did to you.”

Wait.

Did the voice just say-

”Yep. Odds are you killed him,” it said. “You heard his ribs crunch, right? No way he’s getting up and walking from that.

And her breath stopped. Her body froze. The heat, the tingling of her skin, the sense of adolescent pride she felt in her body was gone, replaced with cold. A feeling like there was something in her chest that was just gone. Missing. As if she was in the music room, waiting until it was time for her to give a performance to the examiners. As if there was a question on a Maths test that Yakubovich hadn’t prepared her for. As if she had only just remembered what the correct word was on a Spanish exam and couldn’t remember whether she had used it or not. Whether she would do good on the test or not.

Whether she would ever be able to show her achievements to her parents and have them be proud of her. Whether they would notice her over everyone else.

But that would never happen.

Because she’d messed up.

Because she had hurt. She had maimed. She had killed. That wasn’t something she wanted to do. That wasn’t something that would help her win. They’d see her as a monster now. They’d see her as some sort of evil bitch because she killed Paris and they’d hunt her down. Kill her for what she did to him. See themselves as if they had any sort of moral right because clearly she was worse than they were and clearly an eye meant an eye and clearly no-one would miss her when she was gone because she was nothing but Eris’ attack dog, some bitch who people only ever used back at school and who didn’t even last a day before attacking, before killing someone else.

And she’d messed up. She’d jepordised herself by killing this early. By making it known that she wanted to win. By putting her name in the announcements. Because of what she did, because of what Paris did she was gone. Dead in the water. Her chances of winning this had dropped further down than she could possibly imagine.

But it was more than that. More than this game. She hadn’t wanted to kill anyone because it was… wrong. Bad. She couldn’t quite put words to it and it annoyed her that she couldn’t but she didn’t know. Even if she had to, even if it was right for her to take back from Paris she’d never wanted to do that. She’d never wanted to do anything wrong.

Yet it actually felt right, in a way. Because she could feel it. The air warming around her. The hairs on her skin tingling. That familiar sense of pride coming back.

Because she’d done that. She’d killed Paris. She’d brought that feeling upon herself.

And admittedly, she liked that.

”And hey, look on the bright side,” the voice said. “Now that you’ve done it the first time it’s gonna be easier on you to do it again.”

And her body froze. Her muscles locked. The tunnel, the air around her vanished. The idea of her killing, the idea of doing it again came to the forefront. Filled her mind.

Because she couldn’t do it again, couldn’t she? She’d done it and she’d made it out and honestly she felt fine about it, but doing it again? Taking her gun and shooting someone and knowing what she was about to do? It felt wrong to Jasmine. It felt bad. It felt-

”No it doesn’t,” the voice said, as a feeling - cold, bare - felt itself up Jasmine’s arms. ”Like. Seriously. Stop trying to convince yourself that.”

“What?”

”Like, riddle me this,” the voice said. ”Give me one person in this school who you actually give a shit about.”

And the names came flooding into her head.

Eris.

”Nah.” Jasmine felt a thud on her body. Soft, as if something was sitting on her legs. ”You know she only uses you. You know she only sees you as her attack dog.”

Rachael.

”How much do you even talk to her?” She felt something on her shoulders.

Damion.

”Okay, I’ll give you that one,” it laughed, as Jasmine’s head fell back against the cavern wall. ”You like him because he wants to fuck you, though. He’s only passable otherwise.”

But that wasn’t true. She liked them. She cared-

”Just as you cared about your darling Paris?”

And her body seized up again. Her hands clenched. Fingernails dug into her skin because she knew she- she knew that the voice was right. Even if she did like them, even if she did care, that didn’t mean they cared back. That didn’t mean that they actually gave a shit about her.

But that didn’t mean she had to kill. She wasn’t sure what the voice was saying. She knew she had to rely on herself, but that didn’t mean she could abandon her friends. She had to work with people. She couldn't take this game alone.

”And how well is that going to work out for you?”

Jasmine froze. What was being said- what the voice said couldn’t be right. She needed people. She needed a group if she wanted to win this game and-...

Who would want to work with her now? She’d seen what happened when she attacked Paris. She’d seen how quickly people had turned on her. What would they think of her when they found out she killed him? What would they see her as then?

Not someone friendly.

Not someone they would want on their team.

But that didn’t mean she had to kill. She didn’t have to listen to the voice. She knew she could rely on herself. She knew that there was someone out there who would find her. Accept her. She couldn’t just give up. Not yet. She wanted to live, she wanted to live, so if she wanted to do that she had to find a group. She had to stick out these early stages of the game.

”And how well is that going to work out for you?”

She didn’t know.

She didn’t know.

”Because here’s the thing,” the voice said, the tone of its voice intensifying. ”All that’s gonna happen if you do that is that you’re gonna walk around, you’re gonna just fucking fail to find a group and then die when someone finally loses it at you. No. You can’t do that. You can’t lose.”

“So?”

She didn’t have to do it.

She didn’t have to kill.

”Besides, you liked it, right?”

What?

Her body locked. Her mind froze because she did. She’d thought that before. She had felt something when she’d been back at the cliffs, when she had made it away from Maxwell. A sense of pride. A sense that she was better than the people below her, the people who had failed to catch her.

And for once, there was nobody to undercut it. No Saffron to have done it before. No parents to just fawn over anybody else.

Even though it was gone, even though she couldn’t feel it at all, she knew that she could get that feeling back.

She knew she could make it last.

A laugh sounded as something cold - something wet - pressed against her forehead. Left its wet, caring remains there.

”So you gonna make yourself feel it again?”

And she saw an image. Of Paris. On the ground. Under her foot.

And she saw another. Of Maxwell. Him trying to catch her, him trying to beat her. Him losing to her.

“Yeah,” she said.

”Atta girl.”

And as she felt the cold feeling - the wet feeling - press on her neck, she saw another image. One of someone - a girl, a person, whatever - sprawled on the ground. Begging for mercy. Looking up at Jasmine, hoping that her so-called ‘friend’ would save her.

And as the cold feeling became warm - became so much like pleasure - she saw another image. One of the end. One of the people on the bus picking her up. Collecting her. Calling her the winner.

And as she laughed, as she let her sounds fill and echo against the empty caverns, she saw one last image. One of everyone - her parents, Saffron, Aster, Primrose, Eris, everybody - standing in front of her. Clapping. Applauding her.

Because they knew she was better.

Because they knew she’d won.

And because they knew she’d shown them all.

((Jasmine King, continued elsewhere))
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