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he thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts; now privarte
Topic Started: Sep 22 2017, 09:19 AM (1,199 Views)
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Lance would help him.

Couldn't trust Sophie. Mercy-killer. Not judging, but no. He was not finished yet. He couldn't be. He couldn't be strangled in the woods for convenience. Not like Jeanette. He would work with her. Sophie was good. But no. Didn't want to be in her hands.

And Jasmine.

Jasmine's psychotic.

Lance was a bit of a dullard. Very uptight. Traditional. Probably hated idea of euthanasia. Chuck needed that right now. Needed the wannabe hero. He'd keep him safe. Keep Sophie under control. Make sure she was telling the truth.

Yeah. Lance was winning. He'd help him.

In that moment, Chuck just continued to cradle his face, blood pouring it, trickling down his features, coating his shirt in red.
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The bullet hit. The body stood, wavered for a moment before it toppled. Fell off the ravine, never to be seen again.

And there was something, at that. A feeling. A pang of… something. She didn’t know what it was. Honestly she didn’t care. Lance was… dead. Gone. There was nothing she could do about that. There was no point in feeling any regret. Even though she knew- she’d known Lance, even though she knew he was more than a shape or a body, it didn’t matter. He was gone. Dead. Nothing could bring him back, nothing could let Jasmine take back what she;d done, so there was no point feeling regret. No point in Jasmine wishing she could only just take it back if she had a chance. No. She had to own it. She had to show that she could kill, that she could win, that she was better than everyone else here.

Besides, it wasn’t like he didn’t pity you. It wasn’t like he didn’t act as if you were some poor and defenseless girl who needed to be protected by him.

It wasn’t like he didn’t make you look weak in front of everyone watching.

It wasn’t as if he didn’t fucking deserve it.


Right.

It wasn’t.

And slowly, she stood up. Pushed her body off of its back and onto its feet. Kept her hand on the gun, curled her finger around the trigger as she saw Chuck writhe on the ground, as she saw Sophie pleading.

As she heard Sophie try to talk straight to her. As she tried to bargain. As she tried to make Jasmine back down.

As she made the assumption that she had any right to tell Jasmine what to do.

Because she can’t.

Because she doesn’t have that right.

Not her.

Not anyone.


“Nah.”

She raised the gun at Sophie and pulled the trigger.
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Sophie held her ground as she waited for Jasmine's response. She could feel her heart rate increasing, praying that diplomacy would win out at this point. When Jasmine spoke, Sophie had to hope it was enough.

Nah.

Sophie quickly ducked down as she saw Jasmine raise the gun, grabbing her bag. She then took off running away from the ravine. She was far enough away from Jasmine that the bullet just missed her, but Sophie began to move wildly in the event that Jasmine continued to fire.

Sophie gritted her teeth as she took off, ignoring how uncomfortable it was to run in sandals. She could feel every bump on the ground and rocks getting caught under her feet. Jasmine was going to kill her and anyone else, the one-kill rule meaning nothing to her. Heck, Sophie had even left the fishing pole by the ravine edge. She left her assigned weapon behind.

She also left Chuck behind, but it wasn't until Sophie was far enough away from Jasmine that she realized it. Sophie groaned and let out a quick cry as she disappeared from the area, aware of just how much she messed things up just by walking up to her peers.

Maybe it would be best if she stayed away from everyone.

((Sophie McDowell continued in Why don't you have wings to fly with like the swallow so proud and free?))
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Chuck could still see red. He closed his good eye. Yup. Could still see red. A tiny rivulet of blood trickled past his eyelid. It stung. He blinked repeatedly. The rapid reflex only further tugged at the lacerated skin above and below his eyeball. Worst pain ever. He tried reflecting on worst pains. Tried summarising something from his personal history. If that failed, the world at large. But no. Seeking perspective right now...probably understated things.

But it meant his eye was intact. Meant his eye had survived. The stinging was fierce at first. A flood of excruciating pain. His already petrified eyeball made to panic by some new peril. Quickly overwhelmed, of course. The searing pain of the cut drowned out all other pains, mental and physical, bar in brief flashes. Chuck appreciated those brief flashes. Hints that everything else was working. And that if his eye hurt, if it could see the flood of suffocating red surging towards it, it meant it was working. Eye was intact. Good.

Another brief surge of pain. His ears this time.

Maybe it was an echo. He was pretty sure he heard other gunshots. Head was pounding.

Should he lean forward or back? He was pretty sure backwards. Elevate the wound. Don't encourage blood to flow towards it. Use gravity to help. But...wasn't that was a misconception? Because if you lean backward, it'll flow down the throatk, and...no. No. He was thinking of nosebleeds. No. Lean backwards. Try and lift his head up. First aid 101. And so, as one hand continued pressing down on the wound, his every fibre of being fighting the urge to pull back from the tender skin, his other hand lifted him. Trying to elevate the wound slightly. Allow his leg to move into a more footloose position. And he slipped. Jolted back.

The sides of the crossbow digging into his back as he landed distracted him for a moment.

Okay. He was on his back now. Lying straight. Bag keeping his head elevated. He tilted his head back. Some blood splashed down into his eyesocket, and he had to slam the eyelid shut. But before that, sun filtered through the liquid. He looked up with his good eye. Still working.

Okay.

Slow breaths.

Continue to apply pressure.

One of them will help.
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The shot rang. Sophie ducked. Turned. Ran away from her.

Just as she should.

And he was on the ground, wincing, writhing in pain before her.

Just as he should.

And she walked forward. Took her steps towards him as she raised the gun, pointing it towards his body.

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t pull the trigger.”
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A sharp jolt of pain forced his eyes shut.

It was as if the pain was flowing up in tides. Crashing onto the shores intermittently, washing away anything calming or sedating, before receding. Chuck relied on those moments, when the tide pulled back. When he could process the residue of the earlier pain, without more gushing ashore. A brief reprieve was all he needed. To stop the pain accumulating.

But it was too brief. And so he grew quickly to hate those moments of relative painlessness, because it was too quick to really get anything in order. But it was long enough to remind him what he was missing out on. To force him, again and again and again, to confront the pain of the sting of the cut returning. To tease him, with the prospect of a lucid reminder of what it was like before his skin had been slashed in a freak accident, before yanking that prospect away.

As regular as the tides.

Perhaps it was psychosomatic. A trick of the mind. A scrambled attempt to spot some order, some predictability, in what was inherently an erratic situation. He wasn't sure if the water of the ravine had tides. Was it a river? He couldn't recall. But his mind was hearing the coursing water below, and it reminded him of the tides.

It took him a few moments to finally open his eyes again. His best eye had always been his left eye. The shortsightedness was marginally less prevalent there. But as quickly as he opened his eye, he had to close it. There was only red, then his hands, trying to stem the bleeding above and below the eye-socket.

But he thought he saw movement, beyond the red.

Then he heard a voice.

Fuck.

Oh fuck, that was even worse. He'd been fearing someone with mercy killing instincts. Now he was left alone with someone with just regular killing instincts. Ah. Bullshit.

"I'm..." He played the role of someone barely clinging to life. Of someone weak. Useless. Not a single tangible advantage or opportunity left beyond begging. Someone trapped in that dehumanising position of being completely at the whim of another. Completely subject to the arbitrary will of a heartless other. No way of tipping the scales in his favour, let alone stepping off the scales and taking charge. Someone for whom that feeling of helplessness added insult to injury.

It was an easy role to play. Method acting.

"I'm pretty much dead already. Let me go, you eliminate a competitor and it's Lance who gets the shit in the announcements. Makes you look good." He hoped that would work. An appeal to strategy. An appeal to the harsh nature of the announcements. Chuck no longer doubted their veracity. He just hoped he would, against all odds, not be on them.

They'd probably butcher his name.
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Jasmine had to bite her tongue just then in order to stop herself from giggling.

Because, like, wow that was a terrible answer. Seriously. ‘Hey, this cut to my fucking cheek is apparently, like, super fatal. You should totally leave me to die from this and not shoot me. Yeah. Yeah. Totally dying over here.’ Honestly, she was more disappointed at that than anything. Wasn’t Chuck supposed to be a debater? Wasn’t Chuck supposed to be actually good at arguing? Wasn’t he supposed to act like he was all high and mighty and morally better than her because he just hadn’t killed yet? Wasn’t he supposed to act as if stuff like that mattered anymore, now that they were in this game?

She didn’t know.

Honestly, she didn’t care either.

Not your fault he didn’t give a good reason.

Well, maybe it was.

She didn’t know.

Honestly? She didn’t care either. She raised the gun. Curled her finger around the trigger.

Stopped.

Paused, for a second.

Because what point was there in her killing Chuck? What point was there in shooting someone who was already downed, already helpless, already easy prey? It would be true that she would have one less person on this island to worry about, and it would be true that killing him would show others that she was someone they needed to fear, but where would their fear be if they found out that she had killed someone who by their words was already dying? What pride could she obtain for herself by taking out someone when the so-called killing blow had already been done for her?

How could she show everyone - her parents, Saffron, everyone who had mistreated her - what she was if all she was was a mercy killer?

She couldn’t.

Because they’d just see her as an opportunist. A fake. A person who could only take the easy prey. They’d mock her. They’d judge her. They’d shout at her, say that she was making the wrong decisions. That she shouldn’t have done it. That she should have let him die and let Lance be the one on the announcements instead because it was so dumb for her to kill, so dumb for her to keep doing it.

And when you fail, when someone better comes along and puts you down, they’ll just pity you.

Your parents, Saffron, everyone else who mistreated you?

They’ll just sigh and feel sorry for the girl who just died right in front of them.


And her hand clenched.

And her breathing became that much rougher.

And she could feel the heat of the world searing against her skin as she turned around.

“Fine.”

Walked forward, pick up Lance’s weapon off of the ground and into her pocket.

“You can stay there.”

Walk onto the bridge, leaving Chuck behind her.

“Feel free to bleed out whenever you like.”

Turn her head back to the chasm below, seeing the seagulls feast on the corpse in the sand.

((Jasmine King, continued elsewhere.))
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Chuck stayed there for a while. He could not remember Jasmine's exact words, but whether out of pity or strategy, of a fit of conscience or the cruelty of a slow death, she had left him be. Left him alone with his thoughts. His thoughts were not the best company at that time. They consisted mostly of 'fuck, this hurts'.

But soon, the bleeding slowed. The pressure and the elevation was working. The cut, ultimately, was not that bad. It was bad, no question about it. But was it crippling? Disfiguring? Terrifyingly deep? Nah.

Chuck sat up. His hand was soaked in blood. He draped it over a patch of grass, both taking away the most congealed and coagulated patches as they became tangled with the green blades, and feeling the freshest blood trickle down onto the ground below. His hand was still red. No matter. His face was no longer feeling particularly swamped with more blood. Which, y'know, progress.

He set about cleaning it up. Rifling through the first aid kit. Making a note to, from now on, keep his crossbow within reach at all times. Because being able to shoot people could be helpful. He grabbed some stuff. Hand sanitizer first. On his less bloody hand. Then alcohol pads and saline solution, applied haphazardly to his face. It stung. A lot. Hurt more than the cut itself. Which was reassuring in a way. And then, a bandage. Wrapping it around his eye. Popped an aspirin too.

Chuck was able to stand. Before he left, he looked over the edge. Saw Lance's body. He swallowed. He had seen corpses before, in person. He had seen his grandmother, lying in the coffin, before her funeral. Made up to look like she was sleeping, but it didn't really work. In that state, she looked straight from the uncanny valley, with an almost ethereal ease and restfulness to her sleep, an impeccability to her makeup and attire that she had never tried to attain in life.

Lance, in contrast, was raw. Bloody. Nature had granted him no dignity. Indeed, as the waters carried away some small parts of viscera and gore, seagulls around his body. One big fucker in particular seemed to be picking apart his corpse the most.

Chuck heaved. A dry heave, ultimately.

He picked up his bag, readjusted his Boo hat, and walked away.

((Chuck Soileaux continued elsewhere.))
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