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City Upon a Hill; Open
Topic Started: Nov 23 2017, 12:37 AM (273 Views)
TwoThirty(e)
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((Stan Astley, Start))

Stan awoke next to a bookshelf.

Nonono.

"Oohhh."

Nonono. He picked up the glasses that fell from his nose. From the reflection he saw his hair.

He felt it.

It became unstyled.

His hair was unstyled. The gel, no use, his hair was a mess. Ruined. Unstyled.

As he dropped the glasses onto his nose he reached for the bag, just like the contestants did years before him. And found no weapon.

No no no.

Jesus bored at him.

Hope?

By all means!

It was his chance to win!

He stood up.

No need to whine. He was a patriot. Start from the bottom. Climb to the top.

"O! say you can see by the dawn’s early light?"

Stanley looked out for competition.

"What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming!"

His beautiful vocalum.

"Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?"

His fists were shaking. He had sung the latest line in forte, fearing but embracing his classmates hearing his wonderful voice as a battlecry.
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Clay's body bathed, washed out by the muted hues of colors filtered through stained glass, reds and blues and golds jagged over his still form like a mosaic. He sat in the pew right before the altar, his head inclined towards the earth. He was meditating. Praying. Begging. He didn't know.

His still thoughts ran deep as water. Frankie, jostled and hustled by faceless soldiers. Roz, the subtle and weak bob of her throat as she'd swallowed down, what? Fear? Agony? Vomit, perhaps? Mary, her head down, whispers haunting her as she hastened away. Cybil, stoically marching to his fate.

Bridie. Of all the images that stood in stark relief, pixel for pixel burnt into every once forgotten crevasse of his head. Her's he regretted the most, even as he clutched desperately at it for salvation.

Physically, he clutched. Wringing his hands over and over, palms grinding until he swore he was beginning to erode his own skin to blood. He checked. No, still intact. He supposed he'd be seeing how long that lasted. Such morbid thoughts. He willed them to stop.

Illusions of his friend's broken bodies.

"O! say you can see by the dawn’s early light?"

Someone sung to him. Not to him. He did not know.

"What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming!"

Who? Why? A man of nobly red and patriotic blood steeling his nerves to take on the game by storm? Was this to be his first kill? The blob of fat sitting in the room right outside his own?

"Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight...



"O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?"

Clay did not know why he suddenly took to the harmony in unison, why he became the mezzo to the other's forte. Clay's soft voice danced in effortless falsetto. Then he fell silent, his thoughts buzzing with unfounded schemes, dreams, images of his own death. Moments passed, Clay stared at the door between them, wondering what monster of his imagination lay on the other side.

"W-who's in there?"

Louder.

"Who's in there?! I'm not armed, I promise!" More silence, then in desperately awkward addendum: "Hey, heh, you know? We'll probably get a spotlight on the broadcast for singing the anthem!" Clay did not even know if he believed his own cheer, saying such a thing.
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TwoThirty(e)
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Someone began to sing together with him. It sounded wonderful. The stranger's male voice sang beautifully, but not as beautiful as Stan. The other guy was a petty amateur.

Not only as a singer, but as a player, too! Stan stopped singing to await what was behind the door. The boy spoke, giving Stanley notion.

Not armed? Perfect!

Stan opened the door to rush and swing his duffel bag at the voice.
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Clay continued to sit. Hesitantly, began to stand, that awkward sort of motion where he was lingering in an awkward squat, half prepared to immediately sit his ass back down. He considered the silence with discomfort: physical discomfort, duh, social, natch. Had he said too much? Driven the other into hiding? Oh, and he'd probably said something stupid anyways, because of course the best way to open a conversation with a stranger you're sharing a particularly patriotic death sentence with was to start with a half-ass-

The door flew open.

Clay processed a human shape, human color blur of motion. Rushing at him. Maybe five steps of distance to cover. Someone. Something. Coming his way.

No time for reaction. Run. Duck. Hide. Fight. Adrenaline chose on his behalf.

Clay screamed, "Shit!", in a particularly shrill tone. He bodily tossed himself under the swung bag. He hurtled to one side, towards the central aisle. Freedom, as processed by his brain's most primitive spots. He was running down the aisle without even knowing why he was.

His bag on one shoulder caught by the strap around a pew. He tried to make it by force, failed. His bag stretched by the strap, held fast, yanking him down by the shoulder. He sprawled over the bitter cold tile, taking burns to the elbows. He tried desperately to keep moving, crawling, but his desperation made him forget how the bag strap trapped him, he writhed pathetically in place.
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TwoThirty(e)
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Nitwit...

Stan spectated the spectacular show Clay displayed. Clay's brain must have been diminutively bitty!

Stan slowy stepped closer as Clay was stuck. Stanley stroked his own disheveled hair before swinging with his fist at the direction of Clay's thinker.
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Strap digging into his shoulder. Clay tried to force conscious thought through the dull roar of adrenaline. Stop moving, yes. Fall back to slip out of the trap? Forward to pull himself free? Did he have the strength? Did he-?

A fist smashed into his cheek. Pain exploded outward, his jaw clipped he heard something crack. Fractured. Broken. Didn't matter, irrelevant information. Still, his brain pointlessly processed everything at once. Including, say, the bite of the edge of a wooden pew into his back as he was slung a few inches by the force of his assailant's strike.

Finally, Clay acted.

"P-u-puh-please... stop..." Holding two hands up, in frail defense, desperately shielding his face. No more pain, he silently begged, no more.
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TwoThirty(e)
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"Hah."

Stan let out a short crack up.

"No."

He swung his vise yet again.
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He laughed. Clay tried to process the tone- sardonic, mocking, manic- no no, it all meant the same thing, it didn't matter-!

Clay cried out pathetically, as he took another fractured bone. One to the nose now, a dent distorting the bridge to pucker to one side, blood dribbling freely out of nostril. It hurt, of course it hurt, Clay began to whine-

Began to scream, suddenly, all animal like. He couldn't think, not like he needed to.

The punch had pushed him back enough to slip his arm off his bag. Autopilot took care of the rest. He ducked low, a crouching lunge, bringing the bulk of his shoulders into a slam aimed right at his enemy's underbelly. He accelerated, trying to tackle the dude into... he didn't know, he didn't fucking know, couldn't even begin to think of the strategy or the plan or the-

He didn't realize what he was doing, really. He just attacked, with a guttural, alien battle cry, a far cry from the wispy harmony he'd tried for before.
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TwoThirty(e)
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Stan felt Clay pushing the shoulder into his underbelly. It was not a pleasant feeling at all. He was not used to getting hit there.

The gigantic mass fell backwards and moved his hands to the area Clay hit.

"Stop!"

As he was lying on the floor, hurt by Clay, panting from the pain, he moved to the side to regulate the pain caused by falling on the floor. His back ached.
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Heavy breathing. Clay standing, and his enemy sprawled out over the floor. He'd done that.

"..."

Thoughts returned. Clay was no soldier, no beefed up manly man with steroids for muscles and anthems for thoughts. He was just some kid. He couldn't do this... Right? He couldn't? At some point he had just assumed... The moment he'd stepped out of that auditorium back at school, silently screaming tears for all the friends he'd assumed lost.

... Could he be something more than a dead man walking? No. Definitely not... Maybe. But.

No, no, certainly. This wasn't him. He wasn't supposed to fight. He was supposed to roll over and die, and not find a single friendly face again, it was the epitaph he'd been solemnly, pathetically preparing for himself. He wasn't the kid that tackled over an attacker with a surge of vitality and desperation pumping through his veins.

No, he was the kid who murmured a tiny little 'sorry', doubled back, picked up his bag, and ran.

((Continued At))
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TwoThirty(e)
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Finally Clay seceded. Stanley still was on the ground, wanting the punch to go away from his memory. Defeated from the blow.

Stan then slowly stood up to pick up his belongings and blew the Church.

((Stan Astley continued in Catching Break in Stale Air))
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