Get Out of Hell Free [Greenie and Shiz]

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Shizuochan

he hears his master's voice
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#1
A hooded figure presided over four corners of ebony, which stuck out like obsidian shards. The craftsmanship was brutally elegant, its jagged sharpness preternatural, and it seemed as if a single wandering prod against the corner of the black table could sever a finger. Unfurled atop it were passages of haunted-white, scrolls of such resplendence that they would sear the eyes, but not her eyes. She ran her fingers over those ebony corners, savoring the delectable scent of blood that the blackness drew from their tips. Then, she sneered.

Oh, how she hated that fucking table.

It was an old, old table, past the point of being artifact, past the point of being archaic, so old that it simply was. Even in its age, it looked refreshingly new, pristine, so enveloping was its darkness that it overwhelmed the unseasoned eye. But she was seasoned, for she -- and her tired eyes -- had presided over those four corners of ebony for what seemed like, and was doomed to be, eternity. All upon the surface were indents shaped in the word of Aramaic, language etched and repeated unto the scrolls overtop it for so many millennia that they became part of the structure’s face. The torturous fate of all the world’s adulterers, rapists, murderers, and lawyers.

Or some similar collection of people.

She eyed the horizon, and even her senses had trouble attuning to the ever-shifting sights and sounds that had accompanied her throughout the eons. Some shifting inscrutability that took turns manifesting as clouds and rainbows and blue skies, the bestial eyes of manticores and griffins and dragons, thunder and lightning and the storm, the droning and static and hypnotic waves of new age machines, the shadow and the shadow beneath the shadow and the plane even further beyond which defied comprehension. Things beyond even her, she who was amongst the first of all.

When they had first cast her down, she had thought that, perhaps one day, she could explore that unfathomable expanse. But the ground beneath her was the same obsidian black as the table, and the burning white circle engraved upon it and all its ornate ridgings formed a seal with which to bind her for eternum.

And so, she was bored.

Not that she had never been bored before. It was in the nature of humanfolk to find boredoms after scarce minutes, seconds in many case, and in the beginning, she had been little different. At first, it took but minutes passing to gnaw at her, and then hours -- and for a long, long time, hours was a term of nightmare. Then her mind began to grow numb to the concept of hours, and only days bothered her, and then months, decade, years, centuries, and so forth. By now, it took ages, and eventually, with each new age, she would finally grow bored again.

When she did, a New Game would begin.

Between pale, brittle, gnarled fingers, she held a card as black as the table, as black as the ground upon which she sat, engraved with golden words.

Get Out of Hell Free.​


  

REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE--CONFIDENTIAL, CLASSIFIED!

I am Dr. Djimon Challa, the cousin of Nigerian Prince, Akabe Challa. I am contacting you… blahblahblah... your assistance is required as a non-Nigerian citizen… blahblahblah... $15 million dollars…
RE: URGENT! HELP WANTED!

There was no real reason for Seamus Milligan to draft up a reply to this unlikely relative of this entirely fictional Nigerian Prince, who likely fired off his scam-spam with the whole indiscriminate shotgun-like approach. Maybe he wanted to get a kick out of conversing with whatever addled conman was behind the scheme. Maybe some fantastical part of his brain had conjured up the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there was a Nigerian Prince named Akabe Challa. Maybe he just wanted conversation.

He was pretty alone, after all, save for the two peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches he had prepared to sustained him throughout the next twenty-or-so hours of what was to be a lonely, sleepless night full of MMO-grinding and dating-site “window-shopping” -- where he would scan pictures of people as lonely as he was, but never summon up the courage to talk to them.

Dear Dr. Djimon Challa,

What’s good, bro! Hit me up with dem sweet juicy deets, bruh; I got the hook up!

Sincerely,
ya-boi!


He sighed as he lay back down in his bed, closing his eyes. God, what the fuck was he doing?

When he opened his eyes again, he was elsewhere.

A field of black, and a horizon that shifted and morphed from things that he understood to things that he didn’t and then back again. All around him were shadows, briefly flickering like the flash of a TV-screen. Faceless, but attentive to someone that remained in the center. A figure that presided over a table of black.
 

Greenie

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#2
It had been a long and tiresome day for Nora, and she was glad for it to finally be done. Working in her parents' grocery store had its perks, but it also meant that she didn't quite have the same hours or holidays as other employees. Well, to be fair she did, but when your parents were your boss and they were rather creaky with all sorts of back and knee troubles, a good and patient child stayed back and helped close up or take care of things on the weekend.​
There were plenty of times Nora would daydream the possibility of just finding another job and leaving, perhaps even heading out of the city to the smaller towns where no one knew her and she could relatively relax. Alas, her lack of highschool diploma wasn't very awe inspiring on resumes, and she was certain that at most she would simply get a part time job that paid less than what she was making now.​
She shuffled her hand momentarily in her purse for her keys as she made her way down a narrow pathway of a house to a side door. Perhaps the biggest reason she worked with her parents was because she made enough money to actually be able to rent a tiny basement apartment of her own. Living in the main city was expensive, and even this place cost an arm and a leg, but internet was included as well as hot water, heating and electricity. And probably most of all, it was pet friendly.​
As soon as she unlocked and opened the door, she was greeted by a meow. Looking down, a tired smile graced her lips as she watched the tuxedo cat brush against her jeans in greeting. Quickly stepping inside and locking the door behind her, she then proceeded to pick up the cat in her arms before heading downstairs. It was small, that was certain. A single large room with a door that lead to the bathroom. She eyed the kitchenette, wondering whether to bother to cook. In the end she simply downed a mug of milk before flopping down on her bed, deciding she'd make an effort for breakfast instead.​
"Night Avery," she muttered to the cat, snuggling up against her pillow.​

*​

When Nora woke up, she was confused. It felt like she had been asleep for hours, yet at the same time she couldn't be sure if she had only just shut her eyes. One thing she did know was that she was no longer laying down in bed. In fact, she had absolutely no idea where she was. Grey eyes attempted to survey the scene, but she couldn't make out anything. Were those other people in the shadows? It was too hard to focus and deliberate.​
The one thing that wasn't hard to make out was that which everyone seemed to be paying attention to. A table, and presiding over it a... someone.​
What- where is this? Who's that? Her thoughts were panicked and it took all she had not to turn around and run. In fact the only reason she hadn't yet was due to that panic and fear. That person there, the one by the table, they were the one in charge here; Nora could feel it in the very fibre of her being.​
Is that... God? The thought had just manifested itself when a chuckle resounded around her, though it did nothing to quell any of the uneasiness being felt, increasing it instead.​
"God? No. Anything but that. I am the Devil, and you're all here to play a game."​
 

Shizuochan

he hears his master's voice
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#3
Shadowy limbs flailed in this otherworld, colorless necks craning aimlessly to spot the source of a voice that rang omnipotently around them -- for his part, Seamus still hadn’t quite gotten past the sight of the myriad phantoms, moving in some sort of frayed, yet unifying, confusion. One by one, shadow by shadow, however, confusion gave way to clarity, as each entity slowly turned their inscrutable gaze towards the hooded one over the table, who stood as still as a single, sharp breath in a room full of death.

“Now, please. Cease the endless thoughts of ‘where are we?’ It is unimaginative; it grows stale. You’ve nowhere else to go in the interim, and when you’ve nowhere else to go, the knowing of a location doesn’t seem very relevant, I would find.” Seamus could hardly believe it but, in her stillness, had she sighed? “And in any case, I already introduced myself as the ‘Devil’, which makes the answer to the question rather basic.”

Had the shadows grown still as well?

“This is Hell.” She allowed her voice to echo amidst a silence of her own choosing -- the Devil had a knack for theatricality, turned out. “A subset of it, anyways. The knowing of that fact is only relevant as long as you understand the following: those of you that I’ve plucked from your mortal, breathing worlds are destined to arrive here once more, after I have returned you, and after you’ve all worn the last strands of your earthly fibers. For something you’ve already done. For things you’ve already done. For things you might yet do. All of you.”

The shadows had moved then, incongruently. Some remained a still portrait of black. Shocked stiff, or perhaps stalwart in having already come to terms with their eventual resolution. Others trembled, or made to move with impotent steps towards the hooded figure -- non-believers, the delusional, the angry. Seamus was of the still variety.

It didn’t matter.

Not really.

It. Didn’t. Matter.

“All of you, save one -- the one who wins this Game of mine.”
 

Greenie

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#4
Shocked wasn't a good enough word for what Nora was feeling at the moment. In fact, she didn't quite think there was a word in the thesaurus that could quite describe the accumulated surprise, fear, panic, and utter confusion she felt right now. The woman at the table was the Devil? And they- they were in Hell?! How? Did she somehow die at night without knowing it?​

More importantly, why? Nora knew she wasn't the most perfect person in the world, hell there were things she could have done better in life despite still being young, but she'd never hurt anyone or done anything that any religion would consider irredeemable. As for the future, that wasn't set in stone, right? At least for Nora it wasn't; she refused to believe in fate or destiny or anything that said her life wasn't hers to dictate.​

These and several more scrambled thoughts raced through her mind like headless chickens. Forcing herself to calm down was a task and a half, but the woman-devil-whatever's words did bring a cease for a small moment.​

This was a game? What the hell was that supposed to mean? Maybe this was something like Just For Laughs gag reel, or one of those shady reality TV shows, the ones where you could enter a family member or a friend. She blinked twice before shaking her head. No, that sort of stuff happened in movies or mangas, not in real life.​

This has to be fake... There's no way it's real. It's gotta be a dream, I just have to wake up!
 

Shizuochan

he hears his master's voice
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#5
Voices too, rang out from the shadows, as if en masse the gift of speech had been suddenly availed to them, like some sadistic tick of a mad woman-thing who delighted in the sound of anguish and pleading. Inarticulate words, of unnatural tone and pitch, of some distorted verve, blended into one another -- protests and questions and unrestrained fury. More frightening, Seamus found, were the ones that did not move, that did not speak, whose flickering forms did not muster nary a tremble. They seemed rested, almost at ease. It amazed him; what measure of man and woman could keep their head in a time such as this? Perhaps only someone who had already lost it.

Seamus felt almost sedated, watching it all unfold.

“Accept this as your new reality, or we’ll be reunited before too long.” As she intoned in her bored, almost delinquent-juvenile lilt, the shadowy voices ceased unnaturally -- without diminuendo -- as if suddenly muted by remote, “Now, I would be remiss to claim you all for my Game without explaining the nature of it. So. Listen.

You, whom I have plucked from your metropolis, have only one objective: reap all other competitors. Kill them, send them to my domain, so that you yourself may be spared from it. Only one must live, and they shall be the victor. At its core, the game is as simple as that.”

The shadows twisted and bent as they looked towards each other, as if attempting to see through the dark facade to glimpse upon the faces of the ones they were told to kill. For his part, Seamus found himself thinking of the minutiae of the game, of the rules or the lack thereof; so many shadows -- how were they to even find each other in the ‘metropolis’. Were all of them people from Toronto? Why?

Why not Quebec?

Finally, the hooded one moved, her hand shuffling about the front-side of her desk, pulling open a drawer with a sound that sounded suspiciously like unsheathing a blade. She continued to speak as she rummaged about, “You will be wondering, doubtlessly, how you might be expected to find one another. Rest assured, each of you will be provided the means to do so -- along with another gift of mine.

Secondly, there will no doubt be some of you who choose not to partake in this Game of mine, who choose to hide behind inaction. Be assured, as well, that there will be… harsh incentives to encourage your participation. If, for example, after thirty days has expired, a victor has not yet been determined: I will claim each and every one of you. Forever.

But there can be no greater incentive, I would imagine, then this.”

Finally, her gnarled hands stopped rummaging, and Seamus’ pupils dilated as he looked upon the black card, with the golden words that seemed to sear themselves into his head, searing understanding into his brain.

Get Out of Hell Free.​

“The one who holds ownership of this card will be beyond my reach on the day of their passing. They will go elsewhere, somewhere entirely undeserved, irregardless of their various transgressions. Adultery, rape, murder. Irrelevant. Nulled. Absolution, unconditionally.

The single greatest gift one such as me could possibly offer, and worth every. Single. Drop of blood.”

Was it just his imagination? Or did the shadows seem to slow?

“Return then, to your mortal stations, and play.”

All around him, the shadows unravelled, and so did he.


  
His eyes opened with a flutter, and Seamus Milligan rose with a start in his lonely bedroom. He blinked once, twice, three times before he forced himself to his feet, testing his balance, almost expecting the shock of what had just transpired to send him reeling to the floor. He remained upright, and finally, he allowed himself an exhale that he thought he had been craving for an eternity.

He looked, to his computer, to his screen, the browser, with the tabs of various online-dating profiles. Averting his gaze, he noted something upon his cluttered desk. A small book of sorts, bound by some archaic leather, with a single letter that -- for a moment -- reminded him of those searing words upon the card.

The pages fluttered open, and Seamus’ could see their contents.

Faces.

The faces of the shadows.
 

Greenie

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#6
Nora woke up with a jerk, lurching up in her bed as she clutched her stomach. One might think it was due to the shock of the nightmare she had just endured, but no, it was simply her hungry cat racing across her beg and not caring much about his master's beauty sleep.​
"Avery... why...?" She slowly sat up, pulling the blanket up to her neck with one hand rubbing her abused stomach with the other. Still heavy lidded, her eyes slowly shut and head head drooped, ready to return to the bliss of sleeping. Unfortunately, the alarm app on her cell let out the horrendous tug boat horn she had purposely downloaded to stun her awake, and it did its job perfectly. Her head shot up once more, eyes opening as she grabbed her cellphone from the plastic night table at the side of her bed.​
The clock read 7:30, but it didn't feel like it was that late. She'd been asleep more than six hours, but it hardly felt as if she had rested at all. "What the hell..." She blinked as her voice trailed, the last word triggering a memory in her mind. The dream- no, the nightmare. What else could an encounter with the devil be called?​
Felt too real, she thought as she finally threw the covers away and slid off her bed, legs a little stiff until she stretched out. Avery was rubbing against her legs, leaving goodness knew how much fur on her in his quest to bully her into feeding him. There was still an hour until she had to leave though, so she decided to check her email instead.​
Or she would have had she not seen a curious book sitting on her chest of drawers. "Eh?" She'd never seen it before, and if she was being honest, it looked like something she'd see in a museum. Maybe Mom left it here last time she came over? Even that didn't make sense. Unsure, she reached over and picked it up, letting the book open to a random page.​
Sh*t.
She only had to see the face to know what it was. She quickly turned a page- another face. And another... and another... and another-​
The cat let out an irritated meow, causing Nora to jump in shock. "Dammit Avery!" she snapped. The look on the cat's face and his subsequent escape from the room caused her guilt. "Shoot, sorry... jeez."​
She could already tell it was going to be a terrible day. Looks like I'm already heading to Hell, heh. Forgetting about her email, she quickly showered and dressed, barely remembering to feed the cat before leaving her apartment. The air outside was still cool from the night before, but at least it helped clear her sense.​
This must be it then, she thought as she pulled the book from her backpack, sitting on a bench at the nearest bus stop from her place. How we're supposed to find each other. And then... She couldn't bring herself to even think 'kill'.​
Oh God, I'm effed.
 

Shizuochan

he hears his master's voice
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#7
He had sat there, on the edge of his bed, flicking through the ‘grimoire’ with feverish fingers, staring at each and every face with a dazed expression. Seamus doubted he’d be able to commit any of them to memory without dedicated study, and yet each one’s features seemed so vivid and defined in the moment he looked upon them -- targets, if the Devil was to be believed. And if the Devil was to believed, he was going to Hell.

Figured.

It satisfied Seamus, to be able to cast aside such a revelation with nary a reaction. He chalked it up to whatever the perfect opposite of adrenaline was, the stupor upon just waking that was just as emboldening -- even if stupefying, or ‘stupid-efying’, was the more apt word. Either that or just the obscenely strange way that he was wired, that he reacted less to his hellbound fate than he did to the prospect of a future without nameless online babes to chat up and provoke with vague lewdness. A matter of the here and now, perhaps?

No. He was just messed up. He knew this.

And he figured he couldn’t have been the only one of the ‘players’ to know this. Maybe it was a certain strength of theirs, as far as the game was concerned. The sheer mental disconnect to cast off the anguish and panic and fear, and simply play the game. He looked to the book again; if this was a game, and if he wanted to win -- because he couldn’t imagine wanting to lose -- he’d need to prepare.

Holing up wasn’t an option -- she had said that if no one won, she’d ‘claim’ them all. That left only the hunt. But how to begin?

He closed the book, before letting it open again, each page cascading past his fingers before he came to a sudden stop. The book fanned out, revealing a single face.

Freckles.

Red hair.

And as he stared, something pulled at him, like a hand, a hook craned around his neck. With direction and purpose, however vague it was, pulsing incessantly but numb.

Yet.

He felt like maybe he knew where she was. So he’d just go… find her and…

Find her and what?


  
Kill her, obviously.

Obviously.

Duh.

With what seemed like a 16th century version of the ‘handy-dandy notebook’ and the swiss-army knife he had procured for the kitchen drawer, drawn by some endlessly tugging force that waned and pounded as if shouting “colder” and “warmer”. And why had he settled on that face? Young -- could not have been any older than he was -- fair of complexion, and distinctly un-monstrous. Part of him felt that he recognized the girl from somewhere, though he could not place it now. The other part of him touched upon the truth. It was rationality; she seemed weaker, more vulnerable than the mass of well-muscled cons and ex-cons that littered the pages.

His trek had taken him across the boulevard and the well-kempt backyards that he cut across with nary a care, the heckling longboarders, the main road and the traffic-light intersection that stopped pedestrians in their treks for what seemed like eternity. The corner-stores, the Asian-Mart plazas, arcades and seedy Cash-4-Gold locations. And al the while, the call...

that burst into cacophony when he saw her waiting there, at the bus stop.

He fumbled around in his pockets as he eyed her intently, finding no real comfort in its worn handle.

Closer, he walked.
Closer, and closer still, before he heard the abrasive roar of a bus from behind him.

Not here… they’ll all see… just… need to follow her once she gets off her stop…

He turned to face the bus as it passed by, catching the sight of a crying child, her hand pressed up against the window, held by her mother near the front. Bleak, almost grey figures, expressions pursed and, almost anxious, as they stared not ahead, but downwards. And then, near the center, the face of a screaming man, his hand pinned to the bus window by some sharp implement. A shadow, pantherine, stalking down the center of the bus.

He could hear the dim echo of the shadow’s voice, “Wait! WAIT! I CAN FEEL IT! IT’S CLOSE! Cl-cl-cl-CLOSE!”

The pneumatic doors of the bus hissed open, and Seamus heard himself scream towards the girl waiting at the bus stop, “Hey! Move! Get out of there!”

And then the shadow revealed itself, the raving madman with a goddamned crossbow.
 

Greenie

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#8
After a few minutes of flipping through the pages, Nora had closed the book, shaking her head. Even as she had been contemplating the faces, she had felt odd pulls in different directions, as if something inside her was instinctively trying to pull in the right direction. She couldn't just go though. How could she? How could anyone but a psychopath?​
This game is gonna turn all of us into raging ones, she thought to herself bitterly.​
She had to take it slowly she reckoned. Whatever was to be done, it would be done before the month passed, but that didn't mean she had to rush and go off on a killing spree. If she waiting for the end of the month, she might get lucky and find most of her opponents had already met their end. All she had to do was keep track with the book- if someone had already been killed, she reckoned the pulling feeling would vanish as well...​
"What the hell am I even thinking?" Nora was a little disgusted with herself for having such dark and conniving thoughts. Sickened by how she was being manipulated into being a nasty bitch, she was just about to shove the book in her purse when the bus arrived... and all hell broke loose, pun intended.​
"What the f-" Her grew eyes shifted from bus to the young man yelling at her to move. "What-" Her words were cut off as she found herself staring at a man with a crossbow. Oh God. She knew immediately what he was raving about, she could feel the pull too, the hot feeling of having found someone... someone she needed to kill.​
Without another word she ran, sneakers barely hitting the ground as she sprinted for any sort of refuge from the madman. The worse thing to do was to corner herself away from others, but how else was she going to keep innocent bystanders from getting hurt?​
Screw them, said a nasty voice in her mind, and it was very tempting to listen to it. But she couldn't, not after someone had warned her and possibly given her a few extra minutes at life.​
Nora ducked into a side alley between two shops and continued racing forward, though her progress was hampered by a chain linked fence that looked into a main street. Cursing, she turned away and instead looked for something on the ground that she could use as a weapon.​
 

Shizuochan

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#9
Manchild. That was perhaps the best way Seamus could find to describe the lunatic with the crossbow, who practically frothed at the mouth as he pointed his crossbow here and there, moving from target to target but never pulling, as if looking for someone in particular. If Seamus had to guess, he stood at around 6’9”, 6’10”, with a surprisingly fluidity about his lanky form, only slightly impeded by a soft fleshiness and distinct lack of musculature. His red-orange crewcut and scraggly beard obfuscated the features of a dullard, but the soft, vapid gaze from his baby blue eyes shone through. Almost innocently.

Not that any of them were, supposedly.

Which begged the question of why he had bothered warning the girl; why hadn’t he just let her stay in the Manchild’s crosshairs, a competitor off the list?

“Y-you! COME BACK! I have to! I HAVE TO g-get… you…” He stalked off, his long-limbed form following the trail of the girl with the red hair, toward the shops.

Now, now was the time to right his wrongs, Seamus thought. Just back off. Just back away and let him take care of her. Afterwards, the police would take care of him and then… and then what? How was someone going to get at the Manchild in prison? Would the Devil count that against them all?

The Manchild’s back was turned from him now, and the other victims, and those on the bus who were too shell-shocked to even move. Seamus shared a knowing glance with a youngish woman whose teary face was pressed against the glass, her hands dialing for help.

Seamus stalked after the Manchild, pocket-knife gripped so tightly that it hurt his fingers, and cast an indent into his palm.

Closer.
The Manchild cleared the first shop, and made to move for the second.
He missed the side-alley that the girl had slipped into.
Closer, closer, closer.
The Manchild stopped, and backpedalled, crossbow raising ever so slightly.
His neck began to turn, in the direction of the side-alley.

Seamus pounced, and the Manchild’s head turned past the side-alley, and towards Seamus, his indolent expression turning into one of satisfied glee. No, not satisfaction. Relief!.

“HA! It’s… it WAS YOU!”

The metal-framed wood of the Manchild’s crossbow bashed into Seamus’ sternum, levelling him unto the pavement. Through winded gasps, Seamus screamed:

“Run! Run!”
 

Greenie

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#10
Run? Oh, there was nothing that Nora wanted to do more than that, but where? Well, she could always climb the chain linked fence, or attempt to anyway. But more than the where was the... how? It really was irritating to have a conscience, but after being warned by the man who was currently gasping on the ground after being, Nora couldn't see how she could turn her back on him.

This whole situation was so messed up! Frustrated, she grabbed the first thing to lay her hands on- lucky for her it was half a brick that was probably left behind after construction.

"Hey!" she snapped. "Get your ass away from him!" Oh God, what the hell am I doing?! She provided herself with no suitable answer as she chucked the half piece of brick as hard as she could at the man with the crossbow. Without looking to see if it even made contact, she looked around for more... it seemed there were none.

Sh*t. Letting out a yell, both to intimidate as well as release frustration, Nora bravely and very stupidly charged towards the Manchild, hoping to knock him over at the very least.​
 

Shizuochan

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#11
Oh, that’s kind of cute.

A streak of red caught Seamus’ eye, amidst the stars and the blur - blood, and he was pleased to see it wasn’t his. It gushed from the Manchild’s temple, a spray of it cascading over his wild eyes, entering the right. His hand, perhaps by instinct, flew to it as his pained screams revealed his anguish, and the Manchild’s crossbow fell by the wayside, inadvertently kicked aside as the blinded man struggled.

Then there was another streak of red, and it was her, in full charge, which made patently no sense at all. Yet he made as much sense of it as he could nonetheless, thrusting his own leg out. His boot caught the Manchild upon the knee, the intersection where tendon met kneecap, where there was a certain, disturbing give. There was a sound that resembled the crackle of an aluminum ball pounded between one’s hands, and the girl brought the Manchild down as he yelled in rage.

“NO! Nononono, I don’t get it, it’s one of you, I thought it was one of you!” His rage turned to some odd humor, and he giggled, “Oh dear, oh dear, oh gosh, there’s TWO! There’s TWO!”

Seamus yelped, still struggling for breath; the Manchild was strong, and his every thrashing fit of laughter threatened to buck the girl off of her, “The crossbow… the crossbow!”
 

Greenie

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#12
The large man seemed almost mad in the way he was responding to this conundrum, and despite the current crappy and crazy situation Nora found herself it, she couldn't help but feel a little disconcerted by the Manchild. Clearly he needed help and should have been locked in a mental health hospital. Or maybe he had been and somehow he'd escaped? Whatever the case, she couldn't help feel a little sorry for the man.​

The sensible part of her mind was not at all amused by this and didn't find it even remotely cute. Feel sorry for yourself, you moron!

At least the Manchild was down now, but that was certainly not the end. She could feel him giggling and struggling to right himself beneath her, and she herself was barely managing to keep him pinned where he was, bucking as she tried to hold on. If only she had something like pepper spray or anything weapon like-​

Catching wind of the younger man's words, Nora's grey eyes jerked about until they finally landed on the crossbow. Without further ado she launched herself in its direction, landing a little painfully on her knees, though not so painfully that she didn't grab onto the weapon as soon as it was within her grasp. She'd never used a crossbow before, but any fool would know the side with the pointy bolt was to face the enemy. There was also a trigger that further simplified matters.​

"You better leave!" she barked, pointing the crossbow at the Manchild, her finger resting on the trigger. Her heart was beating so fast she wouldn't be surprised if it popped right out of her chest. "Leave otherwise I'll shoot!"​
 

Shizuochan

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#13
Seamus watched from his undignified perch on the ground, coughing and slightly retching as the Manchild regained his footing. The Manchild wobbled, his weight balanced clumsily on his good leg and threatening to topple over, and giggled the whole time as he eyed the girl with the same kind of senseless longing a dog might have reserved for a slab of meat. Seamus swore he could make out a mist of spittle, misfired in his giggling fit, staining the man’s red beard.

“Ahehehehehe,” The Manchild swayed like a drunkard might, and his head lolled from side to side as he slurred his words, “It’s a game, you know… you have to play the game… play to win… I gotta get chuu… both of chuu…

The Manchild could barely move, though he attempted to in steps that carried him but inches. Some strained, torn ligament prevented any real concerted movement, lest the man allowed his leg to unravel entirely. Nonetheless, Seamus could feel the yell escaping his throat as the Manchild’s bad leg shuffled in front of his good one, “Just shoot him! We have to anyways.”

And then what next? She held the crossbow, and he was still on his ass with a pocket-knife.
 

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#14
"God... dammit!" Nora's hand shook as she held the crossbow, her breath coming out fast and hard. She- she had to shoot him? How? Why? Why did it have to be her? Why was any of this happening?! Her eyes stung with tears that didn't waste to spill down her cheeks, blurring her vision. She could still see him trying to come forward.​
"I..." She had to shoot him. If she didn't, then she would die. It was as simple as that. As much as she wanted to believe this wasn't real and simply a nightmare, the fact was that it was real and worse than anything she could imagine.​
And so she pulled the trigger, and the crossbow bolt flew true, hitting the Manchild square in his chest. Her hands fell limp and the crossbow landed on the ground, Nora following not a few seconds later.​
"Just kill me too," she muttered, sounding rather numb though her tears continued to stain her face. "You'll have to anyway."​
 

Shizuochan

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#15
Seamus gave a dazed stare as the Manchild fell, the crazed humor still plastered upon his face. The bolt had caught him right at the heart, and the lunatic’s gibberings had not lasted long after the back of his skull meet the asphalt with a resounding thud. He felt light-headed at the prospect of a life snatched before him, snatched at his insistence, his beckoning - that and the strange tug in his head dissipating, a weight that lessened as the Manchild had drawn his last, sputtering breath.

Only it remained, cause there was one other. A girl, a poor simple girl, who asked for death.

It would be so easy, Seamus reckoned. A bolt from the same crossbow, straight to the heart like what the Manchild had suffered. A scattered bit of debris quickly against the skull. His own pocket-knife, stuck in the soft part beneath her chin and above her neck.

He didn’t want to, he realized, and part of it, which he cursed himself for, was that she was pretty. He was dumb, and she was pretty, and so he didn’t want to - but he needed to.

The blaring shriek of police sirens sounded off in the distance as Seamus made his approach, pocket-knife in hand.

It went back into his pocket.

“You didn’t try and kill me,” Seamus said. Slowly, as if even trying to convince himself that he believed in such ‘ethics’ - because he didn't. “You could have; you had the crossbow right there. Let me help you up, and let’s get away from here; the police are coming."

He tried for a smile, and it looked queer upon his face, dead eyes that didn't move with his lips, that didn't soften with his voice.

"… Let’s go get a coffee or something and just calm down.”
 

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#16
Nora's eyes had been shut, waiting for the stinging pain that would end it all. Instead she received words, words that had her confused. He didn't want to kill her? Why not? You didn't kill him either her mind struck back.​
Sniffling, she opened her eyes, ignoring the sound of the police sirens as she looked up at this person who seemed to be trying to look friendly but... well, it was obvious he didn't work in Costumer's Service with that smile. Still, despite all that, his words were sound and they made sense to her. No one just went about killing people who hadn't done anything to them, and especially not after helping them out. No unless they were nuts.​
"A'right," she murmured, hastily rubbing her face with her sleeve before standing up, a little shaky one her legs. A little conversation between two doomed people- what could go wrong? A lot, to be honest, but maybe they'd be able to figure... something out? "There's gotta be a Timmies near here..." Her eyes fell on the dead man and she gulped, feeling nauseous. The feeling however was superseded by dread. "The crossbow, what should we do with it? My prints, they're on it."​
 

Shizuochan

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#17
Seamus shrugged.

“So are his,” He gave an idle gesture to the Manchild, who looked at peace in death. Curious. “There’s witnesses that saw him go on his rampage; what you did was self-defense.”

With hurried movement, he unslung the straps of his pack from his shoulders, and crammed the deadly weapon within. The pack had little in it save for snacks and drinks of water, and was spacious enough to hold the contraption, although bits of its wooden construction poked out from the small gap that couldn’t be fully zipped over. Readorning the pack, he moved to gently prod at Nora’s arm to lead her along to the nearest Tim Horton’s.

“Still, we need to keep moving.”

He wasn’t worried about police, exactly. Or rather, he wasn’t worried about the law; what they did was self-defense. He was worried, however, about what being detained would mean - holed up for interviews, stuck in one place, the happenings and their faces broadcast all over local news, easy pickings for any of the other - less crazed and more clever - hunters out there.

“What’s your name?” He asked.
 

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#18
It was easier to simply agree with the guy, so Nora simply nodded and followed after him. She knew that for the moment at least, he wouldn't kill her, and two people were better against crazies than one- the proof was in the pudding for that. Would he eventually turn on her? Probably. Hopefully not while she was guzzling down an Iced Cap.

"Nora," she replied after her little moment of thought was over. Looking down at her clothes, she was glad to see they weren't worse for wear despite the unexpected encounter. "Nora Rayn..." She looked around- the current area they were in was a little familiar to where her parents lived and worked, but then most intercity areas had a similar layout. Instead, she looked at the rooftops, eyes narrowing until she found the familiar brown roof with a blown up coffee cup on the top.

"Over there," she pointed out, though he had probably already seen it, it wasn't like it was very obscure. "C'mon." She sped up a little, not wanting to be caught by anyone who may have seen her running away from the bus stop. "What's your name, by the way?" She couldn't remember if he'd told her or not, truth be told.
 

Shizuochan

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#19
"… Thom. Thom Bellamy." Seamus replied after some hesitation, choosing to combine the first and last names of Radiohead and Muse's respective frontmen. "It's nice to meet you, Miss Rayn."

It was just like him, he considered, to distance himself right away. Give a fake name. Address another teenager like him in the same way he'd address a forty-something. Contemplate the ways he could still fight back if she panicked, went crazy, and went full psycho-mode in a mostly crowded Tim Horton's. Word of the chaos and confusion streets away had travelled, with many of the occupants staring down at the screens of their smartphones and offering strangers muttered words: "Aren't we...?", "How close is that?". He took out his own phone, and noted the unread ALERT that intruded his sight the moment he swiped to activate it. Armed attacker. Still, the occupants of the coffee shop would not be deterred by the threat of some maniac streets away - coffee and donuts were the priority. Indeed, after some idle chatter, few of them even seemed bothered.

Seamus curiously gazed at all those distant faces, fascinated by the lack of visceral reaction. The detachment.

There was one face in particular that he found familiar, although the still-pumping adrenaline dulled the cognition needed to identify him. Dark skin. High schooler, most likely. Sitting alone at a table, shaken. Looking at the door, waiting for someone.

"... my name's Seamus, actually. Seamus Milligan. Sorry for lying. I'll pay; you know what you want?"

When he heard the sound of sirens, Seamus remembered where he had seen the high schooler; he had escaped from the scene.