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Author Topic: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]  (Read 443 times)

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Offline Lion

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2017, 07:24:21 PM »
Whatever nonsense was meandering it's way through Kostya's mind was rather meaningless to Ibsen. As long as he had that bat at the ready right when he needed it, that was all that mattered. It was the longest weapon currently at their disposal, and required no bullets. Ibsen wasn't going to waste an opportunity to use the one, er, riding his ass as it were.

It left plenty of room for him to focus on steering and guiding them out of that rocky pass. The sand between them melted away to rising rocks, between a ridge of boulders and an opening at the far end of the pass. Already he had the engine pushing as hard as he could, switching gear just as Kostya took out their garden party of guests.

"Keep not letting them eat me!"

As if that really needed to be said. Ibsen didn't even think about those little touches made his hackles stand on end. No, that was probably from the adrenaline and fear. Everything was standing on end. Especially the rocks in front of them that were rising higher. Ibsen didn't look behind them, eyes focused on that exit, on closing it in, on beating the face eaters that were trying to swarm them.

Until he heard that crack, and the squeal and the sudden lurching of Kostya's body to the far side of the bike. Any further and they'd both to down. Ibsen didn't even think about it, didn't hesitate when his arm shot out from the side, and caught that stupid buffoon's form by the collar of his stupid fucking shirt just so he didn't have to see his stupid fucking grin get ground up by the dirt and eaten up like a chocolate sundae on a summer afternoon.

Nope. Ibsen would rather have an opportunity to shoot that stupid grin himself.

Ibsen screamed, yanking that fathead back up into the seat and righting the front wheel just before they careened into a huge boulder. Bullets wouldn't take that boulder down, no luck in that. The gas can. Just enough fuel left.

"The can! In the bag behind you! Grab it and give it to me!"

Once it was in hand, Ibsen removed the lid, haphazardly gripping and steering the bike with one hand and guiding the bike diagonally, dosing the ground in as straight a line as he could until the can was empty. A quick toss and Ibsen pulled out that revolver, cocked the hammer back and fired one shot against the metal of the gas can. The spark was all that was needed before the fuel ignited and quickly caught the line.

A few of the cryptids rolled out into the blaze and their withered skin was fodder to that fury. The fire rose up to cover the pass. It wouldn't last long, but it would give them time to make distance, and that's just what Ibsen did, reholstering the gun, and his arm reaching down to make sure Kostya's hand was still secure around his waist.

Offline nephero

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2017, 03:14:52 PM »
That had been a close one.

It was weird. The pair of them had nearly wiped out for the effort, and blue had grabbed him anyway. Blue also knew that if Kostya had fallen, it wasn't like the death would have been permanent-- but he'd grabbed him anyway. Kostya felt a heat to his skin that had very little to do with the sudden inferno behind them, the brightest and hottest of which seared against his arm right where Ibsen’s hand was.

It was weird.

It was weird and if his heart hadn't already been hammering away, if he already wasn't hopped up on adrenaline and fear, he might have noticed that his heart was hammering anyway, that he felt a hot chill of fear anyway.

Kostya shifted, regaining his balance on the bike, hugged just that much closer to Blue's back. He brought up the bat to inspect it as best he could considering the lighting and dust in his face, but even so there was no mistaking the shard of bright white protruding from the wood amid a halo of sticky red.

A fang. Huh. Neat!

Kostya looked over his shoulder to check their pursuit-- the fire had flared and died quickly, but it was clear the damage had been done. Those malformed shadows skittered back and forth between much stilled, much blacker shapes. The easier meal here was just to eat their dead, now, versus expending further energy chasing after a bike. Kostya thought of the meal they never got to finish, and his stomach growled sadly at the missed opportunity.

Still. Blue! Blue didn't get eaten, that was the best part. Kostya grinned wide, and patted at Ibsen's belly again, chin at his shoulder to better be heard over the rattle of the bike's engine and kicked up rocks.

“That. Was. Awesome!” another pat, and Kostya moved his head to avoid a particularly potent cloud of dirt and dust, forehead pressed to the back of Blue's neck.

There was something familiar about it, something that made his stomach flip in a way that wasn't quite bad enough to warrant losing any of his breakfast. Something that frayed his nerves well after the fight or flight instinct had passed.

“Kinda glad you didn't shoot me, now.”

Offline Lion

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2017, 12:16:47 AM »
A bullet wasted. But two lives earned. Or well, maybe just the one life. He wasn't sure if Kostya's counted considering he could do that really weird "return from the dead" thing, and seemed to be really good at it. Ibsen would be lying if he said he wasn't jealous. Lying to himself like that, because he wasn't about to admit that shit to this asshole.  Stupid asshole with stupid eyes that he wanted to gouge out.

Why didn't he let this chump die back there?  Why waste that effort? That precious gas. That bullet...  Ugh gods, that was a bullet that he wasn't going to get back. And those face-eaters would crawl back into their dank dens, waiting for anyone else that would crawl by, cleaning the bones until they were white and chewing them down to the marrow.

Ibsen kept going, feeling uncomfortably numb to just - well, everything. The adrenaline was slowly but surely fading, with the immediate threat of death having been momentarily subsided. Directionless, riding away from the huddled cave inlet. The stash was gone, empty now, and no longer safe to go back to. His scent was caught and would be on their tongues for some time.

Quiet, and not really feeling anything until Kostya was flapping his gums again. Ugh, this muthafucker really never did shut up did he? Ibsen's stomach clenched, feeling that hand around his waist and he immediately felt sick, panic, setting in and he stopped the bike, sand kicking up as he pulled hard on the brakes.

And thrust his head backwards to bash it against him, wriggling and elbowing and doing anything and everything to get this man off him and kicking him into the sand. Ibsen was half-exhausted already, and failing to put the kickstand up left the bike to tilt and collapse on it's side.

"HEY!" he growled. "Let's get a few things straight, Buttercups. Don't get all handsy, for one. I saved you because you would have taken me down with you! You're handy with the bat, I'll give you that. So we're square, comprende? I'm heading to an outpost. There are people there. I'm pretty sure you won't want to meet them, so I'm sure you can take it from here. On your own. We're not friends. You helped me. So I helped you. And uh, sorry, bout the arm thing...earlier. That was just business."

Offline nephero

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2017, 09:18:49 AM »
Automatically, Kostya's hold on Ibsen tightened as Blue hit the brakes, the runner gritting his teeth against a fresh wave of adrenaline. Had he seen something? Was something up ahead?

Not that Kostya got the opportunity to ask-- he was too busy howling as he was slammed in the face, his nose blossoming hot and red as he fell back onto the dust. Kostya didn't even notice the bike falling, eyes shut tight and hands clamped over the lower parts of his face. He pulled them back to look in his palms, and found them red with blood. Oh, fuck that hurt. That hurt! Did he have any painkillers left, still? He hadn't gone to see Nathan in so long, and Kostya was already reaching back for his bag in the dirt when suddenly Blue was upon him.

He blinked, hard, fighting against the sharp agony in his face and trying to breathe though coppery blood.

Handsy? He'd gotten handsy? He must have, for blue to be so upset with him, but even as he opened his mouth to apologize, blue had carried right on to the crux of the matter.

Oh.

Right.

They weren't friends. It was just good survival tactics, a team up out of necessity and some bare bones vestiges of common humanity. A nicer eye for an eye, except this one didn't leave you blind and fumbling in the dark.

Still, something must have hit him in his fall off the bike. Something small, like landing on his armor funny, or a loose pebble or something. His chest hurt, and Kostya's first instinct was to touch at the gap in plating just under where his sternum ended, as if that would help this newest ache.

Right. Right. Take it from here. Kostya knew a dismissal when he heard one, and slowly smiled up at blue. His face still stung, though, and so the smile was wobblier, harder to put on when a few bones were out of alignment. The corners of his mouth shook a bit for effort, and Kostya finally moved to get to his feet, brushing off sand and dust and… whatever that was. The runner swiped his arm over his face, spat blood onto the ground, and tried a toothier grin. It worked a bit better, didn't waver so much, even if whatever had got caught in his breastplate ached harder.

“Yeah. I gotcha. It was a quick one, like I said, so… yeah. I'll ah, take it from here.”

He lifted the flap on his bag, checked the contents therein, and then his map, if only so he didn't have to look at blue's face, because suddenly that was the hardest thing in the world to do right now. Which was stupid, but hey, he was in enough pain as it already stood.

“Just, uh… gonna go that way. Yup. That way’s good. You ah, ever need something delivered, ah... put up smoke signals.” He pointed, vaguely, in one direction, before changing his mind and swinging the other way, gathering up his bat and shouldering it as he began the trek across sour sands.

The outpost would have been ideal, all things considered, but raider holds could trade as much as anyone, and maybe he’d be better able to figure out a way to Nathan's from there. Yup. Perfectly fine.

He sniffed hard, and spat the red result onto the ground as he went.

It'd have been nice if he’d had any pills left.

Offline Lion

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2017, 11:08:39 PM »
Ibsen was panting, not even sure why, since elbowing some creep in the face would haven't really left him winded in any other case. His heart was hammering in his chest, knocking against his ribs wildly. What other reason was his heart racing then if not for adrenaline and that primal need to survive; the one that never remained far from the surface.

That rush of red down Kostya's face brought a pang of guilt to Ibsen's guts. He didn't mean to hurt him. That proximity level sent him into a nuclear meltdown. Albeit a temporary one and already the scavenger was cooling down long enough to collect his thoughts.  Gushing red, and he...didn't even blink. Just turned away like it was nothing.

"Yeah, I'll keep that in mind," Ibsen replied softly, pulling his hood back up over his head and settling the goggles that were usually slung around neck. The bike was still clicking away, the front wheel wobbling slightly.  Ibsen righted the vehicle, mounted it and flexed his fingers. It was for the best. Travel light, and Kostya's fat head made him way too heavy. And those flapping lips that never shut up would definitely not be missed on this journey.  "Be seein' ya." Probably never, but it was a nice thing to say.

He didn't waste any more time and rode off across the landscape, turning in the direction opposing the runner's. Best to make it as long as possible, as fast as possible. So that it would be too late to turn back. Ibsen's gut coiled and made him sick. The least he could have done was given the guy some jerky from his saddle bags or something. A sip of goddamn water.

No, no. He said he'd be fine. He said he knew which way to go. He had a goddamn map on his bag for fuck's sake.  Yeah. He'd be fine.

---
Whatever 'fine' Ibsen imagined, it wasn't the sort that came along.

Rampage knew that amble from a mile away, and from the binoculars he dusted off, he could see that crazy fuck just stalking across the distance. Where was he going? Didn't matter. He probably had something interesting in that bag of his. Or where he was coming from. Again didn't matter.

Minor details in the scheme of things. Rampage liked going on raids to other dust towns, see the sights. Get some fresh air.

In fact, he took in a deep breath and revved the engine of his bike, the other raiders behind him doing likewise. This particular group was a bit smaller than normal, but it was still more than Kostya. "Oh, ain't this a fucking lovely day!"

Pulling up his mask, Rampage rolled down from the embankment he'd been watching from, a small outlook of hardened earth. Yellowed with poison and the wind was starting to pick up. Minus 5 minutes and they'd be around that mailman. He wouldn't mind. It'd be nice to have some "pleasant" company for a change.

Offline nephero

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2017, 11:55:21 PM »
Dust kicked up beneath worn boots, the particles coiling for a moment before dispersing in the wind, blown off to settle elsewhere until the next act of physics passed them along.

Kostya could sympathize.

This was a good thing, he rationalized. A very good thing. After all, Kostya didn't deal well with regular people. The Wasteland tended only to breed skittish survivors, and skittish survivors were often hesitant to take in wandering strangers, especially ones with a penchant for off behavior.

And Kostya was okay with that. Not getting attached was okay. He just got what he needed, scratched his itches, and moved on like always. No muss, no fuss, no coconuts.

The Wastes were quiet: Ibsen Blue's bike had faded from sight, and after a little longer, took the sound of a rattling engine with it. Long gone. Long gone forever.

Kostya stopped in a cloud of dirt, and looked back. It was for the best. No coconuts. But already Kostya felt the low sting of loss, and he rummaged through his bag for that can, that little scrap of paper, that chunk of beautiful shimmering blue.

Shielding it with his fingers, Kostya smiled down at the color, humming quietly as he went to make the Wasteland seem not nearly so empty. His lips pursed in a quiet whistle for the high notes he'd never been able to hit. A stomp and shuffle of his feet across poison sands.

An orchestra of one.

Tucking the hair safely away again, Kostya pulled up his headphones, settling them over the straps that held his gas mask on his face. A few strikes to the side of the music player's case, and the screen came to life, letting him select the option that would flood his senses with sound and words.

“Mmm,” he hummed along, stepping in time with the music just so he wouldn't spend the next hundred miles listening for a bike that would never come. He swung his bat a few times, just for the sake of practice, sighing and settling the instrument over his shoulder after a while.

“I can't tell where you comin’ from…” he sang along, the sound muted and muffled by both glass and the music in his ears. Not that he had much else to pay attention to.

And for a few miles, he didn't. For a few miles all he had was a quiet thirst, one that would be rectified soon as he made it to the fort. A few more hours, and he'd be golden.

In theory, anyway. If he'd been able to pass unmolested, he might have been fine in a few hours. But those were not scavenger bikes on the horizon, and they were too small in number to be nomads.

Kostya took a breath of mostly filtered air and stopped. Pulled his headphones down around his neck. Choked up on the bat and let it rest perpendicular to the ground. Hanging by idle fingers.

Because he had a feeling he recognized those bikes, and he grinned wide and sharp as they approached.

“Hey,” he said, as soon as Rampage and his boys were close enough to hear without Kostya screaming the words. “‘Sup. Got water to spare?”

Offline Lion

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2017, 12:44:23 AM »
Had that theory ever been proven true for any wanderers out here? The strength found in numbers out here were sorely lacking in Kostya's little sad party of one. Rampage stopped short of running over the batshit mail man, and hie narrowed his eyes at that friendly greeting and again at that bat in his hand. A handy weapon no doubt. He'd seen him use it against his own boys once or twice.

Crack Carl's skull and turned it into mush. But Carl tried to taunt him with a carton of instant noodles and threw them into Kostya's face. Something about hot water and wasting food. One less idiot in his ranks, so for Rampage, Carl's demise was rather an improvement.

"Yup. Got water. Lots of it. Hot water too. No noodles though," Rampage grumbled and pulled out the 9mm pistol from his side, the edges of the gun rusted out and pointed it toward Kostya. Not his head, that was too easy. The motherfucker never did stay dead for long. And for some, that made for plenty of fun to be had for those that liked ...pain. Rampage gave a distasteful spit of the crud he was chewing on and the sting of it on the hot sand left a hiss to his ear.

That was for Ruckus. Fucking bitch.

"Need a ride? Of course you do. So uh, toss the bag over here. And drop the bat," Rampage grinned, showing yellowed teeth.  "Unless you want to pay my sister a visit. She remembers being very fond of you."  That was a bluff. Rampage hated Ruckus, but they were known to trade prisoners from time to time. And just as a failsafe, Rampage dropped his aim slightly.

A pulled trigger and a bullet ripped through Kostya's kneecap. Just that left one and two of his crew swarmed around that mailman to catch him before he touched the ground. Just in case he needed more convincing, Rampage adjusted the aim enough to point at his other knee.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 01:43:48 AM by Lion »

Offline nephero

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2017, 10:46:35 PM »
Hot water, no noodles. Kostya’s grin widened, his eyes squinting hard and harsh for the sheer effort of it all. He remembered all too well the last time he'd encountered noodles in conjunction with the presence of Rampage and his pack of miscreants. He also remembered caving a guy's skull in for the effort.

It was already an insult to waste good, hot food. It was a double insult that the water had gotten into his headphones and he had to spend a month solid finding replacement parts.

“Aw, shit, Rammy, you know I'd love a ride, but I'm trying to get some cardio in my life. You know, trim down a bit, work off those calories--” Kostya tightened his grip on his bat, knuckles flashing pale as Rampage held that gun to him. Guns were good. Rampage’s aim was better. There'd be no gut shots today: pain was, as the raider boss had heavily implied, more his sister's bag.

Kostya did not ever want to see Ruckus again. If he had to provoke a death to avoid that? So be it.

Rampage’s aim lowered, and Kostya’s heart stuttered. Rampage’s aim was better. And Rampage was not aiming for Kostya's head.

The gun cracked, and Kostya’s knee shattered in a spray of blood and bone. He collapsed immediately, grin wracked into a grimace, or maybe vice versa, and it was only because of the rest of Rampage’s gang that he didn't immediately collapse into the dirt with the rest of the bits of him.

Kostya cackled, high and harsh and ragged against his gas mask.

“Mail call! Mm, nope, nothing for a fucking scrote-less bitch, better luck next time!” He yelped as one of Rampage’s similarly scrote-less raider underlings cracked an elbow against the side of his head, causing his vision to swim and his bat to slip from his fingers.

But not his bag. Never his bag. It wasn't the bag itself, the map or the letter. But his coffee can was in there, and in his coffee can was Ibsen’s hair-- beautiful and short and deep and blue and like hell was Kostya going to let Rampage get his slimy mits on a single strand.

“So you can just suck my dick. Or better-- go suck your sister’s.”

Offline Lion

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2017, 12:35:30 AM »
"Tasted like ash and salt," Rampage griped. He was stewing and if the sores on his arm were any indication, he was just about to boil out of his skin. He could shed it too, like a snake shedding the old husk of its former self. Except the only decaying flesh that would be left behind would be Kostya's and he'd wait a whole day again and again and again to kill him slow, watch him bleed out. 

Rampage grunted and cocked the gun again, thumb firmly held against the pistol's hammer, finger squeezing slowly over the trigger, moving for his other knee this time. Fucking prick. Who the fuck did he think he was? Ruckus was a bitch, a real right monster. That needed to be strung up an left for dead. But that would be Rampage's doing. He'd kill her, and only he.

And as for this bat shit mailman, he'd make him one of his scrote-less too. "Oh you'll be choking on something, and you'll be happy to have it," Rampage murmured as the rest of his boys took to taking that bat and knocking Kostya with a good crack to the base of his skull.

Rampage got off the bike and snatched up the bag and the group set off across the Dunes, passing over the tracks that Kostya made and heading downwind. A storm was coming. Kostya had his mask, Rampge didn't need his, and their temporary camp would be enough to house the rest of his boys from harsh winds. No caves, but that cliff drop off kept most of the fumes off them. Strays that got caught in the blast were usually dead before they could find their way back.

---
What was he thinking? No..no going back. This was for the best. He had a fucking map of the Wastes, little markings that were important, where to go, where to stay away from. Ibsen growled thoughtfully to himself, reaching that final landmark before the northern outpost where they were headed. Teinar but not. It would be a good place to resupply, get fuel, another jerrycan.

And Ibsen should have kept going, shouldn't have looked back where the tracks were now starting to fade away by the coming wind. Ibsen stopped the bike at that rising crescent shaped boulder. There wasn't going back. So looking out into that distance for that wobbly crazy shape was fruitless. Not to mention a waste of fucking fuel.

"Look to the hunt, not the horizon," Mother said. "Stay focused on your prey, and you won't go astray. Get caught in the horizon that you'll never reach, and you'll be wandering forever."

Ibsen pulled down the hood and brought up the goggles again, concealing the yellow glow of his eyes. And he pulled the rag up and over his face. "Stupid fuckhead. If he's dead, I'll kill him," Ibsen growled softly. The guy probably at least could use a ride to his next destination. He shouldn't have left him behind like that. Given him water, food, something.

Maybe if he hurried he could still trace those tracks.

Offline nephero

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2017, 09:54:31 PM »
This was not a quick or little death.

The only benefit to any of it was that, post catastrophic head trauma, it was kind of hard to feel much of anything else. Kostya’s eyes rolled back, spinning with the world for a wild bunch of seconds, searing agony rippling down his spine before settling into a vague and otherworldly sort of numbness.

His bag. Where was his bag?

He groped for it and only found air, groped again and caught the fabric of what had once been a set of cargo pants but now was more a merciful barrier from the unspeakable beneath a raider’s clothes.

No, not his bag-- he tried to speak, tried to garble something, but as the raiders moved around him all it ended up being was a long agonized shriek. Because even head injuries couldn't dampen some things.

Where was his bag?

Rampage’s group was long gone, and Kostya’s feeble breath barely fogged the glass of his mask as he lay there, legs splayed and blood leaking across the sour sands. He'd tried to reach, to find his satchel-- it wasn't the map or the letter, it wasn't any supplies he might have had or what passed for currency out here, no. No, what he wanted, desperately wanted, was the coffee tin. And in that tin, a piece of paper. And in that paper, blue.

Oh, blue.

At least he was long gone from this. A not-quick, not-little death. And Kostya was grateful, because even though it hurt-- it hurt so bad, it hurt so so bad-- Kostya would live. Kostya would always live. And no one else was that lucky forever.

Rampage would've wanted the bike. The water. The jerky. The scraps. The beans. The blue.

Oh, blue.

He whimpered, soft and quiet, pain wracking him with every inhaled breath. He could almost hear that bike… could almost remember that blue… could almost feel the rumble of the engine and the promise of a quick death.

Kostya would get that tin back, he decided. If it took him a thousand deaths he would get that tin back-- he didn't remember much at times, head trauma didn't leave memories behind, but he never wanted to forget that blue. That beautiful, wonderful, prickly perfect and forever gone blue.

Blue Ibsen Blue Beans, oh, God he hurt so bad, his skull rattling and shaking and the earth following with it.

“Oh, blue…”

Offline Lion

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2017, 03:51:48 AM »
Ibsen meant that threat in every sense of the word. If Kostya went and did something dumb - like getting himself killed - Ibsen would kill him. Be right over him when he woke up again with a knife to stick through his temple for being so goddamn stupid. Ugh! It was even far too late now to go back and head to the Outpost. He was already on the trail, and when he saw the bikes...

Ibsen's stomach lurched, a sickening twist that made his eyes narrow underneath the goggles. Dust caught in his hair, ruffling the hood only slightly. A creeping frigid ache swept into that twisting gut, and it hurt to breathe for the briefest second. The longest second. If Ibsen didn't know any better, he might have assumed the toxic air was the pain that was grating on the inside of his throat, the acidic burn that made it raw.

No, he wasn't going to be too late. If the idiot was going to die, it was going to be by Ibsen's hand. The bike revved and he followed the group. Far too easy, but then again, the only one less subtle than the other nightmares out here were Ruckus and Rampage. The creeping ache dug clawed finger tips deep into his side, gouging into his ribs and he swallowed down rising bile.

They weren't together, but whether it was one or the other to be sure. Granted, the former, inherently worse than the latter. Ibsen didn't even hesitate, no twitch or tension in the muscles save for the ones that relayed the grip on the clutch.  These raiders weren't trying to hide.

Somewhere in that haze, Ibsen wanted to look away. The sour sickness would come and go. But instead he watched, just at the edge of that cliff overhang. Watched everything and that knot grew tighter. He forced himself to watch.

"Hey, Charlie! Come over here! Look. I got the mailman's balls! HAHAHA!"

"Hey! Rampage said to save that cutting for him! I'm gonna take a piss. Don't chop him up all the way. Nice and slow, boss said."

Words that jabbed into his brain, and tendriled down into his brain and ignited it in painful shock waves. Patience was wearing thin and it was all Ibsen could do to keep from raining down whatever bullets were lingering in his gun onto them. Just so they would stop. That would get him killed too, it was stupid, he knew. Maybe if the found him, he'd get lucky, stake his bowie knife right through Rampage's heart.

But just like that they were gone and the storm was over. Ibsen listened for a long set of minutes, until the bikes were gone in the quiet. Just to make sure they weren't coming back. And when he was sure, he went down to the where they left Kostya. Bleeding, trying to move, to feel for something that wasn't there.

"Oh Blue."

"Don't speak. Save your energy. Take deep breaths," Ibsen grumbled loud enough between the two of them. Afraid of being too loud, of summoning more things in the dark that never had enough sense to stay where they belonged.  "Kostya. You fucking idiot."  No malice in that phrase, however, no need for vindication. No 'I told you so's. Instead, Ibsen knelt down beside that stripped down bleeding form and felt the sickness come back.

"Stay with me. It's me. It's Blue." His voice was made soft and with a great deal of effort, he managed to roll Kostya over, and hooked his arms around his neck. Ibsen held strongly to those arms, letting go would mean all that effort wasted, all of it lost. The heat of adrenaline afforded strength enough to pile drive a man into the ground. Kostya was even heavier as limp as he was, but like hell was he going to leave him here.

Ibsen used his own body as a stand, leaning the messenger's against his frontand staggering onto the bike, draping Kostya's legs over his lap. There he could hold him easier in the crook of his arms. Blood would cover everything, nothing that couldn't be cleaned. Nothing that couldn't be repaired. Nothing was broken until it was a skeleton in the ground.

"It's Blue," he whispered periodically, revving the back back to life and guiding it out of that overhang. Out to anywhere that wasn't here. A shack. He remembered that shack that wasn't far from here. Right? God he hoped so. Ibsen waited only a second to navigate, listening for the quiet, and anything else that dared disrupt it and the soft breathing that came through the mask. "It's me. It's Blue."

A small shack in the middle of nothing, that still stood, and only one side was completely charred. Bones littered the ground, and the front wheel of that bike snapped a femur that stuck over the ground. A wide door that had a buckshot holes in it, and nothing but empty shell casings in the ground. What was once a supply dump for people passing through, now fallen into disuse. It used to be where you could take what you needed, then put back what you didn't, to replenish the stock.

Used to be. How long ago was that even? Ibsen didn't know, just that it was squat enough to be obscured from view and the door wide enough to hide the bike.  No one but Kostya it seemed crossed these sands anymore.

The weight of a grown man in his lap made his legs numb and Ibsen fell from the bike the moment they were inside. The topple got the mailman off him, however, and he scrambled to close the door, peeking out through the buckshot holes for any signs of life.

"Why didn't you get mad, Kostya? Any real asshole would have gotten mad for leaving you there like that. Why didn't you make me take you with me?"  Pointless questions given to a dying man. "Hold on.  This will only hurt a second."  No bullets but mother taught Ibsen how to make a kill quick and easy. A slit throat was rarely pleasant, and made them choke on their blood. Already he was bleeding. Ibsen slid himself underneath Kostya's head, and took that bowie knife in the space between the third and fourth ribs, digging deep and waiting until Kostya went still.

There he stayed, dropping the knife to the ground, and holding the revolver, hammer half-cocked, and balanced it over the mailman's chest, barrel pointing to the door. Just in case.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 02:04:13 AM by Lion »

Offline nephero

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2017, 12:31:20 PM »
This was different.

Normally when Kostya got murdered, he was left at the scene of the crime. Why waste the effort hiding something that no one out here cared about? It wasn't as if there was any law in the Wastes, any roving bands of police officers who would happen upon him and seek justice. It wasn't as if he had family who'd want to collect the body, give it a proper burial, say proper goodbyes.

This was different. Rampage and his fucking goons had finally, mercifully left. Given, it meant he was in for a long, slow, painful death, but it also meant Rampage wasn't making it hurt worse anymore. Something about hunger being the best spice, blissful moments of less-pain being the best sedative. Something.

Either way, Kostya was not used to being picked up after the fact. He'd been scavenged before. Picked apart with the barest sense of it happening. Critters needed to eat, and a dead body was as good a dinner as any out here. A dead or dying body. A dead or dying or otherwise incapable of running body. Being eaten was not fun, never fun, never ever fun.

But this was different. This wasn't a critter, and this wasn't... ungentle. Jarring. But trying to be nice. Kostya didn't remember the last time someone was trying to be nice. Maybe it was the last time he'd gotten buried. Good folks trying to do the right thing, without realizing they'd just damned him to at least another death in the slow horror of suffocation. Especially if the good folks trying to do the right thing put in the extra effort of doing the right thing especially deep. Critter-free deep. Digging-yourself-out-impossible deep.

Kostya hurt. Kostya felt wet and he hurt and nothing was good here. Nothing good except the other body against his, the voice trying to talk to him, but it all just came out warbled and warped and broken like if his music was on the fritz again. His music. His music.

Did they take that too?

Well, sign him up for a hundred more bullets and knives and stabbings and impalings and grenadings and fires and decapitations. His music and his blue. Kostya would kill Rampage's whole camp if that's what it took. The fucker could keep the armor, could keep the clothes, could keep the stupid war declaration, could keep the map and the bag and the socks and the boots, could keep the bat--

He was getting his music and his blue back. Blue, who--

Who was here?

Blue was here?

Blue was here and holding his head and saying something about it only hurting for a second; no, no, Kostya didn't want to hurt anymore, not even for a second, and he tried to speak, to say something, to beg or cry or something because Blue wasn't a devil and maybe he'd have some mercy and maybe--

The knife slid in, quick and quiet and cold. Kostya whimpered, but then things became numb. Fuzzy. Hazy. Dark. Just very dark, the same as before, the same as all the times before. A quick death. A quick death after a long string of hurt, and the last impulse his muscles got from his brain was to smile, before it all inevitably went slack again.

It was a good thing he'd died already not too long before. Normally if he procrastinated it took longer to get back, or at least he thought it took longer to get back. It was hard to say if that was a mercy or not. A long sleep in a way that was almost impossible to do otherwise out here. Too dangerous to keep your eyes closed, unless you were already dead.

It was dark again, by the time Kostya stopped sleeping, and he blinked raw, dusty eyes at the cieling of... somewhere. Hissed at the sting the dust brought, rubbed at his eyes and let the natural tears wash them out again. It sucked, but it was better than opening them beneath the dirt, a small miracle all things considered.

Had that roof always been there? Did Rampage build it after tearing him apart? That was weird. Wait. No. There was something else, something happened after and...

Kostya shifted, hands pressed to the rough floor of the shack, skin protesting every last movement, especially in the places where dried blood stuck him to the floor and wow that was a sensitive area to pull away from the ground like silly putty. Wow, wow, wow.

Except this wasn't all floor. This wasn't all floor at all, part of it was warm and felt like cloth and felt like metal and felt like people and--

And that was a gun. He just couldn't catch a fucking break, could he? Naked and sac stuck to a bloody floor and a gun over his chest and-- and he knew that hand. He knew that hand and he knew the knife on the ground beside him and for a sudden blissful moment he forgot all about dying and losing his stuff and losing his music and how he'd have to die again to get it back.

"I'm gonna have to help you now if you wanna keep square." His throat was raw, his voice even more so, catching in places where lingering dust choked him up, and Kostya had to stop and cough and spit to the side before finishing. "Kinda... rhombus... y."

Offline Lion

Re: Nothing Says 'Hello' Like A Fist to the Face [Neph!]
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2017, 08:02:17 PM »
Every now and again the gun would lean tiredly, weakly to the side and Ibsen jerked himself back to attention. The handle of the weapon fit comfortably in his grip. It was custom built after all and he was a crack shot when he had to be. But the hours it took waiting for Kostya to wake up left the scavenger all that much more exhausted. He hadn't slept since those few meager hours he managed to steal in that cave inlet. When Kostya didn't kill him although he had every right to.

Ibsen couldn't let himself sleep anyway. Not until he was sure Kostya would wake up again and so he kept that revolver straightened, balancing it on the dead man's chest and leaning his head back. Five shots remained. With the way his wrist was tilted, it meant five shots to the chest. Hopefully five chests with each bullet.

They were getting harder and harder to come by these days. And outposts were more and more reluctant to trade for them. Ibsen didn't want to have to waste them, but if anyone wanted to get at the mailman, they'd have to get through that door first. The hammer half-cocked, and Ibsen's index finger remained firmly on that trigger.

He grunted and felt his eyelids growing heavy, each breath labored. And each time the gun waxed or waned, Ibsen would straighten his wrist.  Then something fluttered underneath his wrist, the feel of a pulse. Ibsen had been so focused on that door that the sensation barely registered. A deep breath, and he blinked down at the idiot who was still in his lap.

The long lithe legs beneath him had gone somewhat numb in the long hours he'd waited for this idiot to wake up. And when he did, Ibsen didn't know what to do, or what to say. Rhombusy.  What was that? Some kind of shape he guessed. Ibsen felt something solid form in his throat and his guts twisted.

No, no, he didn't like that feeling at all. And certainly not the helplessness that followed. Slowly he set the gun down beside him and without any reservation, slipped a tired arm underneath Kostya's fat head and curled his body over him, wrapping the other arm under Kostya's armpit, into an awkward hug. It was brief and Ibsen tucked Kostya's face in the crook of his neck and shoulder.

The gesture was not so much for Kostya as it was for himself, an affirmation that this fool really was alive. And the delirium of hunger and thirst had not yet taken the scavenger. Food. And Water. He still had those things.

Less focused on the door now, he pulled back and then promptly flicked his index finger against Kostya's forehead. "Next time, you make me take you with me. I don't like to see you bleed," Ibsen sternly, a frown sagging the corners of his mouth and brows drooping into a scowl.

If Kostya was paying attention, maybe, he might get the not so subtle translation of those spoken words: "You're an idiot. And I'm glad you're alive. But also, you're an idiot."
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 08:03:27 PM by Lion »