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"How to Bruise a Ballerina" [Eliot O'Neil]

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Given the opportunity of a life time, Eliot had packed her bags happily while a disappointed boyfriend looked her way. Her life was getting boring, and Eliot felt like the man she slept beside was suffocating her with one of their feather pillows. No hesitation crossed her mind when she was offered a role in the company at the National Ballet of China -- a dream job for any ballet dancer. 

Her plane was scheduled to leave Pearson International Airport with one stop in London, England before her final destination of China. Her lay-over in London was a nuisance, but a few white Russian's at the hotel bar with an interesting stranger seemed to dull that ache of annoyance. Being a nervous flyer, the alcohol helped her nerves relax enough to sleep on her red-eye flight to China. 

It wasn't until a strange smell hit her nose, and the sounds of panic crossed her ears that she woke up. The blonde blinked her blue-green eyes to get rid of the fog that clouded her eyes, but soon realized that the smoke wasn't a side effect of her sleep. The cabin was filling with smoke, and her heart had dropped to her stomach. A calm voice filled the smokey air with reassuring words of an emergency departure into the small country of Chernarus to identify the problem. 

The plane descended quickly, and with very little grace. A reassuring look from the stranger a night earlier was only enough to calm her nerves for a fraction of a second. If he was still smiling, she couldn't tell; her eyes squeezed shut in an effort to dream the nightmare away. The nightmare did end up fading. After thirty minutes, the wheels of their plane had touched down and for the time being Eliot finally felt safe. 

That feeling was fleeting. Two days were spent in Chernarus, with two major factors playing into the length of their stay; the faulty part being replaced, and the authorization to take off once again. It was the later of the two issues that was harder to resolve, for reasons that escaped Eliot at the time. It wasn't until the end of the second day that they were given the orders to remain put due to an issue of national security. 

That's when the panic set in, and all hell broke loose. 

Ballet dancers are not built for the zombie apocalypse. Eliot learned this quickly, and learned that refusal to adapt to her surroundings would mean a swift death for her. 

She spent the early days of the apocalypse cowering in a home that had been hastily evacuated. Clothes of the previous owners were carelessly thrown across the floor, and the cupboards had been emptied of all non-perishables. During those early days, she fed herself by cutting around the green mold that had taken over a loaf of whole wheat bread. Her stomach gurgled angrily; from the hunger or from the molded bread, she didn't know. 

It took her a few more days to leave the security of the house. Eliot's growling stomach convinced her that the walls separating her from the real world would soon be the coffin holding her withered corpse. Armed with a small hatchet she found in the basement tangled among camping supplies, she cautiously entered a world that she did not recognize. The blood along the streets, and distant gun shots fed into this dystopia that felt so different from the world that once made her feel safe. 

It wasn't long after Eliot started taking more chances that her luck had run out. Her body was exhausted. No amount of food seemed to be able to nourish her enough to put one foot in front of the other. Strong lungs that had seen her through some intense routines were easily winded, and caused stars to cross her vision. The adrenaline that coursed through her body like a drug gave her strength during those fleeting moments, but tired her to near insanity directly afterward. It was through her own stupidity that she wandered into an inhabited house one day, and through even more stupidity that she allowed herself to be so easily captured into a life of slavery.

 

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Edited by Kattica

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Her tired, throbbing feet carried her hastily across an open field to the apple orchard in the distance. The rumbling of her stomach pushed past the pain she felt as the open sores of popped blisters rubbed angrily against her filthy cotton socks. Lean muscles from her years of training used what little strength they had left to carry the body that provided for them to the source of their next meal.

Eliot had spotted the orchard from quite a ways away, as if the universe had decided to reward her for the bravery it took to leave the safety of the house she had been squatting in. It didn't take her much time to question whether it was fate or mere coincidence, the gnawing ache in her stomach concluded that it didn't fucking matter.

Aggravated as they were, they scanned the horizon quickly, looking for any signs of hostile life ready to rip the intestines from her still living body. The blonde shook the thought from her head, causing matted strands of hair to fall in front of her face. Her hand flew up to quickly remove the locks from her vision, her bicep squealing in protest from the strain of the movement caused a pained look to cross her face. Adrenaline steeped her muscles in temporary strength, but the sensation never lasted forever, Eliot knew this. She also knew that when the crash and exhaustion kicked in, she would need to find a place to hide and rest her weary muscles. 

All of which wasn't involving the matter at hand.

The pain was distracting her from her ultimate goal; nutrition. Lean legs picked up their speed despite their wavering strength. Years of training had taught her how to push past what she felt were her limits, but pain had never been this convincing before. She talked herself through the process, and legs continued to persevere. Feet continued to carry her closer to the orchard, to the point where she could make out the red fruit against the green leaves. The goal didn't seem so far away now, and the promise of fruit was all the convincing her body needed to run faster.

The ballerina closed the distance between herself and the orchard, leaning against the rough bark of a tree to briefly catch her breath before reaching towards the low-hanging fruit. Despite her long figure, Eliot had some difficulty reaching the fruit with her screaming arms. Assessing the situation, she didn't think that her current strength would allow her to hoist her body weight into the branches, but she mustered up enough strength to break off a thin branch within her reach. With the branch in hand, her reach increased with more than enough room to knock some of the apples from their high perch. 

The sound of juicy, red apples hitting the soft green grass below her made her heart swell with a hope she hadn't felt in ages.

She dropped to her scraped knees, ignoring the pain and focusing on picking up as many apples as she could and stuffing her small backpack with them. Her steely complexion had dissolved into the first smile she had managed to muster up in weeks, and a small laugh bubbled out from the confines of her thirst-deprived lips. Slender fingers brought one of the fruit to her widening mouth, cracked skin from her lips pulling apart at the movement -- but the girl didn't care. The moment her teeth punctured the fragile skin, sweet liquid poured into her mouth. Eliot exercised self control and allowed herself the time to savour her first bite before angrily ravaging the rest of the red fruit in a way that would make her grandmother roll over in her grave. A low growl exited her mouth as she ate the fruit, both happy for the calories and angry that it wasn't enough. 

Eliot stood up, repeating the process and hungrily eating apples while filling her bag with the ones that managed to escape her hungry jaws. By the time she finished two and a half apples, she noticed the growling of her stomach was getting louder instead of subsiding. Her brows furrowed and her chewing slowed to listen more carefully. The growling was getting louder, but the source of its noise wasn't the girl's shriveled stomach -- it was from the slow crawling hoard that was making it's way over towards her. 

Fear flooded her body, crashing against her rib cage and seeping into every pore. She scrambled to her feet and hastily zipped her bag up, preparing to run to the nearest shelter she could find, but the movement caught the glazed-over eyes of one of the women. Flesh from her face dangled down towards her chin and eerily swung back and forth from the force of turning her rotten head in the direction of Eliot. The blonde watched as the woman's expression almost turned to joy at the thought of her next meal, and Eliot couldn't help but to briefly sympathize. 

Very briefly. 

The ballet dancer turned on her heel and exited the orchard the same way she came in, but with a haste that would put her past self to shame. Her adrenaline had carried her this far, and she prayed that it wouldn't fail her now when she desperately needed it. Her brain tried to deceive her ears from what they were hearing, but it was impossible to ignore the screaming from behind her. They knew she was there, and they were excited. Terror from their screams pulled her own out from her throat, despite her effort to try to stop it. 

In the distance she could see a small farm house, the previous owner of the field she was running through undoubtedly. Tears streamed down her face from the muscles whose pain was dulled by the loud thudding of her heart against her rib cage. She silently willed her body to carry her the distance to the house, the threat of her death loudly growling behind her. She didn't dare look back, for fear of knowing their proximity to her and how close she was from their chomping teeth.

A second scream came from her lips as she pushed her body to pick up her speed. Pain shot through her spine with every footfall, sending her mind into a spin and a dull ringing to confuse her ears. As excruciating as it was, it had worked --the house was close enough to make out it's abandoned features. Windows had been hastily boarded up, a red flag that prompted Eliot to pray that the door would be unlocked. A small garden could be seen, plants withering from decay with their fruit rotted on the ground. Crooked steps she tripped over lead up to the door, and with a quick breath she twisted the handle. 

It opened, and almost immediately she was met with the barrel of a loaded gun. 

 

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"The fuck do you think you're doing?"

Her scared eyes avoided the gun in her face, and looked past to the man who was holding it. Her heart was pounding, and her chest rose and fall as she tried to catch her breath from the length she just ran. The noises could still be heard from behind her, getting closer by each passing second. Not hesitating, she whipped around and slammed the door shut. Her hand shook as it turned the deadbolt shut, trapping herself in the house with a stranger in order to avoid those hungry eyes that had chased her. 

"They... were chasing me." The words were choked out of her she focused on bringing oxygen back to her lungs. Spots blurred her vision as she fell to her knees, the weight of her athletic body being more than her tired legs could support. Eliot was left to assume that the stranger had holstered his weapon, as two hands wrapped around her arms and raised her to her barking feet. His voice said something so softly that she couldn't make it out, however it's delivery and tone seemed empathetic. 

His strength placed her down on a kitchen chair before he made his way to the door that seemed to be shaking under the force of falling fists from the undead outside. The strange man cursed silently before dragging the couch in front of the door. A grunt escaped from his mouth with the strain on his own muscles, Eliot imagined. He disappeared around the corner, and the sound of furniture legs scraped across the wood floor once more. This time, Eliot didn't have her eyes open to see what the source of the additional protection was. Moments passed unbeknownst to the blonde, as darkness was shading her vision like a warm, inviting blanket.  

"Hey," His fingers snapped in front of her face, dragging her out of what felt like the beginning of rest, "What's your name, sunshine?"

Thin fingers rubbed her temple, brow furrowed at her new companion for the interruption, "Eliot..."

He laughed, it was kind in nature, "I'm Jackson. I'll call for some help, you just rest for now. You look like total shit..." Eliot didn't have the energy to argue, both because she was exhausted and because she knew that the man was right. Her body had withered away from it's previously strong state; a side effect from malnutrition and debilitating stress. It didn't take much convincing for her to slip away into sleep, despite the fact that she had a stranger watching over her well being. 

 

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She was jolted awake from the depths of sleep -- a peace that she felt for the first time since her alcohol-induced slumber on the flight that landed her in this hell hole. Sleepy, blue-green eyes blinked away the fog that clouded her vision, as her surroundings started piecing together in her mind. It took her a few moments to remember where she was and why she was there, but once the jigsaw was complete she looked around for the man who had helped her. 

Her eyes adjusted to the darkness, and soon focused in on the shadow of a man, sitting on a chair in the corner of the room. The whites of his eyes pierced through the darkness in a look that Eliot was having difficulty placing. It was something between anger, or... hunger? It was there for only a second before their eyes met and his complexion softened into a look that was more familiar. A laugh escaped his lips, as if something was funny though nothing was said, "Tired, sweet heart?"

The term of endearment didn't have a positive effect on Eliot, but she ignored it because Jackson had friends who were on their way to help her. Not only that, but with the company watching over her, she had the well-deserved sleep that she so desperately craved. 

Her voice was horse from sleep when she groggily responded, "Yeah... Sorry," The blonde coughed into her hand to try to move away the cobwebs, "First good sleep in a long time." 

A deep laugh ricocheted around the room, "Yeah I know the feeling. My first night with my group was like that."

Full, feminine lips pulled up the corners into a hopeful smile. "When do you think they'll get here?" The sound of the growling outside still very much so prevalent, although it had subsided quite a bit from when they first arrived. Eliot wondered just how long her lights had been out for the dead outside to grow bored. 

Jackson's cheerful disposition faltered slightly, an emotion that didn't make much sense given her question. "I got off of the radio with them before you woke up. They should be any minute now." His voice trailed off at the end of his sentence in a manner that would suggest sadness instead of relief. Eliot's face must have shown her confusion, because he tried his best to recover with a sheepish laugh, "Sorry... a thought just crossed my mind." The blonde opened her mouth to ask what, but before she had the chance, Jackson shook his head and put up a hand to stop her, "Don't worry about it."

"Everyone has their baggage. I won't pester." 

She was about to flash him a smile filled with pearly-whites, when a male's voice came through on the radio attached to his hip, "If you're in there, you got five second to lay on the ground or you're gonna end up like Swiss cheese."

In a matter of moments, Jackson was beside her and pulling her out from under the covers by her sore bicep. She would have groaned in pain if it hadn't all happened so fast. Before she knew it, Eliot was face down against the floor boards, Jackson laying beside her with his hands over his head. Her sore arms followed suit and shielded her own head just in time for the growls outside to get louder, screaming in anticipation as if something delicious had crossed their path. Their hollering was soon drowned out with what sounded like a hail storm of automatic weapons. 

Eliot let out a surprised scream, and tightened her grip on her head. She expected the person beside her to be alarmed in any way, but when her green-blue orbs looked across his face all she saw was his face twisted in disgust. Disgust for what, Eliot didn't know yet. Her thoughts were interrupted by the voice booming from Jackson's hip, "Those fuckers put a nice coat of red paint on this house. Wait till you see it, Jacks."

His calloused hand grabbed her arm again, with more force then she really needed in order to get back onto her own feet. He dragged her upwards, holding onto the slender digit after she had gained her own footing. She smiled up at him and laughed, "I think I got it from here, thanks."

"You're sweet... and life... is going to get a hell of a lot worse from this point on, Eliot. I didn't have a choice." His mouth turned upwards in a smile that she didn't understand. His mouth would suggest something pleasant, but his eyes spoke otherwise --they were dark, and hooded as if something was disagreeing with him. His eyes looked over her confused complexion and his half-hearted smile faltered. 

A nervous laugh left her lips, "I don't... really understand?" Her stomach dropped to the cold floor, it was suddenly crystal clear that she didn't know this man at all, and had put her trust into him naively. His silent response was all the more chilling in contrast to the door being shoved open with the force of a handful of men. The sound of furniture slowly scraping against the floor sent her into a panic. She desperately clawed at the hands holding her, trying to break free from the man who she had been so stupid in trusting. 

"No use, girl."

Terror tore her eyes away from Jackson and back towards where the voice came from. What her eyes fell upon was six men, holding their weapons with a smile that looked as if it should belong to the big bad wolf. Their eyes rested on the features of their little red riding hood, and the one front and center smiled, "Well what do we have here?"

 

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Edited by Pussy

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The force of the grip Jackson had around her forearm, was sure enough to leave a nasty bruise -- Eliot didn't care. Her nails dug into his hand, and while she felt him stiffen in pain, there was no release. Her muscles coiled and tightened, pulling harder against her captor till it was her own body she felt give way to the pain of pulled muscles. Lungs sucked air in quickly, a reaction to the pain that Eliot had little control over. The tears running down her cheeks were similar in nature, involuntarily so. 

               "Stop." The voice was rough, as if it had mimicked the sound gravel in a blender may have. It struck terror in her heart, a terror that lead her to more violent measures. Eliot could feel the walls closing around her as the men approached her, closing the distance between themselves and the thrashing blonde. Eyes wide, she raised her arm towards her mouth and ground her molars into Jackson's arm. That seemed to work in her favor. 

               His grip released, following a scream, "Fucking.... cunt!"  She didn't wait long enough to watch his reaction before bolting away from the group and towards the window of the one-story house. Glass gave way beneath the force of her weight being propelled forward, she felt remnant shards slice through her pale, soft flesh. They provided a pain her adrenaline prohibited her from feeling for the time being. Grass littered with shards of glass met her face, greeting her with more comfort than the blonde would have imagined. Eliot felt closer to freedom, a feeling that she wouldn't let cloud her judgement until she was far and well out of the woods. 

               Palms red with blood pushed her up, while tired legs tried to carry her far away from the sound of the men yelling. There was not a doubt in her mind that the brutes would be chasing her, but she didn't dare to look back -- only forward. Forward, past the bodies littered across the street, and past the reaching hands of those still undead. Years of training in the ballet would likely have prepared her more for this moment if she wasn't already malnourished and exhausted. Blood and tears flowed freely, as the voices become closer with every passing step. 

               They were gaining on her, and all she could possibly do to defend herself was to will herself forward, faster. 

               Her teeth clenched together, pushing past the pain in her throbbing legs with the hope that she could outrun them even while they had the advantage. Eliot's heart fluttered, a sliver of light shining through the darkness, when she heard the deep voice, huffing with lack of breath, saying, "Fuck this shit..."

               Hope prevailed for a fraction of a second before she heard the faint click of a gun being cocked, followed by blinding pain and a ringing in her ears. Her body toppled to the ground in a soft heap, a scream passing her full lips in reaction to the flesh that had been torn from her. Hands instinctively went to her leg, and were met with a substance warm and red. She rolled to her back, stars dotting her vision as pain seared itself through every nerve ending, paralyzing her. She was aware the men were jeering at her her, but she shouldn't hear a thing past the mixture of her own screams and sobs. It took some time away from the situation to realize that in the moment, Jackson spoke, "She'll learn to listen, soon."

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Edited by Pussy

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Hey Pussy! I really liked your last entry. I feel you described pain, fear and the events unfolding in a very clean, creative and smooth way! None of it felt like a clique or anything one might typically hear when describing pain or fear. Your descriptors and word choice worked well, :D I felt immersed!  

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1 hour ago, Brayces said:

Hey Pussy! I really liked your last entry. I feel you described pain, fear and the events unfolding in a very clean, creative and smooth way! None of it felt like a clique or anything one might typically hear when describing pain or fear. Your descriptors and word choice worked well, :D I felt immersed!  

Thank you so much for taking the time to read it! I'm working on my next entry and it's very much so a continuation of this one, so hopefully that one meets your standards too, hahah!

Anywho, thanks again! :3

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Pain. It was the first thing the blonde felt, and its roar was deafening. Frantic eyes opened wide, blinking past the fog that had descended on her vision, induced by a foreign source. Eliot’s mind was reeling, and sharp pangs of agony felt as if they speared their way directly through her brain. Sore muscles lifted her arm to touch the pained spot in question, pulling a small groan out from deep within her throat. Her hair was crusted together, dampness still surrounding the dented area of her split scalp. The salt and dirt from her digits stung, bringing tears to her eyes; from the pain, or the scene, she wasn’t completely certain. When she brought her hand back down –moisture still on her fingertips—she felt her own hysteria choke the air out of her lungs.

Her body shifted, trying to rise to her feet, but the movement shot torment from her leg all the way up to her spine. Her jaw unhinged, opening to let out a distressed cry, prompted by a pain blinding, and white hot. Eliot’s leg throbbed, and with each passing pulse, the aching screamed at her – it took every last bit of her will power not to join in the chorus. With a set jaw, her nails dug into the dirt, gritting her way through the pain resonating from the flesh that had been ripped from her body.

Laughter could be heard in the distance, and the probable source of the noise filled her with the chill of dread. Pushing up on her arms, she tried to rise to legs quaking under the strain. In reply to the wailing wound, the strength had been depleted from her once strong legs. Legs that had previously propelled her through the air with a grace that was enviable by most, legs that had carried her through vigorous routines, Legs that now felt like a part of a body that was foreign to her. A scream forced its way out of her mouth, yanked from her throat by the searing pain of her redistributed weight. Her bellowing noise filled every crevice of the room as she cried out; a scream she hadn’t endorsed, but barreled out of her nonetheless with no sign of stopping.

At that point, the floodgates had burst open, tears streamed down her face and leaving trails in her skin where they washed away the film of dirt. Everything around her was hot; the tears, the blood, the room, the breath that left her lungs as she heaved frantically. All of it, except the overwhelming cold feeling emanating from that hollow pit in her stomach. The ice crawled along the inside of her skin, frosting over any feeling of hope and poisoning it. This feeling only increased tenfold when she heard the door abruptly creak open, revealing the man who she assumed was their ring leader.

The light coming through the boards glinted off of something sharp and metal, and when Eliot focused on it, she could easily see it was a knife. Fear made her back up against the wall, putting as much distance between them for as long as she had the freedom. The man practically purred, twisting the knife in his hand in a demented fashion. “Little bird…” His voice was thick with a false charm that Eliot knew better than to believe. His coo continued, “Let’s see what kind of worth you have hiding under those pretty feathers.”

He approached her, cronies behind him sneering as they filled up the doorway and any hope of her escape. Eliot managed to evade him momentarily before the blade caught the fabric of her dirty t-shirt and tore through it, exposing part of her abdomen to the warm air and their cold stares. The small room exploded with noises, jeering and laughing at the expense of the small blonde, but the loudest voice of them all was her own; screaming both in fear and anger as loudly as her lungs would allow. Eliot’s screams carried her into her own waking nightmare, a relentless hell she would be forced to endure for many more sleepless nights than she ever deserved.

 

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Edited by Pussy

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I really enjoy reading these! Nice job :) 

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12 minutes ago, DrMax said:

I really enjoy reading these! Nice job :) 

Thanks so much for taking the time to read them! I appreciate the hell out of it :3

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