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Post by Guest on Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:10 pm

GONE:

Before anyone could react, they disappeared. Everyone. Just . . . gone.

It was an average day in the small (that's an overstatement) town of Perdido Beach, Florida. Kids went to school, adults went to work.

And then it happened. Those of the age of sixteen or older just. . poofed. Disappeared. No cops, firefighters, teachers, parents, government, nothing. With the adults went the internet and phone-service. No calls, no internet, no television.. No way to get help.

Bullies are taking over. The kids from Coates Academy, home of snobby and rich, are supposedly planning to make their way over to Perdido. That's the least of our worries. Hunger, no food for the kids, no formula for the babies, no diapers, no education, no government. .

The animals and teens are beginning to mutate. The pres (preschoolers), preteens, and teens.. They're getting powers. Animals are starting to fly, starting to become more faster and dangerous. The kids, the bullies are more dangerous.

So, what are you going to do? When is the realization going to hit you that food doesn't just appear, that medicine doesn't just come to you, that life without a form of currency, without government is hard?

How are you going to survive?


FORM:
*=optional
Name:
Age (not 16 or over):
Appearance:
Personality:
Power:
Job:
Family*:
Other*:


FORM EXPLAINED:
Name: The first and last name of your character.

Age: Unless you want to do immediately, I don't recommend being 16+.

Appearance: What they look like. Pictures are allowed.

Personality: Traits/how they act.

Power: Be creative! I mean making bursts of light out of their hands, super speed, healing, cancelling out gravity, talking to animals,  controlling elements, predicting the weather or the future.. .

Job: We'll be actually focusing on jobs later on through the RP. The kids are going to realize they need to survive someway, and one way to do that is to assign jobs. Will you teach the kids? Be a firefighter? Be a cop?

Family: Optional.

Other: Anything else you want to add.

{this roleplay is entirely based on the book series 'Gone' by Michael Grant. i don't own the idea or anything. i seriously suggest you read the books, they're amazing. hoooweeeverrrr, you should at least look at the wikipedia page for the books. the plot is going to thicken and stuff and get more 'complicated', so i really recommend you guys just do a quick skim on it. if you have any questions pm me yaaa}


Last edited by taylor ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) on Sun Dec 29, 2013 1:02 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:35 pm

Name: Reese Ellison
Age (not 16 or over): 15
Spoiler:
Appearance: [size=undefined]http://i.imgur.com/HklIMX4.png [/size]

Personality: Reese is a people person, definitely. She's not overly bubbly and friendly, but she'll gladly allow you to join in a conversation if you seem lost or confused. Reese is very laid back. She's not one to stress; in fact she doesn't really know how to take things seriously. She can be a bit rebellious sometimes, going out of her way to do things that break the rules. Reese hates being forced to obey rules and being manipulated. She's very loyal and protective of her friends. She's very stubborn when it comes to loved ones; Reese will literally do anything for them. 
Power: Aerokinesis; the ability to mentally manipulate wind and air flow.  She can sort of fly in a weird way; making a sort of cushion of air underneath her feet that can levitate her upwards. She can make gusts of air to propel her forwards and such. 
Job: Reese would probably end up joining the military if they were to have one, or protect the city. 
Family*: Reese had an older sister, Melanie, who was 18 and disappeared. Her younger sisters, Lillian and Miranda, were with Reese's parents on a vacation when the wall went up. 
Other*: Lives in Perdido Beach. 


whispers im going to make another character soon shhh

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Post by jess on Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:48 am

((Question...could I make someone like, half-minotaur? Or like...you know. Cause I want them to have the strength of the minotaur, but I'm not sure if you'd mind, since it's a mythological creature. I could always do like a bull or something instead, if you do mind. Surprised ))

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Post by Guest on Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:15 pm

((well like you could have your character's power to be a shapeshifter; but only change into the minotaur i guess.))

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Post by Papa Pig on Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:33 am

Name: Paige Sinclair
Age (not 16 or over): 15
Appearance
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Personality
Paige is typically friendly towards most people, and often defends people/friends tirelessly when trouble occurs. She has a stronge sense of morality and doesn't like when her opinions go without notice. Paige is goodmannered and cultured, as well. Although she is ordinarily sweet and good-natured, Paige shows a more feisty aspect of her personality whenever she is crossed. She sometimes says morbid or innapropraite things (sometimes swearing), but then she usually giggles and blushes and apologizes for such distasteful behavior. Paige, when dealing with enemies and such, isn't hesitant to be rude and crude. She'll refuse to help or assist them unless necessary. Around certain people, she exhibits a playful and more carefree attitude (especially now during the FAYZ, as she burdens herself with a large responsibility of taking care of the kids at the daycare). She acts notieably more childlike and crazy when not in the role of 'babysitter' (dressing and talking more casually, rather than trying to act prim, poised, and gentle with the kids). Paige becomes embarassed very easily. She doesn't like talking about romance and relationships, especially now that she's responsibile for all the innocent little kids. She's not very confident, truthfully; which is why she just tries to be the stereotypical 'good girl
Power:"
Plant manipulation-
The ability to create, control, manipulate or animate plant life"

(which she uses to make her flower crowns)
JobShe runs the daycare and takes care of the kids. She was worried about the kids instantly and rushed to help; as well as ordered some kids to go check houses and bring any children to the daycare.
Family*:
Other*:
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Post by Guest on Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:25 am

Name: Ingrid Hale
Age (not 16 or over): 15
Appearance: http://data3.whicdn.com/images/11720640/tumblr_lnzdswjUFk1qdg1yho1_500_large.png
Personality: Ingrid could be described a rocker-esque-girl. She's a fearless daredevil with a passion for travelling, and she's become more of a daredevil after the FAYZ. She gets bothered if she has to stay in the same place for too long. Ingrid has a mischevious personality, and she's rarely intimidated. A lot of people, judging by her appearance/clothes/style, think that Ingrid is just a rebellious poop, but she's really just a jokester at heart, and her little "rebellious and evil plans" often turn out to be jokes. She's honestly obsessed with playing pranks; you can never be too sure if what she's saying is real or a joke. Ingrid can have the occasionall violent outburst; she's not afraid to admit she's punched a few people out of pure anger. She likes to joke that she's "lost her moral code" after all of her outbursts.  She doesn't really understand emotions, ya know? Kinda immature. However, despite this, Ingrid is a bit sentimental. She's very emotionally attached to a teddy bear named Tabs (which is a light pink teddy bear that's incredibly worn out, with patches and stains and two buttons as eyes), which was given to her by her grandmother. Once her mother tried to sell it at a garage sale, and Ingrid became incredibly furious for her even suggesting it. Ontop of that, she's very emotional. She is also very indepndent, and can often act without concern for friends or others upon first meeting. Ingrid writes her own songs and plays a guitar, as she thinks it's easier to express her feelings through music. She keeps a diary that she uses as inspiration. 
Power: she can run so fast that she cannot be seen. Her top speed is just under the speed of sound. She runs in an odd way, turning her palms back as she pumps her arms. It is estimated that her top speed is about 600 miles per hour, just slower than a bullet.
Job: Ingrid would probably end up working in, like, the army or something? She wouldn't want to be held down; in fact she might not do anything at all. 
Family*: The only family member Ingrid is slightly concerned about is her grandmother; who she calls Gran-Gran. She's very sweet and kind, though a bit wrong in the head. Kids sometimes make fun of her Gran-Gran, but Ingrid will gladly punch them multiple times if she has to. She's very protective of Gran-Gran, and has a huge soft spot for her. Gran-Gran often sits in her wheelchair and loopily sings songs that remind her of her husband who passed away long ago. Her favorite movie is Sound of Music, because she remembers watching it with her husband. Ingrid's grandmother watched the movie literally everyday, and Ingrid has grown used to walking home and hearing Julie Andrews singing 'the hillss are alliivee with the sound of music'. 
Other*:


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Post by Guest on Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:45 am

I N G R I D }

"Alright, now I need you to get out a piece of paper and a pencil, today we're gonna be takin' some notes on---"

The classroom fell silent, except for the sound of the slow kids still searching for a pencil and ripping paper from their binders. Slowly, slowly, slowly, even that stopped too.

"Wait, where'd he go?"

That was Julie Magnius; a redhead who's gotten in trouble for making out with her boyfriend during class more times than the average human being has sneezed in a life time.

"He was right there. . ."

Julie has said what we're all thinking. Mr. Roberts is gone. Simply gone. No poof. No explosion. No burst of light. No noise.

Gone.

"Calm down, everyone," Mike Fazzalaro says as he stands up. I scoff; always gotta be in charge, that Matt, "Let's all just go out in the hallway, across the hall, and get another teacher."

Everyone, even the class-clowns who usually have some remark against Mike and his smart-alec ways, begins to file out the door.

Which is where the entire Perdido Beach High student body is. It's like when we're all switching classes, except nobody is playing around and trying to open their lockets and rushing to class.

It's... weird.

"Ingrid!" Reese Ellison, a girl who I consider to be my best friend, rushes up to me. "Dude, you hear 'bout what's goin' on? All the teachers dissapeared. Even the principal."

I smirk and nod, not really sure how to respond. What are you supposed to say when it's just you and a bunch of sweaty, awkward kids waiting for an adult to pop up?

"Okay, everyone!" Mike is speaking... again, "Get out your phones and call your parents! My resources have informed me that no adults are in this building!"

After a few seconds of hesitation, the sound of fingers against buttons fills the hallway; mine included. Before I can even press the speeddial I have set for mom, a girl's sobbing has filled the air.

"There's no ring!" She's shrieking, "No voicemail! There's nothing!"

And that seems to set everyone off.

"What the fu ck is going on?"

"Stop messing around, whoever's doing this!"

"I'm going to f ucking kill whoever did this."

"This is awesome!"

Somehow, everyone seems to come to the conclusion that it's time to go home. We all file out the front door, and it's as loud as it usually is at dismissal.

Except..  it's weird.

The little kids who attend the elementary and middle schools next door are all shuffling around awkwardly. The kindergarteners are crying. The first graders are shuffling around. They're all too young to know their way home.

The middle schoolers are ecstatic, jumping around and shrieking with excitement. "No adults, man! No adults! We can do what we want!" One shouts.

"Where's mommy?" and "I want my mommy!" are popular cries from the young ones.

Yep. It's official. Perdido Beach has gone insane.

"Oy, Ingrid," Reese nudges me, "Let's hit up the town square, kay? That's where everyone seems to be goin'."

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Post by Papa Pig on Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:36 am

I grunt unhappily as I am forced to shove my way out of the main school doors, clutching tightly onto my bag. Unorganized groups of students are either making an effort to call their parents, or following the crowd towards the Town Square. 

Deciding to attempt to call my own parents once I've reached the Square, I speed up my pace, catching a group of terrified little kids in the corner of my eye. Gathering up the nearest child, I quickly instruct the rest of them into a line, leading them towards the Town Square in a neat and orderly fashion.

"Where are we going?" and "Why are we going there?" are repeated over and over and I remain quiet, not really knowing the answers myself.
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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:59 am

I N G R I D }
The Town Square has turned into a campsite.

It's been a few hours since the whole poof; long enough to become dark. 

Everyone is sitting with someone, rather just one friend or a large group.

Girls are in large groups, sitting around a flashlight set up in the circle of them. Guys sort of walk around, nervously chatting among themselves. A few have taken basketballs and footballs from their homes, starting a game.

Everyone seems to be eating candy and drinking soda, too. After some guy walked out of the CVS with his hands full of chips and candy, we all decided it'd be okay if we could just 'borrow' some food and then pay the stores back once the adults come back.

Even Reese and I have our own small pile of soda cans and candy wrappers; particularly pink bubblegum.



"This is crap," I mutter as I lean against a lamppole. Reese sits with her legs crossed, plucking grass from the ground and rolling it between her fingers. "Why are we just sitting around here?"

Reese shrugs, "I dunno. I think everyone's just too scared to be alone in their house now."

"You're right," I breathe, exhaling enough to push a piece of hair from my mice, "You know what I want right now? A caramel macchiato."

"I could go for a vanilla latte." Reese stands up reluctantly, brushing grass and dirt off her jeans.

With that, we sprint out of town square, narrowly missing the crowds of kids smattered about.

The door to Starbucks is wide open, and tables and chairs are knocked over from kids desperately trying to grab some food or drinks.

Reese begins to put the tables upright, pushing in chairs. She sits down on top of a table, stretching herself out while I jump behind the counter and attempt to make drinks.

There's a manual on top of a shelf, and the instructions seem relatively clear. Milk, cream, sugar, coffee, syrup. . . Nothing too complicated, right?

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Post by Papa Pig on Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:27 am

The young ones have started to become restless as it grew darker and darker outside. Shuffling around groups of kids uneasily, I managed to find someone who would let me borrow their flashlight for the little ones. 

"Stay right here, okay?" I announce as I organized them into a tighter circle.

"Where are you going?" The same question is asked multiple times.

"I'll be back, just give me a second," I hastily leave the town square, leaving a group of girls nearby in charge of the kids.

Noticing the doors to the shop were open, I quietly peek around the corner, clutching tightly onto the door frame. Two girls were inside, raiding the counters like they had any right.

"Who are you?"
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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:44 am

I N G R I D}

I'm pouring an entire carton of milk into a blender-ish-thing when footsteps echo in my ears and in walks a figure.

Reese freezes from her spot digging around and stares at me with her eyes wide.

And then the person talks.

"Paige?" I blurt out, slipping out from behind the counter. "Paige Sinclair?"

Sure enough it's her; standing with shocked and scared blue eyes with her hair in a messy bun, gripping a flashlight.

I start laughing hysterically, "Piggy the princess?" I smirk and cross my arms, shaking my head.

"Well, isn't this great? Little miss sunshine has graced us with our presence," I dip into a curtsy, extending my arms, "What an honor, your highness."

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Post by Papa Pig on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:03 am

I sigh and furrow my eyebrows at Ingrid's snide remarks, slipping past her and eyeing empty shelves carefully. Mumbling in frustration, glance up at her. 

"Did you two butts already raid the whole place? Other people need this more than you do, you know." I drop my bag onto the nearest table, trying to think of something else to say while I scavenge through the destroyed backroom. 

"Did you guys leave anything for anyone?" Picking my way back out of the room, I pick up my bag again, shining the flashlight in her eyes.
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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:09 am

I N G R I D}

I try to bite back a smirk as Paige shines the light in my eyes. She's a good three inches shorter than me, almost standing on her tiptoes to make eye contact.

"Calm down, princess," I reach out and tuck a loose piece of blonde hair behind her ear, "You're wrecking your hair." I finish with a wink, patting her cheek gently.

Reese cackles behind me, leaning on my shoulder. She whispers into my ear and quickly pulls away, leaving both of us laughing.

"Reese says your mascara is a bit smeared, too, princess," I gesture towards Paige's face. "Might wanna fix that or somethin'. Whatever floats your boat."

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Post by Papa Pig on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:21 am

I blink and push Ingrid's hand away from my face, rubbing my cheek as a faint blush formed across my face. Taking a small step backwards, I narrow my eyes absentmindedly at Reese, not bothering to check my makeup right this moment. 

"Well, in case you haven't noticed, a bunch of people just kind of disappeared, so I'd assume it's not exactly the best time to be worrying over my makeup." I let out a huff of air and mumble quietly. Shifting my feet uncomfortably and staring at the floor, I try to slow my quickening heartbeat to no avail.
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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:25 am

I N G R I D}

"Who cares?" I hop up onto the counter, swinging my legs and trying to pretend I imagined the pink color that appeared on Paige's cheeks after I brushed her hair. "It's only a prank, obviously."

Reese nods in agreement, "Don't get yourself worked up, princess piggy. Between the blushing and the stress, you're bound to get wrinkles."

My eyes widen as Reese struts over to Paige and takes off the flower-headband-crown-like-thing that's always perched on her blonde little head and places it on her own.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, knew you don't mess with Paige Sinclair's flower crowns. Yet there was Reese, laughing and swinging herself up onto the counter next to me.

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Post by Papa Pig on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:34 am

My breath hitches slightly and I frown in disgust as it took my flower crown, nails digging into my palm as she stalked over to the counter. 

Jaw clenched tightly, I step towards the counter and reach out to grab my crown, snatching it away from her head. Trying to stay collected as I inhaled deeply, I narrowed my eyes at her and placed the crown on top of my head. 

"Stop touching me with your germ-ridden paws, who knows how many diseases are on those things?"
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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:38 am

I N G R I D}

I practically snort, watching Reese's mouth form a perfect 'o' in surprise as the words flow from Paige's mouth.

Snickering and chuckling, I swing an arm around Reese's shoulder, pulling her tight against my side. "There, there, my little peanut butter cup." I plant a friendly kiss on her head, pulling away with a laugh.

Reese's jaw twitches with anger. She untangles herself from me and reaches towards something behind us. Reese holds the object behind her back as she stands up from the counter.

"How rude," She hisses as she pours the pot of steaming coffee over Paige's head.

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Post by Papa Pig on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:47 am

Letting out a small squeal and hunching my shoulders as the coffee drips down my face, I rub the steaming liquid away from my eyes, jaw dropping. 

"What the frick..?" I stand completely still, staring at them both as my mascara runs down my face. I gather up my bag and flashlight, storming out of the shop and head back towards Town Square
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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:53 am

I N G R I D }

"Princess! Oy, Princess!" I find myself calling after Paige, but it's no use. She's left a trail of coffee and TOMS footprints out the door.

I turn to Reese, flaring my nostrils with frustration and anger. "Duuuude!" I complain, throwing my hands in the air.

"What?" She asks innocently, raising an eyebrow.

"You can't just do that to someone! She wasn't even doing anything!"

Reese holds her hands up, surrendering, "Chill, dude, you're almost as bad as Princess."

I scoff, "Get your own nickname for 'er. Like, I call her Princess and Princess Piggy."

A smile curls on her face, "A bit protective, are we?"

"No!" I instantly snap, "It's like I call you Peanut Butter Cup. It's a nickname. Get your own."

Reese nods, "Whatever you say, man." She slaps my back and smirks.

"Get me a coffee," I sigh, laying down on a table.

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Post by Papa Pig on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:59 am

I grumble quietly to myself, practically stomping all the way back towards the Town Center. Pulling my hair out of its bun and wringing it dry, I furrow my eyebrows and approach the group of little kids- ditched by the girls I left them with.

"Where did you go?"
"What happened?" I scoff and wave off their questions, tossing my coffee-soaked flower crown onto the floor. 

"Nothing, I just slipped in some coffee." I smile reassuringly at the kids, too embarrassed to tell even the smallest ones the real deal.
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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:21 am

INGRID}

Reese and I walked to the Town Center.

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Post by Papa Pig on Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:32 am

Omg))

I gave the little kids my own flashlight, counting heads and picking up one of their backpacks. "Ill be back, stay here," I mutter under my breath as I pick my way around sleeping bodies, out of Town Square.

Pulling my set of keys out of my pocket, I unlock the door and step inside, sprinting upstairs into my room. My parents aren't there, so i don't have to worry about them walking in on me as I peel soaked articles of clothing off, replacing them with silky pj's.

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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:54 am

INGRID}

"Can we stop at my house? I've got a few things I wanna take to the daycare, for, uh, you know, the littles." I scratch the back of my neck, tugging my beanie down.

Reese nods, dribbling her soccerball along, "Sure. For the 'littles'," She smirks,  making air quotes.

"Don't be a butthole." I stick my tongue out and take the ball, sprinting to my house and dribbling quickly.

// AT HER HOUSE //

"Just wait on the porch, okay? Won't take long, promise." I hand Reese the soccerball as she reluctantly sits down on the porch bench.

With a quick wink, I head inside and am greeted with absolute quiet.

Mom isn't typing away on her keyboard, dad isn't yelling at the football game on screen, Tyler isn't shouting at his xbox, and Victoria isn't screeching on the phone. .

But most importantly?

My grandmother isn't sitting in her rickety rocking chair.

"Gran-Gran?" I whisper hoarsely, tip-toeing through the hall. "Are you home?"

I inch my way into the living area where she usually is and instantly stagger back

Her rickety rocking chair is still rocking, a cup of tea is on the table next to the chair, a photo album is spread open on the chair, and 'Sound of Music' is playing on our black-and-white tv.

"No.." I murmur, slowly and weakly moving forward on shaky legs to pick up the photo album. As soon as my eyes scan over the first page, the book falls to the floor with a soft thud.

Pictures of Gran-Gran and a young grandpop are glued hastily to the pages; smiling and grinning and kissing and laughing and dancing and living.

I can practically hear Gran-Gran's voice as she points to a picture, "This is Robert and I at prom. Oh, it was wonderful. He swept me right off my feet, you know."

I force myself to get up and ignore the sight in front of me. "Think about Pai- the littles, Ingrid. Think about the littles." I repeat to myself, heading towards the kitchen.

I grab two garbage bags each already designed with a specific purpose; one to fill with food and the others to fill with things like towels and pillows and blankets and stuffed animals.

With shaky hands, I swing upon the freezer. There's a pint of Ben n Jerry's Americone Dream, a box of Fudgesicles, and a box of Klondike bars.

It's tempting.. More than tempting.. I could feel better.. I could forgot about Gran-Gran, Grandpop, Paige, Reese, and everything..

I drop the garbage bags to the floor and snatch all the icecream from the freezer. With no regrets, I throw the pint of Ben n Jerry's into the microwave, heating it for 1 minute. I want it like chocolate, cold soup.

When the microwave dings, I take out my concottion and grab a soup ladle from a drawer. I throw myself onto the kitchen table with the rest of my icecream.

And there I sit; half spoon-ladling, half hand-shoveling the liquid icecream into my mouth until the pint is empty. I lick the lid for good measure before cracking open the fudgesicles.

Tears are streaming down my face now as I sink my teeth into the first popsicle. Salty and sweet.

I allow only a few tears to slide down my cheeks as I indulge into the chocolate-pops.

I allow a few more when I'm finished with them.

And then I do the same with the Klondike Bars.

I'm a sobbing, sticky, chocolatey, mess when I stagger into the bathroom and get on my knees in front of the toilet.

With one hand I hold my ink black hair back, and with the other, I shove two fingers down my throat 'till I hit a gag reflex.

I vomit until there's nothing left in my stomach to come out.

When I've flushed the chunky mess, I brush my teeth and pat my eyes with a tissue to remove any redness from the tears.

Feeling a combination of better and worse, I return to the kitchen and pick up my garbage bags. I fill one with goldfish, Doritos, Chex Mix, honey, yogurt, milk, juice boxes.. Anything little kids will be able to eat.

In the other, I tear apart my siblings, parents, and I's bedrooms, shoving their blankets and pillows into it.

One thing I don't shove in a garbage bag, though, is Tabs. I place the light pink teddy bear from my gran-gran in my guitar case, which is strapped to my back.

"Ingrid!" Reese opens the front door with an impatient look on her face, "You've been in there for an hour! You done?!"

"Yeah!" I call, shoving one last pack of gummies into a garbage bag. "All done!"

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Post by Papa Pig on Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:05 am

I bite into my cheek as I try to decide whether to take flowers from outside for a new crown or not, grumbling to myself about how long i spent making the last one.

Taking a rather large blanket from my parent's deserted bedroom, i shove it into my bag, grabbing a couple pillows to carry back with me before slinging my bag over my shoulder.

I laid the blanket on the floor, providing a makeshift bed/mat to separate the kids from the floor while they slept.
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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:11 am

INGRID}

Reese decided to join a group of our friends in a tent to get some shut eye, which was fine by me. I didn't need her pouring coffee on Paige when I tried to d a nice thing.

I jogged towards the daycare, the two garbage bags over my shoulder. The door was halfway open, and instantly after my first step, the floor became flooded with sleeping kids and babies.

I carefully navigated around them, lifting the garbage bags above their sleeping bodies. Paige was sitting in the corner, rocking a baby to sleep with a bottle.

"Princess Piggy?" I whisper, tip-toeing towards her. "Santa Claus has come to town," I lift the bags triumphantly in the air.

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