"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Cicada Days
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👀 (credit to Kotorikun)
[ *  *  *  * ]
His gun hadn’t been loaded.

That was the least important detail, but Ben’s first realization. Jeremy had tricked him, Jeremy hadn’t known, either way and either interpretation Ben had been doomed from the moment his brain had walked him right off this cliff and chosen him this hill to die on. No amount of flailing, hand-wringing, desperate ranting, no amount that could take it back.

Nor save him.

Nor redeem him.

He’d messed up. He’d messed up for the final time, and the price was the indescribable- no words needed or even possible- wrenching and clawing in his gut. He couldn’t feel his legs. He could feel something had been shattered. He could feel pieces threaded through the meat of his innards, shards of something turned splinters turned agony so blinding he wasn’t even sure if his eyes were open or closed. He could feel the dull imprint of concrete tile, a punch right to his face and shoulders and palms and he could feel it all at once and the worst part, the worst damn part was that he couldn’t do anything. It was over. He’d failed, he’d lost. Jeremy was going to walk on, head held aloft and hands free to gun down whoever else Jeremy so pleased, and Ben couldn’t argue, couldn’t fight his way out, it was all he could do just to stand, just to draw a breath let alone draw a gun.

He tried. He tried so hard, he yelled and screamed at himself in deafening silence to move, to fight back, to somehow march his broken ass back to battle. Not one muscle obeyed him except for responding; calm, burning reminders that they were at once losing precious life blood and oxygen and shriveling away exponentially by the second. He couldn’t stand. Couldn’t even face his killer.

Coward.

Ben agonized over every breath, and every breath kindly stabbed him through the ribs for his trouble.

Loser.

He’d let everyone down.

Failure.

Hadn’t even done a damn thing for any of them in the first place.

He tried and failed, once more, to make any part of himself shift. All he managed was to somehow drive the stubby fingers of his own fist deeper into the wound that was still freely bleeding despite his weak effort. All that he was and was worth was turning to red paste underneath him. Soon enough it’d be rust.

And all in all, that was Ben Fields.

He didn’t even realize he’d started speaking, wild and uncontrollable breath punctuating each syllable at knife point, he didn’t realize it at all, he only continued to fail, to die, to say:

“Jer-... Jer-... emy… I-”

“... You...”

He begged, honest to God, he begged.

“... P-... please… M-... My... “

“Stuff-... Bring-... t-to…”

Blood leaked.

“Pen-... Penel-... o- pe… Kiz-... Li-... Li....”

“Find-...”

He couldn’t see.

“Tell-... tell them… I’m- I’m…”

“S- sorry-... I-... I-...”

“... Tried…”

That was a lie.

Ben pathetically drifted from this earth, unconscious but still consciously knowing it was a lie.
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Miss Atomic Bomb · The Rooftop