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Cicada Days
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i can feel something inside me say
[ *  *  *  * ]


“... quie… momen....”

“... real action… Peterson…”

“... another victim... “

"... had the…”


Ben’s struggling got him nothing, and nowhere, but a further six feet under.

“... played a game…”

“... she lost…”


But he kept trying, kept failing, kept trying, kept-

“... Tarquin was the next to go when William McKinley disemboweled him with a machete, unfortunately poor Will died not…”

That gave Ben pause, as if he had been making any progress in the first place to warrant the idea that he’d paused.

Will had died a hero. A man.

And Ben had died an incompetent...

He lay, hollow of blood as he felt.

None of them would ever see him again. Lucilly, Will, Travis, Mia, Nate, Matt, Cristo. Kizi, Lili, Raina, Penelope. They were going to a better place, a place Ben didn’t belong, a place Ben hadn’t earned.

He continued to struggle. To think, against all his own understanding, that he somehow had a chance. Ben couldn’t feel his own body anymore. He was already a non-entity. He was the blood he’d spilt onto the roof of a building God couldn’t have spared a second glance for, and he was drying away, evaporating away. Each freshly rotten attempt to will a part of himself to life… No pain. No sensation. Nothing at all.

He realized. Way too late, he realized.

Mom. Lana. They would only be seeing him one last time, they would only be seeing him to learn the horrible truth. Ben had abandoned them. Ben had broken his promises. Ben had let them down.

The man of their home, the one Dad had trusted the rest of their lives with, had been reduced to an empty husk, and emptier words.

No. He was stronger than that.

He was not strong.

He was no hero.

He was no man.

He was not going to leave them like this.

He strained, strained harder than he had even thought possible, and he heard something strain until it broke. He could see again.

The cold sneer of the camera, glaring down at him. His vision blurred, but he could still see the taunt, the engaged red light. He didn’t realize, not anymore, that he looked terrible, face inflamed into splotchy gory reds and blacks, hair clumped and ground like beef into bloody frothy paste, lips half eroded onto the concrete.

He didn’t realize, especially, that he’d started to cry.

He would not go a second too soon. He would say everything he needed to say. Everything that mattered. He would be there one last time for his family, before it was all over and before Ben took his last bow and tumbled over his own ass and broke his own neck before the janitors unceremoniously swept him off stage. Each breath he took grew weaker. Quieter. Air was dripping and dribbling out of the corners of his mouth by the second. He noticed it, but he fought, he fought with all the power he hadn’t been able to muster to protect, to save that beautifully dumbass class of the once loud and proud Cochise, he fought and he fought and he fought until he could draw first one agonizing breath, then the next. Then the next.

He just had to say something. Anything. A simple goodbye. He could do it.

He had to do it.

He had to be strong.

“...







But for the camera, he merely died as he’d lived.

Brain dead.

Dead eyed.

Nothing to say.

Benjamin ‘Ben’ Fields : Deceased
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