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half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]

Cormorants? He wasn't sure. It sounded like - but he couldn't be sure. Behind his eyelids, black and white shapes exploding like black and white necks, twisting, calling. Ringing in his ears, the calls. Familiar. But not familiar - how long had it been? Three years? More? The ocean, they'd gone all together. The dogs barking, gleefully chasing each other across the sand. No dogs here. He can't hear them. Can smell the sea, though. Bittersalt, sweet, confusing smells. Remember a shaven head. Remember death - no. Don't remember death. Remember the ocean. Don't remember twelve. Remember dogs. Remember cormorants.


Erik blinked once, painfully. His world seemed to be comprised of grey-black specks, with blue in the background. It didn't seem right, but it took him another few blinks to put the pieces together. And when he did, he jerked himself upright fast enough to send the blood rushing from his head, making him groan and press at his temples, black spots exploding in front of his eyes like birds. Like the birds he could hear shrieking in the distance.

He was on a beach. He. He was on a goddamn fucking beach and he - he didn't understand. He was on a beach, but he'd been on the class trip. He'd been on the bus, chilling in a seat to himself, kicking back and dozing lightly, listening to the gossip float over his head. And then at some point he actually had fallen asleep, and then. And then. And then...

Gunfire. Memories flooded back. Gunfire, students falling, a voice. Words, and names, and weapons. Video. Video of someone being shot through the head, red spatters like a bad horror movie except for the part where it wasn't. A grisly joke he hadn't been listening to making someone laugh, high and thin. Twisting his bracelets on his wrists. His fingers were there now, unconsciously moving over the braided threads. Rainbow bright, his personality woven around his skin, bright on the outside for anyone to see. And blue, for memories of twelve years old and blankets and mothers who weren't there, to make them be there with him, always. His fingers tightened for a moment, eyes squeezing shut.

Eighteen year old Erik Laurin bowed his head on the long, lonely beach, hands wrapped into a tattered blue bracelet, shoulders bucking only once as he felt the cool metal of the collar dig into his neck.


He didn't know how long it was until he opened his eyes again. Maybe hours, maybe minutes, but it didn't matter. What mattered was that he was surrounded by something he'd been trying to run away from for years. Every night he'd worried about his siblings crossing the roads, school shootings, even briefly entertaining the thought of Kimber in Survival of the Fittest - he'd been horrified and fascinated by death. And now it was him, not Kimber, not Pierre, not the twins. Him.

Numbly, he slipped his pack open, searching for the promised weapon. His search turned up nothing more than a DVD he knew he hadn't packed - a porno, by the looks of it. He tossed it back in, too sickened from the gas and the realizations to bother picking at the rations.

Closing it again, he sat heavily on a chunk of driftwood. The wind was cold by the water, and he found himself, hot-blooded as he tended to be, getting chilly. He wished he'd brought a jacket. He pulled his t-shirt closer, resting his elbows on his knees and staring quietly at the surf as it lapped up onto the sand.

He was below the tide-line. He knew that if he turned, he'd see dry sand free of tangled seaweed and shells. Maybe a forest - the air smelled of pine, sharp and clean. But he knew he'd see cameras, nestled in the quiet branches, and students, guns, blood.

Erik wrapped his hands around his knees, pack sitting it his feet. The wind whipped his hair, sparking tiny moments of pain as it caught in the collar sitting just above his collarbone. He stared resolutely at the ocean, eyes following the motion of the cormorants as they wheeled and dove.

Somewhere behind him, above the tide-line, was Survival of the Fittest. Somewhere above him, there were cameras, guns, students, blood. Somewhere above him, there was death.

But down here - down here, there was just the water.

And the birds.


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}

phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}

(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
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Come & See · The Beach: North