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Milk of Human Kindness; Open
Topic Started: Sep 21 2010, 03:49 PM (3,825 Views)
MurderWeasel
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((Isaiah Garvey continued from Reconstitution))

The announcements had hit Isaiah hard. He wasn't sure what he had been expecting, but it wasn't nineteen dead. Wasn't a large list of killers. He had gone through them, trying to match names to faces in his mind. Most often, he couldn't. Alex Rasputin he knew of, of course. Janet Binachi, too. Isaiah had always paid attention to his fellow runners, though he did not compete in their specific areas, being more of a sprinter. Rob Jenkins, another killer, played basketball, and was excellent at it.

The first shocker, and one of the earlier ones announced, was Clio Gabriella's murder of Chris Davidson. Both of them were Christians. Sure, they weren't from Isaiah's circles, but it shook him deeply to think that his fellows could have turned on each other so soon, like a pack of jackals. He had never put much stock in GODspeed, Clio's Christian club, viewing it as too much of an establishment sort of thing. The members were the sort who went to church to fit in, or because their buddies did, or because their parents told them to. Most of them didn't seem to have much faith, at least, not of the sort he prized. He had still expected more of them. Expected them to at least try to hold true to their espoused values.

But what really threw Isaiah for a loop was the announcement of the death of Brent Shanahan at the hands of Staffan Kronwall. Brent had been one of Isaiah's baseball teammates. Not his best buddy of all time, by any means, but a presence in his life nonetheless. And Staffan... everyone in Bayview knew Staffan Kronwall. For him to have done something like this was nearly unbelievable. Isaiah gave a wordless prayer, for their souls, and those of all the others on the announcement, the killers and the killed.

Of course, there was that niggling voice in the back of his head. The one which repeated Exodus 20:13, again and again. Thou shalt not kill. Surely among the most famous phrases in the Bible. A dozen of his classmates had broken that commandment. Part of him screamed that they deserved to be punished.

But he was able to quash that with the realization that, if they deserved punishment, it would find them, in this life or the next. It was not his mandate to enforce God's justice. To think that was arrogance of the highest order. Thou shalt not kill did not include exception clauses making the slaying of killers alright, or justifying revenge.

So he had wandered, lost in thought, searching for somebody else, for something to do. Originally he had headed for the parish, not consciously realizing it, but upon seeing that building in the distance, he had changed his course. It would simply be seeking a place of comfort, shirking his real duty. The sun had come up more fully, and now, having ambled aimlessly, he was at a beach. Sand stretched out to the distance, and the sea as well.

There were forms down the beach from him. One moving. Another on the ground, a little ways away. He picked up his pace. Nothing violent seemed to be going on, but he couldn't be sure, and he couldn't let anyone get killed while he watched. The metal bar swung from his hand in a loose grip. He wouldn't be killing, but beating someone off a victim was surely justified, right? He'd just have to aim well, make sure he didn't do worse than break an arm. No blows to the head. No risking lives.

But it wouldn't be necessary. The moving one shouted out. Then he tripped over the fallen form. He didn't seem to be attacking, though, so Isaiah slowed again. The figure who had tripped moved towards the sea, to another still form, one Isaiah hadn't seen before. The figure hoisted this new form up, shook it, spoke to it, though Isaiah could not make out the words. It took him a little while to figure out what had happened. When it came, though, it was one of the worst moments of his life. The figures on the ground had to be dead. Had to be. He sped up again, pausing fifteen feet away as the living boy turned and spoke to the air. Isaiah glance that direction, and could see nothing, nothing except the first figure, the corpse of a rotund boy, his head blown off. The other corpse was in comparatively excellent condition, his blond hair shining in the sun.

It was just too much. There was no biblical quote for this situation, no magic words to make things alright.

Isaiah stood in silence. The bar dropped from his grasp, to land quietly in the sand.
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MurderWeasel
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The boy was talking to the air. Perhaps descending into madness. Or, maybe just questioning the reality before him, maybe wondering who had killed these people, wondering whether they could really be dead. His statements were ambiguous. Isaiah found himself simply staring. Not a clue what to do. And then the guy was talking to him. His statements sounded... off somehow. Like he wasn't sure what to do either. Just the two of them, two kids dealing with something they never should have been forced to.

Why?

Didn't matter. There had to be a purpose. And Isaiah's own purpose on the beach soon became clear, as the other boy asked for help digging a grave. It was notable that he spoke of burial in the singular. Like he was just going to leave the fat guy to rot. So, he had probably cared about this blond guy. They'd probably been friends. Well, that was fine. They'd bury him first. Then, if the guy wanted to leave, that was his prerogative. Isaiah would dig the other grave alone. How challenging could it be? The sand was loose. He knew he couldn't be burying every body on this island, of course, but here doing so would help someone. That made it worthwhile.

"Yeah," he said, dropping his pack to the sand. "I think it's a very good idea."

Isaiah walked closer to the body. He was vaguely interested in the fact that he could not detect any odor from it. Either the salty sea air was overpowering it, or this murder hadn't happened long ago. For just a second, he considered dropping everything, grabbing his bar and tearing off after any footprints he could find, but that would not be productive, would not be a good action. So, instead, he began to shovel the sand, cupping his hands. The grains quickly built up under his fingernails, well-trimmed though they were. It was annoying, but not enough to slow him down.

Of course, his progress wasn't particularly quick. Lacking experience with sand, he was unable to keep large amounts from spilling back into his slowly-developing hole. This was not going to be a fine place of interment. He wished he could do better. They deserved it. But wishes wouldn't change reality, and he had to make do.
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As he worked, struggling with the unwieldy sand, Isaiah found his mind wandering, found himself trying to puzzle out what had gone down here. It was a simple mental exercise, something to keep his attention diverted from what he was actually doing, since the guy helping him didn't exactly seem interested in making conversation. He couldn't blame his companion. Dealing with the dead was awkward in a way Isaiah never could have imagined. It seemed so wrong to even consider levity, but forced solemnity would be insincere. Really, all he felt was sad. Sad that these two boys, for whatever reason, had lost their lives on this beach.

He just had to hope they were in a better place now. Given Bayview's populace, the odds were somewhat against it, though. He frowned for a moment. That didn't seem very fair. No questioning. Keep digging.

Some time later—he wasn't sure how long, though the hole had definitely gotten notably deeper—he was startled by a voice. Glancing up, he saw a giant of a boy, someone his digging partner quickly identified as Adrian. This Adrian immediately put Isaiah on edge, made him nervous. He wasn't a huge fan of the school's Caucasian population. He always felt a bit like they were judging him, sizing him up or viewing him as some sort of curiosity. After all, Bayview's minority population was not that notable. Sure, not everyone gave him that feeling. He had buddies on the baseball team who were different. Adrian, though, was a whole new world of menace, one whose presence was quite distracting. Isaiah wasn't exactly a shrimp, but he could see that he was nearly a head shorter than this newcomer.

So his digging buddy's jaunty response was not the best thing in the world. It seemed totally inappropriate for the situation, and potentially quite inflammatory, if Adrian had known the dead boy. Dougal. Isaiah now knew he had been called Dougal. Wait. There hadn't been a Dougal in the announcements, had there? That meant it was still going. No reprieve from the killing. Would it stay that way? Would the deaths continue at this frantic pace? How long would it be until someone caught up with Isaiah, killed him, too?

Before he could consider that thought for too long, another boy came down the beach, also asking what they were doing, also offering help. It renewed his faith in humanity that they could instantly find assistance, even while working on such a macabre task as digging graves for their classmates. The new arrival also shook him out of his worry over Adrian. They were his classmates, not his enemies. He was being stupid, practicing the very wrongs that annoyed him so much. Adrian would be fine.

"We're burying some people," Isaiah called to the newcomers. "We've got Dougal. If you two wanna help, wanna get"—he didn't know the other corpse's name, he realized, and paused for half a second, before finishing—"him, that'd be great. But you don't have to. We just figure it's good, you know, pay some respect to the souls of the dead?"

Good. Hopefully they would help. Hopefully they would get these two some peace. No, the bodies would be buried, even if Isaiah had to dig the second grave on his own. He wouldn't always have time for it, but since he did at the moment, leaving them to rot would be inexcusable.

He turned back to the grave, to his digging, keeping his eyes off the bodies as much as possible.
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The two newcomers set to work on the graves. Isaiah was pleased. He hadn't been expecting help at all, really, even with the offer. It was good to see that other people were still holding on to some of the trappings of civility. The two of them (and he recognized the second now, too: Andrew, a fellow sprinter) began working on their hole, leaving Isaiah and the first guy to bury Dougal. Only, the guy starting talking to Dougal, all of a sudden. He was acting like his friend was still alive. Isaiah shot him a concerned look.

Then the boy took off, still talking to Dougal. Talking about getting food. Food? Who could eat at a time like this? And didn't they all have food in their bags?

"Hey, hang on," Isaiah called, but he was too late. The guy was already long gone. He stared off into the distance for a second, wondering if it was worth chasing the other student down. Isiah was a good sprinter. He could definitely catch the other guy, but he felt like he shouldn't. Better not to interfere in his grieving. He'd just have to trust the guy to be safe.

Lord, please watch over him and keep him from harm.

Then he went back to digging. The hole was pretty deep, and he had a head start, so he hoped he'd be able to get done around the same time as Andrew and Adrian.

Things were progressing smoothly, when he realized that another guy had come in somewhere in there, and dropped to the ground. Isaiah frowned, pulling himself out of the hole. It was actually starting to look close to ready. Adrian called out to the guy, seeing if he was hurt. Isaiah walked over to him, trying to figure out what was wrong. It could be a trap, true, but he doubted it. There were too many people gathered here. Treachery would be foolish.

Which meant this boy, who he thought he recognized as Kyle or Kevin or Connor or something like that, needed help.
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MurderWeasel
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The day passed, and the night. Isaiah dug.

First, he completed the grave. However, by then it was evening, and the tide had come in. He knew tides. He should have expected it. This did nothing to change the fact that the grave was too close to the sea, that water was trickling over the edges and eroding the rim. So he moved it, and Dougal too. He moved further inland, past the high water mark, and he made a new one.

Somewhere before all of this, he had checked the collapsed guy, found him drunk. Luckily, he too was above the high tide line.

Isaiah found himself slightly less inclined to help the fellow. Drunk, at a time like this? He knew the need to escape pressure. Knew the ease of finding solace in alcohol. Knew the folly of the solution, in the long run. But, how could he judge?

Muttered, under his breath: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1."

It made him feel better. The phrase was open to interpretation, serving as both a mild condemnation of the drunk boy's behavior (for, if there was ever a time not to be drunk, it was now), and also an admission of his own possibility of error (for, if there was a time to every purpose, there was surely a time to drink one's way into oblivion to escape impending doom). Either way, it provided something to ponder as he dug.

And so, now, as the rays of dawn shone down from above, as the boy woke from his stupor and began to speak, as Isaiah pushed the last of the sand over the body he had ensconced in the dirt, he found himself still pondering. Pondering the broader implications of their situation, the meaning of it all. It wasn't helping. All he could see was that he still had something to do. Maybe not a divine mandate, but a purpose nonetheless, a reason to keep going.

It wasn't to babysit some pasty moron who'd gotten drunk and now had a headache.

And so, it was time to move on. Time to find someone who truly could use his help. Adrian, Andrew, and the other guy could take care of themselves. The same could not be said for everyone. He wished his companions of the past day the best, as sincerely as he could. He just couldn't stay.

Isaiah stood, stretching. He was stiff. Drunk guy explained that he was Kevin, that he'd seen a killing. Bad news, that. It added a sense of urgency. A sense that Isaiah couldn't waste any more time. How to explain, though? How to convey the message without coming across as a jerk, without insulting these people? But then, if they were insulted, that was their problem. He meant no offense. He simply had more important things to do.

"Isaiah Garvey," he said in response, with a nod. Glancing to Andrew and Adrian, he added, "Thanks for your help. I'm sure they'll rest easier.

"Unfortunately, I need to get moving. There's a lot of people out there who could use a hand. Keep safe. God bless."

A smile. He adjusted his hat, hoisted his bag. The guy who'd left so long ago wasn't back yet. That was the way he'd go, then. He'd assumed the boy had just needed space, just needed to grieve, but it had been hours now, so he couldn't be sure. Yes. Start there, then keep moving. Do the best possible in the time remaining. Defend those who need it.

He looked around, suddenly remembering the metal bar he'd taken back at the cell tower. It was gone, vanished beneath the sands over a day's tide, lost with the remnants of the first grave he'd dug. Somehow, he didn't mind.

He didn't need a weapon anyways.

A wave, and Isaiah was off.

((Isaiah Garvey continued Late Dawns and Early Sunsets))

((Breaking post order and moving Isaiah out to avoid inactivity and keep chronology nice and sensible))
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