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Your Cross to Bear; Open thread
Topic Started: Sep 24 2010, 01:02 AM (4,331 Views)
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
(Imraan Al-Hariq continued from Wants and Needs)

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Imraan wished he'd brought along a bible. It might have helped. But of course, he was never one of those "carry a bible around" sort of Christian. All he had was a day planner with some supposedly inspirational quotes, and he didn't feel like those cliched sentences were profound enough given the situation. So he just had his memory to fall back on, and since it wasn't like he had the whole Bible memorized, he was stuck with the most famous passages for now.

"Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted."


He was at a place of mourning, all right. This was a place of death. There were bloodstains on the ground, leading to the cliff's edge along a trail of trampled grass. It wouldn't have taken David Caruso long to figure out what had happened here. Imraan wondered who the victim had been, but looking over the edge only afforded him a view of the rocky seas and a sudden sense of vertigo. Had they been someone from the last announcement, or had this happened today? The blood looked pretty fresh to Imraan, but what did he know? He was no David Caruso, and this wasn't CSI: Murder Island. The sea could have told him, but it just stared back indifferently. The sea wasn't talking.

He crouched down at the edge of the cliff and whispered a prayer for whoever was lying beneath the waves below, but the words felt phony on his lips, given that he didn't know who he was praying for. Imraan said it anyway. If nothing else, maybe it'd make him feel better. Help him figure out where to go from here.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

The earth, maybe. This island? No way.

He hoped that Edward Belmont was making out OK. Edward had turned back to the other kids at the truck on the road, and Imraan had hoped to meet him going southward, but in that freaking forest of stumps he'd gotten turned around and ended up going in the wrong direction. And he hadn't even figured that out until it was nearly night, and by then any hope of finding Edward or anyone else who was thinking clearly out of the group was long gone.

So he'd spent an uncomfortable night in one of few clusters of trees still standing in the area, dozing on and off and being woken up, coughing and shivering, by the morning announcements.

And after they were through, he was briefly glad that he wasn't around Edward or anybody else.

"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

The class had given in, all right. Nineteen deaths.

Dallas Reynolds. Chris Davidson. Reika Ishida. Brent Shanahan. NINETEEN DEATHS.

Clio. GODSpeed member. A killer twice over.

Rob. Rob Jenkins had killed someone. Paige Strand, of all people. Had to be a mistake, or an accident, or someone. Rob had his temper, but he was not a murderer. And that son of a bitch had called Rob a Nazi. He was NOT a goddamn Nazi.

And Tony Russo was dead. The Bayview Senior Basketball team was officially done.

After he'd heard the announcement, Imraan had sat there for who knows how long, trying to control himself. His hands clenched and unclenched themselves, and finally he'd just grabbed a nearby stick and beaten it against the trees, cursing, throwing a tantrum and not caring one bit.

He'd hungered and thirsted for righteousness, all right. But he wanted more than just righteousness. After hearing the announcement, he wanted revenge.

What was the next one, again? Oh, right.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall see mercy."

Merciful. Mercy.

Those revenge thoughts were all natural, of course. Heck, they were more than natural, they were expected. Just as long as he stayed in control, just as long as he remembered stuff like that, he'd be fine.

Imraan had told himself that over and over again as he arrived at the most northern part of the island, and now, remembering the bloodstains on the ground and the body at the bottom of the cliffs, he repeated it again for good measure. He had a job to do here, several jobs to do actually, and he needed to do them to the best of his ability. He needed to do the right things. That meant following through on his idea to get a signal out, and then find as many people as he could. Not think about revenge. Not lose his cool.

He had chosen his path. He had CHOSEN his path, and he would stay on it. And as long as he did that, he would do well. No matter what happened at the end.

"Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God."

Before he started with the logs, Imraan searched through his pack and found a black marker. He uncapped it and drew two crosses, on on the back of each hand. Just as a reminder. Then he turned back to the edge of the forest and grabbed a suitable log, dragging it into the clearing.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."

The work would be slow, but he'd get it done. It might lead to nothing. After all, making a big SOS sign out of logs and hoping for rescue might not be the most proactive plan out there, but it was all he could think of. And it was better than nothing. Even if no planes came by, even if no one saw it, it was a sign that he had NOT given in, that he would not give in to his baser instincts. He would make this thing, with or without help, and then he'd move again, trying to find people. Who knows, maybe Edward had managed to keep that group together and was getting a signal out right at this moment? Imraan would look for him, just like he'd look for the rest of GODSpeed, and the team, and Kaitlin, and his other classmates. And Jessie.

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

And Rob. And even Clio. He would NOT fail them. Even if they had given in. Even if they had killed, he would keep his faith, he would NOT stoop to that level, even if it meant his death.

He dropped the first log, then went back and grabbed a second one, glad to have something to do, to put his energy towards something other than smashing the heck out of trucks and trees. The anger was natural. The anger was expected. He just needed to keep himself together.
v6!
G058: Kaitlyn Greene aka Katy Buried - Horse Tranquilizer and Syringe
She Knew She'd Found Freedom - Questions - Fools - Barons - Opportunities - Sideshows - Dawns - Gulches

v5!
G038: Deanna Hull - Replica Freddy Glove - DECEASED
From Sea to Sky -Smoke--Sun--Tiki--Nine--Repeat--Talk--Now--Drift--Hunger--Valley--Fall--Rust--Paper--Heart--Sky-
B023: Jesse Jennings - Riz Action Figure - DECEASED
From Vision to Glory -Vision--Summon--Time--Plan--Length--Sleep--Cause-

v4!
B006: Ricky Fortino - Trowel - DECEASED
B022: Imraan Al-Hariq - Remington 870 - DECEASED
G036: Carly Jean Dooley - VASE D: - DECEASED
G077: Andrea Raymer - Gunpowder - ?????
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
"Huh?"

Imraan set the log he'd been dragging down on the ground, and looked up. He was breathing hard, sweating, and hadn't noticed that Cody Jenkins had arrived. And then Cody had decided to tell him how useless his project was.

Sure, Imraan welcomed the arrival of Cody Jenkins to the area. Notsomuch because he was really hoping to run into Cody Jenkins of all people here, he barely knew the guy, but just because he figured he had to be happy about meeting anyone who wasn't, well who wasn't going to try to kill him. But that didn't mean he had to appreciate the guy's comments on the situation at hand. The guy didn't have to be an optimist about this whole thing, but just what good was he doing by spouting off stupid stuff like that? What, was he supposed to just sit around and wait to die? Or even better, decide that hey, there's no hope here, might as well go kill people? That was EXACTLY the kind of mindset that lead to nineteen classmates dead!

Imraan was about to reply, but held it when Janet Claymont arrived on the scene. Janet was a cheerleader, and while they weren't exactly friends he liked her well enough. She asked about Chad's conspiracy theory. Great, all he needed was for everyone to start thinking that way and going further down this rabbit hole.

"Hey Janet. Uh.. well he is, I guess. I'm just trying to make a signal here."

An awkward moment of silence passed, before Imraan shook his head and sat down on one of the logs. He'd forgotten what he was originally going to say to Cody, but he had to say something.

"Cody."

He wiped his face with his shirt, buying a couple more seconds to pick his words.

"Honestly, maybe you're right. I don't even know enough about this whole thing to say if you're being crazy or not. But I mean, so what? I'm trying to be proactive here, I'm trying to do something. If you wanna help, that's great, and I think all our chances to survive are better as a group. You don't wanna help, well, that's your choice."

A shout indicated the arrival of another. Imraan was drawing a blank on his last name, but he recognized it as David, a guy who played baseball and maybe a couple other sports for the school. The guy was looking exhausted. Either he'd just crossed half the island to get here... or he'd seen something bad and it was shock masquerading as fatigue. Imraan waved him over.

"Hey. You uh, you wanna sit down?"
v6!
G058: Kaitlyn Greene aka Katy Buried - Horse Tranquilizer and Syringe
She Knew She'd Found Freedom - Questions - Fools - Barons - Opportunities - Sideshows - Dawns - Gulches

v5!
G038: Deanna Hull - Replica Freddy Glove - DECEASED
From Sea to Sky -Smoke--Sun--Tiki--Nine--Repeat--Talk--Now--Drift--Hunger--Valley--Fall--Rust--Paper--Heart--Sky-
B023: Jesse Jennings - Riz Action Figure - DECEASED
From Vision to Glory -Vision--Summon--Time--Plan--Length--Sleep--Cause-

v4!
B006: Ricky Fortino - Trowel - DECEASED
B022: Imraan Al-Hariq - Remington 870 - DECEASED
G036: Carly Jean Dooley - VASE D: - DECEASED
G077: Andrea Raymer - Gunpowder - ?????
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
When the announcement hit, Imraan was resting on his haunches at the edge of the cliff, staring out at the early morning sky. He'd moved off from the others a bit. Not too far, just far enough that he had some personal space. He knew the announcement would be coming soon.

They hadn't done a half-bad job on the sign, actually. It had taken longer than Imraan had originally hoped, but by the end of it he thought they'd gotten some kind of camaraderie down. He could have done without Cody's overall attitude about the thing, but hey, he'd helped, so Imraan didn't think he had much to complain about.

Of course, now that it was morning and he could see what they'd spent so much time on with the benefit of a night's rest and fresh eyes, it all seemed pretty pointless. Just what WERE the odds of a bunch of logs leading to their rescue, anyway? It wasn't exactly a revolutionary idea, and so far as Imraan knew it sure as heck hadn't worked any of the other times this had happened.

He glanced over at the others: Janet, Cody, David.

"Gets them doing something other than killing each other at least," he muttered to himself.

There was that. Not to mention that it kept all of them in one spot, and better protected in a group than any of them would be wandering around by themselves in the middle of the night.

Congratulations, you've managed to ensure that three whole people didn't get killed yesterday! How about the other 200?

Imraan looked down at the shotgun in his hands. Heh. How indeed. He'd gotten it loaded and figured out the basics of it, he thought; but until push came to shove he sure didn't have a clue if he'd be willing OR able to work it correctly.

The announcement rolled through the island, and after it was finished, Imraan spent a few seconds with his eyes closed, breathing deep. He thought he was doing OK. Better than the last time, at least.

Speaking of people he'd hoped to keep alive. Madeleine Smith had killed the Jarocki kid. Imraan remembered leaving her by the truck, hoping that she'd follow him and Edward, hoping that he could provide some protection to her. Guess she didn't need it. The announcement had pointed out that Jarocki was apparently shooting at her. So maybe she'd had no choice. He didn't know if that justified it, but it made him feel better, at least. If Jarocki wasn't able to attack anyone, the island was safer as a whole.

Rachel had killed Theo Behr. That... that just couldn't be right. Rachel was not the easiest person to get along with, Imraan knew that more than anyone. But she would NOT kill in cold blood. Maybe Theo had attacked her first, heck, maybe the whole thing was an accident and Danya was just passing it off as Rachel murdering him. Imraan didn't know much about this show, but he did know he would not, COULD NOT trust those announcements blindly. Besides, again it made him feel better to assume that.

Of course, Imraan wasn't stupid. He wasn't naive. He couldn't just tell himself that they'd all killed in self-defense, or that Danya was distorting the truth every single time. Reiko Ishida, she'd killed four people. FOUR PEOPLE. How could that be an accident? She'd killed Raina. Raina Morales, who was on the girls' team and who he'd shared a knowing smile with on more than one occasion over the heads of the other students. Raina, who despite being nearly as tall as he was, wouldn't hurt a fly. And... what, Reiko had kicked her head in? While she was sleeping or something? Maxwell Lombardi had strangled someone, and then shot someone else. Could there possibly be an explanation for THAT? Imraan didn't think so.

So those kids were out there. They were killing, and some of them had to be killing in cold blood. And he was up here, rolling logs around and reciting the Beatitudes.

Imraan shook his head again and stood up, feeling his kneecaps pop. Maybe this morning he'd figure out what to do next. Heck, maybe God would give him a sign. That brought a grin to his face, at least. God's days of burning bushes and telling you what to do were long past.

He walked back over to the others, holding his shotgun low. Another guy had come out of the trees, one of the faces that Imraan recognized from school but couldn't put a name too. The other kid held a gun, but he wasn't looking like he was about to use it. Still, Imraan didn't want to take any chances.

"Hey," he said. "You uh, you want to rest here for a bit?"

He shifted the shotgun to both hands, keeping it pointed away from the new guy and the others, but with his attention solely on them.
v6!
G058: Kaitlyn Greene aka Katy Buried - Horse Tranquilizer and Syringe
She Knew She'd Found Freedom - Questions - Fools - Barons - Opportunities - Sideshows - Dawns - Gulches

v5!
G038: Deanna Hull - Replica Freddy Glove - DECEASED
From Sea to Sky -Smoke--Sun--Tiki--Nine--Repeat--Talk--Now--Drift--Hunger--Valley--Fall--Rust--Paper--Heart--Sky-
B023: Jesse Jennings - Riz Action Figure - DECEASED
From Vision to Glory -Vision--Summon--Time--Plan--Length--Sleep--Cause-

v4!
B006: Ricky Fortino - Trowel - DECEASED
B022: Imraan Al-Hariq - Remington 870 - DECEASED
G036: Carly Jean Dooley - VASE D: - DECEASED
G077: Andrea Raymer - Gunpowder - ?????
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
"Wha-the?"

To say that Imraan had been unprepared for the shots being fired his way would have been a gross understatement. He hadn't expected it, he hadn't even *thought* about it, and if it had crossed his mind, he certainly wouldn't have expected the shots to come from the direction they had. All his attention had been focused on the new arrival to the area.

So when the loud, dry popping sounds suddenly came from behind him, he didn't have any chance to get out of the way, or react in any fashion at all. All he did was turn his body, wondering what the heck that noise was, when Cody Jenkins barreled into him.

"What the heck, man!"

If he'd been on the court, Imraan would have been able to hand a short, kinda fat kid running into him with ease. He was a bit on the skinny side for his height, but that was only because it took some time for body mass to catch up to length, and he was used to brushing aside people who wanted to knock him around. But he'd been completely caught off guard by whatever was going on, and instead of keeping his balance he stumbled backwards. Then his legs crashed against each other and he went down, dropping the shotgun and suddenly aware of something buzzing by his head.

He hit the ground and rolled away from Cody, grasping for the shotgun in the dirt a few feet away from him. All he could figure was that Cody was for some reason trying to get his gun, and he couldn't let that happen. He crawled a couple feet and grabbed the shotgun's stock, still dazed but expecting Cody to jump on top of him at any moment and go for the gun, mentally preparing himself for the fight that he thought was coming, and then he rolled over again and saw that Cody Jenkins wasn't going anywhere. He was lying in the dirt, either dead or dying.

For a second Imraan just stared at that, blinking, unbelieving. Then he realized what had happened, and he turned and saw Maxwell Lombardi off on the distance, jumping into the cover of the trees.

Maxwell Lombardi. Killer. He'd opened fire on them. No, scratch that. Maxwell had opened fire on HIM, and Cody had shoved him out of the way. And now Cody was dead, and Maxwell was off in those trees somewhere.

Now what? He wanted to say something, he wanted to THINK something, but somehow it was all going blank right now. He was taking huge gasps of air, filling his lungs, but he wasn't going to scream, or yell anything at the guy hiding in the woods.

Instead, he just began walking towards where he'd seen Maxwell disappear. He brought the shotgun up, and pulled the trigger. He wasn't quite prepared for the force of the weapon, and the blast stopped him for a moment, but that was all. He kept walking, ready to fire again.
v6!
G058: Kaitlyn Greene aka Katy Buried - Horse Tranquilizer and Syringe
She Knew She'd Found Freedom - Questions - Fools - Barons - Opportunities - Sideshows - Dawns - Gulches

v5!
G038: Deanna Hull - Replica Freddy Glove - DECEASED
From Sea to Sky -Smoke--Sun--Tiki--Nine--Repeat--Talk--Now--Drift--Hunger--Valley--Fall--Rust--Paper--Heart--Sky-
B023: Jesse Jennings - Riz Action Figure - DECEASED
From Vision to Glory -Vision--Summon--Time--Plan--Length--Sleep--Cause-

v4!
B006: Ricky Fortino - Trowel - DECEASED
B022: Imraan Al-Hariq - Remington 870 - DECEASED
G036: Carly Jean Dooley - VASE D: - DECEASED
G077: Andrea Raymer - Gunpowder - ?????
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Maxwell had disappeared into the trees even before Imraan had fired his first shot. He took a few more steps and raised his shotgun, ready to fire again even if there was nothing to fire at. But something, he wasn't even sure what it had been, had stopped him from pulling the trigger again.

He's gone, man. Forget it.

Imraan pulled back and looked at Cody's body again, then at the sign they'd spent a whole night building. Janet was still there, but the other kid that had arrived, the one with the gun, was not.

"Janet, did you see--"

Then there were more gunshots, from off in the direction Maxwell had gone. Imraan's head snapped up.

Oh God. Don't tell me, DON'T TELL ME he's done it again!

He grabbed his duffel bag off the ground, and turned to Janet.

"Janet... you shouldn't follow me. Go find other people. Just, just try to stay alive."

Then he rushed off in the direction of the shots.

------

The other kid was dead. Dead? That was too kind a word. His eyes were gone, that was all Imraan could really tell, and all he really wanted to know. The rest of his features were hidden beneath the blood.

Imraan crouched next to the body, keeping his eyes away from the kid's face. He hadn't even known this guy's name. He was just someone that Imraan recognized from school, and now he was the second person here who'd died because he hadn't reacted. He must have gone rushing after Maxwell when Imraan didn't, and then, well, Imraan didn't even know how it had ended up like this, but it had.

"So what am I supposed to do?" he muttered to One and no one in particular. He glanced down at the body again, and found he couldn't take those eye sockets anymore.

"Sorry about this, man." He reached under the body and flipped it over, leaving it lying facedown. That was better. Not much of an epitaph, though. He should at least know his name.

The kid's wallet was still in his pants pocket, and Imraan pulled it out with fingers that were feeling numb, then opened it. He pulled out a student card for Daniel Blessing, then closed the wallet and replaced it in Daniel's pocket. He didn't want to look at any pictures or mementos. Just a name was enough. He'd keep the card, and then he'd... he'd do what, exactly?

What was he supposed to do?

"WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO, HUH?!"

Imraan stood up, growling. His teeth were grinding together audibly. His body felt covered with cold sweat, and then he looked down at his hand and saw the cross he'd drawn on there. It was a reminder of what was supposed to be his strength. And he'd betrayed it. He hadn't been willing to stand behind what he'd believed, and now Cody Jenkins and Daniel Blessing were dead.

He had been scared. It was that simple. Too scared to get involved. Too scared to accept his fate, to stare it in the face. He'd told himself since the first day that he could handle this, for everyone else's sake, but hadn't that just been posturing? For all the strength he had told himself he had, what had he done? He'd ran. He'd ran away from the group on the road, rather than keeping them all together. He'd ran to the very edge of the island, and made a futile, useless SOS sign, pretending he was accomplishing something.

He was weak. Weak in faith. Weak in spirit. Weak in conviction. And weak in his actions. But not any more. From now on, he would face evil, and he would do battle with it.

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Imraan reloaded the shotgun and set off, after Maxwell Lombardi. Maxwell or any of the others he had heard from the announcements. Any of those who had preyed on others.

He would find them, and he would not be afraid of them. And then he would-- what? Would he just kill them, like he'd told himself a day ago he would never do?

No. He would stop them. That was the word. He would stop them from killing anyone else. Whatever it took.

(Imraan Al-Hariq continued in Keep Yourself Alive)
v6!
G058: Kaitlyn Greene aka Katy Buried - Horse Tranquilizer and Syringe
She Knew She'd Found Freedom - Questions - Fools - Barons - Opportunities - Sideshows - Dawns - Gulches

v5!
G038: Deanna Hull - Replica Freddy Glove - DECEASED
From Sea to Sky -Smoke--Sun--Tiki--Nine--Repeat--Talk--Now--Drift--Hunger--Valley--Fall--Rust--Paper--Heart--Sky-
B023: Jesse Jennings - Riz Action Figure - DECEASED
From Vision to Glory -Vision--Summon--Time--Plan--Length--Sleep--Cause-

v4!
B006: Ricky Fortino - Trowel - DECEASED
B022: Imraan Al-Hariq - Remington 870 - DECEASED
G036: Carly Jean Dooley - VASE D: - DECEASED
G077: Andrea Raymer - Gunpowder - ?????
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