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Your Cross to Bear; Open thread
Topic Started: Sep 24 2010, 01:02 AM (4,455 Views)
Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(David Meramac continued from Bump in the Night)

David Meramac did not stop to rest; he collapsed.

He had run, barely stopping to drink water; he had run until his vision had gone hazy around the edges, until he had slowed from a trot to a jog, from a jog to a walk, and from a walk to a crawl. He had kept moving, one foot in front o the other, lips trembling, eyes burning. People were fighting and dying--as he'd passed near the church, he'd heard an explosion, he'd heard yelling elsewhere, heard gunshots.

He was trying very hard not to think, but Alan Rickhall kept coming to him; mad Rickhall, babbling that he would pray for David.

Finally, late into the night, David's muscles gave out on him. Finally, late into the night, David collapsed against a convenient tree with no thought to his own safety and plunged into merciful oblivion--an oblivion that lasted right up until 6 a.m.

He had decided that he would never ever forget the voice of Danya--that it had become impossible. The sight of blood flying from teachers he'd known for four years had been emblazoned in his mind; Danya and killing had become permanently intertwined in his mind.

"Kids, I have to say that I'm truly impressed with your first day showing."

The names came, one after another--names of murderers and their victims, names of those who'd died by their own hand and those who'd died for their own carelessness.

Deaths. Nineteen deaths.

David rose shakily to his feet, staggering away as Danya spoke, trying not think. He couldn't believe that names he recognized--peopled he knew--were no longer counted among the living. His schoolmates. People who he'd seen, knowingly or unknowingly, for years.

It was a tremendous effort to move; his legs burned, as did his throat, and without thinking he reached into his bag and pulled a long swig of water. The dull throbbing echoes of his foolish exertions chained him in place, stopped him from running farther.

He didn't want to die. And he especially didn't want to think about dying.

The Announcements fell silent, and dawn began to break. He went a little farther, focusing on his pain and trying not to think of those he knew, to picture the faces of the deceased. Trying, above all else, not to imagine the piercing blows of gunshots, the edges of blades, the scorching heat of explosions raking at his skin...

Trudging dully, he stumbled upon three people. He recognized two of them--Imraan, massive as he was, was pretty hard not to know, and he and Janet had crossed paths once or twice. Imraan was standing near some fallen logs, the significance of which David didn't immediately understand.

"Hey," David said dully, his fear momentarily diluted by his sheer physical weariness.
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Grim Wolf
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(Similarly avoiding inactivity)

"Sit," David repeated dully. He stared at Imraan for a moment and then turned his gaze back towards Janet. "Fine," he said. "I'm fine. I just..." He trailed off and, sighing, sunk onto the ground. "Tired," he managed. He arranged himself carefully so as not to disturb Imraan's logs (the significance of which he had still failed to grasp). "That's all."

He crossed his legs and looked around him blankly. "I...sorry," he said softly. "I just don't...I don't want to be alone." That was all; he closed his eyes and his head sunk forwards a little.

These people might be dangerous, but David was beyond caring. Half in a daze, he pulled his bottle of water to his lips and took another sip.
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Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Sitting around the fire as night fell around them, David began to feel a little less crazy.

Not entirely recovered, of course--that would be insane. David had only briefly recovered from his fear yesterday, and in running he'd found a way both to stay alive, feel safe, and remind himself why he liked to live. The groaning and grinding of muscles pushed to their extremes, the feeling of air forced into your lungs by breathing, lifting your body up, refreshing it, the pounding of the heart and temples, each deep, resounding beat a gentle reminder that yes, you are still alive and yes, you are working and yes, your are a goddamn engine of movement and power and raw, untouched life.

He liked these others--Jenkins was a little bit standoffish but he wasn't mean, and Janet and Imraan were simply nice. He'd found it in him to help Imraan with his little project (get picked up from the air? Made sense to David), and then was able to sit in front of the fire. It was nice to no longer be running, nice to not have this wild panic forcing him to flee from anyone and anything he saw.

He looked down at his shirt.

It was the one he'd bought from SMBC--the one with the picture of the two men mounted on blindfolded bears hitting a lit stick of dynamite over a volleyball net, tennis rackets in hand. "The Most Dangerous Game."

There was a metaphor here somewhere, but David had never been too good at English and was in no mood to think about it.

"Hey..." someone gasped.

David looked up. There was a boy standing at the edge of the trees, a boy David didn't recognize. The relief was evident in his face, and David offered him a smile. He'd felt precisely the same way when he'd found these people--felt it even more now, in fact. These were good people, people who wouldn't kill, people who liked life just as much as he did.

They had to survive. They absolutely had to survive. David refused to consider any other alternative.

"Hey," he replied to Daniel, as soon as Imraan had finished speaking. "You should stick around." He jerked his head to encompass the whole group around the circle. "These, uh...these are good people."

And then Cody was running, fire axe extended, and the air was filled with the deafening cacophany of gunfire.

David wasn't complex enough to have regrets right now. David wasn't complex enough to really dwell on whether or not these were good people, whether they could have been friends, whether it was cowardly to run or not. All David could think was JESUS and then he was on his feet and running, ripping off in the opposite direction, not even pausing to scream.

He left them behind him. Cody, who he'd seen fall. Daniel, Imraan, Janet, whose fates he didn't know. And the boy standing in the trees, gun out and smiling.

There were evil people on this island, and David wasn't sure he was worth anything in the face of someone who could look like that while gunning down his classmates. All David knew, through the melancholy twinge that hit him as he thought of those he'd just left behind, was that he didn't want to die.

He had to survive. He absolutely had to survive. He refused to consider any other alternative.

(David Meramac continued in Fountain of Youth)
Edited by Grim Wolf, Oct 27 2010, 12:08 AM.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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