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I Got a Hand, So I Got a Fist; So I got a plan, it's the best that I can do [Oneshot]
Topic Started: Oct 24 2010, 01:49 PM (425 Views)
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
(Julian Avery continued from No Turning Back)


Look, look right there and you- yes, you can see Scott McGregor if you squint hard enough. Tilt your head a little to the left, focus your eyes right there, and yes, you should be able to see him. See, that's the pool of dark lazy blood trickling out all slow and serene? And that's his arm, you can see him reaching his arm out for his hat, and does he manage to grab hold of it before the bullet makes its one last tug at his heartbeat and he's gone? Can't really tell, can you? Maybe if you get a better vantage point... hmm. No matter. The more important question is how he got there in the first place. We'll answer that later. Because first:

Look, right over there and- yes, you recognize her, don't you. That's Claire Lambert right there, curled up and bracing her legs so tightly against her body like- like there's something wrong, is there something wrong? Is she crying? Can't tell. Can't see her face because she's hiding it, she's buried it and she won't let anyone see. But something's definitely wrong. It's dark. She's cold. She's afraid. She's alone. Nobody is there, nobody finds her, the sun rises and the sun sets and the scene never changes and she's so alone so alone. How did that happen to her? She seemed so happy and hopeful just a day ago, so how did that happen? There is a boy who knows how:

Look, it's Julian Avery. He has the answer. And it must be a very frightening answer because he just keeps on running and keeps on running and by God he just looks like he's so exhausted, like he could collapse at any moment, like- why yes, there he goes right as we speak, knees and palms digging into soft mud with the best approximation of fury he can manage right now. So what's the answer? Listen closely because he's whispering it over and over again, it's a pretty simple answer, it's just the two words he keeps on repeating, it's just that:

I failed.

He is dead. She is alone. Because Julian failed. Julian can count up his great big mistakes- one, two, and the biggest of all makes three. The biggest of all was what he'd been calling himself this whole time. No, not a secret agent. Not a samurai either. No, those ones didn't matter. No, no, this would be messiah. The main difference being that he'd actually believed this one. He'd actually believed that about himself, that he could call himself a messiah with a straight face, hadn't he. Hadn't you? Why, yes.

Listen to that word for one last time. Messiah. It is the last time you will hear it. It is the last time Julian will use it. Or even think it. Don't bother listening for it in the future. It won't be there.

Julian, right now, is sitting in a bare room on the second floor of an empty house, alone with his revelations. Window open, gentle breeze poking its head in every so often. Bed frame standing guard at the door, ready to throw its weight against anyone who might try to invade this little sanctuary. Julian and his bed and his revelations are listening closely for the sound of a door opening downstairs. Creaking and footsteps mean a danger, mean an enemy. They mean terror. They mean Julian will jump out the window- this is the second story but Julian is brave enough to do it anyway- and run away.

Raidon Naoko had actually taught Julian a very important lesson, hadn't he. It goes like this: Everything you've been doing has been for nothing. Raidon was a timid sort of boy who spoke only in gunshots, but the words were just as clear as any others. All for nothing. Well. That's a little depressing, isn't it. So let's qualify it first. It was, and is, and will always be a noble enough pursuit to try and spread a bit of happiness around. And to make people not shoot at each other, at least for a little while.

So there's the concession to optimism, nice and out of the way. Now we can get to the worst part of all: If Julian had succeeded at every turn? It would still have been for nothing. Because the island is so big. And it will kill, and it will break hearts, and it will turn boys and girls into things much worse, no matter how many victories Julian wins. Look, look right there, there's Remi Pierce. And next to him is Dallas Reynolds. And next to him is Warren Brown, is Eric Lorenz, is Reika Ishida, is Chris Davidson, is

It goes on like that. For a long time.

The silver lining here is that Julian can stop beating himself up over failing. He doesn't need to let Scott's death or Claire's abandonment break him in two. So he can lay that to rest. But beating himself up over dedicating his time to such a useless and delusional pursuit, one ultimately linked to an incredibly arrogant and blatantly false self-image? Why, yes. He can certainly continue doing that.

So this begs a question. Julian had been sauntering around with the wrong idea in his head this whole time, right? Then go on, ask the question. So what is the right idea? Good. Now can you say the answer? No, I don't think so. Not yet. That is fine. It might take some time. It is a pretty frightening answer, so you can take your time.

Maybe until the sun comes up again. Maybe until Mr. Danya makes his announcements again. Yes. Julian will give the island one last chance. He will listen carefully to all the names, and maybe, just maybe, the island will prove him wrong. Julian would quite like that. The answer, to be honest, it scares the fuck out of him, so he'd quite like that. So he's begging, he's begging that when the announcements start blaring through the speakers, they'll prove him wrong. So keep begging and keep praying and keep hoping.

And fall asleep.

And wake up.

And write down all the names, one by one, in these neat little columns. Scratch down another set of tally marks next to that one girl's name, give that one boy his second, give that new boy two. Keep writing, keep paying attention, be absolutely absolutely sure you don't miss anything. And then the announcement ends. Julian sits with his list in front of him. His eyes dart from the one column to the other, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. He wants the names to scream out a reassurance to him, to give him a little bit of comfort, to tell him that it's maybe okay to shy away from all this. But the words stay silent. None of them prove Julian wrong.

Nobody is killing the killers. Not a single one is dead.

Which finally brings us to the answer. No use at all to delay it any further. Someone has to kill these people. What, is that too ambiguous? Very well. Julian has to kill these people. Because nobody else is doing it. And nobody will. They must all look so fucking invincible right now, the killers, so nobody wants to lift a hand against them.

And the peaceful ones, they ones who stay human, they will all be dust and bones by the time the killers have finished determining who amongst them is the very best at murdering anybody they see. And the very best killer gets to go home. And we call it a happy ending, don't we, if the very best killer happens to be a little bit sad about how great he was at killing ten, eleven, twelve boys and girls.

Julian has to kill these people.

Nobody who has taken a life gets to leave this island. There, that has a nice sound to it. Like a mantra. Sounds a little less nice once Julian finishes adding qualifications to it. The main one: the winner has to kill someone, else they'll just get thrown back on the island. So the winner is allowed to kill exactly one person. Preferably the second-last person.

And then... what else? Does Julian let people kill in self-defense? Maybe. If someone's gone and chopped up a dozen classmates in noble self-defense, maybe they deserve a little more than a slap on the wrist. But if it's one kill, if it's for a good reason... maybe Julian lets them go. But he does not forget them.

And now the reasons to shy away from this assemble themselves. They know they only have one chance to get Julian to back down from this crazy suicidal bloodthirsty idea, so they count to three and launch themselves at Julian all at once. It'll put him in dangerous and deadly situations, what with the “actively seeking out killers” business! I don't mind. It'll make his name show up on the announcements, and in all likelihood Danya will twist his actions so that everyone will think he's a vicious sadist! I don't mind. It'll mean, by the rules of Julian's own stupid fucking mantra, that he'll never get off the island alive!

A pause.

I don't mind.

That's great. Though if we can backtrack, Julian actually spoke too soon about the second point. The idea that even if he cradles his victims in his arms and sings them lullabies as they die peacefully and painlessly, Danya will convince everyone else on this island that Julian is worse than the people he kills. It's less that Julian doesn't mind this idea, and more that he actively welcomes it.

A pacifist, a friendly and compassionate sort, the kind of person that Julian is trying to protect? If they see Julian and they know about his murderous reputation, they'll run for their own safety. Which is great. Because that means they won't be in harm's way when Julian starts raining down violence on the wicked. And a protector, a player-hunter, the kind of person Julian is trying to be? If they hear about Julian's body count, they'll try to hunt him down. Which is great. Because that means Julian can convince them of his true intentions and recruit some soldiers to his cause.

Call me whatever you want, Danya. It will only make me stronger.

And Julian will get stronger. He will chase those objections further and further away from his mind, he will gain greater resolve and more terrifying weaponry with each villain he kills, he will rally an army under his banner and wipe the killers out. This has been his manifesto. This has been his call to arms. This has been his rebi-

No. No. You are not about to call this a rebirth. You are not about to couch all of this in that level of self-aggrandizing bullshit. You are not about to pat yourself on the back for realizing something that you should have realized two days ago. You will not praise yourself for anything you do on this island, and you will accept no praise if it is given to you.

Julian got to his feet and started dragging the bed frame away from its guard post. It had performed its duty admirably, but now it was time for Julian to leave. Stuff the pen and paper into the daypack, sling it over his left shoulder and keep his sword held high in his right hand, open the door and step out of the room.

And in that moment, Julian knew that if he heard creaking, if he heard footsteps, he would not run away.

(Julian Avery continued in Walk Away)
Edited by Jonny, Nov 24 2010, 03:18 PM.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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