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A Moment Remembered; A strong boy dies, a weak girl lives. Fair Trade. PM for entry
Topic Started: Nov 13 2010, 10:09 AM (1,918 Views)
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[ *  *  * ]
(Alice Boucher continued from Heartbeat Symphony)

Alice huffed up the mountain, holding the gun in a sweating palm. Cock the gun. Shoot her. Cock the gun.

But no. She wanted to catch up with Sarah. She wanted to be with Sarah. Be safe. Have people fear to come near her, because she was with a killer--if Alice Boucher had been alone, who knows what those boys on the cliff would have done--

But was Sarah going lucid? Her running was lopsided. She seemed spacey. What if she went lucid? She would become less dangerous--Alice would be free. But then Alice would be alone. Sarah wouldn't trust her. Killer. And those boys on the cliff might come back, try and kill her, because she had killed Brock, and she didn't look very dangerous alone, with her loafers and her skirt and her prim hairband…

Augh!

Alice could see who Sarah was following now. A boy? A boy. Chris Carlson. Alice didn't like Chris Carlson. He was egotistical and argumentative. A perfect American. The sort of person who would be the-boy-you-love-to-hate on a TV show like this. Either die early or become a hero later on.

Well, if Sarah had her way, "die early" it would be. Alice told herself she didn't mind. He was always an asshole anyway.

Chris Carlson

Something was niggling at the back of her mind about that name. A memory. She could taste the memory. Something was wrong here…

No. She needed to concentrate. Keep walking. Catch up to Sarah. Be her assistant. Make sure everything was okay.

If I'm with her, all I have to fear is her. Then I'm fine.

As fine as one was on the island anyway. As in, assistant to a psycho-killer.

Life is strange. I'll be adaptable.

Still, hurrying with the gun in her hand, something bugged her about the boy.
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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[ *  *  * ]
No. No. No no nonononono!

Sarah had grabbed the gun out of her hand. For all the talk of how guns were so 2005, she needed one now, apparently, because there was some intruder. Some intruder throwing expensive rocks.

She had eaten up Alice's lie about onlookers, the price being now that she assumed anyone throwing rocks was sabotaging her set. Alice spent too long a time wondering if there was a way to convince Sarah that (because they were, after all, on a set) the "onlookers" were the sort of people you were supposed to chase away and threaten to sue, not shoot.

After all, she thought the 'actors' were wearing prosthetics.

And then she thought of Brock, and her stomach twisted again, and she realized she had been thinking too long. Because Sarah was firing.

"No!"

Too much noise. No one heard her. She took a breath to shout louder.

But now she had to jump back because Chris Carlson had landed on Sarah Atwell, grabbing her breast with one hand and (how did he do that?) ejecting the cartridge with the other. And his hand and her hand were tugging for the gun, both sweating, something grittier and more intense than Alice had ever seen. And she backed away, almost to the cliff's edge, and her only thought was I want to go home!

Marie Boucher had been right. Alice was prey.

But now was no time to think about her mother, because Chris finally, finally had the gun pointed to Sarah's head, metal touching the temple, and for once Alice was glad boys were traditionally stronger than girls, because he was going to kill her. And then Alice would be okay.

Kill her! Kill her please! I don't want to be with her anymore! Please! I don't deserve it! But kill her! She's a danger to everyone!

Not aloud. Too much to say aloud. Not yet. Back away…

And Chris's trigger finger did nothing, and that's when Alice remembered what she should have remembered a long time ago about Sarah Atwell and Chris Carlson.

Chris was Sarah's prom date. And he couldn't shoot her.

No! Please! I need her to die! I can't do this anymore!

But his finger was stopped, and there was this awful, pleading look in his eyes.

No!

Sarah's hands were going into her pocket. "Oh sweetie. Chris. That is so sweet."

Nononononono! She'll kill you! Don't you see?

The scalpel was now in her hand. She had full motion of her right arm.

I don't want to do this anymore! I don't want to do this! You have to kill her, you have to kill her, don't you see what's shining in her right hand?

"I suppose I should tell you." Pretty girl, graceful girl, she spun and plunged the scalpel into his chest. "Baby, Chivalry is dead!"

"No!"

Alice couldn't keep the word from coming out this time. She stepped back again, knees wobbling, bile coming into her throat.

And Sarah was looking at her, and she froze. And watched.

Chris took a long time to die. Bewilderment, first, looking at the scalpel in his chest, standing up shakily, the gun clattering from his hand. Bewilderment to dread, and with resolve Alice couldn't drum up the imaginings of, he pulled the scalpel out of his heart. Walking towards Sarah.

"You…fucking…kill you…."

And Alice let off one last prayer, frozen like a child playing tag.

Please…

And then he fell. And Alice fell after him, her wobbling knees giving out, hitting the ground with a crackling thud that mirrored Chris's own fall. The gun was close to her, so close, and Sarah was looking at her, and the pack swung forward from her back.

Baby, Chivalry is dead!

How much did she know? How much did she remember? How could she hold these two fantasies at once--these kids she went to prom with, the actors in her movie? Did she think Chris was nothing more than a prop now, a two-bit actor replaced by a rubber dummy and fake blood?

You killed Brock. You aren't human now either.

Did Sarah think of her as an actor too, replaceable when the drama was ripe? Were they actor-directors all? Foucault, fuck you Foucault, I don't need you now with your questions about our roles in the world and your distressing predictions about reality and information, reality isn't what we make it, reality is solid, there are things that are real there is real and in the real world people are dead and I won't--

I won't delude myself, and I won't forget it. I may be a spineless killer, but I know the world around me, and I won't look away now. I can't make this more comfortable for myself by pretending.

Her eyes were warm. She was thinking about the gratuitous violence in American movies (perhaps that desensitized people) and she was thinking about personal weakness and she was wondering if the God she'd never really prayed to was punishing her for ignorance by making her a coward who hadn't managed to delude herself yet.

Coward. Coward. Coward.

Chris's body. Brock's body. You let them die so you might live.

Coward! What are you worth that you aren't they?

And her hands moved to the pack, to take out the camera, and the part of her that wanted to survive was telling her, telling her how to lie, how to be the obedient assistant again, and her hands moved, one hand to the camera, one hand to the fallen gun, and maybe there was a rationale here, maybe there was a plan, but the words didn't come and Alice Boucher didn't say a thing.
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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[ *  *  * ]
Nothing is more important about the quantum principle than this, that it destroys the concept of the world as 'sitting out there', with the observer safely separated from it by a twenty centimeter slab of plate glass. Even to observe so minuscule an object as an electron, we must shatter the glass.

Alice picked up the gun.

Not doing this anymore. I am not doing this.

And looking down at Chris Carlson, she knew she had done something right.

She wasn't sure if the gun was loaded. The chamber could click. This would have to be enough. Maybe it would scare her away, even if it wasn't loaded. Maybe she'd try to shoot, and nothing would happen, and Sarah would grab her, and there'd be a scalpel--

It's better than what I've been doing until now.

And that, sharp as glass in her throat, was true.

She was glad whatever bravery she had had decided to make a resurgence. Better late than never. Of course, if it could have done it when Brock was still alive she would have been grateful--

Don't think about that.

Thinking about Brock just made her stomach twist even more. Unfortunately whatever bravery she had did not come with detachment, and the blood--no!

Chris was in front of her, right now. And Sarah. Sarah who she had to stop.

Somehow…

Raise the gun. Do it. Do it. You are not the assistant. This is no movie. And you are not prey. You will not sacrifice others to save yourself. Not now, not more. You will not help this monster.

You are a human, and you will remain so.

And other thoughts. Drifting around her head, fast and unmoored. Mama, Papa…the last time I saw you will be the last. I know that now. I will not survive. I killed a boy. I'll understand if you can never forgive me. But I will try and earn your forgiveness. I will earn it through this.

And looking at Chris, simply looking at Chris, seeing the blood, and seeing him die, seeing the blood, and seeing him die, killing him like barbarians there will be no more violence like this. This is unacceptable.

Mama, Papa, whatever gods protect the secular now, give me strength…

And she raised the gun.

"No more of this."

And Sarah screamed.
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Sarah screamed, and her eyes were wide with horror.

She's sane.

Something had happened. Something to do with Chris Carlson, her prom date--something had snapped Sarah Atwell back to sanity.

And Alice, gun pointed, safety off, didn't know what to do.

Kill her. Kill her. Kill her kill her kill her!

She wasn't letting the panic in her mind decide for her again. The last time she'd done that, she'd let Brock die.

No. Hold the gun. Hand on the trigger. Stay steady. And let Sarah, panicked Sarah, say her piece.

"Kill me! Pull the trigger. Do it!" Sarah screamed, and the wind bounced her voice against the mountain. "You could have stopped me! Why didn't you stop me?"

And she was sobbing now, her body wracked, curled against herself. "Why?"

Why?

I was scared. I wanted safety. I wanted to be part of your delusion. I thought you were stronger than me. I wanted to be protected by being in your shadow. I thought if I just obeyed your rules, I could last.

I was wrong.

Wind bit at her hair. Sarah, Sarah sobbing before her, looked so helpless.

And who am I to judge you, you who cracked before even I? Who am I to say, now, in your sanity, that you don't deserve to live? I was a killer too, and I knew what I was doing. I sacrificed others to save myself. I don't have delusions to hide behind. And yet, I'm holding a gun to you, as if I have the right to pass judgement.

And suddenly Sarah was speaking, looking up, her voice fierce and broken.

"Alice. Kill me for what I did, but remember you helped too. We can redeem ourselves or it can end now. Make your choice."

Sarah's eyes--were they desperate and thoughtful, or was Alice imagining it? Redemption was a foreign word on Alice's tongue--she'd grown up secular, and guiltless, in France. Even her screaming rants at American tourists hadn't made her feel guilty; she simply regretted the consequences. But here, now, having killed, a body up here and a body down below, she was foreign to herself. She was a killer now, less of a human.

Who am I to judge?

Sarah's insane hope--it was tempting. Yes, Alice wanted hope. It made her mouth dry to think how much she wanted it, not life anymore, but this strange word, redemption--forgiveness. She wanted to go out a good person. She wanted to make Mama and Papa proud.

It's a trick. You'll let her up, and she'll kill you.

That was a possibility, yes.

But will you really shoot her through the head, simply because you're scared? You've seen where scared gets you, Alice Boucher. Two corpses who needn't have died.

A pebble skittered down the mountain, and Alice Boucher made her choice.

"Tell me about your redemption."
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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"Alice," Sarah began, "I'm not sure how I feel right now. I'm horrified at what I did; what you helped with. Rest assured that we're in this together, there's no two ways about it, but we can still make up for it." The older girl was breathing hard. Her face looked ragged, her eyes unstable. Alice still held the gun; if she becomes murderous again, I'll kill her. I swear I will.

"There is a way we can save others, well at least give them a fighting chance. We need to hunt down those that have killed before, save as many as possible. We'll give them a quick death, nothing as barbaric as what has happened, but we have to make sure our classmates... our friends get a fighting chance. Think of it like." Sarah paused. "Like we're vigilantes. We should only kill those who are doing the same and we'll start with the one at the top of the list."

She walked up to Alice, stiff Alice, frozen with fear, and put a hand on her shoulder, a gesture of camaraderie. Her eyes locked on Alice's--Alice felt hypnotized. They say staring at a cobra can do this to you…

"Maxwell Lombardi." Sarah whispered. And suddenly she was heading off the mountain.

Alice stood frozen a few seconds longer. She's crazy. She's still crazy. She's just crazy in a different way now. She's got this morally shaky way of playing the redemption game--even if we kill other killers, we're not heroes. She knows that, right? We're murderers. Still.

Uneasiness played in her mouth. Has she really bought into the concept of island justice? She was so tired. She didn't want to walk this island anymore, try and figure out what was wrong and right in a world where everything seemed upside-down. But I should watch her. But I should watch her and make sure she doesn't go crazy and kill people again.

I stuck to her when she was insane. Because I thought she would keep me safe. There's no way I can't stick to her now.

Yeah, she was tired. Too tired. There was death on the mountain. And she was sticking to Sarah, and going along with her insane plan, because she had nowhere else to go.

Chris's corpse lay on the rocks, bloody and cold. Disgusting. With a heave of her loafer, she kicked him over the side, and stared, morbidly, as he flopped brokenly on the rocks below. I hate this place.

And even now, Sarah's words piqued her. I'm horrified at what I did; what you helped with. Did some serial killer think she had the right to judge her?

Her father's voice, filtering into her head. You're a bit judgmental yourself, Alice, dear. The voice (surely her real father couldn't be feeling this way?) sounded dry and jovial. Like he'd just finished a particularly good cigar.

Memories in her head, clouding out the sight of Chris's broken body. The fat American woman, spilling coffee all over her good new Chanel shirt. Clumsy pig. Alice springing up, screaming in the woman's face, French and broken English mixing in a torrent of scorn. Her friends joining in, shrieking, shrill, until the woman stumbled away, weeping.

Alice hadn't felt any guilt after that. Only satisfaction.

And who are you to judge, Alice? Are you really going to trust yourself to make decisions?

Sarah was insane, but maybe she had something to go on.

Alice turned, followed her down the mountain.

(Alice Boucher continued elsewhere)
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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