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The Lord's Mercy; private!
Topic Started: Nov 29 2010, 12:43 AM (2,286 Views)
Grim Wolf
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(Naoko Raidon continued from Civilization at Any Price)

A part of him was irrevocably gone.

The idea and the feeling it brought with it were not new to Raidon. He'd felt a similar sense of grief, loss, and confusion in the past. An ache in his chest, a pang so deep it felt as though a stake had been driven into his chest. Permanent loss always inspires grief, no matter how fleeting.

He had treated the wound as pest he could, after he'd fled from Alice and Victoria. It had been the first time he'd seen any such injury (Hayashida had always been very careful to leave them functional, and Raidon hadn't actually seen the shot that killed his father). The first thing, the most important thing, had been to get rid of the bone shards, and that had been absolutely harrowing; one jagged fragment was still connected, and he had been unable to control the scream that had escaped him as he'd pulled it away and out of the mangled remains of his skin.

Then the skin. Oh Christ, the skin. One cut at the shredded remains of his finger and he'd damn near passed out; he decided he'd try and deal with that later. From there, it was relatively easy; antiseptic wipes, a dressing (as best as he could figure out how to do one, having never had the opportunity to learn), and the sticky bandages, which seemed to him the best idea. His left hand still felt a little numb, and his head felt a little light from loss of blood, but he understood--consciously, at least--that he'd gotten away relatively luck.

Inside--beyond the reach of logic--he was seething with fury and loss.

My finger. My fucking finger.

His pinky. A part of him. Had he even considered the idea of losing it? Death itself forced you to consider losing your family, but your body was your body (especially the outside); it was inviolable, it was as durable as you. He kept returning his gaze to his bandaged wound; Alice's shot had taken it off just under the first joint, so a little stubby remnant had been left behind.

This island. This fucking island.

He could get no farther than these half-thoughts; he immediately retreated to the comfortable interior of his head.

He wandered across the island, stumbled his way through the swamp (somehow dodging between the treacherous patches; the hem of his pants were now heavy with water and dirt, but were otherwise okay), and found himself in scruffy vegetation. As he wandered farther into it, still not seeing the ocean and popping two ibuprofen to dull the pain, he caught the faintest hint of salt on the breeze. He had a brief moment where he remembered Simon, down in the darkness, and-

Focus, Raidon. You could've died back there.

And it was that which Raidon was really afraid of, wasn't it? A part of him--his finger, one of the ten he'd been born with, one of the ten he'd thought he'd always have--had died back there, had been torn off in a struggle he shouldn't have been involved in. He should have lowered his gun, he should have left, those two girls weren't hurting anyone, he should have

I should have killed her when I had the chance.

No, no, he couldn't think like that, he wasn't a killer-

Scott Mcgregor.

He saw her, then. A girl he didn't know, standing over a small mound of dirt. Raidon felt his mouth grow dry; after his last encounter, he didn't know if he could fight again. He could die, this time; she could gun him down where he stood, slice him up, take him apart piece by-

I used my bandages. And I need all the supplies I can get.

He hesitated, then crept closer, as close as he dared, before lifting his gun. "Move and you die," he said.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Nov 30 2010, 09:17 PM.
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Her pathetic tone brought back echoes of Victoria and Alice, and his doubts subsided. He had tried to be reasonable, he had tried to find a way so that no one had to be hurt. Whose fault was it that he'd lost a finger? Whose fault was it that he'd had to shoot

Unproductive thoughts. Focus on the bitch in the here and now.

"Whether or not I hurt you depends entirely on you," Raidon said coldly. He took another step or two towards the girl in front of him, keeping the gun aimed at her head. He was thinking about his options. He didn't recognize this girl, but she didn't seem like a killer (especially if it was her friend she'd buried). He would take her bag, of course, but he'd leave her something (water, food, the like). Her medical supplies would come with him--he wasn't that nice, she would just have to "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!" he shouted. She'd started to withdraw something from her pocket, and before she could quite manage it Raidon was on her, hand around her wrist. A moment's frantic struggle, Raidon pulled the gun closer, prepared to fire.

I refuse to die I refuse to die like my goddamn finger not another piece of me I refuse-

Whatever was in her hand hit the sand, as Raidon took another step. It crunched underfoot easily, too easily to be a weapon, and as Raidon drew his foot back he felt his throat run dry.

Even broke into plastic shards, he could recognize an inhaler when he saw one.
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No.

"Christ, no!" Raidon said, anguish contorting his face and twisting his voice to a breaking point. He quickly fell to his knees and scrambled to pull the pieces together, to find some way to reassemble it. Maybe if he used the adhesive bandages in his pack? I mean, it wouldn't be perfect, but...but...

As he scrambled to pull the shards together, he caught a glimpse of his bandaged left hand and felt his entire body go slack.

Everything was going to pieces.

He heard a strangled gasp, half plea and half-hacking wheeze. He didn't want to look at her as he rose to his feet; he kept his eyes fixed on the broken inhaler, mind moving sporadically. Broken inhaler on the ground, broken medicine, broken health, they were all breaking, Christ he hated this fucking island and he just wanted... "Your inhaler," he said weakly. "I'm sorry, I don't think I can-"

There was another choked sound. Raidon finally looked up and felt his throat tighten as though in sympathy. The muscles stood rigid on her neck, strangling her slowly by cutting her airway to pieces. As her fingers worked at her neck, he could see her nails had turned blue. Why...why would they...?

Oxygen Deprivation.

He had seen the look in her eyes before. It was the same look Ichiro had worn, watching Raidon pound on the garage door. It was the same look his father had worn, desperation mingled with pride.

"Oh, Raidon. Don't you see? He's proud of you."

Because I'm his son, Ichi. Because I'm his monstrous, wicked, son.


He took two steps forwards, and then she closed her eyes. He heard the faint, pathetic whistling as breath struggled to find some way down her throat, struggled to help her, but he could see how the blue spread from the tips of her fingers. He had received her request, even though she hadn't found words to express it--even though her body itself was rebelling against her.

Like mine. With Scott. With you.

"No rebellion," he whispered. "Just my foolishness, and death in its wake."

If her attack continued, she'd die a slow, painful death. But so far only Julian was witness to Raidon's crimes, so far only Julian knew what Raidon had done; if he was careful, he could avoid any further repercussions for his actions. He could-

I promised myself I wouldn't lie.

He was not going to let this girl die a slow, agonizing death. And he had seen previous versions of SotF; he was not going to leave her as weakened prey for whatever happened by, vulnerable to attack by anyone who frightened her, or just by the stress of her situation. Even if she survived, she was doomed without the inhaler that Raidon had just broken.

He'd killed her, one way or another. It was the least he could do, to make it as easy as possible.

This time he wasn't killing out of memory and fury, this time he wasn't struggling to keep himself in check, and the ice in him had yet to whisper again. This time he was going to kill out of mercy. How kind of him.

His lips twitched, formed a smiling grimace on his face as guilt pulled at his limbs, fused with gravity to bind his every movement. He'd done this, he'd brought this on her, he'd...he'd...

"I don't even know your name," he whispered weakly. "But you...you deserved..." Raidon swallowed. "You deserved to live."

She was prone on the ground, twitching as she wheezed. From this range, he could hardly miss. The gunshot deafened him, and he turned his head away.

"I'll remember you," he said.
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He couldn't bring himself to move.

His gun was still pointed at the body of the girl he'd killed. He hadn't looked at it yet--he had no desire to see the mess he'd made of her head, the blood, any of it. Just as with Scott McGregor he was frozen by what he'd done. It was all he could do to keep his eyes on the sea.

The broken carcass of a sailboat lay close at hand--even from this distance, Raidon could see how wrecked it was, its hull battered and broken. His gaze was mainly focused on the sea. The sun had started to set, throwing golden arcs towards the island Raidon stood on. Midas-touched waves lapped gently upon the beach. The sound was almost soothing.

I didn't kill her because I wanted to.

You crushed her inhaler because you couldn't trust her.

That's not...I...

You and your god damn daddy issues. Grow the fuck up. Mizore told you, didn't she?

Soryu...

You're not your issues. Take responsibility.

I killed her.

Yes.

I killed her.


"Jesus," he whispered.

And then hands were around his wrist.

Wha-

Before he had time to formulate any kind of response, the gun was out of his grasp and flying through the air. He whirled and had only a brief glimpse of Maddy--Maddy Stone!--as she hurtled at him, and struck him across the face.

He coughed as he hit the ground, sand tearing at his face. As he fell, his forehead slammed into the ground, hurling him into a dizzy daze. "You didn't. Even. Know. Her." The words were delivered with terrible force; they stung at him as he struggled to his knees, tried and failed to stand.

And then the necklace was around his throat.

He choked, flailed, struggled to break free; his own fingers worked at the necklace, tried to force it off of him. He couldn't get any purchase; beads interfered, rolled his fingers away everytime he started to work his way in.

"The lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He leads me in the right paths for His name's sake."

His head still hurt from the blow to the ground, his cheek stung, his mind was a whirling mess. He was staring towards the gold-flecked ocean, watching it fade at the edges, piece by piece.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me

The words came into his head unbidden, as the golden world in front of him began to die. Raidon flailed, but his struggles were weakening. I...I shouldn't be... His thoughts were turning sluggish. Fighting, not...not praying...

He tried to elbow her. The blow connected, but there was hardly any force behind it; he wasn't that strong to begin with, and the longer that necklace choked at him the heavier his body felt.

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Though preparest before me in the presence of mine enemies

What...feast? Enemy, on me...strangling...

Though anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

This is the feeling of death. The ending of all. The way it feels to have all life reduced to naught before your eyes; to have gold extinguished, and black replace it.
.

The golden arcs of sunlight had faded. There were naught but black now.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life...
Edited by Grim Wolf, Dec 4 2010, 03:07 AM.
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Mercy...

The word came into his head of its own accord, but it was not a plea--not a desperate cry he couldn't make, not an attempt to beg. It was just the word--the thought.

I...her...mercy.

God, it was so hard to see, the world was fading before his eyes, his body felt like so much ridiculous dead weight and she just wanted to let it end. He was so god damn tired...

Why...fight? Why...kill?

A good question. Why was he fighting so hard, here on this mad island? Why was he willing to kill? Did it matter? What mattered was this feeling, this sensation of relaxed rightness.

Death's...fine.

Yes...he stopped fighting, stopped struggling. He stopped throwing elbows, and fixed his eyes on the setting sun as darkness slowly drowned it in front of his eyes. The sun was vanishing in strangling shadow, and he felt oddly at peace with the-

No.

There was a sudden desperate clarity to his thoughts, a vital force that surpassed his body, surpassed the need for air. It was pure renunciation, desperation, it was memory and desire and everything he was. He didn't care that he'd killed, he didn't care that he was on his knees, that he had no strength left, he was not going to die here.

I

AM

GOING

TO

LIVE


His eyes flashed wide, and the necklace broke. Maddy Stone's weight fell away from him, and, coughing, Raidon pitched forwards onto his hands and knees. He was free, he was alive, he was...he was...

Angry?

No. This wasn't anger. This was desire and will and everything that was mental and wonderful, and he loved it.

He staggered to his feet, his eyes sweeping in a wide arc. The light had grown weaker and weaker, but he needed to find it, needed to find glinting black metallic death which he could use to...

There you are.

He scrambled for the gun, got his fingers around it, turned around. Seven shots left, more than enough for what he was going to, what he needed to do, what he had to do to make her understand what she had done wrong.

This wasn't going to be murder. This was going to be fucking surgery.

She was still lying on the ground. Staring up at the sky.

"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever," Raidon said, and lifted his gun. She wasn't moving, she was on the ground. He decided he was going to keep it that way.

BANG.

The shot tore through her ankle. He saw it twitch, and she wasn't all that stoic; her scream tore through the air. She struggled to run, then; struggled to her feet, though she couldn't keep her weight on the right one. Raidon cocked his head to one side.

"The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof," he murmured thoughtfully, and fired at her other ankle. The shot connected again; through his newfound clarity it seemed as though he didn't even have to struggle to aim. The gun was steady in his hands. "The world, and they that dwell therein."

She was crawling away now, dragging herself by her hands. Raidon took a few more steps, feeling the cold, solid weight of the gun in his hand, feeling deadly, feeling certain. He stepped over her crawling form and then delivered a solid kick to her side, forcing her to turnover. He was still a little light-headed from lack of air, but that seemed only to make every deep, cool, wonderful breath he pulled into his lungs more poignant and powerful. The world had been outlined in brilliant hues, it was sharp and clear, crystalline in its perfection.

"For he hath founded it upon the seas," he continued, giving her another kick to her side to keep her on her back as she tried to turn away. "And established it upon the floods." He leaned over her, grabbed her wrist, thought for a moment. Where was the wound supposed to go...?

He placed the barrel of the gun on the palm of her hand, just above the wrist, and fired, earning another long scream.

She startled struggling harder, as he pinned her arms down with his knees and tried to get a grip on her. "Lift up your heads, o ye gates!" he cried, wrapping his left hand firmly around her wrist and forcing her arm back onto the ground. "Even lift them up, ye everlasting doors!" Placed his barrel in the same spot he had on her other hand. "And the King of Glory shall come in!"

Another gunshot; another scream. Raidon pulled his gun back and stayed where he was, knees pinning her arms at the elbow as she sobbed and struggled beneath him. "The next wound is suppose to be in the side, isn't it?" he asked conversationally, giddy off a rush of power and cold determination that flooded through him like Novocaine numbness. "Like the lance. I don't want to waste a bullet on a wound that won't kill you, though." He paused and looked towards her hand. "Well, another wound that won't kill you, anyways." He put the gun to her forehead. "Maddy Stone," he said softly. "You quoted the Lord's Prayer while you strangled me, you bitch?" He leaned forwards a little, glaring into her eyes, and hissed, "You don't deserve to live." He slipped the gun down to her side. He'd read somewhere that stomach wounds could be lived with for quite some time, even though they were generally fatal.

"Right here, I think?" he asked, after the gun stopped sliding over her ribs.

BANG

Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts; he is the King of Glory.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Dec 5 2010, 03:16 PM.
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The last line of the prayer drifted emptily through his head as she lifted her head up and spat blood into his face. The spell broke as soon as the blood spattered across his face, and he surged back to his feet and staggered backwards. What had he...had he just...

He had shot her in the stomach. He had shot her in the stomach precisely so she would die more slowly, so she would have time to suffer. He had tortured her--he had shot her in the extremities, had shattered bones and shredded veins, because she had hurt him and he had...

Ascended

Given in


He felt his throat go dry, as she lowered her head and closed her eyes. Watched her, as he felt the blood he'd forced out of her body and up through her throat by the force of the five bullets he had delivered in cold blood. He had killed Scott McGregor, but that had been more accident than murder; he had killed the asthmatic girl, but he had done that because her death was a result of his stupidity and haste, and he was not going to let her suffer.

But Maddy Stone--Maddy, religious Maddy, Maddy who had always seemed so guilty and so proud of every tiny sin she could manage to get by her conscience--had strangled him from behind. Maddy Stone had strangled him while quoting a Psalm. And he had determined to pay Maddy Stone back in full. He was, at this moment, free from the ice that had gripped him; he was, at that moment, horrified by the savage thing he had done to her.

Horrified. But even through all that horror, even through the nausea and self-loathing that boiled in him, he wasn't sure he'd done the strong thing.

"Tell Peter I'm sorry," she gasped all at once, her eyes flickering open as blood trickled from the corner of her lips. "No, give him this." One damaged arm, innards at the wrist exposed by the bullet Raidon had administered, twitched downwards, towards her pocket. Raidon licked his lips, felt his anger return, and prepared to tell Madison to fuck off, to go to the God she'd prayed to and explain her attempt to murder him as she prayed to-

"Please," she pleaded. "Please give it to him."

The resurgent anger fell back a little and, though Raidon couldn't bring himself to nod or promise her, nor could he find it in him to deny her. Lying there, she looked too pathetic, too pained. He had destroyed the madwoman who had tried to strangle him; now he was left only with a pathetic girl on the verge of death.

He watched her until she stopped moving. Until her chest ceased to rise and fall, and her pathetic and belabored breaths had ceased. When they had, Raidon approached her side, stared at the damage he had inflicted--the wounds torn into her ankles and into her wrists, the green contents of her stomach exposed to the world. He felt bile running in the back of his throat and forced it down; he had done this, he could accept this, he could and should recognize the consequences of his actions, the results of firing his gun...

He glanced towards his left hand, saw the bandaged finger, and remembered Alice.

With a grimace, he knelt at Maddy's side and reached for her pocket. He found the crumpled letter quickly enough, and something else as well; something which dangled on a string. It came with him when Raidon pulled the letter from her pocket; a cross on a loose string.

If you're not willing to do the same, you're better off dead.

And if you're willing to do the same
, Raidon thought, a dark sort of humor bubbling up from inside him. You might end up dead all the same.

Sorry you took my advice, Maddy.


He got to his feet. The letter he folded into a neat square and place in his pants pocket; the cross he wrapped around his left arm, giving himself only a little slack so that the makeshift bracelet would not slip off his wrist and so the cross dangled, moving as he moved. Raidon looked between it, Maddy, and the unnamed asthmatic girl he'd killed, and then with a grimace closed his eyes and advanced to asthma girls' back, radiing it for what supplies remained (two medikits, and wasn't that wonderful but it was the food and water he was after--he had no desire to run dry in a few days, and even with Scott McGregor's supplies he was a bit worried about it).

He finished moving all the stuff he thought he'd need, and turned back to the place he'd been strangled. He found the shards of white plastic--all that remained of the inhaler--and set to work gathering them, trying not to think of the two dead girls behind him, trying not to think of the two girls he'd-

He broke off.

There was something amidst the remains of the inhaler. Something not white. Something which he recognized, in fact. He picked it up and examined it for a moment, wondered where he'd seen it before. Not in his church, he thought, but it had been with Father Cassidy; they'd gone to visit a...

A...

He forgot the rest of the plastic shards and turned back towards the place he'd been strangled. It was easy to make out; the sandy ground was still fresh with the signs of struggle, long furrows etched out into it. The sunlight was very weak now, but Raidon, scrambling around on the ground, had good enough eyesight to find four or five of them.

Rosary beads.

She strangled me with her rosary beads.

Raidon got slowly to his feet. He did not turn to her, did not face her accusingly. She was dead now; if his beliefs meant anything (and they must mean something, else there was no hope, else what the hell was he fighting and killing for?) she was just an empty husk of what Maddy Stone had been. Instead he looked at the six rosary beads in his hands. He felt a nameless, aching something lurking behind his eyes, something like sorrow, something like rage, something like absolute and unquestionable...

Unquestionable what?

He looked out to the ocean. Out to the vast, uncaring, uncompromising sea. The sun had sunk beneath the horizon, but its light still tainted the horizon in pink, gold, and crimson. Four bloody fingers reached out across the ocean, clawing their way towards him even as the dying sun fell and pulled the light with it.

Everyone. Wants. To Live.

Raidon slipped the rosary beads into the pocket with the letter and turned back to the island. He did not look at either of the girls he'd killed, one from fury, one from mercy. He did not look at his left hand.

Pieces of me left behind. I was an inviolable whole, once. What am I now?

The sun sunk beneath the horizon, and Raidon walked off into the twilight.

(Naoko Raidon continued in Facile Princeps)

THREAD CLOSED
Edited by Grim Wolf, Dec 24 2010, 11:37 PM.
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