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Inevitability
Topic Started: Apr 8 2011, 09:14 PM (1,690 Views)
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((Alexander Campbell continued from Our Last Days As Children))

Since the cliff, things had gotten worse, much worse. Alex was starting to realize why he'd started to feel like he wasn't going to make it off this island. It was the infection and the blood loss.

The field amputation and improvised cauterization had seemed like a good idea at the time. It had probably saved Alex's life, at least in the short term. It had also caused serious, permanent damage to his body. That he hadn't gone into shock on the spot was a miracle. That he had been able to keep walking for days since was a testament to his willpower and determination to do something about this game. It also meant he hadn't had proper rest or care, hadn't had antibiotics or extensive treatment. Somewhere in there, he'd picked up a fever and not even noticed.

The first sign that something was wrong had been that Jasper had led them away from the cliffs. Since when was Jasper the leader? He was the quiet guy who hung out with the misfit band of stoners but never quite engaged on the same level as the rest of them did. He was a great friend, but not an assertive one. His taking the lead felt odd.

Things had only gone downhill since then. The exercise had worn Alex down quickly, and he'd fallen into a sort of trance. He wasn't quite sure if he was hallucinating or not. He felt like he was burning, though. He felt like throwing up, but there was nothing to throw up. He could swear he could feel his missing arm again, and he wished he couldn't, because it was nothing but pain. He didn't even know if the others were still with him or not. He'd fallen behind some. He'd been trying to hold things together. Trying to look like he was fine. Trying to hide that he wasn't sure he'd be able to make each consecutive step.

It wasn't working so well anymore.

He stumbled over a stump and smashed into the ground. His whole body ached. He couldn't tell if the others were anywhere near him, or if they'd gone off somewhere else. Maybe they hadn't noticed him falling behind. Maybe they were looking for him, desperately trying to locate him. He was supposed to be the leader. He was supposed to give Danya something to worry about.

He pushed himself into a sitting position. It was about all he could manage.

Something was wrong. Alex reached his remaining hand over to feel his stump. His fingers felt wet. He'd been bleeding again. How long for?

His vision was blurs. He tried to blink them away, but they were inside his eyes. He was sweating profusely. This was very, very bad. He hadn't had time to talk to the others enough. He hadn't had time to make sure that Jasper and the other boy would be alright. This was all moving way too fast. He hadn't had time to find out the truth about Hayley.

A darker spot formed on his vision. Jasper? The other boy? Someone totally different? A figment of his imagination?

Some combination thereof?

He blinked, trying to clear away the spots. It wasn't working. He couldn't hear anything. The world was fading.

"Hey," he said. His throat hurt. Damn, it had only been... a few hours since he'd left the cliffs, right? This had snuck up on him suddenly. He should have paid more attention. He should have been more careful, not just with his injuries, but all the way back to the start of the game. If he'd never allied with Jarocki, he'd never have gotten shot. His arm would never have been infected. He'd never have had to amputate it. He'd still be fine, fine and able to carry on.

"Hey... you..."

His voice was weak. He didn't know if he was talking to anyone. He didn't know if they were responding.

"Don't let the game get to you. There's... still a way to beat it. I know there is. Just... everyone has to trust each other, and it... we can beat it."

He closed his eyes. He'd just rest for a few minutes here. Just take a quick break and pull himself together for another little push. He'd stick around a bit longer, make sure the others would be okay. Maybe find Hayley and figure things out. Make things right, whatever that meant.

But that wasn't to be. His consciousness slipped away, and a few minutes later, his overtaxed body finally gave out.

B123, Alexander Campbell: DECEASED
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A friendly clown welcomes you to LOCAH. It seems he would like to be your guide.
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[[Jasper-Declan MacDermott continued from Our Last Days As Children[]]


It was time to play a little game. It's a game that Jasper-Declan's had to play with himself for many, many years, the end result of a mind incapable of focus, of distinguishing important things from insignificant details. Jasper-Declan spent his entire life living inside his head and so tended to notice every detail of every situation, remembering things that others would forget but also losing track of things that he really ought to have remembered. He'd forget a new friend's name but remember the song of a bird that flew past his window that morning; he was that sort of person. Back in Bayview, that was a character quirk. Here on Survival of the Fittest, it was a liability.

He learned a way to cope, when he really needed to remember certain things. Like on the rare occasion he attempted to study and found his thoughts wandering. He'd stop and play a quick game called, in typical Jasper-Declan fashion, Relevant or Irrelevant?- an exceptionally simple game, really. Think of something, determine whether it was relevant, whether it was something he needed to remember or think about it all. If it wasn't, discard it. Throw it in the Recycle Bin. Just like that.



Now, more than ever, he needed this. Needed this crutch that had sustained him his whole life. It was good for sorting out his thoughts, and it was even better for going into temporary denial.


There were...the birds. They were following him, he felt. He hadn't paid them all that much attention back at the cliffs, he was distracted by Alan's sudden arrival (that was something else to think about, he'd get to it in a minute), but their song was infectious, playing its tune in the back of his head before he even noticed they were there. Now they were here, too, in the forest, the empty forest, deadwood again-

Lots of thoughts in one. All irrelevant. Throw it all out.

What else? The deadwood. Memories here. He'd passed through, was it really days ago? Four days, really? Time passed so oddly on the island- but yes, four days ago he'd been here with Carly Jean Dooley, a girl who wasn't dead, yet, at the time. Just being here brought him back, really, everything was somehow at least just a little bit simpler back then. It was just this one girl who he was going to protect, somehow. Not that that had ended particularly well. Jasper-Declan was learning fairly quickly exactly how useless his 'protection' could be.

That was...almost relevant. Closing in, you could say.

What else?

Alan Rickhall.

Unmistakably relevant. New ally, the word 'friend' was in a vault until further notice, not to be taken out and certainly not to be used, not after what happened to Carly Jean Dooley, but he seemed nice. Nice enough. Perhaps a little shaken, but this was Survival of the Fittest and that was understandable. Some people, he was beginning to understand, were crushed by this game, in different ways. Some killed, some witnessed death. No one stayed who they were. Jasper-Declan himself had been changed in some small, hard to qualify way by the death of a girl he'd hardly known- it was easy to imagine how much more it would sting when it was someone you-


Stop there.

Relevant, yes.


He really wished he could erase the rest. Recycle bin, empty, delete. He'd be erasing several years of his life, sure, but...but he couldn't do that, even if he wanted to, which he didn't, not really. It was worth it, the time he'd had, it really had been worth it. He'd been so happy, temporarily. He'd known what having a friend, a real one, was like, he really had, he understood, for once in his life. He knew why the others spent so much time together. Because once you had someone that great, that much like you, why would you want to be alone?

Not there was much of a choice left for him.


"Hey."


When had this started? When could he have guessed the end was coming? When he saw his best friend for the first time on the island, missing an arm- that was big. Confident as the other boy was, he had performed untrained field surgery, and there were about a thousand things that could go wrong- it struck Jasper-Declan as near miraculous that his friend was as okay as he was when they met up. In a way, his fate was sealed the moment that other boy...what had his name been? Jonathon? The moment Jonathon had shot him, fate was set, really. This was going to happen, this had to happen.


"Hey... you..."


No, it went back farther than that. The moment they got on this island, their fates were sealed, every last one of them. Jasper-Declan knew. He knew without a doubt, he knew no matter what he heard about escape plans and whatnot, he knew that they were going to die. As difficult a concept as that was for him to understand- what was death to someone who had yet to properly comprehend pain? All he knew it as was loss. Losing people. Feeling them disappear. There were precious few people for whom that meant anything at all, though he'd learned a bit with Carly. Learned that someone could be there one second and then, gone. He knew what it was like then, death, watching it come and steal someone and leave again, and now it had stolen his best friend away.


"Don't let the game get to you. There's... still a way to beat it. I know there is. Just... everyone has to trust each other, and it... we can beat it."


It went back further still. The second whoever was in charge of this game drew Bayview out of whatever hat, the moment they were chosen- they were dead, even then. Even their last month of Bayview. Preparing for graduation, they were all dead. Prom? He hadn't gone, but he'd been dead, and every person who went to prom had been dead too. Dead from the moment Danya- if it was Danya who made the choice- had chosen his school. How long had he been doomed? How much time had he spend under a dark, invisible cloud? He'd never know, really, no one would, but he'd feel so much better if he could only know.

"We can beat it". He'd never believe that, Jasper-Declan, he was too...cynical wasn't the word. Realistic seemed better. But any possibility of that, now, it was really, truly dead. There was nothing left for him to believe in, no one left for him to follow, nothing left for him on this island. Nothing at all. Maybe Jay, he could find Jay still, but to do what? The glue that held them together had been melted away. Permanently. Forever.


He hadn't made a sound, when he heard his best friend collapse. He'd moved back to him, found him unconscious, his last words already spoken, and he knew, but he couldn't accept it. He knew, but he sat there, anyway. He didn't panic. He didn't...didn't do anything. Just sat there and watched the boy's chest rise and fall. Until it stopped. It stopped.

He wavered.


How would things be different, he wondered? How would things be different if he hadn't met this boy, that fateful winter night. He could've easily left Bayview with no friends, the quiet, spacey kid who drifted through and past everything, an unknown- he could've floated through this game. He wouldn't know how to make connections. Carly would've passed right through him like everything else and he could die here, quietly, without regrets, without anything to hold onto (an understated goodbye to his family would suffice), without allegiance or fear. This game would be so much easier if he'd never learned, never walked through that park that night, never ran into that blue-haired boy and his guitar.



He didn't make a sound, still. He couldn't. He didn't know how. He looked at the thing that once upon a time was Alexander Campbell, and he knew his best friend wasn't here anymore. There was this shell here that looked like him, that was all. Just...a shell.


He couldn't bury it. The shell. He didn't have a shovel, or anything that'd work as one. He wasn't strong enough. There was nothing he could do, nothing at all, just...stare, with empty eyes. Alan was still there; he didn't see how he reacted. He'd gained tunnel vision, he saw nothing but this blue-haired, one-armed shell, this thing that mocked him with its emptiness. Its voice was gone.


Time passed. Maybe an hour, maybe less. He didn't know. His thought process had stopped itself. But at some point, he felt his legs straighten, almost of their own accord. He looked down at the shell and saw nothing. He felt nothing. There was nothing.

Jasper-Declan took a step back. Away from it. Another step. Turned. Ran. Footsteps behind him told him Alan followed behind. Some part of his brain dully recognized that, but it was quickly processed and discarded. Irrelevant.

His gun felt weightier in his hand than usual.

Why do I have a gun? What is this gun for?



He wondered, vaguely, what a bullet would feel like, cracking through his skull.

[[Jasper-Declan MacDermott continued The Birth and Death of the Day]]
Edited by Hollyquin, May 2 2011, 08:59 PM.
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((Alan Rickhall continued from Our Last Days as Children.))

Things, it seemed, were finally looking up for Alan, he had found good, innocent, trust-worthy people who shared the same goal as himself. He was going to escape the island, he had to. When Alan thought of it, it seemed stupid that he would actually die. Death was something that your not really supposed to expect, not really something that happens at the hands of a psychopathic murderer. Those things only happen to people in movies and on the news... And to Jimmy. Alan tried to shake the thought away, he didn't want to think about his deceased friend. Thankfully, the sight of his new friend collapsing to the floor took his mind of it.

"Did you see that?" Alan said to Jasper timidly when he saw the boy collapse. He ran over to him behind Jasper.

"Hey... you..."

The boys voice was small but Alan could still hear it. Had someone ambushed him? Did he get shot by some sort of silenced... weapon or something. Alan couldn't see any signs that he had been shot or stabbed, but he did look like he was at death's door. "what's wrong? Are you hurt? Did someone hurt you?" Alan ran off questions as fast as he could. Panicking at what he could do to save him.

"Don't let the game get to you. There's... still a way to beat it. I know there is. Just... everyone has to trust each other, and it... we can beat it."

Something about that last line sounded all too familiar to Alan. "That's it? You're just going to die." Alan was beginning to cry. "You can't leave me already. I don't... I don't even know your name." But it appeared that the boy was already dead. Alan slumped to the floor. It was almost poetic how the boy had just seemed to leave the game. Doing nothing wrong, no-one killing him, no-one else involved, no violence whatsoever. At least, that's what Alan assumed. Just like that, he just fell to the floor, could have had absolutely nothing to do with the game whatsoever, he just died, innocently. Something that Alan could not do, something that Alan could not performed even if he begged the gods to. There was only one way to go, the turned were too powerful to defeat, but perhaps there was one thing that Alan Rickhall could take with his final exit. His dignity. Alan didn't even know he had dignity, but after seeing his classmates turn to ravaging beasts that were clawing each others eyes out with promises of freedom and cake waiting for them at the end. But there was only one way out, Alan could see that now, and Alan would join Jimmy and surrender. Surrender so that he may die as Alan Rickhall.

Alan could see Jasper running away. Alan briefly thought of asking Jasper to kill him. But Alan refused to let someone who was still holding onto his own soul give up their sanity for the sake of him. Without word, Alan ran off in the opposite direction. As he did, he took out the photo of him and Zoey and held it to his chest. He stopped for a brief second and looked up at the nearest camera. "I'm sorry Zoey. But let's be honest. When did you really care about me." Still holding the photo in his pocket he continued running until he was out of the destroyed forest.

((Alan Rickhall continued in To Die Hating Them, That Was Freedom))
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