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Maria Graham's Series of Unfortunate Events; Series finale; PM for entry
Topic Started: Apr 21 2011, 10:26 PM (3,663 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing here. Am I just dragging things out?

Can I really save her from all of this?

Is it bad if I can't make up my mind that... if we're both going to die... which one of us should go first? If I go first, she'll have to face this island without me. If she goes first, I'll suffer... but she'll be put out of her misery. Still, going on without her... I couldn't do it. I'm too selfish.

I'm too fucking selfish and dragging out this hell on earth.


---
((Ivan Kuznetsov, continued from White Sparrows))

---

Such thoughts bounced around the restless mind of a boy who no longer lived what he wanted to call a life. Nobody should have been subjected to this, even if he never particularly liked anybody from his own class. Before then, they were people that he shouldn't have allowed to get too close. What was the point in doing so, letting people into your heart, when they might only get in the way of your future goals and dreams of success? He never planned on sticking around St. Paul and growing old in the company of anybody from his school. He never planned on dying with them.

Earlier, the call to sleep had found him holding Tabi close to him, her head laid securely up against his right side, his arm draped over her. He never had the guts to mention it, but he never let go of the knowledge that just like she unknowingly supported his arm and kept it out of pain, so too did she support him, keeping him going in a place that could sap out your will to live. It looked like the island had gotten to Maria in every way possible, but didn't have the kindness and mercy to finish her off. Somewhere deep inside, he felt pity for her. Unfortunately, the feeling was marred by the realization that Maria may have been a sweet girl or whatever, but she was still dragging them down.

Something had to be done, but any option, any window out was covered in broken glass. If he didn't do anything, Maria would slowly bleed out near them on that cot, if she was even still alive. Tabi would have to watch her suffer, and in their attempts to care for the girl, they might expose themselves to danger from the more... ambitious students on the island that were playing for keeps. If he took the other road, though... the coldly logical approach, and killed Maria in her sleep, he might be doing himself and Tabi a favor. When it came down to the facts, that would be the most humane thing to do, and it might also save their lives.

Tabi would also hate him forever.

He looked down to the girl resting against him and bit his lower lip at the thought of that. Ivan no longer doubted that Tabi was very well the validation for his drive to make it as long as possible. He could have given his final goodbyes to his family any time he wanted and stayed in a dangerzone if he truly didn't care about living; his fear of death was no longer an excuse, because it wasn't his own death that he feared anymore. If the one person he cared about on this island, enough the point where she kept him alive... if she hated him...
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Apr 26 2011, 10:01 PM.
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MK Kilmarnock
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To watch Maria fade from life in front of his very eyes, this was something that breached many of Ivan's defenses. By now, neither he nor Tabi were a stranger to death. What he ended up doing to Keith still haunted him if he wasn't looking at the girl with him who could remove that pain. Similarly, Clio's last desparate attempts to cling to life as she bled out all over the road was not something that his memory could just toss away in the trash bin. Maria, though... she was different. She was never an enemy or even a threat, just a hanger-on that he was reluctant to take on in the first place. Especially potent, she was Tabi's friend, and she literally had just died in Tabi's arms.

There was nothing he could do. He couldn't have saved Maria at all, and was right in saying that she was doomed from the start. Why did he have to be right in saying that she was, though? Another girl was gone that he never really knew; by all rights, he should not have even cared. It should have been nothing more than one person out of their way towards getting as far as they both possibly could. Yet, as Maria now slept eternally before the both of them, Ivan closed his eyes and did something that he hadn't done in a long time. He began to pray for Maria and the safety of her soul, murmuring it the way his mother had taught him in Russian.

"Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend the souls of thy servants NN., and beseech thee to grant them rest in the place of thy rest, where all thy blessed Saints repose, and where the light of thy countenance shineth forever. And I beseech thee also to grant that our present lives may be godly, sober, and blameless, that, we too may be made worthy to enter into thy heavenly Kingdom with those we love but see no longer: for thou art the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of thy departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto thee we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen."

The words in his head were Russian, but in his heart the language made no difference. Near the end of his prayer, Ivan's hands gripped Tabi's shoulders in defiance of his timidness, both to comfort her and steady himself. Nothing could make the pain go away, and he understood that. As much as he hated this fact, Tabi would not smile again for a long time. A whisper of 'I'm sorry', or any other such condolences felt hollow and worthless, and so Ivan just pulled her close. His eyes kept off of Maria out of a mixture of both repsect for the dead and fear... fear that they soon might end up like her.
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, May 7 2011, 05:47 PM.
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Please don't cry.

For the love of god, please don't cry. Because when you do...

When you aren't happy, when the tears fall, when you're weak...

I want to cry too.



Ivan could offer a hand to rest on Tabi's shoulder all he wanted, supply a part of himself to cling to, but that wouldn't put a smile on her face. The bleak and grim possibility sunk into his heart that Tabi may have reason never to smile again. Nobody could, with conscience, fault her for this; this island had been pure hell on everybody so far, and for those who hadn't yet found the release of death, the pain wasn't going away just yet. For whoever managed to survive the ordeal, no matter who it ended up being, the pain might never stop.

As he continued to look down at the girl who sobbed into him and looked to him for the comfort that he felt he could never provide, Ivan wondered if by saving Tabi and fighting for her life as long as he could, he was also condemning her to all the pain that this cold, unforgiving world had to offer in life. Were their dead classmates still in pain? Were any of them in heaven yet? For that matter... were any of them in hell, and was that where he was going when all of this was over?

In some ways, Maria really was the lucky one in all of this, no longer having to watch all of her friends die one by one. Now she could be with whatever friends she happened to care about. This thought brought Ivan's eyes up and into the room that Maria had been so desparate to reach. That body... as vague as the memory was, he remembered that the two were together. Such a thought surprised him, as he cared about Maria and whoever this boy was just about as much as he cared about Tabi when they were all at school. That was to say, everything going on around him was just a whitewashed blur as he focused on the road straight ahead. But now, little pieces of the past weren't so fuzzy. Those times that the strange and annoying spunky brunette walked by him in the halls were now those times Tabi and he had walked by, not even exchanging glances. Back then, they were nothing.

Nothing was more than just something, now. With the pleasure that came with Tabi serving as his guiding light to press onward, and the only one to keep his ties to home alive, also came the responsibility to protect her and do everything he could to keep her content. 'Happy' was a goal that was not currently attainable, but he'd settle for comforting her in some way... any way.

"Tabi, you need... you need to stand up." Ivan said quietly, dedicating his other arm to holding her head. Fingers ran through hair long since abandoned by any real care, but even with the hell that she had been put through, it still managed to be delicate and beautiful. Her soul was every bit as precious and beautiful as her body, which was why her grief pained him as much as it did. His hands coaxed for the kneeling girl beside him to stand, but she remained down on the floor. Ivan bit back the urge for his own tears to spill out as he bent the leg Tabi wasn't clinging to.

"Come on... come with me." Ivan placed his hands underneath Tabi's arms and, taking great care not to yank too hard, firmy lifted upward. After a moment or two's worth of resistance, the girl's grip gave way to pulling down on him, finding it in herself to rise partway to her her feet. When they could only go so far before knees began to quake, Ivan moved around to Tabi's side. Issuing a silent command to lean back, Ivan supported Tabi's upper body with his left arm and her legs with his right. The burn in his right arm seemed to have diminished at least a little; perhaps the week-old wound would finally begin to quiet down.

It only took a few paces to move back to the couch that they had been resting peacefully at just a few moments before. When Ivan eased Tabi down onto it and let his arms rest, he brought his head close to hers. He hoped with all his heart she wouldn't push him away, even though she had every right to in her grieving. With a heart this heavy with emotions, sometimes people didn't think clearly... he knew he was just barely hanging onto lucidity as it was. Hanging on, however, was necessary for her sake.

"Just give me a sec... hon... I'll be right back."

Ivan turned and stepped back to where Maria had fallen. As much as he really didn't want to touch a dead body, this was just something he had to do. There wasn't really much of a reason he could outright state, he just... had to do so in respect for the girl. Not only did he have to move Maria respectfully, but to ease things for Tabi's sake, he had to do it quickly. Scooping his arms under the ridiculously light girl's form, Ivan solemnly lifted her up and brought her inside the bedroom that was already occupied with a guest. The exact positioning was a bit odd, but as long as Maria was set down next to this boy who had already met his fate, who hopefully shared an afterlife with Maria, then that would be alright with him.

With the deed done, Ivan backed out of the room and shut the door in his wake. It was the most he could have done. While trying to keep the heaviness in his heart out of his footsteps, he approached the girl on the couch and knelt in front of her.

"We... we did all we could. I'm sorry."
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((Post to fight inactivity before the party begins))

I will never let go.

So long as I have you to live for,

So long as you can be my guiding light,

And can keep my heart together.



You are the one who holds me

And who can keep my chin up

Even when sometimes it seems

As though I am holding you up.



I will continue to be there for you

Because you are my strength

And you are also my salvation.

Without you...



I'd be lost.



Nothing had to be said. Words had long since lost any sort of impact on this island. And so, Ivan held Tabi close. Two lost children sat on the couch, awaiting the next day.
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With the way that Tabi laid against his arm (the good one of the two, anyway), Ivan could feel it starting to drift off to sleep. He couldn't bear to move it, though, since Tabi seemed to be drifting that way as well.

As for him, he too could feel the effects of exhaustion kicking in. Being on this island didn't afford for a lot of sleep, and what little they could get was almost never peaceful. With Maria sleeping eternally in the other room, it wasn't impossible to feel just a little jealous of that. But then, Ivan had to think about just why he was subjecting himself to this continuously. There was somebody he still had to keep alive, so he had to keep going. As long as Tabi could wake up in the morning and he could see her smile, there was nothing wrong with sleep.

One of his eyelids fell almost before he had even realized it, and soon, the other one was heading that way as well. Almost unconscious, Ivan slowly leaned towards Tabi and shut his eyes.

I lov-

CRASH

An explosion ripped through the house, tearing Ivan's heart out of his chest through his throat. It only took a moment to decipher just what the thunderous noise echoing off the walls had been when it was followed by the first heavy footsteps just out in the hall. The door had been forced open.

Ivan wrenched his arm out from under Tabi and pulled forward a bit to reach for one of the handguns that once belonged to Clio and had been stashed in the currently unzipped dufflebag. No time... no time, if he was too slow, whoever was after them would surely come in and kill them both. No time to waste at all.

"Tabi, go! NOW!" Ivan barked, unable to check and make sure the girl had even moved, for his gaze was fixed on the doorway into the living room. On the same doorway, his gun was trained, his hands shaking tremendously. His mind formed nightmares on the other side of that wall for his fears to feed off of, but what revealed itself in short notice was far greater than that it had been imagining.

"N... no... not you, what do you want!?"

It was a stupid thing to ask. Ivan already knew what he wanted.
Edited by MK Kilmarnock, Jun 6 2011, 02:59 PM.
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The unpleasant emotion of fear had come back for Ivan in the form of Imraan. It was hard not to be intimidated, even without the history of what had happened between them. Imraan was at least a foot taller which brought Ivan's gaze upward, and the Russian felt even smaller in his crouched stance; one knee on the couch, one foot on the floor. Even the weapons each boy wielded seemed to highlight the size disparity - the shotgun dwarfed the gun Ivan held in his trembling hands, and he suddenly wished against logic and reason that he had pulled out the Pancor instead.

Here they were again, pointing guns at each other. The judge said things in a voice that exuded confidence, and Ivan admittedly wanted to run in terror. Natural instincts told him to give up the girl, do what Imraan wanted and beg for his life under the slight chance that maybe the just executioner would show compassion. As much as the boy tried to remain stoic, to not let any of his fear show, Ivan was just that: a scared boy who wanted nothing more than to see the light of another day.

Yet, against all of the accursed instinct, Ivan's framed eyes remained locked on Imraan's.

"Ivan, pull the trigger and you're dead," Imraan had said. "Don't know if your gun'll stop me. Mine'll stop you."

One well-placed bullet will stop anybody, shithead. A nice-sounding one liner in his head, but he was too frightened to say it.

"Not gonna waste words, Ivan. Where's Tabitha?" Imraan had continued, confirming Ivan's fears. The only reason Imraan hadn't shot yet was because Ivan wasn't the one he was after. Ivan watched Imraan's eyes scan the room, and then grew nervous as they trained on him once more. Imraan repeated the inquiry... demanded to know where she was. And when he found her, there was only one answer to the question Ivan didn't want to ask.

"... You can't have her." Ivan spoke solemnly, trying to steady his hands. "... And you can't have me yet, either. I don't want anything to do with you, neither does she. She... she did it to save my life, okay? She didn't want to kill Clio!"

He got the feeling that his words fell on deaf ears, but Ivan stood determined. If Tabi were not here, perhaps he would have lowered the gun and taken what punishment Ivan wanted to give him, but he had somebody to protect. If he died, she would be left defenseless against a shotgun and an unshakable conviction. Only this fact kept Ivan from running.

"Leave us alone. Please."
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There came a moment when Ivan locked up, and couldn't tell just what had shocked him more: the lamp coming from pretty much nowhere and the shotgun blasting at it, or that Imraan had completely caught him off guard. For just one brief, tension-melting moment, Ivan was sure... absolutely SURE that he dissuaded their hunter once more.

Instead, it was Imraan who had persuaded Ivan to drop his guard and give him the small window of time needed to kill him without resistance. That was all it took - a fraction of a second - for all of his efforts to mean nothing. When he dropped his guard, Ivan had nearly failed Tabi again.

But if there was ever a time to be moping about his failures, this was definitely not it. When the lamp was thrown from out of the corner of his vision, just before Ivan fired, Tabi had screamed for him to run. He didn't need to be told twice.

Reaching for the bag that contained all their supplies (and thus, only chances of survival) with his right hand while handling the gun entirely with his left, Ivan fired a round off and booked it for the door. With the way his arm was shaking, the bullet probably didn't hit Imraan. He wasn't even really aiming at that point. All that bullet had to do was suppress Imraan just long enough to cover his escape through that door and to Tabi.

Run...

Just run, like in one of those stupid Bruce Willis movies Louis likes to watch so much. Run, and let the sound of his heartbeat pounding in his ears be the beat to their escape.

Ivan hadn't quite thought about where he and Tabi would go once they managed to get out of Imraan's line of sight, but he couldn't stop moving. No time to think about what he was going to do next, he just needed to do it. His heel kicked the door to the living room shut as his head turned every which way.

"Where now, Tabi?" he uttered reflexively. Only then did he see the back door...

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