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First Breath After Coma
Topic Started: May 15 2011, 04:47 AM (1,583 Views)
Hollyquin
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A friendly clown welcomes you to LOCAH. It seems he would like to be your guide.
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
[[Jasper-Declan MacDermott continued from The Birth and Death of the Day]]

He'd come a long way.

Nearly the entire length of the map, in fact, though that didn't really occur to Jasper-Declan until he'd already nearly reached his destination. How long had it taken? He had no way of knowing, with no watch, and the sun had set and stopped marking the passage of time for him quite a while back. If he had to give a number to his journey, he'd say he'd traveled for a good eighteen hours- in stark contrast to his last adventure, he didn't stop much, didn't sleep, didn't meander, he just moved, quickly, slowly, avoiding any sign of other people. He had a destination in mind now. It was nice, having a goal. A dream, maybe. It was nice knowing what you wanted. He might have made his way faster still, only he didn't want to make the mistake he made last time of letting everything slip through his thought-fingers (I...I am inventing phrases now? That's...). He had so little time left on this island, and as many horrible things had happened here, that wasn't the fault of the trees, or the grass, or the clouds in the sky. Those were the things he was going to say his goodbyes to. The corpses, those weren't supposed to be here, those weren't worth speaking of- they were empty shells of people long passed. He ran into quite a few. Didn't give them a second glance.

There was only one place for him to go. He wanted to go home, and the only way to leave a place was to go back to where you started.


"Hey, man. You - uh, you doing okay?"


It had been a long time. If he was right about exactly how long he'd been traveling, it would be nearly midnight now, nearly the tenth day. Nine days since he'd come from this place, from the sand and the sea where he'd woken up, discovered his gun, met the deep, endless water that beckoned him forth, still. It looked different now, in the dark. Blacker. And with the moon reflecting off its surface, it was even more beautiful. Jasper-Declan had never seen the ocean before Survival of the Fittest. At least one good thing came out of this experience, I suppose...


"So if it's all cool then, you know, we're all buddies and all, could you just - put the gun down?"


He remembered it, all of it. That day. Being alone, all alone, seeing those boys on the beach. A repeat of practically every social encounter of his life. He enters, he utterly breaks down a conversation, he leaves. He didn't stick around for very long; he never stayed where he wasn't wanted. What would have changed if he'd stayed there? Would anything be different, now?


"Listen...I mean, this isn't it. There's gotta be...there's some way out. It's okay, it's gonna be...just. Don't worry. It's all cool."


Three of those boys were dead. Erik, he remembered Erik, Erik who tried to convince the others that everything would be alright, that everyone would escape, he was the only one still alive. Did he stay with them, until the end, his friends? Did they think, until the end, that they would find some way to escape? Did they give up? Did they fight? I wonder, where he is now, if he's still looking for a way out... It was irrelevant, of course. All of that was irrelevant. Who was he, to care about them, when they hadn't cared about him? He hadn't come here for them, this wasn't there for them. This was his reunion with the ocean. No one else could interfere.

Jasper-Declan kicked off his shoes, tracing his feet through the sand, shivering as the cold powder ran between his toes. He dropped his bag on the sand, taking a long gulp of water- a longer gulp- drinking down every bit he had left. It tasted sweet, somehow, and somehow that was comforting. He was nearly out of food, but he found he hadn't much of an appetite. He lowered himself, right where ocean met beach, taking no notice of the water that crept under him, soaking his legs. Holding his gun, tapping it on his knee.

Reality was tapping his shoulder.

He was terrified. Really, he was, somewhere inside. The fear gnawed at his chest but refused to reach much further. The rest of him was numb, untouchable, detached. That was okay, though. He was going home, and he was quite sure he wouldn't be able to go through with it if he was properly grounded, properly aware, properly acknowledging his anxiety. He needed to do this, before his artificial courage left him. Before he remembered what he was doing, where he was going, what he was leaving behind.


Jasper-Declan ran a thumb over the top of his gun. The Remington XP-100, he remembered that, too. What is this gun for? It had to have been this, all along. He wondered if this tiny thing could even get the job done. No use worrying about that, though. No use worrying about anything. And before he could change his mind-


He pulled the trigger.





The first bullet went spiraling off into the distance, across the water, and Jasper-Declan watched it go.

Why did I do that? This was not smart. He couldn't keep stalling like this, he needed to do this, he had to do it now, every moment he tried and every moment he failed was another moment for his heart to pump blood back through his veins, warming up his skin, bringing feeling back. And he couldn't. He just couldn't stand another day, another moment, like this. He couldn't be too afraid to die, he couldn't let himself wait for death, because there was nothing left to wait for. He needed to go. He needed to. Why couldn't his hands cooperate? Those hands dug through his bag, to load another bullet.

The second bullet hit the water. He watched it splash. Wondered briefly if he'd hurt anything.

Six bullets left. Still time.


"I had a fight with a lawnmower. Think it won, but I retained the moral high ground."


The third bullet went. Jasper-Declan swore he could see its shadow pass over the moon.

Why now? He'd held on for this long. He hadn't cried, he hadn't felt a thing, he'd let everything freeze over and why now, why did it have to thaw? Why did he have to remember? Why did he have to ruin himself completely, ruin any chances he had given himself of a quiet, peaceful death? He hadn't needed to prevent himself from breaking down. Hadn't needed to think about protecting his family from his own overflow of emotions, because that wasn't going to happen to him, except now there was something suspicious pricking the corners of his eyes.

The fourth bullet, somehow, felt louder than the last three.


"She might be playing. Thea might be right. But I can't let her kill her."


He tried. He'd tried so hard, hard as he'd ever tried at anything, to keep him alive. His best friend. Alexander Campbell. He was dead, and Jasper-Declan was alive, and Alex had so badly wanted to find Hayley Kelly, that's all he had wanted, and what did Jasper-Declan want now? Nothing. He didn't need to be alive, he didn't have a reason, a purpose, he didn't deserve this, the oxygen that insisted on blowing through his lungs. If he could give it all to Alex, he would, in a heartbeat. He wished he could say he deserved it himself, but he'd never been a good liar.

The fifth and sixth bullets were gone before he realized his hands had moved.

His cheeks were wet. He couldn't feel them, the tears running down his face, but when he went to wipe his eyes he felt the evidence, betraying him.


"And I'm not going to have it any more. I'm tired. I'm done. So here's what we're going to do. We're going to try and find a way off this island."


He had. Alex Campbell wasn't on the island anymore. Not like Jasper-Declan, who'd been left behind. Jasper-Declan who couldn't find it in him to leave himself. Why was this so impossible? Death was nothing. What was death? Pain? What was death? Meaningless words. Nonsense concepts. He had no tolerance for nonsense. And still the seventh bullet skipped across the water.


Last chance. He loaded the last bullet, the gun pointing at his temple. He could do this, he had to, he had to, why wasn't he listening? What was he so afraid of? There was nothing left for him here. Nothing. Not even if he miraculously lived, not even if he got home- still, even then, there was so little to live for. He'd had so little to live for even before this game. How had he never seen it before? How had he never realized how useless, how meaningless, how irrelevant his whole life had been? He should've done this a long time ago. He should be able to do it now.

He steadied himself.


"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 hurled the gun into the ocean.

I...I can't...


Jasper-Declan pulled his knees up to his chest, curling into fetal position. Wracked by heaving sobs, hearing himself like he'd never heard himself; he sounded like his sister. Not like himself. This wasn't Jasper-Declan, Jasper-Declan did not cry but as he wiped the water from his face with his shirt, as these terrible noises escaped his chest, he knew he was breaking. He knew he had to get away from this, from himself, somehow. Just not like this. Not with a gun. Maybe that was what the gun was for after all. To make him realize exactly what it was he was running from.

He peeled off his shirt, and his pants besides, leaving him standing on the shore wearing only boxers and his chain, his birthmother's ring. He wondered, faintly, if she was watching, if she knew who he was. What did she think of him? He'd never know. Something else to regret. Not much time to regret, though. Not much time for anything.

The water was irresistible, even in the cold of the night. Midnight. Day 10, now. He'd made it so far, he'd done so well- that was something to be proud of, right? He hit the water, letting the ocean wash the tears from his eyes. Let it calm him. He felt so much better, then. He was in his element as he took off into the night like a fish fleeing a trap. ...Seems like an accurate analogy.

Beep.


He heard it, but he didn't hear it. It was there, but it went filed under "irrelevant". The beeping sound. He knew what it was, but wasn't that the point? Wasn't that what he wanted? If he really could've swam all the way from here to home, would he have wanted to?

Beep.

It was a real question. Did he mean it, what he'd been thinking, about how useless his life had been? Was he serious? Or was he just trying to convince himself? He didn't know. Sure, maybe he hadn't had the most exciting life, but there were good parts, too. He had a family. He had his art, and he had the water. Not much else, but that was okay. It had always been okay.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

It got colder, as he got further out. Deeper, too. But that was okay; swimming was what Jasper-Declan did, one of very few things he was sure about. He wished he could linger, say goodbye to the fish, to the seaweed, to even the taste of seawater but he knew his moments were running out. But that was okay, too. Maybe he would have gone home, if he was able. He could've started over. It was what Alex would've wanted. But he wasn't strong enough to try for that, or naive enough to believe in it. So he'd have to get away his own way. Hopefully Alex would understand.

Beepbeepbeepbeepbeep-

At least I got to see the ocean.

Perhaps...it was worth it, after all.








And in that final moment, there was something sharp, and new.



And then there was nothing, and the boy named Jasper-Declan wasn't there anymore.


RANK 93RD [JASPER-DECLAN MACDERMOTT] - DEAD
Edited by Hollyquin, May 15 2011, 12:15 PM.
being meguca is suffering

[V5] ALIVE:
[x] Aidan Flynn [B???] // Passing slowly though the vector, damp with fog, the bog that grows the former business sector...
[x] Chitose Saionji [G???] // 公園に千歳は本を読む!

[V5] CONCEPTS:
Winston Evans aced the last English test and would like to point out how gorgeous your shoes are.

Those Who've Known - V4
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