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The Last Battle
Topic Started: Jun 20 2013, 12:56 AM (464 Views)
Imehal
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The Captain America of alien fighting.
[ *  *  * ]
[B052: Carlon Wheeler - Start]

With his eyes closed, it was easy for Carlon to tell himself that it was just dead wood painted cream countless times over under his fingers; a multi-layered blockade that he could push open with just one gesture. Yet he could not step forward to cross the threshold. Instead he stood pondering the obscure connection between him and that door. Paint could be removed by stripper as if it were nothing, which was precisely how easily that he felt he could lose his confidence. Held together between self-belief, logical thought and a friendly smile, but all it would take was one badly chosen phrase to catapult him back to exactly what he was.

That said, it was not the voices that could be heard through the door that he feared, though they hardly helped the efforts he was putting in to hold the facade in place. Nor was it the glimpses of sunlight that brightened the edges of the black world he had locked himself within, teasing of the bold, bright outdoors that accompanied this first step into a world he never wished to know. Chess Club had never been this daunting; passion had overcome everything else there. It was not like picking up another genre or author for the first time either. There was rarely anything he read that he did not love, and there had never been a shortage of fantastic recommendations from his fellow bookworms at the Book Club.

Despite being unable to describe the feeling that held him fast, Carlon understood perfectly why it was so hard to apply the pressure to the door that he felt under his palm, perfectly held smile faltering into a flicker of a frown. Softly spoken, quietly self-assured, he had always been encouraged to be more by those that loved him – saw much more in him than smarts and a solid moral compass. If you’re smart, his brother had asked him so often, why do you never use all that brainpower to figure out that you can so easily be more than just your mind?

Sounds beyond the doors; footsteps. Carlon flinched, fingernails scraping against the chipped paint of the door, eyes twitching with the effort it took to keep them closed and keep the world from getting to him. Breathe in, out. In, out. Speech interrupted the illusion he had created around himself; ones that he recognised all the same. Names eluded him, and as the voices grew in number and volume he stepped back from the door before the reality shattered all illusions that he had tried to hold to banish the unfathomable, sickening reality that lay beyond the walls of the dilapidated house he had woken up inside.

His juxtaposition of the anxieties and fears about joining the track team was been a delaying tactic at best. A way to keep the smile affixed and to pretend that he and his friends – his classmates and their friends too – were not the victims of one of the worst kidnappings the modern world was likely to ever see. It was effort towards the same goal that kept him from opening the door until tensions had relaxed. He had enough trouble trying to overcome his failings at the best of times, let alone when there was loaded weaponry involved. Just wait it out. No one’s gonna shoot each other on day one. No one at the school is that harsh.

“... Peaceful agreement about not killing one another.”

The words should have sounded ridiculous after everything Carlon had heard and seen courtesy of their twisted captors, but instead he found comfort in the fact that everyone had not immediately turned to violence and selfishness once loaded weaponry was placed into their hands. He held his breath and waited to see if the situation would deescalate, his hand already finding its place on the rusted inner handle of the front door. It stayed there as he crouched to scoop up the two bags that he had woken up beside, the newest one emblazoned with the pristine white reminder of the game they were pieces within.

It was packed full of equipment that they would be expected to need, but his tatty familiar backpack was practically empty. Gone was his phone, books and anything that the organisers had deemed unfit to be taken onto the island. He was loath to abandon what little possessions he had left - his travel chess set, a plastic bookmark and the little cross that was tucked beneath his t-shirt. Each held memories that Carlon had no doubt he would need to tackle whatever lay beyond the door.

“Come on, it’s just a door. It can’t hurt you.”

This piece of wood had survived everything that had happened since this place had fallen into disuse and desolation. Even if you stripped it bare of its outer layers it would stand true, but could he do the same when the time came that everything around challenged everything that he was and wanted to be? Carlon sought the tiny metal cross against his skin, and possessions that were more precious to him than whatever weapon he had been assigned by the terrorists through the fabric of the bag.

It’s just a door, but it has the right idea.

He would survive as the person that he had come onto this island. He would struggle to speak, stumble over words that sounded so articulate echoing through his mind but there was strength in knowing that the people who loved him could watch and see the person that loved him; that he loved back. The problem, Carlon swiftly realised listening through the door, would be figuring out how to do that whilst interacting with his classmates. He could not avoid them forever, but every rule that he had carefully tried to follow to succeed at social interaction no longer applied.

He could go outside and introduce himself, but he did not recognise any of the voices and he felt like he needed to see a friend right now. Someone he could trust, or at least people who were not pointing loaded guns at one another at first sight. That, unfortunately, meant risking leaving the safety of the house he had woken up in and travelling elsewhere. It was not much of a plan, but it was better than staying here and waiting for the people shouting outside to find him. He knew where his strengths lay, and none of them would serve him well if there were coarse, tense teenagers demanding answers from him. So, with that thought in mind Carlon retreated from the voices and headed for the back door to get away and catch his breath, so he could face this place as the person he was and not the person the terrorists wanted him to be.

[Carlon Wheeler travels on in There ain't no more cowboys, only men with violent hearts]
Edited by Imehal, Jun 20 2013, 02:42 PM.
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