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Dyspnoea
Topic Started: Aug 12 2013, 04:26 PM (1,213 Views)
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((Joe Carrasco continued from Come on, Everypony! Smile, smile, smile!))

Joe had been running as much as he could, as far as he could, since he'd been woken up that morning by Danya's disturbingly nonchalant voice.

Chuck was dead.

Joe hadn't been able to find him in time. Maybe he'd wasted too much time burying Jason or pushing Dan into the sea. What if he'd been faster. Maybe he could have stopped it... But he hadn't, and now Chuck... now Chuck would never grin at him and make jokes or drag him away from his studying to play video games ever again.

Who would even attack Chuck? Who could look at Chuck and think 'I should throw something deadly at him'? This time, Joe knew. He knew Miles. He'd never talked to him, but Travis was good friends with him and talked about him a lot. Plus, Miles had made that speech... become vice president of the student council. Unlike Theodore, Miles was not a blank in Joe's mind.

He had to find Miles. He still didn't know what he would do upon finding him. Even less sure with Miles. The announcement made it sound like Chuck's death was... an accident? Something about throwing a weapon carelessly.

The fact that Chuck's death might have been an accident didn't make it any better. And it didn't make him hate Miles any less. Especially since it was so much easier to hate a face instead of just hating a name and a vague description.

With each day, the list of friends Joe had to find dwindled. Now he had two to find. Travis and Marcus. And two others. Theodore and Miles. Always four people to find, if for different reasons. Maybe sometimes he thought about others, but in the end it was always four.

So he ran. Because he needed to find them as fast as possible. He needed to find them before another Theodore or another Miles reached them first. And after running for so long, most of it just trying to get out of the woodlands where the only distinguishing marker was Jason's grave, he'd found buildings. And he'd ended up at a hotel.

He'd climbed the stairs as fast as he could. He was out of breath. He wasn't unfit, but nor was he a runner. He was more used to biking, and even then he hadn't done much intense bike activity for months.

He reached the upper floors, panting heavily. Sweat was soaking his white t-shirt. His scraped hands were stinging again. His pack felt like it weighed ten times what it should have.

He doubled over and breathed in and out, regaining what air he could as he stared at the hallway, with many doors leading off into rooms. Then he yelled as loud as he could.

“Travis? Marcus?” he bellowed. “Hello? Travis? Marcus?”

Someone answered.
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((Rutherford "R.J." Roger Jr.: B032 -V5- Continued From I'll be Their Bogeyman))

Itchy. Itchy knuckles and burning ears. R.J. gnawed on the new bandages around his knuckles on one hand, alternatively switching with the other the responsibility of comforting an ear. One of his fingers had found his way trapped around a curly lock of hair.

And he began to think, slowly and clearly.

"I'm fuckin' up."

He killed someone. A person only needed one kill and survive the game to go home. Ironic. R.J. felt like he had just bought a big target and nailed it to his skull. It was all because he was so selfish. If he had just stayed in the coffin, like he planned in the first place, none of this would have happened. But no, he decided his life was worth something at the last second and shot his way out of the coffin. And because of that, a girl was dead. Cause and effect at it's most simple form.

Bastard.

It even felt vile to think of it as an accident. It probably wasn't. He had saw...something. And he fired. No questions, no hesitation, just bullets and terror. He wondered how that would go in a courtroom. Manslaughter? Tragic mistake? A victim of the situation? Not like it mattered. All of it was murder on this place.

Monster.

And he had probably just screwed over the few who committed the mistake of still caring about him. The girl's friends would try to kill him, and those they knew he was close to. Stupid, so fucking stupid. Not only that, but he was hiding again. Something he had decided not to do since the first day and he kept constantly doing. Because that had worked so well the other times.

Dumbass.

At least he could only hurt himself in here, nibbling the itchy knuckles and conveniently staring at his favorite M.C. Escher piece. Three Worlds.

Hollow, staticky yells.

...

No. He had ended a life by deciding to live, he would just ruin someone's day by making his presence known. Nibble and stare. That's all he needed to do.

He poked out his head from the door.

".....hello?"

Fucking dumbass.
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Rutherford.

R.J to his friends, of which Joe... well, wasn't. Not really. He liked Ruth, but wasn't comfortable enough around him to talk properly. Most of their interactions had involved Joe stammering in the direction of R.J's knees, but... that sort of counted as conversation.

They went to the same church. They'd helped with the church bake sale. Ruth had said that Joe made nice brownies, and Joe had promised to make him some to eat, specially for him, someday. He'd made cookies instead.

Ruth wasn't Travis or Marcus. But... he was someone that wasn't a stranger.

Joe stared back for a few long moments. Still catching his breath, having lost it all again during his shouting.

“...Hi,” he forced out.

He started feeling his daypack for the opening.

“I, um... cookies. Yours.”
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Head rush. Blind speckles. Maybe he had just stood up to fast. Maybe the hallway was too bright. Maybe his eyes were feeling the affects of going too long with out the glasses. But for a few seconds, R.J. could see nothing but shots of white and black. Not even a single faded splotchy shape.

In...and back again.

Joe. And not the one he wanted to see. It's not like R.J. was any better then Joe at this point, but the way his killing of Meyers was described...

No. The terrorists, the bad guys, they had probably twisted the scenario. Like Joe was some kind of psycho, like he had turned crazy on the first day. Who does that?

Joe was trying to make a conversation. Weird. At least R.J. thought that was what Joe was doing. The words...barely audible. It didn't seem like he was mumbling.

"ook you"

Look you? R.J. didn't understand. What was Joe trying to say? Why couldn't he hear right?

Joe reached for something in his bag. R.J. didn't know what to do. But his gut had a plan. His legs backpedaled to the bed, hands grabbing the gun on top of it. He aimed it at Joe.

"Stop...just...stop."

Fear came with his personal setting around him falling.
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Joe let go of his bag the moment R.J raised the gun. He put his hands in the air on instinct. It was like waking up on the island all over again. R.J probably had his loaded, though. Not like Jason.

Joe did feel fear curl up in his stomach, but it wasn't the same as when Jason had turned up with a gun, or when he'd seen Finn trying to grab it. It was more the sort of fear that accompanied running out of time when doing an exam.

Silently and slowly, so as to not startle R.J, Joe slid the strap of the daypack off his shoulder and placed the bag delicately on the ground. Then he took a step back, hands raised again.

He didn't really have to say anything. Probably couldn't if he'd tried. But R.J probably wouldn't shoot him... he wasn't that sort of guy. And if he did...

Well. Then he did. Nothing Joe could do about that. Or at least nothing he would do. Not after the last time. Better to be shot than try and hurt anyone else.
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Joe did what a normal person would do. Because he was normal and not crazy. Not like R.J...

Fuck up.

Here he was pointing a gun at someone he prayed with every Sunday. Somebody who was being perfectly rational, not being insane like the killing and breakdowns had led R.J. to believe.

Asshole.

And again here he was, pointing a loaded gun at an innocent. Not even as a bluff. He had all but forgotten to just use it as a tool. Now it was just a poor weapon.

And if his finger had actually found it's way to the trigger, it might have just been used that way. Unjustified, for the second time that day.

He lowered his gun and clawed at his hair with his empty hand. He looked away from Joe and sat on the bed, staring at his shoes, obvious signs of dried chipping blood on them. He said nothing. R.J. was thinking of apologizing, but he decided not to. There was no point.

Saying sorry meant there was a chance of being forgiven.
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...This was awkward. Even for Joe.

He continued to linger in the doorway when R.J sat down, not saying anything. Just uncomfortable silence. Out of habit, Joe looked down because it was always easier to talk to shoes than faces.

There was dry blood on R.J's shoes. Like he'd walked through a puddle of it. Joe felt a wave of nausea and fear at the thought of how much someone would have to bleed to lose that much blood, and he could practically smell that thick, coppery smell just by thinking about it. He started scratching his palms again, nails digging into the skin and scraping away little flakes of it. He glanced at his jeans, where there were still obvious red stains even though he'd tried to wash them.

R.J having blood on his shoes didn't mean anything, right? He could have just found a body. There were so many bodies around, and more by the hour... Chuck and Gabby included. Travis and Marcus could be joining them.

“Um... hah... have y-y-you...”

He couldn't stop looking at R.J's shoes. It was probably not his fault. R.J wouldn't have killed someone. Right? He wasn't that kind of...

“Did, um... your shoes, uh...”

No, that didn't matter, he didn't want to make R.J talk about horrible things like that. No, he needed to focus on finding people. He just needed to ask if R.J had seen anybody and then move on. ...Those shoes were so stained. No, don't even think about...

Joe trailed off, making noises so vague he himself wasn't sure what he was trying to say.
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R.J. gave a look back to Joe. The other man was trying to say something. He focused very closely on to to Joe's voice thinking it would help him hear. It helped a little.

R.J.'s shoes. The "have you" must have been asking if he had killed anyone. Cat was out of the bag, might as well be honest.

"I...murdered a girl."

Joe would have found out come next morning, but it was still better then lying till the anouncements came on. Almost like a confession. Except without the part of being able to do something to make up for it.

His look had become furrowed and inflared. He was a bad guy now. Or at least that's what everyone would think. R.J. had now grasped the gun with both of his hands, seeming like he was choking it. Dammit, he knew everything was his fault. No one to blame but himself.

...

He would be avoided. Rejected, excluded, exiled. Jailed to an open room of solitude. Everyone would think of him as evil, a weak boy who gave in. The weak part was true, but he wasn't evil. As far as he knew. He doubted that even the few killers on this island could all be truly evil.

Still. He could use this. R.J. glanced back at the Three Worlds. Time for a change in perspective. Paint things in a faux-black. It'd be a terrible lie. One that some would believe, some who would be fearful of him. Maybe that could be a good thing, being rewarded with all the hatred. He wasn't much for words, or a very good actor. But he could try.

With a false smirk of confidence, R.J. looked right into Joe's eyes.

"It was kind of ...exciting. The adrenaline, the thrill."

He lifted one shoe off the ground, revealing even more of the dark cherry stains, holding back the bile in his throat.

"The marks."

He loosely pointed the gun at Joe again, imitating the scene that didn't happen.

"Sorry for the, um, jumpiness. Ya never know who it'll be y'know? She didn't. Killing takes a lot of energy out of a guy. "

Giving a shaky smirk again, R.J. hoped this worked.

"Please...just go Joe."
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Joe took a few long moments to digest this, during which his chain of expressions could be compared to someone flipping a rock to find something slimy and repulsive underneath, followed by a long period of trying to figure out whether it was also poisonous, and if so to what degree.

Eventually, he managed to form words.

“Bullshit.”

No stammering. He sounded much calmer than he actually felt.

“You're either lying about everything. Or just lying about enjoying it.”

Joe didn't fumble over his words. But disgust came through in every syllable. Because whether he was right or wrong, and he wasn't even sure which he wanted to believe... whether R.J was a happy murderer, just a murderer or just a liar... whether he was pretending to take murder lightly or actually taking it lightly enough to be casual about someone's death, or even casual enough to lie that he'd killed and treat the scenario so lightly...

All the options were disgusting to some degree.

And Joe was disgusting, too, because he had blood on his hands. He knew first-hand how revolting it was. So... he didn't think about his words or get scared about what R.J thought about him and what he'd done, because what did he have to fear (other than death) from a guy who was as gross as he was?

“Whatever you're doing... just...” Words failed at that point. And instead, Joe just shook his head.
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Bullshit. Lying. R.J. had heard enough to know Joe didn't believe him. Shit. What does a guy have to do to get someone to take him seriously? Apparently more than murder.

Casually, he shrugged. He searched his bag and grabbed the empty magazine from earlier. He flashed it to Joe and then threw it at his feet.

"Sorry I'm not baked to my jeans in someone else's blood. But the shoes and the mag don't lie."

Non-chalant. He had to be non-chalant. He picked a bit at his ear while he lied on the bed.

"Killing was fun, but I think I'll be sitting out here for a while...I already got my ticket home. No need to run into anymore trouble."

He yawned and stretched and turned his back to Joe.

"'Less you got something important to say, I'ma take a nap. Don't let the door hit you on the way out...or do. Whatever."

He could feel himself shivering. He had to buck up. He couldn't let Joe see him like this. If Joe gets a headstart, it'll be easier for him to adjust once he realizes in the morning.

"Please...leave me...it's easy this way"
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Joe stayed silent. His arms crossed and eyes narrowed.

He still didn't buy it. But whatever R.J was actually feeling, he'd still definitely killed someone. The empty clip and the blood were proof of that, mixed with everything else. Joe knew it wasn't Travis or Marcus, because he'd said 'she.' He... knew girls that he was friendly with, and part of him wanted to know if it'd been one of them. But the rest of him didn't. He didn't want to face that possibility.

And maybe at another time, he would have stayed. Because he wasn't sure why R.J would lie. He just felt like the reason, whatever it was, was... not a good thing. For some reason, he felt like he'd been in this situation before, though that was ridiculous. He'd never met a murderer before. And he couldn't even really say why he thought staying might have been a good idea. Just that... he felt like R.J needed help, and his first instinct whenever he thought someone needed help... was to help.

But not this time. Travis and Marcus were priorities. And R.J was a murderer. Murderers didn't deserve help. Murderers didn't deserve anything.

Joe stepped back and picked up his daypack. He opened it and located the package of chocolate chip cookies meant for R.J. Joe threw it at him, and it bounced off his back before landing softly on the bed.

"I didn't make brownies. But those were for you," he said. The words were perfectly pleasant, but the tone was still one of cold revulsion. "Don't do anything stupid. Anything else stupid. Whatever you're doing."

He probably wouldn't see R.J again on the island. But he knew where they were both heading, so it probably wasn't good-bye forever.

"See you later."

((Joe Carrasco continued in Solo Queue.))
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R.J. waited, now staring out the opening to the balcony. He held the gun closer to his chest, wondering if Joe had left him yet. He sure hoped so. Ruth had all but used all his tricks besides the SMG. And he couldn't use that. Needed to be responsible.

A quick bounce of an object off his back made R.J. pull his weapon even closer. The top of it scratched his chin. You. Stupid. Stupid. Later. R.J. peeked back at an empty hallway.

It worked. Joe didn't close the door, but he wasn't there anymore. Joe probably despised R.J. Something had went right. R.J. released a coughing fit, his throat being strained from all that talking and lying. He got up and walked over to the balcony, still coughing very hard. He gagged.

Falling to his knees and holding the railing, R.J. let the water out of his eyes. Odd. He hadn't cried over gagging or throwing up since he was little. He was use to it by now. A professional even. He felt less...nasty. Like some of the bad stuff inside him was gone.

After some time, R.J. was ready to leave too. He stood up and went to grab his stuff. A packet lied on the bed.

"...?"

R.J. grabbed and inspected it. Cookies were inside.

He popped a few into his mouth as he left the hotel. Might as well. Staying in comfort wouldn't be fair to the girl or joe.

((Rutherford "R.J." Roger Jr.: B032 -V5- Continued Prying Your Head Off a Swivel))
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