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Metastasis
Topic Started: May 19 2014, 04:24 AM (1,106 Views)
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((Joe Carrasco continued from Huddle.))

Joe had slept briefly in one of the classrooms. Very briefly. He'd woken up before the announcements. He thought about leaving the classroom and continuing the hunt for Travis. But he hadn't. Maybe he was a little scared, now that the last day had sunk in a bit more. That wasn't to say he'd reconsidered. Even now, he was poking about the classrooms. Picking up an old, half-used pad of Post-It notes and a pen. The glue on the notes was brittle and wouldn't stick to anything once he separated them from the rest.

Now he sat at a desk. Scythe next to his chair. Bent over the post-it notes. He would peel off one and write a name that he remembered. He would try and stick it on the table. Then he would write another name on another note. The pen kept running out and Joe kept having to shake it or go looking for another one, and writing them all on one piece of paper would make more sense. But this helped him think.

He had written down killers he could remember. He couldn't remember all of them. Mostly people who'd killed a lot, like Katarina Konipaski and Hansel Williams. Some who'd killed people he knew, like Joachim Lovelace and Eliza Patton. He added Cody Patton, too. He knew between them they had a high body count, but he couldn't remember who'd killed who. Travis was on a post-it, too. His was underlined. Some of them had little marks next to their names. A little dash if Joe didn't have a face to associate with the name, like with Joachim, Eliza and Katarina. He could walk into one of them and probably not notice. ...Though given the amount of murder to their names, they were likely to shoot him on sight. Cody, he knew by sight. Hansel... he and Hansel went to the same church. Sometimes they talked. Joe knew Hansel pretty well, as far as people went. Conservative views aside, he'd never seemed like the guy to fly off the handle this badly.

Joe stared at the post-its. He looked at a name he could place the face to, and it became much more difficult to contemplate killing them. It was easier when he only knew the name.

“They are names. They are dangerous names. If you think of them as people, this will be harder,” Joe said out loud. “You can think about them however you want once you've dealt with them. Right now? They're not people. They're murderers. Not people. Murderers.”

It didn't help.

The air crackled as the speakers came online, and the kills and deaths were listed. Joe started scribbling the murderers down as they were announced. Jenna Rhodes. Maynard Hurst. Cody again—

R.J was dead. Joe's scribbling stopped. He stopped for long enough that he entirely forgot to write down the name of his murderer. Not that it mattered. She was dead already. Joe came to his senses in time to write down the avenger. Madeleine Wilcox.

Can't think about R.J.

Think about the killers.


Hansel again. Twice. What was wrong with him? How could someone kill... how many had he killed? Many. Maybe as many as Maximilian. Maybe more. Sharon Austin. Benja—Ben had killed again before Joe had gotten him. He'd been too late to stop that murder. But... but there would be no third one. Joe felt relief flood his stomach for a brief moment. Followed by disgust. It was wrong either way. ...But he'd had his doubts over Ben. And now he saw that Ben's babbling about building a shelter to stay safe was bullshit. No-one went out to slash throats if they just wanted to stay safe.

Joe felt a tight feeling in his chest when Aileen was mentioned. With no other outlet available, he just underlined Travis' name a second time.

Jessica was dead. Joe stopped again. He stopped long enough that he almost missed the rest of the announcement, including his own name. His hand went on autopilot and wrote down his name, as well as whoever the last killer was. He didn't recognise the name or have a face to put with it.

Had he been the last person to see her alive? Could he have done something? And would he have wanted to? He owed her, didn't he? The first thing he'd done on the island was take away her ally and then run and abandon her. He abandoned her again yesterday, instead running off to get Aileen killed.

...Drowning seemed like a nice death, though. Better than most others here.

Can't think about drowning or Jessica. Focus.

Joe looked down at the little mass of post-it notes. Twelve. If he included his own name. Joe frowned at it before peeling it off. He stuck it in his pocket. Then he eyed the post-it that said 'Madeleine Wilcox.' After a long stretch of consideration, he picked up the post-it, crumpled it up and threw it away. He continued to stare at the other ten.

“Murderers. Not people. Murderers,” he murmured.

He still didn't believe it.
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((Marcus Leung: B047 - V5 - Continued From Last Stop Château de Vincennes))

His heart stopped beating rapidly a while ago. The goosebumps weren't even there anymore. Everything was...clear. Was it so easy to get use to? Was it suppose to be? He questioned himself. It wouldn't change what it was, but clarity was a precious thing. Marcus would certainly appreciate it.

That was enough to be thinking about though. He had walked into a school. Marcus liked school. Well, parts of school. Well, hanging out with people at school and sometimes drawing. Yeah, he liked that. Ah, but he shouldn't be thinking about that either. The others probably weren't thinking about taking classes again. Or maybe they were. He wasn't exactly unique.

Even though he felt that was the way it was suppose to be, déjà vu was uncontrollable. Even as he stepped into the classroom, Marcus only had memories. They were only made more powerful when he saw Joe alone, muttering to himself. Good times.

Marcus made a surprised face and stepped back out of the doorway. One hand reached over the door threshold and knocked. He then peaked his head out, taking his cap off briefly as a greeting.

"Hello."
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Joe was startled enough by the sound of knocking that his hand automatically went to the scythe. He didn't lift it or swing it. He just kept a hand on it as he turned around. He heard the greeting at the same time.

And there was Marcus.

After over a week of searching and hoping each day that Marcus wouldn't be on the announcements. Waiting and dreading hearing he'd been killed by the Theodores and Maximilians... or that he'd killed and become one himself. But it had never happened, and now Marcus was here.

The only day it hadn't been in his mind was today.

Joe climbed out of his chair, the post-its and all the bad thoughts gone, at least for a moment.

He tried to say hello. All that came out was a “hhhn.' And then he dived forward and hugged Marcus tightly. He never would have a week ago. He was always too shy, always afraid Marcus would figure out that Joe had a little bit of a thing for him. But who cared now? And when would he ever have the chance again?

So he clung to Marcus, tightly enough to confirm that he wasn't some cruel hallucination. Hallucinations didn't smell like someone who hadn't washed for a week.

“Tried... tried to find you,” Joe mumbled. His voice was muffled.
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Pain.

Joe gave very tight hugs.

Marcus' spine hurt.

A quick squeeze back, a pat on the shoulder, and strained prying came after.

His hands rested on Joe's shoulders, trying to remember how to breathe so he could respond. Joe had been trying to find him, evidently.

"W-w-" -Hack- "Well...you succeeded. Good job."

Air is heavily undervalued.
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“Oh. Um... sorry, I... sorry.” Joe let go, backing away and putting several feet of space between them. The brief moment of happiness had passed, and now along with the old worries there was a whole pile of new ones.

“Uhhhh... I, uh... do you have food? I mean, I have food, I'm not asking for food. I mean, do you need food? Because you can have some of mine. Or most of it. I don't need much. Water? Other stuff? Because, I... uh... yeah, you can... stuff.”

Joe shifted from foot to foot as he babbled, waving his hand at the corner that he'd left his bag in. And now he couldn't look at Marcus.

There were a lot of things he wanted to ask or say. Instead he just turned around, absently fiddling with one of the post-it notes he had laid out.
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"Mmm, no, I'm good."

Joe's offer was kind in heart, but needless, really. Marcus had kept himself full enough, ate what he needed and not much else. Sort of like a diet. He certainly felt a bit lighter.

His stomach rumbled.

"Okay, I'm a bit hungry. But I got my own food though, so no worries."

Marcus pulled up a chair and sat at a table, opening his bag for food to eat.

"So what have you been up to? Heard your names on the announcement."

Marcus pulled out a loaf of bread.
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There were a lot of things Joe could have said to that. Back home, Marcus had always been ridiculously patient about listening to his problems. Really kind. Didn't go 'oh, shut up' when Joe went on for too long. Typically, those problems didn't include being a double murderer. The closest was his father's constant remarks about how if Joe stayed lazy and didn't remember certain things he would kill a patient one day.

Joe opened his mouth to say 'I killed two people and I'm going to try and kill more.' What he actually said was, "It's nothing. There's nothing to talk about."

He started digging his nails into the palms of his hands again, peeling bits away from the old blisters. Once he realised he was doing it, he stuck his hands into his pocket. He turned around and studied Marcus.

"...You look tired."

Marcus always looked kind of tired. But not this tired.

"What have you been doing?"
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Marcus chewed on his bread as he listened to Joe explain his murders. Or rather, not explain. Everyone had their reasons, Marcus knew. He maintained his casualness as Joe questioned his tired face.

"I always look tired."

And here Marcus was, thinking he was finally getting enough beauty sleep. The circles around his eyes had depleted into a grayish-purple rather then their usual blackish-purple. Perhaps he was more worn out then he realized. Not the time to think about, however.

"I haven't done much, honestly. Nothing too strange, at least in comparison. Oh, did a pretend marriage though. Other then that...nooope. Nothing else I imagine is too unusual."

That was the truth and nothing more.
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"A pretend marriage?" That was perhaps the last thing Joe had expected to hear. "...Why? With who?"

He was distracted enough by the question, some lingering memories of prom and Marcus looking really good in a tuxedo and wondering where his fake wife was, to briefly forget about the rest of it. But he didn't feel like 'nothing else' could be the answer to anything on this island. He knew how false his similar answer about his week was.

But maybe this just wasn't the time to press for more answers.

"I guess we're all tired at this point."
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"Uhhh...Phoebe...Cho? Yeah, Cho. Phoebe Cho. Y'know the one. Or maybe you don't know. I don't know man. But uhhh...it was mostly because she asked and I said, well, alright then."

Questions to answers, answers to questions. It was the routine nowadays.

"We've had a long past few days. Being tired is nothing to be ashamed about."

...

"You have anything that's keeping you tired?"
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Joe knew the name. No face to match with it. "Well, uh. Congratulations on your marriage. I guess?" Okay, so he wasn't feeling all congratulatory about it. But it was polite.

He removed a hand from his pocket, drumming his fingers against the post-it notes. "Lots of things. I was looking for people. I mean... there was you." You're the only one that turned up okay. "I... I found Travis, too." Psychotic murderer. "There were others. I didn't find them." Theodore and Miles found them first. "So I'm done with that now."

Joe tapped the post-it note that said 'Christopher Harlin' a couple of times absently. Last one he'd written down, while he'd been distracted. One, two, three. He shuffled the notes around a bit, so that the people he knew were in one line, and the ones he had no faces for were on the other.

He pointed at the no-faces row. Joachim. Eliza. Katarina. Jenna. Maynard. Sharon. Christopher.

"I'm looking for them now. Do you know what any of them look like?"

Was it wrong to ask? Would that make Marcus an accessory to murder? Would it mean Marcus would be marked as bad, too?
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Marcus squinted at the list of post-it notes he had been pointed to. Interesting. Marcus was not right on believing these people were Joe's friends, not most of them, considering what he remembered about them. Perhaps Maynard or Sharon, but he doubted Joe hung out with people like Eliza or Christopher. Same could have been said about Travis, but there's an exception to every rule.

"Joachim...kinda tall-ish guy, keeps to himself, mousy brown hair. Eliza is Cody's brother, y'know the football player, kind of a punk rocker I guess, has a mohawk. Katarina's ginger I think. ...Jenna went to our church didn't she? Pretty sure she did. Maynard actually kinda looks like Joachim, to me, but shorter and with spiffier clothes. Sharon is also ginger, but more Carrot-Top ginger.. Christopher's a football player, big guy, also has a mohawk."

He leaned back into his chair after finishing looking at the list.

"Hope that helps...sooo, why these folks?"
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Joe quickly scribbled notes on each appearance as Marcus listed them. Some of them set off little alarm bells in his memory. Appearances that he remembered, even if he'd never known the name to link to them.

"It... it helps."

He felt a lump in his throat form as Marcus asked why. Did he explain? Would it maybe be better if Marcus didn't know? Ignorance is bliss, after all. But that would only last if Joe never killed any of them. The moment he turned up on the announcements again, Marcus would know. Maybe it was better to be upfront. Maybe either way Marcus would hate him for it. How could he be okay with it, once he knew?

"They're killers." Joe shut his eyes. Couldn't look at Marcus. "Most of them will keep killing. I'm... I'm going to try and kill them first. ...Sorry. I... I... I should have said it first, but... but I needed to know."

Fifty kids left. At least a fifth of them were killers. Probably more that Joe couldn't remember. A high chance of running into a killer that Joe wouldn't be able to recognise. He had to ask. It was necessary. He didn't want to drag Marcus into it.
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"So it's beneficial to kill people to stop them from killing?"

Marcus kept his tone in-accusatory.

Genuine curiosity helped.

Joe wasn't always one to make his own path, so Marcus couldn't help be intrigued. Maybe it was too personal, but he'd always be wondering otherwise.

And maybe, just maybe, he could help.
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"Beneficial? ...Maybe. I don't know. Maybe it doesn't make a difference. But trying to stop them killing through peaceful means just doesn't work."

Joe still had his eyes shut.

"I just want them to stop. And this is the only way they stop. Can't let anyone else do it, because if someone kills someone they become the killer. But I'm already one of them, see?"

And he was spilling to Marcus again. Because Marcus still wasn't making him feel judged. But this was something he should be judged for. He would be, once someone killed him. God didn't forgive murder. Marcus shouldn't still be polite. He shouldn't be sitting there, calmly eating bread after two-thirds of their classmates had died. No-one could be happily calm right now. Calm didn't mean good. Jessica had been pretty calm the last time they met. Maybe strained. But calm. And then she'd drowned herself.

Joe tilted his head, eyes open now. He looked back at Marcus. "You're not... going to do anything, are you?"
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