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Sinner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
Topic Started: Jun 1 2014, 05:57 PM (558 Views)
SansaSaver
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((Maynard Hurst continued from Miles Behind Us))

Maynard spend the rest of the previous day steeling himself for the inevitable, for James discovering what he’d done, formulating justifications and the like that left a sour taste in his mouth. He tried telling himself it was the best thing to do, that lying about why he’d killed Adam was the only way he could keep James to stay with him. When the announcement crackled about the island he knew he’d lose any chance of finding allies amidst what few of his classmates there were left, and there was no chance of him surviving or having any purpose or being useful if he didn’t have someone alongside him. James was his last chance, and he knew that if he screwed everything up with him, there’d be no going back, no more friends, no one left on this island who could possibly want to be in his presence, let alone stay by his side.

As it was, he needn’t have worried. James had reacted as well as he’d expected, but he’d listened, had given Maynard a moment to explain and to justify and to beg him to stay, and in spite of him having every reason to abandon and leave him, as with everybody else, he hadn’t. He’d promised to stay with him, promised to stay by his side and not to leave him. Everything he’d been so scared of happening hadn’t happened, for the first time in a long while.

And then the tail end of the announcement had driven a wrench into their alliance.

He hadn’t paid all that much attention to the kill awards the terrorists had been giving out until that moment, often too shellshocked by the daily tolls to take notice of anything else. But then they’d said that he was a winner, right after expressing joy that he wasn’t hiding behind other people any longer. He’d wanted to yell at that point, wanted to scream out that he didn’t deserve to be awarded for taking away one of the last good guys in this place - and it was true, Adam deserved to be in his place, deserved to still be alive and well infinitely more. Would it be right for him to collect what they’d given him? Did it even matter anymore? It seemed disgusting to retrieve the prize, as though he’d had to snuff out Adam to get it, but it wasn’t as if he’d wanted to kill Adam to get some food and a nice flashy gun, didn’t want to be first-prize winner in some sick contest. This was cruel; he hadn’t killed Adam accidentally, but it wasn’t done in malice either, it was... indescribable. Taking the weapon would mean he’d been fine with taking Adam away, and he wasn’t - could never be - but leaving it there would be just as bad, wouldn’t it? If he retrieved it, it’d be almost like Adam dying had meant something, and if he left it there then that’d be pointless - leaving desperately needed food and protection for nobody to ever obtain, and wouldn’t that just be stupid, stupid like he’d felt ever since he’d woken up in this place? And it wasn’t as if he was planning on killing anybody else, so it’d be safer with him, right?

Maynard had choked back the chaos his thoughts had become and the protests he wished to exude, and glanced at his reflection in a murky pool of water - scrawny, delicate Maynard with his oversized polearm and rattling figure - and reached to retrieve another ration bar and realised he only had one left, and his mind was made up for him. He and James had agreed to meet-up again right after he’d retrieved what they’d given him - a gun and a basket of fried chicken. Then they’d split, and Maynard had reluctantly parted ways with him, each footstep away from his ally heavy with fear that James wouldn’t be there when he returned, fear about stepping out on his own once again.

Every step he took in the hotel’s lobby echoed around him, the area otherwise completely silent save for the occasional light breeze of wind and his shaking breaths. Bodies were scattered about him, the scorched remnants of former classmates strewn in pieces around the area, and the sight made him feel dizzy enough to faint, but he forced his eyes and made himself pretend they didn’t exist, disregarded the unmistakeable stench of decaying flesh lodged into his nostrils, and continued onwards, step after shaking step. His fingers were entwined white-knuckled around his sword and his bags, nervousness continued to trickle through him in spite of the danger zone being ‘his’ for awhile. Just returning to the place where he’d ruined everything made him feel sick, even without factoring that he was there to retrieve an award for it. But he had to - if he didn’t then the food and weapon would merely go to waste. Maynard wasn’t stupid; having survived this far seemed a miracle by itself, but he knew he wouldn’t last much longer with only his naginata for protection - and the food would help keep up his energy, as well as being the perfect way to keep James with him. Who’d say no to a morsel of nicely cooked food, right?

He found the award easily enough; it was propped up in the midst of the receptionist’s desk - an unadorned box, a floral pitcher brimming with tea, and a basket lined with checkered paper towels in red-and-white, stuffed to the brim with crispy chicken. The heavenly aroma wafted into the air and permeated his nostrils, causing salvia to pool in his mouth and pangs of hunger to explode within his stomach. He hadn’t eaten chicken for years, not since he was eleven and that baby lamb on that school trip had tugged on his heartstrings so much that he couldn’t bear the thought of ending an animal’s life.

He wanted to slip the basket into one hand and the weapon and pitcher into the other, to pivot on his heel and leave the hotel without a moment lingering in the area, wanted to hold onto that one singular element of past-Maynard, Maynard before he’d lost every part of himself that he thought he knew, the part that cried when he saw an injured animal and always checked the back of groceries to check they were kosher. But the rumble in his stomach and the exhaustion on his shoulders and the need for something that wasn’t death and abandonment and fear made him slip his fingers into the basket, withdraw a wing so perfectly cooked the skin crumbled beneath his fingers and place it into his mouth. The second the tender morsel hit his tongue, Maynard forgot about his vows, forgot about retaining that element, forgot about anything that wasn’t stuffing his face until he was doubled-over on his side, gasping for air and wiping away the food caked haphazardly around his mouth. He would’ve kept going, but he needed to keep some for James as a thank you present, and his fingers were burning so intensely, lingering warmth of the chicken having leeched into his skin and causing them to throb with pain.

Maynard placed the basket back where he’d found it and moved over to the weapon, curiosity propelling him onwards as he delicately opened up the box it’d been delivered it, eyes filtering over the note identifying what exactly it was - ‘Beretta 93R (9mm machine pistol)’, apparently, though the name was nothing to him. It was so shiny and sleek, just like the onyx desk upon which it’d been placed, something new and special, just for him. And Adam, because Adam had helped him get it, so it was really Adam’s weapon, truthfully, because what use would it be to him, scrawny little sidekick, compared to Adam, the stoic and brave leader? It looked dangerous and scary, as though it could explode within his hands at any moment, and he was half tempted to leave it there and run just with the chicken, but he’d come this far and maybe, maybe having this gun would help him find a purpose, maybe, maybe after everything had fallen to pieces this gun would set him back up, turn over a new chapter in his life, a chapter without Adam or Natali or Gwen or anybody whom he’d loved and then lost like they were infinitesimally small specks of dust in an endless vacuum.

He didn’t know if it would, or even if that’d be a good thing, but there was only one way to find out, right?

He’d clearly loitered too long at that point; a hiss emanated from his collar, and Maynard didn’t let it faze him - didn’t move at all, despite the warning it’d given him. Part of him wanted to linger in the area, wanted to let the timer run its course and blow his head from his body. That’d be just retribution for what he’d done, wouldn’t it? Maybe he’d be okay if that if it happened, because part of him doubted just how long he’d last once he left this temporary sanctuary he’d been gifted. But suddenly his feet were shifting him onward, forcing him out of the hotel without a second thought, because he had James to find and stay with, James who’d promised to ally with him, and he couldn’t disappoint him, because what would Adam have done? Adam would’ve never just sat there and died so pathetically, he would’ve strode onwards, found Maynard straight away and kept them together like the strong leader he was, and that was the exact sort of person Maynard needed to be.

The protagonist’s gone, and the sidekick has to step up to take his place.

He could deal with that.

((Maynard Hurst continued in What Comes After))
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


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