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Time steals us all away one day, does it not?; It robs us of the things we want to hold onto the most. (Open)
Topic Started: Aug 25 2016, 06:02 PM (829 Views)
Iceblock
Survivor
[ *  * ]
((Wayne Cox continued from AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH))

"A view to kill for, huh." Wayne hooked his fingers through the diamond-shaped fence links and stared out to sea. "That's a bad turn of phrase if I've ever heard one."

It'd been a long walk. Nothing but small talk from him. One foot in front of the other. He'd considered ditching them more than a couple of times, especially when they ended up going north again, skirting far too close to the beach for his liking. He wasn't under any obligation to stay - in fact, he was more of a tagalong, a third wheel here than anything else. He was the first one that would be sacrificed when things got tough.

But he hadn't been thinking about that too much. He almost wished he had; at least that was living in the present, in the future, rather than the past.

Instead, the same thoughts had caught up to him again, and he'd had plenty of time to mull over what he'd done back at the beach.

Theft. Robbery. Mugging. He could call it what he wanted. None of them were good things. He could justify it if he tried. Just self-preservation, which was, at face value, pure and simple.

If he'd thought about it - and he had thought about it, as they had climbed the slopes and passed buildings to get here - the second best thing that could happen to them all was simple, too. The best was a miraculous rescue. A pipe dream, if ever he'd had cause to dream. The second best was simply getting someone who was worth it out of this place alive.

Wasn't that what the terrorists called it, what this whole thing stood for? Even if it was cruel and unusual, even if they all deserved not to be thrown into something like this... wasn't it still better if someone who was "fittest" survived?

Someone who could speak out against this, someone who could cope afterwards. Someone who could make the most of their life.

Not someone like him.

Looking at the expanse of water in front of him, he wondered if he was looking in the direction of home.
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"Not much."

Wayne thought he could feel small vibrations in the fence as Dorothy pressed her finger against it - from her finger to the fence, into his fingers and up his arms. He considered rattling the fence a bit to send those vibrations back, but thought better of it. Too spastic. It was weird enough that he'd thought of it as a communication of some sort, that sending it back would mean some sort of physical connection, some acknowledgement that both of them were real. That they were really here, touching this fence, walled in and left to die.

He wasn't likely to get that across by shaking a fence, but perhaps that made sense, in a way. Actions meant more than words.

Truth was, he fucked up a lot. All the time. Made all sorts of mistakes. Did the wrong things on instinct, did the right things only for selfish reasons. The only thing words did was make him feel better. He could call himself a good person, and if he repeated it enough, perhaps he'd end up believing it, too.

He knew better. He supposed it was only cowardice that kept him from telling them the truth.

Wayne let his duffel bag strap slip from his shoulder, catching it in the crook of his arm. Then he unhooked his fingers. Turned himself back around. Asha had decided to sit, so he was free to assume her previous position of leaning on the fence.

"Thinking of home, I guess." If Asha was doing this for their benefit, it was probably more for Dot than for him. He let his gaze wander over towards the other girl, figuring she'd have something better to say.
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They were already dead. That was a thought.

It was... strange. When Asha laughed, Wayne felt a crazy laugh bubbling and scratching in his throat, and he pressed it down, deep down, and hoped it would never resurface. It was funny, but not the right kind of funny.

If he'd already decided he didn't deserve to live more than the others, if he was already dead by all accounts, why was his heart beating so fast at the thought? Why was it so hard to accept? Why didn't he just throw his ill-gotten supplies and the knife they'd given him to the winds, pitch them right above the razor tips of the fence to watch them skitter down the cliffs into the ocean?

"They should have just bombed our bus. Like all the other terrorists out there. Just... just think about all the trouble they could have saved themselves." He gave a dark chuckle. "That's terror. Life ending just like that. All this shows is that teenagers can be shitty people too."

That came probably a little too close to cracking the facade than he felt comfortable with. He let out a breath, tried to force himself back to a semblance of stability.

"I'd need some time, anyway. I wouldn't know what to say right now."
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Wayne had always admired people who were passionate about something. Art, writing, math, robotics, football - it didn't matter. When they found their passion, they gave it one hundred percent. They thought. They created.

Where they produced, he consumed. To make a video game was admirable. To play one was not.

That was part of the gap that had always hounded him, the gap between who he was and who he could be, the gap between who he was and who he should be. Intuitively he knew he should have had some kind of passion, something he cared about. He didn't. Gardening didn't count; he'd feared that once he got a job - if he got a job - it would have shown him that he only cared for it as a hobby. And drawing? That was just something he did to avoid doing what he needed to do.

Just another part of that ideal him he should have been. If he tried harder. If he could just shut everyone out and fix himself. But he never could.

He saw that passion, that conviction in Asha's eyes and in the set of her smile, heard it in the tone of her voice.

In that moment he placed Asha above him in his mental hierarchy.

Dorothy was right too, in that what she said seemed to so simply state what he had been trying to grasp all along. She didn't want to accept death. He couldn't either. He had his advantage, his weapon, and the panic and fear that lurked at the edge of his mind. He couldn't let them go, even if he wanted to.

"I think I get it," Wayne finally said. He nodded slightly, then leaned back a little deeper into the fence and looked at the sky, all too aware of where the other two were in relation to him and the places in the corners of his vision where someone else might suddenly pop up out of the blue. "It's not like I've got anything better to do, so... if we go with that, how do we get started?"
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He could work with that.

Wayne looked back down and ran one of his hands through his bangs. It was a bad habit, one that contributed to his messy hair. Over time in the desert heat, his hair would clump together, eventually mat down with dust, dirt, and sweat if he didn't keep it combed and washed. It was likely to do the same here, and suddenly, he felt an absurd sense of unease that he would probably never shower again. As if that was anywhere near the top of his priorities right now.

"So," he said, "we just walk around and greet people? What's your idea of a good time, anyway?" He shrugged. Casual. "Not talking grand and sweeping, then. Just what you want to do."

It was almost odd to consider what he would do if he bought into Asha's philosophy instead of just saying that he bought into it. Accepting death, giving and getting a chance to be happy. Was he supposed to just... find a basketball court and shoot a few hoops with some deflated basketball by himself? He didn't think that'd help.

No video games here. But those had never really made him happy, either. Getting a good kill-death ratio, learning the rules of a game down to a T, even finishing a good RPG storyline - that was all escapism, triggering whatever the pleasure centers in his brain were called. A short-term solution to a long-term dissatisfaction. Afterwards, he was still himself, and nothing had changed.

Having a good time was easier said than done. For the moment, even as hypothetical as it was, he found himself at a loss.
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"Fair enough," Wayne said, forcing a casual shrug and a hint of a smile, and looked up at the sky again. "Let me know when we're heading out."

Let them think he was composed, indifferent, accepting.

Better than to show how he really felt, how every word they said was another stab at his heart.

They could talk about acting like decent human beings - decent fuckin' human beings - but he wasn't one. No, that was a good choice of words. Acting. Acting like a decent human being. That was what he was doing right now, acting, keeping up this casual conversation even though his supplies were ill-gotten and everything he said was a lie.

Perhaps they were all lying, keeping their true natures hidden and waiting to strike, but he didn't think so. He was more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt after they had so easily described their desire to do good.

Asha and Dorothy didn't need to act. They were. No matter how different their philosophies were, at heart they were the same.

That just left him the third wheel again, alone again, the monster lurking in the dark.
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Wayne kept looking at the sky this time. There was nothing interesting there, but at least not looking at the others meant that he didn't have to fully engage with them mentally, either.

He didn't understand why Dorothy had brought people dying up again. If she really wanted to insist that they weren't going to die, if death was something she refused to accept until it came, why face it head on again?

He didn't know the answer to her question, either. But he hated that he almost wished - or did wish - that the answer was yes. That someone was dead. Murdered.

It provided him with an easy reassurance. The reassurance: at least. At least he'd only robbed someone. At least there was no blood on his hands. At least he was only lying through his teeth so that they wouldn't look at him like he deserved to be looked at.

At least he wasn't as bad as that hypothetical murderer. As if any amount could be justified at all, as if someone worthless could be made into someone of worth by putting them into a cesspool of more worthless people.

Even if he hadn't murdered anyone, he had willingly shortened their lifespan. Perhaps they would die at the point where it didn't matter, somewhere early on, so that they never needed those supplies in the first place. But even if there was no difference in the end, that didn't mean that it was okay.

He was running loops in his mind again. All this thinking about what he'd done. Again, and again, and again, and he never got anywhere and never figured out anything of value. Just slightly different iterations of the same guilt, patch notes on a bug that just wouldn't be fixed. He shoved the thoughts away. They'd come back soon enough.

"Is there anywhere we don't want to go?" Wayne finally offered in return. "I'd probably try to avoid the asylum. Too closed in. I don't really care otherwise."
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"Who, Alex?"

Wayne was going to say more, but the thought of Alex's two swords returned again, stopped the words and pushed them right back down and left him with only hypocritical judgments. Thief. Murderer. Lucky scavenger who had picked up something discarded and cast aside. Dorothy was right. He didn't want to see Alex again.

He didn't really want to see anyone else he knew again. But if he was going to keep pretending, if he was going to stay with these two, that was what lay ahead of him. It was easier to follow than lead. Easier to walk than think.

He took one last look upwards, judging the position of the sun in the sky, then shrugged his pack back onto his shoulder and began walking.

((Wayne Cox continued in 白色雑音))
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