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Self Doubts and Hurricanes
Topic Started: Sep 1 2016, 03:52 AM (833 Views)
CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  * ]
"Oh, for the love of God..."

[Arthur Bernstein continued from Plutonian Wharf]

Arthur didn't mind spending more time on the beach. He had, after all, spent a while looking at the water while he was at the docks, and if anything this gave him a better view of the ocean. Plus, maybe this would distract Henry and Jasper from the fishing idea in the first place. Arthur hoped that it would, but he didn't like having to jog after Henry to keep up, preferring instead to walk and enjoy the scenery. He kept up a slow pace, taking up the back behind Jasper so he could have a clean view of everyone ahead.

He recognized Coleen from his grade. A fellow academic, Coleen had always struck him as a very nice and polite girl, one he wouldn't mind Marie becoming friends with. He didn't mind the music that her band played, but he preferred to stay away from their concerts. It was a bit too loud and abrasive for his ears. A quick evaluation made it clear that Coleen wouldn't be much of a threat at all, so Arthur relaxed a little. He held his paintball gun in both hands, cradling the muzzle in his right hand and holding the backside of the gun with the left. He hoped it wouldn't startle the girl in green too much.

Henry and Jasper got faster and faster, but Arthur didn't see much of a point in running as fast as they did. He'd make it there all the same. He hung back slightly, watching the two run. It was almost like they were all on vacation, together on the island, here for fun. All it took to remind Arthur that his life was on the line was the collar on his neck. He shivered as a breeze whipped stray grains of sand around his shoes.

He slowed to a walk after deciding that he didn't want to waste his energy. Slow and steady wins the race, after all.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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Henry and Jasper made it to Coleen before he did, as expected. As Henry showed off his whip and Jasper introduced himself, Arthur could only see a few glimpses of her face. What he did see was a look of fear, pointed in his direction. He looked down at the gun in his hand, cradled in his arms. Oh, she's worried about this, Arthur thought, somewhat surprised that she didn't recognize it as a paintball gun despite its iconic look. Just as he was about to open his mouth, he heard Jasper explain away her fear, and relaxed. Moments later, he joined the group, careful to keep the muzzle of the gun pointed away from Coleen, off to the side and towards the ground.

"Hey, Coleen," Arthur said, "Sorry to scare you like that. Just a paintball gun." He was glad that he had met another familiar face so early on into the game. Maybe the four of them would team up? Four seemed like a good number for a group, structured in a way that everyone can pitch in their fair share without being too large or too small. He smiled politely at Coleen, but also at his own idea. It would be pleasant if it wasn't forced along by such circumstances.

"You been holding up well?" He asked thoughtlessly, his brain going through the motions of a normal conversation. Not all of his brain had come to realize where he was and why, lagging behind a good day or two. The part of Arthur that was aware of his situation feared the moment that those parts caught up. He'd make sure to try his best to stay off camera when he did: he didn't want to imagine Marie watching him break down.

He had to stay strong. For her. He couldn't let himself forget that.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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Henry had muttered something nonsensical and ran off, any semblance of sanity flying out from under his feet in a single remark. Arthur saw Jasper turn and run after him, briefly looking back at the two remaining before continuing off on his run.

Coleen was fine, though. That much was important enough not to forget. She had been startled by their approach, and she had been alone, but she was holding up well. Was Arthur really going to leave her behind just to chase after someone else? They had run off on their own, and even if he felt a need to go over and see what was up, he couldn't abandon Coleen.

Besides, he had just been leisurely strolling along just a few minutes ago. Even if he did give chase, he was going to walk, so why not stay put?

Elsewhere, fish spun out of their circles and swam back towards the ocean, satisfied with time well spent in orbit of each other.

"Henry's a bit of an eccentric," Arthur said, passing judgement as he would a soccer ball, "I wouldn't worry too much about what's going on over there, and I'm not gonna go over on my own. If you want to see what's up, though, I'll walk with you. Your call." He shrugged his shoulders, sticking his free hand into the pocket of his shorts. "Your choice, Coleen."
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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"On the dock, over there," Arthur replied, pointing at the concrete slaps in the distance, "Jasper and Henry had run into each other first, and I went and said hello afterward. The paintball gun interested them a bit as well." He watched as Henry fell in the distance, curling up on the sandy beach, tucking up into himself. The sight softened Arthur a little, made his heart rustle a bit, sending a short pulse of emotion into his body, but it soon faded away, lost in the ocean waves.

Jasper made it over to Henry and knelt beside him, checking to see if he was okay, probably saying something along the lines of "Everything's fine, we'll make it," or something. It irritated Arthur a little, about just how easy it was to see that things were not, in fact, going to wind up okay. It irritated him even more to see that Henry hadn't accepted it as easily as he had.

Arthur had a lot of experience in distancing himself from the present. He wasn't sure if Henry had the same background, but if he had to guess, the answer there was negative. Still, despite the small degrees of annoyance he felt, he couldn't help but feel, on some level, sorry for Henry. There were probably people on the island who had done something wrong - Arthur knew that not everyone at Cochise was the picture of virtue and good will; He had to know that to make sure that Marie didn't fall in with the wrong crowd. Henry was a good kid, though. He didn't deserve what was going to wind up happening to him.

In his own mind, Arthur had to make sure that in walking the fine line of thinking about what would happen to other people, he wouldn't cross over into the territory of what would happen to himself. Once he crossed into that way of thinking, there was no way of coming out of it. Consciously, he just saw this as an outing to an island. A pleasant day, all things considered.

"How about you?" He asked Coleen, "Where d'you come from?" He sneezed into his sleeve, a slight breeze tickling his nose. When he looked up, it took him a split second to fall back into his rose-colored view of the world around him. The colors of the world seemed, for an instant, just a little more washed out. He blinked, and everything was back in its right place.

Except for Henry, still on the sand.

"Poor kid," Arthur muttered to himself, shaking his head and dragging his feet a little bit as he walked.
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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And then, he was alone. Just like that.

Jasper and Henry went in one direction, and Coleen went in another. He had a choice staring him dead in the face, looking at him with beady eyes that would cut straight through to his soul.

Why rush things, though? Why not take the time to look out at the surf a little bit more, and enjoy nature a bit? It was just another day, after all. No need to rush things. Arthur bent down to sit on the sand...

...and stopped just short of the ground.

With a deep sigh, he picked himself up again. The color in anything he looked at now had faded away, leaving but a shadow of its former self.

He had to come to terms with reality. It couldn't get much closer than this.

Henry and Jasper had each other. They had started this together. Arthur had just gone along for the ride.

Coleen was all alone, but she wasn't undergoing a mental breakdown like Henry had been through just then. What if it had yet to happen? What if it was happening right this moment, and Arthur was powerless to stop it?

There was a third option, too. He could walk his own way, away from both parties, and distance himself from the memory of ever finding them. Start again, once more, from the top, with goals in mind. Getting out of here. Experiencing life. All the things he hadn't been through before.

Watching Marie grow up. Being there for her.

...

She was watching him, right now. He was sure of it. He didn't know where the cameras were, but he knew for a fact that she'd be watching over him every step of the way. This decision wasn't his alone to make at all. He had God above, and, somewhere across the seas, the eyes of his sister, watching over him.

Well, there was more than one set of eyes watching from above.

There was his mom, after all.

"I'm hopeless," He confessed to himself, scratching at his face, feeling the small bumps and craters in his skin. Arthur shook his head lightly.

There wasn't anything left to consider. He knew where he had to go. He began to walk after Coleen, then broke into a run after a few paces. He wasn't fooling himself anymore.

He just hoped the cameras didn't pick up how badly his shoulders were trembling as he ran.

[Arthur Bernstein continued in This Be The Verse.]
~~~~~ "We were wrecks before we crashed into each other."

NOW: V7

SOON: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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