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Good Omens
Topic Started: Sep 3 2016, 09:56 PM (618 Views)
Cicada Days
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((Ben Fields continued from Rare Footage of Jerry Worried))

So much for the plan. Fucking Fury’s namesake was all in his feet. He'd jogged out of sight before Ben could even get one foot off the ground, vanished behind a couple of buildings. The sound of his sneaks had long since faded away.

That one definitely looked lame as fuck to viewers tuning in. Ol’ Spiky with the big mouth and the bigger plan couldn’t even keep his comrade in sight. Not for a lack of trying, he'd hustled off to where he logically concluded Jerry could have gone. Mossy concrete walls for his troubles. Ben should have run faster, he had the capacity for more this sad ass tween girl shuffle. But even now he seemed to prefer to mosey along instead.

In theory he’d figured he had to conserve energy. Keep hands off his rations as long as he could, keep his expenditures thrifty. He couldn’t help but think a bit off the cuff, though. Something soft and vulnerable he was trying to keep out of his brainwaves. The exposed jugular of existential bullshit.

He was making excuses.

A camera caught Ben right where the frame melted into off screen. Right when a distant tolling caught his neck stiff. It was right around the corner of this wall. The sound echoed from some other part of the island, some kinda chime like a 'roided up dinner bell. Fucking ominous sound, even sheltered behind the corner of what appeared to be a library. The noise would probably draw a lot of faces, and Ben didn’t know if those faces would be friendly. He still needed to think that one over. Fast as he could, whatever relevant conclusions he could possibly produce. If he even had any. Ben exhaled, briefly and sharply. Right. No working plan. He at least needed a place to go. His eyes traced right down the contour of the building he was flanking. No doors, only windows and the bookshelves shying away from them. Beale ripoff could be safely ignored, Ben figured. He’d need to go around.

So he got to it. Kept as aware of his surroundings as was possible, with brisk swivels of his head. Sort of thing he’d been quietly preparing for when he’d wanted to join the army. Good shit.
The Dies Before First Rolls Squad

The Nights
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Ben wasn't seeing any folk out on the rough, just in the clippings of his thoughts. So quiet out here a piddly little nor'easter was ringing loud in his ears. It was cool and fresh, moisture against the skin of the face. Alien as fuck, compared to the old Kingman sandblaster. Ben wanted a protective hand on the brow, just to ward off the freak sensation. But he knew better, that hand was staying right on his side. Where he could quickdraw all of the nothing he had as a weapon. Shit. He'd have to remedy that at some point. Even a blunt rock to the head was better than a fist. Though that would imply he intended to...

Hm. More thoughts to try and think in double time to his already brisk march. Whatever the answer was to the question of 'could I?'. He vaguely knew he wasn't going to like it.

...

But for now, he had nothing.

Save company. Right around the corner of the building he'd almost blustered around, he'd heard the telltale rustling of soles against earth. It had stopped, but too close for comfort. Ben dug his heel in. Stopped himself, just shy of exposing himself by maybe a foot. A hand and a shoulder barely tensed. Like he was out on the diamond again, ready to catch... a bullet? Fucks sake, Fields. Again, all the weapon he had to his name were his words. But he could start casting an eye around for a rock. Make sure he wasn't caught flat footed like he'd been when he'd had Jerry and a knife pacing his way.

A few critical moments of silence.

"It's Ben. I'm friendly." He readily left off the other obvious clause, 'I'm unarmed'. A nonexistent weapon in a bag was probably better collateral than three syllables and a breath of naivety. "Shit. We probably look like dumbasses talking and cowering two inches away from each other." He heard the swivel of a camera. It was right in his fucking ear, as if he had too much oxygen to himself and needed the viewers to siphon off the excess.
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Silence didn't last long.

Noises that were right in the kiddie pool levels of decibels were ringing the damn alarms in Ben's head. The arm he'd been tensing for action was suddenly braced against concrete. Cool against the skin, plastered right into it. Ben's adrenaline was almost stabbing him right in the Achilles' until he realized the noises weren't getting any closer. One step further, than another few. The corner of the wall was right the fuck there, but Ben couldn't bring himself to put even an inch of himself past it. Ben was being paranoid. A few inches on inches didn't make aiming a fucking gun any harder.

So. He had to make a call. Took him a second to fire the neurons at action-movie speeds, but he made the call. Went something like:

"Whoever you are. I get you're nervous, it's cool. Just, shit, just keep your head alright? Avoid people if you gotta but don't put a weapon their way and all." The syllables were clipped, truncated into hoarse murmurs. Barely passed for speech, but it'd do. Let every fucking kid wielding all those excellent manners Cochise had imparted on them run. Run from Ben, that was a-okay in his books. All they had to do was hear what he was saying. Hear what needed to be done. Hear it, put it right into their steps. Even as those steps carried them away as fast as steps could humanly go... '?' Addend all that bullshit with a fucking question mark.

Fucks sake. Ben got the sense that he'd need to be finding himself a weapon soon. If he doubled up, saw doubles, maybe he'd grab himself a nice rock to bash his own idiot brains out with. Had to let this other kid hightail it first though. Whoever it was could go cower uselessly somewhere else, keep themselves out of trouble.
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Still more silence. Environmental sounds aplenty but they were getting further by the millisecond. Looked like Ben was the only one with anything to say. Kinda disappointing, in spite of himself and all his vaunted logic. A back to watch was always great. Keep 'em under eyes and all, if there was less chance of someone doing something they'd regret for the remainder decimal point of their life. Went both ways, since Ben also had him own back that needed watching. But this kid whoever they were just wanted to be going one way. Away. Whatever.

Ben figured he could double back and try checking one of the other buildings he'd already passed. Hell, for all he knew Jerry had somehow managed to slide into one-

What had it been, two seconds? Enough time for Ben to ramble at the wall like an asshole, and then for the other asshole to promptly fall. Flat on their asses, by the sound of it. Masculine grunt, at least by the masculine qualification of 'balls hadn't dropped yet'. Bradley? Ben didn't have time to hesitate, his ankle shot the corner and then the rest of his body followed suit in an efficiently clipped stride. He surveyed the scene as he marched forcibly into it.

Who the fuck was this kid? Looked familiar, like ancient history. Whoever this dude was, he had indeed been floored, Ben could see the offending gnarled branch twisted like licorice around the ankles. Ben moved forward, hand already extended to offer. It wobbled a bit more than Ben would have liked. Not enough soldier in his step. But however bad it looked, the other kid looked worse, needed help. Ben would be offering that help. Right now as a matter of fact.

"You alright, dude?" Ben had to stoop over a bit.
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((TW: Homophobic Language))

His fallen comrade kept his hand to himself, right there on his forehead. There were those quality Cochise manners at work.

Odd line of questioning. 'What do you want?' didn't seem any bit conducive to an efficient rescue operation. Like refugees in the tin can chopper under flak fire asking if they were there yet, all kiddie like. Ben had to assume it was all just a consequence of the fall. After all, Maxim looked shocked. Must have been the-

Maxim. That was the name. Three years and a party with illicitly acquired drink. Localized mental trauma and a mess for the sidewalk guy to clean in the morning.

Motherfucker.

Ben wore the horrified frisson, but not for others to see. Like a steel scalpel to the base of the neck. The perv faggot ass rapist who'd nearly put Alex in Dr. Woolsey's hands. PTSD with lips instead of guns. Shit Ben had tried his hardest to forget that shit the moment it had happened. He remembered now, unfortunately all too clearly. Backhanded by the worst humanity had to offer, left with a near broken friend and a definitely broken dignity.

Still. Hand out, even if 'comrade' was no longer a comfortable means of address. Ben would rather have said 'fucker', but he didn't have to respect the dude to help him.

"Want to not be on this island, mostly, but that's a blessing God won't be granting either of us anytime soon." Ben's tone remained just on the parallel that was neutrality. Not his providence, what Maxim was and wasn't in whatever his life had been and was yet to be. Only domain Ben had was a moral compulsion. A high ground he could hold, because the high ground translated to some kinda tactical edge. "We gotta hurry up. Someone with a gun finds us like this I dunno if I can do anything to stop 'em."
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Maxim drew up a bit. Ben startled, but not easily. Proper lights out on his paranoid spawnlings of concern, before they became anything that could chip at the old nerve. Jerry at least had been a knife. Maxim was just a stumble. Ben wouldn't let himself be the prick that burned half his brain to scar tissue over something meaningless. The kids that did allow that... someone would be along for 'em. Kids in Cochise that could be trusted. There'd been an anti-bullying committee. There'd been Jerry...

...

Man fuck that fucking plan of his.

The 'plan' hadn't even had the decency to survive contact with itself. Focus on the here and now. Ugly lip-chewing ungrateful here and now as it happened to be. Ben steeled shoulder, braced back. Maxim was up in a display of efficiency his German ass probably respected. Promptly took himself back a step, preempting Ben's intent to do the same. Great minds, or whatever. Now that each of them had plenty of personal space Ben could force his chin into a brief incline of nod. "Yeah. No weapon. Doubt you have shit yourself." Ben was eying Maxim's bag, twisted around his shoulder. Just brief glances every now and again, enough to comfortably confirm if a hand would be a finger too close to putting Ben's life in jeopardy. And whatever lives would follow such a disaster. But no, Ben was letting paranoia fry the old brains again.

"Also, thanks." Truncated to the breath. Good to see that the dude still had the same exact conversational prowess years after the fact. 'Mein gott'.

"You got it dude. Look." Ben figured he'd go for the throat here and now, while either of them still gave a shit. "I dunno what you intend to do but... We gotta keep people up before the terrorists make their calls. No deaths, and if there are any, well. We'll know who to avoid then." Man, Ben really was on a roll with these plans of his. Three seconds of noise, zero of content. About as much of a toss up of actual substance as that bag of chilies he'd tossed Jerry's way several eternities ago.
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Maxim's was an ugly, ominous sort of body language. Scruff of his beard poked out over his palms. Towered over him too. Overall disgusting to watch, but Ben kept his eyes charitable for reasons of survival. Kept his face squarely set, clinically dissected into dour politeness. No weapons. Probably. Ben didn't know Maxim for all of their unfortunately shared history. Didn't know if Maxim kept his words sharpened and whetted by grindstone. Didn't know if Maxim kept the innocuous bluff in his arsenal.

No reason to trust him either. Ben was tempted to take another step back, but stuck with keeping the engine purring on one heel. Leaned slightly back and away. Maybe looked a bit too defensive on his part.

"And as for your plan: I don't see it." Fuck's sake. Ben didn't need to hear it, but he was hearing it anyways. He knew it, Maxim knew it, whole damn world watching knew it. Maybe Jerry somehow managed to know it, just to drive it home. Ben's plans were shit and he'd been the asshole who'd tried to trumpet it with all valves tuned flat. He'd been about to marching band his ass across the island with that shit, no less. Ben felt the rising tension, the ironclad grip of a defensive warble. Let it go with a frustrated sigh. Ben had to let himself hear this. From Maxim.

Feeling coming on that he needed to drown himself out in another whiskey sigh, but his breath was stuck on refractory.

"Trying too hard to sell it, dude. But you've got a point and even I know that." Ben tried for the last second retaliation, but it was just half there, a last minute sputter from the lungs. "People are gonna run into people even if you're off hiding. Do their thing and all..." The pause was brief, heavy as the guns neither of them had on hand. "But I'm guessing the bottom line is you don't give a fuck, yeah?" Ben had been ready to run himself aground. Rattle the brass. All so he could be a soldier for a war no other soul would fight.

What kind of soldier put themselves on the back foot against a guy whose hands were already up in the air?
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Ben was physically holding himself in place, had no momentum all the same. Conversation wasn't an especially long one as of yet, but it stretched on all the same. Syllables like metronome beats. Hut-two-three...

"... I don't give a fuck."

Four. Maxim had almost seemed to swell up with that, bloat up all ugly and declare it with no shame for the underlying meaning. Ben nodded solemnly, weighed his options. Brain felt lighter, emptier. Like the end of a good song on the radio with announcer blather into the subsequent pop trash. Ben felt like he'd moved himself too fast. Shot himself down too fast. What else was he fucking supposed to do? He'd come up with a plan, it hadn't worked. Happened plenty of times back in the world outside this island. Go to the market, find out there's no stock. Pick up a girl, find out there's no chemistry. No worries. You could rebound like rubber in the soles, move on. Here and now, Ben could move on.

Felt hard to put the new thing into his feet though. Whatever it was. His ankles continued to grind furls into the dirt.

"Guess I get you." It was a reluctant overture, Ben felt half sick admitting it. "Dunno if I can really relate but maybe I'm still in shock over..." Like it needed to be said. Maxim's throat clear sufficed as typical punctuation. A period was boring but it worked.

"Trust is a big question, yeah." This part of the conversation was easier. "I'm pretty sure we're both lying to ourselves if we assume we can trust one another. Even if we could, two guys without weapons is hardly better than one guy without 'em. Would have to split the resources too. Like you said, I don't see it." Ben could at least talk it up. Words were good and all, but he had to start moving. Get out of his own shadow, plastered as it was over the adjacent wall by the sun lingering on his skin.
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Ben felt one of the discs of his spine beginning to slowly warp out of place. He shuffled his weight around a bit. A foot was bodily dragged to it's new resting place.

He listened a bit more. Reflexively, Ben found he and Maxim had something in common, much as that made him churn bile. Two dudes who didn't give a fuck. Maybe about different things, or things not so different. Ben would have crossed his arms. Impulse was there, but they were a bit heavy at the moment. Maybe just enough tension left in the muscle to raise hands half-mast, right into boxing stance. Besides that, they were inert species of lead.

"Yeah, we don't have much time to hash this out. My point is..." Ben just needed a moment. Get himself a quick dose of breath, needed that oxygen in the blood and all. But damn did that minuscule frame of time stretch on unnecessarily. Could have been the leftover adrenaline fraying his nerves all fierce. "Trying is a resource risk. We'll present more targets to take down, and one of us is going to be moving at a slower pace." And to be honest Ben was pretty sure he knew who that one was, unless Maxim was sitting on his years of MMA at Trav's side. Ben wasn't going to say it out loud though. He'd settle for a demonstration, when he eventually got himself moving in the direction of 'out of here'.

Soon.

"There's more harm in trying than there is in not. I just don't see what either of us could stand to gain." As the perceived superior party in the exchange he didn't.
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Ben could respect the proceedings, at least. Emotions crisp, efficient. Whitewashed, sterile. Like his hazy memories of debate. But this kid didn't know what he was talking about, props to his demeanor aside. Grasping for straws with those fat fingers of his. Ben wasn't about to go betting on the survival chances of the faces he shared Cochise colors with, but he had not-so-vague reservations about this particular face. Out-of-shape, like a preschooler had been working on coloring in the lines.

Ben firmly hit the points back, one by one. No home runs, but he was feeling the solid angles he was coming from.

"No trust, no guarantee we don't start looking at each others bags. Scoped it out when I woke up, we only have enough water for four days apiece. People will be getting ideas pretty fast." People like Maxim Last Name. Listen to all that phlegmy throat clearing. Dude probably two days worth of water tops. He'd clear bottles faster than he had back in the Fields residence.

"Point to you there. But a group of people isn't totally safe. They got each other to contend with." Honestly, in hindsight Ben had hardly been willing to pair up with Jerry. Two dudes fueled up on a Benjamin Fields plan? Someone was dying there, and it wasn't the bad guy. People were dying. That was who was dying.

And Ben was just going to stand here, trying to talk down something he wouldn't have spared three words for back home.

"See, I'm thinking that if you scramble away from me from the moment I started talking my ass out, you're not exactly looking for a team up with me in particular. It'd be an alliance of convenience, rickety ass one where we're putting each other in danger more than helping each other out. We're not 'working things out'. If we couldn't do it back when in society what makes you think we can do it now...? If that makes me dumb, well. Guess I am."
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Ben was near checking out of the conversation early. Bag and body had already begun to creak in the direction of anywhere that wasn't there. Destination was somewhere on that kiddie-colors map they'd handed out. Just had to take a look, take a walk. Clear his head a bit, of all this whatever that he couldn't describe with all the English he'd never mastered.

There was still talking, though. Shit to hear out, as much as it didn't matter. Almost sounded pitiable from the tones. Pitiable if it weren't dangerously warbling backing vocals to a fist to Ben's face. Yeah. Aggressive tone was definitely helping Maxim out on the front of 'convince this kid I mutually despise to trust me'.

"Good to know." Succinct response, in closing. Yeses and conclusions and mistakes, Ben wouldn't contest those points as of now. He didn't want to. They were all true. Not like Maxim Whatever needed to know that shit though. All he needed to know was that if he wanted an ally, it wasn't going to be Ben. Really, as much as Ben couldn't seem to articulate it, he was doing both of 'em a favor. Neither needed the other around as what amounted to a useless hazard. Maxim needed... whatever, who even fucking knew. And Ben needed...

Whatever. Who even fucking knew.

"Think I'm being pretty reasonable here, dude." Ben was moving, for real. He could resume the cadence of his march safely, if he angled himself out into the distance where he could see the blobby fat lip of a cliff with waterside estate. Ground out this way was rough, crunchy underfoot. If Maxim decided to up the ante of the retard arms race the two dudes had been running Ben would hear him coming. Sans a knife he was pretty sure he could take this particular hazard on. Alright. Last thoughts.

"Your helping hand doesn't amount to much, so you'll want to get yourself some better collateral before you find your next victims."
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Ben could hear the island come to life, vaguely. Birds and cicadas and whatever else existed out here. The ambient sounds of home, but with an uncomfortably alien tinge. Wetter, thicker, like it was bleeding or leaking. Had the soldier-to-be standing at un-ease. Least it was probably upping his pace a bit. He needed to make up for lost time. He slid open the zipper of his bag just a bit, began to fumble. He could get eyeballs on his map, balls of his feet back on track. Inventory was thus informal, whatever he could brush fingertips against. Plastic wrapped blocks, probably food. Ignore. The familiar contour of water bottles. Ignore. Threaded, twisty mass of what was probably his daytrip sweater. Ignore.

There it was. He began to wrestle it out. Wrestle his thoughts down all the while. This far out he could see around the corner of the neighboring building's prefab. Some kinda old fashioned cabin, real wood instead of plaster of paris or whatever it was they'd used for the other buildings in the compound. Instinct told him not to go there, not yet. It was a bit too stand out, probably a couple faces around there he wasn't prepared to run into. He could walk right around, skirt the edges. Get himself a view of the water, whatever good that shit did him.

Hold on.

Ben glanced back. Important part was, the other kid wasn't following him.

Final few thoughts.

((Ben Fields continued in Forget About What I Said))
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