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St. Patrick's Purgatory; Open
Topic Started: Oct 7 2016, 08:02 PM (1,226 Views)
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((Jasper Bustamante continued from Self Doubts and Hurricanes))

He’d lost Henry.

Jasper had followed him down the shore, back to the docks and the warehouse, but he was nowhere in sight. He figured that Henry had moved on, and Jasper continued north, towards northern tip of the island.

The trip was exhausting. Jasper had his own bag strapped to his back, while he hugged Henry’s to his chest. He couldn’t really use it for anything else. The supplies inside were too precious to be dumped, but he also couldn’t bring himself to use any of Henry’s supplies. He’d resigned to hanging onto it, hoping that he’d be able to return them soon.

Jasper had stopped to rest in the cove, plopping down on the sand and watching the sun set over the ocean. The sight put him at ease, but he knew that he’d have to find a place to sleep for the night. He couldn’t leave the cove: partially because he didn’t want to haul the bags out, but mostly because he didn’t want to be out and about in the dark.

He ended up making was in one of the dinghies - he wouldn’t dare sleep out in the open beach, and the cave didn’t seem comfortable. Jasper had always had trouble falling asleep, but doing so while curled up in a boat was much harder. After a couple hours of fitful rest he was awoken by crackling speakers and a voice that brought back terrible, terrible memories.

The voice told him that his friends had died. People like Abby and Barry and Cristo, people he knew, were all dead. Killed by people like Alvaro and Nancy and Kimiko - nice people, people he'd seen only a few days before in class.

But now they had blood on their hands.

Jasper felt his eyes watering up, but this time Henry wasn’t around to cheer him up. Nobody was. He regretted chasing after Henry, like a sheep straying from its herd. He'd still feel guilty if he'd stayed with Coleen and Arthur, but at least he'd be with someone. But now they were probably together somewhere, and he was alone.

Jasper laid still after the announcement ended, staring up at the sky and tearing up. He covered his eyes with one arm and started weeping.

He really needed someone right now.
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As he sobbed, Jasper became acutely aware of some footsteps near him. He laid completely still, praying whoever it was didn’t come any closer. Thankfully, whoever they were, they were skittering around down the shoreline, never edging closer to his location. His plan to wait the mysterious person out was foiled by another set of footsteps approaching and shouting. Jasper jumped at the sudden loudness, but it still sounded like a friendly voice.

Jasper slowly sat up, resting his chin on Henry’s bag. “Uh, g’morning,” he replied sheepishly, flashing a shaky smile. Junko, the girl who shouted, was a familiar face: they were in the same grade, and he’d shared a couple of classes with her. But Jasper couldn’t remember ever holding a conversation before: maybe they’d spoken years ago, but there was no way he could know.

But stranger or not, he was glad to see her. She was infinitely better than some mystery upperclassman, or one of the killers out there. Sure, she had the bat, but she didn’t sound dangerous. Maybe he could trust her.

His eyes wandered, and he caught sight of a bonfire down the beach. Jasper briefly wondered why they’d started a fire before he realized another girl was sticking her arm into it.

His jaw dropped.
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Fire Girl’s voice sounded familiar - it brought to mind the face of an upperclassman, a voice overheard in the cafeteria and a face see in in the hallways. He couldn’t think of a name, though.

The conversation wasn't too positive. All Jasper could do was nod along. “Yeah...it isn't that great…” He added meekly, sinking back into the dinghy. Fire Girl didn't need to remind him that people had died.

He glanced over at her arm and winced again.

“...Are you okay?”
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She wasn't. Of course she wasn't. Of course she was in pain. But she didn't act like it. Fire Girl was calm and unperturbed, handling her burn wounds terrifyingly well. Jasper didn’t know if she had incredible constitution or if he was just weak.

It was probably both.

Then Fire Girl asked them how they wanted to die. The question hit him like a gust of cold air, sending goosebumps up his arm and a chill down his spine. He didn’t need to think about this. He needed to find friends and allies, people like Henry and Arthur and Coleen. He hugged the bag tighter to his chest as he thought of them. He needed to return.

Junko answered her instead, asserting that she’d fight to survive. He supposed it was the most rational thing to do, but it still broke Jasper’s heart. They were all wonderful, good, well-adjusted teenagers. They weren’t supposed to be fighting like this, hacking and slashing each other for a concept that had been guaranteed to them by the society they lived in. None of them should have to resort to that. None of them deserved this madness.


“‘Whatever it takes’?” He echoed, taken aback. He was silent for a moment, before choking back a sob and burying his face in his hands. “Oh god…”

“Why? Why do you have to fight people?” The answer was obvious, but he didn’t want to think of it. “I know we’re all going to…” he choked up as he said it. “Die, can't we all just spend our last days in peace?” He asked, looking up at both of girls.

“Can't we all just be happy?”

Before either of them said anything, another girl appeared, vaguely recognizable as another classmate. Another familiar face he was now pitted against.

He smiled weakly at the newcomer, lifting a hand for a slight wave.

“Hey.”
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They couldn't.

Fire Girl thought it was pointless, and Junko simply brushed him off. The third girl didn't say anything, and just lingered to the side. Either way, she didn't seem receptive of peace either.

Jasper looked down as the girls snapped at each other. Unlike them, he was desperately clinging to the possibility of peace, of survival. And it certainly wasn’t here.

“I’m...gonna go,” He shakily interjected, grabbing both bags, edging towards the path. He didn’t think he could stand being around these girls any longer, with Fire Girl’s constant questions, Junko’s stubbornness, and the other girl just...being there. Maybe he’d find his peace elsewhere.

((Jasper Bustamante continued in Thanatophobia))
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