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Into the Veil; Day 2, Evening - Private
Topic Started: Oct 23 2016, 03:19 PM (559 Views)
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((Min-jae Parker continued from We're In This Together))

Jae's flight across the island was terrifying, nearly-blind, and infuriatingly slow. He wanted to run, to just fling himself out into the night and forget everything until he couldn't run anymore, but his stupid busted leg wouldn't let him. Instead he had to stumble and limp away from the vehicle depot, past the skeleton of the radio tower where he'd met Hazel that morning, across the bridge where every creak seemed to threaten to spill him into the water below.

Back to the looming shadow of the asylum even though he'd been thinking just yesterday that he never wanted to see it again, because he needed to be far away. If Hazel woke up, if she followed him out... he didn't know what he'd do. He couldn't think of how to even begin to explain himself without snapping at her, and she wasn't the one who deserved blame here.

He just needed to be alone. He'd go back in the morning, when he wasn't feeling so lost and sick, like he'd committed some kind of crime.

The asylum creaked as Jae slipped inside and down a hall, as though welcoming him back. Even though he hadn't been able to run, his heart was pounding. Everything needled at him - the dull pain of his injuries, the chill of the night, another gnawing anger at himself for how stupid and selfish it was to wish he'd kept his jacket. He was so tightly-wound from the anger, teeth wanting to bare, hands wanting to curl into fists, scattered words and exclamations flitting through his mind, waiting to stumble across someone or something deserving enough to unleash them on.

There was an unlocked door, opening into a glass-roofed room illuminated by the weak light of the moon. Like a vision out of a dream, almost enough to be something beautiful. He couldn't appreciate it.

Jae stepped into the library and closed the door behind him before sagging against it and giving into the cough that had been tickling at the back of his throat for several minutes.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Was there a shadow coming towards him?

Was there someone lurking around the corner with some implement of death, waiting to slice him open or bash his head in?

Would it be painful and horrible to die, even if he could be sure that he would be born again and have another chance to do things better?

These were the thoughts that had never been far from Jae's mind since the previous night fell. They were what plagued him underneath the concerns of the moment, when he was talking shit with Vanessa or clinging to Hazel in the back of the truck. The fear lurked underneath everything.

Somewhere in the ghostly moonlit library, something might have moved.

Was he alone, as he wanted to be?

Was someone waiting for him to believe it?

"Who's there?" Jae's voice was rough and strained, unpleasant in the silence. If someone answered, fine. If he was alone, nobody was around to see or hear him make a fool of himself.

If nobody answered but he wasn't alone...

Jae pulled the baton from where it had been secured in his belt, unfolding it with a flick of his wrist. Snick.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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No response. Had something moved?

Was something waiting?

As quietly as possible, Jae slid his bag off of his shoulder and set it on the floor so he could move unimpeded. He took one step further into the library, then another, eyes sweeping the shadows. Even with the glass ceiling, the moon's light was weak and the night was overcast.

Maybe he was being stupid. Maybe he really was alone, and it was just the paranoia and lingering grip of anger that was making him jumpy.

It's not paranoia if someone really is out to get you.

Jae tightened his grip on the baton, prowling slowly in between the shelves. The sound of his own breathing and footfalls on the carpet sounded deafening in the oppressive silence. Was there someone else, trying to stay silent in the dark until he got close enough?

"I'm armed," he warned the vague specter of his fear that might or might not be lurking there.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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The only response to his statement was a rush of air and the thud of something embedding itself in the wood of the shelf barely a foot from where Jae stood, instinctively recoiling in on himself. There was someone in the dark, there was someone who wanted to kill him-




No.




No, he wouldn't do this again. He wouldn't wait and be a victim.

Nobody was ever going to have him hurt and scared and hoping for mercy ever again.

In an instant, everything sharpened and the barely-contained anger uncoiled itself in his ribcage, working its way up his throat and manifesting in a snarl. "You..."

He didn't know who was there. He didn't give a fuck.

Jae grabbed at the shelf next to him, yanking a book from it and winging it in the direction the projectile had come from. He heard the muffled sound of an impact and followed it, swinging the baton as hard as he could at his assailant.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Jae still didn't know who it was, even having knocked him over. He still didn't give a fuck. All he wanted was to take his pent-up frustration out on something, someone, and here was someone who fucking deserved it.

He'd leaned over, feeling somewhat victorious having brought someone clearly a bit heftier than him to the ground, preparing to snarl something else in his face when the crossbow came up. It smashed into the cut side of his face, sending pain shooting through him and making him stumble back, nearly losing his balance thanks to his bad leg. Spots popped in front of his eyes as he staggered, vision briefly whiting out.

Not this again. Never again.

Jae growled, rising into a crescendo yell of fury, and let his off-balance momentum carry him forward to throw himself at the prone form. He was all but blind with the darkness and pain but overriding that was the rage, all of the awfulness of the past two days rushing out in the overwhelming desire to take someone else and make them hurt.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Pain, pain shooting up through his broken hand, throbbing in the gash across his face and through his skull. Pain in his lungs, the first pull of a stitch in his ribcage as his body protested the exertion he was putting it through.

Fear, the who is it and they want to kill me and what if he got his second wind before Jae did, what if he got up and he was stronger, if he got his hands back on the crossbow and fired? Would it hurt to die? Would he even know?

Rage.

So much his body couldn't contain it, so much that it overrode the pain as long as he kept going, screaming and slamming the baton and his fists down again and again and again, everything consumed in I'll kill you, I'll fucking kill you-

He didn't even realize that the struggling had stopped until he overreached and lost his balance, toppling to the side. His fingers felt numb and he lost his grip on the baton again, everything hurt but he needed to get back up because any second now they'd come for him again, any second now-













Jae opened his heavy eyelids to weak morning light.

His bleary gaze was met with a bookshelf at an odd angle and a slice of the library's glass ceiling, revealing pale blue 5 or 6 AM sky. It took several long moments to figure out why exactly he would be treated to that view upon waking.

Hazel. He'd left her alone. He'd run away. He'd...

With painful effort, Jae turned his head further to the side to stare at the body next to him on the floor. The body.

He'd done that.

Sam Howard. Jae hadn't had a name to put to the hulking figure in the dark. Hadn't cared to try. Samuel barely had a face left to put a name to now.

Had he been dead before Jae fainted from the exertion and pain, or had it taken a while afterwards?

Unconsciousness crept up on him again and he welcomed it rather than musing on that.




You can't ever take anything back. Not really.

As soon as you cross the line, you can't just turn around and walk back over. Whatever you said or did, it's out there in the world now and someone got hurt, and you're the one responsible.

You can say "I'm sorry". You can say "I didn't mean it". Doesn't change shit. He'd tried, oh god he'd tried so many times to claim he hadn't meant to hurt someone. He'd muttered it sullenly to the floor, head bowed as he was berated for letting the anger control him once again.

"You meant it enough to do it in the first place," his dad had told him once, trying to strike that balance between stern and understanding. And it was true. In the heat of the moment, he always did mean it, if only for a split second. Whatever came afterwards didn't change that.

Whatever the cause, however much he regretted it, he'd meant it enough to leave someone dead who had never really wronged Jae until he took that shot in the dark.

Now it was only a matter of time before the whole island knew.




He'd fucked up his hand even worse than before, that much was obvious. The bruising and swelling around the knuckles of his last two fingers made the whole thing hurt now, regardless of how he held it. Trying to flex it enough to straighten his fingers out so he could re-tape them with the supplies from Samuel's first-aid kid was enough to make Jae tear up, but he gritted his teeth and forced through it until the job was satisfactory.

His face wasn't as bad as he'd first thought, at least injury-wise. More bruising, but the gash hadn't fully torn open again. He had to look even more like shit than the day before; he tried to resign himself to that, but it still chafed at him.

By the time Jae had slowly and painfully tended to his injuries and worked himself up to looting the rest of Samuel's bag (take it you stupid motherfucker just take everything why stop now it's not like he's going to need it) it was properly morning. Not long now.

Standing was difficult. He was craving for a cigarette, but he'd left them in his jacket with Hazel. Were she and Jordan still in the garage, where he'd left them?

Would she even tolerate his presence now?

He didn't know if he wanted to find out.

Jae limped out of the library with his bag newly weighing him down and the crossbow clutched in his good hand. He'd figure out how to properly work it later; right now he needed to escape the presence of the asylum once again. He needed somewhere with sunlight.

Because there were monsters in the dark, and he was one of them now.

((Min-jae Parker continued in Devil's Choir))
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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