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Haunted Reality; Continued from Desolate Dreams; Open
Topic Started: Nov 22 2016, 04:51 AM (1,104 Views)
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In an ideal world, that plan could've worked. Get everyone together and I'unno know, sing kumbaya till the terrorists blew them all up. Be all hippie like and unity and shit. Too bad the world they live in take those ideals out back and old yeller'em. He wasn't about to say that of course. The last thing these two needed was a dose of pessimism.

Ben talked to her now, somewhat stilted as he tried to talk her out of giving up. Not exactly the most comforting words, but what can you do? Neither were exactly good at those, maybe building a connection could work?

"I know that feeling all too well." He said looking right at her. "I lost my girlfriend the first day here to Alex Tarquin and... things haven't been too well since..." He left out the part of finding and shooting that fuck in the face, not the time to indulge in masturbatory revenge fantasies.

Why did he care? Maybe there was some part of him that wanted to do good before fucking it all up with Rea. She had gone through the same, only worse. He at least got to say goodbye to her. She just had to know from that fuck on the announcements.
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Penelope lay curled up, facing the wall, listening to their words.

Ben had a point. Will had modest words of encouragement, and was coming from a place of empathy.

If Will was able to continue on in spite of the loss of his loved one, why couldn't she? Ben was right that there were still others out there that would be willing to listen, others that cared for her and would likely stay behind her to the very end.

Penelope turned back over, almost as a signal to the boys that she was listening.

"Maybe..." She began. "...Maybe if we get a large enough group together, we'll be able to convince the others..." Penelope's thoughts turned to Astrid. "...that might not be so easily swayed."

Penelope swallowed. Those were the first truly coherent words that she spoke since the announcements. "There's... there's... Raina, Alessio, Cri-" She stopped. Cristo was already gone. It didn't feel real. "The... the robotics club members... I have senior friends like Jeremy and Serena... to name a few..."

She slowly hoisted herself up to a sitting position, her body language making it clear that she wasn't done. "You're right Ben, if... if I'm going to die, I want the people left behind to be proud of me. My parents, my friends who are still at home, Ems..."

Penelope looked Ben square in the eyes. Her confidence had begun to return, if only a little bit. "So... let's do it. Let's get everyone together. Let's show them that the kids at Cochise are not to be fucked with."

She took a deep breath. She still couldn't quite handle the fact that Sam was gone, that so many people - including her friends - had already died. But she had to be strong. She had to be the one to show the terrorists that they were wrong. It was the only way she could take all of this and make things right.

Penelope stood up, and extended both of her hands to Will and Ben.

"S-so. Are you with me?"
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He'd gone and said it. Show him the playback and it probably would have hurt worse than the bullet-studded first grader smeared collage of fingerpaint reds he called a forearm. Nothing much convincing there, as far as Ben was concerned as a third party to his own voice. Webber had told him once upon a time that latitudes did not make for an argument.

He was almost surprised when she turned back to face them. Almost. The emotions like surprise or anything at all weren't so forthcoming, and not in the masculine stoic archetype sort of way.

There were things left to say, for sure. He still didn't know if he believed the plan. He'd tried to reason with a boy with a gun and he'd responded in kind. He had phantom pains, Phantom of the Opera wails still dully peeling his nerves to dinner mash. That shit was all the proof Ben needed to doubt if Penelope's plan would fare any better than his own. But even that aside, he could have said something positive, encouraging. But he didn't trust himself with that either. Because, in the end it was what was left of his decaying person that would have to say it. No, it wasn't about him anymore. Not his doubts, not his hopes. Ben Fields had nothing left to say.

He just solemnly nodded when she promised she'd make her family proud. That he could relate to. Could lose hours of sleep over in the near future. He evenly met her eye when she found his, much as he didn't want to see any bit of himself reflected in the veneer of soft cut emerald.

"Yep."

Ben was the last to stand. Figured he'd be the odd one out. He almost felt his heels give out from under him, but he wouldn't allow it. They still had work to do. In measured silence he extended his hand to hers, not quite all the way. A fist almost solid, save for the faltering tremble of unkempt and unaddressed pain. He had no doubt it looked fucking retarded to the average viewer at home, or the rest of them for that matter.

"Will, you in? Shit, I know you never liked Cochise much. Maybe none of us ever really did," Ben mused, recalling years of rumors and proof about resentment, about the desire for something more than the tumbleweeds and drug busts. Desires pretty clearly echoed in Will... in Rea. When Ben had ever bothered to pay attention, addled as he had been back then on testosterone and self-importance. "... But we can still make a difference, I guess. Make all of it mean something still."

Ben wasn't sure how to say it- went without saying at this point- but it was maybe something worth speaking up for all the same. He'd never said the name. Rea Adams. She could still be avenged, with or without... And yes, of course, at that moment Ben was forced to remember that Rea's killer had also once been a friend. Maybe it mattered, maybe it didn't.

"You taught me something once, Will. I still remember it. Qui audet adipiscitur."

And Ben still wasn't sure if, in any sense, he'd said that right.
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Penelope stood up and seemed better. Apparantly their better at this than Will thought they would, as far they knew anyway. They didn't know what's going on up top. All they had were assumptions and loads of false hope. She was now up to doing her plan and Ben was on board apparantly. He wanted him in on it.

Fortune favours the brave who dares. Will wasn't brave nor daring. He was out to kill someone for revenge, that's all he'd been doing so far. No, Ben and Penelope. They were the brave and the daring. Fighting the system.

And It was true! Will never liked Cochise, hell, the faster he got away from there the better. And most of the people there pissed him off anyway, but he wouldn't have met his friends or Rea if it wasn't for moving there, so there was that at least.

He looked at the hand extended to him, Penelope's hand. It was tempting, oh so tempting to just take it and leave this revenge quest behind. Rea would have wanted that, but he couldn't, just the thought of Tarquin winning, going home while acting like a glorified B-movie villain. It was a selfish, stupid reason. He'd known that for days, but Will just couldn't let him go unpunished for this.

"I wish I could, I really do, but there's someone I have to find." He almost didn't know what to do, holding some of his supplies that was for Ben in his hands. Probably looked like an idiot for the folks watching this shit."I'm Sorry." Sorry, a word that by now had lost almost all meaning. Too many times have that word been uttered or thought and yet meant nothing. He was going on a revenge fantasy while the two in front of him were trying for decency, trying to prove they were better than this game.

"I'll try and tell people of this, might get them to stop." An awkward compromise or a stupid way to assuage his guilt? Could be both. "Though since it's from me, they'll probably tell me to fuck off." He wasn't popular around Cochise, part of the reason he hated the place. Not his fault he preferred Scotland to a shithole that held them down and couldn't stop shit like this from happening.

"Oh, and Ben?" He looked over at him; and shoved the supplies into him."Keep it and use it. I better not find you dead because you think you're beneath my supplies, counts for you too Penelope." A small amount of good he can do, he'll probably find a way to fuck it up later.

He started walking out the area when he turned to look at them for a brief second. "Good luck to you both, and hopefully I won't hear either of you on the announcments." Afterwards, he continued his search for his target, who seemed to be further and further away the more he looked.

((Will McKinley continued in (งಠ_ಠ)ง ))
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And so Will was gone, Penelope not quite understanding his motivations.

She shook her head, lowering her now empty hand, before turning her head back towards Ben. "Guess we can't convince everyone immediately, huh?"

Penelope looked at the ground and pursed her lips slightly, contemplating, before she turned her head back up to Ben. "So... I think... I think the best thing we can do now is like... try to find some of my friends. They would probably be the most open to listening to my dumb plan... hopefully."

Penelope lowered her hand away from Ben's hand, their alliance already consolidated, before running her other hand through her hair. "The main thing I'm worried about is like... have they killed anyone yet? Like..." Penelope paused, breathing in and out to calm her nerves. "That's a cliff that you can't just... come back from. Once you've made the plunge, it's not going to be easy to claw your way back up."

Penelope hesitated, before putting both of her hands on Ben's arm and leading him out of the solitary cell. "Staying here won't do us any good," she said, before she went back in the cell to gather up her stuff. When she had everything collected and stood back up, Penelope turned to Ben, awkwardly running her fingers through her unkempt hair. "Is there... anything you want to say before we head out? Anything you want to talk about? Anything you want to know about me, or anything you want to be cleared up?"
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Maybe Ben hadn't said it right. 'Someone I have to find'. 'Sorry'. Will had said it better, at least. That said. The moment passed.



"Good luck, dude."

He couldn't bring himself to say anything else. Anything stronger, clearer, like 'see you soon' or 'keep up the fight'. Who dares, right? Ben couldn't even bet on a few extra damn syllables. All of his friend he was left with was a hospital's worth of bandaging. He glanced at his arm. The wrap he'd managed to improvise about as well as an underpaid Taco Bell employee wasn't too wet, not yet. Anyways. That didn't matter much.

"Guess we can't convince everyone immediately, huh?"

"Will's always been stubborn. He's a fighter." Ben didn't think too hard about it, he gestured for her to take the gauze, alcohol, antiseptic. It was about two handfuls worth. For both of them, probably, because hell if Ben had ever had much in the way of hand, height, brain, whatever. "I think he'll stay alive, I trust him. Then he might return to us."

Penelope was a bit hesitant, awkward. Hell, better than where she'd been only moments before. Kinda reminded him of a simpler time. Kinda time when there had been nerds wandering the halls of Cochise and there had been baseball practice and there had been locker talk. That sorta time. She was a bit evocative of it, when she wasn't busily contemplating terminal velocity. Heck, she even randomly invaded his personal space to drag him somewhere he had enough stumpy feet to walk to on his own. Switch the name and the face and it was just like home.

" ... Once you've made the plunge, it's not going to be easy to claw your way back up."

"Maybe. We don't know for sure, so we can deal with it if it comes up." Hm. No plan. Maybe plans had let the both of them down before. But it was too risky to leave to chance. "We should have a basic game plan. Try to rationalize with them or leave. Just in case of a worst case scenario." People to avoid no ifs ands or buts. Places they could meet in case of an emergency. Things they could abandon if they suddenly had to part with supplies. Practical things. The sort of things he'd dropped the ball on the last three days worth of his drooling over his own shirt like an ape.

He stayed right outside the door frame, silhouette from the dim ambient lighting beyond barely imposing itself onto the ground. The sound of rain echoed in marching tempo from the distant, unseen window.

" ... Anything you want to know about me, or anything you want to be cleared up?"

"What are your friends like, the ones we're looking for? Feel free to embellish, stories about people without fucking guns and killing sprees sounds like a decent change of pace."
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"My friends? How does one describe one's friends with just words alone?"

Penelope usually doesn't wax poetical, but she wasn't sure how to describe her friends to Ben. "LIke... huff, follow me. We can talk while we walk."

She took hold of Ben's wrist, leading him down the hallway, out of the still fetid and festering solitary confinement ward. "I guess... the best way I can describe my friends is that they're just... great people to be around. And I'm sure that they would listen to me when we get to them. They're better people than me, really."

Penelope knew that the answer she had just given wasn't going to be satisfactory to Ben. She needed an example. "The best person I can think of to talk about first is... well, Raina. She's probably my best friend in the whole world. The only person I would spend time with over her is..."

Penelope trailed off, stopping in the hallway before biting the side of her index finger. She released her finger from her teeth, taking several deep breaths. "I think... I think you... you know who... I'm... talking about," she forced out, her voice breaking.

They continued walking down the hallway, Penelope breathing deeply again and again. "Raina and I have known each other since elementary school. We've been together for as long as each of us can remember, really. She's helped me through a lot of tough times, even if she doesn't always know what words to say. I've helped her too, although part of me feels like I haven't done enough for how much she means to me."

Penelope looked at Ben, seeing his focus still on her and her words, before returning her gaze to the path ahead of them. "She's silly and funny and we've had so many deep conversations about the meaning of life and politics and shit like that." Penelope chuckled to herself a little bit, before continuing. "Given that you could probably call Raina a weeaboo you wouldn't expect that kind of thing out of her, but she's really smart and has everything 'there'... for lack of a better word."

She ran her fingers through her hair absentmindedly once more. "And she's got this cute little habit of playing with her earrings when she's nervous and she's so comfortable to nap on..." Penelope looked at Ben for a second before awkwardly stopping in her tracks and raising her hands up in front of her. "Wait not like that! I just... I don't have much of a sense of personal space and I'm sleepy a lot of the time, so I like falling asleep on my friends when I can get away with it."

Penelope rubbed the back of her head, sheepishly. "That... probably still sounds weird. It's not weird for me, though!" She waved her other hand in the air in a vague gesture. "She doesn't think it's weird or anything, she just gets that I'm, well... like that. I like physical affection, and I don't really know how to express the feelings of love I have for my friends any other way."

She motioned for them to start walking again, and Ben obliged, the awkward moment over. "It's sorta why I started getting all philosophical just after you asked. Wording these kinds of things is... hard. As you could... probably tell from how disjointed my thoughts are and how much I've been rambling."

"I guess, uh..." She searched for the right words. "Is that... enough for you, I guess?"
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"How does one describe one's friends with just words alone?"

Hell of a question. One Ben definitively couldn't answer. He could march though, and that he did. Fell into lockstep right behind Penelope, the crisp clap of his cleats half time to her double time. Syncopated sorta metronome to her verses. She spoke, brought some kinda life to the deafening silence. Girl had a lot to say, which was a refreshing change of pace. Ben wouldn't have exactly called it poetry, but he was listening about as attentively as he did back in English classes. As in, he wasn't so sure he was hearing what he needed to hear, but it at least sounded pretty good. Whatever that was worth.

" ... I think you... you know who... I'm... talking about..."

Shit. He hadn't meant to bring up...

"Yeah. I know." So it passed on that note. She needed a moment for calm, and Ben needed that same moment to berate himself for allowing her the opening. Conversation had become bladeplay, and his rotting fleshy globs worth of feet definitively struggled to maintain the footwork. Whatever. He was keeping up. It was good enough.

Good enough, like the way she described her friend. Ben knew that girl, vaguely enough, through the rantings of a certain asshole Darius Van Dyke. Hm. This was probably the most he'd ever heard about her in a single sitting and he was liking what he heard. 'Weeaboo'? Hell, why not right? Ben didn't even really know what that meant. Only negative in his book was along the lines of being the sort who pointed guns at...-

" ... Wait not like that...!" So on and so on.

Definitely an awkward, creepy insinuation. Maybe. Ben expected the familiar creeping feeling of vague, dissociate disgust but... nothing of the sort. Girls love girls, boys love boys. Ugly? Sure. But now that Ben thought about it... well, what was there to think about? That was the question. Who cared? Why had it ever mattered? Ben nodded slowly, patiently. To himself, as much as to Penelope. Maybe this was what being the bigger man was about. Maybe being unnatural and abnormal was a different sort of wrong, compared to the wrong of being a murderer and a thief.

Maybe he'd learned that lesson too late.

"I get you." Ben shrugged, as much Penelope's constant but fairly welcome shepherding of him would allow. "I've never been much for physical affection myself...-" and there were certainly a multitude of extant women to prove that very fact, on this very island perhaps... Hm. Morbid thought, that. "... But. You know." Yes, she certainly did. Once more Ben's charismatic speechmongering was absolutely victorious. "What I mean to say, nothing wrong with some hugging and-"

Shit. Almost said 'kissing', thereabouts.

"You know."

His brain was a wonderland, a la that generic fucker John Mayer track.

" ... Wording these kinds of things is... hard..."

"Yeah. I used to think words were simple. Times change, but I guess even if speakings no longer easy... If there are no words left to describe all this shit that's been dumped on us, well. We have to try." He nodded firmly. They'd left the pervasive smell of death behind, at least until they found it again. It was a step up, a foot in the right direction. "And if we have to ramble to convince others, that's what we have to do."

"But yeah, thanks for that. Your friend sounds like a class act. Mine, well. Not so much maybe, but some of them are worth looking for." ... By some thin margin, yeah. "I don't mean to rag on any of them, they're good people. Haven't shown... their names yet." Hardly the most effective euphemism, that. "Lucilly Peterson, Hazel Jung, Candice Banks, Nate Turner, Matt Moradi, Amanda Tan..." Fuck. He made it sound like a damn hitlist, rather than the names of people he still trusted. Too formal, too bullet point. Emphasis on bullet. Whatever. Move on. "Heck, give me Darius or Maxim, I'm not going to complain." Now that's a sentence he never thought he ever could have been held at gunpoint to say.

"Now that I fucking think about it I don't even know who all the people on this trip were."

He didn't know if there was any sort of conclusion to be drawn from that. Or rather, if there was one he wanted to say aloud. Yet of course, he'd allowed himself to say it.



"While it's still raining we should see if we can refill our water."
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"Y-yeah. We should."

Penelope looked out one of the tiny windows near the exit. The sky was gray, and rain spattered against the glass, the pitter pattering of the rain would almost be soothing if they weren't trapped in a death game. Silence echoed through the halls as they stopped near the gates leading out of the area. Penelope broke the silence. "I don't really know everyone who went on the trip either. I know most of the juniors, but I barely know any seniors outside the few I've become friends with. It... makes me feel horrible, really. I hear names that I don't recognize on the announcements and I just don't feel the same hurt in my heart as I do for the ones I do know."

Penelope shook her head, her eyes downcast. "I know that kind of feeling is unavoidable, though. We as creatures of blood and bone are flawed, and caring too much about people you don't directly know would hamper our ability to survive, so we just... can't."

She let out a small chuckle, remembering the jokes that the others in the robotics club used to make. "It's why we all need to abandon flesh and embrace metal. Robots are superior!"

Penelope looked at Ben and made a small smile, before turning her gaze back towards the ground. "Joking, of course. Or at least... half joking."

Silence once again followed as Penelope searched for words. "Let's just... get out of here, collect some rainwater, try and find others."

Penelope took hold of Ben's good hand with both of her hands, before raising his hand up to chest level. "But, before we do... I wanted to say that like... I'm really not sure what's going to happen next, or especially if I even believe we'll even succeed in this crazy mission of ours..."

Penelope glanced back up at Ben, her energy returning. "...But, that just means we'll have to believe in the world who believes in us. Together."

After a short moment of silence, Penelope quickly hugged Ben before he had a chance to stop her, holding the hug for several moments, before she let go and smiled at him once again. "Let's rock."

((Penelope Fitzgerald continued in See The Needy Greedy Me We Bleed To Feed So Easily))
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She'd thoroughly said what needed to be said. No need to say anymore.

((Ben Fields continued in See The Needy Greedy Me We Bleed To Feed So Easily))
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