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Honeysuckle and Pain; Open
Topic Started: Dec 1 2016, 10:37 PM (488 Views)
CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
[Arthur Bernstein continued from This Be The Verse]

Disgusted.

That was the only way that Arthur could describe how he felt as Tracen read down the list of names on the morning of what felt like his fifth year on the island, though it was only his third day. He had stayed with Coleen, the two crossing the bridge over to the asylum building with even less discussion than they'd had as they walked to the gym. They settled in a room with a clear view of the outside, sleeping behind easels and scattered furniture on beds of leaves and scribbled drawings like discarded memories.

Finding sleep was not easy.

Finding the restraint to stop from swearing at the sky when he heard the familiarly slimy voice echo around him mere minutes after he woke up was even harder.

He could easily separate each death into three different categories:

There were the ones that he didn't know - namely Jasmine and Jeremiah, two juniors.

Then, the people he knew but wasn't phased by, whether out of lack of surprise or indifference toward them as a human being - Jane, Mitch, Danny, and Sam.

And then there were the people that brought tears to his eyes or chills to his heart - Sabrina, Sandy, and...

Bradley. He couldn't help but feel his heart being tugged from his chest when he heard his name. The first person that he had seen on the island before they had died, he noticed, as he thanked God that Bryony, Jasper and Henry were all alive at the very least. He watched the window, thinking of them, wondering where they had gone, and decided that he'd let them come to him, if they so pleased. At the very least, he hoped that they'd be shown more dignity than Bradley was when the time came for them to...to be...

There's a better epitaph for him. You can't just leave it at that, Arthur thought, though he wasn't going to admit to himself that if there was a more fitting eulogy, it wasn't something that Arthur could think of.

If there was anyone he felt connected to, it was Coleen. As he watched her sleep for the few moments that he was awake before the announcements, feeling her disheveled hair with his watchful eyes and seeing the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed under her pale green dress, he couldn't deny that he was growing attached to her, and he couldn't be sure that he'd feel that way if there was someone else with him instead of her. He couldn't decide if the fact that she reminded him of Marie was good, bad, or something that somehow tainted the connection he felt toward either of them, as if either were pure and innocent, as if either were worth keeping sacred.

Arthur's hat had been stuffed into his pack long ago, at some point on the day before. His spear was leaning against the wall, and the paintball gun that had yet to be fired was sitting on a chair in the corner. All at once, the splinters of himself that he had brought with him and the new jigsaw pieces that filled the empty spaces in his mind were slightly out of place, and he no longer felt entirely like himself.

He sighed, and closed his eyes, listening to the rustling of the leaves outside.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
His right eye opened first, keeping half of his mind stuck in his temporary paradise of rustling leaves while he dipped his toes into the pool that was his reality. The water was too cold, frostbite nibbling at the edges of his feet. Though it was barely above a whisper, the sound of Coleen's voice was enough to send a cold shock through his face. She was awake, and, despite a lack of doubt of the fact, he was pleased to know that she was alive.

Even if she made it clear, seconds later, that she didn't want to be, with three words that wrapped their fingers around Arthur's shoulder blades and pushed with their tremendous strength until he felt the weight of the water and the bite of the cold pool had cut through to his bones.

His left eye opened next, finally wiping away any sense of normalcy that he had managed to wedge in between the folds of the tissue in his brain.

"You're kidding, I hope," Arthur croaked, breathlessly. "You have to be, right? He's right there. You can't just say that and mean it with him in the room." With an empty gaze, Arthur's eyes swept the room. Once again, he was not surprised to find things were as he'd left them. Mitch was still where he was. Dead as a door nail.

He hadn't moved Mitch's body - there was already so much dangling off and threatening to dislodge and spill on the floor, staining the water of Arthur's pool red with blood - but he had moved an easel in front of it, covering the space where his face used to be. It wasn't an easy sight to stomach, but one of them had to do the dirty work, and he wouldn't entertain the thought of Coleen having to do it either. Besides, he had already dealt with Bradley just hours before when they opened the door to the room and found Mitch's body. He hated how easy it was to look down at the limp mass on the ground and think of just how pathetic it was that Mitch had just given up.

What kind of sick joke was it? What was he trying to pull? Was this some new game he didn't understand?

If it was some kind of reference that had gone over his head, it sure hadn't gone over Mitch's.

Stop that. It's not right to think of the passed like that. I didn't catch Bradley's sense of humor from his corpse, did I? Did a flea jump up from that mess of a person and bite me, infecting me with that foul plague?

Too many mixed metaphors. Make a note of that, revise it later. Buy the cheap white out at the store, it's just as good as the expensive stuff, and pour the bottle out all over your flimsy pages so that there'll be nothing left to find when they comb through my room. Another mistake. Another broken promise. Another failed attempt at poetic relevance. Where does that sit in my godforsaken pool?

I hope it's somewhere near the bottom.

Arthur sighed.

It was time for simple words.

Easy words.

Powerful words.

"I don't want you to die."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Was she trying to reassure him? If she was, mentioning that Arthur had already barely saved her from "taking a swim" wasn't the way to do so.

The laughing didn't help, either.

For a while, Arthur was quiet, opening his mouth to speak several times with no words escaping his throat.

When he finally managed to speak, there was a tremble in his voice that he hadn't felt since...

...years ago.

"I'm glad that you're alive."

Arthur gazed deeply into a camera in the corner of the ceiling, staring into the souls staring back at him from the safety of their homes.

"I had no idea that you were planning on...that you were going to..."
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
"I'm sorry,"

Arthur said, realizing what he had been doing.

His eyes drifted to his spear.

"I'm just projecting, that's all. In a few different ways."

It still looked a little red.

"We're going to...not going to make it, anyways, right?"

Don't think about it.

Just don't think in general.

"So what do we do to kill time?"
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
"Of course," he said as he stood up, "No need to worry about that."

Relief, all over his body. He could keep on moving, find the friends that he had missed - Jasper, Henry, others not yet gone - and explore what would eventually become his final resting place.

Even though he wasn't someone that Arthur particularly cared for, Mitch still had the feeling of humanity about him. It felt odd to think of him as dead, but at least he hadn't seen what pushed him over the threshold between this world and the next.

Arthur found his bag right next to his spear, up against the wall. He picked up both, slinging the bag across his shoulder and holding his spear with both hands, the point facing to his left.

"To be honest, exploring would probably be the closest thing to 'fun' that we could make of this place."

Exploration was a lens that he was used to looking at things through. If he could manage to suspend for a moment the fact that, yes, this was really happening, the island became less of a scary and unknown place and more like...

...a video game.

The realization brought new color to his vision, and he felt the tension in his face begin to relax.

"Any ideas where to go next?"
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
Coleen left the room, leaving Arthur alone with a corpse.

He turned around quickly, looking at the easel in front of Mitch's body. Arthur carefully stepped over and moved the easel as quietly as he could, revealing the mess of dried blood and viscera staining the wall above the limp shell of a human being slumped before him. The recent re-contextualization in Arthur's mind of the situation he found himself in was enough to push him Arthur to realize that if Mitch had shot himself, there would likely be a gun somewhere nearby.

Each and every object that he could find could be used to his advantage. He was no longer some pawn in someone else's game, but the agent of change in a game of his own mental design.

But no matter how hard he searched, Arthur couldn't find the gun.

Someone had been there to take it before they arrived.

The plot thickens, he mused internally, moving away from the body and toward the door.

His curiosity piqued, Arthur left the room and followed after Coleen, jogging to catch up with her and hoping that she hadn't noticed his delay. Maybe they'd catch up with the person who took the gun somewhere down the line, or maybe it would never be resolved.

Maybe it had already been fired and tossed away, perhaps into the ocean, plummeting to the bottom as two curious fish swirled around the strange object for a moment before returning to their complacent swirl in the bay.

[Arthur Bernstein continued in There Are So Many Offices, but Everyone Seems To Be A Patient. Where Are The Doctors?]
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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