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Hemochromatosis; Day 5, tagging VoltTurtle and Cicada Days~
Topic Started: Feb 6 2017, 05:23 PM (961 Views)
Cicada Days
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((Ben Fields continued from See The Needy Greedy Me We Bleed To Feed So Easily))

Toby, Irene... What almost pried the teeth from the gnawing of humiliation and regret that he still hadn't done enough, still hadn't come through with his promises... was that the name he'd been closest to was Darius. Fucking Darius was the standout death of the day. If Ben had still had anything left of his lips following their erosion into crags by way of gentle sea breeze he would have maybe laughed. But he hadn't laughed, of course, he'd hurt. Better of the two options, he was sure. Penelope had also been beat up pretty bad. But she'd put on the march, soldiered on. Ben had thus done the same.

Not like he knew what to say on behalf of the dead anyhow. He'd let them have whatever peace they could scrounge up without an ass-looking abnormally short dude trying to sputter on their behalf.

Nate and Matt, at least, were still alive. Good on them. They'd made it count, the still throbbing mess of pasty red hues Ben called an arm. Jerry on the other hand... well. Add that to the thrashing worm pit of Ben's regrets.

But it didn't matter in the end. This plan, this new plan that Ben believed in as if it had come from his own sagging brain matter and not that of a far superior specimen, that was what mattered. They'd all be dead anyways. Dead with honor, pride, dignity. Ben would devote what was left of the man named Ben Fields to the cause. It was true righteousness, true solidarity. Fuck it, even if it wasn't. It was a hell of a better sight and sound than a man without a plan, a rebel without a cause.

They climbed the stairs of the helipad in silence. The bloody orange dying embers in yesterday's twilight hours had summoned them. Reminded him of the bell on the first day, only this time Ben was marching towards his death instead of away from it. Marching with a steadily regulated breath, and a smooth cannonball of a rock held in his dominant fist. He'd scooped it up when they'd started walking from the asylum. He figured he had enough juice- spoiled, rotten, so on- in the tank left for one good throw. Cochise Coyotes might have lost Cristobal, might have lost Irene, might have lost Jerry, but Ben could still make their last play.

Only if he had to. Only in self defense. He had his mandate. Thou shalt not...

"Raina!"

Oh.

"Raina! Raina! Raina!"

Definitely wasn't his conversation. He hung back, let the pretty ones talk it out. Maybe schmoozed a bit with the burnt husk of human on the pile of charred scrap. About as engaging a conversation partner as he himself was.
V7

V6 - Like you imagined when you... were young...
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Cicada Days
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Hm. They'd been quick about it. Less a conversation and more a sales pitch. Immediately down to business, like one of those brain dead girls from Mojave giving her brain dead friends a pyramid scheme sales pitch. Probably didn't look so good. Maybe. Maybe the faux pas was better received when there was an actual immaterial charisma behind the speaker's slow, lip-biting dirge for the class of 2015.

He didn't know how Raina would respond, went without saying. Ben knew he believed in the solvency of Penelope's high-flying rhetoric, even when he himself was stuck on Earth by his own leaded weight. But that also went without saying. For every other living name on this island the terrorists hadn't dangled cockily over announcements, even for the ones they had, who knew where the priority lay? For all Ben knew they cared about life over the honor, over the glory, over the humble pride to look their loved ones in the next life in the eye and know they belonged. Shit, maybe they were even right.

Ben had all but killed that line of thought a long time ago, killed it like the sensations in his bad arm. Days? Years? But he knew there was a certain underclassman girl left alive. Name, Lana Fields. To press on without her brother, to be the head of a household she'd never learned to care for, if Ben went and got himself killed.

If he made it home he'd betrayed her, simple as that. If he didn't make it home...

No regrets, right? He glanced at the camera for answers.

No response.

Back to the girls. He kept his distance, maybe half a pace forward at most. Enough so he wasn't yelling like a dumbass just to be heard.

"Together..." He nodded solemnly. "We owe it to ourselves to go out without letting the terrorists have won. No matter who wins this version they already lost, they already gave in... So yeah." God as his witness he'd never expected to go out in life with this many rocks in his mouth. Before the actual ones were introduced to his halitosis maw whenever Mother Nature started doing her rites for his corpse. Anyways. Invoking God. "Think the dude in the sky would be pretty happy if we all stood down... Kept our souls from wasting away on the off chance there's a chance at life."

To think he'd been ready to kill only... however many days prior. That anger, that urge was gone. Even as his body fell apart at the seams in anticipation of death, the gut churning boil of pointless ass anger that had once burned his tender innards to chewiness was dissipated. It left him clean, humbled. Maybe this was real heroism, real manliness. Letting go of the bullshit. Ignoring the marauding thieves, the starving friends, the awkward lesbians, focusing on what really mattered. Dignity, grace before the final hour.
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Raina didn't buy into the idea whole heart, if her expression was any solid evidence. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. Penelope seemed happy to accept it as an answer.

Ben felt the nag of misgivings dig a biting cold right into his temple, brain freeze courtesy of chilling thoughts. Could he trust Raina, Penelope even? When their respective ideals were high in the sky and their collective asses were dunked in the earth's mud and rust? What was it he was marching his ass around for at all?

He was a soldier.

"Get your dumb ass over here and stop being lame...!"

Wasn't his job to question orders. Ben lazily raised his hands half mast in a brief white flag's worth of shrug. "Guilty as charged. I just thought I'd be a bit too gnarly from the sweat, didn't want to ugly up your reunion." Ben put out the lame with the rest of his misgivings, got as close as he dared so they were a group of two point five heads instead of merely two. He'd let them have their hands to each other though, not like he had any business getting involved in that.

Reek wasn't especially noticeable. Locker room memories at worst.

"Either of you two need me to hunt out anything for your plans I'll do it." Ben's expression was a neutral conversation, he regarded each girl with a dead eye as if something inane like homework was the topic at hand. "I'm thinking I could leave the two of you to your reunion and scavenge for supplies, actually... Two or three days of water between Penelope and I, about. We were able to get some rain water to refill our bottles. Food might be a bit more tenuous."
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"Lili? Yeah, I spoke to her some. She's cool, I guess I always respected her style even if I didn't understand it."

Lili and Darius. A combination almost as strange as... Ben and Raina plus Penelope. Ben couldn't have envisioned how Lili and Darius could ever have been in the same room without sniping shitty insults at each other. But that sorta shit had changed anyways, his mind's eye was well devolved. If he tried to envision it now... Lili. Darius. One room, one roof. A couple of guns, a pool of blood, a few broken corpses. The new normal.

He lingered on the image too long. Another betrayal from his mortal brain. Ben dourly meandered, past both Raina and Penelope. Inadvertently put himself in spitting distance of the pile of summer time barbecue that had once been a human being, and he stared because his eyes were also retarded like the rest of him.

"I should probably stick close to you guys, so I won't split off until we've got a route established." He was talking out into the void between himself and a splatters worth of Ben Fields on the grounds below the helipad. It wasn't really his conversation. He didn't know this Johnny dude, ace as he sounded if two girls were hankering for his ass.

"Lili marches to the beat of her own drum," Ben vaguely remembered. He wasn't even sure who he was addressing. "Dunno if seeking her out will accomplish anything."
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"Well..."


Ben's eyes lifted from the briquette crime scene. Then he glanced back at Penelope and Raina, looking for some sort of command. Nothing definite, no march was sounded in their wandering glances. Just him then. Likely fact was that neither girl recognized that familiar voice, the voice Ben had last definitively heard when he'd had himself a shitty plan and lungful and brainful of hot air.

Jerry. Ben felt a grimace coming on, wore it without pride. Ben wondered if it could have been an accident. Crime of passion. Maybe there hadn't been anyone to blame.

"... have they killed anyone yet? Like... 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 2015. Something like that.

All Ben could soberly hope was that he'd never hear Jerry's name again. He let the distant cacophony of yells become the horizon, fading away like wounds into scars.


"Johnny was at the warehouse when I left. I... after dealing with Darius, I needed some time to cool down. Johnny probably didn't go far..."


"...Lili said her things were in the library. I don't know how much good it would do, but more supplies is always better than less..."


"...I don't have my heart set on following her or anything, but if we don't have any other plans..."

"Makes sense."


"Okay... so... here's an idea. We need friends if we want to get out or go out with our middle fingers up, right...?"

The gestures were a bit redundant.


"...Well, maybe after we go and get Johnny, we could try heading over to the bell tower near the asylum and like... keep ringing the bell until people come around."


"Say... Raina... Would you mind if we just... stayed here for a little while...?"


"...I've probably walked around this whole island twice over at this point. I think I could use... maybe an hour or two of relaxation? If you don't mind, of course..."


Ben's cue to keep looking away.

"You two go ahead. I'll keep watch."
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"Big ideas huh. Well, in the past tense I had some. They only got me this shit, so..." Ben glanced back with a pivot and twist of his shitty posture, long enough to jab a finger at his wound. Deceptively clean and crisp linen hid the mess underneath still churning and broiling away the dregs of his life force.

"I don't have much else in the tank. I'm just here to help." It was his place. All that was left of his manliness was a thin strip of muscle, sweat and toil. The thoughts, words, had all eroded away.






Ben didn't know how much time had passed, needed himself a functioning brain to parse the continued tick-by-tick of the sun shearing the skin cells of whatever was left on that island.

He was seated with his stubby legs from the knee-down dangling over the edge of the helipad. Real quiet. He was pretty much alone with all of the thoughts he didn't have. He'd glanced back a few times. Two girls posed like that. Hm. Maybe kind of awkward, kind of attractive. Ben figured he didn't care either way.

This time when he glanced back Penelope was breathing a bit labored, suddenly. Sick? Would have been a disaster if she'd caught something. Ben raised an eyebrow, trying to catch Raina's eye. Gesture at Penelope. Not his job to be the one to say something. His body, mind, weren't useful for comfort.
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Ben looked their way and they didn't return the favor. And that was how it was supposed to be.

He nodded when Penelope asked. Responding any other way was just mincing words with a rusty knife. Sleepy morning breakfast and bedhead shit, the sort of thing that no longer belonged or made sense.



"My sister would talk about her bad dreams when she had them. Made her feel better about that sort of thing, I dunno."

Ben stayed stoic for the camera.
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Ben knew well enough by now that there were times when there was nothing to be said. He said nothing else.

His face remained crudely chiseled stone. He continued to look in their general direction, though it was really a pointless ass gesture.
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Penelope still didn't sound quite right even when her voice slid back to it's soda fizz cheer, but what the fuck did Ben know, so on. He was a bit surprised his arm didn't fall the fuck off when Penelope deigned to remind Ben his mortality was still vaguely relevant.

It felt alright. Warm, fleshy where she touched. Pillsbury Doughboy kinda shit.

He grabbed his supplies. They weighed about the same, lighter than days before but also sitting on muscles weaker than days before. As he slid the strap of the bag onto his shoulder and watched Penelope smile their way he glanced at Raina briefly, desiccated neurons firing before he could remember the ashes and dust clogging up his mouth.

"Sorry. I normally don't come off like this, but... circumstances."

Excuses, that's what it was.

((Ben Fields, continued in Haemolacria))
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