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Wombo Combo; That ain't Falco. Day 5.
Topic Started: Feb 13 2017, 03:56 AM (806 Views)
dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((So. That was what the end of a life sounded like.))

Two sharp cracks, followed by the silence of bleeding out cold and alone.

-

As their increasingly ridiculous pursuit across the island went on, Cass had slowly begun to lag behind Trav. Never enough to lose sight of him completely, but enough that when Trav finally cornered Jerry and ran off in a berserker's charge; Cass was forced to take a moment to stand still and catch their breath, wishing that they'd had the foresight to supplement their years of biking with some old-fashioned jogging.

When they finally got close enough to see the fight, it had already ended; a forgone conclusion. Trav had both more skill and the moral high ground. Cass watched numbly as Trav relentlessly continued to beat Jerry, even as the murderer helplessly babbled for mercy. They found no satisfaction in this pathetic scene, no solace in the pain of a fellow stupid, terrified kid. But, this wasn't for their benefit, was it? It hadn't been Cass's friend that Jerry had killed, after all.

Still, they had no desire to watch Trav become a murderer in front of their eyes; for both of their sakes. Even if Trav was somehow unaffected by beating a former friend to death with his bare hands, Cass wasn't sure if they would be able to look him in the eye afterwards without involuntarily flinching from the memory, be able to truly feel at home around him again. Jerry's wretched life wasn't worth any sacrifice. Cass stepped forward to call out for him to stop-

Two sharp cracks. Trav fell.

The waves rolled over him, still moving but not for much longer, for already there was blood coloring the water they had dreamed to reach in more innocent days, but already he was growing still and even though he could have been saved in the real world, here there could be nothing done but holding his hand and watching him die and even that was made impossible by a simple matter of time and distance, too far, too late to save yet another mighty Goliath dragged to hell by a coward's missile, granted to him by mere dumb luck and circumstance that ended just as many lives as they saved, miracles that just happened to kill the right people, and it wasn't news to anyone that the universe was cold and uncaring but a familiar gaping wound could still cripple you, and though he wasn't the first or the dearest death he had been the most vibrant, real face in their mind, and even though they weren't stupid some small part of them could still think "they never saw the body" for names number one and two, but Trav had been shot down under a clear sun and even though his killer was still lurking, still dangerous, as every day passed another reason to continue clinging to life for anything more than sheer momentum was lost in the island's decaying grasp, and Cass had both of their packs, now; unarmed and stunned and so very alone-

Thought after thought after thought screamed for attention in Cass's mind, shock and despair and a dispassionate noting of how pretty the red waves looked and

It was too much.

Cass took a few shuffling steps forward, towards Trav. Then they fell to their knees and broke down crying, retreating into themself and shutting out the world around them.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
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Even as Cass broke down, sobbing on the shoreline, the world didn't stop as it rightfully should. Jerry and Matt still continued to move and talk and breathe in the air of the Earth that would take no notice of one less human being, no matter how kind and brave. At that moment, Cass might have given up and sat still even with a gun to their head or a knife at their throat, but Matt's voice violently shook them from their fugue.

They were scavengers with full bellies, nevertheless stopping to experimentally tear the flesh off a fresh corpse just to see if it was to their liking, taking death in stride with a cold, businesslike manner; stamping the order of execution and forgetting about it before lunch. Nothing more than a mild disruption to their daily routine, and even then, something they could still benefit from.

Cass unsteadily rose to their feet. "You're not- not taking anything," they screamed at the two vultures, hiccuping and choking on tears that robbed their voice of any power it could have had. "Don't you fuh-fucking touch him!" It was still too soon to think of Trav as an it, too much to bear to voice the truth of his transition from a person to a lifeless thing.

Trav's bag was lying next to Cass's on the ground. It would be easy to grab them and run, to deny his killers at least some sanctification, but Cass stood their ground. They had been too late to save Trav's life, but they could still protect his memory. After everything, they owed him that much.
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dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
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Cass watched, appalled, as Jerry stuffed his face with crackers; stunned into disgusted silence. He had killed a man (considerate and brave and the only thing that had let Cass keep themself together) and his first reaction after his friend loudly considered looting the body was to eat? Was murder, desperate and bloody, truly so easy on the appetite?

Or did Jerry not even consider it worth thinking about any longer? He was still alive, and that meant that he had obviously done the right thing, so everyone else had to just accept that, right? He didn't want to kill Trav, really; and wasn't that all that mattered? He had panicked. He didn't want to die. He wasn't evil, so that meant he didn't have to feel sorry, right? It was just Cass's fault for not just lying down and agreeing that their friend deserved to die, right?

He wasn't the bad guy, because he said he wasn't, so that meant he was perfectly justified to stab Cass for the capital crime of caring about someone other than themself, right?

There wasn't a goddamn trace of humanity in Jerry's eyes. As Cass stood there, still sniffling and with eyes puffy from crying; they decided that anything was worth the chance to shut him up, even for a second. Anything to make it clear that his life didn't matter more than anyone else's, that he couldn't always get his way just by virtue of being willing to stomp over anyone in his way.

Cass rushed towards Jerry as he drew his knife. They punched him in the fucking face, their knuckles impacting his nose with a satisfying (if painful, they belatedly realized they were probably doing it wrong) smack. He flailed, and Cass felt a burning agony in their left wrist as it was slashed by Jerry's blade. They cried out as they stumbled backwards, grasping their wrist. Thankfully, Jerry was too busy clutching his battered nose to chase after them.

((They quickly scooped up their bags and darted away, turning their back on Trav for the first and last time.))
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