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Serenity Prayer; The house of God is still open!
Topic Started: Feb 19 2017, 10:32 AM (697 Views)
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Mr. Danya
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Nate Turner continued from A Light in the Dark))

Four days later, Nate was back where he started.

Of course the game was still going and nothing had changed; what had he expected to happen? Terrorists didn’t just stop what they were doing because you asked them nicely. It was a long-shot, and he never expected it to work, so why had he bothered in the first place?

Well, he supposed, he had to. Even if it was never going to work, at least he could say he’d tried. He knew he meant what he said, too: he hadn’t just been lying to try and trick terrorists into not killing him and all his friends.

He snorted a dirty laugh. A lot of good integrity was doing him now. He may have tried to convince himself that it was better than not having it, that at least he could still hold on to himself, but it wasn’t enough at all. There wasn’t much that would have been, really.

Sat on a pew, Nate’s legs were pulled up tight to his chest as he stared at the stained windows. The ghost of Matt coming through the door lingered behind him, as he thought back to that first day. He was still here, four days later, and nothing had really changed. He’d found friends, lost friends, lost supplies, found supplies, and done a whole lot of walking, but in the end, he was right back where he started. What had even been the point?

He’d been thinking, ever since he said ‘I’m probably dead by now.’ to the camera in the cave. What was he going to do until then? He was most likely going to be dead in the next few days, if not the next few hours, so how was he going to spend that time?

He didn’t want to die, and he didn’t want to do it to himself (he didn’t even want to think about that), but just because you didn’t want something that didn’t mean it would go away. He didn’t want there to be people at school who made fun of his dwarfism, or people who laughed about religion and said that it was for idiots, or for himself to have absolutely no confidence or use to anybody, but that was how it was, and that’s how it was going to be. The only sensible thing he could do, he’d tried to tell himself, was to accept the things he couldn’t change.

So, he continued sitting there in the silence of the chapel, trying to accept his imminent death, as he pondered just what exactly he was going to do.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Vincenzo continued from Seediq Bale))

A chapel. Wasn't that some shit?

Enzo's parents were sort of religious. Like, the 'we don't go to church but we'll still grab your ear for blaspheming' flavour of religious. Vincenzo wasn't, and honestly barely even thought about it. He had too much on his own plate to try and make friends with God, and he'd always assumed that if the big guy was around, He'd sort of see that Enzo was making his best effort and not really get on his case too much.

So all in all, Enzo wasn't really sure what drew him to the building now, other than maybe wanting to get in out of the elements for a little while. He wasn't sure he had anything to discuss with God right now—not that wouldn't have had his parents really chew him out for. Vinny didn't really feel like doing that either. What would be the point? Wasn't like Jesus C. was going to descend from on high, karate chop the collar off his neck, and then float him back home.

Vinny stepped inside, and then froze. Someone was sitting there at the front of the rows of pews. Even though his last encounter with someone ostensibly dangerous had gone okay, Enzo didn't want to chance his luck. He wasn't even sure that Kimiko would be as non-murderous as she was the other day if he ran into her again.

Enzo paused, squinted closer. Though, the size of that person sitting down was distinct. Or distinctly lacking, either or. He only knew one person in the class with that kind of height. A teammate, even a friend.

"Crouchy? Crouchy, is that you?"
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Nate turned around, half expecting to see Matt again. Enzo didn’t sound anything like Matt of course, but those memories had close enough to the surface that the little prompts brought them forth. There were worse people he could've seen when he turned around, though.

“Hey!” he replied when he saw who it really was. Something sounded off about that greeting. It was tired, weary. It lacked the same spark he’d always greeted friends with for as long as he could remember. It had the volume, but it was just a bit empty.

“What’s up, Enzo? Ho-how’ve you been?”

He was chuckling whilst he was asking a question that seemed misplaced, forcing a smile and trying to appear as upbeat as he knew he wasn’t, like he always did when he was feeling down. He still didn’t want to bring other people down to his level, even if it was more out of habit than intent at this point.

Nate was happy to see Enzo, that wasn’t the problem. Enzo was a cool dude. Or girl. It was a bit weird, and Nate didn't really understand it, but he didn’t like to judge and it really wasn't his place to. As far as he cared, Enzo was Enzo.

The problem was that being happy to see Enzo just didn't really seem to matter anymore.
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"Jesus H, Crouchy, you're okay," Enzo didn't know whether to laugh with relief or cry because he was relieved just so see that once of his friends wasn't dead. Like, how fucked up was that, when you had to be glad that someone hadn't been shot or stabbed before you got a chance to see them?

He headed towards the front of the church, picking up his pace just a little. Vinny tried to smile, but it didn't really feel right. Maybe he just had to take the small boosts to his spirits where he could find them.

Nate's question took him further aback than he'd either expected or wanted to really think about. The smile returned and departed again in the space of a second. "I've been... it's, ah... yeah..." he trailed off, shrugged, shook his head. "I'm shitty, thanks for asking," an absurd laugh bubbled up within Enzo, and he let it before it died away. "But not dead, I guess. Woo, go me."

Enzo hopped onto the back of one of the pews, perched on the rest, planted his feet on the seat.

For several long seconds, he said nothing, and then glanced back at Nate. Uncharacteristically seriously, he spoke again.

"How you holding up?"
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Nate laughed with Enzo, an awkward uncomfortable laugh. It matched the mood of the whole situation.

“How am I holding up?” he parroted, as if the question wasn’t understood. He laughed again, tilted his head up and looked at the coloured glass, gripping his knees tighter.

“I really don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing, you know? At first I was just crying all the time and hiding out with people, and I guess that was stupid but I wasn't dying or anything, so I thought it would work. I didn’t really know what else to do, and I knew so many of the people who were dying that I guess I just couldn't really think.”

He tilted his head back down again, resting his chin on his legs. He didn’t really want to look at Enzo, but he hoped they were still listening. It was easier to talk to them than Asuka.

“Then I met Henry Spencer, and I invited him to hang out with us, cause someone stole all of his stuff. But then the next day, he ran off and stole mine.” And then he died after a lot of cursing from Nate. That part didn’t need to be mentioned, he decided.

“And then I found Alvaro, and it was good cause he’s my friend and all, but I knew what he’d been doing. I thought maybe I could talk him down, like convince him to chill out, y’know? But then he just tried to shoot me, and I ran away and left my friends with him.”

His forehead was pressed into his legs by then, but he wasn’t shaking or crying. He’d gone over the story in his head enough times to stop being so bothered by his failings. There was only so much guilt he could inflict on himself.

"And after that I just kind of wandered around with Asuka," he didn't know her last name, he realised. "until I ran away from her, too. I don't really know why I did, but I think she was ok. Hope so." There wasn't as much concern in his words as there would've been a few days ago; that reservoir was running dry too.

“Sorry for spilling like that, but yeah. Hasn’t been great.”

He let out a long sigh.
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Nate talked, and Enzo listened. He'd asked; that was the least that he could do.

He'd had a pretty shitty time of it. Maybe that was redundant. Everyone's time was shitty. Though, didn't mean that anyone else's shittiness didn't count or anything. Kind of like the whole 'starving kids in Africa' thing. Like, yeah that was certainly happening, and people were getting shot and killed in America or dying in wars and so on. Didn't mean it didn't fucking suck that they were probably all gonna die too.

Nate wrapped up. Enzo opined his views on the matter. "That's shitty. I'm sorry, man."

Enzo shook his head for a second. "And never apologise for talking, Crouchy. Never ever. I asked, you spoke, yeah?"

Vinny was kind of glad that Nate hadn't fired the same question back at him. He didn't know if he was up for talking about Cameron dying. Well, no, he knew that he wasn't.

"And as for what you're doing. Iunno. Staying alive is a good start."

More than a lot of people were doing. More than Cameron had done.
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“Yeah you say that, but how long’s it going to last?”

He still couldn’t make eye contact with Enzo. He really did appreciate their efforts, honestly, but he just couldn’t care anymore. This was it. End of the line. No room for perking up, for getting a boost from your pal. Just a ticking clock.

“I’m going to die, and it’s probably going to happen soon. I know that sounds really messed up, but it’s going to happen, I know that. Only one person gets out of these things, right? That’s what I remember from the last ones, anyway.”

He’d never looked into SOTF, why would he? It was so far removed from his life, even if he was an American. It was horrible and tragic, but so were a lot of terrorist attacks and mass murders in his country. That didn’t mean they felt personal, not until now, so it was easy to keep your head in the sand as much as the media would allow. Maybe something to talk about in church or with your parents over dinner, but that was it. Maybe that meant he’d be fodder for conversation someday too.

“I don’t know what those people were like, but I know they weren’t like me. I mean, look at me.”

He finally did give Enzo a look back, cracking an actual smile. A heartbroken smile, but an accepting one.

“So, I’m not going to go home, and this is where I’m going to die.”
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"As long as we can make it."

Enzo didn't blame Nate for being down. Depressed you could call it, even. No, truly this was fucked. If ever there was a time to be upset and to lose hope, it was now.

But you had to hold onto something. You had to. There had to be something they could do here. Even if it was just hope. Even if it was just wait. If there was a million to one chance, then there was still that one in a million that some miracle would happen.

It had before. Twice. It could again. It could again.

Vinny shook his head once, and then again. He couldn't let Nate just say that. You laid down and accepted it and then you were dead. That wasn't any of them here, that's what Enzo wanted to believe.

"Nobody's like you, Crouchy. Nobody's like any of us.

"Look, people are out there, right? They haven't just forgotten we exist. If there's even the tiniest chance they find us, then you gotta keep going for as long as possible."

So many people hadn't made it already. So many were dead. What made the rest so special?

"Don't give up, Nate. This can't last forever."
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“Maybe, maybe not.”

Nate may not have been an argumentative person, not naturally, but right now he just couldn’t give Enzo any ground. He wasn’t doing it deliberately, and he wasn’t mad at Enzo for trying, but they were wrong, and that was that. They might have been right about there being a tiny chance of survival, that maybe there’d be some hero riding up in a big boat who’d take the bombs off their necks, and suddenly make all of his friends who’d turned into killers see the error of their ways, and take them all home, but not without stopping at the Diamondback ice cream parlour for frosty chocolate milkshakes (he preferred banana splits, but again, he didn’t like to be contrary). Enzo might have been right, but Nate knew how ridiculous it sounded.

“It’s not just that, anyway.”

He was resting his head on his knees again, tilted at an angle but still looking Enzo in the eye. His smile had receded again.

“You knew Alvaro, you knew what kind of guy he was like. But now he’s killing people. It’s the same with Nancy, she was always really nice too.”

Not anymore, of course. This game turned people into monsters, after all.

“So...”

No more eye contact.

“What if that happens to me?”
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Enzo could tell when encouragement was falling flat, mostly cause they weren't stupid and Nate was hardly making it difficult. Shit, he couldn't blame the guy, could he? If Vinny started thinking too long about Kimiko or what happened with Cameron, the fact that others were dead, others that he knew were killers, then it started getting really shitty, really quickly. Didn't matter if he liked them or not, they were still people. Fuck, Tessa, paranoid as she'd been, had wound up dying that same day that he left her. Days ago, now.

But what else was there? Let that make him give up and that was just it. Nothing left.

And that wasn't Vinny's style. He'd never just given up because something was hard—and this was hard.

"Crouchy, it's because you're worrying about it that it won't. They made a choice; a forced choice, but they still chose," Enzo rubbed the back of his head. "And I wanna say that they're still the same people. He's not, you know, not Alvaro. Or Nancy or whoever, but they picked."

He sighed, shook his head rapidly, trying to clear it. "Look do you want to go for a walk or something? Keeping busy will help."

He didn't know that, but it was fine to say it.
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Enzo still might have been right, but Nate still couldn’t agree.

He couldn’t agree that Alvaro or Nancy weren’t the same people, or that they’d made a choice which put them on this path. Yeah, there were horrible people in the world, he knew that, but Alvaro and Nancy weren’t like that. The fact that the terrorists had put them in a situation where they felt they had to do what they’d started doing didn’t make them bad people, it just made the whole thing even worse.

So no, Nate couldn’t use them as a scapegoat. Whatever had happened in their heads to make them think that murder was the solution, there was no reason it couldn’t happen to him too. Maybe it was already happening, and he just didn’t realise it. Everything just felt like a matter of time at this point.

He looked up at Enzo as they offered their walk, and almost cracked a grin. It really was déjà vu at this point, leaving with a friend like he’d done with Matt just to calm himself down. Someone he trusted taking pity on him, trying to cheer him up like his friends always did. Better friends than he deserved, really. All they needed now was for him to have another panic attack and nearly blow himself up, and it'd be complete.

He shook his head turning to look back at the stained-glass window, no longer able to look Enzo in the eye.

"Thanks Enzo, really, but I don’t think anything can help anymore."

Thanks for trying, though.
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Enzo held up both hands. He knew when he-

Actually he didn't tend to know when he was beaten. Just sometimes you had to pick your battles, and he didn't think this was one he was going to—or even was capable of—win.

Vinny crouched—ha—down.

"Okay. I get it. I get what you're saying, I do."

Wouldn't agree, couldn't agree.

"But if I walk back out those doors without you, I want you to promise me you won't do anything stupid, okay?" he straightened, looked Nate in the eyes. "Okay, Nate?"
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He didn’t reply.

He couldn’t reply.

He clutched his knees tighter, as he felt a tremor pass through him. He avoided looking straight at Enzo again, staring at another window, but he knew that this was it.

He finally got off the bench, reaching for his bag. Maybe Enzo was still trying to talk to him, but he couldn’t hear them anymore. He didn’t want to, it would be too painful. It was just easier to take his leave.

He was heading for the door, but he stopped and turned back. Took one last look at Enzo, and opened his mouth.

No sound came out, but he mouthed an apology all the same.

((Nate Turner continued in Where Will You Stand When The Flood Comes?))
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Nate couldn't even muster words to respond.

Well, wasn't that some shit.

This wasn't what Vinny had expected. He'd thought that maybe things were looking up, not this would be some... flat-falling... melancholy...

Bullshit.

Fact was, Nate didn't want to hear him any more, and Enzo had to accept that. Even in the lack of the reassurance, even in the lack of the guarantee that he wouldn't...

Fuck.

Vincenzo stood still for several minutes after Nate left, staring at the floor, then straightened, shook his head.

Nothing keeping him here now, right?

((Enzo continued in Hi, Steve))
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