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Real Human Being; and a real hero
Topic Started: Feb 25 2017, 11:35 AM (346 Views)
Grim Wolf
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(ENTER: Alex Tarquin from Lord of Lunatics)

So tired.

So weak, and so frail. He hadn't slept, except for those horrid moments of dark stillness after the shock knife had found his eye. He hadn't been able to eat. He hadn't stopped to rest.

He couldn't stop to rest. Somewhere on this island was Michael Crowe. Somewhere was vengeance for the eye he'd lost, and the screaming pain and the humiliation that had almost cost him everything. Somewhere out there was a man who he'd played paintball with. Whose company he'd honestly enjoyed. The man who had punched him in the face. The man whose finger he'd cut off. Somewhere out there was a man Alex could almost have called a friend, before...

It was wrong. It was so wrong, and so fucked up. They shouldn't be here. Rea shouldn't be dead. Will shouldn't have killed Darius. None of this should be...

But what choice did they have? The cold and clammy metal of the collar still pressed against his neck. Their masters commanded, and they had to obey. Only one survivor. Only one man who could be...

The Fittest. That was an idiotic concept, wasn't it? What did it even mean? What did any of it mean? Including the bullshit Alex had said, to convince the world he was dangerous. 'In that moment, you were weak and I was strong.' Jesus.

And what was the alternative? Rea is dead because you couldn't stop imagining yourself as a badass fighting your way through an action film. And what are you doing now? Wandering the island with weapons in hand in search of vengeance? You should be back in the Asylum, restringing your cans. That was the stage you prepared for yourself. A stage of safety. A place where you could pretend...

And what did your pretending get you? Crowe's down a finger with his cheek torn open. You've lost an eye. Will is hunting you. How many more people will your hurt in the name of...of...

There.

In the distance, two shapes entangled. He squinted with his one good eye, and found he recognized them both. His heart crawled into his throat. He could sneak up, just like Crowe had. He could...

But what would that say about him? About the kind of character he wanted to play?

can you do this?

"Am I interrupting!" he shouted, with that same strange, low rasp he'd come to like so much. The voice of the character he wanted to play. The voice of Alexander David Tarquin, the man who would be the Fittest.

whatever that means
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V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


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Grim Wolf
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It must have been a nice moment. Peace, solace, comfort. Not to mention a little bit of lust. God, Alex could use some lust, but who would ever want to? With a killer whose face looked like this?

And who had done it to him? Michael Crowe, with his lips pressed against another man. Michael Crowe, with the ragged stitches on his cheek that Alex had carved into him. Michael Crowe, his late-night paintball buddy.

In light of this new information, that feels suggestive.

But in spite of how tired he was, in spite of his meandering, envious thoughts, he couldn't help but take satisfaction in the look of horror on Crowe's mangled face, the mumbled protests that Alex couldn't see but could almost understand. The disbelief. The feeble inability to understand.

God, that made him feel powerful. Made him feel like a powerful monster, feared and hated. Nothing worse than a monster you can't kill, right?

"Fuck off, hemorrhoid face!" Crowe screamed, and it was a weak voice, trembling and terrified. The insults felt hollow.

Alex kept walking. Crowe reared up, like a cat puffing itself up to look bigger.

"I give up fucker! You hear me?! I'm through! You wanna go around cutting people, fine! You leave me out of it!"

Closer.

"You turn the fuck around right now! I made Will run his puss-ass away, and I already killed you once! Two on one, and I won! Even with all that crap on you, you won't beat me asshole! I'll stay to finish the job this time if you don't leave!"

Closer. And then...

Crowe pushed his friend--his lover?--behind him. Was that...was that Johnathan Gulley? Alex came to a stop, staring between the two of them. And when Crowe spoke next, the fear in his voice had changed. There was something else there. Something of Will's rage in the warehouse. A fierce, grieving desperation.

"I'll give you a chance to turn around, I really don't wanna deal with your kiddie shit right now! Just walk away!"

Alex stopped where he was, and held himself perfectly still, even though his arms ached with the weapons. Slowly, he let them drape to his side. He let himself look a little more human. A little more mortal.

"I'm tired, Crowe," Alex said. "I'm very, very tired of you. That story you're telling. That story you won't stop telling. You struck the first blow, remember? Every time. You hit me, when I dropped my guard. You snuck up behind me, because you didn't have the guts to face me like a man. And you turned on me when Will was trying to kill. Us. Both."

He dropped the axe to the ground. It clattered against the boards of the dock.

"You want so badly to be the hero," Alex said, and with every word he became angrier and angrier. "But you lash out in fear because you cannot make your story stick. You cried in the dark, because you were afraid. And when I hesitated, just for a moment..." He raised his free hand, and tapped the burnt flesh of his eye. It felt crinkly, like wrinkled paper. "A valuable lesson, Crowe. Mercy's a weakness. Hesitation is a weakness."

"When you were unarmed I did nothing," Alex spat. "And for that you hurt me. When I had the opportunity to take the coward's way and stab you when your guard was down, I defended you and I called out my challenge. You are the worst kind of coward, Crowe. The kind who doesn't hesitate to throw another man to the wolves if it saves his skin."

He wasn't sure he was acting anymore. This didn't feel like someone playing pretend. This felt real. And that dangerous rasp in his voice felt good. The anger and pain were not diminished, but they were somehow alloyed together into something cold, precise, and certain. For the first time since he'd reached this place, he almost felt good.

He kicked the axe towards Crowe. It slid several feet, and gave to a stop perhaps six feet in front of Crowe.

"Pick it up," Alex said.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Feb 26 2017, 11:06 PM.
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V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
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Grim Wolf
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
So, so tired.

So, so angry.

He was swaying on his feet, with the surf crashing in nearby. His one good eye was wide to stave off his crushing exhaustion. He was sore to the goddamn marrow, and Crowe wouldn't. Stop. Talking.

The same problem, over and over again. Crowe, refusing to fit into the narrative. Crowe, refusing to see his own cowardice. Crowe, shaking with fear and spewing bullshit every which way.

And of course, it didn't help that he risked showing Alex's hand, and making him look weak and hollow.

"The difference," Alex said. "Is that I don't pretend I didn't kill her. I don't pretend that it wasn't my hand that did the deed. And I don't pretend there's any virtue in it."

He pointed with the machete. "I saw your face, Crowe. You thought you'd killed me. Don't pretend your weakness is kindness."

That was the line, of course: to make Crowe look like he was the one creating fantasies, not Alex. But was it a fantasy anymore? The fire he felt licking in his belly, this eager trembling in his hand. And still Crowe wouldn't stop. Parting jabs about his other eye, and about leaving him for Will to find. Alex couldn't help it: his good eye widened, with the thought of another pain like that.

But then Crowe was asking about Jon. Even after he'd already asked about Jeremy.

No mercy. No hesitation.

"You can't save him, Crowe," Alex said. "Not from what we might do to him. Not from what he might have to do."

But he looked at Gulley, trying so badly to keep Crowe cool. Trying so badly to be better. A little like Jeremy. And...and the last time he'd killed someone, their avenger had nearly put him in the ground.

"I won't go looking for him," Alex said.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Feb 27 2017, 02:07 PM.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
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Grim Wolf
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
He waited.

He waited in silence with watching eyes. He let the drama unfold. He let the story reach its end.

The question is, why? Why not move, and end the fight? Why not move and cut them both down, if you are to be a villain? Why let Crowe shoot his mouth off so much?

But the answer's obvious. They deserve to. Just like Jeremy deserved to find his friends, just like Alex couldn't quite bring himself to hide away from Hazel and Jordan. There are many stories on this island, and Alex cannot quite bear to cut this one short.

That, and he's tired as hell. He's lost an eye. He hasn't stopped moving since the wee hours of the morning, hasn't stopped looking for Crowe. He's barely keeping his feet now, and he knows Crowe is just as weak as he is but is he okay with this? Is he okay with risking everything on this idiotic duel? It'll be a fine spectacle, but it's his life on the line, it's...

Oh.

Maybe the answer wasn't so obvious. Maybe Alex is here to die. Maybe he's here because that's the fitting end to the villain, one last jump-scare before the credits fade away, and now Crowe gets to ride off into the sunset with Gulley, bloody but triumphant, and somehow they'll break this whole game wide open and save each other and Alex will be the last great obstacle standing in their way.

And are you okay with that, Alex?

They kissed, and Gulley ran. Alex felt something pang against his heart. A kiss like that. A companion like that.

Crowe turned to face him, axe in hand. Crowe, his paintball buddy, his could-have-been-friend if not for this nightmare, if not for cutting blades and lost fingers, lost skin, lost faces, lost knives. Crowe, spouting still-more wink-at-the-camera come-on-buddy-just-admit-it bullshit.

But the scene had played out. The stakes were set. And Alex couldn't see out of his left eye. Crowe had taken that from him, as repayment for Alex's momentary hesitation. Crowe had tried, over and over, to take everything from him.

So Alex started to walk, his machete in front of him, his stance shifted as though he were about to fence with the man in front of him. Another game of make-believe, another mock-battle, pretense playing at reality. But their blades were sharp, weren't they? They'd both felt their sting.

The play was very real now. And Alexander David Tarquin was ready.

"You talk too much, Crowe" Alex said.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Feb 27 2017, 04:43 PM.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
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Grim Wolf
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The haft of the axe quivered in his hands. Or was it that his hands were quivering, and the axe was shaking with him? Hard to tell anymore, where he ended and the axe began.

He stumbled backwards, staring down at Crowe's corpse. Corpse, absolutely: the machete was buried in his belly, and the blade of the axe was sunk deep into his throat. Alex raised a hand to his stinging face, another bruise from Crowe (opposite side this time, symmetry and bookends, symbolism, ha!).

He stared at the man he'd killed. No, be honest: the man he'd hunted.

Cameras are still rolling.


"The real difference between us," Alex rasped. "Is that when I kill someone, they don't get back up."

Was that badass? Was it the taunt of a merciless psycho, or the desperate plea of a broken man? Which vision of him were the cameras seeing?

The one that's still alive.

And did living require you to hunt down Crowe? Did it require you to cut off his finger, slice open his cheek, and leave him gutted on the docks.

Fucking god damn it I should have used that as my line.

The thought shot across his consciousness and he giggled. He raised his hand to his mouth at once, embarrassed by the sound, but then he thought better of it. A little madness wasn't a bad thing. A little madness would make him seem that much more terrifying. A little madness, like giggling again, and raising it to a low, throaty chuckle, and it hurts your sore throat which gives it a nice guttural edge and look at you now, Alex, with the marks from Crowe's last stand on your skin and a man you hunted dead at your feet. No turning back now. You're a killer in earnest, aren't you? And a thorough one, too.

He walked away from Crowe, and almost tripped over the mancatcher that lay fallen on the ground, when he had flung it at Crowe when the other man had moved in fro the kill. His ribs ached where Crowe had kicked him, and knocked the machete from his grasp. A fight. A mad fight. Death hanging on every instant.

Gone now. Alex was still standing. Minus an eye, but still alive. His anger was dying, but guilt did not rush in to fill the void. He felt a peculiar hollow clarity. He was so tired, and so sore, and so awake, and so...

So what? What was the word?

He made his way to the beach, and dropped his pants. He peeled the sticky leather sleeves off, and left them in the sand. He peeled the hairband from his pony tail, and placed it carefully atop his socks and shoes. He walked into the cold ocean, with the moon barely visible through thickening clouds.

Later, he would gather his things against. He would clean his bloodstained weapons (how well he couldn't say). He would return to the warehouse where Rea had died, and find new clothes, and do away with the old. He would find a safe place, and sleep the sleep of the dead.

But that was later. For now, Alexander David Tarquin bathed in stinging saltwater, rinsed it through his hair, splashed it against his face, submerged himself and imagined some half-hidden beast rising from the deep to take him, but what beast was his equal now? What monster would trump his?

Crowe was dead. Alex was alive. And for the first time since Rea had died on his blade, Alex felt alright.

(EXIT: Alexander David Tarquin)
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
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