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Electric Dreams; Paging D/N and IceBlock.
Topic Started: Mar 4 2017, 06:12 PM (408 Views)
Iceblock
Survivor
[ *  * ]
((Melanie Beckett continued from Man in Three-Piece Suit Eating Omelette with Hands))

There were a lot of unfair things in the world. Here was one: she'd gotten to sleep in the back of the car.

Mel turned over and groaned at the sound of the announcements, then sat up, setting Elmo down on the seat next to her.

She could paint yesterday's scene in her mind easily, though the days here dragged on and blurred together otherwise. There she'd been, ragged-looking, her lips chapped and an almost delirious lack of focus in her eyes, hunched over to catch her breath after climbing slopes for so long. Then her head had tilted, her brow furrowed, because somewhere in earshot she'd caught a sound that was out of place here and yet clearly understandable. The sound of a car engine. Anyone could have known what it was, but she had felt an instant of certainty that no one else here knew as well as her what it meant.

They'd reunited. And they'd let her sleep in the back of the car, with leg room and all, when they deserved just as much or more to do so themselves.

As the announcements continued, she looked out the window and tried to distract herself from what came next. Astrid's name was second. By the time Alvaro was mentioned, she had lost count.

Now was a good time to muse on the unfair.

How was she still here after making so many reckless choices when Astrid wasn't? And Alvaro had protected his own life so desperately when they'd cornered him, only to die a day later.

She was still here, even still with people she wanted to be with, and she hadn't even been trying. She was glad to be alive - but it wasn't fair.

Even that wasn't likely to last much longer, not when she was out of food and water. She hadn't been rationing at all, had just eaten whatever she'd felt like whenever they'd settled down to have meals. It hadn't seemed important at the time. Maybe she hadn't expected to live long enough for it to matter.

Yesterday, when she'd gotten her bag back, she'd checked. There was one food bar left. No water.

At least it didn't seem like the others had noticed. Aiden hadn't taken up her offer of her jacket way back when she'd offered it (yes, maybe she was still a little hung up on that). Same deal, then. She wasn't going to leech off the supplies he or Serena still had left if she could help it. She would find another way. Couldn't be that hard.

Until then, she supposed she was dying. Like Serena and Aiden, like everyone else here, just at a faster rate - not counting the likely violent end - and slightly more uncomfortably, too. The headache coming on reminded her of that.

Mel leaned forward, rose up just enough to rest her elbows on the shoulders of Serena's seat and peek her head over the headrest.

"Doing okay?"
The Present

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Iceblock
Survivor
[ *  * ]
"Hey," Mel said, grinning at Serena despite how shitty she felt in general. "You bet - but I had the advantage, so..."

"Anyway, it's not about how practical a car is, if we need gas or if we gotta fix a tire or whatever." She dangled her arms over the seat and pressed her cheek against the back of the headrest, fixing Aiden right in her line of sight. He still looked like hell. She probably wasn't smelling like roses, either. "It's about the experience, y'know? We can drive. It's... freedom, sorta. I didn't think I'd ever get to do this kind of thing ever again."

No roads out of here, really, just another highway to nowhere. But Serena finding this car - that was an opening to a whole new bunch of possibilities. They could do a lot of crazy things before their gas and their lives ran out.

"Haven't really been thinking at all about it, but that makes the most sense to me, I guess."

Cameron. Sandy. Astrid. She didn't have anyone else to abandon, anyone else to fail to find. She was flighty and thoughtless and far too lucky, and this was probably as far as she was going to go. So if they had to suck, they might as well suck the best they could.

She'd just have to, y'know, rephrase that a little better before she said it out loud.
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[ *  * ]
Then, Mel sat back down.

It was odd, in a way. The jeep they were in was hardly a shield, or any sort of defense against what was happening out there. If anything, it made them more of a target.

But even if they didn't do more, even if they didn't try to experience a fraction of what this car offered them, she could feel almost okay with it.

It was still something closed off, a bubble against reality. If she ignored the hunger pangs and the dryness of her throat, she could imagine sitting here forever, letting the world pass by.

For the first time, she allowed herself to think of her family. They weren't watching. Not now, not later. Not ever. She was pretty sure. Not totally sure, but pretty sure. Elizabeth wouldn't stand for it. Her dad at least listened to her. Besides, they needed to set an example for Logan. Maybe he'd stop getting into fights eventually. And her mom... she would get that degree she wanted. She'd make something of herself. Ah, maybe that was something to regret - that she would not be able to see her mom graduate.

The corner of her mouth lifted, unbidden. The thought had been both sad and funny, and she could not pin down why.

There was no real point in thinking of them more. There was no real point in thinking about Astrid, about Sandy, if all it would do was make her miss them.

Still, it felt right. So that couldn't be all. There was probably a reason she was missing, some sort of logical puzzle piece that'd slid out of the box and underneath the couch never to be seen again, but she trusted her feelings right now, in this moment of relative peace.

The moment passed, of course, and then she was just sitting there again, hungry and dirty and thirsty and tired. Well, she wasn't really cut out for this sort of introspection, anyway.
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[ *  * ]
Easy to get caught up in this rush. She knew obsession well enough.

"You know they're probably all going to die anyway, right?" Mel said.

Alvaro. Nancy. Two names, two people, two corpses. To be joined by more. To be joined by almost all, in the end.

"It's not about them winning. They want it that badly, to go through all that? They're picking too many fights. They're gonna be hurt from people fighting back. They're gonna feel at least a little guilty. I say if one of them lives in the end... they can have it."

"If we're doing this to stop people from being hurt by them, at least for a while... then okay," she said, her fingers fiddling with the edge of the armrest. "I'm with you. This stuff starts happening in front of us, let's wreck 'em, just like we did. We know where someone's hurting people for fun, let's go and find them. But hunting people down just to stop them from winning... I think we'll end up playing into the terrorists' hands."

She was talking too much, looking out the window again, not quite willing to meet Serena's eyes. Trying to look for what it meant to live, when all that was left were ways to die. The back of her hand brushed Elmo; she put him into her lap without a thought.

"They want us to kill each other. You think it matters how right we are?"
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[ *  * ]
Mel kept looking out the window.

Hunting these killers down... that was right enough. More right than killing for many other reasons. So that wasn't what she had meant.

It was participating in this, following what the terrorists laid out for them. It didn't matter why - it was locking themselves in, sticking themselves inside this new order made just for them. To be given two major choices: kill, don't kill - and to accept those choices, to pick one, or even both in time, and plan the rest of their lives around that.

Her feelings on that had never changed.

Maybe they'd never really understood why she was so determined to defy the terrorists this way. Maybe because she'd never even showed them that she wanted to, except for that one moment, with her feet in the sand and an ocean spread out in front of her.

There had just been her and them, the sea and the sky. It'd been almost enough for her to feel free.

But the rest of the time, it just looked like she was waiting to die. Serena and Aiden had a point, too. They wanted more than this. Needed it, really. She wasn't in the right to keep sticking her petty little private war on them.

The car started. Looked like she was going along for the ride.

((Melanie Beckett continued elsewhere))
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