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Gift for the Darkness
Topic Started: May 15 2017, 02:21 AM (791 Views)
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Who is this sassy lost child
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((Min-jae Parker continued from Rear-End Collision))

Things had been surprisingly uneventful since Jae and Dorothy had left the staff buildings and Lily's body behind. Maybe surprisingly was the wrong word, given the dwindling numbers on the island, but Jae had come to expect disaster around every corner now. They had gone a full day or so without encountering anyone else, and on one hand that was good.

On the other, it meant that Jae had to listen whenever Dorothy opened her mouth, and every loopy thing she said annoyed the hell out of him. He didn't know why he was letting her tag along. It wasn't like he liked her, and he got the feeling that she didn't like him either. He couldn't get away from her with his bad leg without threatening her away though, and she'd probably try to tase him if he did that. So they continued on, a maybe slightly crazy person limping along with a definitely more-than-slightly crazy person in tow.

There had been voices at the vehicle depot, but none of them were voices Jae had cared to investigate. He was restless again, so they were wandering without aim in the dark, the same way he always seemed to end up. If Jae had been sentimental, or an idiot, he might have thought there was poetry or something in that.

There were voices as they approached the cliffs too, hushed ones. Jae stopped short when he heard them, holding his arm out to stop Dot as well. He wasn't about to get any closer or announce their presence before he could tell who it was over there and whether they were trouble.

Of course, trouble always seemed to find him whether he wanted it or not, but Jae didn't feel like taking any chances right now, now that his name had come up again that morning.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Caution was good in theory. Not taking any chances, being strategic, not rushing headlong into things. All good tactics to throw around when he was just making plans that would inevitably unravel.

Jae heard her voice and he forgot all of it all over again.

He only caught a few words, but it was enough to be sure. He staggered forward automatically, not bothering to try and quiet his uneven footsteps, only keeping enough presence of mind to keep gesturing for Dorothy to stay back so that she would know this wasn't an attack.

"Hazel?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Oh.


They broke apart when Jae came to a halt a few feet away, but even with the lack of visibility it was glaringly obvious what was going on here.

He didn't have any right to feel hurt by it. He had left her in the first place. He was pretty sure at this point that he didn't even like girls like that, and he didn't want to remember what had happened between them in the back of the car. All of that didn't stop the painful squeeze in his chest.

Somehow it was worse that she apologized.

He couldn't make out Hazel's face in the darkness from this distance. She sounded scared. Startled? Or scared of him, specifically?

Jordan (Jae assumed it was still Jordan there and not somebody else that had come along, some other guy, and fuck him for any creeping thoughts of just like back home that tried to rise up because she didn't deserve that, especially not from him) didn't seem to have any greeting or anything Jae could snap at.

"Yeah," he said, haltingly. "Me too."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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The light blinded him, but before he could raise his free hand to shield his eyes, Hazel up and punched him in the face.

Jae yelled and took a stumbling step back, but even though the impact set his bruised face throbbing again and might have reopened the gash, he didn't strike back. He pressed his free hand over his face and hissed through the pain, gritting his teeth and himself not to swear or snap at her. Maybe it wasn't exactly what he deserved for all the shit he had done, but it was close enough. He could let Hazel have this.

He had just opened his mouth to say as much when Dorothy reminded him of her presence by elbowing him in the ribs and setting off a whole other collection of injuries stinging. He would have snapped at her, but then she was on Hazel and any coherent words were lost in Jae's horrified shout and no no no no what the fuck was happening-

"DOROTHY!" The crossbow was in his bag and he couldn't see, the flashlight knocked out of Hazel's hand and rolling away somewhere on the ground, but he had the staff and with a swing that might have made Vanessa proud, he cracked it against the side of Dorothy's head.

He dropped his bag and the staff to shove Dot away from Hazel after the strike threw her off-balance. "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!"

He couldn't be sure, but he thought that she might have looked hurt and confused when he shoved her again and something about that made revulsion twist in his stomach. He could have strangled her if she didn't move out of his reach.

"Can I get a thank you?" She spat at him. All she got was a furious screech in reply, and she scrambled away as he lunged for her, leaving him landing on his elbows in the dirt. She was gone before he could gather himself enough to go for the bag and the crossbow, and a pained gasp from behind him jolted Jae back to the more important matter.

"Hazel! Hazel!?" Where the fuck was Jordan!? Jae wheeled around enough to find his bag in the dark and drag it over. He had a flashlight too, right?

"Hey," he said as he fumbled through the bag, finding the flashlight finally and clicking it on. "Hey, you're okay. You're going to be fine."

He saw the dark stain that was beginning to spread on Hazel's jacket and had a feeling that he was a liar.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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No no no no she was fine. She was going to be fine. He still had bandages and gauze in one of the first-aid kits in his bag, he could fix this, he could-

Hazel sat up and Jae was stunned and confused enough from her words and the kiss that it took him another moment to try and get to his feet and follow, but by then she was far enough away that he only got a handful of the jacket draped around her shoulders when he tried to pull her back and he just managed to pull the jacket off.

Jae stood there for what was probably a good few seconds at most, staring at the jacket. His jacket. How often had he bitched about how he wanted it and the cigarettes in the pocket since he left her?

The sound of Hazel stumbling through the brush somewhere ahead of him broke his trance and Jae slung the jacket over one shoulder and followed the noise, the yellow beam of the flashlight sweeping through the dark landscape as he tried to locate her. "Hazel!" They would have been one hell of a pathetic sight if anyone could see properly, but Hazel managed to outstrip him even with her injury.

"Come back here!" He might have sounded demanding, almost threatening, if his voice didn't break near the end.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"Hazel, wait!"

Gone.

Nadia disappearing over the edge of the bridge. Asha bleeding out in his arms. Henry gone without Jae so much as seeing him.

Lily pitching forward as the bolt struck her in the back. Sam black and blue, hardly any face left.

The flashlight's beam finally swept across her. Her eyes were wide open and glassy. There was something traced in the dirt by her hand.

It took a moment for Jae to realize that he was sobbing.

Part of him still wanted to yell at her, grab her by the shoulders and shake her, tell her don't do this to me, don't you dare until she came to her senses because the last person he had left couldn't just die without even giving him a chance to try and explain himself. He wanted to tell her that she couldn't just change her mind about being mad at him so quickly. He wanted to tell her the truth, tell her everything, and he wanted to lie one last time that he loved her because at least then she wouldn't have to die cold and alone because some psycho bitch that Jae didn't even like thought she had been doing him a favor.

He couldn't get close to her. He leaned against a tree instead and clicked the flashlight off, letting it drop to the ground and burying his face in his hands.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Jae almost would have preferred that Jordan yell at him. At least then he could yell back, shift the blame to someone else, be angry again instead of... this. Feeling like he had been torn open from the pit of his ribcage and knowing that it was mostly his own damn fault.

Do you love me?

In the end, he didn't say anything to Jordan. He didn't say anything to the body that had housed a girl who tried to love him, either. He limped away back through the trampled brush to his bag and the staff, contemplated whether he should try to pursue Dorothy wherever she went, and decided he didn't have the energy.

The jacket was still slung over his shoulder. Jae thought there might have been blood on it. Once upon a time, he would have been royally pissed at the idea of anything staining his favorite jacket - real leather, almost still new when he'd found it in the thrift shop and he'd managed to buy it at a steal - but now he just looked at it for a few minutes in the wan moonlight before shrugging it on and zipping it up against the chill night air. He patted the pocket and found that his lighter and cigarettes were still there, seemingly untouched.

Do you love me?

I tried to.




I'm sorry.










No, I don't.

Back into the night with the other monsters you go, boogeyman.

((Min-jae Parker continued in This Is The End Of His Story))
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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