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This is Where I'll Stand When the Flood Comes; Day 8 Afternoon
Topic Started: May 17 2017, 01:00 PM (538 Views)
Privyet
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[ *  * ]
((Matt Moradi continued from somewhere else.))

Directionless. Matt had absolutely nowhere to go. It was just him, this island, and a bigger ratio of rotting corpses to living people. He'd been alone before. He once went a whole week in middle school without talking to anyone. What a nightmare. Thinking about what he did and what he wanted to do before getting dumped onto this place made him feel.. something. He couldn't understand what. Depression, maybe. Something like that. Just this terrible sinking feeling that comes when your life goes from 'normal' to 'this'. This. He wasn't sure what to call it. Maybe it was a game, or at least it looked like one at a glance, but it felt like more than that.

He spent far too much time thinking about the motives of his captors. His torturers. Everyone's. Was it really just terrorism? Terrorism over what? American imperialism? Laughable motive. Stupid. Everything they did was counter-productive to that. Ever since this circus started, things had gotten worse. 9/11. Iraq. Several dozen to a hundred kids being kidnapped every few years. Maybe it was a commentary on human nature. Eventually, he figured, people would stop really caring about all of this. It'd just become another fact of life. Terrorism was normal, to him. Growing up, he was never not imbued with the vague idea that a group of people with some nebulous goals not worth understanding would kill people. That seemed normal. Terrorism - ism. Like fascism. Communism. Socialism. Republicanism. An ideology in and of itself. The perfect idea awaiting the perfect century.

It was normal. Terrorism was normal. It was normal before he came here. It would continue to be normal after he left. The only difference was that it had decided to personally affect him instead of some far off group of people he didn't know. Drawing the shortest stick. Like winning the lottery. Those were the chances. The odds. Like winning the lottery.

He wondered if he should feel lucky.

The island - maybe someday he'd know it's actual name but for now in his mind it was just the island - had more people dead on it than the living. Maybe in those first days he'd have felt something resembling fear that he'd wander into some hastily formed alliance of psychopaths and eager murderers. Isabel was dead. Nancy was dead. Alvaro was dead. He figured Alvaro would have already started to rot. Getting held up in that basement - Sandy Bricks, he remembered him, his only memory of Sandy Bricks was him as a rotting corpse in a decaying basement - seemed quaint now.

Right now he was alone. That was the scariest thing to him. Having enough time to think. Maybe about what he'd done or what he'd have to do in the future. And who he'd be facing in the future. People probably stronger and more ruthless than him. People who might have guns. Swords. Grotesque ancient weapons that his captors thought of as some hilarious punchline (the funniest joke - the one that ends a life). He had to be better than those people. Meaner. Worse. He was going to win, go home, go back to normal.

And then, he wasn't alone. There he was. Nate. Nate. Nate who shouldn't be alive. Nate who by all means should have died before Ben, someone who was a good person but also someone whose life he cared very little for. For Nate he felt much of the same. He'd known Nate for a few days. His most interesting feature, right now, was no longer the fact that he was an almost adult man in the body of a young boy, but the fact that he was alive. Nate was a good person. A Christian, Matt guessed. Matt was an atheist. Supposedly a militant one but it was funny how little your religious beliefs, background, and everything else mattered when you came here. Window dressing for either walking corpses or the victor.

Somehow, Nate had survived. Somehow, Nate had managed to make it where people who were more deserving of life had died.

And that made him feel pretty good.

It made him feel like he had a chance.

He hadn't walked all that long. Blood of the other Ben was still fresh on his pipe. He looked awful. Matt was well fed but he looked awful. He raised his voice and tried to make his footfalls seem louder than they were to alert Nate of his coming. Didn't want to surprise him. Maybe he had heart problems or something. It would be the funniest thing in the world to him if Nate won. Whatever it was that made Nate who he was - less than five feet tall at what, 16, he was only guessing - he figured it shortened his lifespan. He wasn't going to be a doctor. He was going to be a dentist. Medical facts weren't his forte, so he could only guess.

"Hey, Nate." he said. Then he just stood there, not entirely sure of what to say next. It wasn't good to see Nate alive. Seeing Nate alive meant that Nate was probably going to be killed by someone worse than Isabel, Nancy, whoever else. Someone ruthless. Someone who probably wouldn't have any problem with killing Nate if it meant going home.

"It's good to see you," Matt said, lying. "How has, uh.. how've things been going? Good?"
Edited by Privyet, May 18 2017, 07:58 AM.
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Nate had turned around and all he offered in response was just staring at him. No words or anything. No I'm fine. Matt figured that the past few days must've been really hard on him.. Ben dying, dozens of dead people, and more. Matt guessed that Nate knew a lot of people.

Or maybe he just didn't recognize him because he hadn't bathed in a few days. He'd kill for a mirror right now. And a razor. His beard was out of control or as out of control as it could get after a week of not shaving. Nate opened his mouth and said nothing. Matt sighed. Guess he had to do the talking.

"Me," he said, sounding unconvinced of what he was saying. "I'm doing pretty good.. I got a lot of food. Lot of food." Food taken from the dead. He hadn't eaten Jerry's precious bread yet - the one loaf that took precedence over mourning Toby in his now dead ally's eyes - and maybe he never would.

"Things sure have changed a lot in the past week, huh?" He sounded painfully awkward. Trying to make small talk with someone he didn't think was going to last another twenty four hours. Maybe not even twelve hours. Hell, he had made it this far. Maybe he might win. Matt cracked a smile. Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. He was going to kill Nate if he had to. He was going to win.

He scratched the back of his neck and looked down at the pipe in his hand. Still bloody. The first impression he left on the other Ben rapidly drying onto it.

"You hungry?" he asked. Oddly altruistic. He was in a good mood and he couldn't say why. "I'll share if you are."
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Matt stared back at Nate, who belted out some incoherent jumble of words that could hardly qualify as a sentence. Questions that died in birth. Despite his best efforts, Matt could not discern the meaning of whatever it was Nate was trying to say to him. He wanted to say something, that much was obvious, but whatever it was it wasn't coming.

So Matt just stared back down at him for a few moments, not really sure of what to say next. Eventually, he decided that the least amount of words would be less confusing.

"Yes?" he asked. One word. All he needed.
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All things considered, Matt should feel pretty good. He was well fed and, surprisingly, he managed to sleep better here then he was ever able to at home. He didn't know why. Couldn't know why. It just was. He slept better here. Despite all that, he felt worse than normal. Maybe it was the constant walking around and the seething hatred he felt for his captors but every waking moment he spent here passed uneasily. Nate looked at him like there was something wrong with him. Maybe there was - he'd just killed two people in the past few hours and felt very little - but all he had to offer in response was a cough. A question. Why aren't I dead yet. Short and to the point. He liked that. No tap dancing around it.

"I've got no idea why you're still alive, Nate," Matt said, glancing over his shoulder. He had his back turned. Stupid. Slowly, he started to turn his back on Nate.

"Maybe you're gonna win, but... I doubt it. How long do these, uh, things, usually last? Can't be more than a few more days, right?"
Edited by Privyet, May 21 2017, 02:41 PM.
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Nate was asking him obviously rhetorical questions. He couldn't come up with much of an answer - at least not right now - but he felt like there was some kind of answer. Maybe he would figure it out but only after thinking further on the nature of this game. Matt heard Nate laugh behind him. Short and harsh. The laugh of someone who figured they weren't going to live much longer. Without turning around to face him, Matt spoke.

"You lose this and you're a loser forever. You're dead. You don't get any do overs." He thought for a moment. Maybe he should stop.

No. He had something to prove to him. "I don't wanna be a loser, Nate. I've been a loser my entire life. That's about it.. I mean, I don't wanna win because I want to get a job or get married or go to college." And then it came out. The real reason why.

"I just want to win because that's good enough. Just winning, you know? Making someone else lose. Living when everyone else died, even if it's for a second. That's good enough."
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He didn't know where that had come from. It just came out that way.

But he figured that he was right. Winning was inherently more noble than losing. Nate questioned him, asking him why he wanted to be a winner "like that." There was no "like that." There was winning and there was losing. The stakes in this game, for example, were so high that winning proved to be preferable to losing, regardless of what had to be done in order to win.

Nate questioned him if he cared that all "our friends" were dead. Irene was dead. Darius was dead. Those were just about the two - out of what, a hundred? - people on this island that he knew all that well.

Matt just stood there, not facing Nate. Too paranoid to turn his back on the rest of the island.

"Yeah, well. That's how it is," he said. "None of these people are my 'friends', Nate. They're, uh.. you know. Competition. I guess you're competition, too." He figured that'd hurt more to say.

It didn't.

"So.. I guess that's all I have to say about that. I'm gonna try to win. If I don't then I don't. If I do.." He had no idea what he was going to do if he won. He guessed that he'd figure it out if it happened. When it happened.

"I guess I do. That's about it. Are you hungry, or.. what? I've got a lot of food."
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Just a little bit over a week ago, Matt wanted to go to college and become a dentist. Like his father, who he didn't particularly like, who also didn't particularly like his father, who was also a dentist. He briefly considered the hilariousness of this entire scenario. His father, an immigrant from Iran, having crossed an entire ocean, something almost unthinkable a thousand years ago, wedded a woman of similar background and had a son, who went on to kill two people in the span of a few hours after being kidnapped by a group of terrorists with vague inscrutable motives.

Was that it?

That's what all this was leading up to?

He guessed that he was just born to die like everyone else who had come before him. What made him different? He had his back turned to Nate and Nate finally asked him what he was going to do. Was he going to kill him? It was a good question. Does he speed along the process or just leave it up to nature? Matt didn't believe in fate. He believed in doing. And by doing something - i.e hitting an abnormally short boy in the face with a lead pipe, stolen off of a dead man by another man who was now also dead - he would kill Nate. By doing that, he would render all the time his parents had spent raising him null and void. Change so many lives with so little effort.

He didn't say anything. No "yes" no "no" no "good luck". He left.

((Matt Moradi continued somewhere else.))
Edited by Privyet, May 22 2017, 05:39 PM.
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