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give me shadow, put on my crown.; Tagging Toxie
Topic Started: Jun 10 2017, 08:31 PM (213 Views)
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And I am still hungry.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Min-jae Parker continued from This Is The End Of His Story))

If Brendan did end up dying, it would be slow. Jae thought about that as he limped through the wards, the air still except for what he disturbed in passing.

He had caught sight of Asha's body back in the middle section, covered by a sheet. He thought of how pissed she would have been with him for what he had gone on to do without her. He didn't stop. There was nothing of her left here besides a rotting shell.

He had left the staff behind in his rush, so he had to move more carefully, with more awareness of his footing. He could feel blood seeping into the waistband of his pants from where the bullet had grazed his hip. It was almost impressive his right leg was still working somewhat, after all the punishment it had taken in the last... how many days had it been now?

The solitary confinement wards were dim and still. Jae passed by the cell with the worst smell emanating from it and slipped into a nearby one with its door cracked open, the bolt holding it shut apparently snapped off. He sank against the wall of the padded room and gave in to the cough that had been tickling the back of his throat for the past few minutes. His heart was starting to slow down now. Jae pressed the heel of his hand over it as though to steady it, feeling it pound beneath skin and bone.

He was still alive. He had either ended another life or at the very least shortened it, and he was still alive. He didn't know what he was feeling. He should have let Brendan's girlfriend shoot him. He should have shot her too, and whoever else had been in the room with Brendan.

It would be slow, if Brendan did die. Like Lily. Did Jae hate him that much?

Yeah. He did. He didn't have a reason. He had always hated Brendan without a reason. Hatred, more often than not, was petty like that. It was a different kind of hate than what he held for people like Isabel and Alessio - and Dorothy too, now - and different from how he felt about Alvaro and anyone else who had wronged him. It was more insidious, in a way, because it had always been there.

Fuck maybe he didn't hate himself after all. He had too many good reasons there to really be able to call it the same as the irrational desire to hurt and destroy that had driven him to pull the trigger with Brendan in his sights not once but twice now. Had he had more energy, Jae probably could have come up with some reflection on how all of this was starting to feel like some kind of incredibly twisted self-help journey.

He laughed out loud in the pressing silence of the ward. He was laughing a lot these days. It wasn't good laughter.

Once his heart rate settled, Jae reached down to probe at the wound on his hip, only to quickly draw back with a hiss. You know what, he'd just leave that alone for a while. He knew that the blood was going to congeal and stick the fabric of his pants to the wound and it would sting like a bitch once he got around to peeling that away so he could properly treat it, but he couldn't bring himself to care much about the future.

Jae let his head fall back against the padded wall, staring at nothing in particular. It was silent again save for his breathing and the noise of the old building settling around him. The world didn't move here. It had forgotten this place.
"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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And I am still hungry.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
...There was something there.

Jae's eyes had slid out of focus after several minutes of staring into space. He wasn't tired enough to nod off, especially with the nagging of injuries new and old, but he had been in a daze. He didn't hear the approach.

But he sensed it, once the presence had been there for a while. Someone, something else breathing just slightly out of sync with him. Something watching. Waiting?

Jae blinked.

There was a shape in the corner of his vision, and he started, grabbed for the crossbow though it was unloaded, and tried to process just what the fuck he was seeing.

The face was wrong. It didn't fit, in the physical sense. A single blue eye stared at him from within its folds.

"The fuck-"

Before Jae could get to his feet, it was gone and the door slammed shut behind it, plunging him into darkness.
"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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And I am still hungry.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Jae stood there in darkness for five, maybe ten seconds, the image of the figure in the doorway still imprinted on the back of his eyelids, before choking panic welled up in him.

"Fuck!"

He lurched forward and beat against the door, but something held it in place. Whoever the hell it was - whatever it was, they had barred the door with something.

He was trapped.

Jae turned and leaned his shoulder in as he threw himself at the door again, but he bounced harmlessly off of it. A string of oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh- was the only thing circling through his head for a good minute or two. With effort, he wrenched one hand away from the crossbow and clamped it over his mouth, forcing himself to breathe through his nose so that he would slow down and not hyperventilate.

And then there was a shifting and a scraping noise from outside and everything fell quiet again.

Jae waited.

And waited.





And waited.




When nothing more happened, Jae slowly peeled his hand away from his mouth and fumbled for the zipper of his bag for another bolt. How many did he have left?

One from Sam in the library. Three for Isabel. One for Brendan. One for Nadia. One for Lily. One more for Brendan, and one for his girlfriend. Nineteen-sixteen-fifteen-fourteen-thirteen-eleven. Eleven left.

Jae counted down one more time to be sure and to further steady his breathing, and he loaded the new bolt before leaning into the door again to push it open, holding the crossbow at the ready.

Something shifted and lurched towards him, and Jae fired. He hit his target but the momentum didn't slow, and then the smell hit him and Jae jerked back, gagging, as the corpse of Conrad Harrod narrowly missed colliding with him and fell to the floor.

He had just shot a corpse, which someone had propped up against the corner of the door before unbarring it.

"Wh-what..."

...the fuck?

Jae turned his face into the corner of his sleeve so that he could breathe without gagging, clinging to the edge of the door for support. Okay. Alright.

So whoever he had seen was real, at least, and they were fucking with him.

It wasn't Brendan's girlfriend. Maybe whoever had been in the room there with Brendan. Their identity didn't really matter, though.

Jae took another glance at Conrad's body - not looking too good after almost ten days here - and felt a prickle of irritation as his shock and the lingering fear faded. Alright, then. Somebody wanted to play games with him, freak him out? That was their freebie. They had let him see them, and now he knew they were out there trying to catch him off-guard.

Jae leaned out of the doorway just far enough to scan the hall - nobody there that he could see, and few places to hide that would provide a good vantage point for taking any potshots at him. He carefully knelt down and pulled the bolt from the corpse's chest, grimacing at both the smell and the noise as it pulled free. He reloaded it and leaned against the doorframe again, letting the door provide cover.

He waited.
"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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And I am still hungry.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Somewhere down the hall, there was a shuffling, and a sound that might have been retreating footsteps.

Jae waited several moments longer before stepping over Conrad's body and into the hall again. He was breathing easier now, despite the reek; the knowledge that his mystery assailant was very much physical and that he wasn't hallucinating had quelled his brief but intense panic. In its stead came his old friend, his purpose, his anger.

It might have been funny how people kept pulling him out of his funks by pissing him off. How the main thing keeping him going now was what gotten him in so much trouble all his life, what he had tried to suppress and overcome and outsmart and however else you wanted to describe the act of refusing to feed his anger. Like it was some animal inside him, waiting to finally tear free and tear into whoever had drawn his ire. It was all he had left.

In the end, Jae supposed that he was a hypocrite. Going on and on about how he didn't give a fuck anymore, how he had lost everything, how he deserved what was eventually coming to him one way or another, but he still kept finding reasons to go on and disguising them as just the one last thing he needed to do. "I can die once so-and-so is dead." "I want to die - but not like that, not to you."

There was nothing to live for here. It was hard to imagine there being anything to live for back home, except for his parents. So - what, then? Try to live anyway, so you can at least have the chance to live meaningfully afterwards. So you can have the chance to just live? What kind of life is that, after the price you'll pay for it and what you've done to get it?

But what kind of life is it if you let it all end here before it's even started?

Stay angry. Live angry, and die fighting if you have to. Die on your own terms and spit in the face of whoever ends it for you - or laugh, because after all, you'll be free before they will.

Keep moving until you can't any longer, and then pay your dues and start again.

Jae kept moving.

((Min-jae Parker continued in Caraphernelia))
"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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