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The Path to Eternal Happiness, I Found It; Day 9 evening, Private
Topic Started: Jun 15 2017, 06:33 PM (326 Views)
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Who is this sassy lost child
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Raina Rose continued from Anemia))

Raina sat with her knees drawn up to her chin and her arms around them, staring out over the water. She tried to breathe the crisp, salty air in deeply, but she kept expecting to get a whiff of rot and copper once again.

Johnny had fallen asleep after a meager attempt at conversation. Though she was dead tired, Raina hadn't bothered to try sleeping; either insomnia or her memories would doubtless keep her awake. Her stomach growled, but she didn't bother to address that, either. She didn't think she'd be able to keep anything down for long.

So that was how it was now. She couldn't eat, she couldn't sleep, she couldn't plan, and she couldn't bring herself to believe any longer that she or anybody else sane had a snowball's chance in hell of making it out of here. She had believed that she was the one keeping Penelope afloat, not the other way around. Or maybe they were co-dependent. It didn't matter, really. Her rock, unacknowledged as it had been, was gone now and Raina was adrift.

Raina watched the shadows on the beach grow longer and longer as the sun dipped down, and she fought a shiver. Maybe she should have paid more attention to the weather. Maybe she should have sat outside the very first night and watched the stars to figure out which hemisphere they were in or something. Any of it would have been more use than hiding out and convincing herself that she was just brainstorming, or following Penelope around pretending that she really was willing to hold hands with Al and Dorothy and all the others who had bought into the madness until they all died together. It was all worse than useless in the end, but it would have given her something to do, something she actually believed in.

Penelope had believed in the good in others and love and brotherhood and all of that, but the world was so very big and love was so small.

She felt small, that was it. She had always been small, in the grand scheme of things, but she had convinced herself that she could still make a difference to somebody, somewhere.

Raina breathed in the salt of the sea and caught the glint of the sunset reflected in a camera lens out of the corner of her eye.

Maybe she still could.
"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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Who is this sassy lost child
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In the moments before Johnny’s slow awakening, before she moved far enough away for him to notice her absence, Raina turned to the camera.

She opened her mouth to speak and then closed it again, considering. Did she know what she wanted to say? Did she even want to say it? Saying anything out loud made it real.

…Well, shit, it was all real, wasn’t it? She was long past the point that she could try to pretend she was dreaming. She hadn’t let anyone else have the luxury of denial except for Penelope, and look where that had gotten them. So she spoke.


She paused, swallowed, and started again. “Hey, so… I dunno who exactly is watching this, but I’m going to give some of you the benefit of the doubt and believe that you’re decent people. So, for you decent people, I need a favor. Assholes need not apply.” The corner of her mouth lifted in a slight smile before dropping again.

“This is the last will and testament of Raina Barbara Rose, and I need you to pass it on to the people I’m going to name.”

Raina inhaled shakily.

The idea had been there for a while, she had realized shortly after leaving the library. Maybe it had been there from the beginning, maybe all of Penelope’s talk about everyone killing themselves together had put it in her head. But Raina had also known from the outset that she wasn’t going to kill, no matter how she had snapped at people since then. She had known since she weighed the grenade they had given her in her hands and had felt her little moment of kinship with whoever it was that had invented the nuclear bomb and made that quote about becoming death.

She wanted to say something eloquent about transformation, about alchemy, and about making yourself into a monster because you thought you could cheat death. She couldn’t quite make it work in the spur of the moment, but she wanted to think that somebody somewhere would understand her reasons. Penelope probably would have, but Penelope had died blind, deaf, and screaming, and Raina wasn’t about to let that happen to herself either.

And honestly? She was just goddamn tired of being in this place.

One way or another, she was going to get off this island.

“So… first of all, sorry in advance to everyone for when you get bombarded with messages. I know some of them are going to be nasty, because even though I specifically said ‘no assholes’, we all know that some crusty fuckboy in his parents’ basement is going to get a kick out of trying to upset you.”

Raina took another deep breath of the sea air. It wasn’t much steadier. She steeled herself and made sure to look straight into the camera, meeting her faint reflection’s gaze.

“First, my older brother, Cameron: hey man. Sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye differently. You’re going to do great, awesome stuff, and I-I just want you to know that I believe in you one-hundred percent, okay? You and Leila need to take care of each other. And Leila, listen to Cameron. Listen to our parents too, I guess. They’re… trying to do a good job. I know you’re going to do something awesome too, whenever you figure it all out. Be good – but not too good. It’s okay to break the rules sometimes.” Raina flashed the camera another wobbly smile. “You two can divide up my stuff and donate whatever you don’t want. And Leila gets my college fund, I guess.”

“Um… Mom and Dad. I know we didn’t get along all the time, and… well, I know you guys cared, at least. I know you were doing your best to give us a good life. And you did. You really, really did. Sometimes I wish parts of it had been different, but you tried, and that’s more than a lot of parents do. Listen to Cameron and Leila when they want you to listen, okay?”

Raina clasped her hands in her lap so that she wouldn’t fidget so much. She needed to focus and not be twitchy for this. Best face forward.

Who next? Raina bit her lip as the name came to her, but she kept going.

“Crisanto… H-hey. I miss you. I’m glad you’re not here, but I miss you. I know that all of this is probably harder on you and your family than almost anybody else, but I need you to not give up, okay? You can feel bad, but don’t feel bad forever. You’ve still got a whole lot to do, and I know that you might not believe me right now, b-but it’s going to be worth doing.”

Raina smiled again, though tears were pricking at the corners of her eyes now. “I love you, Cris. Maybe not in a ‘forever’ way, but it still matters.”

She blinked several times to try and clear the tears away, but they wouldn’t stop. She quickly swiped her sleeve across her eyes before continuing.

“Um… Darren. This one is for Darren McKay. Hey, Darren.” She lifted one hand in a small wave. “I know it’s been a while since we talked, and this is a shitty way to say hi again, but I’m here with Johnny. Um, I never told him. About you, I mean, you and Cam. I promised I wouldn’t say anything, and I didn’t, but I just want you to know, I don’t think he would have cared. I mean, he might have cared, but, you know… he’d still love you. I know he would. I know you love him too, probably more than anybody else does, and I know that…” Raina had to pause so she could sniff and blink more tears away. “I know he wouldn’t want you to let this destroy you either. You got out, and you can do whatever now.”

“And, you know… maybe he’ll win.” Raina let out a watery laugh. “You know what, I hope Johnny wins. I hope he makes it home and becomes rich and famous and, like… opens a bird sanctuary or whatever. ‘Survival of the fittest’, ha.”

Mean. But she meant it, too, the good and the bad. She had always been frustrated that Johnny never seemed to want to make something of himself, but maybe he still had a chance.

“Who else… um, to the anime club at Cochise, stop showing Naruto to new members. Seriously. And to the faculty and staff of Cochise, get a new computer lab. Actually, yeah, you know what- somebody out there start a Kickstarter for my school or something. Get them some new buildings and good stuff.”

“And… to God, or whatever might be out there, I don’t know if I really believe in you or what. I guess it’s kind of late now to ask you to take care of my family and friends, but… don’t let anything worse than this happen to them, at least.”

Raina sniffed. She was still crying, but not nearly as hard as she had earlier that day. She couldn’t think of anything else to say, so she supposed it was time to sign off.

“So… yeah. That’s all. I’m Raina Rose, of sound mind and mostly sound body and all that, I’m leaving all my stuff to my siblings and whatever charity they decide to give it to, and… yeah, that’s all. Sorry if I forgot anybody who wanted a message from me or something.”

She sat for another minute, listening to the noise of distant seagulls and the water lapping at the sand. Then, she stood and peeled her shoes and socks off, leaving them in a pile in front of the camera. She took a deep breath and nodded.

“I’m going now. Bye.”

Raina turned away from the camera and made sure not to glance back. Johnny was still asleep near their bags. He could have the grenade and whatever was left of her food and supplies as Raina’s unspoken will and testament to him. He wouldn’t understand if she woke him up for goodbyes.

The water was cold around her ankles, but her body started to adjust as she waded out.

She didn’t have second thoughts until it was waist-deep, and then she froze, then she wanted to take it all back, but she thought of Penelope dying slowly and she couldn’t do that. She couldn’t die pathetically like that, she had to make whatever statement she could, and all she had left was not giving them any more entertainment.

Raina threw herself forward into the water, gasping at the cold, chest seizing up as she was unable to draw deep enough breaths. The first wave washed over her head and she instinctively tried to buoy herself up again, but all she managed was flailing. She lost touch with the sandy bottom of the shore.

When her head briefly broke the water for the last time, getting her one final glimpse of the fading sunset, she thought she heard someone calling to her.

She thought of calling back to them, asking them to help her, and then she thought no more.

Statement made. Maybe someone, somewhere, bothered to listen.

"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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