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Rivers in the Desert
Topic Started: Sep 10 2017, 11:57 AM (5,702 Views)
Muninn
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[ *  * ]
Candice didn't even register Min-Jae's departure.

Of course, it wasn't like she expected him to stick around, either. Wherever he decided to go, she considered it irrelevant. It didn't matter.

Nothing mattered anymore.

Where Min-jae had gone, what he had done, whoever the fourth person remaining was, where they were and what they might be up to, the terrorists, whether people back home were watching here, what the world thought...

None of that mattered.

For Candice Banks, there were only two people left in the world who needed to be acknowledged.


There was something that she had wondered several times over the past few days. This gun that she had been given... wasn't this weapon a bit too good for her?

Well, it wasn't like she knew much about guns. She'd never even heard of an AWC something-or-other before, so really she couldn't say for sure whether it was a good one or not. It seemed impressive, though, and the fact that it was a gun in the first place seemed to put it ahead of what lots of people had been given. But still...

Something like this, isn't it just a waste to give it to somebody like me, who just shoves it in her bag? Wouldn't it be better for this to be given to someone who'll go out of their way to protect people?

Is there even any circumstance where I would actually use this against someone?


Apparently, all that was needed was someone she hated enough.

The sound of gunshots filled Candice's ears, overpowering the constant background noise of rain hitting the roof. Even the relatively distant sound of Fiyori's weapon seemed weak after Candice had heard what it was like to pull her own trigger.

It wasn't just noises. Everything else just kind of felt like it was part of the background. Everything but Candice and her gun, Fiyori and hers. It was an eerie feeling, like the mental equivalent of if someone had come along while she was carrying a stack of heavy boxes and taken away all but one of them. Super clear, but somehow also a little dizzying, like she'd fall over if she tried running around on the roof in this state. Was this what people meant when they talked about an adrenaline rush?
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G31 - Candice Banks (adopted from Somersault) - The Rooftop
G35 - Bernadette Thomas (adopted from Imehal) (Deceased) - Northwest Cliffs

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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It occurred to Fiyori - really, just in a flash of time - that she had maybe made some mistaken assumptions. About Candice, and a bit about Jae. Given what the terrorists said about Candice, Fiyori wouldn't have thought her to be the type, but maybe Candice was teaming up with Min-jae.

She could see him shuffling away like the useless goth zombie he was. The part of her mind that still made sense told her to go after him, but the other parts disagreed. So did her body.

Another shot filled the air and this time it overwhelmed Fiyori's senses. Her eyes spun around and her feelings for what is up and what is down got mixed up for a moment. Then, a second passed, and she realized that it wasn't her weapon that made that sound.

But alas, that was a miss.

Fiyori's next shot would not.
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More gunshots. Nate kept his face buried in his hands, gritting his teeth, muttering pleas to stop under his breath. They didn’t.

What was he supposed to do? Nothing he’d done until now had stopped them, nothing had stopped the killing. He was, as always, powerless. Weak. Helpless. Couldn’t help anyone. Couldn’t stop anyone. Everyone around him died, as he just sat there crying. He’d cry, and people would die.

Someone came by.

He looked up from his palms. Saw Min-Jae. Stared at him as the rain poured down between them. Heard his words.

Stood there.

“You don’t remember me?”

He kept staring, hesitating. He didn’t know what to make of it. Of course, he remembered Min-Jae, because Min-Jae had tried to kill him for no good reason. He was the sole person Nate had fought back against, because he hadn’t wanted to die. He still didn’t want to die.

And now, here they were, with at least one of them about to do so. That was how they got to go home.

Nate looked down at the gun he’d dropped a moment ago, still next to him. Lying there, glistening in the rain.

He grabbed it, and pointed it at Min-Jae.
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Well, that was a response. Second gun in a few minutes that he'd had pointed in his face. Jae swayed, clinging to his own gun for support as he stared down the new gun's barrel. He didn't trust his balance enough to try raising the rifle again.

A weight on his shoulder was gone, and Jae dug through his fuzzy thoughts to come to the conclusion that he had left his bag, with the crossbow and his remaining supplies, back near the stairwell when he left Candice and Fiyori to their fight. Just the rifle, which was more use as a crutch than a gun at this point and... yeah, the knife.

Jae absently patted himself with his bad hand until he located the shape of the knife still tucked into the back of his belt. The small jolts of pain that shot up his arm seemed to be fading. Maybe he was getting used to them, or maybe he was losing feeling in his arm.



It took another minute or so to realize that he hadn't said anything back after the gun was pointed in his face.

It was... getting hard to tell just how quickly or slowly time was passing.

"I remember you," Jae clarified, words slurring. "Jus'... not your name."


Come to think of it, had he ever learned this kid's name in the first place? He'd probably known it around school.



It had been a million years since he was in school.



Once again, Jae only realized that his vision and hearing had gone out of focus when they returned to normal, zeroing in again on the boy with the gun.

Would he pull the trigger? He hadn't yet. Like Candice. Seemed like the only person who actually wanted to shoot him was the last remaining person that he wouldn't allow.




"You gonna sh.... shoot me or what?"

Killed five people. Would've killed you too. No reason.



Come on.
"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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[ *  * ]
Fiyori was still standing. Total miss.

Well, it wasn't like Candice was all that surprised. No experience with guns, no food in the past day... it would've been miracle if she had actually managed to hit something.

Just try again, then

She pulled the trigger again. And again. More misses.

How much ammo was in the gun? The magazine was kind of long-ish, but Candice wasn't familiar enough with bullets to estimate how many were in there. And of course she hadn't bothered taking it out to count them.

That probably wasn't the issue, though. Candice had thought that taking the time to carefully line up a shot would take too long, but the strategy of "just shoot in Fiyori's general direction" wasn't really working. She didn't think she'd run out of bullets, unless the terrorists had done something assholish like only putting a few bullets in her gun to start with. She realized that she was probably going to get hit before she got a lucky shot, though. Maybe doing this properly was the way to go after all. She put her eye to the scope and did her best to center the sight on Fiyori.
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G31 - Candice Banks (adopted from Somersault) - The Rooftop
G35 - Bernadette Thomas (adopted from Imehal) (Deceased) - Northwest Cliffs

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The steps between Fiyori and Candice drew to a close. It was not - for better or worse - without a sense of pity, that Fiyori realised that Candices last moment of glory would amount to nothing after all.
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He was shaking. He didn’t want to be, he wanted to stand his ground and not look weak in front of Min-Jae, but he couldn’t stop himself. He was too tired to suddenly be holding people at gunpoint, too tired to not look like he felt.

He didn’t lower the weapon though. He didn’t want to die, and he didn’t trust Min-Jae. He didn’t want to do it like this, but this was what everyone else wanted.

That wasn’t the only reason though. As much as he was trying to keep his eyes levelled on Min-Jae, just be ready to do…something, if he had to, no matter what he wanted, he couldn’t shake the horrible sense of déjà vu.

A flooded basement. A library. A closet. His friend from soccer, someone he’d never met, the person whose death hurt the most. All of them, holding their weapons on him. What had happened to them. What he'd thought about them.

It hadn’t even been a day since Matt had died, after holding his gun on Nate, after Nate had convinced him to put it down. After he’d called him an idiot for doing so, and punched him in the gut.

Standing there, holding his own weapon, aiming it at Min-Jae. Just a great big hypocrite.

“Alvaro’s dead. Matt’s dead.” He was speaking under his breath, but he was still looking at Min-Jae, still holding the gun at him. He could make Min-Jae dead too, it wouldn’t take a second. Scrunching his eyes at that thought was the only time he took his eyes off the other boy, but that was just for a moment. He could do it.

But Min-Jae was right: he didn't want to.

“Everyone’s dead.” That was what it was. He missed them.

So why? Why was it just him? Why was everyone else up here still shooting at each other?

His eyes changed as looked at Min-Jae. Sad, scared, but now angry.

“Why don’t you care that they’re all dead? Why don’t any of you care anymore?!”
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Did Jae care that everyone was dead now?

Maybe. In a way. He wouldn't have been drunk and half torn to pieces, asking people to shoot him, if he didn't care. Fiyori seemed more likely to be the one who didn't care.

There was more gunfire back in that direction, though Jae barely registered it.



If Jae hadn't cared, he wouldn't have shot Lily for the crime of watching Asha die, or Brendan for daring to live when everyone Jae loved was gone.





"I do care. That's why..." Why what? Why everything.


It made sense inside his head, but the words to explain were gone even as he grasped for them.





"What..."

Was there still a gunfight going on over there? Was someone dead yet?




"What're you gonna do, since you care?"




Who gave a fuck about Fiyori and Candice? The world was Jae and the other boy now, their mutual caring that did nobody any good. And Jae was still standing.

"If you don... don't shoot me, I can shoot you."

A reasonable offer.
"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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Fiyori was Candice's sight. Even with no real firearms experience, she knew that this one wasn't going to miss. All that needed to be done now was to make the shot.

Once more, gunfire drowned out the background noise of rain against the rooftop. Candice still hadn't pulled the trigger.


You can't let yourself give up this time. You can still take the shot. Candice fired back at Fiyori, but it was too late. Intense pain from the new wound in her chest had screwed up her aim, and the shot went wide. By the time she had even registered that she had missed, she had lost the strength to stand. Even trying to fire back from the ground was beyond what she could force her body to do at this point.

The outcome of the fight had already been decided.
Let's show that private threads aren't necessary! I pledge not to start any private threads on island in V7. If I started a thread, you are welcome to join it.

V6 Characters
G31 - Candice Banks (adopted from Somersault) - The Rooftop
G35 - Bernadette Thomas (adopted from Imehal) (Deceased) - Northwest Cliffs

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It had been decided, of course. Fiyori knew that. Rather, she realized that. She realized that when once again she would feel dizzy. When once again her eyes would lose all sense of the world and her up was down and her down was somewhere at the side. Her sides. She was shot in her fucking sides.

Fiyori stumbled, right into her. Or around her. She fell against Candice, her head leaning on the other girl's shoulder. Pressure built up within Fiyori. Her gun dropped somewhere on the floor. Her arms wrapped around Candice. Her palms could feel a fleshy hole torn into Candice's back. Blood splattered on the ground, most of it at least, as Fiyori vomited it out.

At some point, she stumbled back again. Fiyori could not help it, but feel as if there was a certain something missing from this while situation.
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[ *  * ]
I made the same mistake again. Should've been more proactive.

Should have pulled the trigger sooner. Should have sought threats like Fiyori, instead of chit-chatting with serial killers while giving Fiyori the chance to see her first. Should have learned to defend herself earlier.

How many people had Candice "teamed up with" in the past week? If she had acted as she should have, weren't the odds pretty good that at least one of them might still be around as an ally?

This was just the last in a long series of failures.

It really does seem that this time is going to be the last one, though.


Bizarre though it was, Candice found it a little comforting. Almost two weeks had gone by, each day bringing the pressure that came with the potential for life-and-death decisions. Was today going to be the day she screwed up? What about tomorrow? It was the torture of being caught between the knowledge that you're doing everything wrong, and the fear that you might make a bigger mistake while trying to correct that. The worry that tomorrow you would find out that what you thought was "good enough" had really just been "lucky."

Now, though? She was already dying. It's not like she could fuck up any more than that.


Something impacted against her. Probably Fiyori. It would be nice to fight back against her, to tear her apart with bare hands if that was all she had left, but there was no point in trying anymore. It wasn't even a matter of being a graceful loser and letting Fiyori have her victory. Candice simply couldn't manage to drag her down towards mutual defeat, or even towards defeat and a slightly-more-injured victory. Even as her pain skyrocketed from the touch of Fiyori's hands near her would, she couldn't even struggle. Just the fact that she could still manage to cry out in pain at this point was a bit of a shock.

Really now... It's the first time in ages that I haven't had to worry about whether I'm trying hard enough. My last little consolation prize, so couldn't you just leave me alone to enjoy it?


G31: Candice Banks - Deceased
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G31 - Candice Banks (adopted from Somersault) - The Rooftop
G35 - Bernadette Thomas (adopted from Imehal) (Deceased) - Northwest Cliffs

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Nate was still shaking, his hands rattling the gun as little parts jostled around. His eyes were getting narrower, angrier, with every passing word.

There was nothing but the sound of the rain hammering onto the roof and the people on it, the distant gunshots falling silent. Nate could feel the water on his face, running over his eyes and ears and seeping into his clothes, but why would he care about that? Why would he care about something so damn trivial as some chilling water, when Jae was standing there, saying what he was saying. Casually offering to shoot him, pretending to care but not being able to say why, just offering nothing good enough to placate Nate.

He replayed the response in his head. That was enough. Even though Min-Jae hadn’t said anything in that momentary lapse, Nate still screamed.

“Shut up! Just shut up!”

He wanted to step forward, put the gun in Min-Jae’s face, but his legs were frozen. Most of him was frozen, really, even if he was still shaking with rage. He swallowed a massive lump that had formed in his throat.

“Stop saying that crap! Stop talking about killing people! Stop asking me questions!”

The gun lurched forwards as far as he could reach, as close to Min-Jae’s face as Nate could put it without being able to shift from his spot.

“Give me an answer, a real answer! Why you don’t care?! Tell me, or I’ll shoot you right now!”
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And with that, was it over? No, no it was not over. Far from it. The shots of Fiyori's gun might have pierced Candice's guts, and the girl might have expired and slumped to the ground, but it was still far from over.

Fiyori kneeled over. Her glasses finally broke free, and dropped on the fresh corpse of Candice. She wasn't sure whether it was her owns or Candice's, but the blood on Fiyori's hand trickled down. Her palm reached for Candice's face, grasped it. She held tight unto it, and then she held tighter, and tighter. It was still so warm, so fresh, so new and yet she held tighter and tighter, and when the skull did not give way to her grip, Fiyori screamed.

She let go of her face, but Fiyori did not let go of Candice. One after the another, a fist landed on her lifeless body. Again, and again, and again it was how it always was. Fiyori was the monster. Even though Jae did not aim at Candice, it should've been logical for her opponent to return fire. Instead, it was her call to turn around and shoot at Fiyori as well.

What kind of person was she that people acted like that? What kind of person was she that they were right?

Her ire did not flow away with the fists. Instead it was rising higher and higher. All of her body itched to rise and find Jae and take his eyes and gouge them out of his eyes and then Fiyori rose to her feet and...

...it was, again, faded away. All the anger, gone like in an instance. So soon, huh?

She collected her gun, and leaned against the door.

As it stood now, she noticed two wounds in her body. She might have missed one, or miscounted somehow but it felt like she was correct about that. Surprisingly, it did not hurt in the way she expected it. It was there. Just there, and present, and somehow floating in her mind but the sensation was not searing or anything like that. She looked around.

Fiyori was positioned directly at a door. It connected to a small room in which was a staircase. There were more of these doors, and the one Fiyori was at the moment was not the one with which she entered the roof. Fiyori speculated that when Jae shuffled off, he chose the route around the corner. She had expected him to show his face now, but apparently he was retreating further or hiding.

She observed the roof a bit further. Most of the area was flat. There were the staircases, of course, which were one factor blocking the view. As you went away from the center, you'd notice the sharp decline at the edges of the roof. It's tiles were some sort of brown hue. Fiyori had noticed a strong mossy growth earlier already. Might not've been a 90 degree angle, but if you stepped on it you might as well slide and fall down anyway.

The rain was growing stronger. With the wind howling and the torrents going on, it was both hard to see and hard to hear.

Perhaps she would have used her glasses for this. But where Fiyori was going, she would not need them.

In a moment.
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"I think," Jae said. It took a moment to remember what he thought before he continued.

"I think if you were gonna do it, you'd've done it already."

Even so, he reached out and wrapped his good hand around the barrel of the gun, steadying it so that it pointed directly at his face. He could be helpful, sometimes, if he felt like it.




The area had quieted. He hadn't gone far from Fiyori and Candice, but the peaks and slopes of the roof and the pounding rain had helped him slide out of sight.

Maybe someone was dead now. Maybe someone else would be dead soon too.

But whoever was left would catch up soon.

Even if he had been able to run on his bad leg, the footing would be too treacherous. If he was still standing when the victor arrived, escape wasn't an option a second time.




If the finger didn't tighten on the trigger, they both knew how this would end. Fair's fair.




And all the while, the predator out for Jae's blood prowled closer.
"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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Min-Jae’s words stung like the bullets that Nate couldn’t shoot.

His face felt hot, red, wet. No matter how much he threatened it, he knew that his words were just that. He was all talk, no action. Just weak little Nate Turner, holding a gun at someone’s face like a big shot, rather than the scared little boy he was.

He would’ve put the gun down, if Min-Jae hadn’t pulled it closer, inviting his own death with what meagre strength he showed. It was in that moment that Nate realised:

Min-Jae was already dead.

Tears finally started flowing again. Not tears of sympathy, but tears of exhausted, terrified, grief. Tears at seeing what this island had done to his classmates, what it was driving them to. What it was driving him to. Min-Jae was just some kid from Arizona, and now he wanted to die, to be shot in the face. He wanted Nate to shoot him in the face.

And in a brief, fleeting moment, Nate might have even wanted to do it.

“Oh, God.” Nate whispered, bringing the gun down.

He tried to speak, only stammered. He just shook his head, a weak rejection of reality.

“I can’t…”

It wasn’t meant for Min-Jae, but that didn’t matter. It was all he could say, before they were interrupted.
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