((Clarisse and Will continued from Who Says You Can't Hide?))
Clarisse had escaped from death once. Ever since then, she'd wondered that if making it out had even been worthwhile. Her life had just about ended with the crash, yet things had continued on, like some kind of shambling corpse, not realising that it should've just dropped dead a long time ago. Clarisse hadn't died in the accident, but for all her life had been since then, she might as well have done.
The car wreck had taken her looks, her friends, her confidence, any dwindling hopes she may have had of modelling being a career...
Being abducted, told to kill others... well, it was just the nail in the coffin.
The grave had been dug a long time ago.
So there Clarisse Huntingdon and William Lohman stood, on a bridge, above the fast-rushing water below. She'd filled him in on the details as they walked there. He hadn't commented much. That wasn't important. What mattered was that he'd agreed. What mattered is that ... she wasn't going into this alone. Neither of them would.
Will fidgeted, muttered to himself a lot. Clarisse was surprised by her own serenity. She supposed staring down the barrel of a gun wasn't so bad when it was your own finger on the trigger. It had been her idea.
"You don't have to do this. You know," she felt obliged to say that, even though she would hate him so much, so, so much if he turned back now. If he did, maybe her resolve would waver, maybe she'd change her mind and go back and then a day from now, find herself bleeding to death in a cellar somewhere.
"I know... just... I think it's best."
She nodded. Didn't say anything else. There'd been enough words. Speaking more would just... prolong it all. The end was so close. She just had to reach out and touch it.
Clarisse thought about kissing Will, decided that would be stupid, and settled for patting his shoulder, before taking his hand...
and a single step forward.
As she fell, Clarisse's eyes closed, and for the first time in a long time, as the waters below rushed up to meet them, she smiled.
He'd wanted to reject it all. That would have been easy. It would have been lying to himself. It would have been sparing himself some current agony at the expense of himself in the future. It would have been opening the door for all kinds of terrible surprises as his classmates blew the bottom out of his already-low expectations. It hadn't quite seemed pragmatic. Instead, Will had considered the other options. He didn't want to die. What was left? Go kill? It was as laughable now as it had ever been. Will had one thing he could count on over anything else, and it was his morals. He knew he could be stubborn as a mule, could refuse to waver no matter the damage it caused him, in reputation or popularity or health.
At the end of the day, Will just wanted to know he'd done the right thing.
But what was there to do, when he was afraid of dying terribly and unwilling to kill and unable to hide in any meaningful way? There was no rescue coming. The maniac at the controls would kill them all first, choke them by remote. Will knew they were all going to die here. He doubted even the last one standing would live. More likely, this was some sort of obtuse philosophical argument being played out, with his class as the pieces. It was a lesson, he suspected, on how far man could fall.
Against this, what resistance was a high-schooler to offer?
Her idea was simple. It was effective. It was scary like nothing else. Will didn't think she was proposing it for the same reasons he was going with it. That didn't matter. It felt good not to be the one to come up with it. It felt better not to be the one to say it. Will was just following along, taking the path of least resistance, and staying true to himself. It would have to be enough. He hoped it would be enough.
"You sure?" Muttered, quiet, under his breath.
The bridge groaned under his feet. The wind whistled. Will combed his hair back into position. He'd done so five times now. The gesture was particularly futile in light of what was coming.
This was because Will didn't care about Clarisse's answer, didn't care about whether she heard. She asked him roughly the same thing, only audibly, displaying a bit of uncertainty, and Will did his stumbling best to reassure her. He was sure, and he was pretty sure she was too, was pretty sure she didn't want to be alone, and there were worse ways to die than with a beautiful girl, trying to make a last stand for what was right.
The wind shook Will, and he looked at the sky and saw how pretty it appeared, and the sound of rushing air drowned out anything further Clarisse might have said as Will smoothed his hair one more time and took a step forward, in tandem with her, holding her hand.
The second his foot left the bridge, he regretted it. Falling was not an easy experience, and he flailed, trying to wimp out, trying to jerk himself back to safety, and never mind his morals and Clarisse, but it was far, far too late. He fell, twitching wildly but not screaming. He didn't want to scream, but he couldn't say if his silence was due to willpower or the pressure against his lungs.
It didn't matter. He knew they were watching, and he was almost grateful that gravity had kept him true to his course, letting him make one pathetic little blow against the people in charge. Whatever message they were trying to send, Will wasn't going to be its herald.
As the water rushed towards him, he forced his eyes closed and wished it would be like a falling dream, where at the end he just woke up.
M22, WILLIAM LOHMAN: GAME OVER
F24, CLARISSE HUNTINGDON: GAME OVER
25 STUDENTS REMAIN
F24, CLARISSE HUNTINGDON: GAME OVER
25 STUDENTS REMAIN