Alexander had been ready for a lot of potential reactions from the boy he was approaching. He had been prepared for anger, for repentance, for acceptance. He'd been prepared, mostly, for Lenny to telegraph whatever was coming. Everyone did it. It was one of the things that drove him so crazy about people in the Program; none of them had the common sense to keep a straight face until the time came to act. Even when it worked to his advantage, it niggled a little, like he was getting ahead unfairly because everyone else was incredibly stupid.
That was not a complaint with Lenny—the telegraphing, at least; the boy was plenty stupid. He stepped forward, closing with Alexander at a speed he had not anticipated because it combined with his own forward momentum, and lashed out. Chris had returned to Alexander's side in this time, nodding, and Alexander had turned to glance at him, very briefly, and so he did not see the attack coming. He felt it, rather, a solid blow to the center of his chest. Lenny was a football player, and at Patriot High that meant something.
Alexander was knocked backwards, the wind going out of him and a sharp pain blooming from the point of impact. The rifle went flying out of his hands, flipping over his shoulder and tumbling down the slope. Alexander wheeled his arms, trying to remain upright even as he stumbled backwards two steps. He could feel his left heel hanging over the edge of the path, but it seemed, for that moment, he had stabilized.
The anger running through his mind at the moment was incoherent, beyond words. The audacity Lenny had displayed was shocking, just because it was so brutally, willfully ignorant. Alexander shifted his weight, just a little, getting ready to move, and then everything fell apart.
The path was packed dirt, and the edges had been eaten away over the years through corrosion and use, and now the part of the path supporting Alexander's left foot gave way, gravel and dirt coming loose and rolling down the slope. With his mode of support suddenly yanked from under him, Alexander toppled backwards, flailing for something to grab onto. He caught a handful of grass, but it simply jerked out of the dirt and joined him in his descent.
Things might have turned out okay had the slope been a little less rocky or a little less steep or if there had been something a little higher up to abort his fall, but there wasn't. It was a bouncy slide, kicking up a huge plume of dust, and Alexander felt as his momentum increased, as thorny plants tore at him and rocks battered him. He stuck his right hand out to try in some way to slow himself, and his index finger caught the ground at a bad angle and was pulled back with a pop and a snap. As that pain shot through him, cleaning his mind of all the thoughts and contingencies that had been running through it, it finally occurred to him that he was probably about to die.
He felt like he should have been scared, but he wasn't. There was, instead, a simple lack of comprehension. For all the time he'd spent musing on various subjects, Alexander had never really considered death. Even in the valley, he'd kept it away, because he had honestly believed—or at least fooled himself into believing—that there would be a way for them to make it, and that no matter how many of his allies fell, he at least would be okay. Now that such a thought had been proven untrue, he just did not have the time to parse what it meant.
His back impacted on something hard, and there was a huge surge of pain from the middle of his chest up, and then he went over a ledge and was in free fall for a moment before he slammed into a pile of rocks. There was a flash of light in front of his eyes, and then nothing.
While the impact was not immediately fatal, it did knock Alexander unconscious when he fractured his skull. It took some time after that for him to finish dying, but he didn't know since he didn't wake up again.
M08 ALEXANDER BONHAM: DECEASED
14 STUDENTS REMAIN