((Mike Moretti & Violet Druce continued from Throw It On a Fire
. written by Hallucinogenic & posted on his behalf))
Goodbyes were never easy. For Violet, they were all too final.
Her mother had died when she was tiny, so she didnt have that closure. Whenever she got asked what her one wish would be - had they found a genie someday she wouldnt answer. Shed clam up, and keep the truth to herself because she didnt want to spoil the game. Sometimes shed fake it, tell her friends something funny to keep the atmosphere light, but if they asked right now, as she and Mike headed towards the beach, there was only one thing she would say.
Thats why shed been so quiet since they left the house. Mike didnt want to upset her, so he didnt push for a reply, yet all he wanted to do was make sure she was alright. He wanted to hold her again, just for a little while, but he knew he shouldnt. Whatever feelings hed grown for her were destined not to flourish; her mind was always elsewhere, always focused on someone else. But that was okay. If they started anything now, here, it would only end in heartbreak either way. Thats how life went on the island. Couples tore themselves apart, friends lost each other, siblings turned to rivals, and they all ended up alone.
One by one, the tin soldiers fell, and there was no-one there to catch them.
At least, thats what he believed before the announcements came earlier than they should, and the voices werent familiar and sadistic.
And thats why theyd travelled so far in so few an hour.
They werent looking for a pit stop, or a house full of supplies, not this time. Theyd heard the voice of God, or his human counterpart, and he decreed it the rapture. They were going home. All their hope had been made real, and all he could think about was his family, his old friends, his neighbours, his whole entire life that he thought hed never get the chance to live again. His face still felt sticky where the tears had ran, and though he hugged her and laughed and cried over and over again, he never noticed the look in Violets eyes, nor the falsity of her smile.
Because you see, Violet was never any good at goodbyes.
Reaching the shore at long last, stained as it was with blood and debris from days of fighting, the two of them stared out at the sea with breathless gasps of disbelief.
Nothing couldve prepared them for the emotions they felt when they saw that shimmering lifeline to the real world for the very first time. It was as though theyd both been born again, like someone had given them new blood; new eyes to see with. Everything glowed and sang as the boat bobbed up and down in some mad hypnotic fashion. It was real, and it was here, just for them. There were others on board that they could see from where they stood, and a surly-looking man stood tall in front of them, beckoning them both with a wave of his hand.
Mike didnt think it could be possible how could something this good happen to them when they were so definitely doomed to die. All that running, and starving, and guilt, and death, and what had it accomplished? All of that was a dream to him now, to both of them, like theyd finally woken up and saw the sun for the first time in years. It blinded them, but softly, and warmly, and as they bathed in the miracle the tow of them began to fall away from one another.
He couldnt contain himself, as he dropped his pack to the ground and shambled forwards out from the trees and the shade. His face felt wet once more, but he didnt care; of course he didnt, no-one would, not when he was about to be set free. The sand felt different too, gentler on his feet, as though he weighed nothing at all, like air. Such liberation, and yet, still, there was a jabbing in his heart. Something was wrong. What was it? The sand felt a little less gentle again as he turned his head to the side.
There was Violet, that hadnt changed. But why wasnt she moving? Was she afraid? He looked back to the man on the boat, who beckoned them furiously with his whole body, screaming for them to get on board. If they didnt leave now, theyd be stuck here until they died. He knew she didnt want that, so what was keeping her here?
It hit him suddenly, like a bullet.
He knew the reason why.
Hed known it all along, whenever she mentioned his name, or when she found that jar in his bag. Every time she thought about him, her face would light up, and shed remember another one of their times together, back when they were filming, or whenever he stayed over just so they could stay up late watching the entire Elm Street series. The two of them may have drifted in the past year, shed told him one night, but she missed him. So much it kept her awake some nights, shed said. He remembered how he felt when she told him that part, how long hed spent not knowing her. It didnt matter before all this, when they were just kids like everybody else. They moved in different circles and they didnt share a class, but here, everything was different. Theyd been drawn together, and now that they were so close to escaping, he couldnt let her go. He had to tell her. Trent was probably on the boat already, waiting for her, so this was the last chance he had to say something before they headed back. He took her hand-
Im not going.
-before she took it away.
Even though he hadnt seen it coming, he wasnt surprised. It was always going to end like this, wasnt it? That guy was always going to come first.
Im sorry, I just, I need to find him. I need- I need to know hes okay before I leave.
She was torn. He could see it in her face. Every rational part of her wanted to grab hold of him and run for the boat, faster than shed ever ran in her life, but she knew that she couldnt. She just couldnt.
Im so sorry, Mike, I- I just- I know weve been through so much, and oh God, Ive been so lucky to have you with me, I-
More tears. Theyd shed so many today, but these were different. These meant she would never see him again. Those were the kind that came out in fractured cries and hiccups, showing him just how much she actually cared about him. Then came that desire again, the one that told him to hold her, to never let go. This time hed oblige, because he finally understood. Hed never been second-best, not even when he let down his guard and she got hurt, and it all made sense now, all of it.
She tried to say something, but he shushed her quietly as she fell back into his chest. The man was still shouting far behind them, but he waved him away. Ill be there in a minute, this told him, just give me this before I go.
And once shed settled down, and her body stopped twitching with the force of this farewell, they both began to laugh. It always felt good to laugh, didnt it? Yeah, he thought, always good. He wiped away her bangs with his fingers, like hed always wanted to do, and smiled as their laughter trickled into silence.
This was the last time he would ever see her face, or say something encouraging, but nothing seemed to come. It was too hard to lie and say it was all going to be okay, because they were beyond that now. Once he got on that boat, theyd be apart, and hed never forgive himself for letting her go, not ever, but he knew there was no going back for her. Not now. Not while someone out there needed her, much more than she needed him.
She smiled sadly, wiping another loose tear from her eyes, and exhaled deeply.
He smiled too, then held her tight.
She felt his breath wash over her hair, then listened as he spoke into her ear.
I wish we couldve had what youve got with him.
Another breath, as they stood in the light, then he steadily slipped out of her grasp.
By the time he looked back, when he was halfway to the boat, she was already gone.
But he swore he would always remember her.
B073, MICHAEL MORETTI: ELIMINATED
((Violet Druce continued elsewhere))