"Damn," Adam muttered. Maynard was gone, at least. He was off on his own. He wouldn't see this. It was something.
Adam had dropped at some point, down on one knee, and Sharon was there next to him. The rain had finally stopped. It was overcast, almost like a day back in Seattle. He could close his eyes and think he'd be going home after school, if it wasn't for the pain. It was funny. Having been stabbed hurt more than being stabbed did.
"I'm going inside," he said. "You don't have to come."
He dragged himself back to his feet and stumbled through the doors, back into the hotel. The smell didn't bother him now. He couldn't smell anything. The edges of his vision were a little fuzzy. All he could think of was how damn long it took Michelle to go. Each step was a battle, but he kept moving, managing to shrug Sharon off the first time she tried to steady him. She didn't try again. Step by step he moved through the lobby, through the carnage and wreckage. He didn't pay much mind to it. Maybe it would keep Sharon from following him.
His destination was clear: against the wall, shredded and mangled and burned but still recognizable, was a couch. Adam managed to reach it, managed to turn and slump into it in something almost like a casual sitting posture.
There was a trail of blood leading from the outside to where he now rested. It wasn't just little drops, either. He wasn't going to walk this off. On some level, he'd known it from the second it had happened. It was a sobering thought. He'd seen a movie or TV show once, sometime long ago, where a man had been dying. He'd sat on a bench and taken a long swing from a bottle of whiskey, and maybe it had been a western or a cop movie or something, damned if he could remember now, but the man had looked strong and brave and Adam needed a little strength and bravery right now.
Had he been alone, perhaps he would have finally broken down. He wasn't going to, though. Not with Sharon here. She stood or maybe squatted facing him. He was glad he couldn't see her face.
He dug the package of cigarettes out of his pocket and slowly stuck one in his mouth. He tried to tuck the box back away in his pocket, but couldn't quite manage. It tumbled to the floor at his feet. He made no effort to retrieve his Bic and light up. It didn't matter now.
"You want to talk?" he asked, voice slurred by the pain and his occupied mouth. The silence stretched for a moment.
"It's not like we both have anything better to do," Sharon said.
He grimaced as something inside shifted and tried to turn the choked groan into a chuckle. He bit down on the cigarette, teeth clenching around the filter. He forced words out between his teeth.
"The crazy thing is," Adam said, "I'm kind of glad this happened. I always thought it would go the other way. I thoughtfuck, a lot of the time I thought I was right on the edge. I thought maybe when someone finally caught Maynard, when I didn't have to look after him anymore, maybe I'd start looking after myself."
"You can't really predict what can happen here. Fate tends to mess up any plans," Sharon said. Adam was listening, but he wasn't really engaging with her. He didn't have enough time left to care too much about being polite. He didn't have any ideas left about fate. Maybe he'd never had any in the first place.
"Michelle asked us not to go after Eliza," he said instead. "I didn't get it. You know, I thought she was crazy. She and Paulo, man, and Cooper. Always the crazy ones. But I think I get it now. Sometimes, things happen. We suffer enough already."
He took a long drag on his unlit cigarette, took it between his fingers and out of his mouth to exhale. He returned it to his mouth. The paper was getting soggy.
"The island does that to you," Sharon said. "It messes with your mind, destroys you from the inside till there's basically nothing left. The worse thing is that there's nothing any of us could do about it."
Adam looked down at himself as she talked. It was funny, what she said about being destroyed from the inside. Probably she wouldn't have said it that way if she'd been thinking more clearly. A good old Freudian slip. Because it wasn't just a trail of blood now, but a pool forming around him, staining the couch and his pants and wrecking his jacket. Were his hands going pale? Was that even how this worked, or was his vision just going?
"I never found Paulo," he said. "I never found Cooper. It's funny, man."
It was. He giggled. He wasn't paying attention to anything Sharon was saying or not saying anymore.
"You know, I'd never thought fuckin' Cooper would be the last one standing. He was a faker, you know? I don't think he knew, but I could tell."
He felt warm from the waist down. Was it a lack of feeling, or the heat from the blood dripping down the backs of his legs?
"I never found Paulo," he said. He blinked. "Did I tell you that already?
"And Natali, fuck, I didn't even know Natali. And she hit her head and I never noticed. She and Maynard, and I never noticed. And Paulo went and got thrown off a bridge. He was a good guy. I don't think I ever told him that."
There were a lot of things he'd never said. Had he told his sisters goodbye before the trip? And it hurt. Why did it still hurt? It wasn't supposed to hurt. He'd never talked this much, had probably said more in the last few minutes than the last week all rolled together.
"I never found Paulo," he said, "or Cooper."
He was circling, but moving still, always moving. Even now, he was running, running his mouth, running away. He almost couldn't bear to face it, except that now, here at the end, there really wasn't any way things could get worse, could they? What more could he possibly lose?
"I think I'm done talking," he said. He closed his eyes and sucked air through the cigarette and cringed and winced as the knives inside him turned. He opened his eyes again and it didn't look any different from when they were closed. He blinked twice and nothing changed, and he opened his mouth because he felt a bubble of something metallic on his tongue and the cigarette fell out. He tried to catch it and missed.
He laid his head back and was almost but not quite grateful as the pain slowly, finally began to recede.
B002, Adam Morgan: DECEASED
64 STUDENTS REMAIN