Encumbered by Shining Armor

Joined: September 30th, 2008, 8:11 am

February 4th, 2011, 9:16 am #1

((Peter Siu continued from It's Everything's Nature to Fall))

Darkness hung in the sky. Tiny pinpoints of light, almost invisible, scattered across the black expanse. In his mind's eye, Peter could draw lines to connect the points of light. Each point was part of an intricate network. Each network formed a symbol, an echo of a story told in ages past.

"You know, we don't really get much of a chance to see this. Lights all around the city make it hard to see all the stars."

Darkness hung in his mind. Tiny fragments, one might call them memories, scattered across the deep abyss. With his mind's framework, Peter could map out the connections between the fragments. The connected fragments formed something greater than the sum of its parts, something more than just a memory. They were a reminder of past failures, of his own weakness. No matter how much darkness lay in the space between the fragments, Peter could remember.

And unlike the stars, they didn't get washed out by the coming of a new day.

Silence rang through the air. There were no leaves for the midnight breeze to rustle. No woodland creatures scrambled across the field of destruction. Peter idly juggled his flashlight between his hands as his eyes scanned across the darkened landscape lit by moon and starlight. He didn't need any more light than that; the chance of somebody sneaking up on him was next to nil. They'd make a hell of a racket just moving around, and they'd be using their own lights too. Plenty of warning to get prepared.

A part of him wanted to hear somebody's approach, to see the beam of light from a stray flashlight. By the time Peter had noticed that Will had disappeared, night's darkness had fallen and looking for him wasn't feasible. Not when he needed to look after Eiko. Peter still harbored hope that Will, not burdened with that responsibility, would keep searching and find his way back to them.

Peter's gaze flicked down to where Eiko was sleeping. She looked just as vulnerable and helpless as the first time they’d met on the island, except without the crying. That was when he’d said that he’d take care of her, that he’d protect her. Three days ago, he gave his word to her.

Had it only been three days? The passage of time barely mattered to Peter now. The fight just to stay alive had taken center stage. The only way he could remember how long it had been was because of the announcements Danya gave every morning. The announcements that also kept a running tally of those who had succumbed to the game, either by murdering others or being murdered.

Sixty-five of his classmates were already dead, according to Danya. No, sixty-nine. There were those poor kids that had gotten the short end of the stick when it came to Danya’s wrath. All because of that stupid bitch Polanski. Had she been dropped on her head? Danya had specifically said not to fuck with the cameras, and now she was doing just that, and making a fine mess of everything else in the process.

Sixty-nine dead. Seventy, including Tiffany, and there’d be more when dawn broke, and Danya updated the running list. At the rate they were going at, there’d be about another twenty names in the morning. It was unsettling enough knowing that people were killing each other left and right, but what was more unsettling was knowing that the killing didn’t even slow down as the days passed. If he were to crunch the numbers, the killing rate was probably getting worse, since there were less people alive at the start of each day, yet the same number would be dead by the end of each day.

Would he really be able to protect Eiko from that? He had barely managed to chase Jason off, and he hadn’t ended off that fight in a good position anyway. Lucas had only gone down because of Ericka. Peter knew that he didn’t have the raw power to count on in a fight against most people; he just wasn’t big enough. A sword didn’t provide much in the face of a gun and the gun that he’d taken from Lucas was useless without ammo. So far, he’d survived mostly on luck; not seeing the big killers on the island. It was only a matter of time until that luck ran out.

If anything, he needed something more reliable. Something more efficient than his sword. Sure it could be used to bushwhack and slit throats of murdering scum, but that generally required getting up close and personal. Against a gun, that was a losing prospect. Of course, the best way to beat a gun was to use another gun. Of course, that was just leading to the question of where he could actually get a gun of his own.

Lucas’ didn’t count, obviously, since it had no bullets.

Peter reached behind him, to where his flask sat. A sip of the vodka slipped down his throat, along with the slight tingling burn of alcohol. He really shouldn’t be drinking now. Not when he needed to stay alert. Not when losing that slight edge of judgment could mean getting badly hurt, or letting Eiko get killed. But he couldn’t dispute that the liquid courage was empowering. It had helped him move forward when everything had seemed lost before. There’s no reason it couldn’t help in a similar way now.

Moving forward. From what? Tiffany was dead. Will was missing. Eiko had been hurt. Peter was a killer. Failures on top of failures. There was only so far he could hide it away, and make himself believe that things were still okay. What choice did he have?

A trickle of vodka passed his lips. He only had so many options available to him. He couldn’t afford to make drastic moves. Not when Eiko’s well-being could be threatened by that. But he needed to protect her. He’d given his word. He’d also given his word that he’d go after the other murderers on the island. Clio Gabriella. Maxwell Lombardi. Ilario Fiametta. Reiko Ishida. Sarah Atwell. Jason Harris. He couldn’t do both at the same time.

Not unless there was another way to protect Eiko without keeping her close to him.

It wasn’t easy, trying to move around in the quiet night without making much sound. Peter’s backpack was only a few paces away, but getting to it and opening it without waking up Eiko was an exercise in stealth. Finding a pen and something to write on took another few minutes. Peter had a habit of stashing those in non-intuitive places where he couldn’t be bothered to remember.

As well adjusted Peter’s eyes had gotten to the darkness, writing in the dark wasn’t one of his skills. The light emitted from the flashlight was almost blinding the instant it clicked on. Peter shut his eyes instinctively to the light, and waited a few moments until he opened them again. The light really did seem out of place out here. Peter glanced over at Eiko, who had not yet stirred despite the light and noise.

Peter couldn’t remember why he had packed a notebook, but at least he had one. Placing it on a nearby tree stump, he quickly wrote what he needed to. Maybe he should have waited until morning to tell Eiko, but Peter couldn’t guarantee that he’d have the guts to do it when it came down to saying it to her face. So he wrote it down instead.

He tried to keep it simple. “I’m going to go look for Will and Brook. I can move more quickly alone than in a group. Go hide in the mansion. I have some supplies and some warm clothes still there. Stay safe.” The writing was slightly crooked, owing to the alcohol. Maybe it was harsh, just up and leaving her here alone with just a note.

He tore the note out of the notebook and slipped it under her makeshift blanket, then shouldered his backpack and slowly crept away from her sleeping form. If he got moving now, he might be able to catch up to Will. Assuming he could find the trail.

But he still needed to make sure Eiko was safe.

So he waited just a little longer, from a vantage point a good fity meters away. Keeping watch from afar. Just the way he’d liked to have done it from the beginning.

It wasn’t until the sky started to lighten with the dawn that he turned and stepped behind the treeline.

((Peter Siu continued elsewhere))
B036: Benjamin Ward: "Sh-shut the fuck up. Or I'll k-kick your ass."
B047: Marcus Leung: "Let's start by staying calm."

Rest in peace

B004 - Peter Siu: "We're all fuck-ups."
G006 - Tiffany Baker: "Will you stay with me, until I wake up?"
G027 - Marybeth Witherspoon: "The cameras are pointing here, not there."
B115 - Tony Russo: "I'm sorry...."
G087 - Rachel Gettys: "I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell."