"Janie." Ben's voice trailed off as he pronounced the last syllable of her name. What was the point? Ben knew he'd fucked up irreparably. This wasn't something that Janie would just up and forget about. Ben couldn't either. Despite being called a "game," this wasn't a game at all. There were no do-overs. No mulligans. No fucking take two's. Everything mistake counted, and killing Oscar Trig was the biggest one he'd ever made.
It's why he silently sat beside Oscar's body, directly in the pool of blood, while Janie wandered off. He had nothing to say. He couldn't bring himself to plea for Janie to come back. Ben been so sure that he was their only shot at survival. Ben didn't have the long term planned out, but he figured that they'd get rescued. Ben would have kept them safe from all those psychotic fuckers that took out half their class.
But that's not how it worked out. Because nothing ever went according to the fucking plan, did it? Ben wasn't supposed to let any of them get killed. Ben wasn't supposed to become one of those people he hated the most. But sure enough, it was Oscar's blood on his hands. And Ben didn't have a single person to blame for it but himself.
Janie returned, back slung over her shoulder, and started to leave. Ben couldn't even look at her while she spoke. He knew she was right. Ben failed as a leader. He failed as a man. He also failed as a friend. He should have been all of those things, but he succeeded at none.
He could only catch the last word of what Janie had said to him. "Sorry." A word that was so hard for Ben to say, Janie could easily whip out at him. She wasn't. She didn't mean it at all. Not like Ben had.
The door opened briefly, and then violently shut closed. Ben couldn't even acknowledge her exit. It was Day Three all over again. Just him.
Ben stood up after Janie was long gone. Too much time had gone to run out and try to chase her. He flirted with the idea, opening the door and sticking his head out. The rain had finally stopped. Maybe she wasn't getting wet out there. Maybe she'd found somewhere dry to rest.
Maybe Janie found a better group. She'd find friends, people who both genuinely cared about her, and were less explosive than Ben. She'd follow these guys until the rescue boats came in to save them all. Ben could see her in Seattle and finally be able to say those words. Maybe he'd give it a few years. Let Janie forgive him on her own time. By then she'd probably be in college, doing something with animals or whatever she told Oscar she was interested in.
Ben fucking hoped that Janie would have all of that. She was a good person. It was better that she wasn't dragged down to his level.
Ben picked his body off of the floor. Oscar's blood was slowly starting to coagulate and soak into the seat of Ben's pants. His expensive Hollister shirt was just a disgusting, bloodied mess. Fingerprints spelled out in Oscar's blood decorated the iconic white letters. His jeans were in an equal state of gore. He'd have to find something in the mall to change into. Every time he looked down, he'd just be reminded of Oscar. If Ben was going to survive, he couldn't let that keep happening.
((Benjamin Ward continued in Huddle