Goodnight, Travel Well

Cicada Days
Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

April 1st, 2017, 5:27 am #1

"... and I think it's really interesting just how we compare to the gladiators, back in Ancient Rome. Killing for sport, y'know?”

Ben nodded in silence. He knew. Very well in fact. He just didn’t know how to respond.

“Like the Hippodrome or whatever it was that the Byzantines had, too, with the riots and whatnot, all these ancient societies had death games too and all their people were okay with it. It's just a mark of how far we've come since antiquity, yeah? But also, it's-"

“Hey… Did you know Lucilly Peterson?”

Not the kindest conversational swerve. Or the most competent.

Lili shook her head at half half tempo to her usual double double time.

“No… why?”

((Ben Fields continued from Drawn To The Blood))

He hadn’t known why, he still didn’t know.

He’d found Lucilly though, and the cruel scene she was the unwilling star of, atop the asylum.

Not that he’d wanted to.

He should have found supplies, or failed to find supplies. He should have since trudged back to his group, he should have since retaken his place on their frontlines. He should have since been able to let go, when the bland announcement yet to come had come, when it would have declared her the latest of his failures.

That should have been all the corpse she’d leave for him to mourn, those words long faded and those bittersweet memories.

He hadn’t found those. He’d found everything else of her instead.

Quiet was all Ben had heard when he had opened the door onto the rooftop. His own breathing had fallen silent, stillborn upon seeing her. Her back to him didn’t soften the truth any, and Ben had once more been reminded that the gory price of war was touched up and angled only for the convenience of those who didn’t have to live it. The ones on the other side of the camera from him, the ones by his side. In their ranks, perhaps, Mr. Peterson. Lana Fields.

Ben hadn’t said anything. No word could accurately describe what he saw in any amount of manically stressed and hyperventilated syllables.

He’d gone to her side, the place he should have been in the first place. He’d marched not solemnly, nor graciously, nor heavily, he’d marched only one foot before the other before the other before the other until she had been there before him, at his now crustily bloodstained feet.

His breathing had remained silent, and he’d wondered if he’d been breathing at all.

Her face had contorted into something terribly unfamiliarly, it had become his entire familiar world and point of reference. He stared unfeeling, unknowing.

Thoughts trickled from an open wound, like the wound on his own arm that he’d sealed however many lifetimes ago. Like the wound of hers that could now only be sealed when it was already too late. He wondered, he dreamt, and as each thought bled away he watched only as an observer, the bum sat to the side of a polluted river. Mr. Peterson. His daughters, Lucilly’s little angel babies. The little five year old girl from across the street who’d dedicated beads and sweat to Lucilly’s name. ‘Lucily’ remained draped over Lucilly’s neck, a reminder so falsely innocent and inappropriately unsullied and unbroken. That necklace would remain, long after the girl who had given it name and meaning and life on this Earth had moved on from that very same Earth. To wherever she belonged.

She belonged somewhere better.

And when Ben finally got over himself and someday soon marched headlong in her wake he knew he wouldn’t be going to that better place to meet her.

He remained silent a moment longer. A moment more. It was often, in their rare moments of shared lives, that they’d never needed to speak. And indeed, they’d never need to speak again. So he kept his mouth shut. He knelt in a singular motion, knees to the hard and unforgiving crimson bathed ground beside her broken form. His hands, unanointed and unbathed, they took to her shoulders and gently adjusted her, inch by softly manicured inch, so that she faced the sky. Now she looked to her new home with her once lively eyes.

He dug through his supplies with fervent, reverent purpose. The rag that had once been his other shirt, and then his first aid kit silently touching earth.

He tore the shirt in twain with an unspoken grunt. Each half was clenched around a fist.

His hands to her broken body. He did not feel. To her collapsed guts, fistfuls grabbed in the nonexistent blink of his eye. He did not see. He merely did. He returned, handful by bloody handful, what was misplaced, what was incorrect and wrong, to where it belonged, to where it was right. He knew no matter how he fixed her she could never be unbroken. He worked tirelessly all the same. Infinite time passed into history, with not even footnotes to declare that someone had known or cared. Lucilly Peterson and Ben Fields would be brittle sand, and would evaporate away. He worked harder still. Sweat on his brow streaked like a hail of bullets piercing his eyes.

Ben eventually breathed as evenly as he had when he’d first found her, examined his handiwork as he let the gross mosaic of his former shirt melt off his hands and to the concrete. Perhaps one day in his next life he would have a fundamental understanding of anatomy. What he’d done was unseemly, and it would not do. But it would be.

He returned his hands to his scraps of shirt, clenched with unyielding rigor mortis until his knuckles were strained away to bare bones. He began to grab bandages, and identified the excess mass of knotted fabric and gauze guts that had been his final gift, his partings with Will.

Names spilled out of his treacherous conscious as he remembered the friend he’d probably never see again. Travis, Irene, Darius, Mia, Cristo. Whatever sins they might or might not have committed, all the syllables of all their names now merely described desecrated bits and chunks of bones and flesh arranged incompetently by unsteady hand. And Ben was leaving them all to further rot away. He betrayed them by abandonment, in death as he had in life. Only Lucilly was the exception to prove the rule, the rule that Ben had broken oaths, promises. Promises to march on, to dare to be strong and manly, to look to the camera and say he’d done what he could have possibly done.

It mattered, but it was ultimately unimportant. Ben put his head down and got back to his unfeeling work.

He wrapped around whatever was left that could medically, charitably, be called the curve of her waist, diligent to the sacrosanctity of that bloodied, jagged ruin. His hands worked sans the import of an artisan or craftsman, he clumsily wound the tape again and again, regularly sealing the patchwork abomination of gauze and fabric with tape and adhesive. No further thought occurred to distract, the two of them were alone with his silence.

Slowly the gore and viscera was vanquished, sealed behind taut strips of already greasy and oily red fabric. He wiped bile in chunks and crusty strips from her lips and chin. Over her open mouth he gently slid a surgical mask from his kit, taking care to rebuild the hair he partitioned in the process with meticulous twists of his fingers over her once vital curls.

The camera could pry and glare at her, play vouyer all it wanted. It would see nothing of the girl it had watched broken, it would only see what she had once been. Yes, with the cessation of his delicately trembling and insipidly weak touch Ben could finally recognize the whole of that girl he’d met again for the first and last time however many minutes, lifetimes ago.

With not a second more of his nonexistent fanfare, he stood, and strode over to the unprotected edge where roof met the void of night sky. The bits and pieces of Lucilly he’d accidentally shaved and yanked away onto his bits of shirt were scattered to the wind with an uninspired flourish of his hand.

Ben looked to the body he’d left, then to the heavens. He thus looked to Lucilly before he addressed her:

“Hope that’s good enough.”

She didn’t answer. There was nothing really to be said, no words lost between them. As it had always been, and now, as it would always be.

((Ben Fields continued in Miss Atomic Bomb))
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).