[Boy #14 - Alex White. Continued from Sympathy for the Devil.]
Why was it so fucking hot?
It felt like every step he took was just another hot knife cutting into his leg. Like the ragged coughing was just the world's way of taking back every breath he managed to steal. Nothing came easy anymore, not that anything ever did to begin with, but just doing something as small and simple as walking or breathing seemed to be a new kind of chore. He could barely walk with his leg in the shape it was in, and now he could barely catch his breath. Whatever the fuck was going on, he didn't like it. But he couldn't just stop. He knew they were out there. Just waiting for him to show some sign of weakness. Just waiting for him to rest for the night so they could cut out his throat. But he wasn't about to let them get the best of him. No, no. He was going to keep going. He could always push himself past any limit, and this was going to be no different.
Just another wall to break through.
"Now you know that's not what this is, boy."
He just had to keep going, no matter what happened. Push the pain in his leg out of his head. Keep his eye on the prize, his head in the game. Just another obstacle in his path that he had to push his way past. That's all this was. Just another challenge for him to overcome and prove himself. Show what he's made of. Prove his worth. Ignore every distraction and just focus on the task at hand. Ignore the pain. Ignore the difficulty. Ignore the heat. Ignore everything.
"Can't do that boy."
Alex whipped around, pain shooting up his leg and into his back. That hurt. But he could swear there was... No, no. No one was there. No one behind him yet. But he was sure someone was out there, just waiting for the opportunity. Gotta get a grip. Focus. This was no time to stare swinging at shadows. He was soaking wet and stinging with sweat, sore and aching all over. Maybe he could rest, just for a while. No one was out there, waiting for him to sit down just to make their move. Yeah... maybe he could sit and rest for a while. Just sit down here for a while.
But Alex didn't sit. He stumbled, and fell, and lied down there in the grass.
That was strange... but that's alright. He was going to lie down anyway, right? All he needed to do was lie down, and rest for a while, and maybe have a bite to eat. Yeah, something to eat and something to drink would be nice. So he went about fumbling with the bag. Almost couldn't get the damn thing open, but there it went, and he pulled out a few things. A bit of bread, some crackers, and a bottle of water. There wasn't going to be much left at this rate, but that was just fine. Alex had plenty for himself, and if he didn't, others did. He just needed to find them and take it, right?
His pocket rattled when he shifted. That's right, he still had those, didn't he? Perhaps it was time for a few more. Couldn't hurt. Maybe it'd help him get through this recent bit of difficulty. Always did before, so why not now? But how many should he be taking? Couldn't remember when he last took one, or how many to took. The mines, maybe? Or was it back at that church? Fuck it. He poured some out into his hand until it looked like enough and swallowed them without a second thought. Never hurt before.
He finished off the food and drained the rest of the bottle of water. Hauled himself up off the ground and tried to get his bearing. Fucking world was spinning. Gotta get more than just bread and water. Alex put his head in his hands, tried to focus.
"He's coming for you."
The spinning was stopping, finally. But he didn't want to open his eyes. He didn't want to bring his hands away from his face. He could feel someone in front of him. He could feel their breath. He could feel the warmth from their body. He knew they were there. It was just a matter of--
He lashed out, clawed at the air in front of him, eyes wide open. But no one was there. But he could have sworn... Fuck, he really was losing it. Gotta get a grip. It's just the wind. It's just nerves. It's just hunger. It's just everything piling up, trying to play tricks. Swinging at shadows, feeling people, hearing laughing... Laughing?
"I fucking hear you!"
Alex drew his gun. Pulled the P11 from his belt, and pointed it out into the dark.
"I hear you, fucker! Come out, or I start shooting!"
But there was no response. Just Alex, alone there in the dark, breathing heavier than before. He could have sworn he heard laughing. But he could have also sworn that someone was behind him or that someone had walked right up to him and stood less than a foot from him. No, this wasn't right. Something was wrong here. Fucking darkness was playing tricks on him. First his leg and then the heat, now the dark. This fucking island was conspiring against him.
"Nothing there. Ain't nothing there."
But there was something there. Just outside of sight, just there in the shadows. Something was moving. Everything was moving. Shifting and rippling like... like fire. What the fuck.
"He's coming for you, boy. You ain't got long. Run."
Alex spun 'round and took off as fast as he could muster with that leg of his, away from whoever was out there. Whatever was out there. Further and further along the path he'd been following. Just keep moving and don't fucking look back. But he could feel it. Right behind him. Hand reaching out, almost on him. He could feel it just there behind him, reaching out for his neck. But he had to keep moving. He couldn't stop. He couldn't look back. He couldn't hesitate. One fucking mistake and he was done.
Dead in his tracks, Alex stopped. Nearly sent himself head over ass with the weight on his back, but he steadied himself on the stick. And stared down at the drop in front of him. The ground just disappeared, cut off in jagged rocks and steep walls. Where the fuck was he? What the fuck did he...
It was there.
He turned around. Slowly, he looked back. He risked stepping toward the dark in order to move away from the edge. He could see them now. All of them. He recognized them. Each and every pale, lifeless face.
But there were more. So many more. Shadowy shapes he couldn't quite make out. Dull, flat features. No faces. Just... bodies. So many bodies.
"What do you want with me?"
But they didn't give any answer. They didn't even move. They just stood there and stared at him until he raised that gun in his hand and pointed it at them. But even then, they didn't move.
"I swear I'll fucking shoot!"
Still no answer. Still no movement. Just those blank eyes, staring. But they... they couldn't be there. He knew they couldn't be there. They were supposed to be dead! He killed them! Every last one of them! He put a bullet in Annaliese and fucking watched her get buried. He cut out Will's throat and choked the last fucking breath out of Rena. He stabbed that bitch Rosa until she was bleeding like a stuck pig, and he left her to die. And Andrea... he knew he hit her in the back, and saw her fall under those waves. They were all dead. But yet, there they were.
Staring at him.
Because he killed them. It was his fault they were dead.
It was his fault that William was dead. Will had something he didn't, and was just as scared and lonely as Alex was. But he pushed that boy too far and cut out his throat without a second thought. He could see it now, tumbling around on the ground, swinging, cutting, slashing at Will's throat. Ripping open a great bloody hole in that sweet boy, that caring boy, that scared little child he'd known for so long. The one he'd fallen in love with and taken care of for so long. He could see it all. Every time Alex stood up for him, every time Alex told Will that he loved him, every stupid little gesture. Every night they spent together. Every day they worked together. Every trip they took and path they followed. Every fucking moment!
It was his fault that Rena was dead. Rena was scared, and hurt, and finally found the courage to stand up for what she believed in. Isn't that right? Alex killed her for doing what was right, for standing up and trying to put an end to a monster before he could get worse. All she wanted to do was save someone she cared about. All she wanted to do was get home to see her family! But he stabbed her. He got on top of her and he stabbed and just kept stabbing. He even acted as if he was doing her a favor, killing her! He knelt down on top of her and strangled her and for what? Just to keep living his own miserable fucking life. All she wanted was to live to see her family again.
Annaliese... It was his fault she was dead. He didn't even want to kill her. He just did it. He saw her there alone in that store, just doing her friends a favor. And Alex put that gun against her flesh and pulled the trigger and ended that poor girl's life. He killed her simply because he could, not because he had to. She was no threat to him. She wasn't a threat to anyone. But he still killed her. He just fucking took her and put a bullet through her. All because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. All because Alex was a fucking monster who didn't deserve to keep on surviving. He could see the sadness in her eyes. The desire to see her friends again. The desire to get back home and see her parents again. He could see it all in her eyes. All the pain he inflicted.
Andrea was just trying her best to get by, but it was his fault she was dead. All she ever did was provide what people needed and what people wanted, and he put a bullet in her back for that. She was never anything but nice to Alex, but he went and shot her. He beat her on that mountain, broke her down and kept on swinging even when she stopped fighting back. He nearly killed her then. He would have too, if she wasn't any use to him. But he let her live, and why? Because he wanted more from her. Because she was still useful and he was going to use her at his whim. And when he found her again, he beat her again. But she always tried to do her best, even in the end. She tried to save the people she called friends, even if it meant sacrificing her own life. And Alex was the one who made sure she paid for her selflessness. All she ever did was try her best, and Alex shot her in the fucking back for it.
And Rosa, standing tall among all of them. Rosa, who cut a most recognizable figure amongst the blackness behind it all. It was his fault she was dead. It was his fault that she suffered like she did. Nothing less than a flawed diamond, beautiful in her errors and faults and nothing but the best she could be despite it all, and he scarred her in ways no one ever had. He brutalized that girl, and for what? To get his kicks? To get his rocks off? No, that would have been easy. That would have made sense. No, he tortured that girl, he made that poor girl suffer because he could. He did it because he could. Because he felt he had to. Because she was easy, and doing what was right was hard. He did what he did because he wanted to, simple as that. He was as weak as they come and Rosa was always as strong as could be. Always held herself high and never let anyone dictate who she should be, how she should act, what she should do. But Alex was weak, and Rosa was easy. He couldn't be strong on his own so he took what she had, and made her suffer for it. Made her suffer, because he was weak.
It did it all. Every last horrible act. Every last horrible memory. Every last depraved, terrible, reprehensible, unforgivable action was his own. And now the grand sum of his life stood before him. Every last thing he would be remembered for, and they stood out among all of it. They were what he was going to be remembered for. Not his achievements on the track, not his skill on the piano, not his dreams of college and a family. Not his friends, or his family, or his loved ones. Not the parties he went to or the donations of time and money he made to charity, not the scores he got on his report cards or the pills he took to get them. Nothing in his life would ever hold a candle to the impact that those five lives would have on how people remembered Alex.
And it was all. his. fault.
But he was running. He was running from the guilt. Running from the accusations. Running from the very truth of his actions. Because he was weak. And the only way he could be strong was to rely on what others had given him. What he had taken from those he claimed to love. The only way he could be strong in his own eyes was to rise above it all and accept nothing but perfection. Being a murderer was a black mark. Being a murderer was less than perfect. So he ran, and hid, and fought against it. But here it was.
Staring him in the face.
Putting him at the edge of the world, and forcing him to face the sum total of his choices.
He pointed the gun at the shadows. He refused to accept it. He refused to accept the blame, the fault, the responsibility. He didn't want it. He didn't want to do anything but survive, at the expense of all others it seemed, and he would not let shadows of the past stand in his way. He fired into the dark. He shot at Andrea, and at Annaliese. He shot at Rena.
But still they did not disappear.
"I'm not stopping! I'm not giving up! I've come too far."
He shot at Will.
"I'm a god damn survivor! I am the mother fucking ruler of my fate! And nothing! Nothing! Will stop me now!"
And he fired at Rosa. And they were gone. Nothing but the dark of the night was left in front of him. Nothing but him on the edge of a cliff, a gun in his hand and sweat running down his face. Nothing but him, his thoughts, and the unbearable pain of it all.
"You're not getting off that easy, boy. You know what you've done. You will accept the responsibility of your actions. You will face your fate soon enough, boy. You have no idea how soon."
Alex turned around and looked out over the cliff. It was still dark out, and Alex could see nothing for miles. Nothing in the distance, nothing below him, nothing around him.
Alex could see nothing for miles...
Nothing but fire.
"I'm going to die, aren't I?"
"Now you're getting it, boy."
"And I'm going to burn... aren't I?"
"Far longer than you could ever imagine."
"...I don't want to die."
Alone. At the edge of madness and despair. Standing at the edge of hell itself. That is what Alex saw, what he felt. He looked out at the sea from the top of the cliffs, and saw nothing but fire and darkness. That is what he had ahead of him and he knew it all too well. Sooner or later, he was going to die. He could fight and run and struggle for his very survival for as long as he wanted, but soon enough, it would all end. His time would come and it would be violent, it would be bloody, and before it was over he would have more sins to weigh him down. He knew it all too well. But all he could do was keep looking forward, keep on following the path he had chosen. If he looked back, he could see their faces even now, and he could feel their accusations. He could feel their scorn and their blame. It burned.
He could see it in their eyes, and it burned.
But he knew it wasn't over just yet. He knew he was still alive, and he was intent on keeping it that way for as long as he could. He wasn't about to give up. He wasn't about to die without a fight. If death was coming for him, he was going to fight long and hard. He could run on for as long as he wanted, but sooner or later he would have to turn and fight and do so until he couldn't fight anymore. If he was going down, he wasn't going without a fight, and he was going to take someone with him. There was no way he was leaving this world alone. He was going to drag someone down with him, if it was the last thing he did.
Until that day came, he was going to run, and fight, and live.
But he was in no condition to be running, or fighting. They were still out there, still looking for him, and he was sweating like a pig at the edge of a cliff. His leg was throbbing and sweat was stinging his eyes and every single little cut and scrape he had accumulated over the past week and a half. He was in no position to stand his ground and take down anyone who fucked with him. He needed to find a place to lay low for a while. Somewhere safe enough for him to rest and tend to his wounds. They could stand there and haunt him for as long as they liked, but Alex still needed to live. He still had things to do, for better or worse.
Oh, so many things.
Alex limped away from the cliff's edge. He turned away from the fires he saw in the distance and back to the world as he knew it. Dark, and evil, and teaming with danger. A wild world that demanded wild actions in return. A horrible world, a terrible world, a world that made him who he was. Now it was his turn. He knew how to play the game. He knew how to fight and live in this world of shit. He was a god damned survivor. And survive is just what he was going to do. Despite the pain in his leg, he just kept moving. Limping and wincing with every step he took. Because he couldn't stop now, not after everything that had happened. No matter how long he had left, or how long he would burn when it was all over, he couldn't just stop now.
"I said it once, and I'll say it again. I'm a god damned survivor. And if surviving means carrying the weight of the dead on my back, well, then that's just what I'll do."
Alex spoke to the darkness, to the shapes that haunted him at the edge of the world. Told the dead and the living alike just what he was. He accepted what he was and what fate awaited him in the end.
"I'm a monster. I'm a bastard. And I'm going to live through the end of everything. Cause I am a god damn survivor. I am the motherfucking master of my fate. And I am not giving up."
He spoke, and he stepped, and he pushed onward. He felt like shit, but that wasn't going to stop him. He was sweating like a pig, but that wasn't going to stop him. He saw the fires of hell awaiting him, but that wasn't going to stop him. This was his game. This was his world. And he was the master of all he saw. He could control who lived and who died. Just like that, he could end anyone he met. It's about time to act. No more hesitating. No more compromising. No more weighing options. Everyone out there now was a killer, and he was going to have to fight hard to survive. Kill or be killed, simple as that.
Kill or be killed.
Time to start preparing.
[Boy #14 - Alex White. Continued in Hurry Back.]