And, before he knew it, it was once again time for Harun to be stuck with a small group, consisting of only him, Rashid and Sapphire. Not that he was complaining much; not only was Harun hardly a social butterfly whom was well-adapted to deal with large groups, but smaller groups were much less likely to lead to tensions and rapid shifts in group dynamics. Harun knew quite well many a group feel to those internal divisions, and he did not fancy ending up as the star in a motivational video by Danya to show how often trust on the island is displaced.
It was just...he was worried. The more caring side of him was worried, not only for Stacy and Sarah, and he was hoping for their swift return, but also for that other group. Despite his apparent track record as a coldhearted, remorseless killer, Nick Reid was NOT a twisted psychopath, and the two girls he had seemingly been with were definitely not deserving of the shit the island was putting them through. Once again, he turned his neck to stare absentmindedly for a few seconds in the direction Stacy and Sarah had fled to. No dice. Aside from a rather fat bird landing comically on a tree branch, not a single sign of movement. He had a bad feeling about the two girls being out there on their own.
Well, Stacy had a rather maverick personality and was hardly the sort of girl he would hang out with under normal circumstances, and Sarah had struck him as a bit of a worrywart, for lack of a better term, but they were still decent people at heart, and they were, for lack of a better term, part of his "team". From what he could gather, Harun had, at least in his eyes, been unofficially implemented as the group's leader, and if any harm was to befall Stacy or Sarah during their little expedition, he would feel like shit.
Okay, to be honest, they were hardly much safer travelling with a socially clumsy Turk, a stereotype-embracing Arab and Sapphire (Harun did not yet know Sapphire well enough to be able to determine whether it was kosher to make a derogatory yet loving three-word description of her, and even then, beady necklace girl would be the best he could come up with), but hey, if they were there, at least Harun could be certain they were safe and fairly sure they hadn't crossed the line and became twisted psychopaths. Knowing was better than not knowing, right? Known knowns and known unknowns and all that Donald Rumsfeld shit.
Goddamnit, this shit was depressing.
His friends, acquaintances, enemies, rivals and complete strangers were dropping like flies, and those who weren't already dead were probably going to die soon.
And after you die? Then what? Eternal bliss?
As an agnostic, and a proud one at that, it was Harun's firm belief that the only way to know what would happen after you die would be to find out for yourself. And, no offence to the living-impaired, but Harun was in no hurry to do that. He quite enjoyed the various different aspects of living, and had grown quite fond of the sensations of breathing, thinking, living and moving, and he was in no hurry to leave them. Hell, Harun would be the first to tell you that the world he lived in was far from perfect (the very existence of people like Danya was sufficient proof it wasn't), but it could be a lot worse.
Life was interesting, fun and varied, and Harun was not happy to have to deal with the imminent end of it. He was not comfortable with dying just like. He knew it was an arrogant thought, but dying this young...that shouldn't be happening to him. He lived in Minnesota. Minnesota was safe, homely, fair. A wee bit boring at times, but rather that than, say, Zimbabwe or Palestine or Sri Lanka. The more he pondered about it, the more he realised how good his life was. There was always some new book or magazine to read, a steady internet connection, a frequent supply of new games to play, a massive variety of role-playing forums and forum-based political simulators for him to exploit (a quick thought reminded him that he would probably be inactive on those within days). And, as much of a cliche as it was, you never appreciate things like hot water and a warm bed until they are taken away from you.
He didn't know why a brief pause was why his mind had decided to go down this depressing track, but, here he was, Harun Kemal, self-declared social pariah, sitting by an antiquated, disused truck, trying in vain to keep mucus from running from his nose with only the worn, ragged sleeve of his hoodie, struggling to keep the tears welling up inside his eye sockets inside his eyes and not running down his cheeks.
It was a battle he was rapidly losing, and it was quickly becoming clear to all but him.
Harun did not like to admit it, but he was the sort to cry at this sort of situation. Not that anyone could blame him for it, but after years of crying at slight things, like not finding a classroom or being called a silly name, he thought he had toughened up. And he honestly had. He no longer cried at trivial things, no longer moaned and whined at the slightest hint of pain. However, he had overestimated the extent at which he had toughened up. He had assumed that he would be able to get through situations, like this, in which crying was acceptable. He had thought he could emulate some of the others, who, despite facing tougher burdens, had gotten through it without hysterical break-downs.
He was soon to be proven wrong.
Harun Kemal was not ready to die yet. Not ready at all. He had not lived his life in any meaningful sense of the word. Aside from a few charitable donations and slipping a few leaflets under doors, he had made no lasting impact on the world. He had not achieved half his dreams; hell, there were countless books and games he would never get around to finishing.
He had never voted. He had never gotten drunk, gotten full Gamerscore on any game aside from BioShock, lost his virginity, or learnt a difficult song on the guitar. He would never again play a Valve marathon with his friends by his side, he would never again attend a meeting of the activist club. He would never again see Turkey or Germany or England, and he would never see any of those places he had always wanted to visit, such as Japan and Scandinavia.
And, for some strange reason, Rashid's random question about finding shade was the catalyst. At that point, Harun abandoned all sense of restraint, and just let the tears flow.