Something Left To Save

Joined: April 6th, 2009, 5:22 pm

March 26th, 2011, 2:41 am #1

Winnie was tired.

She had been tired for a long time. In her less lucid moments she thought she had been tired since she'd first woken on the island, terrified and stranded in the massive branches of a tree. Adrenaline may have given her brief shots of energy, enough for her to flee from place to place, but exhaustion always returned to weigh down her bones. And now it centered itself in her chest, in the slow burn of what she had slowly begun to realize (or perhaps had always known and simply ignored) was infection eating its way into the shallow cut that sliced down her chest and between her breasts. She had briefly entertained the idea of cleaning it, trying to halt or even just slow down the rapid spread of damage, but that hadn't taken long to give up on. With no pack, she had no first-aid supplies and even if she had she didn't think she had the energy.

She barely had the energy to move, anymore. The last change of location, scrambling after students whose names she just barely remembered and her knees trying to give out to send her spilling into the dirt, was enough. She hadn't even made it as far as they had. During one break, just moments of standing to catch their breath, she'd let herself crumple down into the base of a rock and they hadn't noticed. They'd left.

Winnie thought she should be mad about that, or at least upset. But she wasn't anything right now except quietly relieved. She hadn't understood any of the plan they had been trying to make and knew full well she was nothing more than dead weight to them. The fever which had started - two days now? Three? swept through her in waves so that she was alternately hot and cold, originating from the now red and swollen chest wound which oozed pus onto what was left of her shirt. She was fighting her body as much as she was fighting the island and this sick game. She had come to a realization as she had watched the group disappear into the woods ahead of her; she was done. She simply couldn't do it anymore.

And now, here she was.

Her back was to the same boulder that she'd originally fallen against. She'd gotten up only occasionally to urinate, spending the rest of her time huddled against the base of the rock. Sounds echoed around her occasionally - screams, shouts, an announcement. They passed over her, flowing around her like water. In the lee of the stone, she was protected. She slept most of the time. When she was awake, it was too easy to be thirsty. Before she'd been hungry as well but that had gone away recently, replaced by a creeping nausea. Now she just craved water. Cold, clear, perfect water. Her dreams were filled with it - nothing but rain, huge lakes of the freshest liquid available. When she had most recently woken, a thought that had taken two days to stumble through the muddled swamp of her mind was finally easily accessible.

She was dehydrated. And suffering from what she had begun to realize was not just an insignificant infection, but something which could be life-threatening. She couldn't remember the last time she'd eaten - she thought perhaps it had been in the ranger's station, but that didn't seem quite right - but could remember with painful clarity that it had been almost two days since she'd had something to drink. She'd licked dew from the boulder that morning, but the dampness on her lips and tongue was a drop in the desert. And yet, Winnie couldn't seem to bring herself to care that much. For all that she felt incredibly ill, she also felt strangely peaceful.

It was quiet now. Here, she was out of the game. Around her guns were fired and students screamed, but inside of her little bubble there was nothing. There was just her. She didn't have to worry about being shot at, or threatened. She would never have to watch people die. She wouldn't have to smell the stink of burnt flesh or see blood flow.

A smile touched her lips for a moment. She had escaped in a way that Liz would never be able to. Maybe this was the real secret to this painful game - the only way to get out was just to ignore it. She curled herself a little deeper into the sandy soil at the base of her boulder, the heat from her body radiating onto the rock. She could do that. All she had to do was close her eyes.

Winnie wasn't sure how long it had been when she jerked awake to the sound of the announcement. The names passed hazily overhead, seeming to float away in the sharp breeze flowing off the edge of the cliffs. So many names. There were always a lot of names. They'd stopped mattering since she'd stopped listening. Easier to imagine her classmates the way they had been, not as rotting corpses. She ignored the static-filled taunting, her fingers tracing lines and patterns in the earth next to her. When it was over she would sleep again. She would escape.

The announcement finished. For a few moments, the only sounds in the air were seagulls and the crash of ocean waves far below, lulling Winnie back down into a light doze. No students cried out, no guns fired. She breathed easy.

beep beep beep beep beep

And then there was another noise. It sat just on the edges of her hearing, worming its way into her ears. Intrusive as it was unfamiliar, it took her several seconds to understand that the soft metallic sound was her collar, still settled around her neck. But why was it beeping? She couldn't remember. There had been something about the cliffs on the announcement, hadn't there? Something important. Why couldn't she remember?

beep beep beep beep beep


beep beep beep beep beep


beep beep beep beep beep

Winnie thought that she should be scared. Terrified. She glanced behind her at the trees, wondering how far the zone extended. Was there any chance she could save herself? But no, there really wasn't. Even if she could get up and run - and she wasn't sure her legs would hold her - there was no guarantee she'd have enough time to leave. She should be crying. She should be begging to live. She should be scared.

beep beep beep beep beep

She wasn't.

beep beep beep beep beep

She was already half-kneeling, and it only took a moment to push herself away from the boulder, riding out the accompanying head rush. Her knees dug into the dirt but they supported her and held her as she bowed her head, quietly crossed herself, and folded her hands into the correct position. So familiar. For a moment the confessional ritual wandered across her mind but she shut it out. It wasn't right. Not at this time. Her voice was soft as she began to speak.

beep beep beep beep beep

"I haven't prayed in a while. I guess I've had other things on my mind." She cleared her throat. Hesitated. How long since she'd even spoken aloud on the island? "I just wanted to ask - my family, they don't-" The words didn't want to come. "Tom and Anna, I mean. They tried - they tried to do the right thing. I know I haven't always appreciated it. And my mom. She tried too. She did the best thing."

beep beep beep beep beep

"If you could just help them, maybe, to understand that - it's okay? I'm happier. If this - if it had to happen - maybe this is the better way." She swallowed hard. Tears pricked at her eyes, spilling down onto her joined hands. "I had a good life. It was - it was everything anyone could have wanted. Please help them to know that. It wasn't their fault, it wasn't anyone's-" Stopped. Caught her breath. Her collar was so tight against her neck.

beep beep beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep

"And please..." Her eyes slid shut, the last tears still carving tracks over her hot and dusty skin. Her hands trembled once, were still.


"Don't let it hurt too mu-"


marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}

phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight
sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}
(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)