[[Jasper-Declan MacDermott continued from Inevitability]]
His feet followed the ferris wheel like a boat follows a lighthouse beacon. His mind was busy with other things.
He wasn't sure, honestly.
Time had passed. Slowly. Every second dragged on him. Every step an effort. Every moment, in its way, a miracle. Clinging tight to his gun for reasons he couldn't name, he walked, and walked, and walked, out of the deadwood, towards the giant wheel that punched an unforgettable silhouette into the horizon line. It was a destination, at least, and the best thing for him right now was to have some goal in mind. No matter how small, how insignificant, how pointless that goal was, it was something to achieve, and he could waste a lot of space in his brain planning out his journey. Without the map, because maps made things easier. This way he had to think about things like how to cross rivers, how to best bypass danger zones. Where he could get some rest, because he was resting a lot. Way more than he needed to, in fact. He had strong legs, he could walk for hours without stopping, he had before, but somehow he found himself stopping. Constantly. Just sitting. Letting his mind sit blank.
He couldn't consider the alternative.
What was there to think about, really? What was there to believe in, or hope for? He had one friend. One friend in the world, one person to trust and follow who knew him and didn't think he was some freak, and that person was dead, and he wasn't going to think about it. He couldn't. He could only think of one real solution, and he even had the tool at hand to take care of it, but he just couldn't. Couldn't get himself to pull the trigger, because Jasper-Declan MacDermott was more human than he ever let on. And he was afraid.
If Alexander Campbell could die, he could, too. Because what was he, compared to Alex? Unimportant. Unnecessary. Irrelevant.
He slept, at some point, in nowhere. Nowhere in particular. Nothing there but grass and the smell of blood, but everywhere smelled of blood, now. He'd come across so many bodies in the last few hours that he'd become desensitized, gotten used to the smell of copper and death and had learned to simply steer clear of the swarms of flies that marked what once were people. Potential friends allies lost to the earth. He slept far from them, for a few sparse hours, and woke before the sun even rose. Close to his destination, he walked still.
The announcements would come soon. He did not want to hear them. He didn't want to remember. He didn't want to feel this properly, the way the other kids would. He didn't want to think about it again. He'd pretend he never met the boy with the guitar, and that would be all. He'd die entirely alone, and that way everything would work out. In a manner of speaking.
He was almost surprised when he found himself standing in what was starting to become the shade of the ferris wheel as the sun peeked over the horizon. His destination- reached. Goal, met.
By the time he heard the static that indicated the start of the morning announcement, Jasper-Declan was convinced that the answer to that "now what" was nothing at all.
"Good morning once again, kiddies. Would you believe that there are less than one hundred of you left alive? Well, it's true. Congratulations to those of you still standing."
Less than a hundred. That was impossible. Inconceivable. There were well over two hundred students in the senior class of Bayview, probably close to three hundred, and now...what was left? Practically nothing. There were corpses on top of corpses. Hundreds of mourning families. Who left on this island could possibly be okay with this? Who could be okay? It seemed so unlikely that a single person left alive didn't have a friend to cry over, to mourn, to miss, except for the friendless. The kids who never bothered making friends at Bayview. The kids who kept their friends back home or the psychopaths who snapped and forgot that they had anyone to love or the loners with no friends here or anywhere else.
Jasper-Declan was so close to being in that last category. Please, let it have been so, it would be so much easier that way, but then "Alexander Campbell died of I-thought-it'd-be-fine-to-field-amputate-my-arm..." came through the speakers, through his ears, and he was at least subconsciously aware that that would be the last time he'd ever hear that name. Alexander Campbell. His best friend. His only friend. Sure, there was Jay, but they were friends out of marijuana-related circumstance. Jay thought of him as this weird, permanently stoned kid. Alex's friend. And that's what he was, and he didn't mind, honestly. That's how most people knew him, as Alex's friend, because he didn't speak out much himself and he was with Alex most of the time and the alternative was being known as the freak and really, what teenager wouldn't choose to be part of someone else's identity before being criticized for their own? Not that Jasper-Declan thought of it that way, not that he cared what other people thought about him, except when he did.
Not that there was anyone left to care about him. Not anymore. Not anywhere except for miles away from here, where his parents, his brother and sister would be watching him on television. He didn't break. He didn't even consider breaking, didn't think about keeping his composure for his family, he didn't need to. Jasper-Declan MacDermott did not 'break'. He didn't panic, he didn't rage and he certainly didn't cry. Not now. Not ever, at least not in memory. His pain, as far as that word meant anything to him, was locked away inside, somewhere entirely unreachable.
Where was he? The Fun Fair, right, that dripped with irony. How'd he get here? He couldn't even remember properly, and that was worrisome in and of itself. How long he'd been walking, the places he'd passed, none of that existed, as though his brain had been steadily wiping itself clean every moment since Alex died. He could remember that moment, the feeling that clutched at his heart as he watched his best friend's chest fall and not rise again, as though it had happened only moments before. It was branded there, on his brain, and there could be nothing else to compete, least of all unimportant things like leaves and clouds and winds, things that had never mattered much to anyone, except for Jasper-Declan.
It felt...strange. Like this game was taking away the things that made him himself.
...At least, not enough to kill.
He looked up at the ferris wheel, the beacon that called him to this place, not knowing why he'd bothered coming here. This ferris wheel meant nothing. Jasper-Declan didn't do fairs or carnivals or any of that; when Honoria and Rory wanted to go an amusement park, their mother took them, and he stayed home with his father, painting or going out to skate. Fairs meant people, people meant conversation, conversation meant problems. It was so much easier to be alone.
Not that people were a problem here. This particular fair was entirely deserted, populated only by himself and by corpses that littered the landscape like haunted house decorations. He stayed far from them as he paced, around the ferris wheel. He'd never been on a ferris wheel. Now he never would. Thoughts like that kept creeping through his mind and he really hated himself for them, because it wasn't like they were doing much good, creeping around his mind, trying desperately to break him. It was impossible, though. Jasper-Declan was made of stone. Numb as stone, too, if stone could be numb. He couldn't feel a thing. Nothing but fear, hiding in him, somewhere, but for the most part, not even that anymore. He was too tired, too empty for fear.
He wanted to go home. He didn't want to be alive on this island, anymore. Every moment, all of it, every inch of this place just made him think of Alex. Not that home would be much better in that respect. So many blocks he'd have to avoid. Parks, too. Bayview, naturally, he could never come within fifty feet of the place again. Maybe he'd be better off dying. Maybe he didn't want to face that. Face life without friends when he'd learned what it was like to have one.
Jasper-Declan kept pacing. Walked. Turned around. Walked. Kept walking. Didn't turn back this time. He knew what he was doing, where he was going.
Home. He was going home. He'd make it. Somehow.
[[Jasper-Declan MacDermott concluded in First Breath After Coma]]
[[END OF THREAD]]