((Bart Cappotelli and Scout Pfeiffer continued from Gran Torino.
The past day had not been very kind to Bart and Scout. The library had been a complete bust, with no clues as to the whereabouts of Clarice or Kiziah to be found amidst the long-burnt-out rubble. They spent hours rooting around, only stopping once the sun began to set. Even then, Scout pretty much needed to force Bart to give up the search, since he was still completely unwilling to give up on finding them until she convinced him that they would have more success if they got some rest.
Scout volunteered to take the first watch, not willing to entrust her safety to a smelly bundle of nerves that she had met only a few hours ago. She sat on a stump while Bart slept in the woods, the darkness and silence of the night leaving her with a lot of time to think. Of course, finding Clarice was the most important thing on her mind, and it was good that she had found someone who was willing to help her with that. But with how much of a failure their search had been so far, she had her questions about how much they could actually accomplish by working together. When the time came for them to switch shifts halfway through the night, Scout still didnt have any faith in Bart to watch over her, so she made up a story about hearing a strange noise and insisted that they keep moving. She wound up going the whole night without any sleep, but even though she felt extremely tired, she considered it a worthy trade-off for not letting her guard down for a moment.
After wandering around aimlessly for hours, the duo found themselves back at the vehicle depot where they had first encountered each other on the previous day. The sun was beginning to come up, so they were expecting the announcements at any moment. Bart sat on a discarded tire, while Scout leaned against the wall, both of them partaking in some mild nourishment for the day ahead. Even though they had a few peaceful minutes in doing so, Scout still couldnt relax. She had been involved in this new alliance for almost a day now, and she wasnt satisfied. Bart, as far as she could tell, was weak-willed, naive, and useless aside from his extra supplies. If he hadnt mentioned Clarice, then she probably wouldnt have aligned herself with him in the first place.
Clarice. Thats right, Bart had said that he had been with her for a while on the island. Scout felt like kicking herself for not delving further into that sooner. If Bart knew anything at all about Clarice or what had happened to her, then she needed to know everything.
Hey Bart. She asked, bringing his focus away from his energy bar. Mind telling me what happened with you and Clarice?
sure. He set his breakfast aside and shifted himself to face her. We had an alliance, and we were kinda hoping that wed be able to survive until we could escape somehow. His gaze fell a bit as he recalled his memories. Things, uh
didnt really turn out that way, though.
Because of the fire, right? Scout said, raising an eyebrow. Isnt that when you got separated?
Bart scratched his scalp. Um
yeah, thats when we lost each other. I havent seen her since. He was starting to get pretty confused. He was pretty sure that he had mentioned this before, hadnt he? Or maybe he only thought he did. It was getting kind of hard to remember, honestly.
Scout was having a hard time trusting his words. He sounded so unsure about everything, like he had only just run whatever he was about to say through his head. It just seemed to her that he was hiding something, and if he was trying to keep something from her, especially something about Clarice, then she would drag it out of him if she had to.
So how did you get separated? Scout asked.
Bart closed his eyes and sighed as he dredged up the unpleasant memory. I had just been talking to Kizi, but then she went to check out the other side of the room and the fire started. It spread really fast, and I just ran. He gulped harshly. I, uh
dont know where Clarice was when it happened. I didnt know she made it out until she wasnt on the announcements the next day.
Scout grimaced. That was a shit answer. How the fuck did you lose track of her then?
I'm sorry? Bart said, simply.
It doesnt sound like you were doing much of anything before the library went up in flames.
We werent. She went off to look around the library, and that was the last time I saw her. I, uh
really freaked out when I couldnt find her afterward.
At this point, Scout was convinced that Bart was either a horrible liar, useless coward or both. If he wasnt telling the truth, then something had clearly happened between him and Clarice that he didnt want her to find out about. However, if he was telling the truth, then he had run away and left her stepsister to potentially burn to death. Neither option was something that she could see herself forgiving him for. She turned her head, not even wanting to look at him at that moment.
Whatever. She said dismissively.
Bart sighed again, feeling surprisingly lonely despite the company in the room. He turned and looked at the staircase, where he had met Scout and the other girl just he day before.
Do you think we should head upstairs? He inquired. Maybe someones up there. You know, like that one girl was yesterday?
Scout tapped her fingers against the wall as she thought it over. She shrugged and replied, Sure, why not? You lead the way.
She watched him as he got up. With him taking the lead, she could keep him in her sight. While he wasnt looking, she slowly readied her MAC-10, trying to remain as silent as possible. If she had to take action, then she was going to be ready. Once her gun was in hand, she followed a safe distance behind him.
Bart placed his hand on the guardrail and started heading up the stairs. Last time he came her she had gotten lucky and found a new ally, even if she didnt seem completely pleased with him all the time. Maybe he would get lucky again and find someone else that could help him out. Maybe Kizi or Clarice had found there way to one of the offices upstairs. He knew that Scout would be really happy to see Clarice, so that would probably be the best-case scenario. Yeah, it was a long shot, but there was still a shot.
He paused near the top of the stairs as the announcements came on. He listened with baited breath as the names of the deceased were read off. He closed his eyes, hoping that a couple of names in particular would not be present in that days list. He just wanted to know that his friends were okay. He wanted to know that he could find them again.
Kiziah Saraki was shot by Alessio Rigano
It was the most stereotypical thing that Bart could have said in this situation, but it was the first word that came to mind. He had been standing still before so he could hear the announcements better, but now he looked absolutely frozen as the realization of what he had heard registered in his mind. Kizi was dead. He had spent the past few days looking for her and Clarice, hoping desperately that he could reform their alliance. Now that dream had been dashed. His memory of Jennifers death came flooding back, and he felt the same emotion that he felt back then. He felt like it was his fault. Once again, he couldnt help his friends
No, no, no, no, no, no
He repeated it over and over, starting low, then becoming louder before fading back into soft mutterings. He held his forehead and could feel tears starting to form in his eyes. His chest heaved with dry sobs. Once more, his emotions were getting the better of him in a big way.
From the bottom of the staircase, Scout watched Barts breakdown. In truth she only caught it as it was just about to explode. She let out a deep exhale when she did not hear Clarice's name on the announcements. But now here attention was completely drawn to Bart, his emotional breakdown. It wasnt a pleasant thing to watch. A note of concern raked up her spine, not for him of course but for herself. Bart didn't look dangerous but, hey, if a rat like Alessio Rigano could snap and kill a bunch of people....
What's wrong? She called up to him, waiting to see his response. When he did not respond she switched off the safety of her gun.With the way he was talking to himself, she couldnt rule out anything.
Bart took a few moments to register that Scout was talking to him, reminding him that she was there. Now that Kizi was gone, he didnt want to risk losing Scout too. Every time he lost someone, things got worse for him. He got nightmares after Jennifer died, they got worse after the fire, and he wound up having a hallucination after Jerrys death. No matter how bad things had already gotten, he feared what may happen if he were left alone again. He needed someone to help him, to keep him safe. Hell, maybe just to keep him sane.
S-Scout? He half-cried as he turned around, desperation in his eyes.
He couldnt summon anything else, but if he could, he knew what it would be: "Please dont leave."
Silence enveloped their little corner of the room.
Then Bart made a move. Sudden, abrupt, without any apparent explanation. Maybe it was the way he darted forward. Perhaps it was the wide eyed, downright scary look that replaced his dumb, pitiful puppy dog expression. Perhaps she was worried that Bart was losing it. Or maybe, just maybe, she hated how he just ditched Clarice.
It did not matter what the reasons were. Scout acted on pure, unadulterated instinct.
She raised her weapon and pulled the trigger.
The bullets struck him in the abdomen, tearing through everything in their path and destroying his liver. The searing pain caused him to release a raspy cry as new tears leaked down his freshly salt-stained face. He clutched his most painful wound with his right hand while clamping his left on the guardrail, trying his damnedest to keep himself from falling. He didnt know what he had done to make Scout shoot him, and he was scared.
Unfortunately, his stumbling had startled her, causing her to reflexively hold down the trigger. Another volley of bullets hit his chest.
This time one of the shots nicked his heart, and his panic and fear quickly faded away along with his life.
With Bart dying, his grip on the guardrail slipped, and there was nothing keeping him upright. His lifeless form took a header and tumbled down the stairs, hurtling towards the stunned Scout. She was already suffering from the usual pause that came from killing someone, but the sight of the fresh corpse that she had created falling at her was something that was too unexpected for her to formulate a quick reaction to.
Barts body crashed into her. There was a loud, violent series of THUNKS that ended in a piercing CRACK when their bodies hit the floor. Scout hit the ground first. Bart came tumbling after.
The combined force of being crushed between the hard ground and a dead guy twice her size crushed her chest. The impact had cracked or broken multiple ribs. This was compounded by the fact that she was stuck under Barts body, unable to see or hear as it had rolled just enough to cover her head.
And you might think this was a pathetic way to go. Less like a snuff film and more like America's Funniest Home Videos. But what did it matter where you lay once you're dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You're dead. Why should you give a shit about things like that?
Eventually Scout managed to wrangle herself from under Bart's bloated corpse, but only that and nothing more. She would sleep the big sleep soon enough. She coughed violently, globs of blood and phlegm pooling against the floor. She tried her best to clear her throat. Her body purged her stomach, trying in vein to cough up the dislocated rib that unknowingly turned her lungs into shredded meat.
She tried to breathe. It didn't do her any good. All it did was made her think of Clarice, and she never saw her again.
BOY 017: Bart Cappotelli- Deceased
GIRL 060: Scout Pfeiffer- Deceased
28 STUDENTS REMAINING