The other boy, Chris, was fine. That was good, at least. There weren't a lot of silver linings around the island, so Simon took what he could get. He closed his eyes for a second after the other boy phased out, but they quickly snapped open. No sleeping yet! That could happen tomorrow; now he had to wait for the others.
And the others showed up. Maria and Dustin walked into the rec center, both looking mostly unharmed. Simon was about to get up and greet them, despite his grogginess, when the girl put her finger to her lips. Oh, right. The other kids were sleeping, and it would be best to let them get their rest. Come to think about it, Simon could get his now too.
Simon Fletcher laid now slowly and let his close close all the way. It felt good, like at least a few pounds had been lifted off his head. The boy started to feel dozy and fade away into sleep. It felt even better; warm and familiar and sweet, with no murderers, no death, no puddles of blood...no weapons, no island...no Danya...no...
His eyes jolted open and Simon got to his feet in a matter of seconds. If it were any other situation, he would have been damn proud of himself. Simon never had good reflexes before.
Danya's voice came on and, oh god, it was the announcements again. Simon had known they were coming for the entire day, but he still could feel himself start to sweat, his face growing hotter. Who was it this time? Friends of his, no doubt. People who had he seen every day for most of his life. Simon was sure that he could be on this island for weeks and the announcements would never fail to unnerve him.
"Alllllright. Let's get down to the gritty details, shall we? First to die, right after our announcement, in fact, was Dawne Jiang
. Miss Jiang decided that she couldn't, wouldn't hold her darling boyfriend Rekka back, and opted instead to stick around in a dangerzone."
Simon felt like protesting. Dawne was an intelligent girl, in his Psych class. She loved anime and had been to conventions. She probably didn't know Simon's name, but she was a good person. Her boyfriend...Rekka? Simon didnt even know they had been dating. He hoped that Rekka would still be alive by the end of Danyas words.
There were more names. Rose Codreanu had stayed in a danger zone. Did she really not notice, or had she commented suicide? Simon would understand the latter. Reiko had killed two more, Tobias and Raina. That was four kills for the girl, for someone that Simon never would have pegged as a murder.
"Kill number five was none other than Eva Lancaster
, with R.J Lowe showing her that it's the quiet ones that you have to watch out for... and their guns.
What. The. Hell. R.J. Lowe? The boy from back at the town? But
Simon had trusted him. R.J. had seemed to be a genuinely good person, despite his apparent off-putting attitude. Simon had felt relieved when the other boy took his gun. He thought that a terrible burden had finally been pulled off his back. And now this?
Who was Eva Lancaster, anyway? Simon had seen her around the halls, but knew next to nothing about her. Im sorry, Eva. Im really, really sorry. It was exactly as if he had shot her himself. Simon was responsible for that death, one way or another.
Simon didnt hear the next few names, but he managed to make it back to hear Danyas cheerful voice say "Our number nine kill was one for the highlight reel, and apparently Sarah Atwell thought so too, because she filmed it herself! Take a bow, Eve Walker-Luther
, for your starring role in Sarah's creative masterpiece. Oh and... my condolences to you, Octavia. At least your mommy got on tv, right?"
No. Fucking no, not this. Not again. He could see Sarah Atwell, reaching for his gun. He could see himself running away, not talking to her, not shooting her. Why didnt Simon try to stop the girl once he saw she was capable of murder? And Eve
Eve was the girl with the baby! He was responsible for the death of somebodys mother. Fuck.
The next death was notable to Simon because the killer happened to be Maria Graham. For whatever reason, Simon didnt really care. He was too busy freaking out about the fact that he cause two girls deaths to worry about Maria going psycho and killing him. To be honest, he might not really care that much if she did.
The names just kept coming, though, ignoring Simons thoughts. Steve, Charlotte, Theo, Chadd, Vanessa, Tom, Violetta.
"Twentieth to go down was Trevor Duncan
, taking a shot to the collar from William Hearst and finding himself ever so slightly deceased.
Simon didnt even know what he was feeling anymore. Suddenly, he felt the stench of blood creep back into his nose, worse than ever. William Hearst was an outdoorsy guy, but Simon knew nothing else about him. Why did he kill Trevor? Was it on purpose or a mistake? Why would he take a gun to a fellow student?
He tried to close his eyes again, but it didnt work. All he saw was Eva walking through the school hallways with a sketchbook under her arm, Eve chatting with a friend, Trevor and himself stopping at a coffee shop on a rainy day. He ignored Sams outburst and Chris vehement defense of Maria. He barely noticed the new guy join them.
The stench of blood was just getting worse and worse. Simon stood up and took his bag of his shoulders. He set it on the ground gently, far away from the blood. His head was fuzzy, and there seemed to be shadows in the corners of his eyes. Simon took a deep breath and spoke, calmly.
I have to go. Im sorry, but I have to. He couldnt stay with these people. Did Trevor die when he was searching for supplies with Zach, Sam, and Ash? Did the others understand that Simon had killed two people, even if his name wasnt mentioned? He couldnt stay with them. Simon just brought trouble to everyone, even when he tried to do his best. He really had the best intentions, he really thought he was being moral... He had to go off by himself. The whole situation was stupid, useless.
Its not your fault, Maria. Simon glanced at the killer-girl. I still trust you and everything. It was himself he had a problem with. Two people. They had families and friends. You barely knew them. Your fault. Yours.
He looked at his pack again. I barely touched it. I wish I could give you my assigned weapon, but
its gone. Simon laughed bitterly. Gun. They gave me a gun. What did they think a coward like me was going to do with it, anyway?
Im going to go off and think for myself for awhile. Im sorry, but youll be better off. Trust me on that, please. Simon tried to smile, but he was still shaking from head to toe. The blood-smell was beginning to burn his nose, filling his head. He made a clumsy bow and turned to the door.
The shadows at the edge of Simons vision followed him as he left everybody behind.
((Simon Fletcher continued in Measure Once, Cut Twice