Tag Archives: Blame

Alone Together

Let’s be alone together

We can stay young forever

~ Fall Out Boy, ‘Alone Together’


Burning.

Red.

Heat.

That’s all she feels as the fire reaches her. There is chaos all around her as she tries to find him. People are screaming, their faces and hands stained with blood as they embrace their friends and family for what might be the last time. Her wounds are smarting painfully, the cuts on her arms and legs pushed to the back of her mind as she forces her way through the throngs of people who are running from the hailstorm of smoke and ashes.

She’s screaming now, her lips trembling as she calls for him desperately. A part of her knows that he’s gone, but the rest of her perseveres stubbornly. She stumbles over bodies, and gags as the blood-stained, crumpled corpses crack under her as she searches for him.

Please, she screams as tears roll down her cheeks, and she thinks that she sees a shadow of him around the corner. Fire rains from the sky as she shields her head from the rubble, the thin scarf that she’s wrapped around her head hardly enough to protect her from even the thick dust.

It’s only after she comes to that she realises that she’d lost consciousness at some point as the flames fell from the sky, and she scrambles to her feet. There’s a sharp twinge in her ankle which tells her that there’s a possibility that she’s broken something, but she forces herself to keep moving.

She can’t help the tears that roll down her face as she walks through the broken, war-torn streets in the cover of night. The pain in her ankle has spread to her thigh, and she’s limping and waving off the people who come to help her. She tells them that she’s looking for him, and their broken, sad faces make her heart stutter in her chest every time she repeats the reason she’s still walking.

It’s pitch black when she finally sees him, a hint of him peeking out from under a particularly large slab of concrete. No! The tears double, her eyes aching from the dirt as she wipes her face with her filthy hands before attempting to dig him out. A few others come to help her, and it takes them a while to move the large rock. After that, they leave her as she sobs over the relatively large body.

She runs her hand through his grey-streaked fur, her tears soaking into his blood-stained head and muzzle as she curls up against him. This was a mistake, she tells herself even as she mourns for him. She should have never left him alone, especially when he was so old. His body is cold and stiff as she flattens the fur on the top of his head with a trembling, dirt-caked hand. He looks like he’s sleeping, and if she believes hard enough, she can almost fool herself into thinking that he is.

So she believes.

She curls up beside him just like she usually would and she wills herself to sleep. When she wakes up, the sun is burning her skin once again, and the screaming is all around her. Beside her, he’s still unresponsive and stiffer than ever, and she ignores the arms that try to pull her away, swatting them aside as she holds on to him.

When the fire reaches her this time, she welcomes the burn and the red and the heat.

Burn this pain away, and sear a new life into these bones.


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And The Rain Comes Pouring Down

A/N: I’d recommend reading this first, as this one is a sequel-of-sorts to that assignment. 


 

He can barely breathe this time, and as he pulls his shirt on, it feels as though it cages him, padlocking him in and obliterating the key from existence. The others are no better this time, he notes, and his throat constricts and burns; it wasn’t supposed to be like this. They were supposed to be confident, because they needed the confidence a lot more than he did.

Once again, when he enters the arena, he can barely hear the screaming. His blood roars in his ears, deafening him from the singing and the screaming and the mutters from them. And once again, the adrenaline kicks in too early. He tries to stand still, but a cold trickle of sweat that has nothing to do with the weather rolls down his forehead, and he struggles to hide the shiver that makes him vibrate.

Somehow, he’s once again missed the entire proceedings, and flailing mentally, he gets back on track, barely. He tries desperately to keep himself calm as he smiles stiffly, shaking the hands that are offered to him calmly before jogging across the pitch to the large white metal frame. He pulls his gloves on, strapping them firmly. At the back of his mind, he reminisces that the sensation used to make him feel better, that it used to comfort him. Now, it was strangling, like it was cutting off all the circulation to his hands.

He forcefully pushes aside the flare of panic that burns harder and brighter whenever the opposition gets too close to him, and the first miss is shy of his finger-tips by a few millimetres. The face that mirrors his doesn’t belong to him, but it might as well have. Panic wells in him, but the hand on his forearm is slightly calming as he gets back onto his feet.

He punches the next one, but it is neither hard enough nor far enough for his action to have been of any use. Subconsciously, he takes a few steps away from the post he’s leaned on to regain his balance, and in that moment, he sees the third shot fly towards him. He leaps and stretches, but it’s too far, and it whips through the air and smacks the back of the net. He lands on the ground, slightly winded, but not by the fall.

The small voice at the back of his head returns, and his heart sinks.

Time flies past him, and he can’t see the other end of the pitch, but the lack of cheers from the familiar colours makes his heart wrench and twist painfully in his chest. Nothing has gone right, and he can’t tell if it is their collective fault, or his alone. Yours, the little voice whispers, and something inside him snaps.

He’s on a vague copy of autopilot now, trying to cover as much ground as he can as the voice mocks him, and he pleads right back. It tells him that he was the first failure, that he wasn’t worthy of sharing any more time with these people that were much better than him. The voice wins, in the end, like it always does. The whistle blows for the last time, and now, he can hear these deafening cheers echoing maniacally around him. There are patches that are silent, dejected, but the vast majority is pleased with the result.

He really isn’t worthy of this, he thinks, and shame blooms in him when he realises what’s happened.

He’s sure that he hasn’t yet unpacked, and that now, he doesn’t have to. The voice agrees with him, and he swallows the burn as he looks up to see the dull-eyed man. An arm goes around his shoulder, and he’s humbled that he hasn’t yet yelled at him. Mimicking the man, he returns the action, and somehow, in all that chaos, they support each other.

The grass under his feet turns hard, and he knows.

He knows that it’s all over.

Dark Clouds On The Horizon

The air is thick with tension, and the only sound he can hear, despite the screaming around them, is the sound of their breathing. He releases a puff of air heavily, and rubs his hands together, and for some reason doesn’t know why his gloves weigh more than they usually do. He can see flashes of familiar colour, but they don’t do anything to calm him down. They make his pulse race, and the adrenaline kicks in before it should.

He spreads himself, trying to cover as much ground as possible before steadying himself, though something wiggles at the back of his mind, drilling the thought that something was wrong deep into his psyche.

A sharp, piercing noise cuts through the air, and instantly, he freezes, and it takes him a moment to shake himself up and bring himself back into the now. Somehow, through his self-deprecating panic attack, he doesn’t hear the rest of them cheering, though when he does, he claps weakly along. It’s too early, a small voice at the back of his head whispers coldly, and subconsciously, he believes it.

The first miss makes him reel, panic flaring through him as he forces himself to keep calm. The band on his arm tightens, he feels, though it really hasn’t, but it’s enough to send him into a full-blown panic. There’s a reason it’d been given to him, he’d reasoned when he’d first received it, but all those motivating memories sank into a mushy puddle at the back of his head the moment he misses for the second time.

Soon enough, it’s raining, and he can feel the water seeping through his shirt, soaking his skin and he can’t even rake a hand to push his wet locks away from his face when they fall into his eyes messily. The next three misses send him into a pathetic frenzy, and finally, finally, he finds himself.

Rejuvenated, he throws himself bravely at every chance he sees, catching and sliding and falling. The pain is numbing slowly, but a hopelessness fills him when he looks at the clock. It’s too late, the same small voice says, and once again, he believes it.

It’s too late, and he’s been too slow.

He’d be the laughing stock of the entire world, if he ever told anyone what went through his mind for those ninety-odd minutes.

He can barely meet anyone’s eyes as he trudges off the wet grass, drenched and stained like never before. When he finally makes it away from the suddenly obscene cheers, he takes a moment to open the door. And when he does, he hears only silence.

And it’s louder, noisier, and more obscene than anything he’s ever heard.

He does his own thing in silence as well, and it’s like a funeral … their funeral, with only the coffins missing. Emotion wells up in him, but he swallows it down thickly. His throat tightens when he sees the band on his own arm, and that somehow gives him enough courage to meet their eyes.

He apologises, he blames himself, he shoulders all the faults in those minutes, and tries to take all their burdens off of them. Somewhere in that talk, the door opens, but he’s on a rant and he knows that if he stops now, he’ll never start talking again. When he finally does stop talking, the silence has somehow thickened, and a quick look to the door informs him of who’s listened in on him.

And suddenly, there’re hugs being passed around, tight and oddly comforting, mutters to him that it’s not completely his fault, and that they wouldn’t let him take all the fault on himself even if he tried to. Their words lighten his heart a little, but the little voice is still at the back of his head, and he’s not yet strong enough to get rid of it.

He doesn’t know why, but there’s a sort of finality in the way he shoves his gloves into his bag, and he’s weighed down as he leaves.


A/N: Read the sequel/not-really-a-sequel here