|Drowning, Bleeding, Burning, Soaring
Author: Wolfstorm7 PM
After all, there can only be ONE Jerome Morrow.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Angst - Words: 1,756 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 2 - Published: 05-10-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8105185
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
BAHHH it's shameful how much this movie affects me.
Here's this. Enjoy!
His wheels ground slowly over the gravel, and his breathing was heavy. The road led into the grove, and the river was rushing near.
Useless? He wasn't useless! He and Vincent had been drunk, and screaming, and he could hardly remember a word but one: Useless.
Says the degenerate. He'd never understand! Eugene was crafted to a perfection the other man could never comprehend. Vincent never raced in the bloody Olympics.
But he'd show him, he would. He wasn't useless. Damn it all, he could swim just as well as he once had.
One the shore of the stony river, he pulled his wheelchair to a stop. He flopped by the water's side, where the tide swiftly dispersed through the stones and bubbled up in pools. It rushed and ran and Eugene wasn't useless. He undressed and dragged himself to the water.
Plunge in, he told himself. And then he was under.
Fire always entranced Eugene, with its sylphlike dancing tongues. The power inside its gaping mouth, behind the crackling yellow teeth of flame, made him wonder: would it be so bad to leave this world in a rage of heat and burning?
Every morning, Vincent would scrub his body of his own DNA. Every morning, Vincent pressed the button and turned away, too ashamed to watch his life cells burn. He became Jerome.
If Vincent burnt Vincent, Eugene would have to get rid of Eugene as well. After all, there could only be one Jerome Morrow.
But how much of Eugene was part of Vincent? They both were Jerome, after all. Jerome Freeman, Jerome Morrow; it didn't matter.
How much blood had he taken out of his veins to dedicate to Vincent? Even with the extra-thin needles and numbing chemicals, his arms were still sore and blotchy with scars. There was probably more of Eugene at Vincent's fingertips than in Eugene himself.
He found Vincent on the balcony. As clouds moved across the ruby sunset, their white faces became shifting, flighty birds of flickering light. Eugene grasped the rubber of his wheels and rolled his weight over the doorframe. Vincent turned and grinned, his eyes glowing orange.
Eugene tried to wheel himself closer but felt a surge of nausea. He had always been afraid of heights.
But Vincent, no, Vincent was perfectly comfortable in the sky. Eugene watched as his friend grasped the balcony railing and leaned precariously over. Eugene's stomach dropped into itself. Then Eugene closed his eyes.
The churning water was like of mass of gray fish pummeling Eugene's body. He thrashed and fought to keep his head above the enclosing water, but it sucked him under. A second later he burst forth again, to open his eyes to blackness. The sky, the water, the black – all twisted into a starless void as he spit and gasped.
He had been in the bloody Olympics! What the hell was wrong with him? Why couldn't he swim?
Because his legs were useless.
Useless? If he was anything, he was not useless! That was what he had come out here to prove – he would be able to rise to his former glory. Vincent would see. Vincent, degenerate.
His arms, strengthened by months of rolling himself around, spun in the water, but his legs hung loosely. Limp. The water crushed down on him again, a thousand slimy hands trying to force their way into his mouth. Bobbing up, he caught a glint of metal in the darkness – his wheelchair sitting on the bank – before he was dunked under by another massive arm of gray.
This time, he did not rise. Lungs burning and arms flailing, he felt resistance below and knew that his lifeless feet must have hit the river bottom. Murky shadows weaved across his exposed chest, and crushed the breath from him. His panic swept out with a final surge and was replaced with a dull, strange complacently.
Above him, the gray water rolled on distant plane. He couldn't even see the stars, and realizing this made him think of Vincent. Jerome.
A shiver ran along the skin on his arms as he opened his mouth and admitted the river.
In the morning, Eugene would open the incinerator and run his fingers along the shining chrome edges. Not a single cell of Vincent was left there. The flames had swallowed them all, and Vincent was free to become Jerome.
Eugene would have to go. He knew that one day Vincent would leave in the morning and never come back. Without Vincent, Eugene could not stay here. How could he stay in this house while knowing that a man with his name walked on some crazy planet, out there, building a persona on a name that had – once – belonged to a winner?
Because Jerome was a name no longer built to be shared. Eugene had wanted to be first, just once; but those dreams couldn't be relinquished with bloody useless legs. Why hadn't he had just died? He clutched the second-place medal, the being of his affliction, and wished away the torment it brought him.
Vincent would leave, as must he, as well. By burning away every single trace of Eugene.
Once, he and Vincent had gone out onto the apartment bridge and rolled his wheelchair around, just for kicks. Vincent ran behind Eugene, pushing with all his strength. As Eugene's wheels spun faster than Vincent's feet could churn, Vincent fell, and skidded across the cement in tow of the wheelchair. He yelped.
Eugene spun his chair to see Vincent on the cement, grimacing and clenching his fists. His knees were raw and running with blood. He tried to stand, but couldn't manage to bend his legs without hissing in pain. Eugene laughed and pulled Vincent onto the wheelchair with him.
As they wheeled back to the condominium, tendrils of blood crept down Vincent's legs and wormed their way onto Eugene's loose pant legs. He didn't mind, really. At least it was proof that Vincent had a piece of him that was human. He owned blood of his own. It was proof that Vincent was not all Jerome, and that Eugene hadn't given away everything – not yet, he hadn't.
Vincent turned his head to smile at Eugene, and his eyes sparked orange. There was pure adrenaline about teetering so far over the edge.
Eugene was afraid of heights, but Eugene wasn't afraid of falling. He wasn't afraid of dying, no.
But when Vincent leaned forwards over the void, his face poised with childish laughter, and he stretched with such yearning for the pale stars and the pastel crescent moon, Eugene felt more frightened than he had even been for himself in his entire life.
He knew Vincent would leave him. He knew that Vincent would stretch too far one day, and soar up into the clouds and the pale stars until Eugene was only a bitter spot far below on the earth's surface. If only he could run, then he could join Vincent. He could stand and catch him, if he fell.
Oh God, he cursed his uselessness. He cursed Jerome, whoever the man was or whoever the man had become.
Arms like pythons clasped around his chest and dragged him upwards. He did not attempt to aid the twisting arms; the river bottom had made him strangely tired. Suddenly, his head broke the surface, and the cold night slammed down on his head. He reflexively gasped out, but only drew in more river water. Stone and sand scraped his sides as his savior pushed him into the shallows. The darkness of the water and land merged as one hulking monster. Eugene lay curled on the sand, half-submerged and near-dead.
"Are you fucking insane?"
He tried to laugh, but ended up vomiting. "A bit mental," he finally managed to gasp.
Vincent's face was strung with fear. "You're so drunk, you stupid stupid stupid- Oh, God-" He was soaking wet, and water ran from his hair into his mouth. "Oh, God," he cried. "You could have died! What's wrong with you?"
"I'm sorry," mumbled Eugene out of the darkness. He vomited into the water, then dragged his heavy arms into the air towards the blurry outline of his friend. "I'm sorry."
Vincent stumbled to him, pulled him close and held him. He hugged him like he was never going to let go, never again. A swell of longing rose in Eugene – he didn't want to be alone. He clutched the back of Vincent's shirt even tighter. In that moment, vaguely aware of Vincent's stuttering heartbeat as the other man's breathing calmed, he decided upon something:
He could never allow himself to be alone.
He clasped the cold handle of the incinerator in his hand. Around his neck hung the silver circle of almost-success, and once again he felt the sense of absolution he had felt in the river. Jerome needed to be liberated if he were to become Vincent, if a golden medal were to sit upon his chest.
Awaiting the flames, he had downed vodka to dull the pain. But he could hear his heart beating steadily through his drunken fog, reminding him that he was Eugene Morrow. He had once been great.
He had drained himself of blood. Jerome had taken it, hadn't he? Jerome, whoever he was. He had bottled it up in the freezer room in anticipation of his 'trip', enough for a lifetime. "So that Jerome will always be with you," he said.
He didn't say Eugene. Because Eugene was a useless man. Eugene was someone of the past, a cripple who couldn't reach the stars no matter how he tried. But Jerome would reach them for him.
His blood and name would be circling the sun while he erased himself from this world.
As the flames engulfed him, he felt himself soaring.
Don't leave me, he begged. But it was too late.
Vincent tipped forwards into the unknown. Eugene stood up, and stepped forwards, to follow.
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