Note: Here's Part Two of our little adventure. However, before we begin, I must give a slight precaution to all you innocent folks: bits of death and gore lurk in this chapter. If your imagination is too strong, or your constitution too light, then this here is your WARNING.
It's not fun and games anymore at this carnival. So brace yourselves, please -- and enjoy. :)
"Gimme Mah Chocolate, Foo'!"
Documentary 7: Final Destination B (Part II)
What happened to you and me?
One moment changed everything.
It's done, and there's no way to take it back.
Mistake gave me the pain I never had.
There is no way to justify it, so
Now I breathe in and let it go.
This is the end of everything.
Goodbye, my only...
I hang my head, and I give in.
Goodbye, my only...
- My Only, Goodnight Nurse
After that repugnant display of... ugh... I don't even know what, L returned nonchalantly to his cotton candy, like nothing at all had happened. A withdrew her hand uncertainly, while L retained his little, unbearable smile. Oh, I could put my fist through that smile. Or rip A's hair out.
Instead, I sat in rigid silence as the carriage descended jerkily to ground level. When we had exited the ride, the bratlings immediately surrounded us, dragging us away excitedly while Mello and What's-His-Face chattered up a storm. It was just as well; I was hardly cognizant enough at the moment to coordinate my own movements, still brooding over what a bastard L was.
Before I knew it, we were standing in line beneath a track bearing cartloads of screaming patrons.
The children had grabbed us as soon as we'd left the last ride, insisting that we board the monstrous roller coaster they had spotted at the far side of the fair. True, I wasn't really one for gravity-defying twists and hollering at the top of my lungs, but I could understand their enthusiasm. It wasn't often that they could break away from the institution to play like this -- and with L, of all people.
We were standing in line as Matt and Mello discussed who should sit where. L commented offhandedly that he would rather take a seat further back, which left Mello with a terrible dilemma, because he had been all but prepared to vie passionately for the position at L's right hand in the very front of the roller coaster, where the gut-pounding thrill was sure to be best.
"No, thank you. I am certain Matt will be happy to share the honor in my stead."
"Aaaawww... please, L? Matt's just gonna scream like a girl! You're so much cooler!"
"Who screams like a girl?!"
"Don't even lie! I heard you wailin' back on that Tilt-a-Whirl!"
"Uh-uh! That was 'cause you kept crushing me into the corner like the fatass you are!"
"FAT?! I'm not FAT!"
"Nyaa. Who's the girl, now?"
It was, as we'd found over the course of the evening, a lost cause to attempt to settle the boys down peacefully. Rather, we found it effective to simply ignore the feud and allow Mello to burn out his energy. Fortunately, Matt was very adept at the art of duck-and-evade.
L put a thumb to his lip. "Where will you be sitting?"
Oh, he just had to ask.
I was still inwardly disoriented by his reaction on the Ferris wheel, not knowing exactly what to make of it. Of course, I hadn't been nearly as disconcerted as BB, who was even now petrified in some form of wordless haze. Either that kiss was just too bewildering in general (it sort of was), and he was in a general state of shock, or... the three of us would be fated to trample all over each others' delicate sentiments.
I wasn't blind, after all. I saw the way he watched L inside the teacup, and I think it broke my heart a little to see how I had shrunken into the shadows, out of the periphery of his eyes. In all fairness, it had been eight years, and things were awkward between us even before I took my leave. But even so, it scalded me. His disdain.
"In the back, probably. I'll sit with Near," I answered, not at all remorseful in using a child to elude my fears. "His stomach might still be uneasy."
Near reached obediently for my hand, but was abruptly swatted from behind and pushed in L's direction.
"Oh, no no no. You have an obligation to your little buddy, Boss. Why don't you two just sit wherever -- have some fun? A and I have much to discuss, anyway." An arm was slung around my shoulders, a weight without warmth.
L caught Near gently and sent BB a disapproving glare. Near took hold of L's shirt hem and simply shuffled forward with the line, completely unaffected.
"Behave yourself," L warned.
BB grinned that trouble-grin which I knew all too well.
L gave him a wide-eyed stare before turning away, and I felt the arm wound around my neck tighten slightly. Mello and Matt, now clambering eagerly through the gate, selected the choice seats at the front of the cart ensemble. L and Near picked randomly from the middle seats, somewhere within a sea of strangers, leaving BB and I to meander slowly to the back, respecting my wishes to be as far from the gut-pounding thrill as possible. Anyone who happened to observe us would have thought we were some lovely couple. But I was not naive. I knew a taunt when it was wrapped around my shoulders.
You are always bittersweet, my friend.
"Well now, you've gotten your message across to L. I suppose you'll be leaving soon?" he said conversationally.
"...Yes. Probably. I have to go back for my residency, after all."
He pinched my face, and I pushed his hand away with agitation.
"You know just what to say to make me happy," he cooed. "That's why I like you, A."
Et tu, BB. You know just what to say to leave me wounded.
We slid into the seats and waited for the other passengers to get in. Once more, I took inventory of my fellow orphans: Mello and Matt in front, L and Near behind them. A mutter of excitement arose as the safety gear lowered and the carnies came around to check that we were secure. ...Oh, God. I think that one winked at me.
"Oooh, aren't you popular? Shabby older men seem fond of you." He cackled.
"Well then. I'm so glad you're with me, since you repulse them effortlessly," I snapped. "Just look how L runs."
His eyes flared, beautiful red, and his lip quivered unconsciously.
The carts began to slide forward, moderately paced. We began to ascend the first arch, which seemed to take forever, clicking loudly with every foot of rail we gained. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. To be honest, this was my first roller coaster, and I was afraid.
"Getting n-n-neeerrrvous, sweetie?" BB jeered.
I turned my head to convey my glare, when I heard a little clack that broke the rhythm of the clicking. It was a faint noise, more felt through the vibrations of my seat than really heard. I reached over and tugged at his sleeve.
"Did you... hear something?"
He blew a raspberry at me. "Lame. Talk to me again when you've got a scarier comeback."
"Listen, I --"
The ride took off, launching over the hump of the high rails and coming down at meteor-speed. It stole the very breath from my lungs, but the other passengers roared with excitement, including BB, who was certainly screaming in my ear just to be a bother. The force of the descent shot us through several loops and arches. The air rushing past my head, combined with the screaming of the other passengers, deafened my brain.
And then, in the middle of completing a loop, the front half of the cart ensemble disengaged.
The other passengers didn't even realize what had happened until we began to jerk backwards. The connection broke off cleanly, right between L and Near's seats and the ones in front of them. Sliding quickly in the wrong direction, we could only gape in confusion as the front half continued to speed away, now wobbling unsteadily, then dragging trails of sparks along the rails as the cart began to tip oh-so precariously, and...
My vocalized horror was drowned in the new swell of screams that erupted from our half of the carts. I couldn't look away. Oh, my baby... Matt, your skull split open before you even hit the ground. It smashed against the structure of the roller coaster on the way down, smearing dark liquid over everything. Oh, bold and fearless Mello, you fight even as you fall, but when you see your friend shatter before your eyes, we both know that it's over.
Someone yanked my hair. I looked to my left and saw BB shouting something at me, his words lost in the turmoil. His eyes were wide and frightened, and though I could not hear him, the invisible message shaped by his mouth reached my heart.
There was nothing we could do. Let it go.
You always know just what to say.
I breathed in and out, prayed for strength, and clutched my safety gear as we continued lurching backwards. The passengers shouted profanities, grabbed each other, grabbed the seats, and wailed like nothing I had ever heard. In the distance, I saw L and Near at the front, the hair on the backs of their heads whipping wildly. Suspended in the air between them, L's hand cradled Near's tiny fingers. Our carts began to tilt and shudder now, and if I had known we were approaching another loop from behind... if only I'd known. But there was nothing I could do.
Some seats tilted one way, and some tilted in another. I had barely registered this observation when, all of a sudden, something metallic flashed and flew by my head. In another instant, I recognized it as the point at which the two ends of the circular loop met -- two pieces of track separated by mere inches. It was this portion of railing, combined with the unlucky angle at which L and Near's cart tilted, that swiped their heads clean off their shoulders.
Blood spattered. They were not the only casualties. Cries screeched out from the few remaining passengers, us and the two rows of seats in front of us. We were inching upwards now, the last carts first, backwards up the loop. Slowly, slowly. BB was trembling uncontrollably. He could not look away from the headless corpses, still bouncing inside the carts, tempted by gravity to spill out of their angled seats.
When we reached the top of the loop, we stopped. The ride creaked ominously.
Slowly, so slowly, the safety gear dislodged and swung upward -- which was actually downward, for we were hanging upside down -- and three people fell to their deaths. Corpses slid out with them, headless and already silenced. BB and I flipped over, hanging out of our seats, holding onto the black material of the once-safe gear by sheer will. The only other survivor was a young teenager, much like the ones we had lost, and he cried piteously for his parents, who had already fallen. He declared that it wasn't worth it, none of this was worth it, and let go on his own volition. BB and I breathed heavily, trying with all our power to live. We had to live.
Seconds away from death, and all I could think to do was gaze at him again, for what I knew was the last time. Beautiful red. I sacrificed my right arm to touch his cheek, though it was I who cried. He touched my hand, grasped it, and now we were both hanging by just one limb. His quivering lips, dry and moving sadly, molded words that whispered directly to my heart.
It's time to die.
But we wouldn't let go. We wouldn't go down until the carts themselves began to detach from the rails, and now we were falling, and still he held my hand, and he was screaming, and I was breathless, but I would always remember that. There was nothing I was more aware of.
He held my hand.
I smiled sweetly.
He shot me a suspicious stare, then turned away and shuffled forward with his protégé. The passengers from the last ride were dragging themselves out of the seats now, while Mello and Redhead leaned eagerly against the gated entrance. When the carny had cleared the passengers out and started toward the gate, the line inched forward slightly in anticipation. I moved to follow, but heard a hitch of breath and found my arm suddenly empty.
A shuddered and clutched at her chest, knees buckling. Her breathing became loud and ragged, alerting the others to her distress. Before I could determine the problem, someone grabbed my arm and forced me around.
"What did you do?" L growled, voice low.
"I didn't do anything," I said gruffly, shoving him off.
"Hey, lovebirds. You gettin' on or what?" interrupted the carny, holding the entrance open and popping his gum most obnoxiously.
A rose cautiously from the ground, stumbling slightly. Then, in an unexpected burst of energy, she grabbed both Blondie and Redhead by the backs of their shirts, hauling them roughly out of line. The people around us watched her with a mixture of confusion and amusement, then shouldered past us and piled into the ride. L and I followed her, called out to her, but she ignored us soundly and toted the brats away, despite their squirming and kicking.
"Hey! HEY! You made us lose our place in line!!"
"Oww... A, that's my hair..."
As abruptly as she had started, she stopped, twisting them around. To our collective astonishment, she hugged them both with great force, bowing her head between their shoulders and sobbing. The boys exchanged baffled looks over her head, Mello conflicted somewhere between outrage and sympathy, while his counterpart was entirely dumbfounded. Redhead patted her awkwardly on the back.
L and I exchanged glances as well.
"Like I said," I muttered sourly. "Not my fault."
"I find your fixation with blame to be quite selfish," he retorted. "If I am not mistaken, your colleague is still in hysterics."
I gaped at him incredulously.
"What do you expect me to do?!"
"You know her best. Perhaps that is something only you can ascertain."
"Screw you!" I shouted, my blood beginning to boil. "If you're so damn worried, you can figure it out for yourself, oh single-greatest-detective!"
"As usual, you are petty and unreasonable," he stated, indifferent to my outburst.
I opened my mouth to yell.
"Guys!" Redhead interjected. "Where's Near?"
Thick silence descended upon our group, and A released her hold on the juveniles. Five pairs of eyes looked every which way in search of the boy who was, indeed, missing. From the edge of my vision, I saw A trek forward hesitantly, her gaze fixed on something in the distance. Fearfully, delicately, she revealed the answer.
We turned and stared at the roller coaster, barreling swiftly across the tracks.
"Oh, there!" What's-His-Face said excitedly, pointing in a vague direction. "I see him!"
"Hmph. Impatient little bugger," Mello grouched.
His friend shrugged. "Well, looks like he's--"
Hellish screams erupted, both from the ride above and the witnesses lined below. We watched in muted consternation as the train of seats were cleaved in half, one portion continuing to speed over the rails and the other jerking backward. For a moment, they were merely two processions traveling steadily in opposite directions. Then, out of nowhere, bodies were falling, blood was trailing, heads were flung from the seats of the other half -- and now the last batch of survivors had halted at the top of a track loop, dangling upside-down. A blotch of white could be seen at the apex, holding on for dear life to the seat at the very back, and yes, all alone. Though not for long. Without warning, the carts jolted off the rails, and the white blotch plummeted helplessly, the heavy metal carts crushing down on him as they fell.
At my side, Mello thundered out a cry of anguish, heard far above the final wails of the doomed.
This is Madness
It was after the cops had been called in, after everyone had been evacuated from the carnival, and we were sitting on the edge of a curb now, waiting for Watari to come -- it was after everything had happened that I realized. It was something so fundamental to my being that I had begun to ignore it subconsciously, remaining blissfully unaware of what was now so strikingly obvious.
Our lifespans had dropped to nothing, and yet we were alive.
The parking lot was dark and mostly empty, the only illumination thrown down in patches by the streetlights scattered however-many meters apart. I was currently pacing the sidewalk, hands in pockets, deep in thought. L was perched near the curb, his eyes downcast and his thumb touching his mouth. A was sitting beside him, one arm wrapped around herself and her free hand holding her forehead. Redhead knelt on her other side, preoccupied with tending to his friend. Mello... was deeply unsettled. He sat with his head in his knees, tugging loosely at his hair and speaking to no one. Every now and then, A would get up and help comfort the blonde, who in response would do no more than moan, very softly.
She stroked his golden hair just one last time before getting up and returning to her post beside L. I cut her off midway. A looked up, my eyes flickered to the side, and she understood. We needed to talk privately.
She paused and pushed some hair behind her ear.
"I thought you would, too."
My jaw clenched. "Well. Forgive me."
"I'm not blaming you," she murmured, rubbing her eyes wearily. "...There was nothing we could do."
"Fine. But just how did you know?"
Here, she clenched her right hand, cupping it gently with her left.
"I knew, because it happened. We got on, and we were killed."
"What do you mean it happened?" I snapped, growing impatient with her obscurity.
She shook her head and said, "It happened. We all got on the roller coaster. You and I were arguing, and the ride started, and it was fine for a while..." She rubbed at her forehead before continuing. "We were in that last seat, BB; we watched them die. It happened just the same as what you'd seen tonight. Then we died, I was sure we died, and I couldn't breathe..." She paused. "But when I looked again, it was -- the world -- had turned back ten minutes. We were standing in line again. Alive."
A kept rubbing at her forehead, not really tending to the head, I noticed, but trying to hide her eyes. "I thought... you could see the numbers, and I wondered why you didn't know. You were... surprised to die."
I shoved my hands back in my pockets and turned away, tired of watching her cry.
"I see," I commented mildly. "Then, I suppose your foresight has saved us all. Minus one, of course." I stared up at the sky, black and endless, neither the stars nor the moon brave enough to disturb the vacuum. "Or, perhaps not. I think you will find it interesting that our lifespans are presently at zero."
I heard her footsteps approach and felt her hand touch my arm.
Her eyes were lightly moistened.
"Either we're dead right now," I continued, "or--"
A streak of blonde bolted across the parking lot, followed at the heels by a hollering redhead, beseeching the blonde to come back. L sprang up, nodded to us, and we were after them in an instant. Mello was screaming something unintelligible, making a beeline for the carnival entrance, which was still brightly lit and almost insulting in its gaiety. The rest of the park was dark, devoid of life, with yellow police tape encircling the roller coaster area. At the carnival entrance, Redhead caught his wayward friend and pulled him around, yelling in his face.
"WHAT IF HE'S NOT DEAD?!" Mello roared back, swinging his fists without aim. His eyes were wide and frantic. "WHAT IF HE'S STUCK -- WHAT IF HE'S WAITING FOR US?!"
"He's DEAD, Mel! The boy is dead!! They put his body in a bag, and they took him, and he's not there!" What's-His-Face shouted.
They wrestled as they argued. Mello pinned him fiercely against one of the pillars supporting the carnival's welcome sign. Redhead squirmed out of the hold, but Mello caught him by the waist and they twisted, falling into a writhing heap on the ground. Redhead was on top. Mello swore and kicked wildly. We were approaching the cemented pavement, agreeing that I would hold my kid, A would hold hers, and L would lecture -- because L was L, and there was no one else that could get through to Mello. But we never even reached the sidewalk.
There was a creak, a hiss, and a blink of the lights, before the huge sign suspended above the entrance dropped.
I halted. A kept going. L blocked her. Sparks, broken glass, and fragments of metal scattered and hit us square in the face, we were so close. There was blood, too. A's kid was crushed and bleeding directly under the sign. Mello was ensnared beneath him, his eyes even more impossibly wide. His face was slashed and bruised, but when his mouth began to move, tremulously, we knew he was alive.
Redhead must have cushioned the blow, somehow.
Blood oozed from the corner of his lips. A drew closer, hypnotized. Horrified. She was stepping onto the pavement now, unhindered by the dark fluid seeping around her shoes, reaching for the mound of metal and flesh. The little orphan boy, whom she had mothered and coddled so many years ago, was now crushed dead. Yet his friend was still here, just barely here. I think she would have given anything to save him.
It was not to be. I saw the entrance pillars sway, and L saw it too. He grabbed her and we ran like hell, back through the parking lot, as two steel pillars collapsed over the sign and the sidewalk, finishing what fate had left unfinished. The skull with the sprawl of golden hair was shattered.
As soon as we returned to the curb, L's cell phone jingled.
He picked the phone from his pocket, holding it by the antenna with his thumb and forefinger. His bangs covered his eyes as he answered, grimly, "Watari." He listened to the other line while A and I waited in silence. A seemed particularly troubled, standing motionless with her hands clenched together.
Eventually, L closed his eyes and brought the phone away from his head to address us. "There has been a problem with the vehicle. Watari cannot retrieve us for at least another three hours." It was already after ten.
"We should just find a bus or something," I mumbled.
L nodded and relayed the plan to Watari. Meanwhile, I thought of the bodies we had left in front of the carnival, and I wondered how he would manage to break the news to the old man.
"Here, lemme see that," I said, reaching for the phone. "I'll tell him -- AH, SHIT!"
I withdrew my hand.
L gave me a half-questioning, half-admonishing look. "What is it?"
I snatched the cell phone and hurled it into the distance.
The phone bounced once against the asphalt, then exploded. The fire from the combustion continued to burn persistently on the black pavement, a pyre that was several times larger than the phone itself. The three of us watched wordlessly.
"...Death by overheated phone battery," L muttered after some time. "It is almost comical."
"Shut up. Don't say that."
I threw him a sharp glance, then did a double-take, confirming that I had indeed found something unexpected.
I pinched A on the arm.
She rubbed the spot and glared.
"It's back," I whispered.
She looked up at me blankly for some moments before turning to L, who was still staring expressionlessly at the burning cell phone. She opened her mouth to speak, but I already knew what she was thinking, because I was thinking it, too.
Is it possible to save someone?
A crack of thunder sounded, and before we could so much as process the noise, we were drenched in a torrent of rain.
It was loud, it was wet, my feet hurt, and we had been walking down this street for who-knows-how-long, searching for a bus stop that may or may not exist. L withstood the elements with his usual impassive grace, leading the way down the hopelessly dark and empty street. My vision was actually best during the night, and perhaps I should have been the one leading, but with the blasted rain in my face, I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to see much more than the others. Besides, I was too miserable to play leader -- too busy brooding over the recent turn of events.
And, as though things weren't wonderful enough, she was about to engage me in some kind of conversation.
Kill me now.
"What?" I snarled, swiping water and hair away from my face.
She looked down and didn't answer.
"I said, what?"
She seemed conflicted, as though considering whether or not she should really say what she had intended to say. God. It was that kind of stupid hesitation that always provoked me. If there was something to be said, say it. I would have liked nothing more than to shout that precious piece of philosophy into her face and just shake it out of her.
"Didn't you ever wonder where I was?" she murmured at last. It was uttered at a frequency half lost in the pounding rain, and I had to strain to hear it, despite the fact that she was right beside me. "Why didn't you... ever search for me?"
I think -- yes, I do believe -- I smiled. Smirked. Flat-out beamed like the hellion I was.
Oh, A. You know just what to say to make me happy.
"Now, now, honey," I said, patting her on the head. "Let's not be selfish. You know L is a very busy man. He can't go chasing after every little gumdrop that rolls off his desk and out of his orphanage. Especially since that sweet piece of artificial flavoring turned its back on the very person who bothered to buy it from the streetside candy machine in the first place." I giggled and shook my head, like it was the funniest thing since the invention of segways. "You understand, don't you, love?"
She merely stared ahead, expression guarded.
"I didn't ask why L wouldn't look for me," she said. "I wanted to know why you never did."
I slung an arm around her shoulders and just grinned. "Well, L and me, we're like this," I held up a hand, intertwining the index and middle fingers. "So you see, his resentment is my resentment. His work is my work." I leaned my head against hers, and whispered, with something of a scandalous undertone, "His pleasure... is my pleasure."
She blinked at me calmly, then looked to L, who was so far ahead of us that he hadn't heard a word.
"That's not true," A stated. Her voice was so assured that it chipped away at my good mood. My arm tightened reflexively around her neck.
Yeah. It wasn't true.
"Oh?" I replied stiffly.
She sighed, and the breath released in a cloud of mist that was torn asunder by the raindrops spearing down. England was always cold at night, regardless of the season. Cold. I wondered if that was what had suddenly rendered my confidence brittle.
"I know L. He doesn't mingle, and he doesn't befriend. You are his assistant, or his coworker maybe, but you will never be his equal," she began. My eyes narrowed down at her. "As long as he lives, you are nothing and no one. As soon as he dies, you are left to fill the vacancy of a man whom you can never emulate. And you, yourself, are still no one." My arm retracted, at once repulsed by the short devil beside me, murmuring evil things I didn't want to hear. "That is, after all, the reason why I 'rolled off his desk.' So to speak."
I told myself that the bitter pang jolting through my insides was unexpected, incomprehensible. Though, really, it wasn't. I knew that a fragile string in my heart had just been thrummed and snapped. Her aim was perfect.
But then, so was mine. And this was war.
"Silly girl," I replied with a forced laugh, "so that's what you tell yourself! Ah, well, you always were the self-pitying type. But I know why you left. You were stressed, you were scared, and you were so very frail. Never could live up to L's expectations, or handle the pressure of trying. That's just how you are. When the heat turns on too hot, you run your ass right out of the kitchen."
I folded my arms behind my back and tilted my head, as though in thought. "Unless, of course, you can find someone to cling to. I know your game, A -- I know all your games. And your moves are always weak. When the going gets tough, you rely on someone else to save you." I stared her in the eye. "But don't you try and lean on me; you're a weight I just don't want. The buddy-buddy sentiment between us was discarded on your way out of Wammy's."
And I noted, with perhaps a sick satisfaction, that it was not the rain which caused the welling of moisture in her eyes. Frail, feather grey. Cocky with my regain of the upper hand, I added, "You never were suited to become L's partner, anyway."
That brought the fire back into her eyes.
"Funny," she barked, though the quiver of her lip did not escape my notice. "That's not how I remember it. Let's see. Why did he make you his sidekick?" My teeth clenched, and I thought she would stop there, where the damage of the inquiry was already searing.
"Oh, wait. Now I do recall. It just happened to fall on you, because the number one candidate declined, and you were the backup."
As my fist flew on its unwavering course, time seemed to slow and stunt. In those elongated moments, I had a revelation. The two fundamental pillars of understanding, to which the threadbare wire of our trust was tied, had been broken. She had breached the unspeakable subject: the utter dispensability of my existence. Meanwhile, I had abused her intimate confidence -- scorned her vulnerable attachment to me. The bruising exchange and spiteful ripostes...
This was madness.
It was no use. Too late had I recognized the errors for what they were. I struck her across the face, hard, with all the force and intention of breaking her. And I could never, never take it back. I think... I wished I could. I wished I hadn't knocked her into that pool of rainwater in the middle of the road, wished I hadn't soaked her to the bone or created that terrible contusion around her left eye. I wished I could have gone my whole life without watching her sit in a dirty puddle and cry.
Later, I would wish that crackpot of a driver had just turned on the damn headlights.
It all happened so fast. My gaze was on her, on her only, until something dark and wild hurtled down the street, swerved, and crashed. It was bumper cars all over again, and I could only wonder where that redheaded brat was, because wasn't he the one who was supposed to dodge for her? But he was dead. This wasn't his fault, no, the blame was on... well. The fender hit her body, plowed it a good several meters around in an arc, headed back towards me -- but then her arm lodged in the front wheel, causing the car to shudder and stop just short of where I stood.
Things Never Said
The driver had stumbled out, freaked, wailed, apologized, and generally made himself useless. L had been grazed on the arm as the car passed him, but I was perfectly fine. He and I stood near the darkened puddle, where the car had finally bumbled to a stop, observing the scene. L's eyes were wide, wider than usual, and the absentminded thumb-biting which ate in too deep into the flesh, dribbling blood down his pale hand, was the only indication that he had lost his composure. If only for a moment.
The driver was still wailing, still groveling at our feet, "Oh, please, I didn't mean to!" over and over. It was a teenager, one who must have been too young to even possess a driver's license. I recalled, briefly, having seen this boy in line behind us for the roller coaster. His parents had been with him at the time.
"Do you have a cell phone?" was the only thing L said.
The kid sobbed and pointed inside the car. L flicked on the overhead light and crawled in to search the seats. I was kneeling down and checking... yes, the body was without a pulse. Her lifespan was rightfully zero.
And mine -- I saw it on the surface of the illuminated, bloody puddle -- mine had returned.
We were sitting in the ambulance now. Sirens blared and police cars hovered around our vehicle, escorting us. The kid had been hauled into one of those cars, pleading his innocence. Watari had been called to meet us at the hospital.
...they said my heart couldn't be resuscitated...
First, we had to head back to the carnival and collect the other casualties.
Actually, the carnival was Watari's idea. I just have bad timing.
The paramedics sat nearby, but they had long declared her dead and were merely waiting for us to arrive at our destination. I was at her side, holding on to her bruised and bloodied hand. The right one. The one still intact. L was huddled into his knees on her other side, examining the bruise over her eye that seemed somehow unlike her other injuries. I knew for sure that he would realize what had happened. Or perhaps he already had, but he said nothing of it. I knew he'd never forgive me.
But A would. A would forgive me, even if...
Would you save me?
But in the end, it was she who saved me. Somehow.
L shifted his legs and averted his gaze from the corpse. He nibbled at his bottom lip and said, "The repeated occurrence of such accidents, whose sheer improbability is overwhelming, baffles me. I can scarcely... believe what has passed before my eyes. It is as though there were someone coordinating these heinous incidents -- but the possibility of that is less than 0.02 percent." Then he clutched at his knees, face darkening, and mumbled, "However, assuming it were possible, and I should ever find the one responsible..."
Red was always my favorite color.
My eyes shot wide, peering slowly around.
L was still crouched and looking away, muttering death threats to some imaginary perpetrator of tonight's tragedies. The paramedics were leaning over the front seats, speaking with the driver. In truth, I hadn't needed to look to convince myself that none of them had whispered those words. I looked down at the corpse, whose lips were closed and still. I knew that voice by heart.
Beautiful Red, bid him goodbye for us both.
The numbers above L's head were rapidly falling. The same was true for the paramedics. I stared into the glass door of a supply cabinet, and saw that my lifespan was no exception. Perhaps I should have been alarmed, or plotting my escape, but I wasn't and I didn't. It was just as I had always believed. Death, without fail, would claim you when it was your time. Our time was now.
L was still speaking about something or other -- I don't know what, it didn't matter -- as I reached over the corpse and fisted his old white shirt, pulling him toward me. I leaned my head against his shoulder and placed A's good hand on his knee. He froze up under the contact. Meanwhile, the blue and red flashes of the sirens scattered briefly over his face. Like carnival lights.
I closed my eyes and murmured into his neck. "When the light hits your eyes, just like that..." Tires screeched loudly, we jostled, and I wondered if he could still hear me, because this was the only time I could ever let him know. "L... I see the stars."
We will follow you to the grave.
From the Author: AND THEY ALL FALL DOWN. :'D
(Poor Matt! He was "What's-His-Face" to the very end...)
Okay, so my original plan had been to take the hilariously ridiculous death scenes from Final Destination and bestow them upon the DN cast. Unfortunately, the story has convoluted into something far more angsty than funny. I don't know what it is; I just can't KILL THEM SUCKERS without feeling a horrible rip in my soul. Kira makes it look so easy (that jerk).
So! Instead of that quick and lovely doom-ride-of-death, each of the Wammy babies was left to suffer an individual, gruesome demise. Naturally, the moral of the story is this: if you're gonna die, really gonna die, then spare yourself the trouble and just DIE already.
...On that note, please enjoy the rest of your day. :)