"Kill the beast. Cut his throat. Spill his blood."

The last echoes of the chant pounded in Jack's mind, beating a now sickly rhythm in his skull. He stood by himself on the beach, feeling ill and strange and unfamiliar. The night air was cool, and yet still paint was beginning to run, just a bit, melting ever so slightly from his face, arms, torso, legs; those careful stripes, his mask and armor. He felt some kind of emotion welling inside him, and instinct told him that it was unwelcome, yet he couldn't fathom what it was or how to stave it off. For the first time in a long time, Jack began to feel a pang of powerlessness creeping through him, and all he could think was thank god that he was alone.

His mind was in a fog, and he blinked bleary eyes rapidly, trying to get a grasp on what was happening. He should know, and he felt he did, but somehow he was finding it impossible to face whatever recollection he had of that night. He remembered feeling triumphant. That was all right. But then there was just a red murkiness where his memory should be, and a reluctance to even attempt to remember. Jack's head pounded, and he imagined that this must be what it was like to have that mysterious adult ailment, a…whatever it was called...a hangover.

Something, some kind of instinct, compelled him to look at his hands. Blood was on them, he dimly recognized, and seeing the scarlet brought the realization that it was also in his mouth. It occurred to him that he should spit, wash his mouth out, to rid it of the metallic tang. A memory began to light; blood in his mouth, ripping, tearing, biting, blood in his eyes, everywhere, the blood of the beast—

No.

He felt the clouds scudding in his mind vanish. Suddenly Jack's world warped back into painful focus. He stared at the tide, lapping against the shore, and there was no mistaking the creature that lay crumpled and bleeding in the water. All the force he had used to keep his mind from remembering was rendered null, and Jack was back in the world he had created for himself, gazing at the outcome. It was no beast, no wild pig lying there bleeding its life out into the sea. In the way the moonlight gleamed off the turn of its shoulder, on its mouth; from the shock of dark hair that moved gently in the water like seaweed, Jack knew.

Simon.

The choirboy who never sang as loudly as the rest; the boy who had fainted over the precentor; the boy who had first explored the island with him and Ralph; the boy who was so shy and so strange, who had touched Ralph's arm and made them laugh; the boy who couldn't speak in front of the others; the boy who he had twice humiliated in assembly; the boy who had given Piggy his meat and made Jack furious; the boy who was crackers, was batty; the one boy who wasn't at the feast; the boy he had ripped and clawed and torn at, in a mad rush of bloodlust; Simon, Simon, Simon.

Suddenly, in a rush of hideous understanding, Jack Merridew reverted. He ceased to be a savage hunter, the king of the island, fearless underneath his mask. He lost the months of steeled nerves and built-up bravado that he had fought to obtain. He was once again that scared little English boy, nothing more than chapter chorister and ugly crumpled face and all, on and island that he suddenly very much wanted to leave.

"Kill the beast. Cut his throat. Spill his blood. Do him in."

Jack couldn't help it; the tears poured forth, pent up tears that now raged down his face, flushing his complexion and leaving him choked. So many of them were selfish tears, tears for what he had lost and his fear and his denial of the truth and his loneliness and his yearning to go home, but there were tears also for the others, who were as lost as he now recognized that he was, and tears for the boy who now lay in the sand close to his feet. "Simon," Jack sobbed out desperately. "Oh, God."

He fell to his knees and cried into the ground, whimpering sobs, the tide lapping at his forehead in the sand. Jack Merridew was truly wretched, for the first time in his life. In a mad craze of last-ditch denial, he scrambled blindly through the water and turned Simon over, praying with every ounce of his being that he might still be alive, that he still had some kind of chance. When he saw Simon's face, he reeled. Big green eyes stared into his, the small mouth half ajar, the blood and gaping scars disfiguring. For a moment, Jack dared hope that the eyes were open in life, but there was no light in them, none of their usual brightness. Simon was dead. It was an impossible truth.

Simon was dead.

Words poured forth out of Jack's mouth; unintelligible, half-sobbed, strings of frantic apology. He bowed his head, wracked with tears of helplessness. "Simon, Simon, oh god, why, how could we, me, my fault, me, all me-"

Never had he once thought this could happen. The tiny choirboy couldn't be dead, and yet he was. Jack realized with horror that Simon's blood was still in his mouth, and he crawled out of the waves to retch desperately on the shore, crying and vomiting and sobbing, still slurring out numb apologies. This was wrong; so wrong. He had never thought much of Simon when he was alive, and yet he was Simon; one of their own, and one of his own. He was a choirboy, under Jack's order and command as head choirboy in cases of emergency, and Jack had let him die. Made him die. Why hadn't he seen that Simon needed to be protected, needed to be saved…and it was too late. "I should have saved you," Jack hissed out from between gasps of crying. "I killed you."

As Jack wept, the waves slowly moved around Simon, caressing his body of and lifting him, ebbing him slowly, slowly, over an hour, out to sea. Jack sensed him being pulled away and cried harder, tears that never seemed to stop, knowing that soon Simon would be gone and nobody would ever see his bright green eyes again, his face again.

Nobody else was ever going to see him again.

Jack wept for all that was wrong with the world, which had been jerked into the light and which he now stared at full in the face. He wept for himself and his descent, but mostly he cried for Simon. Simon, who by now was gone.

Eventually night lifted and it was morning, and Jack Merridew, Lord of the Flies, was alone.

Sooo...

This was my first fanfic. I hope it wasn't too too bad. In any case, thank you for reading. :) Constructive criticism is VERY welcome.

It wasn't intended to be Jack/Simon. I guess it could be read that way, but I thought of it more as just Jack's guilt over Simon's death.

LOTF is my favorite book, and Simon is my all-time have character from anything, so I really wanted to give him a good send-off. I thought getting a guilty epiphany out of Jack of all people would do the trick. :)

Thank you for reading! Please review and tell me how to improve!