A God of War
"I can tell you don't believe me," I whispered, my voice belying the smile on my face. I got up from the chair I'd been sitting in to pace around the room, watching the man who was watching me. I hungered for a knife in my boot, if only for the sake of the comforting weight of it against my lower shin.
But that wasn't allowed here.
"To be fair, Mr. Brody, it does seem fantastical," my watcher replied. He'd been listening to my story for months now. He'd talked to my brother. My one brother who remained. Despite how he'd corroborated my story, he didn't know.
He didn't understand.
My fucking shrink.
Not enough disappointment for Mom and Dad when the war-scarred hero got home that it wasn't Grant. They'd gotten word, from the island. That their youngest son was rescued. That his older brother had ripped all of us from captivity.
I guess Dennis owed me that much, even in his grief.
Mommy and Daddy didn't expect Jason to do it. No, they'd expected that to be Grant's job.
So had I, back when the six of us were caught.
Grant died for my weakness, back then.
Now my parents said I was disturbed. Deranged. They'd insisted I see a fucking head doctor like I was going to cut them open in their sleep. They didn't, couldn't! Understand! Just how far into the darkness I'd allowed myself to go.
And how difficult it had been for me as I'd clawed my way back out. How I could never, would never sink as far as they thought I would.
"Vaas was right," I chuckled to myself, ignoring the way the shrink flinched at the sudden motion as I sat back down. "That crazy, twisted fuck was right. Bastard."
A long pause.
"Vaas Montenegro? The man who kidnapped you, your family, and your friends?" Pitiful fuck asking the questions curled up a bit when I met his gaze.
"Yeah. Him. When it was down to him and me. When I stormed his fucking compound and killed all his friends, do you know what he said to me?" I paused, but the cowardly man assigned to me didn't respond. "He said that no matter who won, we were both fucked. And he was right!" I almost giggled. "He was right..."
"Jason, you're not..." And here the bastard hesitated. I'd learned enough to tell the difference between a man searching for words and a man pausing for effect, and this fuck was pausing for effect. "You're not fucked. You can recover from this. What about Liza? How is she?"
Poor, poor Liza.
On the island, she could barely deal with it.
Off the island, going back there, even in her memories, wasn't something she could handle. She treated the whole thing like a giant nightmare, like a waking dream that she could pretend would just... go away. If she pretended hard enough.
At least, that's what Daisy had told me.
When we got off the boat, she told me she'd never forget me.
And then when she walked away, she made sure she'd never make new memories with me. Once she was gone into that car her parents picked her up in, she changed her phone number. Her parents changed their home number. I didn't get a response from her email address.
I could tell when I wasn't wanted. I hadn't gone to her place.
And I wouldn't. Even if it would be child's play to sneak in when she was out and wait, unseen, for her to come back.
When I got her back, I promised her she'd be safe.
And I'd make sure she was.
Even if it was from me.
Even if it was just from her nightmares of what I might become.
"Liza's gone. She's safe, but she's gone," I finally admitted, the old bastard making notes in his little book like it mattered. I knew it didn't. Suddenly tired, I wandered over to the chair directly across from the head doctor and sat down, sighing. "Daisy says she's doing okay. That's enough."
He raised an eyebrow towards me.
"And how is Daisy?" He asked, his voice carefully neutral.
That... That was a loaded question.
I know what my parents thought. She'd been over to see me a lot. Long hours in my room. We weren't fucking, despite what they thought. Even if she were magically over Grant, I wasn't over Liza. I was surprised the first time she came over to talk.
The next several times were a bigger shock. She was always asking me questions about my time on the island. She even shared the bits she remembered about her escape.
Now it was a ritual. Once every few days, she'd show up and we'd talk.
Maybe it was her way of dealing.
I didn't mind.
"She's been a good friend," I replied quietly. I laughed a bit. "She's strong. She actually escaped Vaas and his men without any help. Wasn't until she wandered through the wrong field and got that infection that she needed help. Not like me or the others were, back then."
Mere months ago.
A lifetime ago.
"She's strong," the shrink repeated, his brow furrowing in what he thought was a thoughtful manner. He tilted his head as he caught my eyes. "Is strength important to you, Jason? Why should it matter if she's a strong person or not?"
"Strength is something that doesn't matter, until it matters," I told him with the ghost of a grin. I shrugged at his questioning gaze. "Luck helps. Grant was the strong one. He was the one who broke us out of the cage, he was the one who got me to the edge of the encampment. I just got lucky that Vaas was in a generous mood and didn't kill me, and lucky that I actually escaped."
He paused. Fucker really liked his dramatic pauses.
"That was your first kill, wasn't it?" He tried to sound sympathetic, but I wasn't buying it. "How did it happen?"
I paused. Not for dramatic effect, but because I was struggling with the way to phrase it.
"Like I said... I got lucky," I finally replied, glancing away from my head doctor and out his window. "He had the drop on me, but he fucked up and I got my hands on his. I had strength and leverage, and he got the knife put in him instead putting the knife in me."
"And how did it feel?"
I breathed. It wasn't a sigh. It was just a breath of air.
"At the time, it felt like I'd crossed a line I could never step back across," I admitted. Another deep breath. "Now I look back at it and feel like a pussy. I can't believe I cried over that."
The scratching in his notepad stopped.
"You feel like a... pussy, because you killed a man in self defense?" My head doctor demanded.
"I feel like a pussy because I didn't take the knife," I replied casually. "Because I didn't loot his corpse for anything of value. Because his death was a meaningless waste, and didn't bring me a step closer to killing Vaas and Hoyt.
"But for the man I've become? That memory feels like victory," I finished, glancing aside. Suddenly, I didn't know what to do with my hands. My fingers clenched to my palm like I could crush the air into diamond. "He died, because I wanted to live. Because I wanted to win more than he did. Because I won and he lost. That was the island, for me: I won, everyone who faced me lost. It was that simple."
"Do you think you're invincible, Jason?" His raised eyebrows suggested concern, but I didn't care. He fucking didn't... I knew that much.
"I was invincible once, and it got Grant killed," I muttered. Until I found myself staring at the city skyline, I hadn't realized I'd moved to the window. I let my hand fall to the cool glass, trying to calm myself. "I didn't do what I did because I was invincible, I did it because I knew my friends and I were so vulnerable.
"All that stood between everything they knew, and everything they didn't want to know, was me," I ground out, pounding a hand into the glass. "And Keith and Ollie... They'll tell you. I wasn't fast enough. I wasn't strong enough."
"You weren't strong enough," the man analyzing me said, forcefully. He allowed his pen and his pad to fall to the wayside as he stared at me. "Having escaped your captors and narrowly evading your enemies through luck, once you decided that you needed to save them... You weren't strong enough."
"I wasn't," I declared forcefully.
"Yet you saved them. All of them except for Grant. You saved Ollie, you saved Keith, you saved Liza and Daisy. All of them are alive now, because of you," the man pointed out, and I laughed darkly at that.
"Keith flinches whenever anyone comes up behind him and he fucking shivers every time he gets near a basement. Ollie was always a stoner, but right now he spends all of his time so fucking high that I'm sure he doesn't know what planet he's on," I countered, once again pacing as I grew agitated. "I don't know how Liza's doing because I haven't talked to her in the six months since we left the fucking island, but I'm betting it's not all sunshine and lollipops for her."
"And Daisy?" My shrink asks, and I frown, moving to my seat and slumping into it.
"She's dealing. Or at least, dealing with it as well as anyone fucking can," I snort. I then chuckle a bit. "Half the time we talk about the island. I think maybe when she talks to me, she realizes how much more fucked I am than her. Maybe that's the only way she can get some perspective and try to move on with her life."
Another pause. This fucking guy...
"Jason, you're not fucked. You'll get through this. Things will get better," my shrink told me. I recognized the spiel he was trying to feed me. It meant that it was the last five minutes of the session. He was going to spend some time talking about how things were improving, how he thought I was getting better. He'd remind me that my next appointment was next week.
I ignored it.
Vaas was right.
I was fucked.
It was months since I'd killed a man, and I felt no relief. No sense of sanctuary had filled my chest since I'd escaped. Instead, I'd felt vulnerable and weak. Despite the fact I was somewhere that I didn't need to murder someone... I needed to.
And that scared me more than anything else.
Sitting at home, far away from any conflict, I longed for the feel of warm blood on my hands. I longed for the desperate slapping of a dying man on my shoulders as I knifed his neck and dragged him into the undergrowth.
Sitting at home, soon after my latest session, I knew my life could never be the same again.
Vaas was right.
That twisted motherfucker was right.
Even if I spent the rest of my life promising myself I'd never be him, the instincts I'd drilled into myself ensured that I'd have to fight myself for the rest of my life to be sure.
I could never be happy.
I could never be free.
Vaas was right.
Played some Far Cry 3, felt like writing. It's better than nothing at all, yes?