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Chapter 21: Set Fire to the rain“…I was never afraid of death…until I saw you again” said Susie before she heard one final splash.Looking at the edge of the pillars below, Eileen could see two things. One was the Sauron mask, sinking faster due to the weight.Next was a hand, faintly reaching up, before it too disappeared into the depth.Susie knew who it was and felt the triumph belonged to Calvin. She walked a few steps up and peered above the rim, without divulging her presence.()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()Jason opened his eyes. He lay motionless there, not knowing what to do. His instincts told him to stand up and walk away, but there were persistent doubts that made him wait.“Am I dead?” he asked himself. “That you wish” replied Calvin.Jason turned around. He was shocked to see a guy with one arm missing make his way towards him.“It’s you” Jason said, looking at Calvin in a way that made him wish he could move.Calvin continued walking until he could see the coagulated blood that once dripped from the bullet wound. Susie had heard and seen the boss take the final dip and was now spying on the two underneath the dock.“Do you want to die, Jason Fox?” asked Calvin, sticking his hand into his coat. Jason was sure he’d reveal the weapon meant to exact what everyone has been trying to succumb to all this night.“For…what I did to your friend?” he asked. Jason saw half the card Calvin revealed from his coat.“Go on right ahead. This cycle of hatred will never end until one of us is dead”Jason thought he was as confident as he looked. And just like any great assumption, it was cruising to be proven wrong. Calvin took the card right out.“Who said I was going to kill you?” he asked. Jason couldn’t help but detect a slightly more boasted enunciation on that “I”, taking his smile away altogether. Calvin lengthened the card towards Jason’s face, giving him time to read it.“I didn’t, I only implied that” replied Jason, looking first at him then back at the slice of construction paper he clutched.“What’s that?”“Before I saw this, I also thought vengeance was the only option for those who deserved it” he began.“You, however, think death is never enough, don’t you? You seem to have more in common with her than you give credit for”“What?! Don’t compare me to Eileen! I don’t kill people just to prove my love for-”Jason stopped his own words. He nearly forgot about what he did to Susie after Eileen ordered him to take her down on the spot.“Okay, I’m sorry but your friend had it coming! She was the boss’ ex subordinate! The least I could do was a favor to all those innocent members that died under her blade!”“She never deserved it any more than us!” yelled Calvin, getting unnerved by Jason’s attitude. “But if you still disagree, this is bound to change your mind”“Wait Calvin! Don’t give it to him!” yelled another voice.Both Calvin and Jason turned to the side of the pier to notice the other character that had emerged from below their standing point. Susie stood a few feet away from them, many times wetter yet just as thrilled.Calvin immediately dropped the card and looked at her as if it was the first time.“Susie” he said evenly, unable to release his real surprise at the sight of her this way “YOU’RE ALIVE!!”She didn’t forget she was initially pronounced dead, but it almost swayed from her how confusing it might’ve been around the time she was shot.The bullet went through more than just Kevlar apparently.Oh right!” she said, taking out the empty envelope from the spot it still rested “Before you ask, this was red frosting shredding out of the envelope, not blood”After Susie finished, she was surprisingly comprised by Calvin’s eagerness. She didn’t know whether to hug him back but still cherished this spontaneous feeling, one she hadn’t felt in a long time.He looked at her. Seeing her face made the moment more real than any other one he’d ever had. Her breathing identity stimulated him into a world of comfort he never thought existed.“I can’t believe it’s really you, after so long!” He replied, no longer containing his smile. Susie was also glad of this, although somewhat surprised after finding out he was missing an arm.“You were right! About everything! I’m sorry I doubted you!”Susie looked back at his face. She could tell he wouldn’t want any harm to come to her now that they both knew each other’s identities.“Don’t be, I was wrong too, I should’ve told you everything from the start” she replied, breaking away from the hug for a moment.She was speaking drastically at the moment, under the belief that he might have any hard feelings in spite of knowing who she was now. Apparently, Calvin was still too grateful to have her both alive and here to care about the technical aspects.“It’s okay, the years were mean to both of us, but now, we’re together again, and I’m just okay with that” he replied, trying to keep his eyes on her without declining her serious tone. Susie smiled again, knowing they deserved another moment of optimism.“Me too, I never knew how much I missed you”“Only when someone entrusts you to remember, without any reminders, do they truly care”“I know”Calvin looked deeper into her eyes. They both knew how much this moment exploded deep within them now that they were together again. Susie herself wanted Calvin to show her the love that they’d concealed but were too cynical to even speak. Nothing arbitrated within their paths now as their faces stood less than an inch apart, and their eyes closing.Nothing but Jason’s hold on the card Calvin dropped a minute ago.“Wait! I don’t think you should open that!” said Calvin, breaking away from Susie, who also directed her attention at the other guy.Jason shot a humorous tude at Calvin as he slid the card aside so it wouldn’t obstruct his view.“What? This? It’s just a love letter. Even if it’s the last, that’s not going to make it the first” he replied.“Are you sure?”“I’ve gotten plenty more from her, not one has ever changed my mind of her”Calvin wasn’t so sure about this. All he knew was that the card seemed to sway him enough to reconsider killing Eileen himself. Although he did it anyway, there was no telling how valuable it could’ve been if it was purely meant for Jason.Calvin ultimately decided to trust Jason, going out on a limb here. If Jason was capable of defeating Eileen internally, there wasn’t a chance a surprise attack would barely scratch him. Calvin looked back at Susie, who shrugged at first.I’d steer clear of it, but if it’s no skin off his bones, why not?Calvin shot his gaze back at Jason.“Suit yourself” he replied.Jason nodded as if prepped to open a present. He looked closely at the card, which had letters written on it in a cartoonish font. On the bottom was a photorealistic drawing of an Xbox 360 controller, while the top read: “This may be a joystick…”Jason would never confess he was excited, but he almost had to give her credit. One couldn’t stop hoping what a big deal this would be if it was their last work.Jason opened the card.The first half read “…but you’re a joy STICKING with.” In elvish lettering, featuring a stick figure version of Eileen, hugging Jason, who was holding the same controller. Jason couldn’t help but groan at this, even though his true feelings would’ve made him awe.Next he noticed the other half where in cursive, read on the bottom “I hope this is enough for Riviablo” and followed with her signed Initials. He almost imagined a Hallmark logo when he checked the back of the card. In spite of the effort put into this, Jason’s expectations were precisely met.As if Eileen wasn’t trying to be anything but honest this time. It was naïve of Calvin, whom almost thought this was going to hurt him in any way.“That’s it? Ha! Please! I thought she really had the hots for me this-” said Jason before he turned towards the couple’s direction.Susie and Calvin were making out. Their eyes were closed but everything else was wide open, no longer keeping their urges contained. And between this, they were still standing up. Normally, Jason would’ve pretend gagged at a simple kiss on the cheek.“-time”He watched them. He could go as far as let his grin fall, confused as to what to feel. Or maybe it wasn’t confusion. For so long, Jason didn’t know how comfortable he’d be if he just gave in to those sentiments. If he just stopped kidding himself and called it denial, it would all be more comfortable. But he wasn’t comfortable upon carrying this lump.A lump he should’ve faced long ago, one that said there wasn’t anything wrong with loving someone.“Sorry, did you say something?” asked Susie, pausing from the flash.Jason didn’t know how to reply. He took the card again and examined it. The very lump he expected to be gone by now didn’t budge. It only moved to his stomach, churning it around.The idea of them kissing really troubled him. With this, Calvin still wanted to make sure it had nothing to do with the card.“Are you okay, Jason?” he asked.It would only be harder for him if he hid it more and more. The feeling that he was so sure, which was almost aping that of finding himself at the presence of Denise, wasn’t going to go away.“I…don’t know” replied Jason, telling himself he could say better than that.“…I’m…starting to think she DID love me…”This somewhat offended Susie. She was not going to let the past’s confusion get in the way of this moment, even if it would change Jason’s self-esteem for the best.“Starting?” she asked sarcastically, enough to make Jason heed her more due to the potential anger. “She wanted me dead because of you! What are you saying?”“I don’t know!” said Jason, raising his arms up only to bring them back down. There was one detail from the card that he forgot to analyze.“What’s this? “Riviablo”?”The couple also replied with a puzzled gaze. Suddenly, Susie’s eyes flashed open before reaching into her back pocket.“OH” she said, taking the gift card into view and handing it to Jason.“THIS was attached to that sentence; hopefully the water didn’t damage it much”Jason took hold of the card. It was a Gamestop gift card, worth over sixty dollars. He looked at it and connected it with the space above the last signed sentences. He read it again.“I hope this is enough for Riviablo”“Gamestop?” Jason asked himself, before he put the last piece together “Hold on…Marcus must’ve told her…about-”“Riviablo: Realms of Requiem? Yeah, it just came out today!” Calvin interrupted, who already knew what it was about from the get go. He expected Jason to be more excited about the idea, even if his leg was still badly wounded.“Wow…that was awfully…nice…she really cared after all…” said Jason, almost at a loss of words, and ideas. He sighed, knowing this wasn’t as painful to acknowledge as he thought it was.Normally, anyone from The Bilk Division could simply pirate a game even before it went through post-production. Eileen was the boss, and she preferred to see patience less like an obstacle and more like the virtue it was.It shouldn’t have been a surprise for him, people did change. The romance behind this introduced Jason to the guilt he no longer resisted.“…I can’t believe it...This was all a huge mistake…oh God…”Calvin could already see the sadness swelling up in Jason’s face. For so long, Jason thought he had more feelings for Denise than he’d ever consider for Eileen if they weren’t even. With both of them dead now, the scale started to give a sounder rematch.Of course, Calvin knew it could be worse. If Jason knew what he did, there wouldn’t be any doubt about it. He had to hide the possibility with the greatest weapon used that night: empathy.“I think her weakness was meant for you” said Calvin, walking towards the probably miserable teen.“If it’s of any help, we didn’t find anything else”Jason directed his view back to Calvin. He retaliated the feeling by looking into his eyes. They were nothing except blue to him; a sincere cornea proved he wasn’t pulling any strings.It was during Jason’s effort to smile when he heard it echo.“Only when someone entrusts you to remember, without any reminders, do they truly…”Jason placed his attention back at the card, reaching around it as if there were a cheat code decoded within the markings. Calvin almost thought there might’ve been words in elvish he didn’t understand.“When…was she planning on giving me this?” asked Jason, sounding more anxious than he was before.The rain was coming back as they refused to let this debate go. This time, thunder accompanied it.Calvin was afraid of what would happen if he told the truth. Twisting it would be considered lying, but misleading him without truly compressing it was never fibbing as long as you knew how to hide the important part.“I think…you’re birthday” he went out on a limb, waiting for Jason to fully buy it.The scowl, along with his eyes squinting and his head recoiling a bit, said he didn’t. Neither did Susie, who never managed to know what was written on the card either.“My…BIRTHDAY? Really?” replied Jason, confused enough to look at the card as if the idea was even less likely than he’d expect. Sure Eileen was predictable, but that didn’t mean she’d dare to be bland as well.“Yeah, how did you know?” asked Susie, almost equally as bothered.Susie made Calvin see how the likelihood of revealing the clear cut message could be, unless he was too afraid to tell it all. She deserved, more than anything, the facts as they were, now that she was willing to stand by him again after so long.He really wanted to hide it, but he couldn’t. He promised himself to be more honest to Susie, no matter what it took.“I didn’t, I only implied that” said Calvin, refusing to drop the bewildered act.“When we took the envelope out, on that empty gray space inside the cake, it read “Don’t forget, August 13”, making me suspect-”Calvin couldn’t continue as he didn’t need to. Jason’s face said he heard enough. First his jaw dropped, and then his eyes seemingly wanted to pop out. Then he started wheezing for air, like the perfect asthma attack if not having one.Soon his spirit was possessed head to toe by denial. It was amazing how potent it would be to his perception. He couldn’t even come to a decision anymore.To think both Calvin and he knew regret before.“No…NO…NOO!!...” he screeched, shaking his head aggressively, as if desiring to punch the boards out of the pier. It went on like that, stronger but with a higher manner in his already juvenile pitch.“NOOOOOHOHOHOOOOOO!!!!”Susie didn’t know what to do now that Calvin did enough. She tried reading his mind like she’d done a couple of times, hoping to find legible words.Instead, she found a picturesque flashback of him, still disguised as a member, paying a visit to someone.“Just so you know” screamed Charlie. “Vengeance doesn’t always represent death!”Jason stopped on his tracks yet again, giving Charlie another slight grin. He turned around and walked back to Charlie’s spot.He stopped once he was standing on the same place where they initially met eye to eye.“What do you mean?” He asked.Charlie could’ve tricked Jason into walking through a maze of logical decisions that would change his mind. That’s what he used to do when he was too young to trick his own classmates in recognizing the darker, irreparable side of life that could never be cured.Now he just wanted to imply they wouldn’t need to before it was too late.“There’s no inclination to the path of spite, as longs as it’s performed for the same intentions” he said.“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly, they are ravening wolves. Matt 7:15”Jason tilted its head as Charlie quoted the scripture. The last thing he wanted was to deal with a religious fanatic.“Bible verses, eh?” Jason replied “Newsflash, I’m not even going to kill it”“That’s right! You’re off to do something worse”“What’s worse than giving one death?”Charlie leaned forward for Jason, making him pay extra focus to this, assuming he could see him enough.“Giving one a reason to allow it”Jason could’ve fulfilled Charlie’s wish to stray away from his initial plan. That would’ve meant not even Charlie knew better by now. The only way he could give ripe food for thought was by replacing his words with humor.That’s why he never stopped smiling.“In that case, I lied, I WAS planning on killing it” said Jason as he twirled back around and walked away from him.“Thanks for giving me the better idea”Charlie laughed quietly as he watched Jason meet his expectations.“Why thank me? Once this is over, you’ll be the only one left to blame” bellowed Charlie before Jason walked far enough to get concealed by the tip-off from the urban sprawl.He almost felt sorry for him.The flashback disappeared in a fade to white into the real location. It was hard to believe, there wasn’t a chance of penetrating Jason’s mind unless they did it physically.But looking at him was depressing enough. Even with the rain Susie could tell he was crying amongst the constant head shaking and loud utters of simple decadence.“Is…that it?” asked Susie, who looked back at Calvin with a blast of doubt before directing her attention back at Jason. She still had to know, even if he was in great pain.“August 13, is that your birthday?”Jason tried to awaken from his tantrum to look at the couple. Seeing them together immediately represented the love he refused to take and would never have.They knew what they wanted, even when it was right in front of them the whole time. This could’ve been Eileen and him happily instead of separated by useless desires. One desire, however, did come true for Jason.“You and I could’ve been so much more than a love/hate relationship that’s run its course…”“It…” said Jason, trying not to stammer when shaking restlessly. He looked up at the sky dejectedly. The card she made, representing her real feelings, and now his, deteriorated in the dampness. He knew it was all the same in the real world too. When she was alive, he knew neither one of them had any choice whatsoever.“…when someone entrusts you to remember, without any reminders, do they truly care”Jason knew he’d only love Eileen when she was dead.“…It WAS HER’S!!”With that said, he broke apart with the rain, accepting eternal blame. Susie and Calvin didn’t know what to do. Even as it was over, there was so much healing that remained to be seen. Susie couldn’t stand to see Jason sob his eyes out, even when she was convinced how he caused Eileen to commit suicide.She never suspected it was Calvin who did it to exact default retribution after what she supposedly did to her. In reality, Calvin didn’t know this himself. There was nothing they could do. Jason continued to weep, throughout dawn.And much after the storm diminished.()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()
Yonemi Kamon = Anime Sylvester Stallone
Erm, BOO YAH! I’m done! After three years of working on this ginormous story, I finally flat-out finished writing “The Sect”! It wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it. Now I can rest in peace.Stay frosty!
© 2017 Yuku. All rights reserved.