Refuse to Fall
A/N: Hello there, readers! Thank you for the reviews last chapter, and I'm sorry for such a long wait.
My life as an intern now is very tedious— the amount of paperwork I've been given is really really disheartening, to say the least. *gloom*
–Chapter Two: Something Real-
The first thing Ralph does is run straight into Simon, throwing his arms about the boy's neck and joyfully knocking him down onto the wet shoreline. The touch of his rough, calloused fingers on on Simon's smooth, cool skin dissolves any and all of the unwanted doubt in his mind as they roll about together on the gritty white sand.
Ralph continues to hug the boy tighter and tighter as they come to an abrupt stop but seconds later...
'He's real! He's real! He's real!' Ralph shouts with jubilee, only inside of his head because he is too happy to form the words out loud. Ralph can feel fresh tears prickling the edge of his eyes 'He's real...'
Simon pats his bare backside with a calm, quiet reassurance. Seawater licks the edges of their arms and legs, and despite the start of his close-to-hysteric sobbing, Ralph has never felt safer in his life...
"Simon..." he whispers. "Why are you still alive...?"
It's 'how,' he's meant to say, but Simon doesn't mind at all. Simon never minds.
"Because I didn't want to die." he says simply, letting Ralph continue to hug him and cry into his chest. An onslaught of tears slide down the curve of his ribcage, though between the wetness of the sea and the wetness of Ralph's eyes Simon cannot tell which is which...
"Oh, Simon..." Ralph sobs. "You have no idea..."
Jack Merridew sits alone atop his throne of sand, staring down at a couple of scuttling hermit crabs before crushing the very first one he can catch with the heel of his foot.
'This is Ralph.' he thinks, watching the insides ooze out of the shining, shattered shell.
He is in the process of cleaning his foot when Roger strides casually into the hut. The little lines of sunlight filtering through the leaves above them does nothing to illuminate the boy's face, instead making him darker and more menacing than he already is.
'Looks like war-paint.' Jack thinks offhandedly.
"Roger." he nods.
"So, what do you want?" he asks, precise and to the point.
Roger stares straight ahead, cocking his head to one side as he speaks.
"I want to kill Ralph." he says bluntly, and at this Jack nearly falls off of his 'throne.'
"Is that not the point of this whole hunt?" Roger asks monotonously.
"Yes..." he says slowly. "...but I still don't understand why you would want to kill him personally."
'He's mine.' Jack adds silently, glaring poison-tipped daggers at Roger.
A curtain of silence falls over them as an unspoken challenge lingered in air...
'You haven't kill anyone yet.' Jack hears, though Roger's lips have not moved in the least. 'The others killed Simon together, and I've killed Piggy. You've...only killed pigs.'
Jack clenches his fists.
'...and you couldn't even do that at first!'
"No." he grits. "When we catch that little wanker, he's mine. You hear me?"
Roger's eyes remain blank.
"You hear me?" Jack snarls, punching his fist through the flimsy wall of sticks behind him.
The brooding boy replies to this with but a slight, barely-there sneer to his tone.
"Of course." he says. "Of course, chief. I should've known that you would've wanted Ralph all to yourself."
"Tell me about it when you're done with him." Roger says simply, as he slips out of the darkness into the sunshine outside.
Though no one can see it, Jack looks as if he's been slapped across the face.
Outside, the littleuns stop their activities and flinch as they hear a fearsome bellow erupt from the inside of Jack's hut. They turn, only to see it being destroyed violently from the inside-out: twig by twig and leaf by leaf...
"Honest to God-"
"-Maurice! We're so sorry-"
"-we didn't mean to be-"
"-so freaking useless!" Sam finishes, fat tears of frustration threatening to fall down his face.
Eric is glassy-eyed as well, regularly rubbing his nose into Sam's shoulder as the twins continue to babble on almost incoherently.
"We'll take care of you—"
"-we promise! We won't-"
"-let you end up-"
Maurice winces at their increasing volume, stopping the two boys before their already misplaced guilt could snowball into outright hysteria.
"Guys, it's alright. You did a good job." he says gently, using his one good arm to point to the makeshift bandages across his torso.
It seems like the wrong thing to do. Samneric stare at him –at the ruby-red blood seeping to the top layer of cloth- then at each other before bursting into loud, simultaneously distraught wails.
Maurice feels a headache coming on from the noise. He bluntly tells them this and they sniffle, making pitiful and half-hearted attempts to pull themselves together before excusing themselves from the hut altogether.
"Wait!" he calls.
"Yes, M-Maurice?" Eric blubbers.
"Since you guys are still allowed to go outside...please, please go check on Henry for me. It's the only thing that I really want you to do..."
They walk down the beach together, muttering to themselves and to each other and glancing worriedly every now and then back to Maurice's hut.
"We haven't seen him in a while, have we?"
Sam shakes his head.
"No, we haven't. When was the last time that we saw him?"
"I don't know. We said goodnight to him yesterday, didn't we?"
"Yes...but we left until morning, remember?"
"Do you think...do you think something's happened while we were gone?"
Sam blinks tiredly, not wanting to answer; because Eric already knows the answer.
"We don't know for sure." Eric whispers.
"But...he wasn't there when we brought Maurice back into camp." Sam says quietly. "And you know that Henry would have been the first one there if it was Maurice. They're-"
"-they're best friends, I know."
Eric looks away.
"Still...we have to give it a shot, for Maurice."
"Then let's go." says Sam, his eyes downcast.
"So, that's what happened..." says Simon, smiling serenely as they sit together on the blue-and-white shoreline . "It's impressive, though, how you managed to travel this far with a twisted ankle..."
Ralph grins sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head with one arm as a pale pink flush slowly overcomes his boyish features.
"Thanks! I didn't even feel it- kind of. I mean, it still hurt, but I didn't want to think about it at the time or else..."
"...or else you couldn't take down Jack?"
Ralph blinks in surprise, though he knows he shouldn't.
Simon knows everything; as he always has.
"Yeah." he says finally, gazing up at the endless array of passing clouds. "Like I told you, Jack was pretty much terrorizing everyone in camp while you were gone..."
"I don't think so." Simon muses, suppressing a small giggle at the bewildered look on Ralph's face as he snaps back to attention.
"Did you not hear what I just told you...?" he asks incredulously. "That guy is demon!"
"Only to you." Simon replies easily. "Before I 'died' everyone was getting along pretty well, though there was a lot of tension. However, it was basically you and Piggy versus the entire camp at first..."
Ralph stops, his right eye twitching uncontrollably in a rather comical way as Simon laughs outright.
"Whose side are you on?" Ralph asks exasperatedly, tugging on the wayward tuffs of blond hair on his head.
"Relax! This is only what I think..."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, but-"
He stares at Simon in impatiently, annoyed at having been interrupted so soon. Simon continues.
"You've only noticed his flaws because you had Piggy, but also because you were always on the receiving end." Simon says seriously. "From the start, you two have been almost obsessively fixated on each other- though Jack moreso than you..."
"'Obsessively?'" Ralph mutters. "That's a big stretch to say..."
"But it's true! I've always wondered why that was. I mean, used to think that it was because you so vigorously opposed him every step of the way, but if he's still chasing after you now then..."
He trails off, hesitant to continue.
"...then what?" Ralph asks suspiciously. "Simon, tell me!"
Simon shakes his head.
"I don't know." he frowns.
Ralph snorts, crossing his arms.
"It's not that you don't know; it's that you're not sure."
They gaze at each other then; Ralph at Simon and Simon at Ralph, awkward for the first time in their short acquaintance.
"You're right." he says quietly. "I'm not sure. But..."
Simon shifts a bit before standing up.
"...when I am, I promise, I'll be sure to tell you."
Ralph squints in annoyance.
"Now you've made me wonder. Now I won't stop thinking about it!"
"Then maybe you'll figure it out before I do?"
"Simon!" he whines, his voice taking on a whiny inflection. "C'mon!"
The delicately thin adolescent begins making his way into the water. Ralph scrambles to his feet to follow, yelping as his ankle gives a venomous throb.
"So they're all still scared of the beast." Simon says aloud, his gentle voice unusually strong with conviction.
"Trying to switch topics." mutters Ralph. "You really are no fun."
And then he stumbles, nearly tripping over his own two feet before Simon catches his arm and steadies him, flashing that mystique little smile once more. Ralph flushes, embarrassed at his close fall and straightens himself up before coughing awkwardly.
"But don't you want to know why I am?" Simon asks gently, and at this Ralph stops and puts a thoughtful finger to his chin.
"Well..." he says hesitantly. "I suppose. But I'll have you know, Simon, that the real beast was Jack all along."
Simon smiles sadly, pointing up at the sky.
'It's ironic,' he thinks.
They are standing here, between the places of both his two greatest hopes and his two greatest fears; the sea and the sky.
They are standing here and there is nothing there.
They are standing here and they are oh-so-close.
They are standing here and they are so far-far-away...
"No, Ralph. The real beast...was a dead parachutist."
And nothing seems real anymore.
'Not that it ever did in the first place.'
(end chapter three)
A/N: Umm...so my writing instincts told me to end it here.
I'm really sorry this was such a short and boring chapter, but I promise that the next one will be longer! I know I've been neglecting Jack's part in this too, so of course there will be more of him soon as well. The things that have been hinted and why Simon is alive will also be specified later on, don't worry.
So thanks for sticking with me, and don't forget to hit the review button below! :)