Claud takes some unwanted and distressing news in the most dramatic way possible.

Initial Setting: Sigurd's house, then to the beach

Timeline: Preceded by Weary Followed by Stuck In Reverse


“When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves.” — Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

He walked through the house (or at least he assumed he was walking--he could barely feel his body) and gathered up the small pieces of his life that had, for the past few months, found a comfortable resting place here. Toothbrush, shoes, socks. Was he asleep? Toothpaste, razor, hoodie. Had he slept? Wallet, mess kit, pocket knife. Everything had its place, and he knew them all. Dog tag and ring in the jewelry box, collar in the drawer in the walk-in closet. Guitar--was this really happening? Guitar... he stifles back a sob. The guitar would stay here. He runs a hand over its polished surface, fingers gently brushing the strings. No, he wouldn’t let any harm come to it, it was safer here. Far away from him. Change of clothes, dance shoes, lighter. He couldn’t think of anything else. “If you find anything you want gone, just leave it on the front porch in a box, I’ll come pick it up.” Long pause. “Please take care of yourself Sigurd.”

It was getting colder, the sun setting early and rising late in the morning. He’d lived through weather like this before, he’d survive. As he walked, he thought of what was, and what could have been, and by the time he reaches the beach he’s shaking. It was deserted here, too cold for most people. Sitting he tries to come to grips with what’s happening. He can’t. He can barely think, his brain is so muddled from fatigue, headache, heartache... He was scared and alone and he did this to himself. Resting his forehead on his knees he imagines what it’d be like to slip under the dark water of the ocean, never to surface. He recalled a trip to the beach, back when they were young, how the waves pushed him over, pushed him down, and how he struggled and struggled to move past them until he lay crying and defeated on the sand.

Let it push you down. Don’t even try.

He mused on what it would be like to be beyond feeling. To die, or swim out so far past the reach of the broadcast waves and truly be alone. Part of him recoiled in utter horror. The other part stared into the abyss and welcomed the relief. True disconnect. Not the novocaine hum of vibe-suppressing drugs that pushed feeling into your peripheral vision--a constant reminder that it would come back sooner than you’d like.

When next he wakes the water’s lapping at his feet and a freezing wind is blowing right through him. He stands, disoriented, alarmed, and then he remembers no one’s waiting for him to come home.

The next few days... weeks? are a blur. He dodges the main population, working his way down to the southern end of the island where the vacant underwater tramway is. He tries everything he can think of to break through the barricades, but there’s not much one person with a touchy-feely vibe can do against thick metal doors. With nothing more to do he passes the time trying to block out the whispers of other people’s minds he can still hear, with little success. Aside from the occasional bandito or fellow vagrant he’s alone in the tram station. People avoided him at least, and for that small mercy he is grateful.

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