torn edges [carter] Dec 8, 2019 19:03:34 GMT -5
Post by Jacynth Voclain D4F [Tom] on Dec 8, 2019 19:03:34 GMT -5
TW: Mentions of suicide, grief, sorrow, bad self talk, etc.
The joker card smiles back to him with a bitter grin.
A flimsy card of a joker where death still stares back at him every day, the bitter taste of metallic still a memory between his lips. The spear entering his heart and the only sight being an angel in the form of Maxwell Temple, it's all still fresh upon his skin despite the number of years that have passed. There's always a dream or two where he wakes up to those eyes again and again, but he's afraid to carry the weight of those eyes staring back at him with a simple sort of pity or comfort that he didn't even know he needed. A chill runs up his spine as he stares at the joker on the bottom of the deck popping it back into the box and into his pocket where Death can still reside over him, always threatening and never exactly there.
Guilt rots the soul.
Carter's seen enough guilt in every form to know the feeling in his chest of guilt for not reaching out to Max as much as he should have, but who could blame him. He was still a ghost walking among the living. Hell, they both were. Despite the still silent ache of wishing there could be something more, he can't help to pull away, no matter the advice multiple people have given him. Jack staring at him expectantly, as if he knew Carter's crush would come up, but god did he not want to talk with Jack about something as complicated as that.
They've already been through enough.
He didn't want to annoy his brother.
Aranica's had been a nice escape from the monsters inside his own head, but he's learned to find a new way now, especially with the garden that is now flourishing bigger and bigger with every year. He's finally figured out when's the best time to plant the onions he's been desperately wanting to grow for the neighbors. Every day, he's there now in the greens and soil, tending to new plants and old ones as a means to deal with everything. A few years having passed leaving him with a new sense of maturity and the scars to cover his chest and ear. That's why he had spent the day at Aranica's while she had to deal with the reaping again.
A delivery of carrots for the rabbits, which kind of freak him out, but also are rather wholesome. The first time he had met them sent him spiraling just a fair bit, but he steadied himself in order to push the fear down into his stomach and pet them, soon enough after a year or so, he learned they weren't like the monsters that killed him. Dropping the bag of carrots on the counter, he focuses on a spot on the wall, where he lets himself wonder for a second, letting himself breath for a second as he feels himself grow tired, but sleep wouldn't come.
Instead, he pushes himself to a screen and watches the reapings, worried for Larceny, Auto, Wander, and all the other eightieth tributes. Eyes watching over every reaping as they slowly happening, knowing Larceny Theft had survive a reaping for once without another young boy sacrificing their life for him. Relief almost washed over him, but he knew never to give an opportunity for weakness. Eyes watching as the District Four escort calls out Wander Sibley, giving himself a heart attack. Wander couldn't.
Anger fills him with a wave of red as he almost dares to rush out of Aranica's home, but instead he waits with a held breath staring at the screen. Fists clenched in frustration as he can feel himself almost crying at the memory of a hug that they had both needed so desperately back then. It happens so fast that he can barely keep himself steady. A voice as someone else takes place instead of Wander and his breath releases in a relief that washes over his skin as he lets his heart beat rapidly into the quiet space of Aranica's home.
After watching for a long while, Twelve's reaping breaks his heart. Reggie and Nico's moment of chaos that makes his chest ache once again. Fingers tense at his side as he feels the tears for someone else's sorrow filling his chest. He'd call Aranica once they made it to the capitol to make sure Nico would be okay. Despite what the capitol may think, Nico wasn't someone he hated or disliked. He understood what he went through in the games, despite killing Carter's sister. There's no morals when it comes to the games, despite what he tried to believe in.
"Have me instead. Hurt me again. I can do it. I’ll go again."
Nico's words sting against Carter's chest as he knew what it was like to feel like that. Once they got home, he'd have to talk with Nico, whether it meant getting screamed at over cried on, he'd do whatever needed to be done. A sigh from his lips as the reaping ends and he finally can feel relief washing over his skin, but also guilt; deep in the pit of his stomach. He should be dead. Reggie Blume should be able to live. Eyes glancing to Flounder, the beta, with those memories of Cedar Halt. A silence filling him as he knew other who deserved to be able to live and not him, yet he sits here with his heart heavy and mind jumbled.
Hours pass by at Aranica's, Jack had came an hour ago to get him, but there's only so much he can handle in a day. A family dinner wasn't going to make things feel better. The thoughts pouring down his skin like the scars on his body. Not good enough. Not worth it. Doesn't deserve it. Deep breaths and a heavy heart; he breathes the words to try and combat the feeling, but it's like talking to a wall. There's no reply. No feeling. No change. Night comes with the smell of spices and vegetables for a stew he's been brewing. The only thing to soothe his thoughts for a bit, making something, doing something, and distracting himself from everything.
The joker sits upon the counter across from him, staring with that bitter smile. The smile reminding him of the depiction of death staring back at him. Death would have been easier. Death would have been so much easier, but he knew that was the wrong thing to think about. Wooden coffins and stone graves, he's seen enough of them in the rain to never want to see anymore of them. The eerie feeling of the graveyard where he still passes by Mitchell's grave wondering what he would do in his shoes. The memory of Jack and his talk in front of their brother's grave still filling his head, until it's broken by the sound of a call on the phone.
"M-Max is dead."
The phone clutters to the ground.
His own heartbeat echoes in his chest as he knew this number, he knew the voice, and he knew they wouldn't lie. The silence fills him for a moment as he grabs for the phone again, roughly and with no shame at all. Max. Max was the strongest of them. Fingers grip the phone tight to his ear now as he feels his breaths going shallower and shallower. Panic in his vision as he looks to Flounder for some sort of comfort, but not met with any. A shift of his eyes as he lets his voice ring in a panicked tone.
"No. No. H-He can't be."
As soon as the words leave his lips, the other end cuts with the sound of static that echoes across his heart. Fingers tighten around the phone before he curses under his breath and slams it back into the receiver. Shallow breaths and panic fills his body as he slumps against the wall in a heaviness. Tears daring to fall from his eyes as he holds himself together, just barely. This couldn't be real. It wasn't real. The feeling of a spear stabbing through his chest fills him again as he's tense and losing himself to the panic and his breaths going to shallow as a panic attack pulls at the edges of his vision, blurring the area around him.
As the panic continues, Carter can already feel himself standing up and pushing past the seating area, turning off his stew, and leaving everything else there as he pushes through the door. District Twelve seemed to be quiet with the world unknown to what was occurring in Carter's own head. Feet taking him towards the District Square as fast as he can, not even glancing at the people around him. Fingers tightening on his coat keeping him warm in the shrill of a chilling breeze. The evening glow of the moon filling his chest with panic.
The District Square is both filled with life and lifeless at the same time. The reaping still holding an effect upon the Twelve residents. Carter didn't care about any of them. No, he could only remember the way he wanted to hug Maxwell Temple. He could only think of the fear of the truth. Never having been able to speak the words to the world. Everything's spinning and he's pushing himself harder. Fingers balled into fists as he pushes into the train station where peacekeepers are set up on watch.
It takes seconds for them to stop in front of him. Eyes glancing at him with a darkness that he didn't have time to deal with, so instead he swings for the shortest guy. The adrenaline and memory of doing this to Hellion and Eve in the bloodbath coming back to him. The swing connects with an accuracy that he even was scared of. The true nature of his own panic as he feels the anger and the emotions bubbling to the surface. He's pushing as hard as he can, fists swinging and legs kicking trying to get to the train.
He needed to see Max.
Max couldn't be dead.
Someone shoves him to the ground with the weight of the world surrounding him. Jack's bright eyes staring into Carter's broken heart. Anger bubbles in Carter as he fights to get out of his grasp, but Jack continues, pulling Carter away from the peacekeepers who haven't regained any sort of semblance again. The train station disappearing behind him as Carter feels Jack's own glare from the back of his head. Panic still setting in as his breath begin getting more and more shallow. The world bleeds around the edges as he stops in an alley with Jack, trying to escape his grasp finally.
"What the fuck was that, Carter?"
"H-he.... I-I.... c-can't... b-b-breathe."
Jack's face shifts until he's counting breaths and placing Carter's hand into his chest. The thrum of his brother's heartbeat beginning to calm down whatever panic still resides in his system as he feels the world blurring back to normal once again. Jack's angry, but the way he's calmed down more makes Carter feel safer, but the anger still echoes across his hands. The sorrow begins to lull it's way into his body as he breaths the air, tears don't fall yet. A breath of air as he hears Jack continue.
"Now tell me what the fuck that was?"
Max. Max. Max. Max.
"H-He's.... He's dead, I-I...."
They dance around words as Carter can feel the panic and sorrow filling his body as he slams his palm into the wall behind him that's keeping his balance. Death. Mourning. Loss. They've been through so much, but he can't believe. He can't. Death had tried once, but failed and now, now there's nothing he can do. Instead he breaks down in tears as Jack looks at him so lost and not here that nothing comes out, until anger fills Carter's veins and the panic fills once more. The emptiness filling his stomach up.
"M-Max.... He's dead. He's fucking dead. I-I..... I never..."
Jack's finally reacted now as his brother wraps him in a hug, holding him as his resolve begins to fall. Tears breaking as Carter grasps desperately to Jack's shirt, trying to keep himself steady, trying not to fall into the depression or anxiety or panic in his body. The tears of a boy with a legacy of graves upon his shoulders. The way he swears Aranica and Arbor look at him as if he were meant to be Cedar and not Carter. The way Nico Thorne's heartache will come and he'll look at him the same way. The sorrows filling his chest as he'll never get to tell Max that he loved him. Never get to experience a happiness with Maxwell Temple, all that will be left is a gravestone and the joker's bitter stare.
"I loved him, Jack. I loved him so much.... I-I.... I don't know..... how I'm going to..."
"This is too much."
Tears fall even harder with the reminder that he's one of the first to know. Despite the way his brain is screaming at him that this isn't real, he could tell that was Jordan Temple, the brother of Max telling him the truth. Like dominoes, he's the first push, the first fall, and he's going to have to tell the others, whether he'd like to or not. The capitol would release the news sooner or later and it would be better for them to hear from one of their own and not someone like Glamour Kinkade or President Snow. Deep breaths as he lets the tears fall for now.
"I love him, Jack..."
The memory of the spear and Max's small laugh filling his ears.
"I love him and he'll never know..."
They stay there with Carter's words mumbling under his breath, crying for way too long before Jack pulls him up and forces them to head to Aranica's home. Silently entering the home, Jack sets himself to finishing the stew that they both eat an hour later. Carter finds himself crying in the seating area, letting himself grief, knowing it'll be awhile before he could even move away from this room and feel again. The joker in his hands as he stares for way too long at the bitter smile.
The card rips as he pulls the edges and tears and tears until he can't feel, until the bitter smile disappears.
The joker torn to shreds just like his own heart and mind.
He didn't deserve to live.
All that'll be left in Carter's memories are gravestones and a lost love.
It tastes just as bitter.