Life Is…So Unfair

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Eh, ehhhhhh? See what I did there?

“Just start the review, Madigan.”

Okee dokey. Spoiler Warnings as well.

Last time, we reviewed Episode Four of Life Is Strange and gave our guesstimations as to what was really happening behind the scenes. So let’s see how they turned out.

First of all

  • It’s not a rape dungeon, IT’S ART!

“I hate Jefferson so much.”

Yeah…me too. At least he wasn’t raping the girls, despite what we thought last time. Although when you think about it, a graphic depiction of sexual abuse in the story probably would’ve been a major mood whiplash from the relatively lighthearted atmosphere we had been getting throughout the game. And it’s also worth noting that there wasn’t anything explicitly stating that what was going on was rape. We were the ones who screamed out RAPE DUNGEON! when it was first revealed. Needless to say though, it’s a relief that no one had to go through that horror.

“Yeah, he was just binding them up and taking photos of their drugged out faces. That’s not creepy at all.”

Speaking of which…I feel like Evil Hipster Bastard got derailed slightly. Yeah, his true nature was creepy as hell, but it was slightly cliche too. I dunno, I was thinking that he’d be revealed as the Magnificant Bastard Type rather than a younger hotter version of the Mad Doctor from the Cat Lady. 

“I thought that it fit. He’s always been this cool type who is so passionate about photography. That’s one hipster stereotype, and on the other end of the spectrum, we have this know-it-all who thinks he’s above it all and is the greatest artist who ever artisted.”

Oh god, Jefferson’s a whiny teenager. 

“So are you.”

I’ll admit to that, but I don’t go around drugging and kidnapping people. I don’t get off on the suffering of others.

“Yeah, you’re just into BDSM, hypnosis and sensory deprivation.”

Problem?

“…no.”

Good, because we’re getting off track. Jefferson is a psychopathic dickweed, and I enjoy kinky sex, so we’ll leave it there and move on. So it turns out that Jefferson was manipulating Nathan, though they had more of a father-son relationship than a blackmailer-blackmailee like we predicted. And he was setting Nathan up as the scapegoat for the whole shebang, though it turns out that Hipster Draco was responsible for the murder component of it. The first one, anyway. He ended up overdosing Rachel after kidnapping her, after trying to emulate his Evil Hipster Teacher/Daddy Surrogate. We find out that Nathan got killed offscreen for being too messy, which explains how Evil Hipster got ahold of his phone, and how he’ll be framed for the murders of Max, Chloe and potentially Victoria if she ends up in the Dark Room with you. 

So we’re gonna jump to an alternate timeline.

  • San Fransisco 

So, after getting our diary back, we first get ahold of one of Max’s selfies from the first day of school. Well, our first day of school. It’s surprisingly easy to bring Evil Hipster down, all we do is send a message to David and he gets Jefferson arrested. At the same time, we get to hug Kate and tell her things will be okay -I managed to overlook it’s corniness for the time being- and we hand in our awesome photo and win the Everyday Heroes award, and history changes so that we’re heading to San Fransisco for the gallery opening. All is happy.

“Ahem, allow me to rewind and show you exactly what happened when we were playing through this segment.”

*flashback*

Cat: …Where’s the tornado?

Max: Oh, everything’s perfect, I can finally relax-

Cat: DON’T GIVE ME THAT SHIT, THERE’S STILL A FUCKING TORNADO HEADING TO ARCADIA, HOW ARE YOU JUST FORGETTING THIS??

Daniel: *eats Cat’s popcorn*

Max: *convenient vision of tornado* Oh noes, I forgot about my vision of a tornado which I had been stressing about all week!

Cat: Thank GOD! Can we go back to saving the world now? Okay, rewind to- HOLY SHIT, WHAT’S HAPPENING TO REALITY?

*back to present*

…I was a little upset.

“It was hilarious.”

So we end up back in Arcadia Bay after destroying our photo. Still in the rape dungeon with Evil Hipster. He’s gonna kill us. But then, IT’S DAVID! HE’S COME TO SAVE THE- oh, right, we have to rewind over and over again to keep him from dying on us. It gets hilarious after a while; it’s hard to keep the suspense and tension when you have to go through all the stupid ways that David can die. 

“Kick the cart!”

xD *kicks it an inch across the floor*

“For an ex army officer, that was kind of piss poor. So after playing an unexpected round of Dumb Ways To Die, Jefferson’s on the ground and David asks where Chloe is. We had to rewind for this one; it wasn’t that we didn’t want to send Jefferson to hell a little bit early, but David’s reaction to hearing that Chloe had been killed was too much for our emotions to handle.”

And I was scared that David would end up shooting himself afterwards. 

“So we lied. Though of course, Cat over here insists that a better lie would’ve been to say that she doesn’t know, that she got separated at the party before getting drugged by Professor Creepy.”

Eh, that’s just me. We leave David to gather evidence in the bunker so that we can go get the photo we need from Warren to save Chloe. One thing I don’t get is how David got here in the first place; at first I thought that we had still sent him the message in the San Fransisco timeline, but the raid took place the day after we sent the text according to the photo timeline. So he found out about the rape dungeon on his own? It’s kinda a plot hole for me. 

“Roll with it.”

Fine. It turns out that Max actually does know how to drive, and we drive out towards the diner, where Warren is. On the way, we receive a voice message from Nathan which broke my heart and made me cry.

“…I’m gonna take over. You go get a tissue.”

Thank you…

“We get about halfway before we have to make our way on foot. We save people thanks to our rewind powers, and we finally meet up with the other guy Cat has a crush on, along with Chloe’s mom and Frank. Cat lied again so that Frank wouldn’t lose it after hearing exactly how Rachel died, and after talking to Warren, we came to the conclusion that Max’s time travelling is the cause of the tornado. By this point, it’s obvious that the universe is trying to correct itself after Max went back in time to save Chloe; the universe has been trying to kill her all week, this tornado is just a more catastrophic measure. But Max isn’t that far ahead yet. We save Princess Chloe and end up heading towards the lighthouse with her before we end up in a series of parallel universes which aim to drive us crazy, with creepy versions of our peers judging us and torturing us about our decisions, and-

Wait a minute.

Cat? Take your time, go make yourself a cup of tea.

“Okay, now that I’ve put the Cat out for a while…there’s a hilariously meta joke about their infamous bottle puzzle from Episode Two, which I have to appreciate. Games which make fun of themselves are awesome games. We meet an alternate version of ourselves who accuses us of being a manipulative little shit who messes with time in order to get people to like us, which I imagine that Cat would appreciate for character development reasons. And then there’s a sequence which goes on forever where we have to go through everything we did with Chloe throughout the series before we wake up with Chloe at the lighthouse. And that was exhausting as fuck. Cat, you take over.”

  • Final Choice

Okay. But don’t drink my tea. Ah, we’re here. So after all that, our suspicions from last episode turn out to be correct. We can either save Arcadia Bay by going back in time and letting Nathan shoot Chloe, or say “Fuck Arcadia Bay!” and ride off with Chloe into the sunset. It shouldn’t be hard to guess which we chose. Saving Chloe would’ve only been delaying the inevitable; the universe would’ve gone on trying to remedy the inconsistency until Chloe died, and at the cost of too many people. We’d have more and more natural disasters trying to wipe them both out, and everything would be fucked up. And as we said before, letting Chloe die then would resolve all the problems we’ve faced this series, although it would mean that our decisions in the end wouldn’t matter, which sucks. And we finish with Chloe’s funeral…where there’s still the evil blue butterfly of doom resting on her coffin. End scene.
“Okay Madigan, we’re nearly done. Any last words?”

Two. Rachel Amber.

“…okay, you’re gonna have to keep going.”

Throughout the series, I kept waiting and waiting for Rachel Amber to show up. She had been so raved about and so built up, and I expected her to appear during the big hallucination. And there was the deer! It’s obviously Rachel’s spirit animal, which ended up directing us to her grave. So…what? Is she really just an ordinary human? I’m disappointed.

“That’s why I think that season two will revolve around her and her respective supernatural ability.”

Hopefully. I need resolution.

And with that, we’re done with the recap. Personally, I enjoyed this series. Most of the music from the soundtrack is now on my iPad, I loved the characters, the concept, and overall, it was just a beautiful game. 

“Except your choices don’t matter in the end.”

Yeah…I’m hoping that they will in season two, if they choose to make one. It would be cool to see our choices from season one carry over, but if it’s following Rachel Amber, then that would be unlikely. Unless it involves Rachel somehow rewinding before her death to make sure that there’s enough clues for Max and Chloe to find out what happened to her.

“Please write a fanfiction about that.”

Ugh…but I’m tired. I need more tea. And with that, I’m done ranting. Also, it’s worth mentioning that I turned 18 two months ago. So I’m now legally responsible for my crappy decisions. I can also legally sleep with Daniel. 

“Yay.”

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Dark Rooms and Butterflies

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Okay, time to get Life is Strange out of my system.

Namely, Episode 4. 

Daniel, what are your thoughts to the very last scene in the latest episode?

“…that sick fuck.”

Yeah…me too. 

Okay, from this point, we’re going to spoil everything, so if you haven’t seen the episode, take a deep breath, and back away. Mmkay?

Okay! Let’s go Daniel!

“…where?”

You know! Episode! Thoughts!

“You’re the English buff. You give your thoughts. I’ll just pop in every now and then as the obligatory fanservice guy.”

See? You’re better at this than you think. Ugh…fine.

Sooooooo, this episode’s major plot twists, along with my guesstimations.

  • The Dark Room Recap

This episode involves our favourite hipster and her BFF- whom she kills in another dimension by the way- friends once more after Chloe’s tantrum at the end of last episode, as they go on to investigate Rachel’s disappearance. Everything’s all butterflies and rainbows, including a crowning moment of awesome for Warren who punches Hipster Draco Malfoy in the face, when all of a sudden, BAM! Rape dungeon. 

More specifically, apocalypse bunker used as a rape dungeon. Either way, seedy shit is happening down there. Chloe finds out that Nathan/HDM receives his drug deliveries at an isolated barn on the outskirts of town, so she and Maxlock Holmes head out to investigate. After searching the barn, we it. Duct tape, creepy sex art, sedatives in the form of needle injection (squick), and the real kicker, photos. Of Rachel and Kate Marsh. That’s not all. In the midst of all these rape dungeon photos, there’s one photo taken at a garbage dump, with Rachel is lying on top of a freshly dug hole…

Yup. Rachel’s dead. At the very least, she’s dead in this universe. Which means Chloe is mad. So now it’s time to hunt down Nathan. After searching for him at the End Of The World party (worst attempt at ironic humour EVER), we get a text from him, telling us that he’s going to get rid of the evidence. Back to the dump site; oh good, Rachel’s still there. Still dead. Yay. Everything’s okay- BAM! MAX GETS SHOT WITH A SEDATIVE. BAM! CHLOE GETS SHOT WITH AN ACTUAL GUN. BAM! IT’S NOT NATHAN, IT’S *gasp* PROFESSOR SEXY! Or Mr Jefferson, if you prefer.

“…I find your tendency to want to jump the villain of every story hilarious.”

…I’m never gonna find love, am I Daniel?

“Hey, I never said you fell in love with them. I merely said that you wanted to get in their pants.”

Fair point.

Anyway, our last shot before the episode ends completely is back at the rape dungeon, where Mr Jefferson/Evil Hipster is filling an injection needle, while Max pleads in the background. Meanwhile, the world’s ending. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeet.

Now’s my favourite part. Predicting the future, ie. The finale episode. Let’s do this.

  • Jefferson’s Story

It’s obvious by this point that Jefferson has something to do with Nathan. He’s in his family’s bunker, using drugs that Nathan bought. Why? I refuse to believe that he’s a Malfoy, because that would be a lame way to justify how he has access to the bunker, so I’m thinking that Jefferson is blackmailing him in some way. Originally, I was thinking that Nathan was an accomplice, due to Chloe’s own drugging, but now I think that Jefferson may have found out about his mental health history and drug dealing, and blackmailed him into buying him drugs and letting him use his bunker. 

“Wait, I get the drug dealing but why the mental health thing? Doesn’t the school already know about that?”

I’m not entirely sure, Daniel. But I think that if it got out to the general public, who hate the Malfoys/Prescotts, then they would be in ruin. 

“Why? Because he suffers from mental ilness? The town’s not that shallow, is it?”

I actually saw it another way. There was a letter highlighting how his dad refused to support his son and help him receive therapy. I imagine that this would be more exploitable than just the mere knowledge that Nathan Prescott needs meds to function properly. Speaking of which, he’s not taking them. 

“Oh?”

There’s a full bottle of pills in his room. I’m betting you that he’s not taking them.

“Very well. I’ll bite. Explain.”

Okay. It seems that Nathan’s behaviour has been cooking for a while. I imagine that Jefferson was probably taunting him about him having to be on medication, so I’m going to take a gamble here and say that Nathan couldn’t handle it, and decided to try going off them. Or the illegal drugs he’s taking are clashing with the legal ones and are fucking with his brain. But I feel that if that were the case, then this sort of behaviour would’ve become apparent long before the events of the game, as neither the medication or the drug use have been taken up recently. Anyway, I think that Nathan’s deterioration allowed Jefferson to mould him into the perfect accomplice and scapegoat; his family owns the barn, Frank’s book proves that he purchased drugs and asked them to be delivered there, he’s obviously deranged- deranged enough that he’s being dragged along as an accomplice in all this-, he has photos of a drugged Chloe in his room, and he’s already a suspect in Rachel Amber’s murder. Remember? Rachel in the Dark Room, Rachel in the Dark Room.

“I like your theory.”

Thank you….but?

“…but you’re missing one thing. The photo of him standing over Rachel’s body. Your theory implies that he was dragged into this. So why’s he posing with her?”

That, I don’t really know. Maybe he didn’t know she was dead and was just being stupid. Or, maybe he was high on something and wasn’t lucid enough to realise that Rachel was actually dead, or that Jefferson was taking the photo. If that’s true, then it’s another piece of blackmail on Nathan’s back. But yeah…to be honest, I haven’t really accounted for it.

“Well I think that it holds up, though I reckon that the photo will end up being the primary item of blackmail, rather than the mental illness. But it would be an interesting explanation, and it would probably make Nathan more tragic.”

Okee, so that’s the relationship between HDM and Professor SexyEvil Hipster out of the way. Next on the agenda:

  • Escaping the rape dungeon

Like I said before, the world’s ending outside. Max is in the bunker with Jefferson, and if it weren’t for the fact that he’s a rapist who killed Chloe and Rachel, it’s probably the safest place for her right now. The main problem is disposing of the Evil Hipster. Unfortunately, she’s equipped with nothing but her time travelling abilities, which is going to make things difficult, especially since that injection appears to effect her abilities, though I don’t know if she’ll be completely incapacitated. Rewinding can give her more time to escape, but unless there’s a way for her to actually escape her restraints, it won’t be much use. Stopping time is the same, (although I can see that more useful in another scenario…) which leads me to believe that her latest ability is going to be equipped, if not a Rachel Amber ex-machina.

Like they say, if a gun appears on stage, at some point during the play, it must go off. Likewise, that photo we took with Warren at the party is probably going to help us change the past. Not only will we be able to get one step ahead of Jefferson, but we can stop Chloe from dying (again). The only problem I can foresee is that Max will go back to a new altered present, and if she’s not back in the rape dungeon/bunker, then she’s going to be stuck in the middle of a hurricane, while everyone dies around her. 

“Why can’t she die?”

Shhhhh. Because she’s the protagonist.

“Doesn’t stop you.”

I’m not a protagonist, I’m more like Scrappy Doo. You’re the one this story’s about, I’m just a disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately. Anyway! That’s the idea that I have for how Batmax is going to escape. 

  • The Final Resolution

From that point on, it seems like a pretty crappy situation. You’d be stuck in an apocalyptic wasteland with Chloe, everyone you invested in emotionally would be dead, and Rachel’s probably not going to get justice, and neither will Kate. 

…unless.

“Hmm?”

…do you remember that episode of Doctor Who where Rose saves her dad and creates a time paradox? And as a result, those monsters come out to try and remedy the situation via mass murder?

“…oh no….”

Yup…I’m not just talking about saving Chloe. I’m talking about every little decision that Max made which changed the course of history. Everything’s been building up and is now the size of a hurricane. 

“…I hated that episode for a reason.”

Me too…you see where I’m going with this, right?

“…excuse me. I need to go man up.”

Daniel’s right, this fucking sucks. But remember that blue butterfly picture we took, right before Nathan shot Chloe and we discovered we can turn back time? Guess what, we have another Checkov’s gun here! Almost literally when you think about it.

“…YOU WENT THERE.”

…sorry. In all seriousness though, every problem we’ve encountered so far can be resolved if Nathan shoots Chloe before they happen. Nathan gets arrested for murder, because not even the MalfoysPrescotts can worm their way out of that. When he’s behind bars, he’s gonna start singing like a canary, leading the police to Jefferson and the rape dungeon. Kate can get help for what happened to her before she tries to jump off a roof, Rachel can finally rest in peace, the Prescotts can get thrown out of Arcadia thanks to the court of public opinion and the universe doesn’t have to correct itself by wiping out Arcadia Bay via tornado after Max’s meddling.

Unfortunately, it means that Chloe has to die. And that fucking sucks.

“Objection!”

Yes Phoenix Wright?”

“Hey, I want to be Edgeworth.”

No. You brought up the series, you have to be the title character. That’s how it rolls. 

“What if I speak in a posh accent?”

*posh voice* Too late. Make your point, Wright.

“Fine…aren’t there some cases where things can be evened out if something else is sacrificed in its place?”

I’ve never heard of that theory. 

“Are you sure? What about that Charon game you watched the other day?”

That crappy visual novel dungeon crawler?

“The very same. Remember? Protagonist kills themself so that a girl won’t have to die.”

Oh right. They probably changed the rules for convenience though. It’s Charon.

“Yes, because it’s obvious that all rules concerning time travel are proven fact.”

Fineeeee. But I don’t know enough about the rules of time travel to know if it works or not. 

“Okay…how about a less dubious source?”

There’s more?

“Year Walk. You remember that game better, don’t you?”

Ah yes, my first horror game. Oh!

“NOW do you get it?”

Uh huh. In Year Walk, the guy violated the rules of time and space, and as a result, he ended up killing his girlfriend. That was the price he had to pay for trying to meddle. But then Theo sent him the knife via the box, so that he could take his own life, as the watchers demanded that he make a sacrifice for his crime. 

“Hah. Suck it Edgeworth.”

You can find a lot of fanfiction where I do just that, sweet cheeks. Wait…so when you say sacrifice…

“Yup. Is it really out of the realm of possibility for Max to shove Chloe out of the way and take a bullet for her?”

Holy shit you’re right. WAAAAAAAAAIT.

“…you’re meant to say Hold it.”

Hold it! Would the sacrifice theory apply to Rachel Amber too? Maybe the reason she’s dead is because she meddled with time and was faced with having to sacrifice her best friend or herself. Just a few things I remembered; Rachel was perfect– maybe she had the same power Max did, and rewrote everything so that everyone loved her. And another thing; Rachel saved Chloe’s life, according to her. Who’s to say this wasn’t literal?

“…if that’s true, then Chloe is a frigging magnet for rogue time travellers.”

That’s an understatement. But then we have another matter on our hands. Namely, why did Jefferson leave Max alive, but shoot Chloe in the head? Before, I had assumed that for some reason, he decided that Max more rapeable than Chloe (ewwwwwww!), but now that I consider the theory that Rachel may have meddled with time, and the fact that Rachel ended up dead at Jefferson’s hands, what’s to say that he knows something about time travelling himself? Those are the only reasons why I can see him preserving Max while killing Chloe. As for why Rachel died, maybe he tried to sedate her over a long period and ended up overdosing her on whatever’s in those needles. 

“And on that note, I think we’ve covered everything.”

You sure?

“If we try and think about it anymore, we’ll explode. Max will escape the rape dungeon via photographic teleportation, and ultimately decide between sacrificing Aracadia Bay and sacrificing Chloe. Or herself. And it will be revealed that Rachel was also a time traveller who ultimately died because of meddling, and that Jefferson may also be involved somehow. Also, Jefferson is blackmailing Nathan with his drug addled brain. Those are your predictions, correct?”

..yeah.

“Then I don’t think you need to go further than this. And I want to catch on Lisa.”

Okaaaaaay, we’ll go watch NicoB. Just one thing. How do you know the plots of crappy yandere games better than I do?

“…I get bored when you’re working.”

Walking Away

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“The only thing determined”, my philosophy teacher told us, “is that we are all going to die.”

“Yeah…about that,” Daniel murmurs next to me. I just grimace, and try to ignore the memory of my head being smashed in.

Philosophy Club was spent discussing Liberalism and Determinism. The two basic beliefs relating to time travel. Liberalism believes in free will; our actions determine the future, reality is composed of what has happened and what is happening right now. In other words, it’s our own fault if the world blows up tomorrow. Determinism, on the other hand, messes with my head to the point that I slip into Delirium purely from the confusion. If everything is set out for us, then we don’t really have free will, meaning we don’t really think, we just follow a script which has already been written. And if that’s the case, what is the point of being a good person, if it’s in our destiny to have a happy ending? And how do we know these things? I’m now writing this in a place with red grass and trees with veins, so I’ll stop there before I slip permanently.

I didn’t have any questions during Philosophy Club. I saved them for after, when I was with Daniel.

“Are you from the future?” I asked him.

“No. Why do you ask?”

“You refuse to say anything about yourself, and everyone in Delirium has funny skin that glows in the dark.”

“I don’t have funny skin.”

“You’re…different. You don’t look like a shadow in Reality. They would though.” I thought for a moment. “Are you human?”

He laughed at that. “Seriously,” I said. “You are the only one in my head who looks normal. Ish. Why do you think I didn’t start smashing your head in when I met you?”

“I thought that was because your psychotic tendencies hadn’t surfaced yet?”

“Nah, I’ve always been this mad.” Daniel’s face is one of mock horror. “I didn’t smash anyone’s head in,” I amended. “But I thought about it. Believe me…” I crossed my arms. “We, my friend, are getting off topic.”

“Are we? Good. What’s for dinner?”

“Something gluten free and disgusting, you know that. Are you human?”

“I’m not sure…” he murmured. I frowned, waiting for him to go on. He looked up at me. “I liked the sausages,” he said. “You can’t tell them from the-”

WHACK!

“OW!”

“Give me something!”

“No!”

“Why can’t you tell me?” I yelled at him.

“Because I can’t!”

“I don’t-” I stop when I see him. His face was still, his mouth open slightly. “Daniel?”

Two hands grabbed my neck and jerked my head to the right. I heard the bones snap a second before the pain began.

My last thoughts? Not again…

I later returned to Delirium. When I woke up in Reality, I was taken to the sick bay to ‘recover’. No one was there, so I lay on the bed and dropped out. Daniel was sitting where I had died, his back to me. “Have you come up with a reason why?” I asked him.

He leapt up. “Yup. Still here.” I looked down at the ground. “Neck hurts a bit. Don’t die by breaking it. Actually, don’t die period.” I met his gaze. “You die, I die. And not just in Delirium. Not even Kaya would be able to stop me. Got it?”

Daniel just glares at me. “When was the last time you looked at me like that?” I pondered. I turned away from him and walked off.

Now, writing this, in the same space I ended up, I wonder if I meant that. Would I be able to live without Daniel?

I know if Delirium still existed, but Daniel was dead, the answer would be no. I wouldn’t be able to live on my own in a world full of monsters.

But if Delirium were to go away…

That’s something I’ve always thought about. If I had the opportunity to stop my hallucinations right then and there, would I? Would I be able to say goodbye to Daniel?

Saying goodbye, yes, I think. Maybe. I don’t know. If I were allowed one last moment with Daniel before my Delirium went away for ever…yeah. I’d be able to live with that.

What if it were more abrupt though? What if everything closed, and I never got to see Daniel again? What if this is the last time I’m in Delirium, and that’s the last I see of him, his face glaring at me as if he hated me? Maybe he does hate me. In that case, it would be okay.

I hear him coming, and I grab my books and hide. I’m high in the trees when Daniel comes into the clearing, looking for me. “Cat!” he yells. “Cat Madigan, come out here now!”

I don’t go, I just watch him. “Cat,” I flinch at his voice; he’s hurting. If I could go back in time, and change what happened; if I had killed him instead of trusting him, trusting him enough to be my closest friend, would it be easier than what I’m eventually going to have to do?

“Cat, I need to talk to you. Please, I…” His voice just trails off, and he keeps walking the other way. And I watch him go.