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Bread Suit
((Junko Kurosawa continued from St. Patrick’s Purgatory))

Junko was angry, but she had no idea why.

After the run-in at the beach, literally nothing had happened. She hadn’t seen anyone else, or even a sign that anyone else existed right now. It was quiet. The silence was something Junko still hated about all this. It still felt like she was just biding her time until someone attacked her. It was the worst feeling in the world. Sometimes, she still wondered when someone was going to do it.

Today, it was particularly bad. As the hours passed by, Junko felt like there was energy pulsating, bubbling, buzzing under her skin. Like she needed to do something, move around, or else she’d explode. She’d exercised this morning, too. But even when she stretched or jogged, it was only a moment of clarity. Once she’d stopped, the feeling slowly crept back.

The announcements came back on when she was exercising again. Junko could remember a few details. Brendan Harte, one of her team mates, had killed Jerry. Junko liked Jerry. He was a quiet type, but he was cool. They’d known each other since… what, elementary? Yeah, there we go. Had it stung a little when she found out? A little, yeah, to be honest.

Danny had died too, but it didn’t sting as bad, she didn’t think. Danny… was kind of a douche. They’d dated for a while, but he broke up with her. That wasn’t the awful part. No, the awful part was how he did it. Junko had literally looked at her phone after practice to see that he broke up with her through text. He didn’t even talk to her personally. Just a text saying basically “sorry Junko, it won’t work out, bye!” Worst part was, she didn’t get why exactly he broke up with her. Her only guess was that she’d made a few jokes that… were on the raunchy side beforehand, and she may or may not been hinting a bit. She still wasn’t sure that was it. But he was dead too.

Kimiko had gotten Bradley, too. To be honest, Junko wouldn’t have been surprised if he did something to provoke her. Bradley… liked to annoy people. She remembered he once picked a fight with Aiden by talking shit about his family. And with Aiden, you never talk shit about his family. Ever. Personally, when Bradley tried to make jokes about stuff like, dunno, internment camps or nuclear bombs, she just rolled her eyes at worst. Maybe make a quip of her own about white people’s obsession with colonizing shit or something. Sure, he knew how to back down sometimes, but still. As harsh as it sounded, she wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he did something to annoy her, even if she’d been on the announcements before. Did it still sting? A little, yeah.

They weren’t the only deaths mentioned, either. Another Luz died recently. She’d seen Sabrina around a few times, but there was nothing that really stood out to her, other than her being one of the more popular kids. They just weren’t part of the same group, y’know? Samuel, though, she knew Samuel. They had vaguely similar tastes, though he wasn’t as… adventurous. She remembered Jasmine King, as well, who was completely different from Reed. Jasmine had a temper, and admittedly, Junko used to find it the funniest thing ever. There were a few other people who’d died, but she didn’t get all the names, to be honest.

But the thing was, she didn’t think the announcements were the reason why she was in such a nasty mood. It was the same last time: an accomplishment of sorts. Congrats, you made it another day. Can you make it to the next announcement? Let’s see if you can. Being sad, though, it wouldn’t help, would it? She didn’t want to die grieving, if she had to die. Instead, it was another day to try to make it out alive. Even when her mind wandered, she tried to remind herself of this fact.

However, her mood hadn’t improved when she walked past a copse of bushes just outside a building, only to smell what she could only guess was the world’s largest roadkill. The blanket of flies hadn’t helped, either. It was a scent she’d experienced a few times while she was here, but she didn’t really look for it. She hadn’t seen that many bodies, but smelled? Yeah, if that was a dead body smell, she smelled it. Instead of looking though, her pace had picked up as she approached the building. Junko had announced her arrival by slamming open the door, only to not find anyone there.

It’d been about an hour, she guessed, since she’d shown up. It looked like some kind of gym? It was dark, though. Some dim afternoon light had peeked in through a few cracks, but really, this was a job for Mr. Flashlight. Junko sat criss-crossed apple sauce on the gym floor against the wall, the flashlight casting a beam on the outside exit just across from her as it rested on the floor. There appeared to be old gym equipment, but she hadn’t checked to see if they still worked yet.

Instead, she was currently focused on trying to demolish a piece of bread. The key word here was “trying”. Good news: after mugging Jasmine Reed, she did have more food and water. The bad: most of the food was terrible. Junko had eaten high-energy bars before. It was kind of an athlete thing. Protein and energy in general was good if you have an event coming up. But, somehow the terrorists had found the worst thing imaginable. And it wasn’t like Junko had never tasted a bad energy bar before. But these… these were somehow even worse than anything she’d ever had. The crackers were okay, kind of bland. And… then there was the bread.

God, did they ever actually, y’know, looked up an instructional on how to make bread? Then again, they were terrorists, and they probably wanted them to suffer. But damn, maybe it was just her sour mood, but it tasted like everything that could go wrong with bread, short of burning it, went wrong. Maybe it was Junko knew a bit about good bread, but it tasted a bit stale and weird. And yet, here she was, still eating it. It’s hard to be too picky when your choices were terrible ration bars, bland crackers, and even worse bread.

Maybe just a few more attempts at swallowing, then she could try to do something about all this pent-up irritation. Just a few more moments of pretending that the bread was not only edible, but delicious.

But if someone interrupted her attempts at eating atrocious bread? Well… the bat was laying across her lap for a reason.

Why We Fight
Clarice turned her head towards them, and gave a small greeting in turn. Jennifer noticed that she seemed to know her last name, but not Bart’s. But that was a small detail. Jennifer remembered a bit about Clarice. She was co-captain with Tyler Yazzie on the wrestling team, she recalled. Didn’t she have a bit of a temper, too? Jennifer remembered that she tended to argue with bullies. However, she did not remember her name being on the announcements, which was good.

What was also good was Kiziah bursting past them and swooping in to hug Clarice. Friends? Sure, looked like it. Clarice had returned the hug, with tears visible in her eyes. Well, it was good that the first person they saw, aside from each other, was a friend. It didn’t seem like she was dangerous, which was a definite plus. And if she and Kiziah were friends? That was even better.

Though… Jennifer couldn’t help but smile some. Maybe it was because there was something nice about what she was seeing. In a way, maybe? Though… she faltered a bit once Clarice fully broke down into tears.

Bart had noticed, and stepped closer to ask if she was alright. Jennifer stepped forward. She swallowed a bit. She wasn’t good at comforting people, was she? Maybe it was better if Kiziah did it. They were friends, weren’t they?

“Hey…” she began. But instead, she looked around, still gripping her bag’s strap.

What could she say here?

Notes from an Even Smaller Island
When Emma came out of her room, the first thing she had expected was them commenting on the announcement. Maybe trying to comfort her, ask if she was alright. Not like she wanted it, though. She wasn’t sure what she wanted right now.

She looked up. Emma tightly closed her eyes for a moment. Leaving. That’s what they were discussing right now. Amanda, apparently, had been getting antsy, and… well, she didn’t want to sit around here anymore. The other two seemed all for it. Lucilly stepped towards Amanda, Jaime said “sure”. Emma… was conflicted. They’d been safe here thus far. On the other, it wasn’t like staying here was going to be good for their mental health. She felt like she’d have a clearer answer under different circumstances, but…

Her thoughts wandered. She tried to remember what the morning of the trip was like. It was normal, nothing special. She and Sabrina ate breakfast, then headed to school to get on the buses. Obviously, they didn’t know what would happen. She couldn’t have foreseen that it was possibly one of the last, if not the last, times she’d seen Sabrina alive. Emma couldn’t even remember what they had for breakfast, or any conversations they had, or anything particularly notable. It had already started to fade away, like something that happened a few years ago.

With a few swings of an axe, someone had ensured that it’d be the last time.

Emma tried to focus on the topic at hand, but it was hard. Stay or go? That was the discussion. Amanda wanted to go, so did Jaime and Lucilly. As relatively safe they’d been so far, there were a lot of advantages to leaving. She’d remembered that there was an odd smell coming from one of the rooms, that only seemed to get worse with each hour. They’d never investigated, nor did she want to. And… it was better than the lobotomy theater, certainly. But maybe staying here wasn’t the best right now. Maybe they needed something better. A change of pace? And, some part of her wondered. Could they have done something to help Sabrina if they’d left? Tina? Conrad? Josh?

Emma tightly blinked again. She loudly breathed, in and out. Some part of her hoped they wouldn’t notice.

“I’m for it. Just… I might need a moment. Maybe”

She wasn’t sure if she was up for walking right now. Some part of her simply wanted to curl up alone somewhere, not talking to anyone. But another part of her told her they needed to leave. Keep moving. Walk. Get out.

“We… um, might… need more food and water, anyways. We’ve got plenty of food, you know, in the bags, but… uh, only four bottles. Might be a good idea, to look around for more water, just in case.”

Her voice was quiet, meek, and cracked. Emma’s hand slid to rub her neck, as her eyes once again looked towards the ground.

Why We Fight
((Jennifer Wallace continued from So, so tired…))

There were some driving questions Jennifer had thought of. One was “where are we?” An island that consisted of primarily an old mental asylum was a pretty good start on answering that question. About half the island, the half they’d been avoiding, was the main asylum. So, anyone looking at the footage could examine various details, such as what the buildings looked like, and get an idea of where they were supposed to be. While the island seemed like no one had lived here for years, that didn’t mean that no one had been there, period. No boats, no explorers, nothing?

Today’s driving question was something else, and it was “how do the collars work?” Jennifer couldn’t find a mirror, but she did have two people that were wearing the same thing. A few times, she snuck a few glances at them as they walked and rested. Only a few quick glances, but still. Back when they were in the danger zones, it seemed like they had activated quickly to warn them. Which opened one possibility: the collars had two “phases”. One was the “beeping phase.” She wasn’t sure how long this phase lasted, but it was long enough for them to leave the area without any harm. Phase two is the “exploding phase”. Which was pretty self-explanatory. Multiple areas could effectively be sectioned off using them, as well, regardless of location.

Putting all of the information together, based off what the manual said and what she could glean, painted a pretty good picture for her. The collars were shock-proof, water-proof, and couldn’t be removed by hands alone. They could, at least in theory, be activated anywhere on the island fairly quickly. The way they were designed meant that there was a window of time for them to exit the area. They were also able to completely remove an area out of the equation.

Jennifer didn’t have an escape plan or anything, of course. That would probably require more resources that a group of high school students had on-hand. But, this was useful information, obviously.

There were several other questions, too. For example, "who is dangerous and who isn't?" Nancy Kyle definitely was, so was Kimiko Kao and Isabel Ramirez. That meant if they ran into them, it was best to get out of here. There were probably other names, too, but she didn't get them all.

Of course, the one driving question behind all of the others: “Am I going to get out of here alive?” And that was a difficult question to answer.

After the danger zone, they'd decided to go back to the depot. Hopefully she could get another look at the things in there. It would also be a good place to rest again, too. Bart seemed to get more and more exhausted by the day.

She tried not to think about the fact that people were dead. It seemed cold thinking of it like this, but they needed to focus on survival first. Grieving would come later. Her mind did wander a few times, though. Sometimes she thought of Jasmine or Sanford, sometimes people like Bradley. Sure, he was terrible, but did he deserve that?

Suddenly, Bart stopped, and with it, Jennifer's own steps stopped. She followed his line of vision to see Clarice Halwood sitting on a truck. Jennifer's feet awkwardly shuffled in place, and she wondered if it was a good idea to say something to her. She was the first person they'd outright seen, aside from each other.

However, Bart made that decision for them.

Jennifer cleared her throat.

"Clarice Halwood?" she asked.

Her voice came out stern. She stood tall. However, her fingers were wrapped around the bag strap over her shoulder, growing tighter with each second. Jennifer's eyes moved up and down, looking her over. She hadn't been on the announcements, she remembered, but Clarice didn't look happy. Of course, no one could be happy here.

St. Patrick's Purgatory
Oh boy. Leslie said nothing. Jasper just ran off. And Tara… Tara… god, Junko didn’t even know.

She’d stood up, and went on this thing about how everyone was going to die eventually, even if they made it off the island. Junko felt her facial features tighten even more, her muscles did the same. No one was threatening, but… gah. She had no clue what Tara was doing. Burning her arms, asking how she wanted to die, telling them they were going to die anyways, hitting on Leslie? Well, yeah, to be fair, Leslie did have this kinda punk look going for her. It looked good, but anyways.

This whole thing made her feel uncomfortable. Like she hadn’t accomplished much by being here. Was it anger? Did Tara strike a nerve? Or was it something else? All she knew was that her muscles were still tight, still primed. The bat still waited in her hand, unused for the morning. Junko wasn’t sure what she had wanted when she approached her and Jasper. But she’d gotten something, she wasn’t sure what.

Though, she guessed Tara had a point.

Even if she was going to die someday, even long after the game, going down fighting seemed like it’d make her feel more… comfortable. With herself, if that’s what Tara meant. A few times, she’d joked about her funeral back home. Hell, she always thought the actual death bit would happen because she did something stupid to herself. Back then, it was just that: jokes. But the serious thought of dying? The game was, to be honest, the first time she’d thought about that.

But yeah. If she died fighting, she’d probably feel better, wouldn’t she? Not like… no. She pushed aside the memory again. That wasn’t what was going to happen to her. If she had to die, go down swinging, she just said.

Junko awkwardly stood in the sand. Leslie had been surprisingly quiet? Like, again, ragebomb, but you’d think she’d say something. For a moment, Junko felt the most awkward she’d been in her life. She became more aware of the bat, still resting on her shoulder. She didn’t feel strong and confident.

“… Yeah, I’m leaving too,” she said, slipping the bat back into her bag.

It was still hefty, with all the stuff. Maybe that wasn’t the best way to carry the bat. But she turned on her heels, and started walking in the other direction. Maybe she was done jogging for the morning. But she still hummed a few notes of the Rocky theme. It was comforting, somehow.

At first her steps were awkward and unconfident. But as she thought more, her steps away from the fire pit became bolder.

Junko Kurosawa was still going to go down swinging.

((Junko Kurosawa continued in Bread Suit))

Notes from an Even Smaller Island
((Timeskip approved, but lemme know if there are any issues.))

“Oh, you’re back!” Emma said, a small smile on her face for a split second.

However, she stopped for a moment at Amanda’s question. She looked down at the tin case still in her hands. They were still supposed to find out where the blood came from, weren’t they? But they’d… gotten distracted. Every second lost was another moment someone was still hurt, and… they could not have much time. Jaime had distracted her. No, shouldn’t blame her. They both were distracted.

If the person was still here… still alive, there was probably still hope for them. Probably. She turned her head to look at the shining puddle of blood. There was a lot. And yet, here they were, distracted. The longer they dawdled, the less chance someone could have.

“Perhaps they’re in one of the locked rooms?” she asked.

They’d spent the past two nights in this ward. It wasn’t a pleasant sleep. Emma sometimes had trouble sleeping to begin with. Whenever she mentioned it, some people thought it was ironic. But it was something that was actually pretty normal. Anxiety, though, hadn’t helped at all with actually getting some rest. It didn’t help that because of it, sometimes her sleep paralysis would act up. It wasn’t a nice experience. The sensation of being trapped and the occasional nightmare imagery wasn’t fun. Trying to get some rest while people around you are dying wasn’t fun. The two combined? Was uncomfortable as all out. When she repeatedly tried to lay down inside one of the rooms, she’d see a shadow of someone standing in the doorway, and feel her muscles lock up. Just a hallucination, she’d tried to tell herself.

They’d left her pills in the bag, though, which was good. It seemed like they’d removed a few from the bottle, so Emma had checked to see if they had been tampered with in any way. Other than there being less, it was still the same light purple pills she’d been taking.

She’d try to remind herself of another thing. Emma still remembered the story about the boats. Around 30 had made it home, but only out of 250. They weren’t able to save everyone, but there was a chance, wasn’t there? They just had to keep moving on.

A few times, Emma would hear noises. Sounded like people talking, but she didn’t dare investigate. They never did find out where the blood came from, but the announcement the following morning gave them an idea. She hated it. Tina, her cousin, one of her first friends, was dead. Conrad and Joshua had died, too. Scarlett, a girl from orchestra, she had been killed with an axe. Conrad had killed someone else before his death, too. When Emma heard the news, she was shocked. The same person had killed both Tina and Conrad. Isabel Ramirez. She was a girl who you’d think she’d be on closer terms, but never really was. But she remembered that she was a mean-spirited person. She’d bullied Tina before, didn’t she? And now she’d killed her and Conrad. She tried to remember the person who Conrad killed. Harold Porter, wrestling team, right? Kind of an opinionated person, but he was a very idealistic one too. He didn’t deserve to die. No one deserved this.

Emma didn’t know what made Conrad kill Harold, or why Isabel did the things she did. She didn’t know why Jasmine, a girl from the anime club, had killed Joshua, either. All she knew was that there were dead, and they weren’t coming back.

The rest of the day was still and quiet. The entire time, Emma thought of Tina, Conrad, and Josh. She didn’t really cry; she was still too shocked for that. If anyone asked how she was, she’d just smile and say she was okay. But the weakness in her limbs told her otherwise.

Soon enough, the next morning came. And Emma couldn’t even get past the first few names this time. Her vision doubled, she felt dizzy and weak. After a certain point, she just quietly slipped back into the cell she’d been sleeping in, closed the door, and plopped herself onto the cot. Even as she felt her body grow numb, the names and jokes kept going. She felt like throwing up, but she didn’t move. Eventually, it stopped.

It felt like an hour before she eventually lifted her head. Maybe it was shorter, maybe it was longer. But she wasn’t sure if she could go out to see the others anyways. They’d comfort her, say something, anything. But Emma, perhaps for the first time in her life, wanted to be alone.

She slowly pulled herself back up into a sitting position, her limbs still shaking and weak. This was all some kind of sick dream, right? She just imagined the announcement. Maybe she was still tired, or maybe she misinterpreted. Maybe the announcements were just jokes and misdirection to get them paranoid. She tried to come up with any explanation preferable to the alternative.

Eventually, she stood up, and walked towards the steel door. With a bit of hesitancy, she opened it again. She stepped out, and sat down on the dirty floor. For a moment, she didn’t know what to say. Instead, she just let out a:


Her eyes were cast to the ground.

So, so tired...
Jennifer processed the question Bart asked her, but shook her head. She was still trying to figure it out herself.

“No, I didn’t, too much,” she said. “I wish there could be something to write this stuff down.”

Later, while Bart rested, she did a bit of looking around. She was still on the lookout for something decent for her feet. Again, why couldn’t she have packed better shoes for when, you know, she had to take her heels off? Sure, science trip, but really. Each moment made her regret her decision more and more. She’d been hoping to find extra food, but then again, would there be canned food that was still edible laying around? Also, again, something to write down information. There was some kind of check-out book on a desk, and it seemed in pretty good condition. However, she wasn’t sure if any other paper they found would be in good condition. It really depended on how long the island had been abandoned.

There wasn’t much found, unfortunately. Which was a damn shame. Again, still holding out for good supplies, fingers crossed. Maybe they could check later, when there were more rested. There was probably something more noteworthy where they hadn’t searched yet.

The next morning, the announcements came on again. Jane Madison was shot, Jasmine King killed herself. Jennifer tensed up as the names went on and on. She knew Jane, she knew Jasmine. Sanford was another photographer, she knew. Brendan Harte, of all people, a boy whose work she had critiqued in the Writing Club, who took everything she said to hard and tried to improve, had killed someone. Isabel had killed again, and Min-Jae had beaten someone to death.

There wasn’t much time to process the information, though.

Jennifer mouthed a curse as she realized quickly where the “Utilities Compound” was. She would care a bit more about language if the circumstances were different. But as if in reminder, the beeping started again.

She lifted her bag’s strap over her shoulder, and started moving as quickly as possible. She stumbled a bit as she tried to follow the sound of Bart and Kiziah’s sprinting, but adrenaline kept her moving. Somewhere she heard something drop, but she didn’t pay much mind to it.

All she was focused on was leaving.

((Jennifer Wallace continued elsewhere))

St. Patrick's Purgatory
Could they just be happy?

Could they just get along?

Junko felt her eyes narrow. It wasn’t like everyone else was going to get along. Sure, try getting along with Jazzy, Miss Murderer, herself. Junko didn’t, even before she knew she’d killed someone. Sure, Junko was the one who attacked her, but you know. To her, fighting seemed somewhat obvious. If you fight, you at least have a shot of actually living, right? Even if it meant-

She pushed that thought to the side, too.

Junko flinched a bit at the sound of someone else showing up. She turned her head, and… oh. Leslie “Rage Bomb” Price. Right. Junko’s eyes once again did the familiar up and down motion. And once again, she didn’t see anything. Though, you still could never know.

She simply tilted her head to the side, as she continued looking over Leslie. Leslie was, again, a rage bomb. Junko honestly didn’t know much about her other than that.

“What’s the point?” Junko asked, snapping her head towards Tara. “Well, if I die, I can at least say that I fought, y’know? I tried. I don’t think that’s gonna happen, though. I’ve been taking pretty good care of myself already.”

She’d fought Darius. She’d overpowered Jasmine. Whoever she ended up fighting next, she could once again get on top. Right? Right.