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... Lose a Hand
The worst part, Emma decided, was that, in a sense, Jaime was right.

If they were to run into Isabel, it would be unlikely that she’d spare them at this point. She just kept killing and killing, and there was no sign of stopping. She was responsible for the death of two of her cousins and a friend already. Who would be next? Lily was apparently right nearby, so what if she tried to hurt her too?

And yet…

Something still didn’t seem right.

Maybe it was the readiness that Jaime admitted that she’d kill Isabel in her sleep if she had to. Was Jaime always that… bold, when it came to potential violence? Here Emma was, debating internally about whether it was okay to feel happy with the fact that Nancy died and wondering if Isabel should too. And yet, Jaime admitted that like it was nothing. Like it was the most easiest thing to do, murdering someone in their sleep.

Something clicked. A flicker of realization came across her face.

Emma remembered the pub, as much as she didn’t want to. She remembered Mabes’, blood dripping from an open wound in her neck. She remembered Kaitlyn, and how they’d let her have a bomb because they didn’t realize she could be a killer. She remembered something new. Jaime was the first to ask Kaitlyn for supplies. There Mabes was, an actual person who’d died. Emma knew Mabes. She was an actual person, one who was so concerned about drones. And she’d died, because she’d broken equipment. Kaitlyn and Jaime didn’t seem to care about that. Emma still felt filthy that they’d come to an agreement with her about Mabes’ belongings. Did Jaime? Did Amanda and Lucilly?

Emma had been concerned about what she’d do if she saw Isabel and Nancy. But maybe she should have been concerned about what the others were capable of. Did that make her a hypocrite? Since she was the one who brought it up? Since Jaime had lost people too? She didn’t know. All she knew was that she wasn’t certain about Jaime anymore.

She stepped backwards again. Emma still wanted to run, but new reasons were there.

Her eyes flicked towards her bag. She had kept it loyally by her side, as often as she could manage. Emma slid closer to it, then tried to pick up the straps. Her arms, however, were numb and weak, causing it to slip out of her fingers multiple times. The final try, though, was successful.

“We just can’t,” she said.

Her voice came out cracked.

... Lose a Hand
Emma shook her head. Jaime agreed that something should be done about Isabel, but she was going head-first into the one thing Emma hated, but knew it was an answer. She hated that it was a solution. But it was one. If they found her, they could end her life, and she wouldn’t hurt anyone ever again.

Just like how Nancy died, just recently. Sabrina had been avenged, right? Even at the hands of a different killer. But even that didn’t make her feel better. It didn’t bring her back. She was still gone forever. Nancy couldn’t hurt anyone any more, of course. But even if Emma made it back home, Sabrina wouldn’t be there. She pictured making dinner with her family. It was a bit of a tradition, since their parents always wanted them to know how to cook. Sabrina had wanted it as a career, and even dreamed of working under Gordon Ramsey. And now, no matter what happened, it was only going to be Mom, Dad, and her.

If something happened to Isabel, though, would it make up for Tina? Lizzie? Conrad?

“But… here’s the thing. Self-defense, I get. If she tries to hurt us… we should be able to fend her off, right?”

‘Might’ could have been a better word. Emma’s heart raced faster and faster. She felt herself gulp for air several times.

“But… if we find her… kill her… are we any better? That’s what I’m worried about…”

... Lose a Hand
Jaime had tried to reach out to her, comfort her, but it was no use. It was only a token gesture, and an awkward one. Emma shook her head, feeling the heart beat in her ears.

“Shut u- stop talking. Please.”

Her voice waivered. Her skin continued to shiver and crawl.

She felt disgusting. It was disgusting that she’d just been sitting around ever since they got abducted, it was disgusting that they ended up giving a killer a weapon without realizing it, it was disgusting that all that happened while her friends and family were dying around her, it was disgusting that they’d let the group split up, and it was disgusting that she’d been happy that Nancy had died. She wasn’t sure which was more disgusting: that she wanted Isabel to die too, or that she felt repulsed at the very thought. Emma didn’t want to become a murderer. But Isabel hadn’t just stopped at Tina. She added Conrad, then Lizzie. Not only that, but Lily was in a position to put Lizzie out of her misery, by the sound of things. What if Isabel had tried to hurt her too?

Tina. Conrad. Lizzie. She’d never see them alive again because of her. She'd never see Sabrina, or Josh, or Bridgette, or Mabes, or perhaps even Lucilly or Amanda again either.

She wasn’t even sure what to think about Jeremy. That he’d killed Junko. She could barely remember what the announcement said about it right now. And that made Emma feel worse. Jaime had lost someone too. She probably lost other people close to her. And here Emma was, breaking down when Jaime could need her.

“Jaime… we should… we should…”

Emma lifted her head. It was difficult to talk. Her knees slowly grew more and more numb.

“We have to- we have to- no. We could do something about Isabel. She’s killed many people, and I don’t… I’ve lost-“

She couldn’t.

“But I don’t want to. That’s not who I am. That’s not what my family would want, right? That’s not what I believe, I don’t believe in that sort of thing, and here am I just wondering if-“

Now that she was saying it out loud, she felt worse. It was something she didn’t like to admit. Some part of her wanted to run away, to be alone, but she wasn't sure where.

V6 Reduced Activity Notices
I'm a bit stressed out, and I'm dealing with some personal stuff right now. If I'm a bit slow, that's why.

... Lose a Hand
((Emma Luz continued from The Greatest Sideshow on Earth))

No sign of Amanda. No sign of anyone, other than her or Jaime. Emma hated it. It was still, and quiet. She wasn’t sure what to do now.

It wasn’t a good day for her. When most people said that, they usually meant that something bad happened. When Emma said it, though, it was something different. Most of the time, when she said she wasn’t having a good day, she meant that she wasn’t feeling well physically. She was tired. Her legs ached, her eyes felt heavy. It was almost nightfall. Emma… needed a place to lay down. A place to rest, to gather her thoughts. And yet, she meant “not a good day” in the sense most people did. By which, things weren’t going well.

She’d eventually found herself in a series of garages. A quick look at the map told her it was a vehicle depot. Maybe there was a place for her to lay down. A car, maybe? Somewhere… cushy.

Emma soon found where she could rest. The garages were relatively warmer, and there were trucks inside. She tried to open the door to one, which opened surprisingly easily. Which was good. It seemed more comfortable than laying on the ground, at least. It wouldn’t be the first time, really.

She slid inside the back seat. Closed the door behind her. Placed her bag down. And closed her eyes.

Images flickered behind her eyelids. It was only brief flashes. And yet, she knew what she was seeing: Mabes’ blank eyes, staring up at her from a limp, slumped over body. Her sister and cousins, dying, suffering. Her friends. Conrad and Joshua. Amanda, Lucilly, and Jaime.

The next morning, there was once again news. Bridgette had died. By the sound of things, someone had smashed something over her head before stabbing her. Emma knew who Caedyn was. She was this girl in the drama club, who always had this crazy fashion sense. She was friends with Lily once, right? Maybe. But she killed Bridgette. Smart, perfectionist Bridgette. With a few swings, she was gone too.

By this point, losing friends and family seemed like something that happened every day. And yet, she could never get used to it. She’d looked around some, for supplies, but she still felt sluggish. So, sometime later, she’d huddled back into her truck to lay down. However, she was woken up by-

“Attention, students.”

Emma sat up. Snapped her head around. Another announcement? Already? Had she been sleeping that long? No...

“Due to the fire currently blazing, the library in the staff social area is being declared an immediate danger zone for your own safety. Please vacate the premises without delay to avoid either burning to death or having your collar detonated. We will be resolving the situation shortly. Interfering would be ill advised.

Have a nice day!”

The intercom flicked off. Emma rubbed her face. Why would they warn them about that? Dying in a fire, getting murdered, it was dead either way.

So Emma just laid down. Thought a bit about her friends and family. Some part of her still wondered who was left.

Jaime had been telling this story, about taking a test during a fire emergency or something? Emma smiled and nodded, but she was having trouble following. She wasn’t trying to be rude, of course. It was just… she couldn’t focus right now. She wasn’t sure if she was feeling bad physically, mentally, or both. But one thing was clear: her mind was elsewhere.

They’d accomplished nothing since they got here. Not just since they got to the vehicle depot. But “here”, in general. All they’d accomplished was losing Amanda and Lucilly, and giving Kaitlyn a weapon. Everyone was dying. It wasn’t right. They needed to do something. What, she didn’t know. And that was the worst part. She was supposed to be a leader, right? So why wasn’t she getting anything done? Why did she let Amanda take the reins?

So Emma just sat, listening to Jaime’s story without truly ever listening. Again, not trying to be rude. But she wasn’t looking at her. Instead, she was seated, her hand resting on her chin.

Announcements came on.

Emma straightened up once Jeremy’s name came up. However, this was… different. He’d killed someone. Junko? One of Jaime’s friends, track team member? She was friends with Cris, too, she was sure. And yet, Jeremy had killed her.

Before she could dwell on that, though, Nancy came up. She’d died. Emma wasn’t sure how to feel about that. The worst part was, Emma felt relieved. She knew it was wrong to wish violence on other people. That wasn’t what she believed. And yet, Nancy, her sister’s killer, received justice.

The very last name listed made Emma slowly stand up. Her face went white.

Lizzie was dead too.

Isabel, again. Apparently one of her cousins saw it, too, and tried to put her out of her misery. A second later, it was revealed. Lily, Lily, her quiet, robotics loving cousin, had killed Lizzie. No, she wasn’t able to. She couldn’t do it. Lizzie, an adventurous girl, had probably died in pain because someone like Isabel…

The announcements clicked off. Emma stood there, her skin growing more and more pale. She was shaking. Her limbs grew numb.

“Jaime…” she said.

She wasn’t sure what to say.

“Jaime…” she repeated.

Emma was breathing loudly. Her heart was racing in her ears. She felt like she could, should run, but she didn’t. Instead, she took a step backwards. She buried her head inside her hands. Her shoulders visibly shook.

Emma couldn’t take any more.