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a boring relationship thread name here
I think some time ago we discussed Jordan and Bree disliking each other? Am I correct on this? Even if I'm wrong, I'm still willing to have them hate on each other. It'll be fun. : D

I might think of more stuff later.

The Choo-Choo Train of Relationships
In Zach's case, I think it'd be a case of similar personalities, abrasive relationship. Roxie's pretty trolly herself, and has a sense of humor that occasionally goes into dark or irreverent territory. In addition, they're both YouTubers. That said, depending on what exactly Zach likes to joke about, she'd find it unfunny. While she's the kind of person who doesn't mind jokes about gender, ability, being Jewish, being a goth, or anything else to a certain point, she'd find it annoying if he makes a joke that essentially boils down to something like "lol goths" or "lol jewish kids." Also, depending on what kind of pranks he's fond of, she'd probably dislike it if it's something particularly tasteless.

As for Yuka, I think they'd actually get along. In some ways, they're similar yet different: both are goths with an interest in makeup. At the same time, Yuka's a pastel goth who's more into fashion, while Roxie prefers more of an 80s/90s aesthetic with some punk undertones, and is interested in makeup effects. Roxie would be supportive of her bisexuality, as well; I've thought that she might actually have some degree of consciousness about social justice issues, despite her occasional dark humor, and would find LGBT issues something that needs to be supported. I guess it'd be a "tomboy and girly girl type" scenario, in a sense?


Riki needs you!
I think both Bree and Roxie would despise Hyacinth. Both are actually pretty body positive in their own way.

In Roxie's case, she has a physical disability, and while she's self-confident about it, she would find Hyacinth's attitude towards "non-traditional" body types aggravating. I don't know if Hyacinth is the type to directly throw ableism into the mix by making fun of her disability or something, but even then, Roxie would still get peeved by her. Roxie dislikes bullies and injustice, so she might have butted heads with her about her viewpoints. Also, she's a goth, which may play a role in why she dislikes Hyacinth, depending on her thoughts on that subculture.

In Bree's case, they're actually not that different interests-wise, and I think they'd be friends if it weren't for her viewpoints. However, I've considered that Bree may have a thicker, curvier body type; she's athletic, but she definitely has some meat on her bones. Bree's pretty confident about it as well, but if Hyacinth says something that implies that people with her body type are unattractive... well, she wouldn't let it sit. It's entirely possible that they were on good terms in the past, but Hyacinth did something to piss her off.

Thoughts on this?

in all the posting of relationship threads no-one will notice that i'm gay
I'm thinking that Bree and Yuko could be friends? Bree's meant to be reasonably athletic herself (though she's more of a water sports girl; think swimming and kayaking). They're also kinda similar in that they also have some girlish elements to them as well. Also, I don't know if Yuko finds any kind of aquatic life "cute" the same way as hamsters and such, but if she does... Bree's the type to share pictures, trivia, and such. : D

I might come back with more ideas later, when I'm not feeling as sicky, but your thoughts on that?

The Choo-Choo Train of Relationships
Looking over Michael's info, I feel like he and Bree could have an odd friendship? Bree, being popular and extroverted, would be a bit of a contrast to his introversion. But she'd be willing to bond with Michael over various aquatic critters, as well as possibly being judgy of each other? Also, he has a corgi, and she probably thinks corgis are adorable. <3

Also, that aquarium sounds cool. They have a Twitter account for one of their electric eels that updates whenever there's a strong enough surge from him. I approve.

The Choo-Choo Train of Relationships
Hey everyone! It's that time again! So far I have two lovely ladies who need relationships.

Roxanne "Roxie" Borowski- I've mentioned her a few times, but yup, I'm making another perky goth!

Roxie is an aspiring special effects artist, with a focus on makeup effects in particular. She's particularly fond of horror-based stage makeup, such as making herself into a zombie or making werewolf facial prosthetics, but she has done other things as well. To help with her interest, Roxie has her own YouTube channel (name pending) where she largely uploads tutorials on how to make your own horror special effects at home cheaply and easily. As you might guess, she's a fan of horror media, especially 80s horror movies. In fact, she likes 80s-90s pop culture in general; one of her favorite non-horror movies is Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, which I can see her quoting on a regular basis. I''ve also considered making her a huge fan of the miniseries Stranger Things. Roxie is part of the school's drama club, and enjoys both acting onstage and helping out backstage. Another one of Roxie's interests is learning about odd mythological creatures; she's the type who'd tell you about something like vampire pumpkins.

When Roxie was in early elementary, she was involved in an accident. I might change it in the future, but right now I'm thinking it was vehicle-related. While she survived, she was significantly injured; her left leg in particular was crushed, broken, and damaged. Because the limb was unable to recover correctly, the doctors recommended that it be surgically amputated to improve her health and quality of life. Ultimately, this is what Roxie's family went with, and nowadays she uses an ATK prosthesis. Despite the trauma of being in a near-death experience and losing her leg, Roxie is fairly well-adjusted. I imagine that some of her gothiness came about partly as a coping mechanism for it when she was younger. However, she did have some guilt when she learned that her family had some difficulty financially afterwards, so she started working as soon as she was able so that she could buy things she needed (such as makeup supplies) personally. I'm thinking she has a regular part-time job and a seasonal one. I don't know what the part-time is yet, but the other one is that she worked at a local haunted house attraction for at least one year.

Roxie comes from a Jewish background; to be specific, her family's Ashkenazim and practices Reform Judaism (which is a liberal sect). Despite what you'd initially suspect, Roxie is actually reasonably devout. I'm not certain yet, but I'm thinking she does practice kashrut. In addition, I'm thinking that after her leg was amputated, it was officially buried (as per tradition). Because of her Jewish background, Roxie is actually interested in seeing horror themes that take clear influence from the culture and religion (she feels that horror media is oversaturated with Christian themes). One of her dream projects is a Marble Hornets-style ARG about a dybbuk, which she still is in the early planning stages for. Of course, I may need to do more research on this front, since I'm not personally Jewish.

Personality wise, she's a bit of a gadfly. If you're friends with her, be prepared for loads and loads of trolling. Of course, she's the type who doesn't mind getting teased and made fun of too, as there's very little that'd upset her if you joke about it to her face. She's fond of self-deprecating humor, too, and doesn't mind jokes even at the expense of stuff like her disability, as long as it's clear it's good fun between friends (so if you go up to her and be like "HAHA, one-leg", she'd frowny-face, but if you're a close friend who cracks a joke about it she'd at least not mind it as much). Speaking of her disability, she doesn't really feel shame about it or try to hide it. To her, it's a sucky situation, sure, but she doesn't like the idea of people feeling bad for her because of it. Just something you got to deal with, you know? Roxie is also confident, and fond of body-positivity. Currently, she's been trying to get involved in anti-bullying efforts around the school, since, while not to Alex extents, she despises bullies. As you might suspect, she's consistently busy; she's often working, updating her channel, doing something for the drama club, or studying. So yes, you could say she's a hard-worker. Overall, she's peppy.

Cliff Notes Version
- A bit of a gothy horror fan; also likes 80s/90s pop culture in general.
- Aspiring makeup effects artist; has her own YouTube channel where she uploads tutorials on how to make your own.
- Had a transfemoral amputation when she was younger; uses a prosthesis.
- Has a Ashkenazim background, practices Reform Judaism
- A drama club member; works both on- and backstage.
- Likes spooky mythological creatures.
- Has a bit of a trolly jokey personality, but doesn't mind being the butt of jokes too, at least when it comes to close friends
- Hard worker; has a yearly part-time job (that I need to settle on), as well as a seasonal part time job working at a local haunted house attraction.
- Dislikes bullies.

Roxie's Relationships

Bree Jones- She's not as fleshed out as Roxie, but I do have some updates for her! Yay! I might end up changing her name, though.

Bree really loves fish. Her dream is to become a marine biologist, and she's had experience taking care of aquatic pets. I'm not certain yet, but I'm thinking she might have a betta tank (maybe a sorority? It's something that's generally agreed to be tricky, but feasible). Because of her love of aquatic animals, she has strong opinions on them. For example, Bree dislikes the idea of cetaceans in captivity, and will probably explain why you shouldn't go to SeaWorld, land of orca abuse. I'm thinking she might also be the type to tell you that sharks, while apex predators, aren't the demons pop culture portray them as, as well as preferring to use products that are good for the ocean, and encouraging proper care of aquatic pets. So yeah, she does have a lot of feelings about fish!

When she was younger, Bree's family went through a nasty divorce. Currently, Bree lives with her mother; she hasn't seen her father in a long time, due to not having a good relationship with him. While the experience was difficult, perhaps traumatic for her, she has somewhat overcome it through counseling and bonding with her mother. She still has some insecurities about it, however. Because it's a sore issue for her, she doesn't like to talk about it too much. Like Roxie, she may have taken a part-time job to help her mother out (maybe working at a pet store?).

Bree is athletic; she's a member of the school's swim team (possible captain? we'll see), and is fairly good at it. In addition, she enjoys kayaking; Chattanooga is right on the Tennessee river, so there's plenty of places for her to check out. Aside from water sports, Bree also enjoys livestreaming video games. I'm not certain what she streams exactly, but I do know she does it purely for fun, as a way to show herself playing video games while chatting with her friends and other people who decide to pop in. She isn't really expecting to get popular at all, really. Bree also enjoys changing her appearance regularly, and usually styles her hair in various ways. For example, one day it'll be a low sidetail, another will be a high ponytail. I imagine her as the type who also randomly decides to braid her friends' hair, too. Generally, I also picture her as the kind of person who invites her friends over to a movie night/slumber party where she styles their hair (possible thread idea?). Speaking of which, she likes movies too; she likes more chick flick stuff.

She has some mean-girlishness to her; while she is part of the popular crowd, she has a mean-spirited, selfish side of her personality. She doesn't go out of her way to bully or anything. However, she is the kind of person who it's easy to tell what she thinks of you. If she thinks you're annoying, dumb, or silly, you'll probably find out pretty quickly. It also doesn't help that there's a moody, rash side of her personality, especially if things don't go her way. On the other side, though, you'll probably also know if she does like you; she's kind and affectionate to her friends. Also, she is popular for a reason; she's both academic and athletic, giving her lots of cred to both crowds. And, as mentioned before, she's pleasant and friendly to those she is fond of.

Bree's not as fleshed out as Roxie, but feel free to toss things my way!

Cliff Notes Version
- Aspiring marine biologist; has strong opinions on issues relating to aquatic life.
- Has kept aquatic pets; might work at a pet store.
- Family had a messy divorce when she was younger
- Likes water sports; is a member of the swim team, and enjoys kayaking.
- Livestreams video games.
- Enjoys changing up her hairstyle a bit.
- Likes chick flicks
- Is popular; kind of has mean girl elements, but is otherwise kind to people she likes.

Bree's Relationships

Note that some details for the two of them may change in the future.

Late to the Party

Emma frowned. Keith was kind of an odd name to say, wasn’t it? It sounded like “key,” but it had a random -th sound at the end. Though, did she know a Keith? The name did ring a bell, but Emma was drawing a blank on who it belonged to.

“Keith, Keith…” she muttered to herself in thought.

She’d glanced down towards her sword for a moment, before something came to mind.

“Programming?” she continued.

There was a Keith like that, right? One who did computer programming. Maybe? She didn’t hear a Keith on the announcements. That, though, could mean anything. It just meant that he was still alive, and that he didn’t kill anyone either. Whether he was safe, though, was another question. Maybe, again, he was another hallucination. Why she would hallucinate a “Keith,” though? Her head still felt a little foggy, her legs felt off, her arms ached, and colorful shapes danced around the corner of her vision. But he was probably real, wasn’t he?

She looked back up. Her mouth twitched. She adjusted her neck for a second.

“It’s… nobody.”

Nobody? Was that a good response? Emma thought it over for a second. Then, she changed her mind.

“Emma,” she said.

Those two syllables also seemed odd to say. Em-ma. It was her name, obviously, but it still sounded like a foreign language to her. It also felt like she hadn’t said it in a while. But she hoped that giving her name wouldn’t be an issue. She also hoped that she’d be able to deal with whatever this was quickly, and she could probably rest for a while longer. It still felt like she needed it.

Late to the Party
Emma heard a noise. Was that the door opening? Slowly, she opened her eyes. With a soft groan, she rubbed her face for a second, gently pushing up her glasses. Then, she saw it, out of the corner of her eye. A dim yellow orb, inside a doorway. She moved to look at it, taking a moment to figure out what it was. Was she hallucinating again? After all, yellow orbs generally don’t just float there, and give off a beam of light, and-

Emma tensed up. It was a flashlight, pointed close to her. Someone was here. It may have been a fake someone, but if it was a real someone… she couldn’t take too many risks. It probably was a real someone, she was sure. Maybe one of the three people at the beach had followed her here. Or, it was a completely different person. Either way.

She pulled herself up, and glanced at the sword. Her hands snapped out and wrapped around the hilt. It seemed even heavier now. Maybe it was because she was exhausted. But the ache in her hands didn’t improve any.

Her tired eyes focused on the shape holding the flashlight. She couldn’t recognize who it was. It looked taller, like a boy, she guessed. But she shook her head. Emma kept the sword in front of her, as difficult as it was. She wasn’t sure if she should say something, but, as dry as her mouth was, it came out.

“Y… yes? Who is it?”

For a moment, Emma let herself grimace, before closing her mouth. Try to look confident. Try to look less vulnerable than she was. Maybe they’d go away, or… something. She didn’t think they could be someone friendly enough.

v7+ concepts
So, I feel like I need to make a bit of an update. I've been thinking, and I'm considering a specific dynamic for Roxie. I'd thought I'd post here so that if someone needs a concept, they could get ideas? A pre-existing concept with the same dynamic could also work.

What I'm considering is, the more I think of it, something vaguely similar to Anthony Rollins/Anna Hitchins in TV1, but I'm hoping it doesn't come off as a complete rip-off. But basically, I'm thinking that Roxie should have someone who occasionally helps out with her projects, such as appearing in her videos from time to time. So far, it's already been established that Roxie is an aspiring makeup effects artist, and has her own YouTube channel where she uploads tutorials on how to make your own makeup effects at home (with a predominant focus on horror themes). I'm thinking that, from time to time, she might need someone to show up in a video to illustrate a concept like, say, how to make a life mask (something that'd be incredibly difficult to do by yourself!). Or, generally, a friend who's willing to be made into, for example, a werewolf from time to time in her videos. Many makeup effects can be done by yourself, of course, but I thought it'd be fun to like, roleplay Roxie applying stage makeup on someone else for a video.

I feel like it could be any close relationship, so I'm not picky on that (it could be a close friend? A relative? Even a love interest?). Maybe someone with vaguely similar interests is preferable; aside from liking horror stuff, I'm thinking they could also have their own YouTube projects or similar where Roxie also makes appearances/helps out with, to make this dynamic a bit more equal. These are just ideas, though!

I know it might be too early to plan character relationships and such. But I'd thought I'd bring up that I'm interested in a dynamic like this. I do want to show Roxie working on a video for her channel at some point, and it was just me thinking "Maybe she needs a test dummy for her to apply makeup on at some point? Might be fun to write out." If you feel like you're stumped on concepts, or already have a concept who could fit, feel free to bug me on Discord or Skype about it. Oh, and here's Roxie's concept if you need a refresher.

Late to the Party
((Emma Luz continued from Waiting for the End))

Did she do the right thing, leaving Serena, Alessio, and Matt? That was something she still didn’t know the answer to. Maybe it was for the best. Alessio was dangerous, Matt and Serena probably were. But it still gnawed at her. Someone could’ve died back there, if they didn’t already. She knew Alessio and Serena from orchestra, and, even if she didn’t know Matt that well, it’d still wouldn’t feel right if she’d left him to die.

“Whatever happens, happens,” she had repeated to herself a few times as she walked along the dirt path to the asylum.

It still felt slimy, even if it was necessary. It was like the thing with Kaitlyn way back when, in a way? With the food and water. Emma remembered how she felt taking things off Mabes’ body. She’d liked Mabes, even if she thought the whole drone thing was silly. But they’d done it, and it felt gross. It also felt gross in a similar way to the bird. Gross, but maybe necessary. Maybe.

It didn’t help that she left the bird in the fire, as well. Emma grimaced at the thought. That wasn’t good. It was food, and she’d wasted it. Maybe she should be more careful with fire in the future? Since it only took a few minutes before three different killers had shown up. Fire brought smoke, after all.

She’d decided to take shelter in the asylum for the evening. It was starting to get dark, anyways. Some time ago, Emma remembered thinking that there might be some supplies laying around. She wasn’t sure if it was good to dig in to canned food a decade old, but you never know what’s there. Again, if she had to take food off dead people again, she would do it.

Emma felt worse when she made it indoors. She’d taken her pills earlier, but she still felt dreadful. A few times she’d stumbled and tripped. Another time she dropped the sword. Maybe she’d been too energized earlier? She killed a bird, she dressed the meat, and she cooked it. She just… couldn’t finish it. Her stomach growled in reminder. It might have helped her a bit, to get some protein in her. She’d be less tired, at least.

She found herself in a more intact part of the asylum. By “intact,” she meant “not about to collapse on itself.” It still looked like things were going to fall on her head, just not as easily. Her feet dragged along, feeling heavy. A few times, it felt like she’d space out, only to find herself a few more feet ahead. Her head felt dizzy, like her brain had turned to slosh.

She needed a place to rest. Now. She knew that the trek up here didn’t make her feel good. Maybe she was hungry, maybe she was stressed, maybe it was, again, she was too energized earlier. But what was important was that she needed to lay down somewhere.

That thought was only supported when Emma saw more outlines of people, right in front of her as she turned a corner to the left. She stared for a minute, clutching her sword, before the people had turned their heads towards her. Then, they disappeared. Emma let herself blink for a few more minutes, then continued walking.

“They aren’t real,” she again whispered to herself.

A few more feet ahead, and Emma saw a set of double doors. There was a smell, too. It reminded her of Mabes. Maybe Lily, too. There were other times she’d smelled it, too, but it seemed almost normal nowadays. Was it weird to think that? Emma didn’t want to focus on it.

As she stepped towards the doors, the smell got stronger. Emma guessed that it came from a pile nearby, but she didn’t want to look at it for too long. She had an idea of what it was already, anyways. But, she wasn’t in any shape to take a close look right now. Even her fatigued brain knew that.

Emma stepped inside. It was dark, and she could see multiple long tables. She didn’t even think. Instead, she sat herself down at one, slamming the sword onto the table. The bag made two banging noises of its own: one when she dropped it next to her on the bench, the other when it fell to the ground a second later. Emma flinched at the second, before realizing her bag had fallen. For a moment, she considered picking it up. Instead, though, she sighed and closed her eyes.

A moment later, she let herself doze. Maybe she’d do so for a few minutes before looking around some.

In her fatigued state, Emma did not notice the posters in the room, nor did she notice the names carved into the wood further down the table. She hadn’t even fully realized that, intentionally or no, she ended up following Alessio’s instructions anyways.

Waiting for the End
They weren’t really paying attention to her.

Alessio just muttered a token “see you.” Serena, however… just went on this rant. Apparently Alessio had been with her before he started killing? Apparently, she saw Aiden (Slattery?) die? Emma didn’t know. Then Matt kind of put out this insincere apology, and went on to go on a rant of his own, about how Serena wasn’t the only one abducted or something. It didn’t help that he was smiling.

For another moment, Emma’s eyes darted between the three again. Then, she took a hesitant step forward. She knew what she could do intuitively. She could defuse whatever was going on, make sure it de-escalates. De-escalation wasn’t that difficult, was it? Hear all sides out, try not to judge, offer alternatives if possible.

But she didn’t take another step forward. She did try to open her mouth, but no words came out. Instead, she closed it. Emma took another moment to look at the three killers. Serena had the gun on Alessio, Matt had the gun on her.

Another deep breath.

“Whatever happens, happens,” she whispered to herself.

It wasn’t worth it. They were going to argue and fight and kill each other no matter what. It didn’t matter if Emma was here or not. Was it? She didn’t know about that either. Just that she might do what she said after all. It was probably best if she wanted to continue life without a bullet wound.

She turned around, and started walking away. For a moment, she looked back. Still arguing, still pointing guns.

Then she looked forward, and stepped away. The smell of burnt wood and cooked bird hung in the air as she walked along the cove, only to slowly fade away.

((Emma Luz continued in Late to the Party))

Waiting for the End
“Well… then.”

Ask a risky question, get a sarcastic answer. Emma still doubted Alessio was even being truthful. There had to be something at the cafeteria for him to tell her to go there, but what, she didn’t know. It had to have been a trick of some kind. A trap, maybe? Who knew? Regardless of his reasoning, it wasn’t safe to stick around, and it probably wasn’t to go to the cafeteria.

The smell of cooked seagull meat still hovered in the air, like a strong perfume with an odd scent. For a moment, Emma wasn’t sure if it was worth it to take the bird with her. It was obviously cooking, but it might not have been a good idea to take the time to pull a greasy, hot object away from the fire while a killer was right nearby.

Something, someone else pressed the issue. Emma heard footsteps in sand a second time, and, before she knew it, Serena Waters had shown up with a gun of her own. Wasn’t she a killer, too? She killed someone with a jeep, of all things. Well, this just kept getting better, she guessed. Even if she weren’t, she had that gun pointed at Alessio.

Emma took another step backwards, hoping to get away from whatever was going to happen with Serena and Alessio. And, like magic, a third person had shown up. Emma knew who Matt Moradi was. He was kind of this abrasive person who played tabletop games. And, he was also a killer with a gun. Maybe all the fire and smoke attracted them. She wasn’t sure.

One more deep breath. She could still smell the bird cooking. Another step backwards. Her eyes darted between Alessio, then Serena, then Matt, then the seagull, then back to Alessio. Once again, without realizing it, her sword, as heavy as it was, had been slightly raised.

“Right… I’m… I think I’m leaving.”

She still tried to make herself appear confident. Her face needed to be serious, her posture needed to be as straight as she could make it. Still vulnerable, but it was good to try not to give that impression. After all, they had guns, she had a sword. Might make things a little trickier.

A few more steps backwards. She knew it was common sense to turn the other way, to run far away from them as possible and to find somewhere to hide. And yet, she kept stepping backwards, away from them and the fire.

Waiting for the End
There was no use arguing.

Emma stood up with unsteady legs. If he was going to threaten her, it was a good idea to do what he said. There were some hills you just can’t die on, and in this case, it was literal. It wasn’t worth it to stick around, since he made a clear ultimatum. Fire was good, so was food. It was a nice place to stay, but safety was more important.

“Fine. I’ll head out,” she said, her voice still letting uneasiness seep through.

Emma reached down to grab her bag, and slung it over her shoulder. Next was her sword. The entire time, she kept her eyes on Alessio. The gun was now pointed at her. That was only a sign that she needed to leave. There were safer spaces, ones without people.

For a moment, she stopped. A new thought passed through. Was it in any way right to just leave him? He was a killer, and one who would likely kill again. She could do something to make sure he didn’t. If he killed again, would she be to blame? Maybe it was a sense of responsibility that remained. People were ripping each other apart, they were monsters. Every one of them. And here she was, still feeling responsible. But another old feeling came up, one that also didn’t feel good. She tightly closed her eyes for a moment at the thought.

She couldn’t do it.

Emma took a few more steps backwards, her focus still on Alessio. Could she? But she had to ask a question. She felt dumb asking. Not because it was a dumb question, but because her life was on the line right now.

“Oh… before I go… I have a question.”

She hoped that this wouldn’t be the last question she’d ask. It took some effort getting it out, but she did it.

“What’s at the cafeteria?”

Some part of her doubted it was anything good. It could be a trick of some sort. And yet, stupid, stupid her had to ask.

Waiting for the End
For a few minutes, images once again flickered behind her eyelids.

It was the bird, still alive. Its black and white feathers shimmered in the fire, as it looked at her with those dark eyes. It made no noise, only stared at Emma. Emma stared back.

There were crunching noises, like footsteps in sand.

Emma’s eyes snapped open. In the slowly dimming light, she saw an afterimage of a person, that flicked away the second she moved her head towards it. She looked the other way, the direction the footsteps were coming from. She froze for a moment once she recognized who it was. Emma had been on the school orchestra with Alessio, and he was generally a quiet person. That wasn’t important, though. What was important was that Alessio had been on the announcements. Multiple times. He’d killed a girl with a bag. He’d shot Kizi. He’d killed someone with a pickaxe. Maybe more “someones.”

Point was, Alessio wasn’t good news. Emma’s right hand landed on top of the sword’s hilt. It wasn’t rocket science to know that you wouldn’t want someone like Alessio nearby. Deep breath. What should you do in a situation like this?

Then Alessio did the last thing she expected: cry out in disgust. Emma flinched. Why that reaction? She got her answer a few seconds later.


That was her only response to that. Just a “what.”

It looked like Alessio was grossed out by the bird? He’d come over to yell at her over it, as if it was the most disgusting thing imaginable. Didn’t he kill several people? Then he told her to leave, as if she was the one who walked in on him. She took another breath. Her fatigued mind tried to come up with solutions.

She could make it clear that she had a weapon, which would make killing her trickier. Sure, it was a heavy weapon, but still a weapon. She could throw a rock at him. She could use the fire to get him away. Heck, she could even throw the bird at him. It’d be wasting food, but at least he’d leave. Or, she’d have enough time to run away if he was dangerous. One more breath. Then:

“Alessio. What are you doing here?”

Emma had tried her best to sound friendly. And yet, an undercurrent of lowness came to her voice. She knew that Alessio wasn’t going to give her any mercy. Heck, she saw a gun in his hands. He too had a weapon, and he could shoot her in a second.

She straightened up a bit, and tried to keep the fear off her face. She must have looked vulnerable, alone and clearly tired like this. She didn’t want to give that impression, even if there was truth to that. If things escalated, she should leave like he asked. There was no use sticking around danger.

Waiting for the End
((Emma Luz continued from El Manana))

It was the first time Emma had killed anything bigger than an insect.

Back home, they had chickens. Sometimes the chickens wouldn’t lay, sometimes they were simply too old, sometimes it was something else. But during those “sometimes,” it usually ended in one thing: the chicken getting the axe. Mom and Dad wouldn’t let her and Sabrina watch it when they did, at least, when they were little. Usually, the chicken was taken to the backyard, out of sight. However, Emma heard it, at least once. She remembered it vividly.


It was unceremonious. The chicken didn’t caw out or anything. It’s just, one second it was alive, the next it wasn’t. Simple as that. And yet, when she was little, Emma refused to have any part in it. It was a bit of a rule in her family that everyone helped in the kitchen, and did what they were capable of. By the time they got to see the bird, it’d been already de-feathered and decapitated. However, when she was in… early elementary, she thought it was? She’d remembered crying when she first realized that the chicken had come from the coop. She hadn’t wanted the chicken to die, she didn’t want to cook it, she didn’t want to eat it. Mom and Dad had tried to calm her down some, telling her that the chicken had lived a long and happy life with them, and not eating it would be a waste. Gently, since she was still small. But it was a reality.

When she got a few years older, she couldn’t help but find herself becoming interested in the innards of the bird. It was a bit like dissection in school, in a way. There was what Mom pointed out as the gizzard, which was still full of scratch, pill bugs, and even pebbles. She’d find out later that food was stored there, until it moved to the true stomach. Sometimes there were half-formed eggs, still soft and small. There was the large, red liver, and spongy lungs. There were bones and muscles too, of course. Emma had become interested in anatomy, so looking at the animal’s insides wasn’t an unpleasant experience.

However, she still didn’t like eating chicken if she knew it was one of theirs. Sure, they’d eaten chicken from elsewhere most of the time, and she was okay with that. Did that make her a hypocrite? Who knew? All she knew was that there was something different about knowing an animal before you kill and eat it.

Which may have explained how she felt about killing a seagull.

She’d been walking along the beach, looking for food. That’s when she found it. It’d been roaming around the cove. It’d looked at her, with curious dark eyes. Seagulls were a dime-a-dozen here, nothing new. But Emma had stared back at it for almost a minute. She’d become aware of the sword in her hands.

It didn’t take too long. The seagull had tried to fly off, but Emma dropped the sword into the sand. Instead, she picked up a rock and threw it in its direction when it got just a foot off the ground. It was a hasty decision, and one she’d doubt it’d work. But it connected. The seagull fell to the sand, shrieking in pain. Emma could see that one of its wings was crooked, and it was struggling to flap both wings. She took another deep breath, and picked the sword up.

She walked over to the bird, still flapping its wings to no avail.

She had to take another moment.

But after that moment, she heard it. It was somewhat muffled by the sand, but it was still distinguishable. It was a simple thunk.

Emma walked back to her makeshift campsite, headless bird dripping into the sand. Earlier, once she stopped feeling as tired, she’d done a bit of searching for driftwood. At some point, around noon, she’d noticed that there was already what appeared to be a quickly made firepit of some sort, with burnt driftwood at the center. It looked like someone had a similar idea. Who, Emma didn’t know. For a moment, Emma stared at it, before she realized it’d been a few days old at that point. Whoever used it was likely long gone by this point. Nonetheless, she’d waited a few minutes. When no one showed up, she decided to use it. Emma had found a bit more wood strewn across the beach, some that could even be used as kindling. Some of it was still wet, so she couldn’t use it, but there was quite a bit that’d work. Even with some of the wet wood, she’d managed to scrape some of the bark away. Tinder was also easy to find. The grass along the shoreline seemed like it’d work.

So, after her episode with the seagull, she’d come back, and began setting up the fire. There were ways to start a fire without a match or lighter, but luckily, Emma had found out that there was a lighter in the first aid kit anyways. So, she used that.

It wasn’t a big fire. Nothing you’d expect out of a bonfire or anything. But it was fire. Something she needed, for warmth and for cooking.

Once the fire was big enough, she put the bird’s carcass right up to the edge of the flames. Emma had spent a few minutes already cleaning the seagull. Its feathers were still scattered about in the wind, and she’d tossed its organs into the ocean. Cutting it open with the sword was a bit tricky, because it was big, and looked more for cleaving than for stabbing. However, she’d poked it open with the rounded pointed tip, and took some time removing the innards with her hands. She had to take some more time to slather her hands with sanitizer, since germs were still an issue.

Emma wasn’t sure how edible seagulls were, to be honest. She’d read somewhere that they ate garbage, like rats. Maybe they weren’t the best thing she could be eating. But at least it was protein. She couldn’t live off bread and ration bars forever.

She sat in the sand, leaning forward with her chin resting on her hand.

Jaime died yesterday. He didn’t give that many details about what happened exactly. Just that she’d gotten into an argument with Brendan Harte, and then he’d… killed her. Jaime always had a knack for getting into arguments. Emma thought back to that last one they’d had, before she’d run away. She still didn’t want to believe that the only way out was by killing people, but with each passing day, it became more and more clear that no one here was willing to give anyone mercy. Some part of her still felt bad that Jaime had died, though.

Emma had abandoned her. Even now, sometimes, she wondered if she could have done something to prevent it.

Too late to wonder now.

Emma closed her eyes.

She’d been feeling better than yesterday. Emma had realized that she occasionally missed her doses, so she made sure to take them today. She still had some pills left. Hopefully that’d be enough for a while. She’d gotten a lot done today, as well. Starting a fire, cooking a bird. When it hit later in the afternoon, though, her familiar fog had started to come back. Her hand slipped with the sword a few times, making Emma worry that she was going to slice herself open with it. Nothing happened, but it was still worth worrying about. But it didn’t help that a few colorful shapes had floated in and out of her vision. Sometimes, she’d see shadowy figures out of the corners of her eyes. Nothing too detailed, fortunately, but maybe she’d feel better once she got some food into her.

That’d be nice.

So, Emma sat, the sound of waves and cracking fire surrounding her, and the smell of cooking meat and seaweed filling the air. The smoke rose into the air, and could be seen from a distance. She was unaware of anyone nearby.