"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Paradise
He literally came undone down to the bone. She slid sideways until her head was resting on his shoulder. She was sitting with the entire Aroura senior class.

Mara's bandaged fingers walked across the grass like spider's legs and took hold of his mutilated hand.

He asked her a question. Would she do it all over again?

"I actually hate Disneyland. It's the rides mostly. I'm scared of heights."

What a stupid thing to be scared of. It was always a point of embarrassment. She had seen so many awful things, who knew if standing on a roof would cause her palms to sweat like they used to.

"If we were fated from the beginning and there's nothing we could do to change, it was meant to be. I was a brat... I would have appreciated what I had."

She sighed and felt herself become relaxed and empty. Her head swam and she didn't think she could move, but it wasn't too concerning anymore. Her questions about how to stop the game weren't that important.

"You?"

They wanted them to fight to the death. To hell what anyone else wanted.

Paradise
Something clattered. Mara opened one eye tentatively. He threw his gun away.

"Hillbilly idiot," she murmured. "You saved me. Again."

Her eyes filled up with tears and her legs folded underneath her. She floated to the ground and landed next to him.

"Wh-what now? What can we do?!"

All she felt was her heart like a rock in her body, weighing her down. She looked up at him desperate for an answer that would lead to the end. She was tired of fighting and tired of running.

"But I don't know how to escape. I can't run anymore. I thought you knew the way out. I…I thought you knew.."

Blood and tears started trickling down her face.

Paradise
Mara took one step forward. The gun dangled from her left hand, dragging along the ground behind her. Though it seemed like just one step, when she put her next foot down she'd advanced five feet. Her gaze locked onto him, waiting to see if his focus would waver.

The park became a sea of soft water colors melting together. The trees, benches and flowers all dripped into each other, but he remained clear as she took great leaps forward in time and space.

The gun was so heavy. She tried to lift it while she continued towards her goal, but it was impossible. There was no strength left. That was that. Mara's eyes lit up as her fingers bloomed, unraveling from around the weapon. It disappeared and drifted off behind her.

The one

Mara stopped inches from Hansel. Her heart was threatening to burst out of her chest and flop around on the grass in front of them. She was beginning to hyperventilate, but bit her lip and controlled her breathing.

"It's over," she said, trembling. "B-but…at least..."

It wouldn't be so bad, would it? She smiled sunnily, closed her eyes and lowered her head.

Paradise
Zubin started saying something and approached her. Mara felt like she might vomit. She looked at him and saw his mouth moving, but didn't hear whatever it was.

She squeezed her eyes shut and tensed up. There was the loud sound of a gunshot. Mara opened her eyes.

Alive still

Zubin had joined her on the ground. To her left was Joey and to her right lay Zubin. Mara shifted onto her back and looked at the sky. The purple still hung in the air, mixing with the orange light and coloring the area a bruised shade.

Her head felt light and as she took a deep breath she could feel it travel all throughout her body, unwinding her muscles.

She felt like she never wanted to move again. A moment passed while she mentally prepared to move. Mara got onto her hands and knees and crawled forward. About ten feet away from Joey was her slashed bag with Summer's m4 carbine nearby. It had never gone far.

"You've always been there," she said as she reached for it. Slowly, she propped it up. Her hands took hold of the gun, digging it into the ground, and started climbing. The pain was being swept away by her concentration on the task. Her fingers fumbled and her socks slipped in the grass, but the gun kept her propped up until she was standing.

Mara swallowed a metallic gulp and stood tall, covered head to toe in blood and looking across the park. In the distance, across a golden lake of grass, she saw him.


Drugs, Drugs, Drugs
Cain (name still under decision, but he's my most fleshed out kid so he'll exist) will take whatever downers you've got. Mostly just weed though

Paradise
The feeling of numbness was creeping up her fingers and toes, reaching up and trying to seize her heart. Her lungs ached and she involuntarily tried to breathe as Joey’s fingers dug into her neck, crinkling and cracking parts of her small throat.

Beams of light pierced the smoke that curled around them. If she could only reach the light past the hazy cover she knew she would be free. As the seconds passed, she felt the numbness spread up her digits to her hands, making it harder to try to wrench Joey away from her.

He began coughing violently and flecks of his blood splattered her face. For a moment his grip went loose and she took the respite. Mara gasped and picked her legs up, now also slippery and soaked in Joey’s blood, and kicked him as hard as she could.

She felt a rush to her head and black splotches faded in and out in her vision. Although she never thought herself possessing the physical strength to so much as land a punch, Mara kicked Joey off of her and sent him rolling to the side.

As soon as she was free Mara began taking gasping, sputtering breaths punctuated by coughs. She felt around her neck and face with trembling, blood soaked hands.

Across from her she saw Joey struggling to reach her. She looked at him and was frightened by his determination to kill her. When they had met she was the savage and he was calm, collected. Summer haunted her again as another classmate used their dying moments to try and take her with them.

Mara tried to speak, but the only sound that came out was a pained squeak.

Don’t hate me. You must hate me for this.

His tense hand was outstretched, trying to reach her and finish the job he’d started and nearly finished. Mara reached out and grabbed his hand, holding onto it tightly until he gave up trying to get to her. He was still.

Mara rolled onto her side, gasping for air and watching her torn up chest rise and fall as she held on to consciousness. There was the sound of gun shot again, and then someone was walking towards her. When she was certain who it was, she felt the bile rise.

"Z-zu-" she said before succumbing to a coughing fit. She shot him a look of defiance and contempt. He wasn't just some relic-like a reminder of home now or some harmless weirdo like when she'd encountered him before. All that was left was her withering contempt at the thought of losing to him.

Paradise
Mara was stunned by the oozing, gruesome wound that she’d opened up on Joey. All she saw was a flash of metal cutting through the smoke and felt stinging that burned into her chest. A second slice came at her and she recovered enough to swing her sword up to intercept the blow. She succeeded, but felt her sword hook catch on the other hook and fly out of her hand. Both weapons disappeared into the clouds like the rest of the park.

She fell backwards from the blow and the pain. Mara squeaked and gasped, putting both hands on her chest and the part of her left arm that had gaps in flesh where blood was filling in the space.

It was hard to keep her eyes open. It felt like she was continuously being sliced. This was soon augmented by a pressure around her neck, the feeling of a second collar. She couldn’t breathe. Mara looked up to see Joey straddling her, fingers digging into her throat as his blood poured all over her from his center.

But this can’t be it.

Her fingers fruitlessly tried to work their way between Joey’s. Mara bucked, twisted and kicked with all her strength, but it wasn’t enough. There was a dimness creeping in at the edges of her consciousness and her digits were were going numb.

New Official V5 Away Thread
Can check via phone but have been out of town since the 29th and didn't have Internet for a bit before that. Back on the 2nd at night