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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
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((Bryony Adams continued from Morphogenetic Fear))

Maybe, if Bryony had shut her eyes and let her mind flow clear, she could have pretended she wasn’t stranded on this island. Maybe she could have pretended the sand beneath her feet and the sea breeze whipping her pigtails to and fro belonged to a beach back home in America. Maybe she could have pretended Alba’s humming was that of a close friend she was walking side by side with, rather than what was most likely a desperate coping mechanism to distract herself from the collar around her neck and the cameras watching their every footstep.

But that wasn’t what was going on, and even if Bryony had wanted to try and pretend that everything was okay, she doubted she had the ability to actually do so. Her head was just a constant stream of everything that was wrong with her situation; the explosives attached to her throat, the number stencilled to the side of her bag, the bare skin underneath her hoody, the memory of her teachers, teachers that she’d been taught by for years, getting killed in front of her…

There was no way she was ever going to forget that. Even if, by some holy miracle, she survived this whole thing, that moment was going to repeat itself over and over in the back of her mind for the rest of her life. This was her existence, right now; trapped on an island and forced to kill or be killed. Nothing she could do would hide that fact from herself.

Honestly, she wouldn’t have tried to pretend everything was okay no matter what her mental state was. Bryony couldn’t see an outcome where everything worked out well if she did; either she’d somehow delude herself into thinking everything really was alright and no-one was going to get hurt, or she’d end up telling someone who’s best friend, or sibling, or girlfriend had just died that everything was okay and they were all going to live happily ever after.

It hurt, knowing. Every bit of realisation that she really was on Survival of the Fittest made Bryony feel like bursting into tears again. But the painful truth was better than the alternative, the pleasant delusion that would hurt her in the long run.

Bryony nodded in response to Alba as they neared the docks. She couldn’t see any boathouses or anything like that from their current location, but it made sense that there would be some sort of shelter nearby, even if it was just a storage shed for mooring ropes and the like. It would be nice to just get somewhere dry and out of the way, and allow her to rest for just a little bit.

That hope quickly evaporated as they drew closer to the two people on the docks, turning from apprehension to dread at the sight of the boy smoking. She didn’t recognise the other guy; he didn’t look like someone Bryony had attempted to connect with, and she barely even recognised him from passing by him in the corridors. But the first guy…

Even before Bradley had opened his mouth, Bryony could have answered Alba’s question; no, this guy wasn’t friendly in the slightest.

Bryony hung back, trying to keep Alba between herself and Bradley, trying almost to sink into her shadow. Her eyes were flicking back and forth, from Alba’s back, to Bradley, to the other guy, constantly stopping at Bradley’s gun hanging by his side. He was a horrible, spiteful jerk at the best of times. Now he was a horrible spiteful jerk with a deadly weapon at his fingertips.

Bryony cowered behind Alba, trying to make herself shrink and become invisible, and wished she was anywhere but here right now.


"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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The Gadfly Cometh · Docks