"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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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
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Kizi listened, but really, there was nothing new to add, nothing new to say. They were all going over the events of the past few hours. Looking for who to blame, looking for morsels of hope, looking for some kind of rationalisation or justification or opportunity. Maybe she was projecting. That was what she was doing, after all. But what else was there? Casual smalltalk? She couldn't do that. She couldn't see how, at least for these first few tender moments, such conversation was conceivable.

She had her own demons, staring her right in the face. Her mother, her poor mother. She had faced so much, gone through so much trauma, climbed so many adversarial obstacles, all in the hope of securing a more stable upbringing for her children. And that had all been torn asunder. Kizi knew that this was not her mother's fault, not in even a convoluted or minuscule way. But she knew her mother, and knew her mother would be tearing herself apart at the news. The loss of her daughter would only further sting by the conviction that it may have been her fault.

But she did not voice that out loud. Did not want to detract from their own personal battles.

Instead, her mind went to the first comparison she could think of. She knew little about prior SOTF events. Well, not strictly true. But she knew what every fearful American schoolchild knew. No more, no less. Her mind went elsewhere, and without thinking, the thoughts soon came out of her mouth.

"In Chibok last year, Nigeria, there was that whole thing with Boko Haram abducting 276 girls from their school during an exam." She paused. It was a case close to her heart. Such atrocities always caught her sympathies, and it being in her country of birth added another sharp sting of pain. They were always prominent in her mind. "That Bring Back our Girls campaign, that was about that. They went into a school, posing as guards. Said everyone needed to be evacuated. It's just...so similar to what's happening here. They forced the girls into marriages, sex slavery, that kind of thing. It's just...it's just such a common tool of evil these days."

Perhaps she should have lied. Added a happy ending. A glimmer of hope, that the means of finding lost kids had progressed considerably since the last SOTF attack. But such a lie did not even occur to her. Instead, she realised she had shared another anecdote, another miserable reminder of the tragedy of their situation, without a point in mind. The most upbeat note she could end things on was barely upbeat at all. "The rest of the world has seen this kind of thing too. There's solidarity here. There's sharing of methods, of technology. Maybe it can help us out here?"
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