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The breaths reached.

The air went into his mouth and down his throat and at long last they were able to reach his lungs. He spent a couple of seconds just letting his body breathe, each individual one not as pleasant as the last but still a moment and a place in time that he wanted to stay in as long as possible. It was nice. Relieving. He was safe and he knew now that there was nobody after him and he had two people in front of him who trusted him and even though he lied to them they still liked him and he liked them back and there were so few ways of him saying that he was relieved he was safe and he couldn’t think of any more but he was so relieved and happy and he just wanted to let it be known and know it himself.

The breaths still grew long, but now they no longer had the pleasure that they had to them before. He let go of the moment, letting the world come back to him. Audrey had started talking to Danny, again. She seemed angry at him. Alvaro hoped that wasn’t the case. Danny was nice, he was one of the two people who talked to him when he had fallen, so he didn’t really want any harm to come to him. Really, he didn’t want any harm to come to anyone, but if he had to pick and choose right now he’d probably try and see if he could avoid anything happening to the two people in front of him. He was grateful. He wanted them to know that. Although at least it seemed that Audrey had calmed down. That was good. Maybe they had stopped arguing.

Audrey came over, placing her hands on his shoulders. Then his cheeks. They tingled. He was definitely blushing. She was pretty; he couldn’t help but admit. It was something about her eyes. Her face. She was sweet, and as she began to lead him off elsewhere he hoped that he got to see her smiling at him again, if they catched-

A bell rang, chimes echoing from outside and through the halls. Wait, where would there be a bell in-

His hands began to shake.

He stopped moving.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in breathe out breathe in breathe out breatheinbreatheoutbreatheinbreatheoutbreatheinbreatheout he could and the air was hitting his lungs but it was getting faster and faster and faster and faster and the world was phasing out and he couldn’t think about his safety and he couldn’t think about the people who trusted him and he could think about Audrey’s smile because the only things in his mind were the fact that he was here on this island where he could only get off if he was the last person still alive and how he had messed up and how Min-Jae was after him and how there were people out there who hated him like Min-Jae and Isaac and Lily and he didn’t want to know who else and how he couldn’t trust them because only one person could get off the island and anyone could try to kill him at any moment and he didn’t know what to do because he was injured and couldn’t breathe and, and, and

No. He couldn’t stay. As much as he wanted to stay and believe that all of this was going to be okay and that he could just be with Audrey and Danny he couldn’t.

He breathed. In, out. Shallow. Breaths not reaching his lungs.

He had to get away from here.

So he moved. Suddenly, harshly. Away from Audrey, down the hall and out of sight.

((Alvaro Vacanti, continued elsewhere))
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