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Iceblock
Survivor
[ *  * ]
Wayne woke to feel Dorothy shaking him.

"I'm up," he managed, somewhat blearily. "Thanks, Dot. Dorothy." He wasn't supposed to be on nickname terms with her.

As she exchanged places with him and sought the comfort of sleep, he shook the tiredness off and just stood there for a moment, getting his bearings.

It would have been so easy for her to do something else. Instead of putting those hands on his shoulders, she could have fastened them around his throat. And squeezed. He had trusted her not to do so when he had let them take the first shifts. He had trusted Asha, too. Just like they trusted him, standing here, alone in the dark, with a knife strapped to his hip and doubt still in his mind. He almost wished that they had decided to take joint shifts, to have two people watching over one instead of one watching over two.

He glanced back over at Dorothy, wondering what exactly she saw in him. Wondered what Asha thought of him, too. He had lied to her face and followed her and backed her up all for the sake of keeping appearances, of staving off the guilt that he deserved to feel. He wasn't even their friend - just some random person, who never even showed them what he felt. How did they trust him so easily? How could they be that good?

What felt like thirty minutes passed. He paced in silence, wondering if in the next moment, someone would burst in and end his indecision. The doubt grew. If he continued to follow Asha, he could do good. He could help. If he really tried, if he dedicated himself to that cause, even if he didn't believe in it, even if he wasn't able to accept his death, he could still do something that mattered.

He could also just die. Killed by someone like the girl with the axe.

He stopped pacing, and just listened for a moment. Their breathing seemed peaceful in the dark.

It didn't surprise him when he picked up Asha's bag. It wasn't an instinctual movement, but one that he had considered for hours already, when he had realized that they were willing to tolerate him, to let him stay. He had thought about it ever since he had stood by that chain link fence and looked up to see the sun curving up towards noon and back down again.

He did not deserve this bag more than them. If he won this whole thing, if he somehow survived to the end, somehow steeled himself to make that kill that he needed to live, it would be a waste. His survival meant nothing, just like his life up to now had meant nothing. He would lock himself in a room, and he would play games to drown reality out, and he would never come out again.

No, if there was anyone who he should have helped make it to the end, it was these two. They were here, in the flesh, alive, breathing, trusting him, with noble ideas and the will to make them happen.

Here he was, stealing from them.

He couldn't bring himself to pick up Dorothy's bag. He reached for it, and hesitated in that position for at least half a minute. He couldn't do it. He couldn't leave them with nothing, all because they had trusted him, because they had given him a chance, and this was how he repaid them. This was how he showed his gratitude.

Slinging Asha's bag over his shoulder along with his own, he made his way to the door, his motions quiet, shame creeping over him. He opened the bag for a moment, checked it under the light of the stars and almost-full moon. No weapon. That, at least, was a relief.

And as he looked back to where they slept, undefended, he slammed the door as loudly as he could to wake them and ran.

((Wayne Cox continued in In A World Of Shit))
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