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A Delicate Machine
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"Wha- fuck- what?" Asha mumbled as she jolted upright, almost falling off the couch. She blearily glanced around the pitch-black room, but wasn't able to make anything out. "Dot? Wayne?" What happened?" She asked. No reply, except for an incoherent murmur close by. Asha looked and saw Dorothy on the couch where Wayne had been sleeping. She shifted around a bit, then went still, snoring faintly. Asha couldn't help but smile a bit at how deep of a sleeper she was, more than a little envious. Stormy weather would be Asha's absolute favorite, if she wasn't woken up by every ominous roar from the heavens.

But no, it wasn't thunder that had woken her up today; there wasn't any rain. What happened, then? If Dorothy was asleep, then that meant it was Wayne's turn at watch, right? "Hey? Wayne?" Asha called out. Again, the only sound she heard was Dot's quiet, steady breathing. Asha was starting to feel a bit uneasy, but since neither she nor Dot were dead yet (as for as she could tell), there wouldn't be any harm in taking a moment to let her eyes adjust to avoid blindly stumbling into shit.

It was pretty obvious even before she stood up to have a look around that Wayne was no longer in the room. Any hope she'd had that he'd just gone out to take a piss or something vanished when she looked to the corner where they'd piled up their three bags and saw that only one remained. Dot's, on closer inspection.

Oh, how she hated liars.

Asha had never forced Wayne to follow her. Had never asked him to agree with her. Had never asked him to endanger himself alongside her. Had thought his vague nods to be a sign of perfectly understandable reservations. Wayne could have left at any time he wanted. They had trusted him, goddammit, literally trusted him with their lives as they slept. Sure, he'd had the decency to let the door hit him on the way out loud enough to wake Asha up, but what if she'd been as heavy a sleeper as Dot? It was a thoroughly half-assed move to try and make things better, nothing more.

Hell, since they were all still gonna die, Wayne was worse than a murderer, in Asha's mind. If you killed someone, bam, they were dead. It'd still agonize the people they loved, of course, but by definition a corpse couldn't be hurt anymore. Stealing someone's supplies wouldn't kill them, no. All it'd do was make sure that when they died, they'd be miserable; minds occupied by parched throats and empty bellies, lack of consumption consuming their entire being. It was actively robbing them of any peace they could have found before the end.

Unfortunately, it was too late to do anything but curse Wayne's name in silence. Dorothy was still sleeping soundly, and Asha was loath to confront her with this new betrayal any sooner than she had to. She was too pissed to sleep, anyway. She resolved to protect Dot's peace for as long as she could, until the harsh light of day arrived to wake her and drag the undeniable truth in front of her face.

Asha found the most uncomfortable chair she could, stationing herself right next to Dorothy's couch. She pulled out her taser, suddenly very grateful that she hadn't stored it in her bag like she'd been initially tempted. Still, all its cartridges were gone. She only had one shot. It was better this way, probably. Now she wouldn't be tempted to use it; to unnecessarily panic and cause pain. It'd be a last resort, a desperate way to protect the people she loved.

Hours passed. Asha slowly realized hadn't slept as well as she had initially hoped. She had to be strong for Dot, though.

Morning found her slumped in her chair, dozing; taser dangling from her limp hand.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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