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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
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Astrid opened her eye, instantly greeted by a wave of discomfort and panic.

It was pitch black again, and she could feel a strangled scream rising up in her throat, terrified that somehow she had lost sight in both of her eyes. Only after she had blinked for a good few seconds and her sleep-clouded vision had adjusted to the darkness of the laboratory again was it stifled, as she remembered where she was.

A second wave of panic washed over her as she realised she must have fallen asleep somehow. She couldn’t feel the gun in her hand, and she looked around her little hideaway frantically. It wasn’t far, thank god, but it was lying in a pool of water a couple of inches away from her right foot, most likely having slipped out of her grasp whilst she slept. She hurriedly scooped it up, attempting to dry it on the sleeve of her jacket.

Astrid wished there was a way to find out if it still worked without firing it, but she couldn’t think of one, and she wasn’t going to pull the trigger until she absolutely needed to; this hiding place would work once, and only once, and she didn’t want to give the game up too early by alerting everyone in the vicinity to her location via the sound of a gunshot. If she knew a little more about guns, then maybe she could have dismantled it to make sure the inner workings still looked okay, but that absolutely wasn’t worth the risk of breaking her weapon in the process.

Once she felt as though the gun was sufficiently dry, Astrid got herself back into as comfortable a position as possible in such a cramped space. She shuffled slightly so she was facing the slight gap in her barricade, made sure her good eye had perfect vision of the door, and aimed the gun again.

“You moron, Astrid…”

It had been kind of a miracle that she’d even managed to fall asleep, honestly. Even now there was something unidentifiable sticking out of the pile of garbage poking into her that refused to let up no matter how much she moved to try and position herself away from it. Her lower body was completely sodden now, and she was beginning to shiver despite huddling against herself for warmth.

Astrid yawned as a chill ran up her back. Part of her hoped that somebody would wander in here soon.

Part of her desperately wished for anything but.

She had completely lost track of time now. She had no idea when she had fallen asleep, had no idea what time she had woken up, and had no idea how much time had passed since then, when someone knocked on the door to the lab and her entire body tensed up, ready and waiting for action. The sudden beam of light coming from the doorway momentarily blinded her, but she stayed still and silent, fingers coiled around the handle of the gun, index twitching slightly against the trigger.

Then she heard who exactly it was outside, and her heart sunk and her breath caught in her throat. Of all the people to walk in through that door, it had to be someone she actually liked, someone who she actually thought decently of, someone who actually had a chance of making it after their school lives were over.

Penelope pushed the door open, and Astrid realised that she’d unconsciously lowered the gun. She bit her lip, and raised her weapon again, holding it tightly with both hands, knuckles stark white. She had a perfect shot right now. The gun was aimed directly at Penelope’s heart. She wouldn’t know what hit her. It would be quick. Everything would be over before she could blink.

Astrid’s index finger twitched, threatening to pull the trigger, but not quite committing.

She couldn’t shoot Penelope. She didn’t want to do it. There was no way in hell she could convince herself this was the right thing to do.

But she had to force herself to do it. She had to.

Another second passed and still Astrid did nothing.
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