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Mr. Danya
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Nate looked up at Ben as he felt the reassuring hand on his shoulder, trying to nod in agreement with his words. Instead, he found his face buried in Ben’s chest as he gripped at his shirt, the tears still flowing and the cries not ceasing.

This really was real: they really were going to die. His friends were dying, his friends were killing, everything that he’d heard about this nightmare was coming true in less than twenty-four hours, and there wasn’t a thing he could do about it. He felt so helpless and small; it was no wonder that he was reduced to drenching his company in his tears.

"Why? Why's this happening?"

Time passed, and eventually Nate calmed down. He hadn’t really said much, apart from muttering an apology to Ben for having such a dramatic, childish response, but he’d since taken to quietly huddling in the corner. He occasionally glanced aside to make sure that his friends were still there, that he still had someone he could talk to, but he couldn’t bring himself to reengage. He didn’t like sitting out, but he was too embarrassed to do otherwise just yet.

He’d taken the time to think about all the people he knew who had died, their familiar faces greyed out as they passed on to the afterlife. He hoped that they’d go to Heaven, although of course not everyone shared his beliefs about life after death. That was ok, but at the same time, by his faith people had to do enough to get into Heaven; it wasn’t fair that those people killed had had their lives cut so short, so fast, before they’d had a real chance to save themselves. Still, he clung to the hope that whatever they had managed had been enough.

It wasn’t really helping.

On the other hand, there were people out there who had killed them, and they were his peers too. They’d done something bad enough that they’d go to Hell usually, but surely these were exceptional circumstances? Would God really damn them for being forced to kill?

He didn’t want to think about what would happen if he actually met one of those people, either. Not yet.

And what about Conrad, whom he'd cried for but at the same time was responsible for someone else's death (at least, that’s what the announcements had made it sound like). Once he’d calmed down enough to realise what he had heard, what it meant, it just made it even worse. How could he grieve for him, when Harold had been his victim? Conrad was his friend, after all, but Harold had been other people’s friend and probably hadn’t done anything to deserve it. If he forgave Conrad, said he understood given the circumstances, what was that saying to Harold?

He wished he could ask his mom, like he’d often done when faced with these moral quandaries. He wished he could say a lot of things to her right now, but more than anything he wished he could be with her instead of where he was.

He continued to sit there in his silence, still gripping his knees, as he tried to make just a lick of sense of what was going on.
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