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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
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((Bryony Adams continued from The Gadfly Cometh))

It had not been a pleasant walk from the docks.

Bryony would have been perfectly happy not to talk at all, not least because she didn’t want to say a single thing around Bradley. Past experience had taught her that anything she said, he would find a way to twist and manipulate to his own ends and means, no matter how innocent or innocuous. Even a simple question as to where they were headed or a plea for rest so she could adjust her bag would most likely result in her getting insulted, or some unpleasant joke made.

On top of that she simply didn’t feel like talking any more. The positivity from meeting Alba had buoyed her so far, and was still there inside of her, but hidden now, buried under a layer of fear and anxiety again. She wasn’t about to bolt and go on her own way; she didn’t think she’d last more than a few minutes on her own in the current state she was in. But the mere presence of Bradley was putting her emotions on a knife’s edge, the gun only exacerbating that feeling.

And he refused to act like anything had changed from Kingman to the island. The entire walk, Bradley dedicated every single ounce of breath to cracking horrific ‘jokes’, just like he’d do at the back of class when he didn’t think the teacher could hear him. The more jokes he cracked, the more Bryony felt uncomfortable and sick, an unpleasant cocktail mingling with the terror and anxiety brewing within her at her situation on the island.

She had ended up mumbling under her breath everything she wanted to say to him, muttering about how unfunny his jokes were, how she wished she had taken his stupid packet of cigarettes back at the docks and chucked them back onto the beach.

How she was so scared of him that she only dared say these things in her head or when there was not a soul who could hear her.

So she had kept herself to herself, lagging slightly behind the other two, not even talking to Alba, until they had eventually wound up outside the gym, identifiable by the dilapidated sign hanging up outside of it.

Her brief hope that this would be a chance at some respite was almost instantly dashed by the sound of the announcement starting up, and, as soon as she realised just what the noise was, she felt like she had been punched in the gut.

The next couple of minutes had felt like some hideous fever dream. Names called out by the man who referred to himself as Danya, names of people that were apparently dead who simply couldn’t be, people like Jennifer, like Scarlett, like Conrad. Every now and then, Bradley’s voice would cut across the drone of the announcement, making some snide remark about each person who had passed. Bryony had felt something flare up each time, maybe anger, before it was instantly engulfed by the growing cloud in her mind. Her mouth had opened to speak every now and then, but she had no idea what had come out.

Bryony felt like she was spiralling into some dark, unfathomable void. She felt dazed. Nothing felt real. Each step felt like she was dragging along a bag of wet sand. She was feeling every emotion at once and yet none at all.

She didn’t even hear Bradley’s honest apology as she trudged into the gym.

There were two people inside already. Coleen and Arthur. Bryony saw her arm raise in a timid wave through her clouded mind.

Then another person made their way into the gym, and for a moment, the feeling of ice in her veins broke through the void she was falling into. Here was someone she was more frightened of than Bradley.

And it wasn’t fair, it shouldn’t be like this, because Kimiko was a perfectly lovely, friendly person normally. She wasn’t close with Bryony, but that was more due to their interests and circles being almost entirely opposites. But Kimiko had killed someone and Bryony just couldn’t shake the stigma that came with that and the petrifying fear that she felt at Kimiko’s mere presence.

Somehow, Bradley was still talking like he was back in the classroom, cracking jokes and making references. He clearly knew Kimiko so it wasn’t a lack of recognition, a failure to associate name to face. Bryony didn’t have a clue what he was trying to do, but all it was achieving was making her feel even more terrified at her situation.

“Bradley… you should… you shouldn’t…” Bryony said, eyes wide, voice barely a whisper. The void in her mind was starting to vanish. The realisation of the announcement was truly sinking in. There were tears in the corners of her eyes.



"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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This Be The Verse · The Gym