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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
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Astrid was trapped.

It was ironic, really, for the girl who had been setting up a death trap of her very own in this exact same room a few moments ago to be feeling this way. But whilst it was painfully clear that Astrid wasn’t going to be able to shoot Penelope now, she had still, for several arduous moments, considered doing so. Hell, if she’d had a little more willpower or been a little more trigger happy, then Penelope would be lying on the floor unbreathing, blood mingling with the water.

But Penelope was sitting right next to her, completely oblivious of this fact and of their uncomfortable surroundings. She hadn’t questioned why Astrid had been hiding out behind a table for so long, or what she had been planning on doing with the gun in her hand. She had just been so happy to see a friend, so excited to see a friendly face in the darkness.

And Astrid simply couldn’t reciprocate those feelings, couldn’t even force herself to be happy to see Penelope one last time. Because if Astrid was going to be the one to survive on the island, then Penelope would have to die, and it was going to hurt and it was going to eat away at her from the inside when it did, and the longer they stayed together, the closer they got, and the more Astrid was reminded of why she liked Penelope, the worse it would get when her time was finally up.

Before she could even say anything, or even think of anything that would make sense to say, the sound of the announcements starting up cut across the entire island, echoing around the lab, as clear as if Danya himself was standing right in front of them. At least now Astrid knew roughly what time of day it was. Small comforts. She closed her eyes and braced herself.

It was just as awful as she’d predicted, but not in the way she had been expecting. Most of the names read out were either complete mysteries or people Astrid had actively disliked back at home. The one that hit her the hardest was Jennifer. She had seemed nice, innocent and smart back at home. Harmless. Potential for the future. Exactly the sort of person that screamed ‘first out’ but that still stung all the same. Even the unfamiliar names hit her like a sucker punch. It was just… unnatural. It was sick and wrong, these people who she had grown up around just being wiped off the face of the planet like this.

But the worst part about the announcements was Penelope’s reaction. She seemed absolutely distraught, a shivering, sobbing wreck, each familiar name bringing forth fresh tears. Astrid couldn’t bear to look at right now; if she had, then Penelope would have seen the intense look of guilt and self-hatred on her face. There was a knife in Astrid’s gut, twisting its way up inside of her, working its way up to her heart, because the most extreme reaction she was having to these announcements was that if someone was to end up killing Nancy Kyle after this, then no-one would be mourning her loss too greatly.

Finally, the announcements finished, and Astrid was left with a terrified, sobbing mess of a girl next to her. She felt awful. She didn’t want anything more to do with this. She wanted to get up and walk away and never have to see Penelope again, for both of their sakes. But she couldn’t just abandon a friend in distress. Not whilst one still existed. As softly as she could, she placed a hand on top of Penelope’s own and gently squeezed it.

“I’m sorry…” Astrid muttered.

Oh, how those two words held so much meaning.


"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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