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A Delicate Machine
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There it was again; the terrible relief that Jane's death had remained an abstract tragedy. She could have been anyone and their reaction would have been the same. Horror, but not a personal horror. Cass hadn't known Jane, hadn't talked to her more than once or twice, and the moment they found her corpse would remain the strongest impact Jane would ever have on Cass's life. If what they had wanted was to destroy Jane's memory, the killer had already won, and there was nothing they could do about it.

These musings were derailed as Irene called out from behind Cass; causing them to shriek and whirl around. They almost tripped on Jane's corpse as they did so, transforming the tragedy into a slapstick comedy and degrading her even further. They didn't, thank god. Cass had always been infuriatingly easy to startle, especially when they were zoned in on their art; a trait that Marco took advantage of with irritating regularity. There was a strange comfort to that familiar shock, though.

That comfort faded as Irene emerged from behind the shrubbery that had been obscuring her, clutching a shotgun tight to her chest. Cass's stomach sank. She wasn't threatening them, didn't even look angry or confrontational in the slightest, but the gun was more than enough to terrify. Cass had never been comfortable around guns, even in theory, much to Chris's annoyance. She had taken them along to a shooting range once, hoping that familiarity would take the edge off their fear; but all it had done was cement it. Everything had been too loud, too easy. In the end, they couldn't take it; leaving after an hour. To Chris's credit, she had never brought it up again.

Back to the present. Irene. Gun.

Cass nodded in agreement as Trav expressed his displeasure with the entire situation. What Irene had said seemed odd, like maybe she knew something. Had she been hiding out in the church, armed but too frightened to do anything but watch as Jane was murdered before her eyes? It'd explain how shaken she seemed. Cass didn't want to know, didn't want to learn who among them had been a monster the entire time; but they couldn't help but guess, to demonize the people they disliked based off nothing more than a vague gut feeling of wrongness; a disservice even to the assholes among them. If Irene knew for certain, Cass had to ask.

"They got her?"
a tribute for the dead and dying

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They Stumbled Into Faith and Thought · Crematorium Gardens