"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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((Min-jae Parker continued from Into the Veil))

The pew wasn't the most comfortable place Jae had ever tried to sleep, but it wasn't the worst. He lay on his back with his head pillowed on his bag and the crossbow resting across his stomach, dozing in and out. He kept his good hand on it, near enough to the trigger just in case. He was banking on the back of the pew shielding him from the view of anybody entering for long enough for him to get a handle on whether or not they were trouble. He never quite managed proper sleep, waiting for the crackle of the speakers to tell him whether or not he'd need to get the hell out of dodge on short notice.

He didn't, as it turned out. That was the good news. The better news was that everyone he knew and cared about had made it through another night.

He already knew the bad news. Hearing his own name wasn't as much of a sucker punch as he'd thought it might be, and Danya's insincere congratulations to him weren't enough to get more than a raised middle finger in response.

The worse news: he couldn't return to the vehicle depot, and Hazel and Jordan couldn't stay there, assuming they hadn't already made themselves scarce upon discovering him gone. Jae wondered for a bit how they'd reacted to that and to how the announcement had described him. Brutality. Putting his heart into his work.

Jae had never tried to create anything without putting his heart into it in some form. Dedication, emotion.

Hurting people wasn't art. Death wasn't poetic or beautiful, or any kind of bullshit like that. Anyone who tried to claim beauty in human suffering was either trying to cope or just fucked in the head. He hadn't been trying to accomplish anything other than mindless violence.

The senselessness of it, the fact that he had no excuse, was the bitterest pill to swallow. Maybe the crazies were onto something with claiming to have a method to their madness.

The light shining through the chapel's stained glass window created an image of a rising sun that moved across the ceiling and pews as the real sun outside climbed into the sky. Jae stared at the colored patches of light until they blurred into abstract shapes and he drifted into a doze again. He muttered in his sleep, and his fingers twitched on the handle of the crossbow.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Devil's Choir · Crematorium Chapel