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Cicada Days
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i can feel something inside me say
[ *  *  *  * ]
Nate was right. They didn't know why people had killed.

But they knew that people had killed. An infallible truth, that. A truth that Ben understood even when there was so much left to understand. An understanding that furiously hurt, that burned every part of his body to scorched and salted earth.

Something shifted, in a corner of the room.

Ben realized. The corpses, the cameras had eaten up so much of their attention they'd missed a couple of the other details. A door. A backroom.



"He has a gun."

That detail, on the other hand, was not easy to miss.

Ben wasn't going to raise his arms, not like Matt. Now was not the time for that. He felt his fists clench, fingernails digging themselves a grave on his palm. But otherwise, he stood stock still. Matt was almost not taller than him, so he could see past. And be seen. Recognition, perhaps, would be key.

"Alvaro." That was the name. Alvaro. Ben had almost forgotten. Ben's voice had dropped half an octave, onto a note that was flat and dull. His soulless eyes searched, through the murkiness of what light was left in the room. Maybe when he looked into Alvaro's eyes he'd see exactly what he knew, feared he was going to see. Maybe his eyes weren't the only dead ones in here, now. Maybe a reckoning was to come, on the blur of a bullet and the swing of a fist.

"Alvaro, you recognize me, right? Your old pal, Ben Fields?" There had been more innocent days with Alvaro once. 'That cool guy who teaches me how to play chess when I ask'. His sister had said that.

Once.

Ben glanced back over his shoulder, at Nate. For just a microsecond, some dark anxiety keeping his eyes from going all the way.

"I don’t know why anyone’s killing anyone, and maybe they don’t know either."

Maybe they were about to learn.
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