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((Kimiko Kao continued from The Lagniappe))

After what had happened Kimiko found herself returning to the only other place on the island that she had felt safe. She didn't feel comfortable though, Kimiko found herself looking over her shoulder the whole journey, making sure no one tried to ambush her like on the previous day. Her back still had the occasional twinge of pain as she walked, an uncomfortable reminder of what had happened but also something that helped focus her. It also helped keep her mind off what had happened. She intended to make sure Caleb hadn't died for nothing, but she didn't know how to go about it. She couldn't shake the feeling that nothing she did mattered as much as what had happened in the cabin. But Kimiko knew she had to keep moving forwards otherwise she would find herself adrift and at a loss of what to do.

It was obvious that her first few days on the island had put a target on her back. People knew who she was and were planning around her. People were also out to get out, that much had become clear. She had to be much more careful and smarter then she had been. No more snap decisions, she had to think everything through and do it with a purpose. She wasn't just being selfish anymore, she carried Caleb's hopes with her. She couldn't let him down.

The storehouse came into her view, she could see the stairs leading up to the helipad, where she had collected the nodachi. It felt like an eternity ago after everything that had happened. This time however Kimiko intended to search inside. She had her supplies plus Caleb's but anything extra she could scavenge would only be beneficial in the long run. Kimiko made sure the tantō was secure in her pocket and took the nodachi off her shoulder, gripping it firmly in her hand. She had to be ready in case anyone was already there.

As she moved closer the question was answered. There were three people outside the storehouse and one of them was Clarice. Kimiko stopped and slowly crouched down, careful to make sure there was nothing nearby that could have given her position away like in the staff housing. From her crouched position Kimiko crept forward, using the bushes and trees for cover.

She wanted to attract Clarice's attention but stopped herself. There was no way of knowing how any of the three would react: Bart, Jennifer or Clarice. They could have shot at her as soon as she appeared, then Caleb's sacrifice would have meant nothing.

The other thing stopping her was the intense feeling of shame brought on by seeing Clarice. She couldn't bring herself to face her and doubt was starting to set in. Kimiko turned, intending to leave but as she did so some of the ground gave way under her foot. She managed to keep herself from falling by using her free hand to steady herself but her heart was pounding out of her chest and her breathing was ragged. As put her hand over her mouth to keep herself quiet it brushed something dry and brittle.

Caleb's blood was still on her face.
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Why We Fight · The Storehouse