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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
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Penelope let out a small shriek and flinched backwards as Astrid pulled the trigger, only to look like a complete fool when all that came out of the gun was a small white flag.

Penelope shook from the adrenaline running through her veins. Astrid thought the gun was real too, as one could easily tell from that little show she made and the dumb look on her face when the flag popped out. Penelope couldn't believe that her friend had honest to god tried to murder her. She legitimately thought that Astrid was better than that, that she was just making a mistake out of fear. This was well beyond fear.

"You... you..." Penelope stumbled over her words. The shock from the fact that her friend legitimately tried to murder her made it difficult to speak. "You... tried... you tried to kill me. You legitimately... legitimately tried to kill a friend. Tried to kill someone that... was not even... not even a threat to you."

Handling this kind of information was not something Penelope thought she'd ever have to do. Astrid was obviously bothered by what she was thinking about doing, but still so unrepentant in her goal of surviving that she would do anything to complete it. "Was... was everything you said a lie?" Penelope's face contorted to show nothing but a horrifying sense of betrayal. "Don't... don't try to pretend like you knew the gun was fake. Your face... your face gave it away." Penelope shook not only from her nerves but a sense of disgust so strong that she could barely contain it. "You said you would only kill another killer or in self defense but... you just tried to kill me. I'm not a killer. I'm not a threat. You can't... you can't justify that Astrid. No matter how much you want to survive. Killing an innocent person for your own survival is sickening. Think of their family. Think of their friends. What makes you so much better than them? When they've done nothing wrong except exist in the general vicinity you happen to occupy?"

Penelope gulped, trying to weaken the grip of the knot in her throat. She still couldn't believe that had that gun been real, she would probably be dead by now, and Astrid probably wouldn't have felt a thing. "It's... it's obvious to me that... that you're beyond help. There's nothing I can say to change your mind... and yet I feel the need to try anyway. Because you're my friend... or, maybe, were my friend. Whatever we had before... we don't have now. Not after that."

Penelope brought her hand up to her face to calm herself, her words slightly muffled by her hand. "If you still think you're a good person after attempting murder... I really don't know what to say. I guess... I guess I'll just say this: It's not too late for you. Not yet at least, you're more lucky than I am that your gun was fake. There's still time for you to see the error of your ways."

"I hope you find Jesus or... something." Penelope gently bit her hand before releasing it. "Because if you don't... you won't survive out there. Not against the real monsters. You'll face down people that have killed a dozen others and you'll be nothing but another victim to them."

"If you change your mind, if you finally understand what I've been trying to tell you this whole time... come find me. I've got a plan that I think will show the terrorists that they can't just do this and expect it to work. And if you don't change your mind... you'll probably look like a huge idiot."

Penelope leaned down and picked up her flashlight, before shining it around the room again to get her bearings on how to leave. Then, she left, only briefly turning back to Astrid for a moment, to tell her one last thing:

"May you find peace, Astrid, whatever path you choose."

((Penelope Fitzgerald continued in Desolate Dreams))
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