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A Delicate Machine
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Wade wanted answers, results, a bullet-point list explaining how exactly they all intended to survive in their new corner. Cass sympathized, but they couldn't help. If he truly favored action over reaction, proactive planning over a wait-and-see until the roof collapse on their heads; he had chosen to hang out with the wrong people. Cass hoped, for his sake, that he could calm down. For the moment, all they could do was echo Trav's shrug. "Stay here, I guess. Try to get some bad sleep."

At least the addition of two new watchmen meant they could all spend a little more time lying down and failing to rest. It would have been nice if the bed frame had been supporting an accompanying mattress, but after years of disuse Cass wouldn't have been able to trust it to not contain more than the preferable amount of insects, anyways. Thinking of Mother Nature reclaiming her ground was only wonderful until you woke up with a cockroach on your face. At least the floor here was dry.

None of that mattered as much as Irene's question, though. Now there was something that warranted more than question marks and helpless apathy. She looked rattled, desperate for comfortable affirmation. Cass wished that they could have given it, but it would be doing the dead and dying a disservice.

"It's, uh, not really that simple," Cass hesitantly started. "I mean, what happened to Jane - that isn't right. That was deliberate, and I don't think that sorta malice just pops up overnight. But everyone else? Does panicking because you woke up in every high-schooler's nightmare make you a bad person?"

They pointed at Irene's shotgun. Illustratively, not accusingly. "You've obviously been responsible with that, but what if it was someone else holding it right now? Like, if they saw one of their friends getting attacked and tried to save them, or they just got startled or something, made the worst possible split-second decision, does that mean they'd be evil?"

Cass glanced at Trav, then looked back at Irene. "I'm not trying to single you out or anything. Like, me and Trav? Literally nothing has happened to us yet. Are we good people just because we've been lucky enough to stay out of the way of anyone who'd wanna hurt us? Because we haven't even had the chance to make any mistakes, yet? I don't know, and I don't really see the point in trying to figure that stuff out. We're all falling apart. If you gotta blame someone, blame the bastards who put us here in the first place."
a tribute for the dead and dying

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