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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
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"Only for a certain definition of alive." Penelope said, her voice low.

Penelope turned her head slightly, looking more directly at Ben, but still averting her eyes out of habit. "Like... If you're asking if I'm still ambulatory, still respirating, and still metabolizing, sure I guess I'm alive."

Her head sunk back down to a complete resting position. "But part of me has already died here with my boyfriend and all my friends that have already died, let alone yet to die..." Penelope choked back sobs. None of this will ever be okay. "...and I'll never, ever get that part of me back."

"Plus," she continued, "I'm going to die anyway. That's for certain. We have virtually no chance of escape without them just blowing us all up, and there's no way that I'd survive all the way to the end. I wouldn't be able to kill anyone, and I'd rather die than be the person that everyone else I knew and loved died for. I just..." Penelope bit her lip hard. "I just..." A small, warm trickle of blood started running down her chin. She tried hard to ignore it. "I just wouldn't be able to live with the survivor's guilt."

"There were only two reasons I'm still alive in the first place. One was some... stupid plan that never would have worked even if someone with ten times my charisma tried to implement it. And even if that plan worked we would all die anyway. The other was... I just... wanted one more night with Sam. That's all I wanted. But he's dead now."

Penelope lay there, repeating those last few words over and over for several seconds, her voice only barely audible as she squeezed herself into a tight ball.


She relaxed her arms and returned to the fetal position, still averting her gaze from Ben's face. "Sorry..."

"Anyway..." She began again, "Before you came here I was getting ready to get up and go to the bridge and... jump off. I don't see any reason to continue living. Not in these circumstances. Not without my friends and the love of my life."

Not much time could pass after she stopped talking before a new person arrived at the scene, apparently being familiar with Ben.

"Go... talk to whoever that is. Don't worry about me."

She paused only long enough to give Ben some basic eye contact before averting her gaze to the floor yet again.

"I've got a lot of thinking to do anyway."
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Haunted Reality · Solitary Confinement