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Cicada Days
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keep running yoshi
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She'd said it.

And said it, and said it. She had a way with words, somehow. 'Ambulatory', that was a new one. Ben was reminded that he'd never been the smart one. Maybe another thing to etch onto his gravestone at the end of the longest day of his life.

Her message made sense, Ben knew that. Or rather, he understood it. She'd lost everything and everyone. If not now, eventually. It was a pretty straightforward point. Stark, in time and space and the echos between Ben's pubescent ear hairs. He didn't want to agree. There should have been some way to debate her. To fight her, without guns and bullets but with words. But fuck, he somehow couldn't do that. He would try, to be sure. It was pretty damn predictable of him. But he already knew he had nothing to show this girl. He hadn't yet put up a good show. Or even a damn show in the first place.

But he's dead now.

But he's dead now.

But he's dead now.

Ben had gotten the point the first time, but he supposed even the basics warranted repeating to somehow stick. Scratch that shit into the chalkboard, all Simpsons style.

"Don't apologize." Ben didn't need to look her way to know neither of them were looking at the other.

Another voice broke the facade. This one, at least, seemed to have a bit of life or vigor or whatever it was to it. It was memories of the desert and the deceased.

"Will." Ben probably should have been excited. Maybe should have moved his ass off the wall, or his two left feet, or the now stone cold nape of his neck. Should have Will with a salute and something like a hand to the shoulder, or a brotherly hug. Something. Something in solidarity, or in recognition of Will's pain, or. Well. Ben did none of those things. He just stayed seated there, eyes as aimless as the girl's besides him. He almost couldn't look Will in the eye at all. But at the last second he managed a glancing blow.

"It's me, yeah." The punctuation for Ben's words was just deafening silence. "And Penelope." That name hadn't meant a thing to either man in the room even minutes ago. Maybe it was still meaningless. Maybe the only damn names that mattered now were the ones that the terrorists taunted them with. Rea Adams, for one. "I'm... I'm sorry, dude."

It was spilling out before he could stop himself. Not even a lot of it. Less a Biblical flood and more the kiddie sippy cup.

"I fucking failed, dude. You, and Penelope, and... I had a plan. Plans. They were all shit." Ben didn't know if it was surrender. If it was it didn't feel nearly as crushing as he'd thought it would have. He still had a chest, he still had lungs. He was still somehow speaking. Saying things. "Sorry. To both of you."

That left what Penelope had said. Ben wondered if Will had managed to hear any of it.

Maybe her words would somehow matter where his hadn't.
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Haunted Reality · Solitary Confinement