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Clarice didn’t say anything as Kimiko started to back away, although her mind was yelling a hundred different things at once. Yes. No. Stay, you’ll be safe with us. Go, we don’t want a murderer with us. Stay. Go.

But it wasn’t really her choice. What could she do if Kimiko wanted to leave? Trap her? Tie her up to make her stay? What good would that do anyone? And then Clarice would need to spend all her time keeping a watch on Kimiko, until someone else ended them both.

The fact was, there was more than her and Kimiko on this island. And Kimiko had thrown herself into this game. She’d made her choice, and doomed herself in the process. And Clarice couldn’t fully hate her for it (not like Ty, why couldn’t she forgive Ty? Why couldn’t she forgive Conrad?) but this was just how things were.

Kimiko told her ‘be safe.’

“You know I can’t do that.” She wasn’t even sure if Kimiko heard her.

Kizi asked ‘do you want to go after her?’

“I don’t know if I want to. But I can’t.”

Clarice turned back, away from Kimiko vanishing in the distance, to see Jennifer holding the gun. There was one moment of overwhelming fear. A rush of thought, an urge to tackle Jennifer before she could do anything with it. But then it vanished as suddenly as it appeared. Jennifer gave the gun back to Kizi, proving herself much better than Conrad had been. Clarice looked away and let out a long breath.

Her eye caught the camera, and the words caught in her throat. Talk of escape. If she talked of escape, she’d never live long enough to manage it. But she couldn’t… not talk about it.

“I need to leave,” Clarice said abruptly.

She looked at the others. At Kizi. At Bart and Jennifer, better-chosen traveling companions than Clarice had picked.

“Whether… whether any of you follow me, that’s up to you. But don’t expect safety if you do. It will be dangerous. And it probably won’t end well.”

Clarice turned away from them, away from the camera as well, and left. Not sure where she was going, but listening for footsteps behind her.

Her hand was still on her belt, one finger tracing the lid of her air freshener can. It almost felt like her mind was itching.

((Clarice Halwood continued in If It Bleeds, It Leads.))
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