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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
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Astrid’s hand twitched on the pickaxe.

There was an unsettling thought running through her head, and no matter how hard she tried to combat it by telling herself that she’d promised herself she wouldn’t do anything today, and how this wouldn’t truly help her, it refused to leave. She would look at Ben and just see him for who he was, and then she would blink and all she could see in front of her was the easiest kill she could ask for just slipping away from her.

The guy was clearly petrified, and wasn’t even close to being a threat; he’d stumbled over backwards the second he had caught a glimpse of her, for Christ’s sake. He had spewed his thoughts out as he had scrambled his way back to a standing position, and now he was just about managing that, white as a sheet and ready to be knocked down should an ocean breeze hit him just right.

She didn’t know him, and he didn’t know her. Astrid had no ties to this nervous wreck in front of her. She could have just given in to the overwhelming voice in her head telling her to kill him, and it would all be done. It would all be over, until it was only her and three or four other people left standing in front of freedom and she’d have to do this again. It made sense. It was the logical thing to do.

But if she had really wanted to kill Ben, then she would have done it when he was still flat on his back in the sand, and she hadn’t made any motion to do so. Her hand twitched again, but made no further motions, and she forced herself to repress a sigh as she continued to stare Ben down.

Because there was one very simple and very obvious reason why she wasn’t going to kill Ben.

She wasn’t going to kill him, because there really wasn’t any point in doing so.

Make no mistakes, Astrid still didn’t want to kill if there was any other choice. But as she’d convinced herself time and time again, as she knew was the only logical answer, there wasn’t any other choice. There was no sudden change of heart, no backtracking on her own plans. She could let Ben live, and let him wander off, and hear his name on the announcements in a few days’ time, and in the meantime, she could find someone exactly like him. Someone she had no ties to, someone unknown, and scared, and who would put up little resistance. Someone else who Astrid could just close her eyes in front of and get it all over with.

So. For today, she would just stay for a while with Ben, and see where exactly this conversation took her. He could still be useful, after all. With the state he was in, he could easily be swayed into handing over some rations or anything else useful he had on him. Maybe he’d seen some of the psychos on the island, the Isabels and the Nancys, so she could find out where she should avoid.

After all, all those possessions and all that knowledge wouldn’t be doing him any good in a few days’ time.

Astrid rolled her neck, as her face took on a thoughtful look, as she pretended to digest Ben’s retort, if you could call it that.

“True, true, I suppose,” she replied, after a few seconds more of staring him down. “I can’t say I’d personally want to spend these days with someone I cared about if I knew they were gonna be in danger 24/7, but hey, I get the thought process.”

She brushed some windswept hair from her good eye. There was still a bit of matted blood she had missed the first time. She ignored it as she carried on talking. She couldn’t say the state of her hair was near the top of her priorities anymore.

“So who exactly are you worried about, then?”
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A sea view to rest the soul. · Shoreline