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A Delicate Machine
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((They had all been eager to leave the roof behind.))

Unfortunately, the room they ended up in wasn't much better. Asha sighed, staring at the barred windows. The only bed was currently occupied by Jae, with Dot doing her best to sleep on the floor nearby. They had agreed that the bed would be used by the person who had the next turn at watch, in hopes that the extra rest would help them stay alert during their shift.

After their morning of forcing Jae to march up and down stairs, the three of them had spent their time wandering around the asylum; not wanting to be caught outside if another downpour started. Asha could still appreciate the building as a setting, but its confined hallways, sometimes littered with dead bodies, had quickly robbed it of the luster she had felt that first day; admiring it from the safe distance of the chain-link fences.

The atmosphere was subdued, or at least as much as it could be with Dot around. Jae especially had been quiet. Asha didn't pry. Henry had been her friend, of course, but nowhere near as close as he had been with Jae. They still hadn't found any more of their friends, or even Brendan; though at this point Asha wasn't sure how many of them were even still alive.

As she sat in vigil, taser in her lap and Dot's knife by her side, Asha spent some time going over everyone she knew, a melancholic list of the dead and dying. If only she'd a black notebook and quill pen to officially keep track. Would it give a sense of closure, to write down the names of people she'd never see again in this life? Accompanied by a memory or an informal obituary? Maybe. She'd never been the diary type, though. Prolonged introspection was for nerds.

Nathan was safe at home. Lucky jerk. It was a shame they'd never get to perform their final recital together.

Dot and Jae were with her, obviously.

Danny and Henry were dead. Iz was worse than dead, but she'd never been much of a friend, anyways.

Who was still out there, then? Bridgette and Ty. Probably a bunch of other people that Asha liked and would miss when they were gone, but evidently not enough to bring their faces to the forefront of her mind. She felt strangely guilty about that; even though it was only natural that not everyone could be her best friend. Was it wrong to selfishly mourn more for the people she had spent the most time around?

Come to think of it, hadn't that been where Dot had fallen in her mind, before they had woken up on the island together? Undoubtedly a friend, but one of many. Passing smiles and hugs, but no evenings staying up until 3AM together talking about how it'd be totally rad if the stars were actually the eyes of some cosmic horror. If she'd been asked who among her friends she'd ride shotgun with in some cliched apocalypse, Dot probably wouldn't have even been made the top five. It was a really shitty thing to think, but it was true.

Now? Asha would die for her. Funny how that worked. People were always more wonderfully complex than you thought at first, far deeper than any first impression or passing glance could convey. She idly wondered what would have been different if she had woken up elsewhere, found another friend to cling and be clung to. She wondered if Dot would still be alive, if that had happened.

Goddammit. Introspection. It had a way of creeping up on you during the late hours of the night, didn't it? AM thoughts slithering into your brain while you're trying to not sleep. Asha supposed that having time to think was better than the alternative, at least. Unlike the chapel, they'd had a hard time finding enough solid debris to fully barricade the door; especially given how late it had been when they finally decided to give up on finding a better place for the night. The room was depressing, but at least it was warm-ish and dry and didn't have a corpse in it, unlike some of the other wards they had explored. Poor Scarlet.

Time passed slowly, with no hands to guide it. Dot snored. Asha idly passed her taser from hand to hand, staring at the door. They'd be relying on seclusion to protect them, tonight.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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