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Arthur nodded in agreement. There was no point in sticking around the cliffs anyway. Nothing to see except for Bernadette's corpse, and that wasn't quite something he had in mind for himself. He looked at Coleen and felt cold. Emotion reached out of her like hands in a stampede, begging for anything to pull them out and to safety. All they grasped was open air before they fell back into themselves, collapsing, broken and useless. He didn't know how to reach out to her. He didn't know if he wanted to reach out to her. All he knew was that he wanted to keep her safe. The wind, empty and formless like his promises, blew softly against his face.

Tears welled up in his eyes. He couldn't pinpoint exactly why. Was it seeing Coleen so broken, driven so far as to fire a gun, something he never thought she would do? Was it because he had reacted with such apathy to the death of two of his dearest friends? Was it because, not once at all these past few days until now, he hadn't taken any time to stop and think of his sister?

He blinked a few times, and the tears were gone. Everything back in order.

"Me neither," Arthur said, "Let me grab my stuff, though."

Walking up to the rock he had been sitting on earlier, his eyes began to sting again. Looking out over the vast sea, he felt small and lonely. Everything else just seemed so far away, the distance he had put between himself and reality manifested in physical form. As he slung his bag over his shoulder, he felt something shift again within him. Though he had been through a number of scattered phases, modes of thought that never lasted for more than a day, he felt that the head space he now found himself in was where he would stay.

He turned back around, and for a moment he felt like he did on his first day here. Not knowing who to go with, what to do, where to look for anything at all. How would things have gone if he had chosen differently? What if he stayed on that beach and looked out on the ocean, gazing into the waves, not choosing to do anything but sit and think?

As he returned to his friend, the question song kept playing in his mind, getting louder with each passing moment.

[Arthur Bernstein continued in Cooking Up Trouble.]
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~



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Think About Your Life · Northwest Cliffs