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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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((Min-jae Parker continued from Flowers Hurt))

Jae hadn't made it far down the hallway before realizing he had to turn back for his makeshift walking stick if he wanted to get any significant distance. All of the exertion and falling down for various reasons was doing his injured knee no favors, splint or no. So he had shambled back to the room for the walking stick, thought of taking the taser, but his hands were full and Dorothy was still there on the floor and sure he was abandoning her, just like he had abandoned Hazel, but at least he hadn't left her with nothing.

In a sick, selfish way, he was glad she hadn't regained consciousness at any point before he finally left the wards behind. She was a piece of Asha that he didn't want to face.

(And he already had pieces of Asha all down his front anyway...)

Outside. Outside was nice, though there was a chill. Fresh air. Good for his smoke-craving lungs, much as they protested. The nicotine headache was ever present, dull and grinding like the constant anger in the pit of his chest.

God, how he hated everything in existence.

He held onto that. It kept him moving until he reached the edge of the gardens, where he stopped to catch his breath.

The announcement helpfully informed him that he could keep going without losing his neck. Isabel hadn't had the decency to go and die, of course, but there was a minuscule comfort in that she hadn't won anything from Asha's death. Brendan, the stupid fuck, had managed to... what, trip into somebody hard enough to kill them? Bernadette, of all people... he knew for a fact she and Brendan had been close, if all the times she'd gotten in Jae's face for how he treated Brendan were any indication. Brendan spread disaster like toppling dominoes wherever he went. It was a good thing Jae had driven him off when he had.

Not that it had mattered in the end.

He caught a brief, horrible glimpse of Jane's corpse as he moved deeper into the gardens. He didn't stop to look. She was long dead and so was her killer, and she and Jae had very few kind words for each other when she was alive anyway. Nothing to be gained from ogling her humiliated corpse.

It was cooler in the shade of the willow tree that dominated the gardens' center, enough to cause him to shiver. Why had he ever left his jacket with Hazel? What the hell was he trying to prove?

Jae sat with his back against the tree, staff propped against the trunk and crossbow resting on his lap. After some indeterminate amount of time, he reached for his bag so that he could reload the crossbow.

Would he fire if someone approached? Maybe. Maybe. He didn't want to see anyone right now, that was for sure. Oh, he could hate most of the ones still alive, for the simple fact that they were alive when so many others who deserved it more weren't, but that didn't mean his hands would be steady or his intent fatal.

But it didn't mean that they wouldn't, either.

So Jae sat and tried not to think, listening to the island slowly waking up around him.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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The Scarlet Garden · Crematorium Gardens