"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Cicada Days
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👀 (credit to Kotorikun)
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A silent breeze from somewhere unknown wafted over his skin, calloused and unfeeling even at the spot where it had been broken by a bullet.

Otherwise, his senses stayed sharp, his soulless eyes darted about. Kimiko's body language, Raina's body language, Kimiko's weapons. It was all alien to the sort of language he'd learned unspoken on the baseball diamond, the eye contact, postures, gestures, all of them were wrong. Penelope was also a wild card. She was a point of contrast that muddied the waters. He had his orders from Raina more than clearly enough- maybe- but Penelope hadn't affirmed. She hadn't had the time, maybe she hadn't even realized the danger.

There was no clear chain of command, and Ben soberly realized he was probably the only idiot that even mattered to.

"Whatever you're hiding in your pocket pull it out and drop it to the ground, Kao."

At least he managed to make his voice sound strong like he wasn't. Purposeful, manly, those sorts of adjectives Ben had long lost to the death march of time.
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Haemolacria · Northwest Cliffs