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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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"Wait-!"

But then she had disappeared over the edge of the bridge, before Jae could even reach out to her.

The only sound on the bridge was the rush of the water and the distant crying of gulls, slowly over taken by Jae's incredulous, half-hysterical laughter.

Wasn't it fucked, that the last thing he ever expected now was for someone to own up and let go peacefully?

He pressed his hand over his mouth, but he couldn't keep the laughter from bubbling up. It was everything coming apart at the seams, now that he was out of tears and his throat still too raw to scream. Jae slammed his fist into the bridge, feeling the skin on one of his knuckles split and start oozing blood, before letting himself fall back and curl onto his side, the other hand still pressed over his mouth, still shuddering with hysterics.

Fucking Nadia, of course she got to go out with her middle fingers up and on her own terms. And she had forgiven him. His last friend, whom he had murdered.

You couldn't ever take anything back.

...He had to keep moving. God, if nothing else, be a selfish dick and think about how fucking cold it is up here. Once his shaking laughter had subsided, Jae crawled over to where the staff had rolled and used it to work himself back up to his feet. He moved to retrieve the crossbow but paused, and then picked up the table leg Nadia had been holding instead. He could see his blood on the sharpened edge of it, and the cut along his ribs stung in reminder.

"See you around," he muttered, and tossed it over the edge.

He stared after it for a long time, but he eventually turned away and gathered his things up, resuming his trek to the other side of the island.

Whatever choice he ended up making, he doubted Nadia would consider it the right one. None of his friends would, most likely. But he had made his bed, and he would have as many lifetimes as he needed to deal with the consequences after the fact. Just so long as he did something in this one that counted.

That was a choice too.

((Min-jae Parker continued in I know my soul's freezin', Hell's hot for good reason))
"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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How Easy it was to Lie to Strangers · The Connecting Bridge