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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
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(Kiziah Saraki continued from Everything's In Solitude Except Character)

Lili seemed to know her way around. Seemed to have a sort of grasp of this place. A sentimental attachment, Kizi thought, briefly, for a stupid fleeting second. That was a silly assumption. Probably a place that bore some horrific memory, that was what the island bred.

But Lili led them here anyway, and seemed to do it without visible distress. Probably some cold strategic decisionmaking. Kizi respected that. They all needed some of that right now. If they were going to fight this thing.

And it was much like the other days. An orderly, oddly serene night, governed by the logic of keeping watch, any sleep obtained precarious and fragile. Kept the body from collapsing, but little else. She too had no dreams. Or if she did, she didn't remember them. She had stirred a lot during the night apparently. Upon awakening, she had rolled over, from clinging the wall to perilously teetering on the edge of the bed, and had apparently changed from pointing her feet at the door to the opposite position.

She found herself not caring. Her body was intact, her stuff was unpilfered, Lili remained alive and reliable. If there were any interesting night time revelations in a forgotten sleep talk monologue, then her family would hear of them. Any close night-time calls, her family would celebrate them. Any tragedies that she narrowly evaded, her family would be grateful that she had not exposed to the extra trauma.

It was oddly comforting, knowing they were watching. That may have been selfish of her - and goodness knows she could imagine why a classmate could bemoan that very same reality - but she felt they were watching over her, in some way.

She couldn't quite put her finger on it.

Still, it got her through the announcements. That, and Clarice and Bart did not come up. They survived. More people she knew did get their names called out. More people she cared about had died. But, though she was forcing herself to not be numbed, she found it a harder and harder task to give them all their due. She made sure to cling to each ounce of sadness or pity she felt. It would keep her human. Honour their memories. Shine through in her behaviour.

She even made sure to produce a respectful nod for Nancy. Whether it was backed by genuine remorse for the girl's demise, she did not know. It was a benefit of the pace of the announcements, and the irreverent tone. It allowed one to move on from the thoughts that threatened to fester.

Nancy had been killed by Kimiko. There was surely some comment to be had there. Kizi would let others make it.

But with Clarice and Bart, she would have felt a degree of culpability, of moral responsibility, for any harm that had befallen them. Would have reenacted the events in her mind, repeatedly, nitpicking the details to perhaps find a decision she could have made that would have averted any tragedy. But no, for now, it hadn't come to that.

Kizi joined Lili in idly chewing on some bread. It had been a monotonous ration at first. Now, it was the closest thing she had to a reminder of normalcy. She kept on eating. "Well. Clarice and Bart made it out of the library. That's good."
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Kiziah Saraki
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