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((Alice Baker continued from Can You Hear Me Calling Out?))

Somehow, she kept coming back here. And every time was worse than the last.

Alice had awoken before the now-familiar buzz of announcements, and now found she was unable to sleep. She was having trouble falling asleep too, but that was for quite different reasons. Anxious fear about what might happen while she slept, the unnerving notion of simply never waking up again, kept her from resting.

When she did rest, however, she'd had a disturbing dream about being inside a glass jar, climbing out and discovering herself in some sort of woodshop. She'd miraculously grown to full size as she walked through the room, which was full of various tools on the walls. She'd gone through a door, but on the other size was a large, pink mass of fleshy substance in a vaguely human shape, seated at a table with its head an array of tentacles slowly squirming across the surface.

The horrible thing had sudden moved, and startled Alice awake with such force that she bolted upright from the bench she slept on, much like she had under the pews almost a week ago inside the church she lay outside. A strange, circular turn of events.

She'd sat awake on the stone bench for some time, staring with a disturbed fascination at the nearby body. The church had been their chosen sleeping location, but now Alice sat in the garden outside, looking at the corpse of Rene Wolfe.

It was a puzzle to Alice, in a demented way; The corpse was difficult to identify, and had red, swollen skin around her arm, but was clearly dead from a gunshot wound to the head. What had happened here? Had she been wounded, committed suicide to escape the pain of a slow death? Was she bitten by a snake, and shot post-mortem for reasons she couldn't fathom?

This was what death had become to Alice Baker. A simple cause and effect. These people she knew, in varying degrees, had to be prioritized to keep herself from despairing. If people had to die, she selfishly thought, let them be people I don't know or don't care for. Don't let them be Sandra, or Bryony, or me or-

Unaware of her surroundings, Alice continued to stare. She didn't want to die. But she was inevitably doomed, barring a heroic intervention or an unfathomable amount of luck. How could she reconcile these two things without going mad?

She didn't know. So she stared at the body and tried to figure out who she was despite the bullet wound and blood.
V5: Cut Short

V6: Broken Down

V7: Unprepared
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Tea Party with Death at Dawn · Crematorium Gardens