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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
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In an instant, everything that Penelope was working towards was gone.

She didn't move or speak when Al and Lili left–there was nothing else that could be said. If all of the words she had already spoken could not change Raina's mind and could not convince Al and Lili to stay, then nothing she could possibly say would.

Ben and Kizi had joined the ranks of the dead. Al and Lili had left, presumably permanently. Penelope and Raina had both admitted to not believing in the other's plans, and Johnny was as clueless as he had ever been. In just a few minutes, the pacifist group had broken up, and now outside of government intervention, there wasn't a shred of hope left for the lot of them. The terrorists had done it; they'd broken them. They'd put the class in this situation, and her classmates had decided that eating each other alive would be better than just accepting what had happened.

There was no hope left for any of them, and yet she couldn't even kill herself because Lili took the guns with her.

Penelope sunk to her knees and covered her face, hiding her tear streaked cheeks. Stinging water began to build up in her eyes yet again, despite her desire to stop crying and start doing things. Her actions had done nothing to stop what was coming, her willpower pointless and ignored.

She had no idea why she had even bothered to try. Deep down, ever since her confrontation with Astrid, she'd known that her plan would fail in the end. If her friends could be pushed to murdering one another for the sake of self-preservation, convincing them not to continue living–even if their continued life would be awful–was objectively impossible.

In spite of her words no longer holding any meaning, words nonetheless poured out of her mouth as she lay crouched and crying in the abandoned mess hall. "I... I knew that this would all fail in the end, Raina, but not like this. I didn't... I didn't think that our group would fall apart, just that we wouldn't be able to convince everyone. But apparently... apparently we couldn't even convince ourselves."

She continued to cry, weak sobs escaping her lips every few seconds. She sat, ashes still clinging to her lower body, mascara still staining the skin on her face, clothing dirty and lightly torn in places. How could she have ever believed that an abject mess like herself could accomplish anything? Nothing she had done in her short life prepared her for the situation she found herself in. She just wanted to be back home again, see her sisters and parents one last time.

Her sobbing slowed to a halt as her sadness turned into numbness. Everything they had been doing turned out to be utterly pointless, their entire lives reduced to nothing but statistics to be gawked at in a history textbook decades from now. Where she had simply accepted the pointlessness before, she now felt herself wanting to embrace. Their lives and struggles were nothing in the grand scheme of things; why even bother to care? She would just hurt herself and make her short life even more of an unbearable experience.

She spoke again, her hands coming off of her face. "This... this is all some kind of sick joke. We go about our lives trying to do our best to be happy and then suddenly we have all of that violently ripped away from us, never to come back." She frowned. "And then... and then when we try to affirm ourselves, our rationality, our meaning, it crumbles in the face of what we are. A bunch of animals who can't handle the futility of their own existence."

"I can't even handle it myself. I'm so afraid... so afraid of dying. But I thought that maybe... maybe if I managed to do all of this, my sense of triumph would over come any of that animalistic fear that I still felt, but I was wrong. I'm still afraid, and Astrid was right. The only thing left to do in a situation like this is fall back on those base instincts. Everyone out for themselves and all that nonsense."

She inhaled and stood up, keeping her gaze aimed at the floor. Gears were turning in her head as she plotted a new course for herself. "...But I don't want to do that. All I've ever wanted since I got here is to fuck shit up, in my own way. And... if I can't convince everyone to put down their weapons and join together, then I guess I'll have to just rely on myself, and those that I know I can trust."

She looked back up at Raina and Johnny, her eyes tired but focused. "If we can't escape, and we can't get everyone to give up, then... maybe we could just mess them up in another way. They... they said that if you were the last one left and you didn't kill, you wouldn't be able to go home. But if someone like that managed to make it to the end, then that would show them the same thing that I wanted to show them. That you can't corrupt everybody. You can break us, you can beat us down, but you can't make all of us turn on one another. We would show them that their goals are just as pointless as everyone else's."

She rubbed the back of her neck, stiff from the hunching over she had done. "I know that whoever would take up that burden would have to deal with everyone else dying only to die not too long after. It... it isn't something that I think anyone could handle, but... I'm willing to bear that burden, if it comes to it. As much as I'd rather die right here and get everything over with, I don't know if anyone else would want to do it."

"So... are you guys willing to try to walk this path with me?" She asked, her voice timid and tinged with fear of disapproval. "You guys are all I have left, and I would hate to lose you too..."
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