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Can you hear me?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Emma Luz continued from El Manana))

It was the first time Emma had killed anything bigger than an insect.

Back home, they had chickens. Sometimes the chickens wouldn’t lay, sometimes they were simply too old, sometimes it was something else. But during those “sometimes,” it usually ended in one thing: the chicken getting the axe. Mom and Dad wouldn’t let her and Sabrina watch it when they did, at least, when they were little. Usually, the chicken was taken to the backyard, out of sight. However, Emma heard it, at least once. She remembered it vividly.


It was unceremonious. The chicken didn’t caw out or anything. It’s just, one second it was alive, the next it wasn’t. Simple as that. And yet, when she was little, Emma refused to have any part in it. It was a bit of a rule in her family that everyone helped in the kitchen, and did what they were capable of. By the time they got to see the bird, it’d been already de-feathered and decapitated. However, when she was in… early elementary, she thought it was? She’d remembered crying when she first realized that the chicken had come from the coop. She hadn’t wanted the chicken to die, she didn’t want to cook it, she didn’t want to eat it. Mom and Dad had tried to calm her down some, telling her that the chicken had lived a long and happy life with them, and not eating it would be a waste. Gently, since she was still small. But it was a reality.

When she got a few years older, she couldn’t help but find herself becoming interested in the innards of the bird. It was a bit like dissection in school, in a way. There was what Mom pointed out as the gizzard, which was still full of scratch, pill bugs, and even pebbles. She’d find out later that food was stored there, until it moved to the true stomach. Sometimes there were half-formed eggs, still soft and small. There was the large, red liver, and spongy lungs. There were bones and muscles too, of course. Emma had become interested in anatomy, so looking at the animal’s insides wasn’t an unpleasant experience.

However, she still didn’t like eating chicken if she knew it was one of theirs. Sure, they’d eaten chicken from elsewhere most of the time, and she was okay with that. Did that make her a hypocrite? Who knew? All she knew was that there was something different about knowing an animal before you kill and eat it.

Which may have explained how she felt about killing a seagull.

She’d been walking along the beach, looking for food. That’s when she found it. It’d been roaming around the cove. It’d looked at her, with curious dark eyes. Seagulls were a dime-a-dozen here, nothing new. But Emma had stared back at it for almost a minute. She’d become aware of the sword in her hands.

It didn’t take too long. The seagull had tried to fly off, but Emma dropped the sword into the sand. Instead, she picked up a rock and threw it in its direction when it got just a foot off the ground. It was a hasty decision, and one she’d doubt it’d work. But it connected. The seagull fell to the sand, shrieking in pain. Emma could see that one of its wings was crooked, and it was struggling to flap both wings. She took another deep breath, and picked the sword up.

She walked over to the bird, still flapping its wings to no avail.

She had to take another moment.

But after that moment, she heard it. It was somewhat muffled by the sand, but it was still distinguishable. It was a simple thunk.

Emma walked back to her makeshift campsite, headless bird dripping into the sand. Earlier, once she stopped feeling as tired, she’d done a bit of searching for driftwood. At some point, around noon, she’d noticed that there was already what appeared to be a quickly made firepit of some sort, with burnt driftwood at the center. It looked like someone had a similar idea. Who, Emma didn’t know. For a moment, Emma stared at it, before she realized it’d been a few days old at that point. Whoever used it was likely long gone by this point. Nonetheless, she’d waited a few minutes. When no one showed up, she decided to use it. Emma had found a bit more wood strewn across the beach, some that could even be used as kindling. Some of it was still wet, so she couldn’t use it, but there was quite a bit that’d work. Even with some of the wet wood, she’d managed to scrape some of the bark away. Tinder was also easy to find. The grass along the shoreline seemed like it’d work.

So, after her episode with the seagull, she’d come back, and began setting up the fire. There were ways to start a fire without a match or lighter, but luckily, Emma had found out that there was a lighter in the first aid kit anyways. So, she used that.

It wasn’t a big fire. Nothing you’d expect out of a bonfire or anything. But it was fire. Something she needed, for warmth and for cooking.

Once the fire was big enough, she put the bird’s carcass right up to the edge of the flames. Emma had spent a few minutes already cleaning the seagull. Its feathers were still scattered about in the wind, and she’d tossed its organs into the ocean. Cutting it open with the sword was a bit tricky, because it was big, and looked more for cleaving than for stabbing. However, she’d poked it open with the rounded pointed tip, and took some time removing the innards with her hands. She had to take some more time to slather her hands with sanitizer, since germs were still an issue.

Emma wasn’t sure how edible seagulls were, to be honest. She’d read somewhere that they ate garbage, like rats. Maybe they weren’t the best thing she could be eating. But at least it was protein. She couldn’t live off bread and ration bars forever.

She sat in the sand, leaning forward with her chin resting on her hand.

Jaime died yesterday. He didn’t give that many details about what happened exactly. Just that she’d gotten into an argument with Brendan Harte, and then he’d… killed her. Jaime always had a knack for getting into arguments. Emma thought back to that last one they’d had, before she’d run away. She still didn’t want to believe that the only way out was by killing people, but with each passing day, it became more and more clear that no one here was willing to give anyone mercy. Some part of her still felt bad that Jaime had died, though.

Emma had abandoned her. Even now, sometimes, she wondered if she could have done something to prevent it.

Too late to wonder now.

Emma closed her eyes.

She’d been feeling better than yesterday. Emma had realized that she occasionally missed her doses, so she made sure to take them today. She still had some pills left. Hopefully that’d be enough for a while. She’d gotten a lot done today, as well. Starting a fire, cooking a bird. When it hit later in the afternoon, though, her familiar fog had started to come back. Her hand slipped with the sword a few times, making Emma worry that she was going to slice herself open with it. Nothing happened, but it was still worth worrying about. But it didn’t help that a few colorful shapes had floated in and out of her vision. Sometimes, she’d see shadowy figures out of the corners of her eyes. Nothing too detailed, fortunately, but maybe she’d feel better once she got some food into her.

That’d be nice.

So, Emma sat, the sound of waves and cracking fire surrounding her, and the smell of cooking meat and seaweed filling the air. The smoke rose into the air, and could be seen from a distance. She was unaware of anyone nearby.

Coming to a V7 near you.
Bree Jones- "I'm not exaggerating when I say that my fish are smarter."
Roxanne "Roxie" Borowski- "Next video? Oh man, tons of ideas, dude. Lemme get the makeup for that."

In Loving Memory

Kami's Promise for v6 (doing this again)

Let's show that private threads aren't necessary! I pledge not to start any private threads on island in V6. If I started a thread, you are welcome to join it.
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