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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
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"OH-GO-FUCK! My head!"

Nick felt his heart almost leap out of his chest. Just when he thought things couldn't get any worse, it was time already to fire up the good ol' fight or flight response. He hoped to do neither, but prepared himself anyways for whatever and whoever he was about to get involved with.

With rather more noise than he'd hoped to make, Nick fumbled with shaking hands to unzip his bag and draw out a cocktail. Finally, he slammed the zipper closed, shouldering the pack and ruing the fumes that pervaded the confined space, seemingly eager to contaminate its entire contents with a greasy odor. Slowly he rose above the fallen log and stalked through the trees, towards the source of the noise.

It was a terrible risk to advance. It was a terrible risk to stay where he was. It was a terrible risk, even, to flee in this place. It was - Andrea Raymer?


Smooth one, that was, keeping your cool and your cover.

"...Andrea," he breathed out after a second, for no real reason other than to cover up, to excuse his pitiful greeting. It was the sort of amateur mistake that mattered here, the kind that he couldn't afford if he wanted to stay alive and intact. Seizing the silence before she could draw words out of her dazed head, Nick continued. "So..."

So. So, you're here. So, I hope you don't intend to kill me. So, I hope you haven't got a deadly weapon hidden in that bag. So, what do you think of SotF now? So, what's next?

"So," he repeated, twisting the neck of the bottle in his sweaty palm, "fancy meeting you here," he blurted, silently furious at himself. And, come to think of it, Andrea. She enjoyed watching this? How could any decent human being enjoy something like this? Heartache and betrayal and tears and blood and murder and the Island, that capital-I Island that was really another circle of Hell, the one that Dante seemed to forget to write about? The sound of bodies crashing off of cliffs or onto the ground and of lives, real lives crashing into ruin? It was bad enough fake, but real? If you enjoyed it while you thought it was real, certainly you deserved to be thrown on the island yourse-

He gave a long, shuddering sigh but kept his face impassive.

Make it look like nerves, that's the ticket. If highschool's taught me anything, it's pretending to be ok. Be cool...

Nick's curt introduction hung heavy in the air during his brief seconds of internal turmoil, during which pause he glanced sharply off to the right - had someone else spoken? It must have been his imagination. That, and nerves.

Please, just don't try to kill me...



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Waking Up is Hard to do · The Woods: Inland