"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Rattlesnake
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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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Deep breaths.

Slowly Nick worked to reign in his leaping heart. It was easier, now, with Andrea flustering on the ground below him, as if she was drawing his own nervousness into her. In any other circumstances, her performance might have been almost humorous. Indeed, even now he felt a sharp, little guffaw tear out of him, a harsh little snort that he tried to pass off as a particularly shaky breath. He continued to shiver, but it had nothing to do with the temperature.

How did that little saying go, an enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine? Something like that. At any rate, he supposed, leaning against a soft mossy bole, anyone who a) didn't want to die and b) didn't want him to die could be considered a friend, at least for the moment. All the same, another phrase flashed briefly through his mind - the best defense is a good offense.

This is new, am I actually going to talk to Adrea Raymer on purpose?

"So," he began again, wishing for a little less adrenaline and a little more eloquence, "Yeah. It's Survival of the Fittest. Glad you noticed. Now I don't suppose, to get to the point, that you've got any idea what you're doing? Surely someone so - intelligent might have a master plan?" Hidden wells of frustration and anger slathered his voice with venom. Was he blaming her already? Like the terrorists cared about snatching up their little fangirl, and anyone else she happened to be around? It was a silly notion, and he had no right to act that way, he knew. But what did that matter? Soon enough, maybe already, fellow students were deferring to a more primal sort of law, where blades and bullets replaced lawmen and everyone was constantly standing trial in a cruel sort of kangaroo court. Manners and mores were relics of the irretrievable past. It did you no good, in short, to stick out your pinkie finger while you took your last swig of water.

He fingered the white cloth "fuse" hanging out the bottleneck. With the suddenness of realization, he looked down at Andrea's bag and shot at her, "What did the terrorists give Danya's little girl, anyways? And," looking around again, speaking with less coldness and more inquisitiveness, "is something climbing trees over there?"
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Waking Up is Hard to do · The Woods: Inland