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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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As Everett spoke, Josh plummeted to the ground. That was a shock. For just a second, Everett was afraid he'd scared the boy to death. That would be... he didn't know if it would be horrible or wonderful. Everett didn't want to die. He was going to, but he didn't want to really. He couldn't kill anyone, though. Not only did he have no desire, he simply knew he was too much of a screw-up to ever succeed. He wouldn't even bother considering the path of the killer. It was pointless.

Then Josh got up, and said he'd been scared. Everett responded, cautiously, hoping he sounded sufficiently apologetic. "I... I'm sorry. Are you okay?"

He seemed fine. Introduced himself and everything. It was so strange, etiquette in this situation, but it helped keep things a little more real. Joshua (Everett wouldn't abbreviate without the boy's permission; some people hated that) launched into a little spiel, explaining that the game was sick and he wasn't going to be hurting Everett. That nearly brought tears to the heavyset boy's eyes. He wasn't going to be killed yet. Oh, sure, it would happen soon. Most likely, he and Josh would both be gunned down together by somebody who knew what they were doing. But for the moment, he could just hide behind the friendship it seemed he was being offered and pretend everything was going to be fine.

Then: the explosion.

He jumped, and let out a little shriek. Luckily, Joshua drowned it out with his own shouting. What was it? What had happened? Everett didn't want to know. So why was he heading that way? Why was he jogging, even though he was winded and his bags were heavy?

"This way," he called to Joshua. "And you don't have to worry either."

Maybe he was still having thoughts of suicide. Maybe he was trying to get shot, and save himself later pain. Really, though, he was probably just curious. It was probably that same instinct that led people to stare at car crashes as they passed by. It only took a couple of minutes for him to reach the source of the sound, and then he stopped.

There was a body. A headless body. In its hand, a twisted piece of metal that had once been a knife of some sort. It looked like the boy (it was a boy; the build wasn't right for a girl) had tried to use his weapon to pry his collar off. Everett had forgotten the collars. His hands went to his. It would just take one good yank, and he'd be like that too. It was horrifying. The blood. The death. The stench. He had no idea if Joshua was with him. His vision had narrowed. He could focus on only one thing. The corpse. He couldn't even tell who it had been.

Then he toppled to the ground, scraping his hands, and threw up. The odor of vomit mingled with the odor of death, as Everett crouched there, beginning to sob loudly. It was so real.

They were all going to die.
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder drawn by Ryuki
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Dude, how come I feel like i'm not in Kansas anymore? · The Mountain