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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Josh was keeping it together. Keeping calm. Staying focused. It was impressive, very impressive. Something Everett wished he could be. He'd never been tough. Never been all that smart. Never been athletic, or talented, or anything. All he had was his stubbornness, his determination to make something of himself and drag himself up to the level other people naturally held steady at without the slightest modicum of effort. Now, even that was worthless. Sure, he had a good GPA, but what did that matter here? He was no survivor. His weapon had been a pathetic joke, and even had it not been, he'd never have had the guts to use it. No, Everett tried to imagine himself competing on this island like he had in school, and it was laughable. The thought of him wheezing and puffing as he slowly jogged after a fleeing figure, machine gun slipping from his clammy hands as he tripped over some loose stone, was not pleasant. There was no way he'd have been able to ambush people, either. He was not a small person, not the sort who could blend into his surroundings. Especially not in his white, fancy shirt.

It was way too hot, the shirt. He was suddenly very glad he'd lost his jacket. It was still back in Saint Paul, somewhere, with that boy he'd lent it to on that rainy day. Sean. He'd looked for him on the way to the buses, to confront him and retrieve the article of clothing (he needed it for graduation) without luck. Everett blinked. That... that gave him an idea. Something to be sure to do before he died.

Because, despite his optimism of a moment ago, he suspected at least one person would be up for this crazy game. That, or he'd be the one to kick it from thirst, or starvation, or something dumb like that. Didn't the fat guy die first in movies, or something? He didn't run quickly. As soon as the danger zones were announced, he could be royally screwed. He couldn't focus on that now, though. He needed to keep his spirits up. Abstractly, he realized that, bad as things were, he was being overly pessimistic. It was from the stress. His self-esteem, tenuous on the best of days, was already a casualty of this game. After all, what could a fat boy with good grades possibly do in this situation?

He could try. There was nothing more. He could do his best, help Josh as far as he could. It would have to be enough.

"Yeah," he said. "That sounds good. We could... get a better view of this place or something. And maybe see if we can see anyone else, to help us."

It wasn't much. Really, just something to do, to kill time. He was not looking forward to the hike back up the mountain. He really, really needed a rest here soon. Something to eat and drink. Wait, no, not near the body. Oh god. How could he even think of food near the body? That was horrible. No, he had to keep going for a little. Food and drink could come later. Away from this nauseating odor of death and vomit.

He had to start pretending again. Keep his spirits up. They'd be fine. Just fine.

"So," he said, with as much forced cheer as he could. "Shall we begin our merry adventure?"

The words were strained, even to his own ears.
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