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God was telling you "not yet".
[ *  *  *  * ]

That was the first indication Leila got that she wasn't alone out here. The boy's shoes crunched on the dirt beneath his feet, but she'd been so preoccupied with the map her ears hadn't picked up the sounds, leaving her unprepared for whatever tricks he might have up his sleeve. Sharply spinning and standing on the spot, she looked over the intruder, cursing at the familiarity of his face.

"Jeremy fucking Franco. Of all the luck. I don't need any more of your "discount" moisturiser thanks, so buh-bye then."

Yeah, she wasn't a fan.

After speaking so flatly, she turned back to her - where'd the map go. No, really, where was it? She'd only looked away for a second, and suddenly it was gone. Frustration overwhelming her, she began to pace frantically around the trees, searching for any sign of where it could've gone, when finally she saw it. Floating away on the wind.


Her eyes darted back to the rat-faced boy. "You!" She shrieked, stomping right towards him. "You fucking IDIOT. You lost my map, you little shit! UGH! I can't believe this!" A little too theatrical, maybe, but her performance was understandable, given the circumstances. Dirty, stinging soles lined the bottoms of her feet, her clothes were all the wrong sizes and materials for this kind of weather, she had a rope for a weapon, and now she'd lost her map. Well, if that wasn't the cherry on top of her shitty cake of a day.

Half of her wanted to rip the boy in half, while the other wanted to-

Strangle him.

The daypack sat innocently behind her; the bolos lying tangled a tiny distance away. They were all given the same equipment, right? That's what the guy on the video has said. Which meant lying snugly inside Jeremy's bag would be his own map, identical to the one she'd just lost. Her tongue whipped away the dryness on her lips while her fingers twitched down by her sides. She was bigger than him, she could take him easily. He was just a skinny little rat-boy, after all. But then her mind cast back to the video once again, and she reminded herself that he too could have a weapon; a much better one than hers.

Before she made her decision, another boy entered the clearing, holding - what luck! - another map. Apparently he couldn't read it either, but that was fine. As long as he needed someone else to carry it for him, she'd be more than happy to oblige. As for rat-boy though - she kept a lock on him from out of the corner of her eye - he'd have to go. She couldn't have him sniffing around for spare cheese while she kept tabs on this guy's stuff. If only there was some way of getting rid of him... and maybe stealing his shoes at the same time.
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The Only Way Is Up · The Mountain