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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 bugger, she didn't hear the announcements after all. Spin it positive, just spin it positive...

"Err, I didn't mean like that..."

Well, this was awkward. In the scheme of things though, awkward was about five grillion times better than being beaten up again. He paused, considering how to move forward.

"I'm, well, being safe. I guess. Getting away from Al - from it all. Just so nobody tracks... finds me here."

The darkness was good for one thing, and that was hiding his furiously nervous face from view. Nick had always thought of himself as someone who could beat a polygraph, spitting out stories so smooth you could see your face in them. But now, sitting in total darkness, trying to cover up his kill, facing another potentially painful experience... He might have fled then and there, if the close quarters and harsh, invisible terrain didn't cut his speed advantage to nothing. The next best thing was to just lie, try to smooth everything over, pass everything off as nerves. Except...
No more running.

He heard her, closer now. Trapping him in a cage that was at once intangible and infuriatingly potent. Funny how that worked, really. He was armed and dangerous, and a good turn faster than her, at least in the short term. Smooth as an oiled snake when it came to slipping out of unpleasant situations, because you didn't just make Nick Reid do what you wanted Nick Reid to do. And yet here he was, cornered, no other options than to divulge the fact that Danya, and the rest of the student body for that matter, had pegged him as a murderer.

"Okay, gig's up, I did mean to say track me down. That's what I wanted to explain, because the way things have been going I didn't know if I'd get the chance. Hang on, I'm getting some bloody light in here."

He unzipped his pack, pulling out the flashlight he had put on top of everything else after he'd grown too nervous to use it coming in. He didn't know if he'd be able to see Jennifer, or if she'd be able to see him, but he flicked it on anyways. Even pointed away, onto the opposite wall, it was dazzlingly bright.

"So, you didn't listen to the announcements then, am I right?"
"Because I've been blamed. Framed, really, I mean I didn't do nothing, but I didn't do what they want you to believe..."
"And there was an accident, a terrible accident at the Gazebo" - he could feel himself start to choke up, could hear his voice quavering. Please don't lock up completely... "you see I've got these molotovs and there was a misunderstanding, there was something that needed to be burned there, and Daniel Vaughan ended up getting himself in the way, and there was nothing for it," He was going to lose it... "I wanted desperately for him to stop burning but Maxwell ran over," He lost it.
"I'm just trying to take care of myself, Jennifer, and I've been to Hell and back, and if Maxwell finds me, or if Alex finds me, I think... I think they'll kill me. I really do."

The last sentences faded into painful choked obscurity. Early day two, and he was going to pieces already. He knew he couldn't keep it up. But for the moment, it felt so nice to just let go, lower the barriers, take a rare chance to show some emotion. Still, the back of his mind played host not for the first time, nor for the last, to one simple thought:

People. This is why I hate people.



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