"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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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
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(David Meramac continued from Bump in the Night)

David Meramac did not stop to rest; he collapsed.

He had run, barely stopping to drink water; he had run until his vision had gone hazy around the edges, until he had slowed from a trot to a jog, from a jog to a walk, and from a walk to a crawl. He had kept moving, one foot in front o the other, lips trembling, eyes burning. People were fighting and dying--as he'd passed near the church, he'd heard an explosion, he'd heard yelling elsewhere, heard gunshots.

He was trying very hard not to think, but Alan Rickhall kept coming to him; mad Rickhall, babbling that he would pray for David.

Finally, late into the night, David's muscles gave out on him. Finally, late into the night, David collapsed against a convenient tree with no thought to his own safety and plunged into merciful oblivion--an oblivion that lasted right up until 6 a.m.

He had decided that he would never ever forget the voice of Danya--that it had become impossible. The sight of blood flying from teachers he'd known for four years had been emblazoned in his mind; Danya and killing had become permanently intertwined in his mind.

"Kids, I have to say that I'm truly impressed with your first day showing."

The names came, one after another--names of murderers and their victims, names of those who'd died by their own hand and those who'd died for their own carelessness.

Deaths. Nineteen deaths.

David rose shakily to his feet, staggering away as Danya spoke, trying not think. He couldn't believe that names he recognized--peopled he knew--were no longer counted among the living. His schoolmates. People who he'd seen, knowingly or unknowingly, for years.

It was a tremendous effort to move; his legs burned, as did his throat, and without thinking he reached into his bag and pulled a long swig of water. The dull throbbing echoes of his foolish exertions chained him in place, stopped him from running farther.

He didn't want to die. And he especially didn't want to think about dying.

The Announcements fell silent, and dawn began to break. He went a little farther, focusing on his pain and trying not to think of those he knew, to picture the faces of the deceased. Trying, above all else, not to imagine the piercing blows of gunshots, the edges of blades, the scorching heat of explosions raking at his skin...

Trudging dully, he stumbled upon three people. He recognized two of them--Imraan, massive as he was, was pretty hard not to know, and he and Janet had crossed paths once or twice. Imraan was standing near some fallen logs, the significance of which David didn't immediately understand.

"Hey," David said dully, his fear momentarily diluted by his sheer physical weariness.
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V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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Your Cross to Bear · Northern Cliffs