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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Phil didn't seem like he was going to die, at least, not right away.


It was, at this point, all Jennifer could ask for. Her day had been pretty rough, and the last thing she needed was for her effort at helping this boy to turn into a complete failure. Of course, she nearly expected it. Her time on the island had held very few positive moments, and it seemed unlikely that that would be changing anytime soon. Phil closed his eyes, and drifted off to sleep. Jennifer deliberated for a few moments, then grabbed one of the duffel bags (she wasn't sure whose anymore; it was too dark to see and she didn't care enough to turn on her light), scrunched it up, and carefully slid it under Phil's head.

She was going to wait with him. Going to stay by his side until he was better, to... well, not protect him, she didn't have much of a way of doing that, now that Nick had taken her weapon, but to at least be there to make any potential attacker who came by think twice. It was honestly her plan. She had no intention of falling asleep again, but, as the adrenaline left her system, she found her eyes drifting shut.

The stench was what awoke her. She had no idea how much time had passed, but it had been enough for Guthrie to begin smelling incredibly foul. She wanted to kick herself for not thinking of that sooner. Here they were, underground, without great airflow, next to a corpse. It would be a fucking miracle if she and Phil didn't contract horrible diseases and die from that alone. And Phil was still sleeping, and she wasn't sure if she should wake him, if that would mess up his health even more. Best to let him sleep. But she had to get him away from the odor of rot.

Which left exactly one choice.

Jennifer looked into the darkness, towards the body, and shivered. It was revolting. Horrible. Something she had never imagined doing. Still couldn't, really. But it had to be done, so she found her flashlight and started towards Guthrie's corpse.

Standing over it, she flicked the flashlight on, using her body to shield Phil from the light. It was a big, big mistake. She'd heard the boy's death, but hadn't quite been able to picture it. And then, there he was. Head smashed open. Blood everywhere, dried now.

Off with the flashlight.

It took a lot of effort for Jennifer not to throw up on the spot. She couldn't, though. Couldn't wake Phil. Couldn't make the area smell even worse. She just had to power through this. Had to be strong. So she bent down, grabbed the dead boy by his arms. She was expecting them to be cold. They weren't, not exactly, more room temperature. Limp. Wasn't he supposed to be stiff or something? Didn't matter. Couldn't think like that.

She got to work dragging Guthrie along the tunnel floor, heading in the direction Nick had left in, hoping it was the way out, hoping it wasn't too far, hoping she wouldn't run into someone else and have to explain, because this sure as fuck wouldn't look good. The body was not exactly light, and Jennifer certainly wasn't notably strong, so she had to stop every couple of minutes and rest. She never let go of the corpse's arms, though. She doubted she'd be able to force herself to grab them again, logic be damned.

She didn't know how long it had taken, but she found her way to the exit, managing to avoid hurting herself in the dark hallways in the process. What she saw shocked her. It was dark out. How long had they been out for? It had been morning when the encounter occurred. Had she slept all day?

Didn't matter. She vaguely considered burying Guthrie, but she simply didn't care enough, cold as it sounded. A grave wouldn't do him any good. He was now pretty much nothing more than an object. She didn't want to spend the rest of her life looking after objects, not when there were still people who needed her. She pulled him a ways away from the entrance to the tunnel, forcing herself to ignore the noises of him scraping of the ground, the slight wet trail he left. Finally, she couldn't take him any further, so she dropped him to the ground and went back to the tunnel. Her back hurt. Wonderful. Just what she fucking needed.

Then she realized she wasn't quite sure whether she knew the way back. There could have been branches in the tunnel, turns she missed in the dark. She tugged her flashlight from a pocket and turned it on, looking for—there it was. Dragging the body had left a clear trail in the dirt floor of the tunnel. She'd just have to follow it back. So she started to, and then she saw it. Right at the exit. Her icepick, propped up by two rocks. A piece of paper impaled on it. Left by Nick, assuredly. Left waiting for her.

She didn't want to touch it, to be reminded of her mistakes, but of course she picked it up. Of course she read the note.


I don't deserve your company but I hope I can still help somehow. I couldn't leave you helpless if someone tried to hurt you. There's nothing left for me but I'll use that, to stamp out everyone else who has lost their humanity so someone who deserves it can come out on top. I'm sure you want nothing to do with this icepick, but every angel needs their flaming sword.


So that was what he would do. That was the result of her choices, was it? She'd thrown his actions in his face, and now he'd given up. He'd given up, and he was calling her, the one responsible for it all, and angel. Like fuck. It was her fault. She was tearing up. Wiped her eyes. Sorry, Nick. I should have been better. Should have been understanding. You say you don't deserve my company? You're wrong, Nick. Neither of us deserve any of this.

But she couldn't get mired down in the past. Phil was still hurt. Still needed her. How long had it taken to move Guthrie? Half an hour? All sorts of awful things could have happened in that time.

Now she could protect him again, though. So the icepick went back in its place. Some grand moral stand she'd made, in the end.

As she got closer, she could hear Phil, calling out, calling her name. Asking who was coming.

"It's, um, it's me, Phil. I'm, uh, I'm sorry. I had to, um, take care of something. Are you alright?"

Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Spelunking · The Tunnels