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That voice again. That smug, self-satisfied voice that R.J. had come to hate in so short a time. What he wouldn't give to put that bastard on his level, rip his vocal chords out of his throat with his bare hands.

Yeah, always the goddamn quiet ones. Eva, meanwhile, barely warranted a passing mention. A person, with a family that would never see her again, who was cut down vastly before her time, and she was just another number to this douchecannon.

Twenty-one more dead. Steve Barnes, another teammate, among them. Beheaded. Was that even possible in self defense? More killers, too. Some of the same killers, even. Reiko Ishida, who R.J. could've snapped like a twig, was now a murderer four times over. Rachel Gettys, evangelical Christian. He didn't know her personally, just knew of her. Most people did. She'd killed too. Somehow, he wasn't surprised. Suffer not the unclean to live, right? Seemed like just about her approach to religion. He couldn't stand people like that. People who'd twist religion, especially his, into something that promoted intolerance to serve their own little agendas. Far as he was concerned, that was the ultimate form of blasphemy.

Eve Walker-Luther. Definitely not someone he knew personally, but he remembered when she'd gotten pregnant. Not something you don't notice, after all. And this asshole had the gall to mock some little girl who'd grow up without a mother. Now that made him seethe. And even still, for all the names he couldn't put faces to, they were still people he'd passed in the halls every day, people he knew, whether he really thought of them that way or not. Forty of them were dead now, more still were murderers, himself included. Whether he delivered on his promise or not, things could never go back to the way they were. Dead or no, their lives were already over.

It made him sick. He could just taste the bile lingering in the back of his mouth.


But he couldn't let it get to him. None of it. For Mary Ann's sake, he had to stay strong.

"I'm still too scared of being alone to leave... I just wish it didn't have to be like this, you know?"

I know. Better than I hope you ever have to understand.

Gently, he placed a hand on her head, slowly running it through her hair, hoping that simple act of compassion could reassure her at least somewhat. In a way, he hoped that moment would never end, just the two of them, together, holding each other close.

In a much bigger, much more dire way, it couldn't end soon enough. They had to find a way home.


You don't have to be scared. You don't have to be alone ever again.
<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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The Cries of the Voiceless · The Felled Forest: North