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((R.J. Lowe continued from Where Do You Go From Here?))

05:41 AM

The last time R.J. Lowe had a full night's sleep, it was under a sedative.

Sure, he'd nodded off a couple times throughout the night, but never long enough to achieve REM sleep. Never long enough to have those nightmares about Eva again. Exhausted as he was after a day spent traveling, with only brief stops to eat and shit, he couldn't bring himself to fall asleep. The reasons for this were manifold:

1. What he'd done to Eva. There was truth to Isaiah 48:22, that there was no rest unto the wicked, and what he'd done was definitely wicked. He could try and justify it all he wanted, that she shot first, but the fact was that he still shot second. That he'd taken a girl's life long before her time. There was no forgiveness for that, in R.J.'s mind. Not even if God Himself forgave him, would he ever forgive himself.

2. It was dark. It might have sounded silly to anyone else, but ever since reading House of Leaves, R.J. was fucking terrified of the dark. And it wasn't just any dark in those tunnels; it was that same thick, creeping darkness that could well have been considered a being unto itself. It fed on his hatred of uncertainty, his fear of what lurked just outside his peripheral vision. Because now, everything did. It fueled the paranoia inherent in being trapped on this island. The only assurance that the head that lay in his lap was whose he thought was the comfortingly familiar sounds of her snoring.

3. Oh, yeah, Mary-Ann snored. Loud. Like, it reminded him of Elizabeth, that loud.

4. And on that note, there wasn't much R.J. could do to protect her in his sleep. If he heard anything, he had the flashlight and pistol at the ready. Tired though he was, he needed to stay at attention in case someone, or perhaps worse, something - there was a bear on this island, after all - made their presence known. Her safety was his primary concern.

His stomach ached. There was no way they'd be able to survive on the rations they were provided, and the effects of that were already kicking in. Hopefully the girl using him as a pillow wouldn't be awakened by the rumblings of his digestive system. One of them, at least, deserved to rest peacefully. Gently, he ran a hand through her hair. It took a couple tries to find it in the darkness, though, but when he did, it was comforting. Even if he couldn't see her, she was cute when she slept. In its own bizarre way, the snoring only added to that. It brought back memories of when they first met, or at least, when they first spoke to each other. They were in the school library between classes, and she fell asleep at the table where he'd been reading. Don't snore too loud was even the first thing he said to her.


Either way.

A lot had changed since then, more of it in the last few days than in the months prior. They would never change back, even if they both made it back alive. Both of them had seen things no one their age should have to see. R.J. was already a killer. 40 of their classmates had died in two days, all told, and it was likely more had gone the same way in the ensuing 23-plus hours. At that rate, there was no question. Something had to be done to put a stop to this, but damned if R.J. knew what. Even if he knew, however, could he be the one to do it?

Well, he'd sure as hell try.

Sitting back against the rough walls of the tunnels, he shut his weary eyes. Maybe I should just sleep on it.

06:59 AM

"...a further twenty-three of your peers have bitten the dust. Outstanding, kiddies. Simply outstanding."

Hardly the words R.J. had hoped to awaken to. Then again, it was going to be like this every day, wasn't it? The young man listened intently as the names were read off. First, a suicide. Then, a third kill for Maxwell Lombardi. He'd have to watch out for Britons, he guessed. Albert Lions, killed by Kris Hartmann. One he definitely could have prevented. A death by snakebite. A terrible pun. One of those triplets murdered Jackson Ockley... somehow. R.J. didn't get Danya's joke, and he didn't think too hard on it. Maxwell Lombardi again. He'd need to be stopped, somehow. Find someone who knows what he looks like. Quincy Jones, whoever that was, was playing, then Janet... what? He was nearly as puzzled by her surname as he was by her cause of death, which, again, but for different reasons, he didn't linger on. Sarah Atwell struck again, as did Rachel Gettys. Big surprise there. Hayley Kelly, Clio Gabriella, and Claire Lambert were named as individuals to watch out for, which would help if R.J. knew any of them, while Deidre Paul succumbed to the swamp. Simon Fletcher-


Not Simon Fletcher.

They'd met up on the first day. It was Simon's issued weapon that R.J. now carried. He remembered intending to return it, even. He thought he told him not to die, dammit! They were supposed to get out of this mess! There was no way... this couldn't be happening. R.J. gazed wide-eyed in abject horror into the inky blackness as the realization dawned on him - Simon had given him his gun. R.J. used that gun to kill. Simon had, if Danya was being truthful, asked to be killed.

Because of his own actions, Simon was dead.

The pitch-dark tunnels were filled with the sound of a haunting, breathy hiss, that anyone who knew R.J. Lowe would recognize as screaming.
<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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It Knows Nothing of Whim · The Tunnels