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A scream. The high-pitched scream of a young woman. Oh no, R.J. thought. No, no, no, no, no, Mary-Ann, no-


Oh. Well, nevermind then.

With another furious battlecry, the beast in the darkness kicked wildly at R.J.'s face, but he didn't flinch. If Mary-Ann was going to survive this, he had to face the darkness head on. The beast flailed about with little rhyme or reason as it stumbled backwards. R.J. rose to his feet, taking slow, patient steps toward the creature writhing in the pitch. He raised the gun to its center. This was it. The moment of truth, and other such cliches. He had to put this thing out of its misery. For Mary-Ann's sake, he had to act. Had to pull the trigger.

He didn't.

He couldn't. The thing wasn't a thing. It was a person. A student, just like him. He wasn't a monster, just a kid. A scared, broken, beaten, wounded kid. He could just picture him lying on the ground before him, and what he saw could only be described as... well, pathetic. He took pity on the boy. Lowered his guard. Dropped the gun to his side. He'd done enough. He'd rendered him harmless. Impotent. There was no need to kill. Not again.

Those were his thoughts before the beast made one more mad dive at his gun.

Oh, how foolish he had been. If one thing could be said definitively of R.J., however, it was that he always learned from his mistakes, and it was a lesson the beast was taught by the butt of a pistol slapping it across the jaw. This creature, this thing, it didn't deserve to be called human. It spoke like a man, but it was nothing more than a wild animal. And R.J.? He'd killed more than a few animals in his time. What was one more? Especially since this was no mere deer; this beast had attacked him first. This monster was ready to kill Mary-Ann, had he not stopped it.

There was no need to let his conscience get in the way, as he raised his foot as high as it would go.

There was no reason to feel remorse, as he brought it straight down with all his might.

An audible cracking sound echoed throughout the tunnels. The beast let out a labored cry, wheezing out various obscenities before R.J. brought his steel-toed boot back, then kicked it straight into the source of the blasphemous noise. You talk too much. He ambled around to the beast's side, and thrust his foot into it once more. Twice more. Thrice more. Again.




A pause. Deep breaths.


It continued for minutes on end. Each kick grew more labored as time wore on. His target slowly began to feel less like a solid entity than a fine paste. Its cries had been rendered silent. Its thrashing was replaced with stillness. And as R.J., at long last, came to a halt, he collapsed to his knees, covered in sweat and gasping for air.

All that remained was darkness.
<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