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God was telling you "not yet".
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((Violet Druce and Mike Moretti continued from Act I: General Anesthetic))

Both the second and the third announcements had been and gone since the two of them left the ranger's station; their spirits drained by the ever-growing list of the dead they used to call "classmates", and the stress of having to rely on each other to survive. Still, the company was more than welcome in the face of isolation, as they both knew that their chances of staying alive would greatly diminish were they to part at this point in the game. Although, she had to admit, Violet did like having Mike around. He was a great comfort to her when she needed it most, like the times of the day when the speakers sprang to life. She tried her best to hide it, but he could tell that the news was more and more crushing after each and every name, read out by that horrendous man. That voice. Danya.

Making their way through the woods, they found a number of ungodly sights, but managed to pay them no mind. There were many more bodies to find, like Easter eggs scattered over the island. It was wrong, but all Violet could think about was that one body: Jackson's, cradled by the hopeless Ilario. He'd looked so manic; it was heartbreaking. So on their travels, over the day and a half that they'd been walking together since, there had been an awkward, terrible silence. Neither Mike nor Violet had a single word to say to the other right now, leaving the pair wandering about, lost in their thoughts. Every time she looked at Mike she'd see the same look of remorse upon his face - one that she realized she must've been wearing too.

Hey big guy. Yeah, you. I bet you're getting a real kick outta this, aren't you?

Sick. You're a sick man.

Then came a rumbling - deep and loud.

They stared at each other in disbelief, before it came again. It sounded like the ground was gurgling, and it made the strangest bubbling sounds. Mike's gaze dropped. Violet stood a few feet away, clutching her stomach with the brightest shade of red on her face.

"Was that-"

He stopped.


They burst out laughing.

The two of them looked like lunatics, holding their sides as they erupted into an uproar of bellowing laughter which shook the forest around them. It was insensitive; it was inappropriate; it was spitting in the faces of all those who'd died, but for those few glorious minutes both Mike and Violet remembered what it was like to truly laugh again. No, it wasn't the funniest thing either of them had ever heard, and no, they didn't even know why they were doing this, but none of that mattered, not now. They laughed until every ounce of it had left their bodies, and left their bodies sore and gasping for breath, but it was worth it. Everything seemed to make sense again, if only for a little while. They were just high school kids - just like anyone watching from the safety of their homes - and if they couldn't enjoy the precious last moments that they had left, then what was the point of surviving at all?

Mike sighed, coughing out dry air as he slumped back onto the trunk of a nearby tree, his ribs aching as he slid down the bark and onto the patchy grass below. His guitar pressed against his spine, so he pulled it off his shoulders and laid it down by his side, then slipped the daypack off of his shoulders, letting his flop down to the floor without a care. Violet followed suit, chucking all three of her bags onto the green, then sat herself down opposite the boy with an exhausted smile on her face.

A few minutes later, and the two had almost caught their breath, which meant it was time to relieve that grumbling stomach of hers.

"Say Mike, you hungry?"

He opened his eyes, nodding with a tired grin, then relaxed again as she began to rustle through her belongings in search of something good to eat. The blue of the Doritos packet warmed her soul - a rare comfort around here - and she decided that now was the perfect time to tear into them. They deserved a treat, right? Then she turned to the other bags, wondering if it was okay for her to snoop around in Trent's duffel bag. She still wanted to find him, and once she did she'd hand it right over, but right now they really needed this, and she knew he'd understand.

Unzipping it carefully so as not to damage the bag, she felt guilt halt her fingers as she opened it further and further. It really wasn't right to go through his things like this, but she might as well check what he'd brought with him to the trip, she thought. Clothes, plasters, headphones; all standard, though she noticed his PSP was missing, which he'd really hate, and then she found a bottle of coke. It was luke-warm, and flat - ordinarily undrinkable, but given the situation, well... A pack of tissue, some underwear (he really needed new boxers) and then? The holy of all holies.

"No way."

Mike looked up.

"What's up?"

Without a word, she dug past the clothes and the coke and wrapped her hand around a small, heavy jar. Positively beaming at the sight, she pulled it out for him to see, chuckling in amazement.


She smiled.

"He brought dip."
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Cool Ranch · The Felled Forest: North