"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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"Liz, Liz can you open your eyes?"

Liz didn't want to open her eyes. Sleep had always been a refuge for her, one of the few. Some nights, some years, she was an insomniac, curling up sideways in bed and sweating, but when sleep came, it was rare safety, cool and dark.

It was too cold to open her eyes.

More black. More fading. She wanted everything to go away.

Wait.." Someone was holding her. A woman? Yes. It was a woman's voice. "Did she?"

Did she what?

It was dark again.

And then something hit her face. Water. It was sweet on her mouth, and too cold. Her eyelids stung to pull apart.

Flickering eyes. Everything was blurry. There was a woman holding her, someone she could vaguely recognize, but names weren't coming.

And she was put gently on the ground.

"Liz? Liz?"

Her throat hurt. What to do? She needed to cough.

Eyes wide open.

"Liz!"

And she began coughing, cupping her hand, coughing up tough mucus, curling, spasming into a ball, and her throat hurt and her throat hurt it hurt worse than it had ever hurt before and she was gasping and trying to think pain is just a message but instead her gasps were turning into weak, jerking screams.

"Hey! Hey! Up front!" Someone was snapping fingers in front of her face. Too close. Liz winced.

And things were coming back to her. Charlie DuClare was a cheerleader, nasty kid, directed a few pointed remarks at Liz. A coward. Why was she here? And Dave Morrison, asswad jock. Everything was misplaced.

Charlie DuClare was yelling at her. "What the fuck did you DO to yourself?"

Liz's head was right by a camera; she had to make sure not to swing it up to quickly. Unbroken. Great. Where was her knife? Some girl, dark-haired girl, had her knife. Near her was the ballpoint she had stolen from the house with the crimson bedroom.

Charlie DuClare. Bitch. Show her.

"This is what I did."

It came out in a strangled whisper. And she punched the pen into the security camera lens.

The reaction was immediate. Charlie DuClare jumped back and shrieked. Asshole jock began cursing. Helen Wilson's mouth (that was the doctor, yes?) fell into an O. Behind her (why hadn't she seen that there were two people behind her?) the tall, dark-haired girl frowned, and Winsome Clark went pale.

But none of this was very important, because Liz's hand hurt really, really badly now. And she was trying not to react, not to make noise again, but instead she dropped the pen and her skin drained and her hand fell limply onto a sweatshirt (sweatshirt?) which she grabbed like it was some kind of teddy bear. And everything spun around again.

A lot of people were talking. Liz felt overexposed. She wanted to put her hands over her ears, curl into a ball, and scream until everything went away. She hated moments like this. People wanted answers and she didn't have answers and she didn't have answers just aluminum and a collar and currently a lot of pain and she wanted everyone to go away and leave her alone.

Although when she thought about it logically, she realized that they'd probably saved her life, and if they went away, she'd probably die. This didn't help her comfort level.

And her stomach pulled, and suddenly she was very glad she hadn't eaten for a while, because she dry-heaved painfully, once, twice, put her hands over her ears and her thread hurt again and she didn't scream because screaming wouldn't do anything right.

Keep her knees on the sweatshirt. The sweatshirt was safe.

Charlie DuClare and Dave Morrison and Helen Wilson and Winsome Clark and Isabel Guerra were staring.

Liz choked. "What do you want?"
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Faraday's Cages · The Woods: Inland