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Grim Wolf
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(David Meramac continued from Fountain of Youth)

If you run hard enough, you cease to think.

It was a truth David Meramac had learned when he was very young, when his mother had left and David had been with his father--his poor, sweet, damaged father, his father who'd given him the jacket David wore even now.

This is my father's jacket. He's safely away from here, maybe watching me on screen, wondering what's gonna get me, who's waiting, why am I even trying I'll just get beaten or shot or stabbed, they'll break me like they break everyone, I can't escape there isn't any-

The thoughts would bubble and boil, threaten him, threaten to remind him of how weak he was and how little power he had over his own destiny (they gave me a box of FUCKING KLEENEX) and he would run harder, run until his legs twitched with effort, still each breath clawed its laborious, painful way into his throat and until his legs turned to jelly beneath him and he could run no more, and then through the haze of pain he would begin to think again.

The mountain was the latest in his attempts to erase thought from his brain. There was a trail, of course, but David had foregone the trail--there were places (rocky, miserably, treacherous places) where he could scramble his way up, cutting at his palms, skinning his knees, feeling already-weak legs tremble with the new demands he'd place on them, and in this sense of inadvertent, reckless danger he could forget, for a little while, that he was going to die.

Until the announcement came on, and David, scrambling his way up around a copse of loose shale, froze. It was the wrong time for an Announcement--he'd figured that out by now. So...

So...

Someone's been interfering with their collar.

In the past few days--in the course of struggle and violence, in the course of fear and terror and the unflinching sensation of despair--David had almost forgotten about the thing around his neck, the construct that threatened him, the construct that constricted him and kept him here. His concern had been on the other students. But...

But if they didn't have a reason to be here...

We can get out.

David's muscles quivered a final time, and he slipped backwards, scraping his hands and fingertips, jarring his shin once he got back to relatively stable ground. The pain meant nothing, however; it was an idle distraction barely worth his consideration or thought.

"We can get out?" he said aloud, and hope blazed in him with the force of a wildfire.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

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But I Might Die Tonight · The Mountain