"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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(Sorry I'm replying to myself...this is an exitpost)

Kari drank, and slept, a relieved, desperate sleep. Zach snerked, and then settled down too--Mizore's suspicion that he had not slept as much as she when she had slept under the mountain ledge was apparently right on.

She stayed up, and fixed herself. She undid her hair, brushed it, rebraided it with the dingy ribbons that she smoothed out and scrubbed in the pool. She changed her foul shirt for a clean purple one, sparingly rhinestoned, which made her smile. She unpinned the hems of her jeans.

Her spray paint was almost done, so she refused to use it anymore. Instead she stayed by the smooth, water-worn walls, using the best-preserved of the wax pencils; she refused to be disciplined, use the worst first anymore, when it was likely that all of them would only be crushed further the next time she moved.

The next time she moved, she was finding Raidon. It was an ache in her throat.

Her hand drew whorls on the cave walls, twists and vines, all black, shattered by swords and consumed by curling fire. The wall was smokey, deeply lined, and her pencil clung to the scars and cracks. A lantern swayed, a rope, a noose. Spike-leafed flowers and bleeding thorns. She licked the walls and scraped the wax to make the shapes savage and perfect. Am I drawing Hell?

But hell would never be so alive. And this place, whatever she was drawing, was paralyzed, terrified by life. Wild and human things became animate, alive, under her hands. Her tongue was black, like a parrot's, covered in bitter wax.

I can't go on like this.

It wasn't even a guess. It was a fact.

She had to put down the pencil now. It was worn to a nub, callousing her fingers to draw.

She was tired, drifting, dreamy. Maybe half-insane.

She took the map out of her pack, held the last remains of the wax pencil, closed her eyes and pressed down. When she opened her eyes, she had worn a black dot into the Parish. The church. Of course.

She smiled and put the wax pencil back in her backpack. She used the disinfectant solution in there to scrub off her hands and her face.

Now there was only a note to write.

Pen and paper out. Chewing on the pen cap to figure out what to say.

GOING TO LOOK FOR NAOKO RAIDON. APOLOGIES FOR ABANDONING YOU. GOING TOWARD THE PARISH.

THANK YOU FOR STAYING WITH ME.

Yeah. She liked Zach, despite his snerk. And she liked Kari Nichols too.

She hoped she saw them again.

Tucked the note under Zach's arm. Shouldered her daypack. Closed her eyes.

And Mizore Soryu was gone.

(Mizore Soryu continued elsewhere)
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Ghosts · The Tunnels