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Alex walked for a time, attempting to catch up with Ben. It seemed that he had let the boy get further than he had imagined while fashioning his club. By the time he realized this, though, Ben was lost, and so was Alex. He had strayed deeper into the woods, found himself more and more confused. It seemed that, no matter what he did, he just couldn't catch a break. From his fight with Eric to his encounter at the fun fair, he had been forced into constant action, just to keep alive. When he finally found someone to talk to, a group of people who were willing to tolerate him, however reluctantly, it just figured that he'd had to go and lose them.

He determined to track Ben down. Scour the forest if necessary. Anything to have someone who could vouch for him, someone along to prove he wasn't the murderous psychopath the announcements had tried to cast him as. He'd killed people, but only because he had to. He had dug a pit from which it would be nearly impossible to escape, almost guaranteed that he would have to face more combat, more challenges, but he could deal with that. Everything fate threw at him, he would endure. It was simply a matter of minimizing the risks, of making a terrible situation better to the best of his abilities. He was no social butterfly, but he would be far better off around Ben.

Unfortunately, his searching proved fruitless.





As he rested in the late afternoon, the announcements came on. Some girl had messed her collar up. Maybe found a way to escape. Probably not, though. Most likely, all she'd done was piss the boys in charge off to the degree that they'd make sure she squealed extra loud before they finished her off. Worse, they decided to blow up someone else, someone totally innocent. Alex held his breath, released it when the boy was named. Somebody he didn't know.

Still, this presented an entirely new set of dangers. He trusted that the terrorists were on the ball enough to prevent a repeat of the events that had led to this escape, but he couldn't count on them controlling the girl who had gotten loose. She might do all sorts of horrible things, striking from danger zones to avoid reprisal, attempting to disrupt operations in various manners. It was bad news, he was sure of it. Someone would have to do something.

Didn't mean it had to be him. He wanted to live, to survive. That meant doing what he had to. If he met Liz, maybe he'd take her out if she presented a threat. Actually, she probably would by her very presence. Still, it wasn't anything personal. Wasn't like he liked the terrorists any more than she did. He was just smart enough to know his place.





The announcements came again towards evening, heralded by a beep from Alex's collar that set his pulse racing. He calmed as the voice spoke, though. Seemed no one had caught up with the girl yet. Seemed she was still at large, doing something that really annoyed the guys in charge. They were mad enough to make another example or two. It made sense, assuming she wasn't taking them seriously. One death was easy to laugh off. Three? Less so. Of course, there was always the chance that this girl was a complete sociopath and wouldn't care, but it seemed unlikely. He hadn't heard her name on the announcements before. That meant she hadn't been killing.

Then again, maybe she was just playing it safe. maybe her plan was to wait things out.

Some girl called Lucy had just gotten blown up. Nobody Alex knew.

Funny, how few of his friends had—

An explosion rocked his body, as the collar around his neck detonated. Alex dropped to the ground. Before he died, he experienced a few seconds of pain, worse than anything in his life, the car, the various injuries, the burn from too much exercise.

But soon, it all faded.

Misfortune had found Alex Rasputin for the last time.

B045: Alex Rasputin ELIMINATED
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