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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
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((Cassidy Wakemore continued from Final Third Foul))

Maria and Duncan left for sanctuary, and Cassidy followed. As they marched, she stayed a few paces behind them, shifting her eyes left and right, like she expected to see something else. She kept her javelin wrapped tightly in her arms, afraid of losing or using it again. Whenever she stepped on a twig or anything that made the slightest bit of noise, her foot jerked back up and she stared fearfully at the ground before remembering that she was supposed to be following her friends, and took a few more hurried steps behind them.

It wasn't hard not to hear the sounds of errant twigs, wind rustling through the trees, or dirt shuffling underfoot when Maria was just as silent as she was. Duncan ended up starting all of their conversations, if they could be called that. All Cassie remembered him asking was where they wanted to go next, or where they were right then, or how they could get their bearings. Someone, she didn't remember whether it was Maria or herself, did her best to answer him, but there wasn't much they could do for him.

They came to a house in the hours following, and she almost started to weep when she saw them. For a brief moment it occurred to her that this was all there was anymore. No matter where any of them walked, they would just see the same things over and over again. Space was twisted; the island existed inside of its own little bubble of a universe, separate from everyone else. The feeling only lasted for a few seconds, before she realized that they were just fine. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Except for everything.

They went to the nearby grocery store, a veritable ghost town of victuals and foodstuffs. Maria and Duncan sat on the floor, temporarily distracting themselves with conversations about a world long gone, and Cassie tried her best to join in. Oh God, did she try. But it seemed that her voice had deserted her, and the best she could manage was the occasional whisper. "I always wanted to try green tea flavor," she mumbled, unsure if the others had heard them. As for the food, she couldn't touch it. The feeling of revulsion she got after she saw Jimmy Brennan committing murder still lingered, flaring up whenever her hand tentatively reached for a ration of bread. There was a hole there, a hole she couldn't touch with anything for fear of growing it.

"Are you going to eat?" Duncan asked her.

She looked up at him and did her best to smile, forcing the corners of her mouth apart and shaking her head. "Nah. Not hungry," she told him. "Gotta save this stuff up, anyway." The subject was dropped after that, so Cassie assumed that she didn't look too bad right now, just shaken up. No more emaciated and sickly than they looked at this point.

Soon enough they slept, leaning against the glass like they were beggars, trying to absorb the warmth inside a house from the outdoors on a dead winter night. It seemed like she would never get to sleep at this rate, as glass wasn't exactly the most comfortable surface to lay against. But while the island held a terror necessary for keeping her awake, it also necessitated some form of escape.


"Huh?" she asked, looking down at her lunch. She made it herself, mostly going the simple route with some peanut butter and jelly, along with a bag of chips and a couple of oreos. The bread in the sandwich was starting to absorb the rest of it, and if she didn't eat it soon, it would be a soggy, unappetizing mess. "Nah, I guess I could make a trade. What've you got?"

"Oh, not much. Just a few health bars." He pulled them out of his backback, revealing that they'd been squished by the heavy books they shared space with. "Yeah, sorry about that. They're still pretty good, though. Take your pick." He held out two different varieties, lemon and chocolate.

She picked lemon, giving him a bag of strawberries in return. The two of them ate in silence for a few minutes, an awkward air dividing them like a sheet of rubber.

Finally, she sighed and rummaged around her backpack, pulling out a scalpel and stabbing it into the sheet, forcing it into the tough material and gouging into it until it slipped loose. A gout of blood, foul brackish crimson-black shit that sprayed over her face, drops flying up her nose and burning her eyes. She coughed and retched, feeling her stomach contents roil and churn. She pushed the scalpel back into the slippery cut in the wall, digging deeper into it and eventually hitting a hard surface that resisted her blade. A sickening scraping sound filled her ears, making her shudder and her arm spasm and the scalpel dig into the side of the wet rubber.

"W-winston," she said, before coughing and spitting blood out of her mouth. "I miss you."

"I miss you too," he said, clapping a hand on her naked shoulder. "I can't sleep, can't eat, can't sing." He sighed and reclined against the soft velvet, his head inches from her soft, silky thigh. "When are you coming back?"

Her eyes filled with tears. "I can't!" she sobbed, burying her eyes in her palms. "They've got me surrounded! Every possible way out, they've thought of it already! I'm just staying here and I'm losing my fucking mind!"

The audience burst out into laughter, drowning out the sound of crunching bones and squelching flesh. The ginger boy on stage raised his bat and brought it back down again on a shapeless lump of flesh, which twitched and shivered in pain. "Who's the badass motherfucker who'll kill your ass if you give him any sass?" he shrieked.


"That's right, bitches!" He looked contemptuously at the sack's remaining eyeball, surrounded by thick clumps of black bristling hair. His foot drew back, then forward, the toes of his shoe slamming into the cornea with a meaty thud. The audience cheered, chanted his name as the boot bashed the giant eye, bruising it and filling the sclera with blood, turning it red until it finally burst on the eighth kick, covering his boots with a thick, greenish fluid.

His nose twitched as he smelled it, his face contracting into a disgusted squinch. "You wanna get my shoes dirty, do you, cocksucker?" he snarled, stabbing right into the center of the mass of flesh with a claymore. The audience cheered as drops of blood splattered their faces and the rest of the theater.

The other boy wiped his eyes and patted her on the back. "Maybe you could try to follow his lead. He's got spunk. He's got initiative. He's going places."

She flinched and gave him a weird stare. "Him?" she asked. "He's an asshole! I don't want to be like him!"

"Well, you'll have to try at least once," he said, putting an arm around her shoulder. "Can't let everyone else hog the spotlight, ya know."

Her eyes drifted right, catching a glimpse of two familiar faces sitting under the far wall. They moaned and leaned into each other, lips locked in an airtight embrace. Their limbs tangled with each other, unwilling to slacken their grip on each other's bodies for even a second.

He followed her gaze and frowned. "Oh, right," he says. "Them. Well, I know how you feel, and believe me, if I could get all of you back here in one piece, I would." He reached out and turned the dial up, causing the air beyond the glass to shimmer and distort. "But I think you know the truth."

She put her hands to the glass as the face-suckers on the other side started to melt, their skin dripping like wax and revealing the muscles beyond. Sporadic fires erupted all over their bodies as he turned the dial farther and farther to the right. Throughout it all, they continued to kiss, even without lips. Their teeth clacked against each other as their tongues slid against each other, dripping saliva down the countours of their jaw. Then even that collapsed, leaving yellowish-white bones resting in a lumpy, burning flesh puddle.

"I can't," she told him. "It wouldn't be the same without them."

"You'll get used to it," he replied. "Drummers are a dime a dozen around these parts, and groupies like him are even more common. But bassists like you..." He pulled her into a hug, wrapping his arms around her chests until her breath forced its way out of her. "I can't replace."

She tried to pull away from him, but it only hurt her more. When she looked down at his arms, she saw a crude lattice of sewing thread weaving in and out of their skin, stitching them together. She gasped as she beheld their pierced skin, reddened and pus-ridden from infection. "Winston," she cried. "You're hurting me..."


Her eyes snapped back open, looking back at the ceiling, at the broken fluorescent lights and the dusty ceiling tiles that probably harbored asbestos or some shit. She didn't have any time to react before Maria bolted from the building, tearing out of there like she was being dragged by a fish hook in her nose. Cassie didn't think to check on Duncan to see what he would do next, instead choosing to follow Maria outside. Maria walked down the street, stomping down with the stubbornness of a bull as the announcements blared, forcing themselves into their head like... something Cassie didn't want to think about, considering. Maria seemed to be doing a god job of tuning them out, but Cassie felt inclined to listen, waiting for a certain name. Sure enough, she heard it.

"Then, proving that even a loser can turn things around, Jimmy Brennan killed Phillip Ward with a little moxie and a big stick."

"Basically, this chick here next to me got into an argument with Phil Ward. I didn't hear what happened, but he tossed her to the ground and started beating the crap out of her."

Holy fuck. The sports guy Jimmy killed was the same one who went apeshit on Maria the day before? Cassie didn't know what to think about that. Did Maria know what to think? She was the one terrified at Jimmy's actions while Cassie found herself cheering for him. As she thought, Maria turned a corner, and it wasn't until Cassie heard Maria shout at the top of her lungs before she came back to her.

When she got there, a familiar face came up, asking where the hell Duncan was. "He's, he's back there," Cassie said, suddenly remembering that they were sleeping with him until the announcements. She looked back in that direction, hoping he would show up.
Edited by Solitair, Jan 23 2011, 04:04 PM.
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