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Kimberly laughed and laughed and laughed. Liz tried to breathe while she laughed, tried to avoid coughing from the dank air, when coughing tore her throat, made her want to sit in a ball sobbing and be absolutely useless. Whatever the shit this girl wanted, being annoyed at this colossal waste of time just made her laugh. Great. Two points for the unhinged.

Not that she was in a place to talk. Her temples felt bruised.

"Liz," she said, "you stole the words right out of my fucking mouth. What is the point of this? Are you happy?"

What the hell is the point of this?

The nicotine headache was hitting now, hard. Liz could get used to the smell, but now she had her temples to worry about instead. Squeezing them hard wouldn't help. She needed another goddamn painkiller…

Fuck that. She was dehydrated. She needed water.

Kimberly was laughing and laughing and laughing. Or she had been a second ago. It was a little unsettling. Would Kimberly give her water? Be kind to her? Kimberly had no reason to be kind to her. Kind kind. But she wouldn't answer the question until Kimberly gave her water. No, she wouldn't. Something in her wasn't working right. She wanted to fix it.

"Water." She mouthed. A little sound escaped. Kimberly was looking down at her, what was the word? glowing with power. Glowing. Gloating. She liked where she was now. Power.

Liz stashed that information away for later, when she was more cognizant.

Right now she needed water. And Kimberly was looking down at her, reacting to her whispered plea, smiling and amused.

Yeah, no. Fuck later. This information was useful now.

"Please." she said, forcing sound, forcing spit. "I can answer you." She wanted it to come out as disdain. It came out as desperation. Guess I'm fucked. "I just need water."

Kimberly smiled. Turned. "Water?"

Smile, pearly whites. And Liz nodded because water, yes, water was what she wanted, and she didn't care how dumb she looked to get it.

Kimberly kept an eye on Liz, kept the gun on Liz, when she pulled the water from her bag. Her left arm was fucked-up; Liz was briefly glad, cached the information. The process was slow, tantalizing, probably like Kimberly wanted it, and Liz didn't know she could crave water so badly, crave that she'd beg it from her scorched throat.

But no. It wasn't just that. It was cognizance. She needed her mind back.

Kimberly rolled the bottle to her so Liz had to scramble and get it, nearer to Daisuke's corpse, getting the blood under her fingernails. She opened it and drank it gratefully, losing some on her face in eagerness. Falling to the ground again, dropping the bottle when she swallowed, because her throat hurt so much she gasped, and choked a little, coughing sour water into her mouth and swallowing it again.

Cognition was returning. Yes. She could think. She could rub her temples now, with her wet bloody hands, and feel the pain subside, from a pounding sting to a dull ache. Kimberly's question. She needed to answer Kimberly's question, so the girl with the gun could be happy, so she could go on her merry way.

What the hell is the point of this?

Paper. Pen. She could write, albeit slowly.

WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

She showed it to Kimberly.

THAT'S THE GAME. IT'S A STUPID GAME. IF WE TRY TO LEAVE, GET OUR COLLARS OFF, HE KILLS US.

Turn the page.

I'M GOING TO DIE. I FUCKED MY THROAT UP, AND PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO KILL ME. I'M NOT AN IDIOT ABOUT THAT.

She showed Kimberly this. Kimberly chuffed a little and nodded for her to go on.

She did. BUT THAT FUCKER GOT MR. KWONG. SO I'M GOING TO FUCK UP HIS GAME.

Turn the page.

I WANT TO GIVE PEOPLE WHO AREN'T ALREADY DEAD BETTER THAN NIL CHANCES. MAKE BLACKOUT ZONES. DROP MY STUPID PLAN. HOPE PEOPLE THINK UP A PLAN THAT'S LESS STUPID THAN MINE THAT MAYBE THEY CAN USE THE ZONES FOR.

Turn the page. She could write smaller now, if she took a little more time with it.

I GUESS YOU'RE PISSED THAT DAISUKE DIED. BUT DAISUKE WAS GOING TO DIE ANYWAY. WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE UNLESS SOMEONE FUCKS UP THIS GAME. SO I'M DOING IT.

RIGHT NOW I'M GOING TO DIE. YOU'RE GOING TO DIE. WHATEVER PEOPLE YOU LIKE OR HATE OR WHATEVER ARE GOING TO DIE. THAT'S HOW THIS STUPID GAME IS PLAYED.

AND IF TWO PEOPLE AREN'T DEAD WHEN THIS SHIT IS OVER, THEN HE HASN'T WON.

Close the notebook. Her paper was almost out. She would have to get on that.

Cognition. She was back in business, albeit with a burnt throat and a semi-serious nicotine headache. And a crazy girl with a gun.

Good day, good day.

She looked up.
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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