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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Wait. Wait. Wait. Was this the end?

Not a fucking chance, seemed like. They waited a bit, Liz with the gun in her hand, the barrel pressed against Kimberly's forehead, thinking or something. Thinking. And Kimberly was thinking too, wondering. Would she be satisfied if Liz pulled the trigger, blew out the back of her head and dropped her lifeless corpse to the ground next to Daisuke? She thought she would. Lots of things she'd left undone, lots of things she'd do if she got a chance, but she had no regrets. After all, she was playing with Liz, playing to win, all in, cards on the table.

So when Liz got nervous, started talking, Kimberly didn't bail her out. When she tried to talk her way out of it, to logic her way clear, Kimberly didn't just let her off the hook.

"Like you said," Kimberly told Liz, "we're all gonna die sooner or later. Killing me serves as a deterrent. It shows the others that you're dangerous, can take some fucking care of yourself. Might keep the hunters away."

Think that one through, Liz. Kill one now, save yourself some trouble later. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Way in the back of her mind, part of Kimberly was screaming at her, telling her to stop fucking around, to run now, apologize and run and hope Liz didn't change her mind, seize the time she had left and go find Kris or something, anything, anything except dying here in this underground maze, the smell of blood and death lingering in the air around her. She shut that part of her mind off, though. Didn't take much effort. She was going to be honest with herself, and she wanted this. Not to die. To force Liz's hand.

And Liz backed down. Decided not to do it. Turned out she was a wimp after all. She didn't want to shoot Kimberly. Great call, there, but what if Kimberly wanted to shoot her, decided to pull a backup weapon and mess Liz up?

Liz pulled the gun away, and Kimberly loosened up a bit. Considered speaking. The footsteps stopped her. She froze for a second, and in that second, Liz cocked the pistol and stood up.

And with that, Kimberly was smiling again, as she stood as well.

"Looks like you need this more than I do," she said, dropping the spare clip to the ground, listening as it clinked off a small rock.

"Catch you later."

She shot Liz a wink, and then she was off, back into the tunnels, into the darkness. A flick of her fingers, and her flashlight was extinguished, the world gone, vanished. She felt her way slowly along the walls.

It was maybe five minutes later, far from Liz, that she started laughing, laughing and laughing, the sound bouncing around, chorusing and duplicating itself.

((Kimberly Nguyen continued in In Theory, This Should Be Easy))
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder drawn by Ryuki
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Blackout · The Tunnels