"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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(Liz Polanski, Brendan Wallace, Mirabelle Nesa, Jeremy Franco, Garrett Hunter and Madeleine Smith continued from The Beggar King--Evening, Day 6)

Her stomach was pressed, nauseous, over Brendan's shoulder. Breathing hit her throat hard, scratching. The energy she'd had earlier was gone, sapped. Inevitable, maybe.

I'm not going to survive this.

Staring at the crackling skin on her hands.

Brendan was carrying her as gently as possible. It wasn't working. Her hands were stinging around the gun.

"Terrorists…" she whispered "…probably fixing cameras. Go where I point."

Rasp, rasp. Shooting pains. Trachea burns were slow.

I beat your game, Mister Danya, but I killed myself doing it. Bet you're happy.

Bubbling laughter, stuck in her throat. Came out as a cough. Ow.

So. One last stand. Going out with the glory, going out with a bang. This is shitty. Why am I doing this?

Fluttering memories. Tearing up a corpse as soon as she understood the island. Survive, survive, survive. Why the shit was she going on a suicide mission?

Easy answer: tracheal trauma. Also, a bounty and a death squad.

But no, that wasn't it. That was too simple.

Closed her eyes. Tried to ignore the pain. Tried to give herself adrenaline. She needed energy now.

Kids, I believe in--

It was funny what memories could energize her.

They were close to the caves now, and Brendan looked confused. She pointed. There were sounds in the distance, muffled to her ears, shouting and buzzing. The other people? She could deal with sounds later.

She needed memories to get her energized for revenge--recalls of her broken hand bandaged in first grade, memories of herself, pale ugly girl, in math class, the clean feeling of the solution, Liz, I would never give you a problem you couldn't solve, everything falling into place, working nights on a formula that was beautiful, beautiful, the only beauty she'd ever appreciated, Liz, you need to have more faith in other people, teaching her how to throw a softball pitch, clean curves and arcs it's just formulas until it was easy, easy enough to get her on an athletics team she hadn't even wanted to be on. And other memories, voices on the bus now, full of fear, and Belle heaving her upright, and Jeremy talking to Danya on the cameras, Garrett wanking on about the revolution and Liz was laughing at herself because this was so stupidly perfect, but it came out as a cough again.

And Brendan put her down on the gravel of the cave, keeping her feet away from broken camera glass. He was confused at her wheezing cough.

She continued to sputter after he put her down. She looked up, finally. Too hard to speak.

I'VE BECOME A REAL GIRL, FINALLY.

She had stopped giggling, finally. Her legs were shaking. She had to hold the Beretta in both hands, if she wanted to conserve energy.

Brendan raised an eyebrow. She pulled off a sheet of paper, went on to the next page.

DIDN'T THINK I'D HAVE PEOPLE CARE ABOUT ME UNTIL UNIVERSITY.

That wasn't quite all. She crossed it out and wrote some more.

DIDN'T THINK I'D HAVE PEOPLE I'D CARE ABOUT UNTIL UNIVERSITY.

Crooked smile. Even smiling hurt now.

FUNNY OLD WORLD, ISN'T IT?

That was something Mr. Kwong had said, a lot. She'd always wanted to say it.

No more paper on the notepad. Just the cardboard backing now. She tore off the last sheet of paper and wrote one more thing.

THANK YOU FOR CARRYING ME.

Then she was gone.
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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