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Oh my god you guys The Riz killed Cara what do!?
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[Sprint for the Finish Line --> Ema Ryan]

Everything was going to be fine, just bloody fine. For the night, at least. Because there definitely wouldn't be anyone at the Mansion, that would be absurd. Why would anyone else want to be relatively warm, and comfortable on a real bed under real sheets at night? Anyone that wasn't her or Hayley, at least.

Yeah no, this mindless optimism shit just isn't going to work.

Either way, even if there was anyone there, they could share. And if they didn't want to share? The two of them had guns, they could be convinced otherwise. If they really didn't want to? Return to step 4, guns, use thereof. Use that Ema could somehow think about in such a detached, clinical manner. Shoot person, bullet hits, person is no longer a problem. Just don't dwell on the whole life ending part, don't start to think about all the experiences they'll never have, all the ones they had that were for nothing, don't think about the pain or the ethics of it all. It's just problem solving. Some folks are lucky, some folks ain't. Thanks, Mr. Pink.

And, in spite of all the circumstances conspiring to make it otherwise, the walk really was just fine. Hayley didn't even reach for her umpteenth cigarette, so the welcome sense of calm wasn't just surrounding Ema. The sun sank slowly into the horizon in front of them, assuring Ema they were still heading westward, and the daylight faded to the muted shades of orange that she had always loved about the end of a day. Like leaves in Autumn, all year around. The beautiful sight made Ema feel a little lethargic, and the diminished brightness made her comfortable to finally lower her hood. As she was looking back up from doing so, the Mansion, the Holy Grail of comfortable nights, loomed in the distance, no more than a few hundred meters away. Finally.

Hayley made a run for the door, clearly excited. Ema felt like saying something, pointing out that sprinting in blindly probably wasn't safe. It wasn't necessary; the door opened and spoke up on her behalf and holy crap Benny brought everyone.

Okay stop thinking in movie quotes already. The CoD stuff was bad enough as it is.

Putting the concern about her unoriginal lines of thought that afternoon aside, Ema beckoned Hayley back to the safety of the darkness. There were a lot of them, she didn't care to count, given the distance and relative darkness, but a lot. And at least two were armed, the rest probably had something hidden anyway. The Vektor came out of Ema's inside pocket, almost subconsciously, and the safety came off. Just in case. With any luck as if I actually have any of that they'll just go.

And they seemed to be, but the group took its sweet time. Carrying and limping all over the place. Hayley seemed to agree that it wasn't worth the wait, and headed back the way they'd come, beckoning her to come along. As if she was planning on sticking around alone. Back east, southeast probably, skirting the edge of the trees for the best compromise of safety and visibility. The journey was oddly nostalgic. Again. The second leg of yesterday's reminiscence, the other half of the journey from the ex-forest down to the south coast.


The trip didn't take as long, obviously, starting a hell of a lot closer and with a figurative tonne less weight on her shoulders. How she'd even managed to carry all that luggage around for the first few days was beyond Ema, even now. It wasn't worth dwelling on, anyway. What was worth paying attention to was the renewed stream of memories upon arriving at the beach - in particular, the little patch of grass and trees just before the sand, where they'd slept a few nights nights? Feels like weeks ago, with Kyle still present and alive. In a way, Ema missed him. He'd been a little taciturn, but he was a nice enou-- oh god that's what else happened here. James Mulzet, a name not affected by Ema's poor memory. Decapitated by Hayley, mere minutes after she'd been revealed to have already killed Steve Barnes the same way, the day before. Yeah, that morning was going to stick around in Ema's memory for a while.

Eventually, Hayley spoke up, breaking the silence.

"Feels like it's been forever, yeah?"

Read my mind, why don't you...

"It's only been, what, four days? And everything's different now."

Yeah, I've got a gun, Kyle's dead, and we're pretty chill about the whole Battle Royale with Cheese thing we've got going down.

Of course, she didn't say either of those things. The best Ema could actually manage was "Yeah. Things change fast, huh?". Eloquence still eluded her, for the most part. Part of the reason for that, a large part, was the next set of memories. The nice ones, from before that morning of drama and blood and killing and throwing up and general disarray. Meeting up with Hayley and Kyle for the first time, being able to truly relax, not not-sleeping under a bridge hearing random Morrissey lyrics in her head, cuddling under a blanket and sleeping warm. And the inevitable progression from there, the waking up to a faceful of alluring flesh, the moving on to the Hut that Hayley had started out in. The brief moments alone. What she didn't manage to finish doing in those moments.

Damn, and that was what, two or three days ago?

Added to the time before coming to the Island itself, that made over a week for Ema, a week without, to use her own charming terms, working off any stress. And plenty of stress had been built up, over the holiday from hell, both the figurative kind and the holy-shit-everything-trying-to-kill-you kind. Sneaking off alone after Hayley fell asleep was an option, but for reasons unknown, something else occurred to her.

Well, I got lucky with the limping Mafia earlier... here goes nothing.

"Hey... do you have anything left in that flask? I could use something to take the edge off this whole stupid week."
Every time you fall asleep you die. Someone else wakes up in your body, thinking they're you.
You are alone and trapped in your own mind, the world around you is your lie.
Soon you will be nothing, you will never again hear sounds, never again see colours, never again be anyone.

Riley Moon appreciates that Action Needs an Audience, but it's hard not to watch. Hair Status: Bubblegum Pink
Parallel with: The Heavy Weapons Guy

The Past
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The Guilty Ones · The Beach: East