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Time to Spare
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(Melissa Li continued from Keep On Smiling.)

Maps were liars. That's what Melissa had decided upon sometime during the journey to get to the Hall of Mirrors. It had seemed so short and easy when she had looked at it with her compass...sure, there was a scaling problem but damn if they didn't just go south and skirt the mountains to the side. But things seemed to take so much more...although it didn't help that every little cracking branch seemed like the prelude to an ambush by one of the feared killers on the islands. But their paranoia kept them safe and they were even able to grab some shut-eye along the way, staving off exhaustion for a bit longer.

The morning of the 7th day on the hellhole that was the island brought a lifting of spirits...at least momentarily it did, until the now-familiar crackling sound of the speakers resonated in the air. She was prepared to brush it off...after all, she already knew three names that would be on it and she had been lucky enough that none of her friends had been pronounced dead. Felicia had a gun to defend herself, Aislyn was strong solely on inner spirit, Aileen, Peter, and Rob...well, they hadn't gotten in trouble yet, why start now?

In fact, out of all the people she knew...Aislyn was easily pegged to be the one on top. There was no way she would go down before the rest of them. She was the strong one, the leader, the one with the will to survive and the drive to do anything to achieve her goals. But as the last of the announcements rang in the air and Aislyn's name pounded in her ears, Melissa found that she was still standing. She was still alive.

And Aislyn, the strong one. She had died.

What did that mean for all of them? That it didn't matter that you were strong or weak? That it didn't matter who you were...that everything was just left up to God's dice to decide it for them? What the hell kind of lesson was that? It made no sense at all. Was it luck that truly determined everything? That if you are lucky enough, no one could touch you? That you would live even though so many more capable people suffered and died? That wasn't right.

She was bewildered...she wanted to cry...to mourn Aislyn's death, but she couldn't even bring herself to summon the tears needed. She was in a daze...barely able to think about anything. She had barely even registered that Peter had somehow tallied up another kill in his column...she'd really need to have a talk with him about that whole killing thing someday. Jennifer had said something when the announcements were over...she had looked depressed too...maybe someone she knew had died too.

Melissa, herself though...she had just smiled her little smile and shook her head, saying "No, it's fine."

She wondered how Felicia was doing. Was she hunting down Aislyn's killer? Probably.

But while she hoped Felicia would be safe, her thoughts weren't on Kimberly. No...she only wished that things hadn't ended so badly between them all last time. The shouting, the arguing...to have that as the last memory of Aislyn? That was her gift, wasn't it...her reward for being who she was. A weakling...a follower. If she had been there...if she had been as strong as Aislyn, would her friend still be alive?

And so in a daze, following but not really registering things, Melissa arrived at the Hall of Mirrors. And it was sickening. So many bodies were lying around...abandoned by their killers to lie and rot in the sun. She knelt next to one...recognized him as one of the Kronwall brothers...and the other one was lying nearby. What had happened? She didn't know...just like everything else in this game. She held none of the answers she wanted to have.

Didn't Socrates say that only people who admitted they knew nothing were the wisest? Melissa certainly didn't feel anything like that at all.

She got to her feet and walked past the dead bodies. Maybe later she'd find the energy to bring them inside or do something nice for them. For now, though, she just wanted to rest...rest and talk with Jennifer. Talk about what had happened, find out who the hell Nick really was, and just...talk in general. She headed into the building, hearing the crunching of glass under her shoes. Jennifer's voice called out to her a short distance away and Melissa went to the voice.

She found Jennifer standing alone in a relatively clear area of ground and Melissa smiled and shrugged at her. Jennifer looked like hell. Melissa guessed she didn't look much better...hell, she hadn't even changed out of her bloodied shirt. "Better than nothing, I guess."

She groaned, letting her bag slip off her shoulder and fall to the ground with a soft thump. Her sword quickly followed it, clattering onto the floor. Melissa followed it to the ground, sitting down next to it and hugging her knees up close to her chest. "My feet are hurting like hell..."

She laughed. "Odd, isn't it? So many of our classmates and friends are lying dead and yet here I am, talking about my feet." Her laughter quickly faded away and she just looked up at Jennifer with a soft, caring smile. "Hey. Come on...take a load off. We've got time to rest. Things'll be fine...I'm sure of it. I mean...come on, if anything...China Woman will save the day, won't she?"

She couldn't help but snort. That sounded so lame. But her smile was still there and with any luck...Jennifer's would be joining her.
"Oh god dammit, I lost my sense of humor around here. Someone help me find it."


Approved V5 Pre-Game Characters:

Faria Young - Generals of Elysium (The Waterfront)
Annabelle Summers - Where Is My Muse? (Lunch Room)

"And who the hell came up with this play?! "Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet" ...Dude, THEY ALL DIE!"

Cosmosphere - Now Serving as a Crappy Writing Blog
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A Day Late · Hall of Mirrors