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Viewing Single Post From: A Day Late
MurderWeasel
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That boy needs therapy!
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Yup. Sure enough, Jennifer was bringing Melissa down. Fuck. She was some sort of contagion vector, bringing infectious gloom to those who remained. Melissa started talking, though, before Jennifer could get too down on herself. She talked about how crazy life was now, how much the world had changed. She mentioned the week before. Saint Paul. Home. The real world.

Jennifer couldn't even remember what she'd said to her parents before setting out on this trip. It hadn't been much. They hadn't been worried. Neither had she. She was just going on a camping trip. The Badlands were pretty safe. There were supposed to be tons of faculty members around, so any really problematic stunts wouldn't be possible. Most of her friends, at least the irresponsible ones, weren't old enough to come, so she wouldn't be pressured into anything too bad. She'd really just planned to take life easy for a bit, enjoy herself. Maybe... no, for sure talk to Maf.

And now, she was going to die.

She didn't cry this time.

And Melissa said how good it was to see her. How good it was to know she hadn't changed. But was that true? It was strange. That had been her goal. She wouldn't change, and she wouldn't be a show. She'd been so sure she'd failed both, but maybe she'd been wrong. Maybe she was wrong about everything. It wouldn't be the first time. It wouldn't be a surprise. She stayed silent.

Melissa was now talking about her assigned weapon. She'd pulled a stove. She offered to toast them some bread, said a little warm food would make them feel better. Jennifer smiled, nodded, said, "Um, sure. That'd be great."

She twisted her skirt a little as Melissa started on her next line of inquiry. Jennifer had known this was coming. Of course it was. It was worse than she'd expected, though. It was made fucking awkward by the fact that there was apparently some other Nick out there, who had also killed. Jennifer could vaguely remember him. He'd only come up once, though, right? She was stalling. Distracting herself. Trying to spare the pain for an instant longer. This was going to be fucking awful. She was about to blow everything up in her face again, shatter every illusion Melissa had left. She was going to hurt her friend, and was probably going to be abandoned. She was going to show just what a terrible person she was, all because she didn't want to lie, didn't want to forestall the inevitable.

She wondered what Maf would say, if she ever saw him again. Wondered if he would leave her too.

She took a deep breath after Melissa trailed off, and looked around. The hall of mirrors was dark. Shadows lurked in the corners. She realized the smell had gone away, and just like that, it was back. Fuck. She shifted her feet. She hadn't taken her shoes off in a week. She probably had blisters or athlete's foot or something.

She was avoiding the issue.

No more.

"It was, um, that is, um, he's Nick Reid," she finally got out. That was the easy bit. Now for the painful part. After all, Melissa had asked why. There was a lot to that.

Time for the hard part. Time to lose a friend.

"Melissa, I, um... It wasn't self defense. Not all of it. Not from what I heard, or, um, what I saw."

He's a murderer.

"He... we met in the tunnels. It was, um, it was early in the game. He'd only killed, um, one person. He said it was an accident."

Of course it was an accident. Nick would never lie, right? He's clearly a fucking bastion of moral decency on this island.

"I, um, he was hurt, so I, um, helped bandage him."

He was pitiful, scared, lost.

Was?

"We were surprised. Attacked by, um, by that guy. The second one. Nick, um, Nick killed him. He knocked him out and then he kept hitting him until he died.

"I yelled at him. Um, I... I just lost it. I yelled at him and I told him, um, I told him he was a worthless killer and to, um, to go die, and I told him to kill me if it was so easy, and I threw him my weapon."

Here, Jennifer pulled her bag over. Somehow, the icepick had migrated into it during the walk. She couldn't remember putting it away, but her hands knew where to find it. She unzipped her pack, showed Melissa.

"And, um, and he just walked away. And he left me my weapon, and he left me a note."

He called me an angel.

"And that was it, only I, um, I heard his name on the announcements afterwards. And then we met again. And Melissa..."

Don't cry.

"It's my fault, Melissa. I threw him out. I, um, I told him he wasn't worth anything. I branded him a killer, so he killed. And when we met again, he, um, he didn't kill anyone. He tried to be good. He ran away rather than fight those people at the truck. He's... I don't even know, but I don't think he'll kill anymore. I think if I stay with him, maybe... I don't know."

Stupid. She was deluding herself into thinking she could change him.

In a small voice, she continued, "But, um, but mostly he's just a friend, and apart from you he's the only friend I've had."

And it didn't matter how hard she tried not to cry.
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