"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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(Mizore Soryu continued from The Dead Flag Blues)

It was a place to rest.

The forest. Rough terrain. Not good for Mizore's ankle. Not good for Raidon's injuries--had the cut hurt his lung? She didn't know a damn thing about how organs worked. She could treat a sprained ankle, a bleeding arm, but not this.

Julian had been silent.

Come back.

She wished he would speak.

But he was carrying the bags, his bag and Raidon's. And he was carrying Raidon, in both his arms.

Killer.

But he looked like a broken doll.

Hold him and never let go.

That was a bad thought.

The inland woods was good. The inland woods was good because it was hard to find people in. The sawmill would have been better--dry wood, flat floors for Mizore's leg--but she'd insisted on going through the Inland Woods.

That way nobody could see Raidon and shoot him.

Yes. That was a good idea.

Julian had hardly protested. But he was pale and sweating now, and Mizore had been keeping her ankle in check and we need Raidon to walk if we ever want to get there so they stopped.

And Julian put Raidon down on a bed of moss, tenderly, and Mizore liked Julian a little more.

Which was odd.

Wake up, Raidon. Wake up.

Because Julian was probably going to betray them horribly and then wouldn't that be nice.

The woods, at least, were beautiful. Crickets, frogs, birds moist air, twilight, close to rain. Still misty, like the swamp, which should have made Mizore uneasy but there are so many things that should have made me uneasy and yet they haven't. Spanish moss, long from the trees, that wrapped around the glade they were in, tall twisted trunks, and Julian breathing heavy, and Raidon thank God still breathing.

Julian put him down, and Mizore went over to him, and touched his forehead once. Best not let Julian see.

So she went and set up camp like a good girl, the kind of good girl who doesn't have an overly large interest in keeping a serial killer alive.

I love you.

It was a delicate balance, that.

There was a stream nearby. They didn't have much water left. Julian suggested boiling the stream water to preserve their own. Yes, they'd have to do it in the canteens Danya gave them, and yes, they'd eat melted plastic and die of cancer in forty years, but really it was a good idea.

Mizore agreed. She did half the work, even with her bum leg. Insisted. Trying to be sweet. Get on his good side. Then he won't see you're in love with a murderer.

This didn't seem like a sustainable plan.

But being alone, by the stream, was nice, refreshing. Almost like meditation. Easy there, not to feel the two guns in her sweatshirt pocket. So easy to pretend you're innocent.

But she was not innocent. And she couldn't meditate, not now, not here. Not shepherding two killers. Not when Raidon could wake up. Not when Julian is alone with him.

So she hurried back.

Raidon was there, still safe. Julian was nowhere to be seen. She bent down over him, feeling the guns heavy in her pocket. Killer.

Beauty.

"Raidon." She said.

And he opened his eyes.
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Riddles Of Monsters · The Woods: Inland