"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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Greg The Anti-Viking
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On the left is a mod, on the right is a pre-made psycho...get the picture?
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Ivan had said nothing to her. Not that Tabi was really expecting him to. If he had said anything, she could admit that she probably would not have heard him either. There was something else that held her attention.

Her primary focus was the rhythm of Maria's breathing. The rise and fall of her chest, the fading sounds of air passing in through her. Every falter made her hold her breath. Every irregularity drew her attention now. It was painful to stare at her friend like this. Her face was still littered with cuts, and large purple sploches of bruises. Her face was contorted in a frown and when Tabi stared into her eyes, there was nothing to be found there. No joy, no peace, none of the features that resembled the Maria of Bayview were there. It was all gone.

Maria had drifted off to sleep and that was when time had come to a halt. Tabi's hand moved away from Maria's head and were placed to her knees. She wished to look away from the companion to her left, but dared not turn to her right either. Ivan had never wanted her to come along. When she first suggested the idea he had been hesitant to do so, and it was only because she had to beg. She had to be the one to save her friend. Now, it was looking more like his fears were correct. Her fists crumpled into little balls as she stared down at her once blue sneakers, now stained and looking less like the new pair she had bought only a month before their feild trip.

Tabi was trembling now. She wanted to be somewhere else. Anywhere in the world, she didn't care to name a specific spot. She just wanted to be away from here. She felt the dampness under her eyes and she was sniffing constantly, trying to fight back the runny noise that had developed.

At first, she didn't even realize it, but moments later Tabi notice that Maria's pressence had vanished. This feeling jostled her back into reality and she quickly scanned the floor, expecting the drummer to have fallen down onto the floor. But when she looked, she saw Maria's feet wobbling across the room. Instantly, Tabi bolted from her seat and rushed to Maria.

"Maria w-wa-wait a minute!" she said, clinging to her friends shoulder as she colided with the a closed door. "You-you're not ready to do this. Yo-you have to...you have to rest."

Maria was ignoring her. With a zombie like devotion, Maria's hand was clutching at the door handle. She was overexerting herself and Tabi tried to pry her away from the door, but she held firm to the handle.

"Maria, please you have to sit down!"

The door clicked open, and Maria fell with it into the doorframe. Tabi yelped in fright at how fast she had fallen and fell down to her knees moving next to her friends splayed body. Maria lifted her head up, staring up at a bed that was in the centre of the room. In the middle of this bed was the bloody corpse of a boy. Not just any boy, but Duncan McMahon, Maria's boyfriend. His body was placed as if he had been sleeping gently, And were it not for Maria, it would have caused her to back away.

Maria began to speak out, but to Tabi's ears, there were no words. They were just incoherent whispers that she could not understand.

"Maria!" she called out, "Maria listen to me."

More whispering, as if she was having a seperate conversation in a language she was not privvy too. Maria's face was contorted in a look of confusion, fresh blood was coming out of old cuts and a small trickle ran down her left nostril. Tabi placed a hand on her shoulder, trying her hardest to shake her back to alertness.

"Please, Maria." the tears were now falling from her cheeks onto the canary yellow of the borrowed shirt Maria wore, "Maria I need you to stay with me. Come on!"

Tabi shook her now, but her pleas were yeilding no response, just more mumbles. Tabi had tried so hard to save her. She was still trying her hardest now. Every fibre of herself that she could lend to Maria's aid was being used and now she was shouting at her friend.

"Maria please! Stay with me! You're going to be alright!"

"...that..."

Tabi gasped, and couldn't help but beem at finally breaking through to her. Waves of relief pounded into her chest. Maria was smiling too. A recognition of her existance!

""That...that sounds nice..."

"Yes," Tabi said, surpressing a hiccup, "Yes it is! Alright now I need you to come up with me okay. On the count of 3. 1...2...3..."

Tabi pulled at her shoulder, but Maria wasn't making any attempt to move.

"Maria?"

Tabi pulled again, and this time she noticed how limp Maria's body was starting to hang in her arms. Tabi's elation was starting to sink down. And she edged herself over to look into Maria's face.

"Ma-Maria! You're still here right? Maria listen to me!"

"G...good...bye..."

Maria's eyes were half closed, and now all of the weight that Tabi had in her hands was starting to slip down until it gently tapped the floor.

"M-maria?" Tabi said, her voice no more than a whisper.





Silence....



"Maria?"



Tabi's hand was cupping over her mouth. And her head started to shake.

"No...no...no no...no no no no NO!"

Tabi didn't move, she had been rooted to the spot now, forced to look into her friends face. She kept repeating the same phrase over and over with faster cadence and despite her immense desire to flee, she was forced to look upon the face of the drummer of Blank Nation. The forme-

A hand on her shoulder stopped her sobs. The hand of the man that she had convinced into bringing Maria along with them. The man that listened to Tabi's claims that she could help her. The man who helped her bandage up minor wounds and to pass the medical tools she could use to bring her back to health. The man who sat there all the while. Listening to Tabi's words. Her foolish, naive, misguided words.

Her shoulder brushed his bare leg, and without warning, she clung onto it. Her words now became just a loud series of wails, she couldn't force herself to speak now. She had tried so hard, to bring Maria back. She had tried so hard. And she had failed Maria. She had failed Ivan. She had failed herself.

A deep pain seared into her chest. Building slowly from within and spreading out into the very depths of her shaking body. Tabi had heard so many names on the intercom. Names of the people who had died. Many of them she had recognized as her own friends. Friends that were no longer there. The loss of them had been great, but she was never there to witness it. The loss that she bore witness to now, the loss of Maria Graham before her very eyes, hurt more than any of them combined.

Tabi continued to cry. Ivan's legs merely became a crutch. Much like she had acted as one for Maria. The only question that run in her mind, was the same she had before.




What now?
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B054:Oscar Trig-Smoker, Artist, Film Buff

Please, message me if you have ideas, I sure don't!

Fall down seven times...
Stand up eight...
Japanese Proverb
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