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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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((Kimberly Nguyen continued from Dead Girls))

Kimberly was playing the grave robber again, up on the mountain in the midday heat, poking through the scene of carnage she had encountered. Dead people, here and everywhere, but that was no surprise now. What was a surprise was the results. She'd expected things to have been thoroughly looted. A girl lay off the path a bit, clearly the victim of a collar detonation. A boy lay on the ground, stabbed to death. There'd been a battle here, someone really fucking serious about ending this guy's life. That someone had been wounded, too. A blood trail led over the edge of the mountain, down the slope.

That would have been a good sign, but someone, presumably someone else, had taken all the food out of the bags strewn around. That was fine. Kimberly wasn't all that hungry anymore. Whatever was fucked up in her guts was probably past the point of no return. She'd finished off her rations a couple days ago, and wasn't feeling all that much now. The real issue was the suggestion that the weapons had been taken. Kris had some serious firepower behind her, and Kimberly had a little combat knife.

But for all that, the vultures had left three glass bottles unattended.

Molotov cocktails. Kimberly knew what they were from the fumes, from the books she had read and the protest songs she had sung but never understood. Molotovs. Real anarchist shit. She could run with this.

Kimberly had lost and left a lot of things in her time on this island, but she still had her box of pretty blue-tipped matches.

So she scooped up one of the bottles, and she stuffed it into her backpack, and she took up another, and she shoved it into the hand warmer of the sweat-and-blood-and-dirt-stained hoodie she still wore, with its missing left sleeve and its rips and tears. The sweater was still comfortable enough. She needed it to keep warm at night, and she couldn't exactly take it off and put it on over and over, not with her left arm fucked up. It was enough of a nightmare dealing with her jeans when nature called.

Oh, Kris, the little indignities I have to repay you for. The little ways you destroyed my life. Could you even begin to imagine?

The third bottle, she left for the next person. They'd probably need it more than she did, and she had enough shit to carry. She looked at the bodies for a second, and found she actually could identify the boy. Nick. Nick Reid, and some girl she didn't know. Nick was smiling. Kimberly smiled back at him.

Die with a smile. Seemed someone knew what it was all about. A little beacon of hope for her, then. A positive role model.

And she kept going, kept moving uphill. She was going to the summit. There was no practical reason; in fact, all common sense told her it was an awful idea. Her arm was still messed up. Yeah, she could move it a little bit by now, could wiggle her fingers and bend her elbow just the tiniest of bits without all that much pain—or had she just gotten used to the pain?—but that meant little if she had to catch herself. She moved carefully, though, except when the caution became too much to bear and she ran for a few seconds.

However it was, she didn't trip, and eventually she found herself at the top. She'd been on this mountain before, back when she'd tried to mess with that girl, back before she'd met Liz Polanski. She'd never been to the top, though. Now, here, she could see that there wasn't much. A bench. A view.

It was all worth it.

So she sat on the bench, her backpack pressing awkwardly into the wood, a slight slosh coming from the improvised firebombs she carried. She sat, and she watched. She had a little time. Kris had kept this long. She'd still be fresh in a couple hours.
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Burn On · The Mountain