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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Aston's last scream left Aaron shaken, for more than one reason. The expression of rage was somewhat frightening. The volume was jarring. The fact that it could draw even more attention than the gunshot was where the true concern came in, though. Aaron didn't bother with a second shot to confirm Aston's death. It was clear to see that she wasn't getting back up. He paused for a moment, looking at the body, wondering just how honest she had been about her readiness to kill. His impression at their first meeting had been highly negative. She'd seemed weak and inept. She'd changed a lot, had gained an edge. He wiped the blood from his face, but felt more trickle from his nose. It was probably broken. The pain was starting to hit, now, as the adrenaline subsided.

Then he heard the gunshots. They were faint, at the edge of his hearing, probably coming from near the docks. Gunfire had formed a constant backdrop to the last few days, but after having been involved in a serious fight, the last thing Aaron wanted to do was stumble into another, especially against a well-armed opponent who he knew nothing about. For all he knew, some player was out there trying to actively hunt down every remaining survivor. That would be a good thing, as long as they weren't too successful, and as long as they didn't find him. It would be better to wish them luck and leave them to it.

It was time to get moving again. Aaron stooped and picked up the gun Aston had been reaching for. He tucked it into the waistband of his pants, in the back, then let his shirt fall over it. It was always good to have a surprise available.

Then, it was time to pick a new place. There was a house right next to where he'd killed Aston. Like most on this block, on the second floor it had a large window facing the street. That would be a good place to wait things out. He could shoot anyone who came to investigate the noise. That would give him even more in the way of weaponry and supplies, as well as reducing the competition. He headed for the house at a light jog. He'd taken too much time already, and it was critical that he not be waylaid.

He turned the knob, ducked into the house, and wiped more blood from his face. This was getting really old. He felt his irritation at Aston intensifying, found himself losing the respect he had gained in a very rapid fashion. He went straight for the stairs, intent on using Aston's body as a lure. She'd be to his benefit, in the end. That would be his revenge.

Those thoughts vanished as he turned the corner and found himself at the bottom of the staircase, looking up to see Ivan Kuznetsov and a girl at the top, both armed.

Aaron had learned about letting his gun out of his grasp. He'd learned about people. Ivan had been a danger from the very start. He'd been the first to win Danya's little kill challenge. The girl with him, Aaron couldn't be sure, but he thought it could be Tabi Gweneth. He'd always thought her name was a little odd, so it had stuck. She'd won the Best Kill contest too, hadn't she? So, that was how they'd done it. They'd been working together, playing it smart, planning to fly below the radar and then kill their way to the top. They'd probably been aiming at Aaron while he was outside. He'd have been shot had he not moved when he did. He'd forgotten to check the windows. Aston had nearly cost him his life after all.

The gun was up. He had seventeen shots left, plus whatever was in Aston's guns. He knew he was better than Ivan. With the sounds of fighting he'd heard at the docks, he could count on the fact that there would soon be at least one other person dead, plus Aston, plus Ivan and Tabi. That meant, in a few minutes, there would be, at most, eight people left alive on the island.

That sounded pretty good. That sounded like the best outcome, like a good path to the end.

These thoughts had all flashed through his head in a fraction of a second, as he retreated a little, using the wall for cover, as he fired the first shot from the pistol, as he called out, "Nice to see you again, Ivan."
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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The Mighty Sparrow · The Residential Area