"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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ifnotwinter
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half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
((Ilario Fiametta III continued from Some Kind Of Righteous))

Pressed to the wall of a building overlooking the town center, Ilario breathed soft and deep. The AK-47 nestled in his arms like a baby, spattered in blood and dirt and still shining dully under all of it. He had counted bullets over and over, each time he'd pulled the trigger standing out in his mind and outlined in red. Some moments were blurrier than others, but every count returned to him the same knowledge: he had enough. He'd been careful. All the action movies which sprayed bullets like rain were right enough, but he'd had to conserve. Practicality had won out.

He inhaled gunsmoke and the sick-sweet odor that had begun to permeate everything on the island, exhaled his resolve and peace. He had taken his pills for the last time and bathed as well as he could in the infirmary, swiping a cloth over the worst of the dirt and blood that stained his skin. His throat burned dully and the other wounds, bullet grazes and cuts and bruises still hurt -- but that was far away, somewhere he didn't have to worry. He'd left his pack a few feet away. He could come back to it when all this was over; for now a weapon was all he could afford to carry.

He inhaled, exhaled. The remaining students would be here, he knew. Or dead with collars detonated but he somehow doubted that. If they'd been smart enough and cold enough to make it this far, they would be here for the end. Three were women, he remembered the names like they were written in letters of fire. Ericka Bradley, who'd killed without a thought, who'd walked her path here over the bodies of her classmates. Reiko Ishida who had done the same, who had survived this far on the blood of all who had stood in her way. And Kimberly Nguyen, Kimberly who was -- a puzzle. Kimberly was the only one who made his stomach twist uncertainly because she had only taken down two, and one had been Kris but one had been Aislyn who hadn't killed anyone. But he would consider her later. There was no one left to save, after all. She would have to be guilty.

And Ivan Kuznetsov. He'd killed too. He'd been with a girl, Ilario thought, protecting her, but she was dead now. He had failed, and perhaps he had not done all that could have been done. Irregardless he had killed, and he would have to die.

They would all have to die, now. That was the only way. It was a sad thing, he thought, a thing he would regret, but it was the way of the world. He was the only one left who had been faithful and tried so hard to save people. He was the only one who deserved to live, who still had a soul and a heart enough to have life returned to him. He was sorry for it. He was sorry for all of it, for all of them. But there would be only one.

He pressed himself back into the shadows, and breathed. There would be time. He would wait and see who acted first. The world was clear and open to him for what felt like the first time, free of the blur and vertigo which had so plagued him. There was a clear path. All he had to was wait until the time came. And when it did come...

His fingers squeezed the machine gun lovingly. When the time came, he would shoot. And he would win.

After all, Ilario Fiametta III was the only hero now.
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matt mckinnon


inside leg to outside hand
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lydia hausen


move past move on move up
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lexie diaz


light it up burn it down


(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
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