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xylophonefairy
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gubernaculum
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G031, Phoebe Cho - START

Perhaps it was always going to end up this way.

Slim fingers curled around the stiff collar that adorned her neck. Images flashed through her mind. Every little bit of the programme she had ever seen. Of people who were apparently friends shooting each other and smothering each other. Running and crying and sweating and killing. Trees and meadows and run down buildings.

There was a pain in the small of her back, her knees were grazed, her palms were stinging with the cut glass that adorned the floor of the terminal she was sat in. Had she fallen over? Phoebe couldn't remember much that had happened since she had woken up, the sedative had made her drowsy and uncoordinated. Staggering into the airport terminal, sitting on the side of an overturned bench. The edges dug into the back of her thighs, and she could feel them against her bones.

She wasn't cut out for this.

A prospective math major was never going to get very far. Phoebe considered things as objectively as she could, pushing all emotion to one side. The facts were simple, she was too small, too skinny, too unfit. Her skills were in math, playing the violin, and dressing window displays in the vintage store she worked in. That was what she was good at, and she couldn't think of one way that any of them would be useful. Closing her eyes, the light from beyond the broken windows gleaming red through her eyelids. She couldn't stop the thoughts entering her head.

Somewhere in the world her family were watching. Or maybe not, maybe there was a time delay. Maybe they still didn't know where she was, just another missing person in a class of over a hundred. What was worse? Being in a missing plane or being stuck in this game. They had strangely similar statistics; most likely dead, but a slim chance of survival.

A sudden memory of her family sitting in an airport terminal flitted into her head. The summer before last, they were going to visit some incredibly obscure family in Korea, her third cousins or something like that. Phoebe suspected that the only reason they maintained such good contact with these relatives was to obtain free bed and board in their country, and the converse would also have been true if they had ever desired to visit the USA. Which they hadn't. In the airport terminal Phoebe was reading a book, Jake playing a game on his nintendo, Alex running around the departure lounge. Her father was shouting at Alex, her mother anxiously telling him not to shout so loudly while apologising to the people sitting near them. The waiting room was full of Koreans, and Phoebe edged away from her parents trying to distance herself from the commotion. Jake looked at her accusingly, with a little jealousy. He probably would have liked to join her, but being identical to his brother meant that he could never get away from the connection.

Don't cry. She couldn't let herself cry, if she started she wasn't sure she would be able to stop.

With her eyes closed and her fingertips on her collar, she breathed deeply and steadily. It had a calming effect and she felt peace enveloping her. Perhaps she should say something, say goodbye, but if she acknowledged her feelings she wasn't sure she would be able to go through with it.

It was better to get it over with. Was suicide still a sin if by committing suicide she was preventing someone else committing murder?

This was it.

She didn't have many regrets. Nothing major. Perhaps that she hadn't said goodbye to Alex or Jake the morning she had left. They had been asleep, she'd planned to ring home that evening to let her parents know she had arrived. And she would talk to them then, though it was difficult to talk to Jake on the phone.

Generally she had done okay at life. The only shame was it had ended so soon.

But this was the end of her path. This was where everything had led. All those other things, her place at college, her job, a family holiday later in the summer; they were just red herrings in the story of her life.

This was it.

Her finger curled around the collar and she tugged.

And nothing happened.

There was a pause. It was as if the whole world stopped and she didn't know how long for. Gradually she opened her eyes. Heaven was a smashed up airport terminal on an isle of forsaken children. It felt like a cliché, but she looked around with a new perspective. The colours seemed brighter, the glass was glinting and sparkling, the benches arranged almost artistically perhaps. Phoebe laughed. It was a laugh unlike anything she had ever laughed before. Of relief and irony and sadness.

Quickly the laugh morphed and twisted and the sadness took over, until she was crying gingerly into her glass encrusted hands. The pain from her injuries came back and swirled through her body, and her brain buzzed with energy, and she couldn't even pinpoint why she was crying. It was as though every emotion she had ever suppressed was suddenly surging to the surface of her mind and she felt everything. She couldn't remember the last time she had cried like this, she had always prided herself on controlling her emotions. On being there for everyone else when times got tough. Except there hadn't really ever been any tough times, other than when Jake was sick her life had been a seamless ride. Her rollercoaster belonged in the toddler section at a theme park. Her breath came in gulps and mucus dribbled down her chin. She didn't even try to hide it. Her rollercoaster had never been finished, and now the carts were flinging off into the air, destination unknown. Maybe some of the riders would survive but it wasn't looking likely.

As suddenly as her laughter had turned to tears, her tears turned to anger. In a sudden rush of confused emotions she looked up, and her right hand grasped around the police baton, her 'weapon', that was balanced carefully on the edge of the bench next to her. She threw it, with all her might, with all the energy in her puny muscles, against the wall she was facing.

The baton bounced off the wall, leaving a dent. Standing up, she walked carefully over to retrieve the baton, and inspected the damage she had caused.

Could she survive after all? Returning to her bench, she righted it and brushed it free of dust and broken glass before resuming her seat in roughly the same position. Her eyes fixed on the wall again. She had done that. Damage, caused by herself and her weapon and her power. Putting the baton down she looked at her hands, and remembered the glass. The adrenaline had temporarily numbed the pain. Rooting through her bag for the surprisingly well stocked first aid kit, she picked the glass out of her hands with tweezers, wiped a sterilising strip over the cuts and applied a bandage over the top. Anger had given way to calm. She felt the same serene that she had felt in the moments before she tried to blow her collar.

She had a second chance. And maybe she could survive after all.
the world is on my side
i have no reason to run


v4 nostalgia

shiny shiny V5 concepts (now with clickies)
Phoebe Cho - I shall be playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor. Wizard!
Harry Hanley - I've got Hershey's at half price today! Get 'em quick before I have rehearsal!
Lor Van Diepen - I'm gonna make a video later. About running. Does that sum me up enough?
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