"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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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
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For a few brief seconds, Katarina returned the newcomer's gaze. There wasn't supposed to be anyone else there, she thought flatly. It was a clean job. Her stomach gave a lurch midthought at the imagine still painted onto her eyelids, but no, not that kind of clean. She hadn't been careless about it all, was the point. There were no voices to be heard, and who the hell grabbed a friend to go poking around an abandoned, murderer-ridden building and didn't say a freaking word while they were at it?

Regardless, she was staring now into the eyes of a girl she could recognize, short and slim and done up in black from head to toe. In a different time, she might have held some disparaging remark close at hand, to hold in private contempt or to readily dispense if things grew less civil, but the important thing now was the familiarity of the name, how it sounded through the speakers dotting every hiding place. Was she prowling the apartments as well, then, sneaking up behind people with some weapon now unseen in hopes of adding another notch to her belt? Katarina tried to read her expression, but any number of things could have been churning behind those unblinking eyes, and she wasn't going to trust her life to subtle nuance. Shock, fury, or sudden murderous determination, all were possible and none were particularly relevant. In the end, it was the worst case she prepared for and the worst case she acted on, because if you played with the odds it was a waiting game for the law of averages to cut you down.

And so she raised the gun once more and steadied it with both hands. Action, not reaction. A killer she might be, but not a fighter. Her eyes shut tight as she pulled the trigger, arms twitching involuntarily downwards in anticipation of the sudden recoil. A single deafening blast rang out and then there was only smoke and a soft half-heard click and the sudden motion of her arms wrenching down against the force of the followup that never came. She didn't wait for the confirming scream or the gasp of pain to cut through the ringing in her ears, or for the dark wet flower of blood to blossom up through Stephanie's shirt. Hit or miss, there wasn't really a way to tell, not before she'd darted frantically back around the corner, digging into her pocket and fumbling for lever that would release the magazine she knew now to be completely empty.

She looked back at the blank stretch of wall that was all the door allowed her vision of. She might have hit, in which case she was fleeing from not one but two bags of supplies, precious food and a weapon to boot, she didn't doubt, probably a dagger of a sort that would slip into the prowling Stephanie's pocket; or it might be a glancing blow, enough to enrage and envenom someone with the means and with new motive. A miss, and the girl might simply flee in terror; alternatively, she might judge Katarina an incompetent fool and dash after her with a new, dangerous purpose inn life. The decision seemed easy now, though her fingers were loathe to leave her pocket and reach instead for her own bag on the floor of the bedroom. She couldn't trust her to lack emotion, to do something... she stopped herself on the verge of the word irrational. Dangerous as hell, perhaps, but a risk that was hardly lacking in payoff.

Her legs carried her swiftly to the window, moving without pause as if there had been no debate at all. She swept up her bag in one smooth motion, stepping onto the squat, dusty end table to reach her point of egress. With a last look at the room, she folded herself through and dropped onto the ground outside, sliding away from the apartments with her scythe back in hand.

((Katarina Konipaski continued in Credit Default Swap))
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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