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i'm not upset
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((Amaranta Montalvo continued from Tears in the Rain))

Mara was running through the overgrowth and had nearly escaped the outer confines of the park, when suddenly that familiar, horrible wailing started. It was the very last announcement.

“Only four of you left.”

Mara clasped a hand over her mouth and crouched to her knees. A nest of nerves exploded in her stomach. She felt tiny spiders legs squirming along her insides, making her feel jittery. She shook out her hands, trying to give the anxiety a place to escape from.

Only four. That was it. She’d made it to the end. She felt an overpowering desire to scream. Whether it borne from elation or terror, she wasn’t sure. Mara hunched over with her hands on her knees. As she concentrated on regaining her composure, Danya continued to recount the deaths of the last day.

Madeline, the girl who had warned her about Hansel, was not one of the four survivors. Although she had been trying to acclimate to their dwindling numbers for days, it was still strange to think of how people disappeared over hours, minutes. She didn’t know Madeline enough to mourn her and even if she had, there was no time. When the announcement finally reached news of Katarina, Mara regained some facade of control. She gazed pointedly at the speaker.

It was time to find out who else was still alive.

To her complete and genuine shock, the first name was Zubin Wadia.


She hiccuped and spasmed, laughing madly because it was the most absurd thing in the world. The sound bounced off the trees and echoed around her. Never in a million years would she have picked him someone to outlast all the other students. The fact that he had was some kind of cosmic joke. Mara took a deep breath, still giggling, and wiped her eyes.

No way. Zubin? The guy must have stuck a horseshoe up his ass before we got on that plane. I wished him good luck. Maybe I’m a lucky charm?

Next, Joey . She tried to remember what she could of their brief meeting. He had looked at her with a mixture of apprehension and confusion, but said nothing. His reaction to her as if she were a wild, feral animal reminded her that in that moment, that is what she was. She stopped thinking about Joey, having no desire to relive that meeting.

Then, of course, there was Hansel. A potent mix of concern and denial was still leaking through and clouding her vision. At instinct, her fingers knit together in a faux orison, wondering along with Danya what Hansel would do and if it would affect her.
Those thoughts were cut short when she heard her own name. She was the only one to meet all the other remaining survivors.

Maybe I am a lucky charm.

He spoke about Summer and she felt heat rise to her cheeks. How dare he. How dare he talk to her about Summer. He saw fit to mock her decision to burn down a few of his stupid buildings. She imagined he was a toddler who was upset that she’d pushed over his sandcastle. He didn’t deserve an explanation of her actions.

Mara spotted a camera looking down on her near the speaker. She flipped her hair back over her shoulder and blinked coyly. Her lips pulled back over her perfect teeth and she flashed a dazzling grin. Mara beamed the same way she did for pageant judges right before deliberation. She stunned with her gorgeous smile and straight middle finger both pointed prominently for the camera just as the voice concluded its assessment of her.

“You can suck my dick,” she sing-songed cheerfully.

It was silent again. Everyone knew to come to the park now. She strained to listen, not knowing if at any moment someone would come bursting out of the brush, beckoned to the park by the announcement. Her eyes darted wildly with each step her bloody Mary-Janes took towards the the tree-heavy edge of the enclosing. Somewhere a shot rang out, but not close enough to be a concern.
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Paradise · Central Park (Endgame)