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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
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Fear does strange things to people. It makes them do things they’d never consider doing normally, makes them think strange and unwanted thoughts, pushes them to their extremes. Fear is a potent force, a fact that so many dictators, tyrants and terrorists have acknowledged and used to their advantages, over centuries past and centuries to come.

Bryony Adams hadn’t yet been swallowed up by fear but with every passing second she slipped closer and closer towards its edge. She was still sleeping, sprawled out on the sand, face half buried in the side of a small dune. Tiny grains of sand flew away from her face every time she breathed out. The sound of the ebb and flow of the tide occasionally synchronised with her breathing before it fell out of time and created a low harmony instead. The sea breeze lazily ruffled her pigtails every now and then. Seagulls screeched as they flew overhead, oblivious to the horrors that were about to take place on the island below.

Slowly, Bryony’s eyes flickered open. Her mind was in a clouded, hazy state, and there was sand tickling her nostrils. She sat up. She coughed, throat as dry as the beach sand itself. She wiped the sand from her face and her hoody. She sneezed once, then a second time.

She wondered why she was sitting in the middle of a beach rather than on the way to a science museum.

As Bryony started looking around her surroundings, the hazy mess clouding her mind began to drift away, and memories slowly flooded back in. A bus journey. Falling asleep in the middle of the day. A hall full of armed men and women. Her teachers, all dead. An explosive collar around her neck. Survival of the Fittest.

Bryony Adams, G006, suddenly remembered exactly where she was and why.

“Oh no... no, no, no, please, God, no...”

Again, Bryony frantically looked around at her surroundings, falling faster and faster down into the endless depths of fear, not out of dazed curiosity this time, but out of terror and desperation. This wasn’t real. This wasn’t really happening to her. There had to be some way out, right? Some mistake the terrorists had made, some oversight, something that would allow Bryony to get off of this island. This would be the 6th time this had happened. Six times an entire class of children had been wiped off the face of the earth. There was no way they could do this without being stopped. There couldn’t be.

Bryony’s mind was locked into one train of thought; escape. She had to escape, somehow, anyhow. Her frantic gaze finally locked onto the vast, shimmering blue ocean in front of her, rocky outcrops in the water and the concave coast line preventing her from figuring out just where on the island she was. An idea, fuelled by that mighty force of fear, was beginning to form in her mind. She wasn’t a great swimmer at the best of times. She never tried out for the swim team, or decided to make plans to go swimming on her weekends. But she wasn’t useless at it, either. There had to be something just beyond the horizon, some strip of coast, an atoll, even some buoy she could cling on to. This island wasn’t hidden under some invisibility cloak. Someone would sail past, or fly overhead. Bryony just had to make it off of this island to somewhere safer, outside of the grip of the terrorists. The terrorists might try and stop her, sure. They’d warn her first, though, surely. Make the collar beep loudly, or something. That was one of the rules of their game, the game they were so proud of, and if that happened, Bryony could just swim back to shore.

The plan was stupid, hopeless and reckless. Bryony didn’t see that at all. All she wanted was a way off this island, and in her mind, this was it. She had nothing to lose. Every avenue of escape was worth a shot.

Hurriedly, Bryony ripped off her hoody, her shoes, and her socks. Carefully, she placed her glasses on top of the pile next to her bag. After a brief moment of hesitation, she removed her sweatpants as well, before the panic in her mind reached a crescendo and shut out any other thoughts. She had to get out. She had to get out now. Bryony ran towards the gently lapping waves. After just moments, she had hit the water, and began wading through it, slowly getting further away from land.
V7 BAYBEE
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