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A Delicate Machine
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"Yeah, we're all gonna die. We're all gonna die!"

((Asha Sur is doing her best.))

Legs dangling off the edge of the docks, eyes fixed at the churning waves below her, Asha couldn’t help but sing, not caring if there was anyone around to hear. The metal support wasn’t exactly the most comfortable seating, but as a goth and a ballerina, Asha knew all about suffering for the sake of aesthetic.

Really, of all the fucking ways to die, Asha had to end up with one that’d make the world news. Oh, no, car crashes, tripping down the stairs, or a long, debilitating illness would be far too pedestrian. Really, the sheer improbability of SOTF happening to her made the whole thing hilarious. Of all the schools in the United States of America, the terrorists had to go for one of the ones without a senior trip. Maybe they’d seen it as a challenge. An all-you-can-eat hubris buffet.

“Kiss your ass goodbye!” She shouted, then burst into hysterical laughter. Oh, blood was beautiful if you framed it right, but it decidedly lost its appeal once it was pooling under what had been a real living, feeling human being. At least she hadn’t died for the purpose of being a glorified exclamation mark.

And oh, she would die. It wasn’t even a question. Not worth thinking about. Once she accepted that, she'd have a hell of a lot more freedom with how to live the rest of her life. Asha hadn’t quite gotten to that point yet, but she felt it was worth making an effort.

The thought of death had never really scared her. The things that would come immediately before death might be terrifying, and Asha had no particular desire to feel excruciating pain, but once everything was all said and done, it’d be over. Either she’d still exist or she wouldn’t, and either way there wasn’t much point in worrying about it beforehand.

That’s the headspace she was trying to cram herself into. She'd behave like she was already dead, with nothing left to lose! If the outcome was certain, if nothing ultimately mattered, why spend her remaining hours on earth clinging to a single desperate thread that’d lead her out of the labyrinth before an overgrown cow ate her face, only to be beheaded by the king outside? Why care about trust, or caution, when getting it over with quickly would only make things easier for everyone?

Not that Asha wanted to die now, of course. She was rather attached to her life. Being alive’s a hard habit to break. Accepting her imminent demise wasn’t a matter of sorrow or hopelessness, it just meant that she could focus her attention on spreading as many positive vibes as she could before someone got around to (painlessly, hopefully) booting her off this mortal plane. Being nice to people felt nice, and if Asha could have just one positive conversation with her classmates, brighten just one person’s day a bit, make life a bit more bearable, her time on the island would be worth it. Hell, maybe it’d make people less eager to stab her in the back. She'd have a good time, they'd have a good time, everyone lived for a while longer!

Nihilism didn't have to be negative and destructive.

If her life was pointless, now, Asha’d just have to draw a brave face on the blunt edge. Jump into the screaming void with a song in her heart and a smile on her face. Turn herself into a shining beacon of light, light a candle in the darkness if only so she can wave “hi” to the beautiful, horrific monster that’s about to kill her.

Oh. Speaking of which. Asha turned her head and saw the crying, screaming girl burst out of the building behind her. The grin on her face froze for a moment, turning into a concerned frown. Asha liked Dorothy! She was nice! And she sure as hell looked like she could use a friend right now. Asha took a deep breath, plastered a smile back on her face. Hopefully it looked natural, and not a pained, unnatural rictus. She’d spent a lot of time practicing smiling in the worst way possible, so she’d have to hope those instincts were failing her now.

She carefully walked up to Dorothy, placing a gentle, reassuring hand on the sobbing girl’s shoulder. “Hey, Dorothy. I’m here for you. The world hasn’t ended yet, yeah? We’re both alive and it’s a beautiful morning on death island,” Asha said, unfortunately forgetting that not everyone found gallows humor to be a relaxing pastime.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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