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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
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Bryony couldn’t remember the last time she’d gone to the beach. Years and years, that was about as accurate an estimation she could give. Vacations were scarce to begin with, having to fit around one of her dad’s expeditions or week-long fieldwork. Even when they did get to take a break outside of Kingman, the beach was never their first choice; going from 24/7 heat and sunshine to somewhere equally as hot didn’t exactly have the same allure to it. Whenever they did go, she spent the majority of time in the ocean, splashing about, taking a respite from the baking rays of the sun in the cool water.

Memories of those times occasionally broke through the barrier surrounding Bryony’s mind as she slowly waded deeper into the ocean, the water rising up past her ankles to her calves. This wasn’t like any holiday beach or long, golden strip of coast in someplace like Miami or Florida. The water was choppy and slate grey, shifting seaweed and other underwater plant life back to shore, occasionally wrapping around Bryony’s leg. It was also absolutely freezing to the touch, something only exacerbated by Bryony’s lack of clothing, goosebumps springing up along her arms and legs.

“..ey!... at are you do…”

The first proper wave that hit Bryony almost sent her sprawling as it crashed against her bare legs. So locked up was she in her own thoughts and need to escape, she didn’t even realise just how badly she was shaking. Somehow she managed to stay upright, arms cutting down through the surface, droplets of water catching in her hair. With barely a moment’s hesitation, she carried on, slowly but surely, deeper into the water. Past her calves to her thighs, then past that to her waist. A few more steps. A few more steps then she could start swimming. Swimming to freedom, swimming to safety, swimming-

“Stop!”

A break in the waves and a lull in the sea breeze were the only things that saved Bryony from her own idiotic plan. She spun around and squinted back at the coastline. There was someone else there at the water’s edge, calling out to her, but without her glasses, Bryony had absolutely no idea who it was. Somehow, her mind had even managed to shut out the knowledge that there were other students, other people she knew and called friends, on the island with her. Getting out of this place had been the sole thought that had consumed her.

And suddenly, the lock had broken, and Bryony was all too acutely aware of where she was standing and how fucking stupid her plan had been. Who had she been trying to fool? She was the only person stupid enough to have thought her plan of escape would work. She could swim alright, yes. But in a swimming pool, not through crashing waves and rocks, and not in the middle of the ocean. She wouldn’t even have lost sight of the coastline before she would have died. Either the terrorists would have blown her collar, or they’d have let her swim for their own amusement, waiting until she succumbed to exhaustion, leaving her as just another stupid joke on the announcement and an ‘I knew it’ to everyone who knew her, because if anyone exemplified ‘first day fodder’, it was Bryony Ellen Adams.

Bryony blinked rapidfire, sniffling, tears welling up and falling from her eyes.

“I… I don’t know…” Bryony tried to call back to the figure on the shoreline, voice high-pitched and strained.

Slowly, all too aware of how much she was shaking now, Bryony started to walk back to shore.
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Morphogenetic Fear · Shoreline