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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
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((G013 - Penelope Fitzgerald, Start))

The changing rooms were dim, cold, damp, and smelled. Recently disturbed dust slowly filtered through what little light was making it into the dark changing room, having been kicked up by the room's first occupant in a long, long time. The sounds of sobbing echoed around the walls of the dark room.

Penelope sat curled into a ball in the inky blackness, her arms wrapped around her legs, tears staining her leggings. Why did things have to end up like this? Her life was so happy, she was so happy. Her parents had enough money to buy everything she could possibly want and live comfortably while doing it, she had a great boyfriend, nice friends, she was well liked, she was doing well in school, she had started developing video games casually... she had everything she could possibly want as a sixteen year old girl. Now all that has been taken away from her. A group of terrorists stuck her and her classmates in a game and are forcing them to murder each other. Rather than having the common decency that other terrorist extremists have where they just kill their victims quickly with either bombs or bullets and minimize overall suffering, these terrorists stick them in situations where the suffering is maximized but act like it's okay because they dangle the carrot of survival for one lucky person.

One lucky person that couldn't possibly be her. She wiped some of her tears away. All the crying she had done has made the residual mascara that she had put on before the bus was attacked streak down her face.

She had no chance of possibly surviving. She had a crippling fear of blood and was a devout pacifist- she wasn't about to let this situation break her moral code. Even if she somehow did make it to the end she would just be kidnapped again and thrown into the next game that the terrorists put together. Plus, would she even want to survive all the way to the end? Most of her classmates and friends would be dead. Her boyfriend, Samuel, would be dead. Was that a world that she would be okay with living in? A world where almost everyone she loves is gone?

Penelope tugged at her skirt, mindlessly wanting something to fidget with. No chance of survival, no chance for happiness even if by some miracle she did survive. All she could hope for was a potential rescue but the terrorists have no doubt learned from their mistakes in the past. She knew for a fact that their fifth deadly game went off without a hitch, and everyone save one girl died.

Penelope couldn't take this. The crying wasn't enough to alleviate the knot in her throat, the butterflies in her stomach, the tingling of nerves. She wanted to scream, vomit, hit something. She had never felt more hopeless in her life. She saw her favorite teacher, one she shared so many school afternoons talking to, die right in front of her. Now she was doomed to die with him, along with her friends and boyfriend while some random kid that breaks and goes completely psycho gets to go home. And what about all the people she leaves behind? Her parents will never be able to recover. The internet communities that she was so popular on and knew so many people from would likely be torn asunder with the news of her death. She squeezed her head with her knees.

Penelope released her head from her knees and decided to tug at the collar around her neck. She knew how these things worked. Tug too hard and they explode, killing whoever was wearing it instantly. That would probably be better than getting shot or stabbed multiple times and dying alone, in pain. It would be like how a regular terrorist attack would have been. She would be dead, and she wouldn't even realize it because her mind and consciousness would be gone forever. That's how it should be. Her hopelessness took over her hand as she tugged harder on the collar until-

G013 - Penelope Fitzgerald: Deceas-

-the collar beeped. Her hand stopped tugging on the collar. Just a little further and it would be over. Just a little further and she'd never have to worry or feel this hopeless or sorry for herself ever again.

But Penelope couldn't tug any further. She relaxed her hand and gently put the collar back in resting position. Despite everything that happened, despite the fact that she should have already been dead, Penelope was still alive. And as a living creature, Penelope was still too scared to die. She sat relaxing her legs a bit and staring at the barely visible floor, her crying having ceased for the first time since she awoke. If she was going to die, she needed to find Samuel, she told herself. That way they could have one last night together before dying in each other's arms. It would be poetic that way, and it'd be the ultimate way to stick it to the terrorists that did this to them.

Penelope slowly stood up from where she was sitting and picked up the duffel bag she had been given, the number thirteen emblazoned on its side. She checked the contents by feeling around inside the bag, making sure they were all there. She felt the book that she had been given as a "weapon" and pulled it out, gazing at it for several moments before putting it back inside and zipping up the bag. Despite how useless her weapon was, any weapon she would have gotten would have been a useless weapon- she would have never used anything that she got. A book might be useful for the future regardless, so better keep it safe and sound for now. Penelope walked towards the door of the changing room and opened it up, emerging outside into the gym.

The gym was significantly less dimly lit than the changing room that she had just been in, but was just as dusty. She sneezed from all the dust she was kicking up with her movements, shortly before recovering and looking around the gym to see if anyone else was there. The only things that greeted her were the sounds of the outdoors and her own sneeze reverberating around the room. She looked over towards the changing room on the opposite side of the gym. Maybe someone else had been placed in there, just like how she was placed in a changing room? Maybe it was even Samuel, she thought to herself. Penelope slowly trudged through the dust, carefully trying to avoid stirring up as much as she could manage, towards the changing room on the opposite side. She needed to sate her curiosity, she had to.

She had to find Sam.
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