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For a moment, Joshua stood speechless. Bridgette’s recitation of his name hung in the air while he tried to formulate what to say next. A part of him wanted to rush forward and pull her into an embrace, but the other just wanted to stand there and keep crying. The former could be dangerous – he didn’t want to give her cause for alarm just moments into this game, and given the wide-eyed clutching of her bag to her chest, he feared he’d already done so. The latter meant not doing anything at all, which was an instant no-no in his eyes.

So instead, he went for a third option: apology.

“I’m sorry,” he said, wiping his eyes with the backside of his hand. “Thought I’d gotten it all out.”

Taking half a second to steady his breath, he conjured the courage to take a handful of steps forward. His heart was still violently thumping within his chest, but he found his voice was remarkably level as he continued to speak.

“If you want me to leave, that’s fine. I understand. I’m just so glad I found one of my friends, especially so early.”

He pivoted around as another figure entered the room: Keith Bauer. Another junior; another pianist. Yet another of his classmates trapped in this place with him.

“Keith… hey.”

Another person he had to save.
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson

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State of Shock · Electroshock Therapy