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Pippin
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
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((Astrid Tate continued from New Destiny))

The walk from the bell tower round to the front of the asylum was a short one, about ten minutes at best, give or take a little bit of time to avoid thick patches of long grass and scattered bits of debris from the ancient asylum and bell tower. It felt so much longer, however, thanks to all the thoughts flooding into Astrid’s head.

The newest one was that, as far as she could tell, she had woken up early compared to the rest of her classmates. She had seen a smattering of students from her lofty perch, heading to the bridge and into the asylum, but as she trudged towards the huge building, she didn’t catch a glimpse of anyone nearby; not around the asylum and its associated buildings, and not on what little she could see of the beach.

Maybe it was due to her excellent sleeping schedule, making sure she didn’t stay asleep for any longer than necessary. Maybe it was due to being put at the top of the tallest building on the island, the chill wind and lack of shelter waking her early. Astrid didn’t really care about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of it. It was the repercussions of such that she was concerned about. Was a headstart over a number of her classmates something that would give her a significant advantage? What could she do in that period of time whilst a few of them were still sleeping? Explore the island? Find any good, safe areas? Find someone’s bag and take anything useful from it?

Something else?

Astrid reached the entrance of the asylum with more questions than answers and no way of clearing her mind of any of them. She couldn’t stay on her own like this, not with her mind still a blur. She felt like she would go insane. She needed to find people just to settle her confusion and make a decision as to her future on this island. There had to be somebody inside a building this huge, right?

Still holding her gun in her right hand, Astrid trudged through weeds and thistles, glancing briefly up at the huge tree that had carved an opening in one side of the building. She pushed against the big front doors of the asylum, and they swung open with surprising ease, causing Astrid to wince at the loud creaking noise they made. She wanted to find people, but she wanted to do it on her own terms. She had to stay in control, or at the very least on equal footing, not with someone sneaking up on her or waiting for this new arrival to walk past the shrouded alcove they were hiding in, axe in hand…

Deeply regretting thinking of that, Astrid pressed forwards into the building, trying her best to banish those thoughts and being just as successful as the last dozen times. She had no destination in mind, so decided to stay on the first floor and headed towards the right. Left, after all, was bad luck, if you were inclined to believe the Romans.

Astrid did her best not to focus too hard on her surroundings. There was always something exceedingly eerie about abandoned buildings or other man-made structures. Shipwrecks were the things that got to her most; she couldn’t even describe why exactly they creeped her out, but they just did. Her mind already felt like it was being slowly crushed; she didn’t need to add another thing to that pile.

The corridor she chose took Astrid deeper into the asylum, trying her best to walk as softly as possible to hide her footsteps, the world inside the building a sea of shadows and dust, interspersed with shafts of sunlight from dilapidated rooms with opened doors and broken windows. As she came closer to another corner, she heard voices, too muffled to be distinct, but definitely the sounds of human life. Astrid moved closer to the wall, keeping fairly low, before poking her head round the corner.

There was a girl standing outside one of the many rooms. She probably wasn’t talking to herself, so Astrid assumed that the voices were coming from inside said room. Unless the situation on the island had already gotten to her.

… Actually, knowing some of her classmates, that wasn’t too unlikely.

As Astrid watched, the girl moved forwards to the entrance of the room and knocked on the door. Astrid’s brow furrowed at this act. At least the girl wasn’t insane, but…

Once whoever it was inside the room had replied, Astrid strode forwards, not caring to hide her footsteps anymore. She had the front foot, the upper hand. She had the weapon, this girl didn’t seem to have anything. There was a sense of power, no matter how slight, on Astrid’s shoulders.

“I’m pretty impressed you’ve kept your sense of general courtesy,” Astrid said, gun held up and pointed at the ceiling. “You hoping whoever’s in there is gonna invite you in for tea and crumpets or something?”
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