"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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“Personal best, huh?” Hazel drummed her fingers against her cheek as Jordan mentioned breaking his ‘mile record’. Running was a perfect distraction for her in everyday life – if she ever felt distressed or in need of a break, running was a sure-fire solution. Just her and the burn in her chest and legs, everything fading away. In this place, though? Doing it recreationally meant burning unnecessary calories, and being forced into it meant… being in a situation Hazel was none too eager to think about right now.

“You know, we could’ve always done with more people on the track team,” she continued. “Shame you never tried out; it could’ve been a good time.”

It wasn’t much, but a bit of idle small talk that didn’t concern their current situation couldn’t do too much damage, right?

Jordan expressed hope about the situation, but she could sense the strain behind his voice as he spoke. Hazel wanted to believe that government officials would get of their asses and do something, that rescue would only be moments away, but it seemed almost like a fantasy. She couldn’t quite bring herself to commit to the idea that this game could somehow end differently to how the terrorists had outlined it to them all. However, she was none too eager to burst Jordan’s bubble, to shatter his optimistic belief. If it kept him sane and above water, what was so wrong with it – especially this early?

“Yeah, it’s been done before. Could happen again, right?”

She tried to return Jordan’s optimism in kind, but was admittedly relieved that he gave her another question – that way she wouldn’t have to linger on the subject of rescue or escape for much longer. The content of this query, however, was less than ideal.

Ideas?

That was a question Hazel was reluctant to answer. To do so would be to address the absolute dearth of full-proof plans floating around her head, and with it, the unknown horrors sure to face them in the future. She couldn’t not respond to it, of course, so she answered in a way that she knew was painfully enigmatic, but wasn’t at all false either.

“My plan is to live. You?”
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The World Turned Upside Down · The Slopes