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A Day Late; Open, Day 7
Topic Started: Mar 15 2011, 01:29 AM (2,664 Views)
MurderWeasel
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((Jennifer Perez continued from Keep On Smiling))

Jennifer and Melissa had traveled towards the house of mirrors, but not at the pace Jennifer would have liked. There were always distractions, stupid things like needing to eat and sleep and cry. Things like worrying they'd be shot from ambush in certain areas with poor visibility, and taking the slow, stealthy way around. They'd made it, though. They'd finally made it.

The only thing putting a damper on Jennifer's enthusiasm was the announcements. Bill Davis was dead. Apparently he'd been stabbed after murdering two people. Just fucking wonderful. That meant he'd flipped. She had to hope he'd found Maf before then, relayed her message. Had to hope he hadn't come and then left again. Fuck. Setting meeting places through intermediaries was the worst idea ever. She should have been smarter. Shouldn't have been so optimistic.

The self reproach could wait, though. For now, Jennifer was standing outside the house. It had seen better days. Part of the second floor had been blown out. There were bodies around. She could recognize some of them. Weren't those the Kronwalls, both together there on the ground? It made her shiver. This wasn't a good place. It was sick, twisted. How many of her classmates had met their ends on these premises?

She'd gotten a bit ahead of Melissa. She'd feigned excitement, like she was just glad to be here, but it ran a bit deeper than that. It could be really fucking dangerous inside the maze, and she wasn't about to risk one of her friends' lives without testing the waters first. If she got ambushed and killed, well, hopefully Melissa would be able to get away.

She stepped past the bodies. She considered closing eyes, crossing arms, showing respect for the dead, but that didn't matter anymore. They were things. Things like Guthrie. Things like Phil. Things like she was. The only difference was that electrical impulses still coursed through her brain, still fired through her nerves. She was still conscious of her fate, still able to feel sadness and pain.

Not for long, of course.

It was silly, really, that she was still alive and unharmed. Better people had died all around her. Half her graduating class was dead, and she had a rash on her leg, an upset stomach, and sore muscles. Some fucking justice there. She hadn't done anything to deserve her existence. She'd hadn't done anything at all worth noting. Fuck, all she'd done was fulfill her original goal, the one she'd given up on: be so boring as to deny Danya much of a show. Calamity followed her, but she skirted its edges, always ducking out right before everything went to pieces.

She wondered if there were others like her. Probably. Maybe laying low. She'd traversed this whole island, spent time with three separate murderers. No, wait—four. Four. Bill had been killed by Rhory. That's why the name had struck a bell. Rhory. The girl she'd given water to. Rhory was off getting some prize to kill more people. Maybe that gift of water would come back around to save her life. Maybe, if she ever met Rhory, the girl would hesitate before putting a bullet through her head.

Small comforts.

She sighed. Tried not to think too much about it. Tried not to think how that other killer, Alex Seymour, was dead too. Everyone Jennifer had met in the first few days was dead now, everyone except Carla and Nick. Fuck.

She stepped into the hall of mirrors. Glass crunched beneath her feet. So many broken mirrors. She flicked her flashlight on. Melissa wouldn't be far behind. Time to spring any trap.

Her face stared back at her from all sides, from a thousand points on the floor, some reflections distorted, some perfectly clear. She'd seen better days. She'd not had a whole lot of extra weight on her before a week of near-starvation. There was still blood on her clothes. Her pack was battered, covered in swamp muck. She still had it with her. A week, and she still couldn't throw away a bag of clothes she'd never fucking get to wear again. She felt stupid. Not enough to change, though.

She did take the opportunity to remove her earrings and drop them to the ground, to land amidst all the other sparkling detritus. If she was going to die, she might as well not do it with a torn earlobe. She'd minimize the pain, for herself and everyone else.

She had no idea where she was going in the house. Before long, though, she found herself at the foot of a staircase. As she started up, the familiar smell intensified. There were bodies nearby. No, there were always bodies nearby; specifically, there were bodies very, very close to her current position. She stepped over one. A girl. Shot, it looked like. A glance revealed her identity. Marion. Nothing else with the name, except a vague impression. Yearbook? The paper? Who had killed Marion?

That was answered pretty fucking quickly. There was Bill. His face was crushed, but she could recognize his build and his clothes.

"No."

The word, spoken in a firm yet quiet voice, still managed to echo. She hoped Melissa wouldn't hear, or at least wouldn't get scared.

Bill was here? What the fuck was Bill doing here, in the very place where he had been supposed to bring Maf? Had he met up with his teammate? Had they been waiting here? Had they been ambushed? She couldn't say. Maybe some CSI team could reconstruct what had happened here, but Jennifer didn't have the slightest fucking clue. The worst thing was, every single viewer back home knew exactly what had transpired. Fuck, it felt like one of those game shows. She wished she could phone a friend right now, ask them if Maf had been here.

Or maybe just say goodbye.

She'd considered a farewell speech a few times, but decided against it. She wasn't going to give anyone that satisfaction.

She trudged back down the stairs, found a relatively clear patch, and listened for a moment. No one else in the building, from the sounds of things.

"Melissa," she called. "I'm, um, down this way."

This was a huge fucking waste of time. Maybe Nick would show. Maybe Maf would return. She wasn't counting on either, though. No, they would just wait.

Some days, there wasn't much else to do.
V7:
Juliette Sargent
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Melissa found her, found her way to her, didn't die. Small comforts. Jennifer was ready to take anything she could get. Right now, that meant a lack of killers, a lack of fear. So be it. Melissa seemed ready to take a rest, sitting down with a comment about her feet. Jennifer nodded assent, sitting down herself, briefly pausing to make sure that she wouldn't end up with glass stuck in her legs. Most of the time, skirts were superior to pants in every way, in her opinion. At moments like this, though, she really regretted not just throwing some fucking sweats into her pack. It always paid to be prepared. She knew that now, not like it would help her in the future. She'd never pack a bag again.

At least the stench wasn't too bad here. Jennifer remembered a science experiment from middle school, something with a strong-smelling chemical. The experiment had been designed to demonstrate the human brain's capacity to filter out consistent sensory input, so as to better pick up changes to the status quo. That would work in her favor now, with the decay all around them. How long had it been for the smell to go away? Fifty-five seconds? This would take longer, of course.

Melissa had continued speaking, ending up stating things in the same vein that Jennifer had found her thoughts tracing earlier. It hurt, hearing Melissa thinking those same things, facing those same facts. The other girl didn't dwell on them, though, didn't sink into a depression. She managed to pull things back to a happy place, smiling and getting brighter and sharing their joke again, the one from the day they'd met.

Jennifer couldn't help smiling and laughing, her first genuine, non-crazed laugh in this place. It felt good. Felt fucking normal for a change. There was no tension. Melissa didn't look the greatest. She had blood on her, just like Jennifer did. The topic hadn't even come up. Jennifer didn't fucking care what had happened, what Melissa had done. She knew from the announcements that her friend hadn't killed. That was enough. More than enough. She'd have welcomed Melissa with open arms even if she'd been a murderer. It was stupid and naïve, but she didn't care. She just wanted to be around good people, friendly people. It wouldn't really be that much worse if she was murdered by someone she thought was a friend than if she got killed by a total stranger.

So she replied in kind to Melissa's quip, trying to seize another few minutes of happiness.

"You know, um, she can control time or something, right? I, um, I think I have a recommendation for, um, for a bus that could use some flat tires about a week ago."

Probably not the best thing to joke about right now. Fuck. She quickly plowed on.

"I'm, um, I'm glad you're okay. I just... so much has happened."

Great job spreading the fucking levity. She twisted her skirt a little, glancing around the hall of mirrors, hoping she hadn't fucked up yet again and caused more damage to her friend.
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Juliette Sargent
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Yup. Sure enough, Jennifer was bringing Melissa down. Fuck. She was some sort of contagion vector, bringing infectious gloom to those who remained. Melissa started talking, though, before Jennifer could get too down on herself. She talked about how crazy life was now, how much the world had changed. She mentioned the week before. Saint Paul. Home. The real world.

Jennifer couldn't even remember what she'd said to her parents before setting out on this trip. It hadn't been much. They hadn't been worried. Neither had she. She was just going on a camping trip. The Badlands were pretty safe. There were supposed to be tons of faculty members around, so any really problematic stunts wouldn't be possible. Most of her friends, at least the irresponsible ones, weren't old enough to come, so she wouldn't be pressured into anything too bad. She'd really just planned to take life easy for a bit, enjoy herself. Maybe... no, for sure talk to Maf.

And now, she was going to die.

She didn't cry this time.

And Melissa said how good it was to see her. How good it was to know she hadn't changed. But was that true? It was strange. That had been her goal. She wouldn't change, and she wouldn't be a show. She'd been so sure she'd failed both, but maybe she'd been wrong. Maybe she was wrong about everything. It wouldn't be the first time. It wouldn't be a surprise. She stayed silent.

Melissa was now talking about her assigned weapon. She'd pulled a stove. She offered to toast them some bread, said a little warm food would make them feel better. Jennifer smiled, nodded, said, "Um, sure. That'd be great."

She twisted her skirt a little as Melissa started on her next line of inquiry. Jennifer had known this was coming. Of course it was. It was worse than she'd expected, though. It was made fucking awkward by the fact that there was apparently some other Nick out there, who had also killed. Jennifer could vaguely remember him. He'd only come up once, though, right? She was stalling. Distracting herself. Trying to spare the pain for an instant longer. This was going to be fucking awful. She was about to blow everything up in her face again, shatter every illusion Melissa had left. She was going to hurt her friend, and was probably going to be abandoned. She was going to show just what a terrible person she was, all because she didn't want to lie, didn't want to forestall the inevitable.

She wondered what Maf would say, if she ever saw him again. Wondered if he would leave her too.

She took a deep breath after Melissa trailed off, and looked around. The hall of mirrors was dark. Shadows lurked in the corners. She realized the smell had gone away, and just like that, it was back. Fuck. She shifted her feet. She hadn't taken her shoes off in a week. She probably had blisters or athlete's foot or something.

She was avoiding the issue.

No more.

"It was, um, that is, um, he's Nick Reid," she finally got out. That was the easy bit. Now for the painful part. After all, Melissa had asked why. There was a lot to that.

Time for the hard part. Time to lose a friend.

"Melissa, I, um... It wasn't self defense. Not all of it. Not from what I heard, or, um, what I saw."

He's a murderer.

"He... we met in the tunnels. It was, um, it was early in the game. He'd only killed, um, one person. He said it was an accident."

Of course it was an accident. Nick would never lie, right? He's clearly a fucking bastion of moral decency on this island.

"I, um, he was hurt, so I, um, helped bandage him."

He was pitiful, scared, lost.

Was?

"We were surprised. Attacked by, um, by that guy. The second one. Nick, um, Nick killed him. He knocked him out and then he kept hitting him until he died.

"I yelled at him. Um, I... I just lost it. I yelled at him and I told him, um, I told him he was a worthless killer and to, um, to go die, and I told him to kill me if it was so easy, and I threw him my weapon."

Here, Jennifer pulled her bag over. Somehow, the icepick had migrated into it during the walk. She couldn't remember putting it away, but her hands knew where to find it. She unzipped her pack, showed Melissa.

"And, um, and he just walked away. And he left me my weapon, and he left me a note."

He called me an angel.

"And that was it, only I, um, I heard his name on the announcements afterwards. And then we met again. And Melissa..."

Don't cry.

"It's my fault, Melissa. I threw him out. I, um, I told him he wasn't worth anything. I branded him a killer, so he killed. And when we met again, he, um, he didn't kill anyone. He tried to be good. He ran away rather than fight those people at the truck. He's... I don't even know, but I don't think he'll kill anymore. I think if I stay with him, maybe... I don't know."

Stupid. She was deluding herself into thinking she could change him.

In a small voice, she continued, "But, um, but mostly he's just a friend, and apart from you he's the only friend I've had."

And it didn't matter how hard she tried not to cry.
V7:
Juliette Sargent
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Melissa said it was fine, and that was just crushing, because it wasn't. It wasn't fine, and Melissa knew it, and Jennifer knew it. If it had been fine, Jennifer wouldn't have been crying. If it had been fine, there would have been no need to reassure her. It wasn't fine, because Jennifer had allied herself with someone who was doing bad things. She'd been trying to hide from it. She'd been trying so hard to justify, to obfuscate the truth, but at the end of the day, four people had lost their lives to Nick Reid. At least two of those had been unnecessary, and those were the first two. She had no idea what the other circumstances had been. Probably not very different.

The worst of it all was that Melissa believed her. Melissa had faith in her, thought she could stop Nick from killing. But how could she, when she didn't know where he was? How could she, when she didn't even understand why he was doing what he was doing? It was stupid. She was scared, and he was a friend. He was someone who cared, someone decent, but he had a bad side. It was a bad side that had led to four deaths. Was it fair to just push that aside?

And Melissa wanted Nick to find them. She wanted to talk to him. She also wanted to talk to Peter and Rob. Rob? A killer's name, right? What sport did Rob play again? Basketball? And Peter, it had to be the Peter who had killed. Melissa had friends who had killed too. Maybe they all did. It had to be, by now. Friends who killed. Friends who died. All around them, a battle, a destruction of all they had been, and Jennifer and Melissa were sitting in a mirrored charnel house, trying to make toast on a camp stove.

And for the first time in days, Jennifer felt pretty fucking good about herself.

She tried to force it down, of course. It wasn't a good thing to be smug that she hadn't yet succumbed to the game. It especially wasn't good when she couldn't even say for sure that she'd made the right choices. After all, she'd let the winner of the Best Kill Award walk free a few days ago. Brennan had been crazed. He hadn't listened. She'd extended her hand to him, offered him the chance to reconsider, and he probably hadn't even heard her.

And who was she to dangle the promise of redemption? Perhaps she'd taken Nick's note to heart a little too much. She was no angel, though. No savior. No bringer of mercy. She was who she was, and right now she was sore and scared and tired and hungry. Right now she was just hoping to keep on living, day by day. She didn't know what she'd do at the end. If she was one of the finalists, she'd surely die, unless she could just wait on the sidelines and let them finish each other off. She didn't have it in her to kill.

She'd tried to come to terms with her inevitable death, but just couldn't make sense of it. She wasn't sure what came next, but she was in no hurry to find out.

Time to push these terrible musings away. Time to focus, to keep on, to stay alive as long as possible. To keep Melissa safe. To help the people who needed it.

Melissa was having trouble with the toast. She said she wished she'd been given some ramen. That got Jennifer smiling a bit again. The stove was also giving her other ideas.

"Um, yeah," she said. "We could, um, we could also maybe boil water from, um, from the creeks. That might help us, um, not get sick."

Of course, it was probably too late for that. Jennifer had gone through a couple bottles of creek water already. Likely, the only reason she hadn't contracted Giardia or tapeworms was that there was nothing in her for parasites to feed on. At the rate she was going, there wouldn't even be enough meat on her corpse to make her worth a scavenger's time.

That was a good train of thought to abandon.

"So, um, what have you been doing since, um, since we got here?" Jennifer asked.

Something to take her mind off death.

She'd probably picked the wrong question.
V7:
Juliette Sargent
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MurderWeasel
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Melissa told the story of her time on the island, and Jennifer sat and listened. It was one of the things she could do forever. It sounded like Melissa had had a fairly rough time. One of her friends had died in front of her, without any apparent cause. That was worse than seeing a friend murdered, Jennifer imagined. With a killer, there was a chance for closure, for revenge or forgiveness, for acceptance and glee as they, too, were inevitably listed on the announcements.

And then, Melissa's other dead friend was Aislyn. Jennifer could vaguely remember what the girl had looked like. Her killer, on the other hand, was something of a mystery; Jennifer hadn't been paying much attention, and the name had stood out only as sounding strange and foreign.

As Melissa spoke, she showed Jennifer the pictures in a yearbook. Jennifer hadn't gotten around to picking hers up yet; they'd been delayed and come out the day of the trip, so most of the Seniors hadn't had time to grab them. Seeing the faces pass by was almost too much for Jennifer. A good number were dead. Others had killed. Even those still alive would probably never look that nice and polished again. then there were all the people who hadn't made it to the trip. Fucking lucky, the lot of them. She had to work to avoid screaming.

And Melissa's other friend, Felecia, another person Jennifer could sort of recognize, had killed Sebastian, who she had no clue about. There had apparently been a big fight. Melissa had seen this all. It had scarred her.

Melissa kept going, talking about how it wasn't fair, how it didn't make sense, questioning why people still went along with the game, why Danya's people kept kidnapping students. All throughout, Jennifer bit back on the answers to Melissa's rhetorical questions.

People killed because they wanted to live.

The terrorists kidnapped students because it still worked.

But she didn't say anything, because Melissa was working herself up into some sort of frenzy, apologizing, breaking down. Jennifer knew exactly how she felt. She'd been there herself, again and again. So she didn't say anything at first, just scooted over next to Melissa and pulled her into a hug. Suddenly, she was in the position Nick had been in back on the logging road yesterday.

She tried to find something to say, but there were no words for this sort of situation.

"It's, um, it's okay, Melissa," she finally managed. "It's okay. We'll, um, we'll stay together, and we'll find somewhere to just stay safe for a while, and, um, and you aren't going crazy, and you're strong, and, um, and you're not stupid, and just, um, just... I'm glad we found each other."
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The hug lasted for a while. It was good. It was nice to just be close to a friend, to feel safe and happy, even if it was no more than a fleeting illusion. Jennifer knew that someone could turn the corner at any second and open fire. She and Melissa could be torn apart by death at a moment's notice. Even worse, someone could figure out a new exploit in the system, and they could begin anew the torturous process of determining whether the troublemaker would be cowed by Danya's killing of random students. Jennifer had been trying to avoid being too exciting. This was a bad survival tactic where detonations were concerned. She was surprised her collar hadn't been blown in the first round of example deaths. She strongly doubted she'd live through a second.

They were living moment-to-moment, all of them. Jennifer managed by trying not to allow the reality and meaning behind her thoughts to sink in. Anything else would lead to insanity or depression.

Melissa was talking, crying, hiccuping. Jennifer wasn't sure what to do, except to simply be there for her friend, to try to be as comforting as she could.

The words were about the past. They were about better days, and Jennifer nodded and said, "I'm, um, glad I met you too."

And then, the conversation turned dead fucking serious, because Melissa started to talk about what they'd do as the game wore on. It wasn't a new topic to Jennifer. It was something she'd thought about again and again, something she'd worked and reworked in her mind, trying to find a satisfactory solution. In the end, though, she knew. She'd known since the beach. She decided to hold her peace until Melissa finished, though. It gave her time to steel herself, to prepare a little, to plan her words. This was not a topic to stumble her way through.

She parsed things, sorted them into the key questions, prepared them in her head. Readied them all to deal with in turn.

And when Melissa fell silent with a final hiccup, Jennifer spoke, slowly and carefully.

"I, um, I don't know what's going to happen to us. But I... maybe we have a chance to live. But, um, not much of one."

Too blunt. Too horrible. Too true.

"If... I don't know what I'll do. And, um, I don't know what I'd do to Maxwell. Melissa, I, um, I didn't get to tell you this, but..."

Fuck. She'd just strayed from the script, wandered off into an unpleasant little diversion. She'd set it up too much to back out now, though. Best to muscle through it.

"I, um, at the beach, I was with, um, with Phil when he... when he died. I got, um, distracted, and Jimmy Brennan murdered him. And, um, and I lost it. I went after Jimmy. And, um, and he came after me, and I, um, I disarmed him, and I knocked him down, and... Melissa, I could have killed him. But I... I just let him go. And he won Best Kill for that, and, um, and he could be out there killing more people right now.

"I don't think I could kill Maxwell."

That was probably sounding pretty fucking self-righteous. On to the next part, then. This was the part where she sounded like a monster instead.

"But, um, but I wouldn't think any less of you if you did. I... I, um, I don't even know what's right and wrong anymore, Melissa. I... with Nick... I don't even know if he's wrong. Isn't that twisted? I can't even tell if killing people is wrong, because everyone's just trying to survive. All I know is it scares me, and, um, and I don't want to kill anyone, and I don't want to be killed, but I can't do anything about it. I just want to go home, Melissa, but I can't kill anyone, and, and I don't want you to, and I don't want Nick to, but I'll still care even if you do."

She'd messed things up badly, gotten lost in her own words. She was sure she'd missed a bunch of important things. It would have to do for now, though. It would have to suffice.

"I don't want you to leave.

"I, um, I want to be with friends, and if... and when I die, I want to be with friends, and I want you to, um, to keep going, okay?"

She wondered if she was making a mistake in taking it for granted that Melissa would outlive her simply because of her friend's willingness to fight. People died all the time, now, including the strong ones, the fighters. There was no guarantee at all that Jennifer wouldn't find herself in the finals somehow, still unharmed.
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They'd both had it rough. Yeah, that was the fucking understatement of the day. Jennifer nearly smiled again. Melissa then asked a rhetorical question about that old phrase about things that don't kill you making you stronger. Jennifer hadn't known it was a Nietzsche quote, but wasn't too surprised to find out. From what little she knew about the philosopher, he was dark, depressing, grim, and convinced that nothing meant anything. He was also apparently wrong a lot of the time. Jennifer wasn't feeling stronger for not having eaten a proper meal in a week. She wasn't feeling stronger for having the blood of a friend on her shirt. She wasn't feeling stronger for being unable to stop a boy from killing, for being unable to even keep track of him.

Melissa started another train of thought, but quickly trailed off. Jennifer waited in silence. It wouldn't do to pressure her friend into saying something she wasn't prepared for, or into thinking too deeply about any of this. This was a situation where thought was a good way to lose the will to live.

It seemed Melissa was thinking the same thing, only she was worried about Jennifer. She didn't like that Jennifer was talking about her own death like it was a certainty, even though it was. This was part of pretending, though, part of maintaining the strength to go on. It didn't make anybody feel better to just wave the fact that they were all going to die in their fucking faces. Never mind the fact that that had happened every other time this program had been conducted. Never mind the fact that Jennifer was pretty sure no one with a single-digit kill count had ever survived.

Melissa questioned whether Jennifer's spirit would be compromised by assuming she'd die. The implications were clear: wasn't that a self-fulfilling prophecy? Likely it was. Jennifer had known since the start that she wouldn't make it, though. She'd nearly killed herself back on the first day. Searching back, she found she couldn't really bring to mind why she hadn't. There had been some good reason, she thought. Now, though, she was living out of habit and fear of the unknown. She was living to seize every little worthwhile moment she could before the end. It was funny. She'd been here a week. Back home, weeks had slipped through her fingers, lost to school and friends and long walks. She never thought about the time she spent. This last week, though, had felt like a year, had felt like a whole other life.

Almost like it would never end.

Maybe it wouldn't.

"I, um, thanks," Jennifer said. "But, um, but, Melissa... if, um, if it's safe that's fine but, um, but if something happens and it's not, I, um, I want you to get away. Don't risk yourself to keep me comfortable."

I've been alone before. Dying alone wouldn't be so much worse than dying with friends, right?

"And, um, maybe you're right. Maybe I'm being too much of a pessimist. But, um, I guess, um, it's just easier, you know? Maybe, um, I'm afraid if I get my hopes up it'll just be worse."

She sighed.

"But, um, but don't worry. I'll be doing my best to... to stay alive, and to, um, to keep you alive too.

"And, um, I'll... stay with you too."
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The assent to Jennifer's proposal was rather halfhearted, but that was to be expected, given the circumstances. Melissa suggested they worry about things when they became relevant. It was as good a plan as any. No reason to dwell upon inescapable death, right? After all, who knew? Maybe they would get out of this somehow. Maybe they would be rescued at the eleventh hour, or maybe no one would notice them and they'd just be ignored until the finals. Then at least one of them could live. Almost certainly Melissa.

Melissa handed her half the lukewarm bread, with a vague apology. Jennifer took it, took a bite, then realized she hadn't replied. Swallowing too quickly, she coughed, then said, "Um, no, it's good. I never, um, thought I'd eat warm food"—don't say 'again'—"here."

That was an acceptable save, she supposed.

Melissa continued to discuss food. She said she'd kill for a home-cooked meal. Jennifer let the unfortunate figure of speech slide. Seemed she wasn't the only one who fucked up sometimes. Then Melissa talked about Starbucks and McDonald's, and Jennifer just had to smile some more.

"Um, yeah, that'd be really interesting," she said. "Lots of, um, potential for, um, drama and merchandising and stuff. And, um, yeah."

She lapsed back into silence for a moment, considering things. She was starting to come to a realization, though: every time she stopped to think, she remembered the smell. She was breathing the decaying particles of her dead classmates. The remaining chunk of bread in her hand didn't look so good all of a sudden, never mind the fact that she was still starving.

This was all fucking ridiculous. Maf wasn't here. Nick wasn't here. Bill Davis was dead. The message hadn't been delivered. It was time to move on. They'd find Nick somewhere, or leave a note or something, but for now, Jennifer was feeling awfully claustrophobic.

"Hey, um, Melissa," she said. "I know we, um, just got here, but, um, can we maybe... go somewhere else? I don't think, um, they're coming, but we'll leave, um, a note or... something."
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
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MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Melissa was fine with moving on. That was a good thing. Jennifer was starting to feel like she couldn't breath. The stench was all around her. It wasn't fair. She shouldn't have ever had to know what bodies smelled like. Now wasn't the time to bemoan the situation, though. Now they were going to move. Jennifer was going to find somewhere without any corpses, for a fucking change. There had to be somewhere. It was a big island.

Melissa wanted to go wait outside. Maybe she smelled it too. This wasn't a good place to be.

"Go ahead," Jennifer said.

Then she took out the little pamphlet Danya had left them all, and tore off a page. She had a pencil with her still, in her backpack. Looks like it'd been worth carrying after all.

She sat down, and quickly wrote:

Nick,
          Melissa and I were here, but we had to move on because of all the bodies. We're sticking together, and have had no problems so far. I think we're going to try to find somewhere a little bit cleaner and safer and maybe try to ride things out there for awhile.
          Right now, I think the groundskeeper's hut may be our best option, so I think we'll check there. If it seems unsafe or becomes a danger zone, though, we'll head to the mountain.
          I hope you're doing well and are safe. Please don't stay here too long. I have a bad feeling about this place. Also, please stay safe and out of trouble. I'm sorry we couldn't keep up with you before. If we can all link up again, maybe we can find a better place to lay low and wait things out peacefully. I think you'll be safer with us.
                                                                                                    - Jennifer
P.S. If you are not Nick, please leave this note for him to find. It would mean a lot to me.


With that done, Jennifer exited the hall of mirrors, leaving the note under a shard of shattered glass. There was no way to know if it would reach its intended audience. She was making the same fucking mistake all over again, leaving a secondhand scavenger hunt across the whole fucking island when peoples' lives were on the line. Now, though, there was a bit more justification. Melissa's life was on the line, too. Nick could take care of himself. He was probably more equipped to survive than both girls combined. He'd be fine.

She hoped he'd be fine.

No time to worry now.

Jennifer waved to Melissa, gesturing in the direction they were going to go. It wasn't that far.

"Um, I think we should check out the hut," she said. "It looks, um, better."

More defensible. Less fucking creepy.

She got walking.

((Jennifer Perez continued in And A Buck Short))
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
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