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A way a lone a last; Day Nine, Morning
Topic Started: May 15 2011, 03:50 PM (1,396 Views)
MurderWeasel
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((Jennifer Perez continued from Better Days))

It was late morning when Jennifer dragged herself out of the stream and onto the bank, shivering even in the warm air. She had found the water the night before, tracing it by sound, and she had drunk her fill, knowing that she was in all likelihood hastening her demise, knowing that stream water was supposed to be fucking awful for you, and not really caring all that much, because it sure beat dehydration. Her thirst sated, she had curled up and slept on the rocks, resting for a couple hours, until the rising sun had made it impossible for her to keep her eyes closed.

She had followed the stream, walking downslope, heading towards the sea again. She wasn't really sure why. A large part was probably that she only really had two potential directions to move in now. Her water bottles were gone, abandoned with the rest of her equipment. She couldn't really bear the thought of drinking from them again anyways, not after sharing them with Melissa and Nick. It would be too much like pressing her lips against those of the dead.

Nick was potentially still alive, of course, as was Maf. She hadn't heard them announced. That meant nothing. Announcements had been slow before.

So she was walking by the banks of the river, drinking when she was thirsty, trying to pretend the water didn't taste a little off, trying to imagine it was safe Saint Paul tap water. She sometimes dipped her hands into it. She'd probably washed them a dozen times now, for no real reason. After passing the bridge, the same bridge that was part of the logging road, the same bridge she and Nick had crossed shortly before meeting Melissa a few days before, the slight desire to be clean had become an inescapable urge. She'd managed to hold off for a little ways further, telling herself she was being a fucking idiot, wondering if she was turning into one of those obsessive people from comedy movies.

In the end, she'd given in.

Stripping to any degree was completely unthinkable. It wasn't just that she was possibly on camera. Jennifer had always been somewhat modest, preferring to avoid swimming pools and feeling distinctly uncomfortable in the lockers during gym class. Removing clothing while outside, in broad daylight, was out of the question. Besides, her clothes were dirty too.

So she'd found a spot where the bank wasn't too steep, and she'd slid down it, watching the rocks and gravel skitter ahead of her, finding the whole thing eerily reminiscent of her scare the night before. She'd managed to stop just short of the water, had remembered to remove her shoes and socks, which she had left with her icepick and pack at the river's bank.

Then she had just sat in the water, letting it chill her, flow over and around her. She'd dipped her head a couple of times, spelling the final end for any styling of her hair. Upon surfacing, she'd caught her reflection and nearly smiled. She looked like she had a bad case of hat hair.

After about ten minutes, she'd left, and now she was a few hundred feet from the water, sunning against a particularly tall tree stump. Her clothes were still bloodstained, but she'd at least managed to wash away the worst of the sweat, though she now smelled rather swampy and damp. They weren't clinging too badly, and were drying fairly quickly, though they would probably end up uncomfortably stiff for a while. Her socks and shoes lay to the side, the shoes slightly moist as well, since she'd slipped them on to avoid cutting her feet.

Her left hand was tucked under her shirt, her fingers brushing over her stomach. Her skin felt nice against her hand. It reminded her that she was still alive. Never mind that she could tell by touch that she'd lost weight. Never mind that she'd placed her hand initially in a fruitless attempt to quell her hunger pangs. Those were now lessening anyways, though perhaps that was merely psychosomatic. She'd collected more pine needles, and was eating those again, even though they were fucking disgusting, even though the gritty bits got caught in her teeth and the bitter aftertaste lingered like a coating on the back of her tongue, increasing in strength as time went on, rather than waning.

She was alive. She was alive, and she was alone, and she was lost, and she was sad, but she'd found another little moment of peace. There was always one more quiet instant in the future. The trick, she'd decided, was simply navigating between them.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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MurderWeasel
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There was a girl. She was not a girl Jennifer knew, but, given her somewhat dark and gloomy look, that was hardly a surprise. Jennifer was not into the goth scene. None of her friends were either, for that matter. At school, she would probably have talked with this girl for exactly as long as she had to for politeness' sake, then brushed her off in some safe way. Maybe claim she'd forgotten to get a homework assignment or something. Here, now, it wasn't so simple. Jennifer could identify some of the big killers. She had a pretty good mental image of Hayley Kelly. Maybe they'd once been at a party together, or perhaps Meg had pointed at her and whispered "Slut" or something of the sort. Lombardi, he was British. Jennifer kind of kept track of the immigrants. They stood out a bit, even given the abnormally large number in attendance at Bayview.

But all the quiet people, the ones who had just killed one or two others and hadn't been well-known at school, she had no idea who they were. She had no idea if the girl she was looking at was about to reach out and strangle her. In the end, though, she doubted it. She'd lived this long trusting people, even people who didn't seem deserving. Why change now?

Still, Jennifer had no intentions of doing anything stupid or suicidal.

"Um," she said to the girl. "Hi. I'm, um, Jennifer. Perez n—um, Perez."

Fuck.

This interaction was just going wonderfully already. Jennifer reached out and retrieved her socks and shoes. Having them off, airing out her feet, felt fantastic, but she didn't intend to be caught unprepared and killed because she couldn't run away quickly enough. Her clothes were still somewhat damp, her hair still disheveled, but she'd move on if she had to. Fuck, she'd probably get moving before too long anyways. Staying in one place until she died? Who the fuck had she been kidding? She'd drink as much water as she could, and then she'd get moving and find some other stream, or go until she found a body and...

Jennifer didn't really want to think about stealing empty bottles from the bodies of her classmates. It seemed despicable. Maybe she'd go to town, then, go to town and find some cups or buckets or something. Yeah, she knew where the town was. She'd go there, get some containers, come back, get a store of water, and then be free to move again, free to pursue her goals.

She had no goals. She'd met everyone she'd been looking for. They'd fought and killed and died. She didn't want to experience anything of the sort again.

"Is there, um, anything I can..." she started to ask the girl, before trailing off.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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MurderWeasel
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This wasn't going right. Something about this whole thing was just bugging Jennifer. It wasn't the girl, the girl who had barely spoken to her. It was something personal, some lingering unease around being with company. Jennifer liked people fine, liked spending time with them alright, but in moments of personal crisis she always preferred to be alone. She wanted to die alone, if at all possible, alone and peacefully, and somewhere clean, maybe.

And she just didn't have the energy right now to be her usual self, to put on that mask and act pleasant and caring. She was so burned out by all of this. She just wanted to go off and sit. Just sit and stare at something forever. So she tugged her socks and shoes on, stood, and said, "I, um, I'm sorry. It's just... I, um, I need some time to myself. This has been a really tough, um, past day for me."

She considered explaining further. Really, though, there was no polite way to say "My best friend died in front of me, and I ran away from the only other people I cared about because they were busy killing each other, and they probably won't survive for me to see them again and I don't know if I'd want to if they did." So she left things how they were. It felt strange, the whole situation. Jennifer was not very comfortable with prioritizing her own wants and needs, but, really, what else was left for her to do? She was staying alive for herself. Anyone else who really mattered had died or changed or just hurt her too much.

So she stood up, hoisting her pack, and gave a little wave at the girl, and took off at a jog. She was trying not to cry, trying to pretend that she hadn't just failed at basic human interaction, trying to pretend she had some idea as to what she was going to do, trying to pretend she wasn't lost and hurt and more alone than she'd ever been in her life.

((Jennifer Perez continued in A Slight Change of Plans))
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder
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