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人生の曲; Song of Life; Open
Topic Started: Aug 21 2016, 12:16 PM (2,305 Views)
Yugikun
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“Hey.”

((Jeremy Frasier, continued from The Brave May Not Live Long, but the Cautious Don’t Live at All))

The journey down had surprisingly been harder than the one up.

He could mostly see the reasons as to why, though. The height, mostly. Well, really, the height was the only part. It didn’t strain him physically at all and it didn’t look like the walk down would take forever or anything. No, it was only because he had to look down and whoaaaaaaaa that was a long way down if he fell. Kinda put him a little on edge, especially considering that the stairs now seemed to creak like, every fifth step he took. Probably not a sign that he could have fallen through them, but that wasn’t really something he wanted to think about at the time. Falling didn’t really seem like a particularly fun way to die, especially right after he had actually figured things out for himself. It’d be sorta ironic, yeah, but it’d be the sort of thing that was funny for everyone but himself. And really, to Jeremy, his fun was the only person’s fun that mattered. For now, anyway.

He managed to get down, though. It wasn’t really the fastest or the funnest process but he made it down (at that point). Just kinda chilling against a wall, for the most part. Below the stairs. He figured that if someone came into the centre of the room he could step out and maybe surprise them. It looked cool in his head, and maybe it’d give him a fun reaction, so he didn’t see any real problem with it.

The first person to come in went straight up the stairs, without even seeing Jeremy.

He looked up.

He had to go back up the stairs again, didn’t he?

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

So he went. Back up the stairs. He knew that this would result in him having to go back down the stairs again but whatever, he stayed here for the sole purpose of seeing who came so he was going to put it on himself to see who came; so eventually he reached the top. It wasn’t as easy as the first time, but this time he didn’t have a fall down to make him worry, so he figured that it was probably easier than the first trip down, at the very least. The pleasantness of it could be at a low, but in terms of difficulty it was probably in the middle, somewhere.

The girl up top was someone he sorta knew. Nancy. She was into Japan. Jeremy didn’t know much more than that, and he wasn’t sure whether that was a good thing or a sorta neutral thing. Maybe he’d find out soon enough.

“I’m guessing you’re up here because you heard the bell?”
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Man, Nancy had totally ruined the line that he was going for. Now he had to think up of something else suitably cool to say. Bummer.

He was also a little disconcerted about Nancy’s initial reaction to him, but he was able to push that away into the realm of being understandable. They had rarely (if ever) talked before this, what made him think that they were going to be instantly friendly right out the gate? Well, still, he didn’t think he really deserved an “oh,” but maybe that was just him. Maybe there was something he had done to Nancy that he had somehow actually managed to push out of his memory (and in that case, good job Jeremy) that had managed to totally negatively butt Nancy’s opinion of him. Or maybe he was still a little annoyed about having to go up the stairs again. Either or.

“Yep,” he said, walking over to the opposite side of the room. He considered sitting down, but that didn’t really seem right for reasons that Jeremy couldn’t decipher or word. Instead he leaned against the wall, standing.

“That was me. Couldn’t really think up of a better way to say that, but whatever.”

Probably not something he should have said aloud, but the last part of what he said pretty easily fit the last part of this as we-

A voice called out from the bottom of the bell tower. A small tense went up Jeremy’s body. He was probably going to have to get used to that. Not because it’d help him or anything but he didn’t really like the feeling that came across him when that happened. It wasn’t even like, the good type of tensing or fear or anything like that, like the stuff you’d encounter at a roller coaster or in a fast car or something. This was probably the… unexpected type. That was probably how it worked, yeah. You go in roller coasters and fast cars because you wanted the thrill but the moment it came up uninvited it really didn’t feel that pleasant. Huh, slightly interesting. Maybe he’d jot that down somewhere if he had the ability.

But anyway, voices. They were friendly, apparently. He was willing to give them a chance, but he wasn’t the only one in the room, and at this point Jeremy didn’t feel like his decisions should matter too much. It was someone else’s game, and Jeremy didn’t really want to ruin anyone else’s chances so he’d let it be their decision. Plus, Nancy had raised that sword of hers when Jeremy initially came up. Maybe she was a little hesitant about people right now, considering the current situation. It was probably best if he let her decide.

“I’ll let you reply to them,” he said, sitting down. “If you want to, of course.”
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Nancy called down to the people below. Jeremy moved himself against the wall, trying to find that sweet spot where he could lay back without absolutely murdering his back. Everything was as it should be in nature, or something like that.

Then the voice called back up to the both of them. His head perked up. It was another person he recognised.

Clarice Halwood was a friend somewhat in the same vein that Irene was. They didn’t meet up and talk to each other all the time, but hey, he could appreciate her presence whenever they were in the same group or cafeteria table. She also shared Irene’s willingness to argue with him, although she was far better at it than Irene had ever been. She actually brought up evidence, that monster. Still, even though it could be unpleasant arguing with her she was still an okay person; maybe not someone he could describe as fun as per se but it was nice whenever they talked and actually agreed on a subject. So yeah, she was a friend. Maybe not someone he’d put on a list of his close friends but maybe someone he’d put on the list below that.

Bad choice in boys, though. And traveling partners who didn’t happen to be here at the moment. Still though, maybe the situation was now serious enough for Conrad to stop being so fucking ignorant about things. It was currently an unknown whether that was actually the case or not, but it was at least worth a shot.

“We’re friendly too!” Jeremy shouted down the bell too. “Maybe not looking for a group, but we’re not going to bring you any harm!”
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The words had felt a little odd as they came out of his mouth.

He wasn’t quite sure why. Well, he wasn’t going to say no to that previous statement but it wasn’t something he could really say yes to either. He had an idea. Theory, whatever the right word for the situation was, that was what Jeremy was talking about. The reason that the words weren’t feeling right was because they weren’t really ones that Jeremy would say. He’d probably felt like he had to say something to announce his also being in the tower but he didn’t really know what the right words to say were, or rather that he had said the words but they didn’t really have the right feel to them. The Jeremy Frasier flavour that everyone knew and everyone loved. Yeah, that was probably at least a bit of it. Even though he didn’t have a full reason as to why it was happening to him it was still a good start. Good enough as to possibly work on improving himself through the current rut he seemed to be in.

Well, actually, there was another no. There was a reason why. He was on a bell tower on an island and he had just learned that he was going to have to kill people he knew if he wanted to get off and he had also figured out that he was probably going to die here and that everything he knew was different and that everything he had worked and hoped for was for nothing. There was bound to be a little jet lag from that. It was only natural.

Hmmmm…

Nah. That wasn’t it. To be honest it probably was the reason but Jeremy didn’t really want to name it so. It was too simple. An easy truth, as Persona 4 would probably say. It was entirely possible that the issue was something more than this, and if Jeremy cared enough to want to fix this problem in the future he had to keep his options open on this. For improvement’s sake. However much that counted at this point, anyway.

But okay. Back to the real world. Clarice had just come up the stairs, asking who rang the bell. That was him, and she had just ruined the thing he was going to say. Oh well, maybe he could still work with it a bit. He raised his hand at Clarice’s question, moving it into a slight wave.

“Hey, Clarice.”

Okay, so would saying something that he’d normally say help with his current problem? Hmm. Couldn’t think up of an answer to that question. Best to test it out. See where that went and work out things accordingly. An age old greeting would work for this. Maybe. Again, worth a shot at least.

“Do you still hear the lambs screaming?”



Yeah that probably wasn’t the right thing to say.
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Man, they didn’t even give him anything good to respond to. That sucked.

Well, admittedly part of that was his fault. He was the person who was acting so stilted about everything. It wasn’t even like this was like, a huge massive problem that he’d always been facing or anything; he’d been here for what, two hours at most? He probably had time there. Time for… something. He wasn’t quite sure on that front. There were images in his head that gave him little ideas on what the time was for but he didn’t quite want to particularly focus on any of them yet. Didn’t really wanna commit quite yet. There was still time, and given the path that he was currently going on it probably would fit best if he just took things as they came to him. Y’know, like what he wanted to do while he was in school but ultimately couldn’t because of things like deadlines and assessments.

He snorted, slightly. One benefit of being here: no more having to do homework. At least he wouldn’t have to force himself to do math while he was on murderdeath island, which was… okay, he guessed. Meant that he didn’t have anything right now to pull him back, at the very least.

And really, it wasn’t like the others weren’t trying either. Jeremy did smirk at Clarice’s response. It wasn’t really the reaction that he was expecting, given that there was a typical response that she had that he couldn’t quite remember right now, but it was still sorta funny. Good job Jeremy, you’re actually delivering on your own promises for once. Two more people arrived, seemingly, names not ones that Jeremy had yet but hey, maybe in the best case scenario it was someone else he liked. No real way that could go wrong. Clarice had also asked him and Nancy a question! That was… probably the worst of the three things and was probably what he was referring to when he said the above thing, but eh, he’d take it.

Words flashed in his mind as he tried to think of something that wasn’t generically answering the question. None formed completely, though. Oh well.

“I met Danny and Irene down at the beach before I came up here. They…” Jeremy paused, scratching the back of his head, “weren’t really convinced about all this, to say the least.”
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((Permission to skip posting order granted by RC))

Alright, more questions. He could answer those; pretty easily, in fact. See? It wasn’t even an actual issue. In all likelihood he had just done that thing he always where he took the most recent thing that happened and assumed that that was what happened. Still couldn’t remember the proper name, but he knew that it wasn’t recency bias. Of course, it could still actually be a problem on his part and the whole sudden difficulty with interacting with other people now/probably because he was on murderdeath island. Again, thing that was a thing but with a name that he couldn’t remember but he knew wasn’t recency bias. Applied here, and could potentially be a textbook case of it. It was something to consider, at the very least. When he had been here for a longer time than whenever long he had already been here he could think about it then. Maybe at that point he could judge whether it was an actual problem or not.

...He should probably just answer the question already.

“I dunno how long ago. A couple minutes after I woke up.” He began to stand himself up off of the column of the tower. Didn’t seem like anything he’d do would make it comfortable, so he decided that he was going for the next best alternative. “I got up off the ground, she came over, Danny came over, we all talked, and then they bailed on me. I waited for a while, before coming up here and ringing the bell. I’m not sure how much time that took to do.”

A flash of slight realisation came up in his mind. Emphasis on slight. The recurrence of a thought he’d imagine wasn’t too long ago.

“You have a watch? I’m pretty sure that could give us both an answer.”

Nancy said something weird. Jeremy wasn’t quite too sure what she was on about. Likely on him, there. It was probably just how she normally vocalised things. Clarice had already covered it in what she said. Nothing he could really say about Nancy that wouldn’t be just restating what Clarice said.

There was another thing he felt he could add, though.

“Yeah, I agree. Safety in numbers is a good thing. Probably be best if we-” Whoops, slight misstep. “You try to keep the psychos out, though. Even if they’re outnumbered it’s probably for the best if they don’t have the chance to do anything.”
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Jeremy had stayed silent as everything erupted to life around him.

To recap: Clarice made some mini-speech about friendship and trust and all that. Slightly cool sounding, a little idealistic but hey, if it actually stopped people from beating each other up he was more than cool with that. Unfortunately that hadn’t worked out, because around the same moment that two people Jeremy honestly didn’t really care about came to the top of the tower Nancy flipped the fuck out and hit Clarice with the axe she had. Jeremy had winced a little at that, because that was blood, and not just like the galleons the blood that poured out in basically every horror movie that was in the theatres but the blood of someone he considered a friend. Lots of it, too. It looked like she’d live from it but… god. At least she seemed okay. For now, at least, considering that she ran off after Nancy, with her boyfriend in tow.

So that left Jeremy, who had just stood there at the top of the tower while everything had happened. Silent. Barely moving. It wasn’t because he didn’t have anything to say, it was just that he didn’t get the time to say it. He wanted to say ‘oh shit, are you okay Clarice?’ but she had rushed out of the tower before he had been able to formulate the words in his head.

And really, how much would that have helped? It was clear that she wasn’t okay. There was blood, and there was a scream. Wasn’t hard to put two and two together. And the words. The words that had almost come out of his mouth, they just showed how little Jeremy knew about whatever sort of pain Clarice was going through, because really, as much as he wanted to just understand how she felt, he couldn’t relate. He had never broken a bone, and he had never been in a fight. The worst he had ever gotten were scratches and infections. Nothing in the vein of “getting an axe sent through your arm.” Nothing even remotely close to what he had just seen happen. As much as he wanted it, he couldn’t find that empathy. Only that grating “don’t worry, at least you’ll be okay” or “don’t take it too hard on yourself, at least you tried.” It wasn’t a surprise when one of the other two asked the same question. Just spoke to how much he thought of them, really.

...He just hoped that he got to see her again. Even if it was only once. Even if the only thing he could say was goodbye.

At least then it could be better than… what this was. A better goodbye to that girl he talked to and occasionally argued with. Better closure to the friendship of Jeremy Frasier and Clarice Halwood.

He took a step. Maybe there was still a little time. He could catch up, or they could slow down, or maybe they could suddenly find each other again.

He shook his head. No, that wasn’t likely to happen. Too… he didn’t know. Something, he supposed. Not enough to stop him from walking. Because there were things to do. Stuff he couldn’t do when he was stuck in a tower with two people he didn’t care about. People he needed that closure with. Joshua. Emma. Junko. Serena. Al. You know what? Even fucking Caedyn. All people. All important.

Plus, he still had a list on him. He couldn’t forget about that. Was it still there?

1. Have fun, above all else.
2. Find friends, give last goodbyes.
3. Pursue hopeless venture of survival, if first two options are no longer applicable.


Yep, still there. No longer in his short term memory, at this point. He walked across the room, passing by Barry and Jonathan without a word.

The worry about having to go down the stairs again had become a foreign idea, by this point.

((Jeremy Frasier, continued in Two Mules for Sister Sara))
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He should have stayed.

((Alvaro Vacanti, continued from Hideaway))

There were people back there. People who he could have trusted. Danny. Audrey. They helped him. Even though he was injured and barely able to move and even though he had lied to them they had helped him. He didn’t know why. They didn’t know him. They didn’t know why he had gotten his injuries, so why did they help him? Why were they friendly with him? He knew that there were people who saw the best in everyone and were friendly to everyone they came across but now that they were here why would they act the same way? If only one could survive, why did they pick him up when he fell down? It had to mean something. He didn’t know what that something was but there had to be a reason for why they helped him. Why they were friendly to him. Why Audrey was being… what she was being for him. It had to mean something. He didn’t know what, but he knew it did.

He didn’t know whether it was a good or a bad thing, too. Did they mean it? Or were they using him? Were they actually his friends, or were they just the people who associated with him because his family owned a cafe?

He didn’t know. He should have stayed. Maybe then he could have found out. Maybe then he could have ran if it turned out it was a bad thing. He didn’t really know how good that was as a plan but he knew it didn’t really matter. He left. He couldn’t go back.

He stopped. Breathed. In, out. He knew that it would have been a better plan than what he had figured for himself right now. He had heard a bell. It had made him run. It caused him to run from the two people who seemingly trusted him and he knew that that was a mistake but it was what he had made and he knew that no matter how he felt he couldn’t really do anything about it. He was still… something. Tingly. Wary. Scared. A remnant from when he had first heard the bell brought back up the second time it rang. That was what had caused him to come here. He didn’t know. He just… wanted to see, or something. Who. Why. If it was a friend he’d come out but if it wasn’t he’d try to get away as fast as he could. He nodded. It was okay. He knew that he should have stayed and he knew that doing that was better than what he could think up of right now but he knew that it was better than having nothing, at the very least. So he moved. Again. Up the final part of the stairs.

The shuffling of footsteps could be heard behind the door.
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Noises.

People. In the room in front of him. Voices he couldn’t recognise. One of them had a tinge of familiarity to it but he couldn’t connect the voice to the face or the face to the name and he knew that it was easy and he knew that this would be a voice that he should have recognised but he couldn’t figure it out and he hated it and why couldn’t he just figure it out already he knew he just didn’t and he wanted to know and he knew but he didn’t and he just couldn’t bear that. It was a voice he recognised, he knew that, but he didn’t know whether that voice was one of a friend or an enemy, and the other person was an even bigger unknown to him. He couldn’t even begin to guess whether that person was a friend or a foe on that front. He breathed, in and out. There were people in there. He didn’t know who they were. There was a voice he recognised but not enough to know who that person was, and he didn’t know whether they were friendly or not. That was what he knew.

He couldn’t see them, either. There was a door in front of him. Wood. Solid. Closed.

If he wanted to find out who was inside, he would have to open it.

But if he opened it, and the people inside weren’t friendly, then what would happen?

He breathed. In, out, again. He didn’t want to know. The thought just scared him.

But if he didn’t open it, how would he know? What if the two people inside were friendly? If it was another group, if they were people willing to accept him, then maybe he could make up, slightly, for running away. He would like that.

But it was a risk. It could be bad just as much as it could be good. He wanted to go in because it could be good but he wanted to stay out because it possibly couldn’t be and he didn’t know what to do. Did he open the door or walk away? Could he take the risk?

He looked behind him. Stairs. He couldn’t go down them quickly, but neither could they.

He looked at the door. He couldn’t think of anything better.

He opened it.

There was a room. Wooden floor. Four stone columns holding it up. The metal bell below. Two people.

Barry.

Friend. Teammate. Someone who he could talk to whenever he was feeling bad and someone who he knew didn’t mind him doing that. Friend. Ally.

Jonathan.

Friend of Michael, who was a bully. Someone who stood by and allowed Michael to pick on him and mock him whenever they passed in the hallways. Not a friend. Enemy. Avoid if possible.

Barry was with Jonathan. Barry was with an enemy. Barry was happily talking with someone who bullied Alvaro and who made school hard for him and who was someone he didn’t want to meet on this island at all.

A primitive sound just barely came out of his throat as he stepped back from the door.
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((Also skipping with permission))

Alvaro’s breaths could no longer reach his lungs.

Barry had seen him.

Thoughts exploded in his head as he heard Barry’s friendly greeting to him and he was unsure about what it meant. It was Barry. He was being friendly. He was acting how he always did and he knew that before this happened Alvaro was able to just take what he said for granted but now he was here he just couldn’t and he knew that he wasn’t being rational on this and he knew that he could trust him but he couldn’t and he hated that and the pile of questions about Barry just grew larger and larger in his mind. Why was he with Jonathan? Jonathan was a bully, why would Barry willingly choose to be with one? He didn’t know, and that was the worst part of it. There had to be a reason. He knew it. Barry was working with a bully and there was a reason for that and Alvaro wanted to believe that this was good because it was Barry and Barry was a friend but Jonathan was not a friend but apparently Barry and Jonathan were friends and he couldn’t help but just think bad things about it.

Then he remembered something. Where he was. Not the bell tower, not the island, but the game. Survival of the Fittest.

Only one could survive.

The breaths finally reached his lungs.

No. He couldn’t trust Barry. Only one could survive. If he trusted Barry then Barry could easily just stab him in the back and then Alvaro would die. No. That was why he was with Jonathan. Jonathan was a bad person, and now that they were here it was okay to be a bad person now. No. He couldn’t stay here. He had to get away as quickly as possible.

The steps were small, only slightly moving across the platform on his side of the door. There was something he could say. Something that could explain what he was doing. Something that could get him out of here without the both of them going after him and something that would keep him safe and alive and away from the people like Min-Jae and Michael and Isaac and Jonathan and Barry and he just needed to say something. Anything.

Nothing came out.
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Barry got closer. Alvaro moved back more. He jolted. His foot had gone over the edge of the platform and he had almost fallen down the stairs. His breaths were getting harder. He moved. To the side. To the corner. To the place that barely anybody looked and where Alvaro could hide if he didn’t want to be seen by particular people. It was comfortable, back then. A place he knew was bad to rely on but was one that made him feel good when he used it. But now it was different. Now he wasn’t sure. Barry had seen him so he didn’t know what he was doing by moving to the corner and he knew that he should just step onto the stairs and run and get away as quickly as possible but he couldn’t and he was doing this instead and he didn’t know why and he needed to do something but he didn’t know what and-

Barry had moved. He was in the doorway now. Taller than him. Looking at him. The look in his eyes was different but he had seen this before.

He knew how this was going to go.

“No, I-”

He tried to step back again. The foot hit the wall behind him. His breaths were getting faster. He was cornered.

“Please, don’t-”

He looked up at Barry. Looked down again. His hands were shaking.

The bruises and cuts on his face could be seen as the light of the sun flashed upon them.
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Closer. Too close. Through the door. Up to him. He couldn’t breathe. Wait, no. Couldn’t hear himself breathe. He couldn’t hear anything outside of his own thoughts not his breaths not the steps on the wooden platform not the words coming out of Barry’s mouth absolutely nothing other than the fact that oh god he was getting closer and it was happening again oh god it was going to be another fight just like Min-jae and he didn’t want to fight and he didn’t want to fight Barry and he didn’t want to be here and he just wanted to be in the cafe with Lily with Alessio with Barry the one from school who didn’t side with the bullies who wasn’t a bad person and who was Alvaro’s friend who he could talk to whenever he wasn’t feeling good and why did this have to happen why did this happen to them why did Barry turn against them and-

He remembered something. From sometime before. The dark room. The place where they shot Mr. Graham in the head and told them what was happening. The man on the stage - black hair, clean shaven - had told them something in particular. Showed them the images on the screen. Anyone. Anyone in that room around him could turn on him and try to kill him and he could die and he didn’t want to die and he didn’t want to be here and-

A voice. Barry’s. Getting even closer to him. His hands were shaking. His breaths weren’t going in. Barry was getting even closer to him and he knew what was going to happen. Barry was going to attack him because only one person could survive and he was working with Jonathan who was with Michael who bullied him and who was going to attack him because he was a bad person and people needed to be bad people and he was here and he couldn’t move and he couldn’t step back and he was cornered and he just need to do something before Barry attacked him. Anything. Anything that could get him out of here.

He had to do something.

His hands went out, feeling of the wind against his arms going unnoticed.
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Barry fell back - the railing collapsing behind him - out of sight.

Alvaro just stood there, staring at what he had just done.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in, breathe out.

There was a face that had just been there, standing right in front of him. Barry’s. It was one he knew. A friend. A teammate. A person who he could talk to when he wanted to be calm and a person who he knew didn’t mind him doing that.

But now the face was gone. It had disappeared. It had fallen off the platform and it was now out of sight. Barry was gone. He had fallen off the platform. He had heard something hit the ground. A snap. He was likely dead.

He looked down. At his hands. He could feel the air against them now.

He had done that.

He killed Barry.

His hands were shaking.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in, breathe out.

He couldn’t. They weren’t reaching his lungs. He stepped back. Flailed. It was a stair and he couldn’t think and he couldn’t remember and there was nothing under his foot and he almost fell and he had to grab the handrail to stop himself from falling down and he swung and he hit the wall and no no no why did he do that why did that happen he killed his friend he was a murderer now and now Jonathan was here and he was screaming at Alvaro and no no no he didn’t want to be here he didn’t want to be a murder he didn’t want to be on this island he wanted to be home and why did this have to happen and why was he here why was he letting Jonathan scream at him he just had to-

Get away. He ran. Down the stairs. More than one at a time. Far past Jonathan.

And then he saw Barry. Face down. Dead. Alvaro’s breathing became faster. He did that. He killed him. He did that. There was a bag off to the side. Barry’s. Wait. Not his anymore. Because Barry was dead.

He did that.

Couldn’t think.

Jonathan. Down the stairs. Run.

Killer.

Murderer.

He needed what he could get.

He grabbed the bag as he ran, not looking back as he left the bell tower.

((Alvaro Vacanti, continued in Would You Believe? This Isn't Me.))
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